The Style Files: Suzanne Kasler

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Suzanne Kasler is a designer I have admired for many years now. Her work is typically more traditional, but she does many styles so very well, always with her distinct European-inspired flair. Regardless of the inspiration for any specific project she has designed, those of us who love her work can always count on it to be elegant, timeless, and pretty. Drawing inspiration from the worlds of fashion, architecture, interiors, and art, Suzanne carefully crafts a unique vision for each of her clients and encourages them to incorporate their personal collections with new, bespoke pieces created especially for them. Defined by her effortless approach to casual elegance, Suzanne’s beautifully designed spaces have been featured in many important design publications including Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, and Veranda. In addition to her design work, Suzanne has also collaborated with some of the top manufacturers in our industry to create signature licensed collections including furniture with Hickory Chair, fabric with Lee Jofa, lighting with Visual Comfort & Co., rugs with Safavieh, artwork with Soicher-Marin, and a retail collection spanning all of these categories for Ballard Designs.

I first met Suzanne many years ago when I had just started blogging and visited High Point for the first time. She has always been one of the loveliest, most gracious people in our business. Over the last year or so, I have had the opportunity to get to know her a bit better through our dear mutual friend and am delighted to share that she is extraordinarily kind. When we live in such a complicated world, what could be better than knowing that someone of Suzanne’s caliber of talent with such a significant body of work and inspiring career is genuinely nice and continues to create beautiful work?

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Suzanne Kasler: Defining style can be difficult because it can be expressed in so many different ways. My style is marked by unexpected juxtapositions, a European sensibility. I love to mix high and low– casual elegance– and a focus on the architecture and the space.

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{Chairs with a Beautiful Patina and Gorgeous Chinoiserie Wallpaper}

PC: Has living in Atlanta influenced the way you decorate?

SK: Atlanta is a big city, but it has been able to maintain a southern charm that so many people love. I like to design a room that is chic, but still comfortable which I think is just like Atlanta. We are a big, growing city but we still have that sense of southern comfort that attracts so many people. And in the South, it is all about creating a lifestyle, not just decorating.

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{Suzanne’s Beautiful Home in Atlanta’s Buckhead Neighborhood}

PC: What does your home say about you?

SK: It is my favorite, edited, and personal collection.

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{A Lovely Vignette in Suzanne’s Home that also Graces the Cover of her Second Book, Timeless Style}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

SK: Paris! Really, I am inspired everywhere with Paris being the most favorite for interiors and fashion.

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{A Snapshot from the Opening Night Gala for the Biennale in Paris a few Weeks Ago | Image via Suzanne’s Instagram}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

SK: Honesty and a positive attitude.

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{A Pretty Moment in a Bedroom Designed by Suzanne}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

SK: Miuccia Prada. Her collection always seem to set the tone for the rest of the fashion world.

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{Miuccia Prada}

PC: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement thus far?

SK: Personally, my wonderful husband and daughter. Professionally, I have published two books with Rizzoli, Inspired Interiors and Timeless Style.

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{Suzanne’s Books}

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

SK: My parents, Martha and Jim who inspire me to be the best and to always have passion.

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{A Lovely Sitting Room by Suzanne Kasler}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

SK: Living life with perpetual enthusiasm and never losing curiosity. Live in the present and make the most of each day. Also, finding a way in one’s life to be involved and give back.

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{A Chic Black and White Bedroom by Suzanne Kasler}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

SK: I am so excited to have designed another collection of fabrics for Lee Jofa that is launching this fall; a new collection for Hickory Chair launching Fall 2015, new lighting designs for Visual Comfort & Co., and a new outdoor collection for Ballard Designs.

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{A Photo I snapped in the Hickory Chair showroom during Spring Market in High Point featuring Suzanne’s Annsley Slipper Chair and Tuxedo Armoire for Hickory Chair alongside her Quatrefoil Floor Lamp for Visual Comfort & Co.}

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Go-To Outfit: Morgane le Fay

Style Mantra: Casual Elegance

Scent: Hermes Rouge

Piece of Jewelry: Hublot Watch

Color I Never Tire Of: White

Flower: Roses

Indispensable Design Element: Starburst Mirrors– Also a mix of high and low…

Era for Design: French Moderne

Dream Project: Working with a great team and a wonderful architect

Fabric/Textile: Velvet and Linen

Hostess Gift: My book from Rizzoli with a handwritten note

Meal: Caviar

Drink: Veuve Clicquot Champagne!

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Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Reading the new fashion and interiors magazines

Weekend Destination: The beach on 30A

Hotel: The Peninsula in Los Angeles– They monogram my pillowcase.

City: Paris

Museum: Vaux-le-Victomte

Artist: Cy Twombly

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Pharrell’s “Happy”

Prized Possession: My Picasso Lithograph

Risk Worth Taking: Unconditional Love

Paloma Signature

Project Reveal: A Glamorous Before and After Part 2

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 {After: The Dining Room}

Thank you for all of your sweet comments on Part 1 of this project reveal last week! Today, I’ll be sharing more of the first floor of the house, including the dining room, entry, living room, and two powder bathrooms. You’ll see in the before photos that we were dealing with a lot of the same issues that we had in the kitchen, breakfast room, and family room that I showed you last time– dated colors and finishes, too many gimmicks, an inappropriate use of scale, and an overall lack of warmth and cohesion. Let’s begin the tour, shall we?

