Flynnside Out takes you to R HUGHES, the hottest spot for high-design South of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Written, produced and directed by Brian Patrick Flynn with styling by Ryan Hughes and Steven Leonard and photography by Sarah Dorio.
There was this super sloppy, super shaggy, blonde-haired kid in my first grade class named Kurt who spent the entire day drawing superheroes on yellow construction paper with brown and red crayons. Regardless of what our assignment was, he was all like, “F#$% this. I’m gonna draw superheroes.” Math? Superheroes. History? Superheroes. Spelling? Superheroes’ names written in brown crayon, but on notebook paper. Kurt liked to hold onto the yellow construction paper strictly for drawing. Plus, the teacher would leave him alone if he used the right paper for spelling and science tests. And while Kurt did a bunch of things neither myself nor any of my classmates agreed with, I kinda liked his whole visionary, I-don’t-gotta-be-like-everyone-else way of thinking.
What I remember most about about this kid was his unfortunate disregard for composition and color. I mean, for one, the superheroes were drawn on yellow paper using yellow crayons, making their bodies invisible, not to mention remarkably confusing. And then there were his dubious color choices for just about everything else. Clothes? Brown crayon. Facial features? Red crayon…mouths, eyes, and even noses…all in red. I’d become so infuriated with Kurt’s misuse of color, it took everything for me not lash out irrationally screaming, “THAT’S NOT HOW THIS WORKS! THAT’S NOT HOW ANY OF THIS WORKS!”
Then, after Christmas break of 1982, the six-year-old trailblazer started to up his game. Out of nowhere, he began adding blues and greens to his palette and messing with scale and proportion. So much that I remember glancing over and thinking, “Hey, that’s actually kinda good!” One thing led to another and eventually that sloppy six-year-old cleaned himself up, kept fine-tuning his superhero drawings, and eventually became one of my favorite classmates. In fact, by fifth grade Kurt became somewhat of a leader and probably ended up super successful. I mean, his hair alone was reason enough to become famous. But I digress. My point, and I do have one, is that whenever someone in the creative world does something unlike everyone else, it’s likely to be a very, very good thing. Case in point: the Atlanta high-design showroom, R HUGHES.
In 2009, after five years working in the design industry as a showroom rep, Ryan Hughes found one thing drastically missing from the Atlanta interiors market: edge. Sure, there were tons of places to score traditional chandeliers, handmade rugs, high-end textiles and classic upholstery pieces, but what about a designer shopping experience dedicated to collections never before seen in the southeastern market? Um, there kinda wasn’t one…yet.
Ryan visualized everything, seriously, like everything under one roof: modern art, unique light fixtures made from innovative materials, hair on hide rugs available in tons of color ways and patterns, massive bronze sculptures in the shape of hands, drawer pulls made of horn and brass, 6-foot tall traditional wingback chairs covered in unexpected fabrics, and hand-forged iron bar stools that look like a mix of primitive sculpture and high-fashion Hollywood glamour. And ever since opening its doors in Atlanta’s design-centric Westside District, R HUGHES has quickly earned a reputation for being a go-to source for interior designers and decorators both nationally and internationally. Not bad for a guy whose first attempt at launching a business was at age six with “Star Stage”, a small performance venue designed and built by Ryan and his grandfather…inside of his parents’ basement. Needless to say, Star Stage never ended up in any business chronicles.
Within minutes of stepping foot into the jaw-droppingly gorgeous loft space in the White Provision building, my team and I both heard and saw some of the most iconic names in the design world sourcing pieces from R HUGHES. Mid-morning Barbara Westbrook was in the showroom perusing upholstered goods. Soon thereafter, McAlpine Booth & Ferrier’s office was on the phone checking in on an order status. After lunch, Ryan and mom Susan (a part-time employee and business partner) fielded calls from Peace Design, Barry Dixon, John Oetgen, Beth Webb, Amy Morris and Michel Boyd. Needless to say, the best of the best are packing their projects with all things R HUGHES, and for good reason.
Ryan, Susan and business partner Steven Leonard (who also manages a second showroom, R HUGHES Atelier at ADAC) each have an insane amount of in-depth knowledge about the items they sell. Ask the team about anything in the showroom and they’ll quickly give you a history of where each piece is from, how it’s made, and what makes it unique. For example, a mirror I couldn’t pry myself away from, nor could I even remotely figure out what it was made of, well, it’s made from ebonized coconut shells cut into small triangles, then assembled in layers using wire. WTF? Who even has something like that? Ryan and company, duh.
