You know those houses or apartments you step into and every lamp, table, picture, rug, vase, and couch appears connected, thought-out, and pristine? Sure, there are exceptions, but almost always these spaces are the handiwork of an interior designer, someone whose job is to populate every inch with comfort and beauty — in other words, the perfect job for a gay man.
Javier Burkle, the owner and principal of Burkle Creative (BurkleCreative.com), is one of those men. Born in Mexico City, Burkle cut his teeth designing for Ralph Lauren and is now one of Dallas’s most sought-after residential and commercial interior artists; he was recently named a Best Designer by D Home magazine.
Burkle’s own Highland Park bungalow is, of course, a showstopper, and one perfectly suited to the monthly supper club dinners he hosts there. Burkle, who also lends his time and effort to Dwell With Dignity (DwellWithDignity.org), which provides furniture and services to the formerly unhoused, realizes hiring someone like himself can be intimidating, but he was kind enough to offer tips for taking the leap.
For someone contemplating hiring an interior designer, what should they know besides how much they want to spend?
Choosing the right designer to work with is key. Interview the designer you’re considering — and they’ll be interviewing you too. Familiarize yourself with their IG account and portfolio, and choose someone whose style you adore. The best designer-client relationships are built on a shared agreement and understanding.
Where is a good place to find inspiration?
Travel — without a doubt! I love how traveling breaks the mold of everyday routines and the unexpected way that experiences provide new perspective. From museums and galleries to restaurants and architecture, I’m constantly taking mental notes about colors, art, and atmospheres when I’m traveling, whether for business or pleasure.
Style is so subjective, but are there some hard and fast rules?
It’s all about balance, but the flow and mix of colors and features in a design are paramount for me. I am also committed to pieces that serve a purpose in a space — whether it’s functional or its purpose is to just look pretty! I also love a good mix of highs and lows, not just choosing certain brands. The perfect combination can be found everywhere, from an antique store to a mid-range retailer.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I’m a collected maximalist at heart. I love collecting, collections, and pieces that are special because of the stories they tell and meaning they bring to a home. It’s a very personal look. Regardless of your style, your home should be your happy place.
How does your background as a gay man from Mexico influence your tastes?
I grew up in a home and community with strong ties to family identity and heritage — and I was surrounded by a lot of color! My heritage has always been a huge part of who I am and heavily influences my designs, thanks to a sense of home, place, and belonging.
What’s your favorite project that you’ve done?
I adore our Westway project that we recently completed in Highland Park — the homeowners gave our team full creative license, allowing us to bring the 1930s residence back to life and infuse it with color. It’s an amazing feeling when the homeowner signs off on a fully lacquered room! The final designs reflected the historic character of the home, updated for modern living.
Is there a specific gay style?
No — beauty is beauty, regardless, and there are no rules when defining someone’s personal taste.
This article is part of Out's September/October 2022 issue, out on newsstands August 30. Support queer media and subscribe — or download the issue through Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.