Friday, August 31, 2012

Exclusive sneak peek: a Suzanne Kasler project in Kenya to be featured in House Beautiful

When working with Suzanne Kasler on the interiors of the house I was building, I always looked forward to the meetings in her office as it was a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the inner workings of a busy design firm.   Whether it was an inspiration board pinned with fabric samples, a room full of lighting, accessories and pillows ready to be taken to an install, or a gorgeous selection of rugs laid out on the floor waiting for client approval,  there was always something interesting and beautiful to look at. Suzanne knew that I was fascinated with what was going on in the design world, and would sometimes talk about some of the highlights of her current projects, as well as the current trends in the world of design as a whole. 

At the time, there was one project in particular that Suzanne was very enthusiastic about -  the interior design for a compound of four thatched roof cottages on the grounds of the Sirikoi game lodge in Kenya.  She said it was one of the most unique projects she had ever worked on, and she came back from her trips to Kenya (for both the design process and eventually the installation of the design) full of excitement, and with many interesting stories to tell.  I remember meeting at her office the week before she was heading to Kenya for the install, and her staff was keeping close track of the container that was being shipped from Atlanta over to Africa.

When House Beautiful contacted me this week to see whether I would be interested in an exclusive sneak peek of the feature on the Suzanne Kasler Kenya project (not yet published – it is in the new October 2012 issue, out on newsstands next week), I jumped at the chance.  And believe me, it is truly an amazing feature – like nothing I have ever seen, and yet with many of the signature Suzanne Kasler touches that are the hallmark of her style.  The range of her work continues to inspire me – she is always exceptionally in tune with the homeowners, the architecture, and the way in which her clients live in their homes.  Perhaps this is why she is hired to create so many beautiful and diverse interiors.

A view of the palm thatched cottages on the grounds of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya (architecture by Barnaby Ghaui). The interiors are completely open to the exterior, creating both amazing opportunities for design as well as unique design challenges. I wonder if the Kenyan wildlife ever stroll into the house?  Photos used with permission from House Beautiful (photo credit Thibault Jeanson).

HB’s interview style format is particularly conducive to telling the story of this project, as there is so much unique and personal about the process of designing this incredible space.  Both Suzanne and the homeowner describe the process to design, build, and decorate this one of a kind sanctuary on the other side of the world, with both furniture purchased in Atlanta and accessories, art and objects crafted in Africa that reflect the unique artistry of the area. 

The article contains many pictures of the interiors, including an airy living room defined by the architectural structure of the thatched cottage.  Although the architecture and environment are as unique as any I have seen in a shelter magazine, there are many familiar Suzanne Kasler touches throughout the room.  Note the matched Verellen sofas flanking the fireplace – a classic arrangement often favored by Suzanne (she has the same sofas in her own family room in Atlanta). Also striking is the orange banding trimmed with nail heads at the base of the chair, which picks up on the orange used to to highlight the interior of the fireplace. Suzanne layers in a variety of textures and fabrics, unique and one of a kind accessories (many of which were made by local artisans), and always plenty of seating.  Her careful space planning encourages comfortable use of the environments she creates, and lend themselves well to opportunities for conversation in both large and small groups.

ostrich chandelier Kasler
A highlight for me – the incredible ostrich egg chandeliers made by Kenya resident Sue Fusco, featured in every cottage. Suzanne notes that “they give off a warm, low light. It’s like you are looking up at the stars”. 

Suzanne Kasler HB
I’m also partial to these charming black intaglios that are hung at the roofline in several of the cottages.

The October issue of House Beautiful hits the newsstands early next week (just after Labor Day) – if you are not already a subscriber, I highly recommend seeking out this issue.  It features homes of Americans abroad, and has projects from around the globe, and of course includes this incredible Kenya retreat.  I have not seen any other features from this issue, so I will definitely be stalking my mailbox waiting for my own copy to arrive in the mail. I can’t wait!

What do you think about this Kenya retreat?  Have you ever been to Kenya?  I am definitely adding it to my ‘bucket list’ of trips.

QD collage

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  1. I don't think I've been this excited about seeing a design project in a very long time! I can't wait to savor every inch of this! Thanks so much for sharing, Holly! Hope you are doing well!

  2. She is obviously very skilled in her craft. The spaces are amazing and tied together so well.

  3. WOW, this is HUGE. If only because HB only features projects on American soil.

    YAY Newell Turner for throwing down the gauntlet!!

    1. It is definitely a big deal for HB - I am really curious where the other places are located since all of the featured homes are overseas.