Instead of adding a ninth paragraph to this story, I’m just gonna end it right here with paragrafia numero ocho. So, if you’re outside of the greater Atlanta area and can’t experience the R HUGHES showroom for yourselves, consider this here blog entry the next best thing. From the super handsome owners and brilliant interior design, to the unique finishes and layers of well-thought out details, everything inside of R HUGHES is a true masterpiece. Kinda like the extreme opposite of Kurt’s early first-grader work.
There is no need for me to go into detail here about the three lovely individuals listed above because GRAPHICS. Oh, but it is smart to mention that R HUGHES Atelier, the sister location at ADAC (for anyone unfamiliar with the design world of the South, that stands for Atlanta Decorative Arts Center), has an impressive selection of amazing fabrics. In addition to their flagship fabric brand, Holland & Sherry, you’ll find Zak + Fox, Coleman Taylor Hand Painted Textiles and Kyle Bunting. R HUGHES Atelier is also a go-to source for APPARATUS Studio. And if you’re unfamiliar with APPARATUS Studio, just take a look at any major designer or decorator showhouse, and you’ll find their ceiling-mounted and wall-mounted lighting fixtures in, like, every room.
The light and airy upstairs loft area features the OCHRE Eclipse chandelier which is all about its horsehair rim and dark horn drops and stuff like that. Art is also for sale through the showroom, including this striking “Jay Walker” sculpture by Russell Whiting. See the overscale floor lamp in the corner? That’s the Satay from Powell & Bonnell.
On the other side of the loft sits the Magni Home Collection Della Spiga Armchair, Arago Console with solid bronze base and silver mica top, and Anzo Lamp in shagreen with bronze accents, both from Jean de Merry. Remember that super badass coconut-shell-and-mercury-glass mirror I mentioned? That’s it above. It’s called the Coco Mirror and it’s made from small strips of black coconut shell. Wow, I really like to keep talking about those damn coconut strips, don’t I?
Still up in the loft here, folks. How striking is that one splash of blue amidst the all-white, black and charcoal space? Right? So, here’s what’s happening here y’all: Jiun Ho’s Mabillon Console, “The Tree”, a mixed media piece by Courtney J. Garrett, Powell & Bonnell’s Sentinel Console Lamp in Polished and satin nickel, COUP Studio’s Ivy Ottoman, and last but not least, the Jiun Ho Collection Magellan Lounge Chair in sandblasted quarter sawn oak covered in Sandra Jordan Prima Alpaca. Longest. Sentence. Ever.
How ridiculously good is this entire situation above, and how has this not been a shelter magazine cover? Ryan and company put this living room together using the Jiun Ho Collection Chambord Tete-A-Tete sofa sporting a walnut frame and steel legs, COUP Studio’s Sea Urchin Pendant made of natural cane, the Deliquescent Side Table with glass top and patinated bronze base, Blackman Cruz Workshop’s Urchin Bean Bag in black leather (WANT WANT WANT WANT) and Kyle Bunting’s Jet Stream Rug which is all about the hair on hide look America is obsessed with. Oh, and that crocodile-ish chair right there that looks like sex if sex were seating, that’s COUP Studio’s Popolo Chair in faux croc leather with beechwood legs and brass footers.
That chair on the left, that’s the COUP Studio King Chair in Holland & Sherry abaca fabric. On the other side of the space sits the Jean de Merry Aland wing chair in Jean de Merry leather. Both of these chairs flank the Jean de Merry Cassetto Cabinet sporting a walnut frame with antique yellow gold finish doors layered with a hand painted animal motif. It’s topped with a pair of COUP Studio Stampa Lamps in gold leaf, and Ryan and company layered lighting here with a Jean de Merry Evasion Chandelier in an antique bronze finish that’s suspended above the Jean de Merry Axel Coffee table (natural parchment lacquer top, bronze inlay, rivets and a steel frame). Rug? Kyle Bunting hair on hide again, and this one’s called Ripcord. Oh, and those gigantic sculptures of super strong man hands? Blackman Cruz Workshop Prana Hand Andirons. McAlpine Booth & Ferrier’s office loved these so much, they used them in Susan Ferrier’s living room design at the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for the Holidays showhouse.
