Renowned Designer Suzanne Kasler Talks House and Home

The designer discussed inspiration, designing for herself, and the beauty of Washington this morning at the Design Center.
Suzanne Kasler. Photograph by Natalie Grasso.
Suzanne Kasler. Photograph by Natalie Grasso.

“It’s such an exciting time to be in the design world,”
Suzanne Kasler said, addressing a room full of
design professionals as part of the spring Capital Design lecture
series at the Washington
Design Center. “It’s been a tough couple of years, but things
are starting to open up. With all of the media and sharing,
people are more interested than ever.” She added that more
exposure creates more of a need for talented designers, because
there is so much more out there to edit.

Kasler kicked off her talk by presenting photos of her own recently renovated home in Atlanta, Georgia, which was featured
in the April 2012 issue of
Architectural Digest.
She confessed that during
the house hunt she’d been looking for a Regency-style house and
ended up with a Federal. “But that’s the great thing about
being a designer,” she said. “You can change it!” Her first
design move—one that has become a Kasler signature—was to paint
all of the architectural elements white (Benjamin Moore’s White
Dove and Bone White are her go-to hues). “This creates the
architectural envelope,” she said. “If you get the architecture
right, the rest is so much easier.”

Adhering to her mantra that “a room should be collected, not
decorated,” Kasler showed off several items from her home that
she’s accumulated over the years. “When you see something you
love, buy it,” she advised. “You can worry later about where
it will go.” Indeed, she picked up one of the mantels in her
current house years ago at a Paris flea market, put it in storage,
and nearly forgot about it until moving into her current house.
“And wouldn’t you know, it fit the fireplace perfectly,” she

In Kasler’s own home as well as in the homes of her
clients, items like the antique mantel are mixed in with more
pieces to create the sought-after “collected” look Kasler is
known for. “One of the things I love about design today is that
random mix,” she said, pointing out how it’s the “mix” that
gives spaces texture and depth (think antique books on a modern
bookcase, or the look of freshly painted chairs pushed up
against the beautiful patina of an old dining room table).

Kasler’s other projects include designing furniture for Hickory Chair and lighting for Visual Comfort Company. Most recently,
she’s designed a fabric line for Lee Jofa. Her book
Inspired Interiors was published by Rizzoli in
2009, and she’s currently working on a second book,
out next year. As for what else is next, the designer said
she’s always looking for inspiration. “This is my first trip to
DC in ages, and it’s just the most beautiful city. It makes you
proud to be an American,” she said. “There’s such spaciousness,
a sense of place, and the buildings are so beautiful.”

“I’m always looking,” she said. “As a designer,
everything around me is inspiring. Design is not just decoration—it’s
that can change people’s lives.”

More from Design & Home