Monday, December 14, 2009

Suzanne Kasler: Southern Elegance Redefined

Looking back on the various designers and decorators that I've featured here on Odi et Amo over the past year, I was surprised to see that I really haven't showcased the Atlanta-based decorator Suzanne Kasler yet. Suzanne's work represents what is best about new-traditional Southern design -- interiors that draw heavily on classic French design with a graciousness and warmth that have become hallmarks of Southern style. And, like many of the South's new design stars, Suzanne happily mixes antiques with modern art, rumpled linen with velvet...and it's precisely this mix that breaths new life into traditional Southern style.

All of the rooms featured in this post are from a single home in Atlanta, Georgia. As print magazines begin to disappear, one of the things I find myself missing the most about the traditional magazine format is the whole-house spread. While blog posts featuring a collection of single rooms centered around a single theme can be inspiring, I love to see how designers work to create a "look" for an entire house. I'm a firm believer that, while there's no need to stick to a single color palette when decorating each space in your home (boring!), the goal should be for rooms to work together and flow effortlessly -- yet thoughtfully -- into each other. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but I think one of the best ways to get a sense for how this unity can be achieved is to examine as many homes (and not just rooms!) as possible.

Without question there's a formality to this living room -- certainly, the layout is very traditional, as are many of the pieces. The mixed-and-not-matching side tables add a bit of interest and break up all the symmetry. A good rule of thumb though if you're trying this at home is that, if you're mixing side tables, keep the table lamps matching; conversely, if you're going to mix and match table lamps, keep the tables underneath them the same. That said though, the looser upholstery on the sofa and chairs lends a softness to this space that makes the space inviting for guests and the homeowner alike.

There's little about this dining room that I don't love, but I'm particularly struck by the strong sense of symmetry in this room, subverted just a bit by the mismatched dining chairs. The overall effect is formal but not stuffy.

The light, casual air that the white painted furniture gives to the dark chocolate velvet is perfectly in keeping with the brightness of the room. The floor-to-ceiling drapes also help soften the huge windows and help bring the high ceilings down to a cozier height.

This picture also graces the cover of Suzanne's new book and I think I can see it -- though simple in composition, it perfectly illustrates Suzanne's American-meets-European style. Gorgeous dark herringbone floors are such a bold contrast to white walls and the graphic pattern of the curtains is an unexpected and contemplrary touch.

There's just something about a pair of twin beds that I find absolutely endearing -- perhaps it's because they recall a Dick Van Dyke Show -style prudishness that I find quaint. The girlishness of the linens and white furniture here is well balanced by a deeper, more sophisticated pink on the walls. A dark gourd lamp grounds the layout, drawing the viewer's eye towards the center.

A blue and white bedroom is classic, peaceful and gender neutral. And that gorgeous chandelier print fabric on the curtains, canopy and side chair? I'm in love. Does anyone recognize this fabric? If so, please let me know as it would be absolutely perfect in my own master bedroom. {Update: Via Christy over at A 'Lil Welsh Rarebit, I've discovered that this fabric is called Spangle Blue and is by Andrew Martin through Lee Jofa. Thanks, Christy!}

This ranks high on my list of all-time favorite teen rooms; it's sophisticated but still quite youthful. I love the contrast of the white walls against the red-orange slatted ceiling and bold graphic curtains. The hammock-inspired daybed by the windows is such a whimsical touch -- perfect for daydreaming, girl chats and overnight guests.

The color palette of this bedroom recalls the soft blush and deep chocolate brown used in the sitting room. The pink used recalls the pale pink of a ballerina slipper -- an analogy I suspect Suzanne played up here with her choice of artwork and fabrics (most notably in the pink silk on the slipper chair). I am particularly drawn to the luxuriousness of the fabrics: the rich silks of the chairs and tufted headboard, the softly pleated roman shade.

In addition to her design services, Suzanne also has a line of furniture with Hickory Chair and lighting available at Circa Lighting. I'm particularly enamored with her quatrefoil designs -- especially her Alexandra side chair and quatrefoil table lamp. And, if you're looking for the perfect gift for all the design enthusiasts on your holiday shopping list, autographed copies of Suzanne's new book Inspired Interiors are available through her website for $50. {Hint hint.}


Bromeliad said...

Very elegant and colorful.

Christy said...

Ooh la la - that chandelier fabric is just gorgeous. What a fabulous designer - I'd never heard of her!

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

Love it! The living room is my fave. :) Elegant and a bit funky, all in one fell swoop.

Southern Aspirations said...

I love this post. First, I love Kasler- she is just amazing and I wish that I could afford to have her come in and redo my house. Or at least make suggestions. Would seriously love it.

Also, you make a great point about studying how rooms flow together and this has been on my mind a good bit of late. There are several "styles" that I'd like to encompass in my house without having the rooms look completely disjointed and I was wondering- how can one pull this off? The only (or at least the best) way to learn is by studing multiple rooms of a single house. These rooms all feel "different" but at the same time, don't at all look out of place next to each other.

Couture Carrie said...

This is exactly how I imagine my dream house, especially that foyer!!

Gorgeous post, darling!


Sanity Fair said...

Great post! I especially love your tips on side tables vs. lamps. Her work is gorgeous and the colors are especially marvelous.

Style Redux 2 said...

She is very talented. Hope you listened to her interview on The Skirted Roundtable. I adore the Alexandra chair.

Laura@JourneyChic said...

I love the brown/cream sitting room and the similar bedroom with all that blush pink. Both are so much more relaxed than much of the house but are still so put together.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Stunning design in a forms of the word. That staircase is jaw dropping. Thanks for the visual delight Averill. Hope all is well this week? x

sarah @ realestatestyle said...

I love her work! This is a beautiful home!

sarah @ realestatestyle said...

Oh yeah, thanks for the comment on our house color. We painted it a few years ago. It's Master Room by Ralph Lauren {mixed in Behr paint}

SogniSorrisi said...

Beautiful! Love the blue room.

elledee said...

I love all those rooms! I have a similar monroe painting in my home:

Jessica said...

Averill, I've been reading your blog. It came up on my newsfeed on facebook a few months ago. I love perusing it each day. As a very broke med student in a rented apartment, it gives me lots to dream about when I one-day, hopefully, own a home. Best to you during the holiday season. keep up the great work on the blog.
-Jessica Cohen

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