Ugh, this dining room. I’d just revamped my own a few days before this shoot, and then I immediately wanted to redo it again because this one is so sick. Kyle Bunting makes his way over here again with another hair on hide rug in a pattern called Reflect. That red chair is Jiun Ho Collection’s Kasba Wing Chair topped by the Avrett Francesco Chandelier. The art is a hand painted reverse glass piece from Jean de Merry called “Tree of Life”.
If you’re not in the market for upholstered pieces or case goods, R HUGHES has an impressive selection of remarkably unique lighting. Those mermaid-looking fixtures are from Jean de Merry; they’re made of bronze and they’re called the Sirenas Sconces. The drippy glass piece is OCHRE’s Seed Cloud Chandelier with bronze stems and solid glass drops, and even better? It’s LED. There’s also a wall display packed with different sconces from the Magni Home Collection. Here’s what they’re called, from left to right: Colette Sconce (solid bronze with silver patina), Big Sur Sconce (cast glass body and silk shade), and Paris sconce (solid bronze base and cast glass shade).
A second living room setup features the COUP Studio Regency Sofa, OCHRE’s Snooze Chair upholstered with a nubuck frame and mohair seat
cushion, the Magni Home Collection Jewel Coffee table with cast glass top and polished stainless steel base, and a Heijden + Hume for Jean de Merry Project 1 Console in slate oak finish. The hanging light fixture is the John Pomp Infinity Pendant Cluster, and the console table is topped by a pair of Tuell + Reynolds Bolinas Table lamps in solid bronze. The folding mohair screen is an R HUGHES original and you can have one custom made through Ryan and company.
This area, well this is what I picture George Clooney’s den to look like. I have no clue where the hell George Clooney lives or anything, but wherever the hell it is, this is what it probably looks like. The R HUGHES den vignette is made up of the Helene Aumont Collection Eclipse Console in walnut with lucite feet, COUP Studio’s Spanish Baroque Arm Chair with mahogany frame, COUP Studio’s Stixx Banded Chandelier, Jean de Merry’s So-Ho table with metal base and shagreen top and the Blackman Cruz Workshop Brass Ball Series Lamp. The terra cotta art is from Alan Avery, but available through R HUGHES.
Black, white and brown, this combination has become my new thing. It just never gets old. This area is all about the Jean de Merry Rueil Commode in Chocolate Lacquer, the Jean de Merry Evasion one and two arm sconces, the Jean de Merry Visconti Table lamp in solid bronze, Jean de Merry’s Valmy Chair in Jean de Merry leather and the OCHRE Moon Table with a steel frame and mercury glass mirror top. You know what I have said and typed more than anything in the past 1o minutes? Jean de Merry.
Here’s what you’re seeing: Heijden + Hume for Jean de Merry’s Metro Table in a dark oak finish, the Jean de Merry Lumiere chandelier in an antiqued brass finish, Blackman Cruz Workshop’s Neoclassic Dining Chair in an oil rubbed walnut finish, Jean-Louis Deniot for Jean de Merry’s Hexagono console with a lacquered parchment top, an ebony lacquered base and solid bronze accents, and Blackman Cruz Studio’s Studded Table lamp in solid bronze. The sculpture on top of the books is Michael Moran’s “Fan Head Torso”.
Aside from the coconut mirror (which I now actually own, for real), I took a liking to the sculptural bronze stool, Magni’s Home Collection Amsterdam Chair in a solid polished finish, and also with the super vivid Downtown Mulholland Bench Black Steel frame with leather straps and kyle bunting
hair on hide upholstery. Something to keep in mind when you’re in the showroom is that tons of pieces are available in a wide array of customizable finishes and materials. The team ain’t above bustin’ it all out to show you what they’ve got, yo. And that’s that, the R HUGHES showroom right here for you to experience on the Internet. And hey, just to keep y’all in the loop, things have been going so well for Ryan and company, so much that they’re going to be opening up an epic NINE-THOUSAND-SQUARE-FOOT-SHOWROOM in ADAC in the summer of 2015. Oh well, I guess that means I will have to go back and do this all over again, but with thrice as many images. And in the meantime, you can start following both myself and R HUGHES on the Instagramz.