Gay Atlanta designer Brian Patrick Flynn is best known for his work on HGTV’s sweepstakes competitions “Urban Oasis” and “Dream Home.” Now he’s nabbed his first starring role in the new Discovery+ show “Mind for Design.”
“I’ve always been behind the scenes or part of designing on an existing franchise,” he told Project Q Atlanta. “This is a total fish out of water experience for me because the entire 24 minutes are about me. It’s kind of a lot of pressure.”
The metro Atlanta-based show premiered on Discovery+ in July and is available to subscribers now.
Flynn took an unconventional route to make it here. The Florida native was a TV news producer turned self-taught interior designer. He moved to Atlanta to work behind the scenes on a Discovery landscaping and remodeling show in 2003. That show ended, but Flynn decided to put down roots.
“Atlanta was so good to me I just decided to stay,” he said.
That’s when he moved in front of the camera and took over as interior designer on “Urban Oasis” and “Dream Home” in 2015.
Flynn’s friend and fellow TV designer Joanna Gaines told him about a new venture she and her husband Chip were starting during a visit to her Waco, Tex., home in 2019. The “Fixer Upper” star asked Flynn if he wanted his own show on the Magnolia Network. He didn’t hesitate.
“I said, ‘absolutely,’” Flynn remembered.
Magnolia Network content now streams on Discovery+. The network also plans to add a linear TV watching option when it replaces the DIY Network in January, according to Flynn.
Full-circle ‘Mind for Design’ episode
“Mind for Design” follows Flynn and his boutique design firm’s team as they make over homes around Atlanta.
“It truly follows how I work and how my team works,” he said. “The people you see on the show are the people who work for me in real life.”
The Aug. 20 episode features a “really, really personal” makeover, Flynn said. It was a full-circle moment for Flynn, as he works on a project with a lesbian couple who were his first-ever design clients.
“This episode is a very unique design,” he said. “They wanted a midcentury modern kitchen with the loudest most vibrant colors you can think of. They’re a very colorful couple.”
The couple are also both frontline workers.
“The stories are really, really strong,” he said. “The clients you see we really let their stories drive the episodes.”
Season 1 of “Mind for Design” has six episodes. A release date is forthcoming for Season 2, which has already been shot.
In the meantime, Flynn is working on a book and actively posting about his design projects to his 163,000 followers on Instagram. Flynn and his husband Hollis Smith, a costumer with Marvel Studios, live in their Buckhead home during the week and spend the weekends at their cabin in Ellijay.
“We like to get out of the city on Friday afternoon to escape to the quietude of Ellijay then get back to the fast-paced production world on Monday mornings,” Flynn said.
The couple also have a summer house in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Flynn: Gaineses are LGBTQ allies
Chip and Joanna Gaines drew public controversy in 2016 when Buzzfeed reported that their church is against same-sex marriage and their pastor supports conversion therapy and considers homosexuality a sin mostly caused by abuse. The issue raised questions about why “Fixer Upper” never featured gay couples.
The Gaineses denied that they are anti-LGBTQ but never clarified if their beliefs align with their church’s. Flynn told Project Q that the Gaineses were always “strong allies to myself, my husband and all of my LGBTQ+ colleagues and friends.”
The anti-LGBTQ allegations are untrue, and Joanna’s “passion for inclusivity” is what drew him to join the Magnolia Network, according to Flynn.
“From the very beginning, it was made abundantly clear that they want their business and this network — the people in front of and behind the camera — to reflect the world we live in today,” he said. “And believe me when I tell you that mentality remains as true today as it did way back then.”