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 {Before: The Dining Room– This space is rather large in scale and feels even larger because it is open onto the entry and formal living room, so again, we were faced with adjoining rooms that actually felt quite disjointed in their previous iteration.}

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{After: The dining room features extensive and heavy millwork, including big pediment archways on two sides, dentil moulding, tall baseboards, and a tray ceiling, so I wanted something that would make the room feel lighter and more airy. My client had mentioned that she was open to doing a patterned wallpaper in this room and we found just the thing in Farrow & Ball’s Silvergate wallpaper, a classic damask pattern. My client had also come to me knowing that she wanted this specific type of dining chair. Since the rest of the room is so feminine and glamorous, I paired it with a large, trestle-style table to temper the femininity and ground the space. You’ll notice that we didn’t use a rug or curtains in this room and that was intentional in order to make it feel lighter and less imposing. The scale of the room looks so much better now. Before, everything felt a little too small. The crystal and iron Adrianna chandelier is more appropriate in size and you’ll notice we also used a rather large Venetian mirror and substantial mercury glass hurricane-style table lamps atop the buffet.}

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{After: Details on the Buffet}

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{Before: The Entry– You can see more of the pediments and millwork I mentioned above in regard to the dining room and this gives you a better feel for how everything is laid out. The dining room is on the left, the formal living room is straight ahead, and the study is to the right.}

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{After: You can really see the detail of the ebony floors we laid throughout the house. We used various sized planks to add interest and you’ll notice that I had the quarter round trim painted white instead of matching the wood. I find this to look much cleaner and more polished. We kept it pretty simple in the entry with a pretty chandelier overhead, an antique  mirrored console table, crystal lamp, and series of framed artwork to greet guests as they make their way into the home.}

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{After: A Detailed Shot of the Pieces in the Entry}

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{Before: As we move on to the formal living room, you’ll notice that scale continued to be an issue. Everything was too small and the furniture was pushed out to the extremities of the space.}

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{Before: An Additional View of the Room to Give you a feel for the Space.}

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{After: We used the same wall color as we did in the areas of the house from Part 1 of the reveal, which are to the left on the other side of the wall. You’ll notice we had the black granite fireplace surround replaced with white carrara marble so that it was cohesive with the nearby kitchen. My client was really open to the idea of navy blue velvet roll arm sofas, so we did a pair of them parallel to one another on either side of the room. Notice that we didn’t put anything right up against the walls. We also brought in a new chandelier, lamps, a pretty coffee table, and a pair of antique Louis XVI-style armchairs. I wanted this room to feel a little more formal and to use fabrics that were rich and sumptuous to give my client the element of glamour that she craved while ensuring that the room was comfortable for hosting guests. Everyone has a place to set their drink!}

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{After: Looking towards the Dining Room from the Living Room– the chairs and martini table usually rest atop the rug, but full disclosure– we moved them out a bit because the perspective in the photograph looked better.}

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{After: Mirrored Obelisks and a Gilded Sunburst Mirror bring Glamour to the Fireplace in the Living Room}

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{Before: I’m calling this the Navy Powder Bath and you’ll see why soon. This room is actually pretty large for a powder bathroom, but it felt so chopped up before between the long mirror hung horizontally and the huge bookshelf over the toilet. I never really understood why that was there. The slate color on the walls didn’t really do much for me or my client either and you might recognize the same black and tan granite that was also in the kitchen before.}

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{After: I knew that I wanted rich, deep navy walls for this room and my client was totally up for it! Other than that, we brought in some of the glamorous elements seen in the rest of the house — beautiful lighting, a Venetian mirror, polished nickel fixtures and hardware, new honed black granite countertops, and a beautiful polished marble basketweave floor. We also added a simple roman shade with navy tape trim to tie everything together and soften the space a bit. You’ll notice we ripped out the bookshelf over the toilet! It feels like the room can breathe now. Sometimes, less really is more.}

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{After: Pretty, Classic Details}

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{Before: It’s hard for me to decide which of the powder bathrooms received the most dramatic facelift since I think they both look drastically different than they did before. I think this one, the Silver Powder Bath may be the winner. Before, there was a busy gold and brown wallpaper, another ornate, horizontal mirror, a random alcove (I wish builders would stop doing this. What’s the point?),  and a very heavy wood and dark marble sink cabinet with a bright white porcelain sink with a bronze faucet, and dated lighting overhead.}

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{After: We simplified the room tremendously! I had sheetrock put over the old alcove and had the walls covered in a grayish/silver Phillip Jeffries metallic grasscloth. We got rid of the old sink and replaced it with a classic polished nickel and marble washstand, pairing it with a tall, narrow mirror which works with the height of the room. We added a pretty new chandelier, and sconces, continued the black and white marble basket weave flooring, and added some framed art over the toilet. The result feels fresh, pretty, and timeless.}

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{After: I just love the way this powder bathroom turned out and my client couldn’t be happier.}

I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 2 of the tour and would love to hear your thoughts on the changes we made. I was really so very lucky to have a client who was so open to change and willing to trust that my design decisions would give her the results she was looking for in the end. I will share the third and final part of the tour early next week. Happy Monday!

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{“After” Images by Max Burkhalter}