Choose Your Materials with Care: Gary Finley

When Gary Finley opened his own design company he decided to focus on quality materials that exceeded the expectations of even his exceeded the expectations of even the pickiest clients.

Thanks for joining us, Gary. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design and how you ended up in design?

As a creative child I took art classes and receive attention for my work, which lead me to understand I had a talent that direction.  I visited an art museum where interior designers had displayed their work in small vignettes this was my first introduction to interior design, and finding a way art and a profession came together.  Following my BS degree in interior design I began working in retail for high-end furniture stores. Following a project in the Bahamas, where I refurnished a home on a small island, I decided it was time to move ahead on my own.  Trusting, I had the tools needed I formed Gary Finley Interiors.

You live and work in Southern California. What are some themes you carry into your design that might have originated in the city?

Refined comfort is a key element in my designing.  Working with great textiles and well-built furnishings that are suited for client needs is very important to me. I believe in investing in one’s interiors.  In the long run, a well designed/executed space can serve for many years and can be transformed as one moves from home to home.  Items need not be expensive to be refined, just well thought-out.  Using natural materials supported by synthetics can be a great combination for fabric selections.  Linen is a favorite fabric of mine. It has so many uses.

All spaces are unique, but with a green concentration you must find that there are items you tend to repeat. What would they be? Which are most dependable?

Once again it’s the natural fibers that lead the way here.  However, they must be used to their best advantage.  If one wants ‘soft and cozy’ use a soft fiber.  Bamboo is great for flooring but as for using bamboo as a textile, it requires far more processing than does cotton, wool or linen, thus defeating the purpose to the environment.  Wood and natural stone are other materials I’m fond of using.

What are you first priorities when meeting a new client in a new space? How much are you matching their needs to your education and inspiration?

Meeting new clients is an interviewing process.  Both parties are attempting to understand the other.  My number one priority with meeting a new client is to gain information about them, their project, their expectations, and the way in which they make decisions.  Good communications lead to satisfied clients.  It’s not so important that we each “catch the dream” on the initial meeting but that we both are willing and able to commit to work together to bring that dream to reality.   I’ve often stated that my challenge is producing in tangible form that which the clients has created in their minds.

Southern California has some nice hardwood floors and that usually means area rugs. Tell us how you use some of these in your designs.

I love rugs.  I own rugs.  Rugs can either develop a theme for a space, define a space, support a space or at times just lay there.  The use of a rug can offer a space many things beyond a visual change.  By using a textile on a floor, a space is changed.  The reflections and sounds are immediately impacted; even a bold rug adds a softening effect.

A rug is able to define a space and hold the furnishings together, as in the case of a dining area.  Sometimes, I have chosen to not use rug in a space this decision is as important as choosing to use one.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

Rugs are like art to me.  One is drawn to a type of rug for a reason.  Selecting a rug can be very personal, and my job is to lead my clients to rugs that offer them the best solutions for their particular needs.  I once over hear a conversation in a showroom where sisal was being considered for a staircase.  I interrupted that conversation to point out that sisal has a hard finish making it a slick surface for stairs and could be a dangerous choice.  So, once again products need to be carefully chosen based on the needs they are to satisfy.

How much is too much when it comes to rugs? 

The most costly rug is one that is wrong rug for its intended use.  As with so many items prices range from low to high to even higher!  Too much is spent on a rug when it does not serve well in its intended space.  I have specified large inexpensive rugs and small costly ones, as well as quite the contrary.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation? Thanks for your time!

Please visit  or my section at to view my work and read my profiles, and or contact me by phone me at 949 939 0088 to speak with me personally

Thank you for considering my work.  I encourage you to contact me to schedule your complimentary consultation, no job is too small that it doesn’t benefit from good design.

Remember these two important suggestions  ‘GOOD DESIGN IS KNOWING WHEN TO STOP”  and  “WHEN IN DOUBT DONT”

Best Regards,

Gary Finley


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