  4. Thank you for sharing the sneak preview..It is a treat, a big treat!

  5. haha, here I was writing my comment about how huge this was...and I was meaning for YOU! Then I read Raina's post that HB never usually features posts off of American soil, which is an awesome tidbit that hadn't dawned on me. so that is cool to know too. but back to my original reason why i think this is so cool....I would DIE if HB asked me to write a post on a feature that they had yet to release. Kudos to you for being selected to show us a sneak peek! I loved the tour and will def be on edge for the rest of the spread!

  6. What an amazing and very special project! I can't wait to see more photos. This will be one of the most memorable homes for me this year.

    And speaking of special, your outdoor room is divine. I just visited your guest post at La Dolce Vita.

    Cheers from DC,

  7. Kenya is amazing Holly... you have to go one day... I was there earlier this year and would say it's a favourite destination... the landscape, the people, the animals... so exotic and different from our lives in Europe... This project of Suzanne Kasler's looks incredible... Her ability to understand her surroundings and create a sympathetic interior is fabulous... Lucky you to have worked with her... I can't wait for my magazine to arrive... xv

  8. Absolutely wonderfull! I would dream of designing a camp in Africa. During my last visit to Tanzania this past October, I always carried a sketchbook and camera. I took notes of all the details and shipped so many artifacts to my showroom. One either loves or hates Africa, there is no in between. I am hooked, and just booked my tickets yesterday and put my trip together to spend the month of April in Mozambique, Botswana and the Cape in South Africa.... You must put it on your bucket list...mine is endless.

  9. Holly....what a neat opportunity. I have to be honest, I did not think HB even features international properties but then again I am not a regular reader. What a special home and amazing opportunity for Suzanne. Love what I see, tried to click on the link but its not working for me. I will absolutely get the issue and look forward to seeing more!

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  11. Suzanne is so talented...to be able to pull off a project like this proves it!!! How wonderful that you got the sneak peek....and hopefully I can get to Africa one day......I have heard from friends that it is a trip not to be missed!

  12. I love everything Suzanne designs, and I have not seen any new houses from her in a while. This is a very nice treat. Thank you for the preview, I am not a House Beautiful subscriber but I will be looking for this issue at the supermarket next week.

  13. It is absolutely beautiful, but I also wonder why everything needed to be shipped to Kenya. It would make more sense for the lodge owners to have asked for things to be sourced from Africa (and having been to a few countries there, there doesn't seem to be a dearth of design). It's just a loooong way to ship things (and a big environmental toll) and I'd think they'd want to support the local (or local-ish) economy.

    Anyway, it's gorgeous. Just saying my piece as someone whose husband lived in Kenya for a while and someone with relatives in South Africa.

  14. I am completely smitten with these beautiful images and can hardly wait to get my October issue. Her work is amazing!!

  15. my dream has always been to go on a real safari.
    this looks amazing!

  16. I never would have noticed all of the seating if you hadn't pointed it out. Kasler uses the chairs like accessories, but if needed, you could seat more than 15 people in the living room (using garden stools too). I love that!

  17. I cannot wait to get this issue in my mailbox. Thank you for the sneak peek!

  18. stunning roof. enjoyed the preview, holly. donna

  19. Thatched Hut has taken on an entirely new meaning.

    XO T

  20. it's incredible work, holly! congrats on getting the scoop, beautiful blogger.



  21. That thatched roof...mesmerizing! The "details" are just....awesome...especially the "colored banding with nailheads" she really nailed it!!! franki

  22. Holly - you're right - looks like there are many great features in this month's issue - from Bahamas to Africa!! This looks fabulous - so interesting seeing Suzanne's aesthetic translated to the African vernacular. House Beautiful is clearly on a roll!

  23. Wow, this compound looks amazing! Suzanne did a great job making the "huts" look elegant while retaining a rustic african feel too. Thanks for sharing!

  24. WOW! Thank you so much for the sneak peek. I cannot wait for the issue!!! My in-laws travel very frequently and have been all over Africa quite a few times. Their photos and stories are amazing!

  25. That is quite a scoop! Suzanne is one of our favorites. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us at Hickory Chair during market. Its always a wow!! House Beautiful is always a happy treat in my mailbox.

  26. Holly-
    I love Suzanne's work, and this is no exception! This home is so unique and such a challenge to tackle.
    Love the black intaglios too.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Have a great weekend.

  27. Such a talent she is! Thanks for the sneak peek - I look forward to receiving the issue. I have never been to Africa - don't think I could stomach the loooong flight! PS I was wondering too about the wildlife wandering into the homes.

  28. House Beautiful always has the most awe inspiring images. I can just see myself under this amazing roof, curled up with a great novel. Great post!

    Love, Jamie Herzlinger

  29. i really love the interior. big yet still looks so cozy

  30. Inspiring is an understatement! I love this amazing home/room. It's absolutely stunning and capturers the true essence of style.


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