Now that the new house is actually being built, we in the midst of the fascinating business of the interior design of the house. Although my designers, Suzanne and Keith (VP at Suzanne Kasler Interiors), have been working on the project since the beginning (September of 2009), the focus during the first year was primarily on the architectural design of the house, and some of the ‘attached to the house’ aspects such as tile, plumbing, and trim. While the architecture of the house was being designed, we discussed some of the colors of the house at a high level, but more as it related to the overall feel we wanted to achieve and how that worked with the architectural and landscape design. Once the house build started, our attention turned to the decor. Although I have used designers in the past, I have never worked on a house from scratch, and I have been fascinated by the approach to the process.
Most of our meetings have taken place in Suzanne’s office (where Suzanne has a vast library of fabric samples and catalogs), with occasional forays to specialized stores. The office space is well known in the blog world, as it was featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. It is an open and airy space, filled with light, and a great place to evaluate house plans and fabrics.
The table on the left is where we sit; my usual spot is the chair on the left, facing the window. What can’t be seen in this picture is the huge fabric wall (which is on the left, behind the table) where fabrics and rugs are pinned to the wall in inspirational groupings. I always look forward to coming into the office to see what Suzanne and Keith have come up with! (Image via AH&L, photo Erica George Dines)
Here is a snapshot of the wall as it appeared at the end of last year – this is our third iteration or so. When we first started talking about the color palette for the house, this wall was filled with dozens and dozens of fabrics, rug samples, wallpaper samples. Slowly but surely, we are starting to narrow down the palette and selections. It provides such a great way to discuss the options, as fabrics and rug samples can be moved from one place to another.
In December it was time to refine and confirm the selections, so we ventured out to look at rugs. I love sisal, and requested that we consider sisal for some of the rooms (I could have a whole house in sisal!), but Suzanne also wanted a subtle geometric rug for one of the rooms, and something soft for the master bedroom and family room. After looking at numerous rugs, a clear color palette and schematic began to emerge, which in turn helped us eliminate some of the fabric selections on the inspiration wall.
We found this rug in the design center – we all immediately knew it was the perfect start to the family room. I learned that some rugs have ‘light sides’ and ‘dark sides’ based on how you look at the rug; this view is of the dark side. I absolutely love the colors in this rug, and Suzanne felt that it was really ‘me’. Having the rug to work with enabled Suzanne to determine the rest of the selections for the room, both fabric and furniture. It’s going to be beautiful!
Suzanne has said from the beginning that she wants a geometric for the library, but not one that has a ‘retro’ feel. This carpet from Stark is a leading candidate.
Here is the most recent iteration of the idea board – the fresh fabric in the upper right is for the kitchen, underneath that is the library; in the middle – on the top is fabric for stools in the entry, below that is the living room, and below that is the dining room. The fabrics and rug samples on the left are under consideration for the master bedroom. Some of the furniture and lighting have already been selected; we are also looking for antiques to help give a more balanced feel to the rooms.
Suzanne and Keith have been so wonderful to work with – I highly recommend them for anyone considering a design project! When I first started looking for a designer, I was nervous about approaching Suzanne (in my world, designers like her are celebrities!), but I can’t imagine doing this project with anyone else. My advice for anyone thinking about a project is to consider calling the designer you really want to work with – don’t assume that they are too busy, or that their fees are too high, or that they only do whole houses (sometimes this is the case, but you never know). It never hurts to have a conversation and find out whether your project is a match for their firm.
I have learned a lot going through this process, and am thrilled at how everything is coming together so beautifully. It is Suzanne’s goal to create a decor that can be lived with and enjoyed for decades – and that every room be used - and not have to redo the decor every 10 years. She is creating an environment that reflects my husband and me, but also has a level of sophistication that will age beautifully. Also, in her signature style, she is mixing the high and the low - we have many special pieces, but we also have many pieces that make it all work for my budget. Since we are focusing on the architecture first and foremost right now, we are going to have to do the decor in phases (so, alas, an empty living room for a while - but at least we will have our piano in there!). Suzanne has been great in helping me prioritize and stick to my budget without sacrificing style and beauty.
Suzanne Kasler Interiors has a newly redesigned web site – full of beautiful pictures and inspiration. You can visit it at http://www.suzannekasler.com/. There are lots of great pictures of her design projects, as well as information on her lines of furniture, fabrics, lighting, and accessories. There is even a sneak peek of Suzanne’s new line of fabric for Lee Jofa. Enjoy!
In other news, I have decided to dip my toe into the waters of Twitter - @TTIBlog is how you can find me.Also, almost all of the Melissa Payne Baker paintings sold out within hours, so Melissa and I have added 15 new paintings to the Quatrefoil Design store, including the following:
Click here to check out all of the art! http://www.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/category/art – and bookmark this page as I will be adding new small and medium sized pieces all of the time.
To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here – come see the brand new art and scupture items in the store!
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To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.