the luminous interiors of brian j. mccarthy


Brian J. McCarthy, a friend and a designer I truly admire – whom I wrote about sometime ago – just published his first book of fabulous interior design projects.  Luminous Interiors showcases Brian’s incredible ability and wide range of talents.  And while the overall projects have a good dose of the McCarthy magic, polished and tailored rooms exuding luxury, each space also really shows the owners’ personality.

Here are some to drool over.



The sitting room in Brian’s own Manhattan home is a hit with me.  It’s a magical stage set crafted for living and entertaining.  He beautifully showcases the architecture of the room by playing the dark chocolate ceiling off the bleached wood floors and the off-white walls.  Talking of which … how fabulous is the wall treatment that emulates limestone and gives this space a much more important and imposing feel?  And what other decorator could seamlessly blend a pair of Lalanne consoles into the scheme?  Love it!



With a complete 360, comes the next space – a library with a decidedly Empire aesthetic.  Again, the ceiling plays such an important role in the overall decoration of the room.  So different from the designer’s own space, and yet the attention to detail remains a constant thread throughout.  The gilt moldings are beautifully set off against the rich mahogany Féau & Cie. paneled walls.  Never be afraid of dark colors on your walls.  They can turn a space into the perfect jewel box.  And if you don’t like your end results, just try again!



The dining space is more subdued than the previous looks yet still has McCarthy chic – I just want to see more!  That tantalizing glimpse of a fabulous deco cabinet to the side – is a great example of mixing periods.  If you look closer, the tacking on the chairs matches the bronze beads on the table base, a lovely detail that ties both table and chairs together … and a circular table is so much more intimate than long rectangular ones.  This room must look incredible at night with the light playing off the huge mirror and lustrous gold walls.  When individual pieces are interesting and well designed, they can make for a great mix.



And finally a bedroom that anyone would love in a simple black and white color scheme.  First off, who doesn’t love a zebra head hung in the corner?  Perhaps not for everybody, but I think it’s fantastic.  The curtains and fabric on the chair have a matching embroidered pattern reminiscent of Indian textiles.  And Brian always brings everything together with a great carpet.  It has just enough pattern to add interest without overpowering the room.  The whole ensemble could be taken from a chic and modern version of  “Out of Africa”.

Brian’s Luminous Interiors is a great source of inspiration for students and design professionals.  His spaces are excellent examples of delightfully layered rooms that look lived in and reflect the personality of the owners.  After all, if it’s your home, it better show your style!

richard rabel
richard rabel: interiors + art
interior design and art advising
new york city

image credits: © Luminous Interiors, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013. Second image Max Kim-Bee; all others including cover Fritz von der Schulenburg