Suzanne Rheinstein on Houses and Gardens

Whether she’s at home in Los Angeles or Manhattan, decorating rooms for beloved clients, or spending time in the garden, Suzanne Rheinstein is always informed—and inspired—by the botanical world
interior design by Suzanne Rheinstein

I’ve always thought that gardens are about memories,” says Suzanne Rheinstein. The houses she decorates are most certainly memorable, too. She fills them with exquisite fabrics, interesting objects, and one-of-a-kind furnishings that wear a refined patina that almost always comes with age or provenance. They beckon all who enter to sink into a sofa and curl up with a good novel or cup of tea to linger awhile. And at their essence, her rooms speak of a deep and abiding appreciation for beauty, but with an utter lack of pretense, which happens to mirror this New Orleans–born designer’s own sense of style and hospitality. For Rheinstein, comfort and luxury are inextricably intertwined.

Suzanne Rheinstein
Interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein

Although Rheinstein has decorated more than enough houses to grace the pages of two books she has written, it’s not surprising that she’s just as likely to be found in a garden. Whether tending to the old-fashioned roses climbing the brick walls of her Georgian Revival home in Los Angeles or traveling to historic gardens around the world, Rheinstein continually seeks inspiration outdoors. “There are so many parallels between the way I think about houses and gardens,” she says. “With both, getting the bones right and creating a plan that suits the lifestyle of its owners are the most important things. Then, it doesn’t matter if someone leaves a stack of books or makes the desk a bit messy, or that the tallest perennials fop over in the front of a flower bed. Everything looks lived in, and it feels good.”

Rheinstein’s Designs & Inspirations

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Suzanne Rheinstein, green room
Rheinstein’s design for a client’s garden room, with a trellis mural on walls, wicker chairs, and Vladimir Kanevsky’s floral porcelains. Photo by Pieter Estersohn ©Rooms for Living by Suzanne Rheinstein (Rizzoli New York, 2015)
Suzanne Rheinstein
Suzanne Rheinstein’s living room in Los Angeles showcases her love for decorating with botanical motifs. When it comes to fresh materials, she brings greenery and flowers in from her garden. “I grow roses that last for a day before the petals begin to fall. They’re fleeting, but that makes them even more special to me,” she says. Photo by Tim Street-Porter
Suzanne Rheinstein
Savannah, Georgia, decorative artist Bob Christian is one of Suzanne Rheinstein’s favorite resources for bringing the garden inside, as in this sepia-toned mural in the designer’s New York apartment. Photo by Pieter Estersohn © At Home by Suzanne Rheinstein (Rizzoli New York, 2010)
Suzanne Rheinstein, garden
“My mother and grandmother were both great gardeners, and they were wonderful infuences,” says Rheinstein. “Part of everyday life was cutting things to bring into the house,” a tradition the designer continues in her Los Angeles garden. Rheinstein says, "I crave order in a garden plan, but good gracious, I have so many things growing up the sides of walls, and plants that don’t behave. I’ve always thought that having a garden is humbling, because you realize that you can’t control everything. You have to let life happen." Photo by Deanie Nyman
Suzanne Rheinstein, peonies
"These wonderful peonies were a bright coral color that gradually turned this pale shade. They are my favorite kind of flower to use in simple arrangements. Making your own table garden with peonies or whatever you like in small vases is amusing to arrange and gives the table a more relaxed air."—Suzanne Rheinstein
Suzanne Rheinstein,
Rheinstein is always informed—and inspired—by the botanical world. Here she fills an engraved silver cup with creamy roses and sprightly clematis flowers. Photo by Pieter Estersohn
Suzanne Rheinstein
Hollyhock, Rheinstein’s stylish shop in Los Angeles, reveals the designer’s enduring passion for flowers. She sells antiques, art, and accessories, many that have a botanical bent like Vladimir Kanevsky’s porcelain flowers.

By Karen Carroll

Suzanne Rheinstein book

Rooms for Living by Suzanne Rheinstein (Rizzoli New York, 2015)

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