Toast the Expert by Renewal by Andersen presents Brian H. Murray [partner]

Renewal by Andersen relies on professional interior designers to bring its award-winning, energy-efficient window and door products to life in clients’ homes. Now Renewal by Andersen wants to individually recognize talented designers with its Toast the Expert special feature on Triangle Today.

Q. Tell us about yourself.
A: I am Brian H Murray of Brian H Murray Interior Design. We serve all of the Triangle and a 35-mile surrounding radius outside of the Triangle. We are a national award-winning full-service interior design firm serving the Triangle and beyond for more than 17 years. We assist residential and commercial clients with an emphasis on providing clients “The Space of Your Dreams.”

Q. Tell us about your education, experience or biggest influences.
A: I initially studied interior design while attending Virginia Tech, after starting on scholarship for landscape design and a brief foray into apparel design I discovered my true passion. I went on from Virginia Tech to work in healthcare for many years while practicing interior design in my free time. I was approached by a doctor I worked with to help with their home re-construction after a devastating fire. This was my largest project and really got my business going in 2001. Since then I left healthcare, spent some time in marketing and completed a degree in interior design at the Art Institute in Raleigh Durham. Since 2015, I have solely practiced interior design. One of my fondest memories and something I think influenced me greatly was my Grandma’s interest in architecture and design. I spent many summers with her in San Francisco and she had a large round cocktail table in her living room with literally every issue of architectural digest she had ever received. I remember many days spent flipping through those and watching the fog lift on the Golden Gate Bridge. I was so inspired by the images and the idea that I would someday create spaces that incited emotions for the person seeing it and being in it.

Q. What do you enjoy most about interior decorating?
A: While interior design and interior decorating are not interchangeable terms, they are not mutually exclusive. I really enjoy the challenge of changing the architecture of a space when doing major remodeling. I find it fascinating to break down the architectural style to ensure that the changes I make will be timeless and will fit seamlessly in the larger space. My favorite part about decorating is the textiles. I am so energized by putting together colors, patterns and textures that ultimately help create an overall style the client connects with. Through window treatments, pillows, upholstery and rugs, it helps to create a comfortable environment.

Q. How would you describe your style?
A: While I never push my style on my clients because the space I design for them is their style, I would describe my style as eclectic, masculine and timeless. I hope to create spaces that are timeless, not trendy, while being extremely personal to me and my family.

Q. Which design trends are you most excited about this year?
A: I am excited about the return of jewel tones like teal, emerald green, mauve and wine to the color palette. Colors of recent years have been light and washed out and I appreciate the way jewel tones can be exciting while also creating warmth and a timeless feel.

Q. What are your favorite types of clients to work with?
A: My favorite clients are those that are able to be pushed out of their comfort zone a little. I often am hired because a client is unable to have a vision or is struggling to create it. Sometimes being able to be flexible and allowing me to create a design they never thought of will create the unique space they never would’ve imagined.

Q. What/who inspires you right now?
A: I am inspired by my clients and the different personalities and design challenges they have. I am also inspired by Vicente Wolfe. He is a Cuban-born self-taught designer and his work always speaks to me. I am also inspired by timeless interiors, and I have a deep respect for architectural history and using elements of the past in new ways to create timeless spaces.

Q. How do you consider natural light when designing a space?
A: Natural light is a very important factor in design. Knowing the direction of the sun is one of the first questions I ask and sometimes clients don’t know! I have often taken out my phone and used the compass to determine the path of the sun as it related to the space. Northern light is reflected off nearby homes, trees clouds etc. It is often white and cool and sometimes gray. This affects colors and window treatment. Southern sun is bright and warm and can light a space all day based on our geography. If a space faces east or west, it has its own issues that affect color and window treatments. Each space is unique so creating a warm space, a light space, or a dark cozy space, natural light is always a factor.

Q. What new trends in windows & doors are you using?
A: I am using taller doors on most of my projects. With the higher ceilings in today’s home the doors help create a little drama and let the client appreciate the height of the space. I am also liking painted doors and wooden doors in homes to add some architectural interest. In windows I am liking the simpler mullion options that harken to the Farmhouse, and Victorian styles.

Q. If someone could look through a window into your dream room, what would they see?
A: My dream room is the living room in our farmhouse. A viewer would see a mix of design styles and materials like mid-century modern pieces, traditional elements, Middle Eastern and Navajo textiles, all bringing a little drama. A space that is unique and personal with our favorite books, beautiful art and pieces gathered over time each with its own story. Ultimately the viewer would see a welcoming, interesting and comfortable space.

See more of Brian’s work on Houzz.

Nominate an interior designer for our Toast the Expert series.

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