A Getting Started Guide to Interior Design by Javier Burkle

You know those homes or apartments you walk into and every lamp, table, picture, rug, vase, and couch seems connected, thoughtful, and pristine? Of course, there are exceptions, but almost always these spaces are the work of an interior designer, someone whose job it is to fill every square inch of comfort and beauty – in other words, the perfect job for a gay man.

Javier Burkle, owner and director of Burkle Creative (BurkleCreative.com), is one such man. Born in Mexico City, Burkle cut his teeth designing for Ralph Lauren and is now one of Dallas’ most sought after residential and commercial interior artists. he was recently named best designer by D Home magazine.

Burkle’s Highland Park bungalow is, of course, a must-see and perfectly suited to the monthly supper club dinner parties he hosts there. Burkle, who also dedicates her time and effort to Dwell With Dignity (DwellWithDignity.org), which provides furniture and services to formerly homeless people, realizes that hiring someone like him can be daunting, but he’s been kind enough to offer advice on how to take the leap.

For someone considering hiring an interior designer, what should they know other than how much they want to spend?
Choosing the right designer to work with is key. Interview the designer you’re considering – and they’ll interview you too. Familiarize yourself with their IG account and portfolio and choose someone whose style you love. The best designer-client relationships are built on shared agreement and understanding.

Where is the right place to find inspiration?
Travel — definitely! I love the way travel breaks the mold of daily routines and the unexpected way experiences offer new insights. From museums and galleries to restaurants and architecture, I constantly take mental notes of colors, art and atmospheres when I travel, whether for business or pleasure.

Style is so subjective, but are there hard and fast rules?
It’s all about balance, but the flow and blend of colors and features in a design is paramount to me. I’m also committed to pieces that serve a purpose in a space – whether it’s functional or its purpose is simply to look pretty! I also like a good mix of tops and bottoms, not just picking certain brands. The perfect combination can be found everywhere, from the antique store to the mid-range retailer.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
I’m a collectible minimalist at heart. I love collecting, collections and pieces that are special because of the stories they tell and the meaning they bring to a home. It’s a very personal look. Whatever your style, your home should be your place of happiness.

How does your journey as a gay man from Mexico influence your tastes?
I grew up in a home and community closely tied to family identity and heritage – and I was surrounded by lots of color! My heritage has always been a big part of who I am and strongly influences my designs, through a sense of place, place and belonging.

What’s your favorite project you’ve done?
I love our Westway project which we recently completed in Highland Park – the owners have given our team full creative license, allowing us to bring the 1930s residence back to life and infuse it with color. It’s an incredible feeling when the owner signs a completely lacquered piece! The final designs reflected the historic character of the house, updated for modern living.

Is there a specific gay style?
No – beauty is beauty, it doesn’t matter, and there are no rules to define someone’s personal taste.

This article is part of OutSeptember/October 2022, on newsstands August 30. Support queer media and subscribe – or download the issue via Amazon, Kindle, Nook or Apple News.

Betty K. Park