Art & Design Interiors & Design

David Mitchell Brown on Adding Personality to Your Home

Based in Florida, the interior designer mines his clients’ personal style to bring a relaxed atmosphere and pops of color into their spaces

Whenever David Mitchell Brown is approached about a commission, the first thing he does is study the property in question. “Even if I’ve been asked to do a Georgian-style house and give it a modern interior, I still want to find ways to reference the architecture,” he says. “The transformation should be clever, but it shouldn’t feel foreign to the home.” He also looks at the people who live there. “I pay close attention to how my clients dress, what they wear, what’s in the closet. Are they blonde, brunette, ginger? These are all clues to what colors make them happy and comfortable.”

A portrait of David Mitchell Brown
David “Mitch” Brown launched his own firm five years ago, after more than 30 years of working in interior design, with some of the field’s most prestigious designers—experiences, he says, that “made me the designer I am today.”

It’s this expert use of color that brings Brown’s schemes to life. “We do many white, gray, beige, or taupe rooms,” he says. “I love to break it up, toss in a punch of color for fun. If the base color of the room is neutral it will never tire, so if we do add a saffron pillow or a blue lampshade, we can always change it if we want a new look in a few years. Whatever we do as the punch, it usually becomes the client’s favorite element.”

I pay close attention to how my clients dress… it’s a clue to what colors make them happy and comfortable

Brown traveled extensively, working for “some of the most respected designers in the country,” before setting up his own company in 2016. “I’m grateful for all the experiences that working with wonderful clients and designers gave me. They have made me the designer I am today. Except now, you can see a glimpse or an edge of my own distinctive fingerprint in each home or room I do, which I think makes my work stand out.”

A living room filled with colorful and eclectic patterns
Bright and beautiful: Brown combines a bold use of color with a range of eclectic patterns to bring life and character to the homes he decorates.

While each of his projects looks very different, he points out that the David Mitchell Brown “look” is consistent: “My goal is to create a home that is a smart and distinct reflection of my client. Always comfortable. I also think my style is a unique fusion of West Coast meets East Coast. For instance, when I’m doing a Florida project, I’ll dabble a bit in earthy textures and exaggerate scale. These design elements are distinctively West Coast, very Michael Taylor, and make my work stand out from other projects in the area. I love it!”

You can see a glimpse of my own distinctive fingerprint in each home or room I do, which makes my work stand out

Where else does he draw inspiration from? “The Royal Mansour in Marrakech, Morocco, as well as the vintage feel you can find in Italy, like at the Fontelina beach club in Capri and the posh bar at il Lungarno Hotel in Florence,” he says. And his secret to great interior design? “Good upholstery. If you skimp here, the room will always feel cheated.”

A neutral living space with bold brass coffee table
Brown believes that a simple, neutral base allows for rooms of any size to evolve over time. His mantra, he says, is to “let each space, whether formal or functional, always be comfortable.” Image: Nickolas Sargent

The designer has just remodeled his own home, and describes it as “a modern and eclectic blend of favorite finds I’ve picked up while traveling over the past 30 years; a blend of bold patterns and colors against neutral textures—except the master suite, where I introduced the same neutral textures, but complemented with pale earthy accents, lucite and wool gabardine lined sheers. I love a bedroom to feel like a spa holiday.”

Currently, he’s working on “a fabulous Mediterranean-style villa on the ocean in Palm Beach, a beautiful home in Charleston, and a modern apartment in downtown Philadelphia. But all my projects are exciting because I have been blessed with wonderful clients.”

Banner image: A living space transformed by David Mitchell Brown thanks to a neutral palette and clever pops of color