Susan Shares What Her Personal Style Is — and How We Help Our Clients Find Their Style

Being a designer is all about creating a space that meets our clients’ aesthetic. It has to be beautiful, functional and meet our client’s needs. As we work with our clients, it’s imperative that we get to know them well and think about what will make them feel most at home. 

On the occasion that Susan gets to let go of any constraints, she really gets punchy with her designs. She loves experimenting with bold looks while keeping things cozy, and tends to opt for plush fabrics and exuberant wallcoverings. 

“I think, as designers, it’s important to have fun and experiment with your personal style. Think of your style and your space as a reflection of who you are,” Susan says. “And know that the process takes time and maybe even some soul searching. I like to start by creating a mood board (Pinterest is a great tool for this!), ask myself the questions I usually ask my clients, pay attention to what I’m liking in publications and online (whether it’s items on Amazon or social media posts), and just think of things that make me happy!”

“My family means the world to me and they often inspire my designs. I have an array of family heirlooms throughout my home – both for the memories they evoke and for the character they bring to the space,” she says. One of her favorite items is a giant copper pot, brought back from her family’s travels in India.Susan’s style is firmly transitional; it balances the characteristics of traditional and modern styles. It’s not an eclectic mix of things, but more of a marriage. Transitional spaces are refined and classy, while still feeling livable and prioritizing comfort. Susan also loves incorporating animal prints into her work, along with a little sparkle — whether it’s a brass and glass accent table or a glitzy light fixture.

Susan’s pink sofa belonged to her grandmother and has been reupholstered several times over.

The best way to see Susan’s unadulterated taste is by visiting the showhouses that we’ve done. In this type of environment, we have no client in mind. She can do whatever her design heart desires! In Cashiers, NC a few years ago, she draped a whole wall in a saturated spring floral print and covered the remaining walls in lime green animal print. This year at the Serenbe Designers Showhouse, she brought in large scale furniture and accented it with a rainbow of jewel tones mixed with charcoal finishes that added drama and helped visually balance the space. “I love color. If you come to my house, it’s a riot of color too!”

While we absolutely love to think about a home through our clients’ eyes, it’s also freeing to be able to design with fewer restrictions. The design process involves finding a balance between the clients’ preferences and our personal styles, while pushing the envelope some. “We want to expose our clients to new ideas that they may not have seen or considered before. It’s not about designing for our own tastes; it’s about listening and understanding what’s paramount for our clients.”

As you think about your personal style, what are your inclinations, hobbies and interests? What do you most love? Susan encourages everyone to start their own mood board, read about the history of interior design and architecture, and learn about furniture designers who continue to influence today’s interiors. Consider getting involved in organizations like the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, where you’ll be exposed to magnificent homes from the past and meet today’s professionals who are shaping the future of architecture and design.  “Explore! There are some great finds out there that can make any room unique and one of a kind. Find what resonates with you. If you need assistance, a designer can help you make these important decisions.  That’s what we try to do for our clients!”

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