We are thrilled to have celebrated interior designer Suzanne Kasler join us as Design Chair for the FLOWER magazine Atlanta Showhouse. In addition to working with 20+ other designers creating rooms for the showhouse, Suzanne is decorating one of the home’s most grand spaces, the long room, flanked by an open kitchen and family room on the main floor. When asked what people can look forward to, Suzanne said, “The FLOWER Showhouse is in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Buckhead. It is designed by Peter Block and built by Doug Beasley of luxury home builders Young & Meathe. It is unique as the builders have really worked with each of the designers on special finishes and custom details throughout the home. Additionally, FLOWER has brought together an exciting group of designers from Atlanta and all over the country. I’m honored to be a Co-Chair with Charlotte Moss.”
Suzanne is best known for her luminous, distinct, and timeless interiors. Mixing high and low, traditional and contemporary, new and old, her signature spaces have an effortless appeal and inspire living a beautiful, authentic life. In her new book, Suzanne Kasler: Edited Style (Rizzoli, September 2022), Suzanne turns her focus to collections and the things that make our houses homes.
She opens the book with, “My goal as a designer is to create a house that best expresses you, your personality, and your lifestyle. This is what I call ‘edited style.’ It is not ‘edited’ in the strictest sense of paring down, because a house is not a home without collections. The term is my shorthand for what I see as a key aspect of design: separating the favorite things, the most special things, the best things, the things that matter most from all the rest, and using them to make beautiful, livable homes that surround and embrace you with what you cherish.”
In addition to the 13 projects featured in the book, Suzanne goes on to share her own “edit” and inspiring home refresh, culminating with her daughter’s wedding at home. “I have always aspired to do the kind of projects that are in this book, projects that, from the start, evolve from a close collaboration with architects, landscape architects, and clients who truly appreciate and love design. These houses are truly personal portraits. But as diverse as they are in the details, they are consistent in their edited style.”
A few years ago, FLOWER editor-at-large Karen Carroll spoke with Suzanne about design memories, influences, and—of course—flowers.
Karen Carroll: Could you start by telling us a little about your background, and what led you to a career in design?
Suzanne Kasler: I grew up in a military family, moving every two or three years and never really thinking consciously about decorating. You often hear designers say they were constantly rearranging their rooms as children, and that’s when they knew. That wasn’t me—my furniture was being moved around out of sheer necessity! But I was always making collages, and I loved magazines. Perhaps I was dreaming of creating for that world. A good friend in high school wanted to be an architect and talked about it all the time, and I guess that’s what started intriguing me. I ended up going to interior architecture school at the University of Cincinnati. At the start of my career, I worked mostly in contract design in Indianapolis, where I’m originally from. A number of years later, when my husband’s job was transferred to Atlanta, I couldn’t believe I was having to move—again—but it ended up being the best move ever for me. People love their homes so much in the South, and I decided to focus almost solely on residential work. I love art and antiques, as well as the more “people-part” of the business, and it just made sense.
Moving as often as your family did, it sounds like it was challenging to put down roots. Do you have any early memories of flowers or gardening?
My parents never really had a garden, but my Grandmother Kasler did. She loved antiques, quilting, gardening, and cooking. She was a huge creative influence, though at the time I probably wasn’t thinking about it in that way. We always went to get things out in the garden. She thought about gardening as how it related to her whole home and how she would actually use the flowers and vegetables. Everything was intertwined. Now we’re all into the farm-to-table movement, but for many of our grandparents it wasn’t a trend—it was simply a way of life.
Do you have your own garden now?
I love to look at gardens, but I’ve never been one to enjoy actually working in the garden. However, that never keeps me from having very specific opinions about them, as my staff often kids me. I believe the exterior architecture and landscape design are a significant part of how we experience interiors. It’s a sequencing of elements. You’re creating a visual story all the way from walking up to the house, through the house, looking out of the house, and how we live in a house every day. And without question, people just love flowers, so they naturally end up being a part of that story. When I’m decorating with flowers, I want a look that is indigenous to where I am—as if I have gone to the garden, cut what I needed, and brought everything inside, whether it’s used in a fresh arrangement or it has inspired a floral-patterned fabric on a pillow.
Your work has appeared in pretty much every major interiors magazine, and of course in your own books. I’ve always noticed that fresh flowers play so prominently in the photographs. Is that something you do for the camera, or is that an accurate reflection of how you—and your clients—live every day?
Flowers are absolutely an integral part of the way I live—and the way I want my clients to experience their own rooms. When we finish installing a house, we’ll strategically place vases where we think flowers should be and then talk to the owners about how easy it is to keep them filled. Flowers in a room—without overdoing it—really make a difference. They are that all-important final touch in my design work.
Suzanne’s work has been published in many major design magazines, and her award-winning interiors have been captured in three books with Rizzoli, Inspired Interiors, Timeless Style, Sophisticated Simplicity. Her upcoming title, Suzanne Kasler: Edited Style (Rizzoli), releases in September. In addition to her interiors, Suzanne produces signature collections for Hickory Chair, Visual Comfort, La Cornue, Lee Jofa, Ballard Designs, Mirror Image Home, and WestPoint Home.
“When I’m decorating with flowers, I want a look that is indigenous to where I am—as if I have gone to the garden, cut what I needed, and brought everything inside, whether it’s used in a fresh arrangement or it has inspired a floral-patterned fabric on a pillow.”—Suzanne Kasler
By Jason Burnett and Karen Carroll
Photography courtesy of Rizolli from Suzanne Kasler: Edited Style (Rizolli, 2022)