Interior designers often take on the roll of lifestyle experts as they find their passion for flower arranging, party planning and the finer things in life intersecting. This is the case with Los Angeles design doyenne, Suzanne Rheinstein. In At Home: A Style for Today with Things from the Past, she celebrates those various home arts, displaying her style with great panache. This is her first coffee table book, now in it's third printing. It explores six homes she has designed for three of her clients. The book begins with her Los Angeles house, which she has called home for 31 years. It ends with her insiders design inspiration and resources. From houses and gardens she loves around the globe, citing Villa Kerylos, to what is in her design library, including Gere's Nineteenth-Century Decoration: The Art of the Interior, the list is of great value.
I sat down with Suzanne on a recent trip to LA, and over lunch she shared her thoughts on design with me. I asked her what her design thought process was, and what advice she had creating meaningful interiors. She believes you should start off buying something of value, and that some things are worth keeping, but that less things of better quality is the best way to begin assembling objects and furniture. She begins planning a room by thinking about how people will live in that space -- how they logically would use it -- and goes from there. The next essential elements are color and architecture, and, she notes, " architecture is the mother of all arts." This respect for the interior and exterior spaces that make up a home guide her when she does interior design and in her approach with her pivotal LA design shop/salon, Hollyhock. As a gracious hostess and frequent voyager, her home is her haven to escape to. " Your house should always look good for you. You deserve to have your house look good." I couldn't agree more.
A sepia toned wall mural painted by her favorite Savannah-based decorative painter Bob Christian in her New York living room enhances the architectural elements of the room. She decided to let the scenic play the starring role, deciding to forgo hanging artwork.
One of my favorite decorative details is the red trim she has used to highlight the surrounding the chair rail and architectural elements in her entry hall. It is subtle and highly effective in person.
The entry leads into the living room, where the antiques are slipcovered in a summer stripe. The recamier is the first piece you see, and it helps divide the room into different sections for entertaining.
Her sun room gets loads of light from her stunning garden. A dark wood gateleg table and chinoiserie lantern work together when she combines them.
Charming bed hangings of unlined silk with accordian pleated edges have a feminine frothy elegance. Tromp l'oeil painting on the cabinets adds another decorative element that ties the room together.
A dressing room in pale hues of ivory and blue.
On a Virginia project, an antique - filled garden studio that doubles as a dining area is light and airy. Painted Swedish furniture and a striped floor lead a neutral palette.
A guest bedroom in soft white and shades of green feels elegant and inviting.
With a love for entertaining comes a love for organizing all the accoutrements. Her LA butler's pantry houses an incredible collection of china and a rolling ladder provides easy access. Preferring Sheffield to sterling silver, she believes you should love what you own and use and enjoy it.