I spent Saturday morning exploring my friend Susan Robinson’s very stylish home, and after a fun visit and a photo shoot of well over 100 pictures, I stepped away from the experience knowing—with perfect certainty—that I had just spent time in the most beautiful bedroom I will ever see. As I type this, I’m in my own bedroom, which wilts pitifully in the shade of Susan’s by comparison. My master bedroom suite is not yet decorated (that’s on my list for 2018), and I can’t imagine a better source of inspiration as I sort through my own ideas of what my bedroom should be. This post is supposed to feature Susan’s favorite antiques, and I will get to them. But memories of that bedroom have hijacked my attention. She described it as “peach,” and it is. But it’s salmon, too, which is a color that I didn’t know I liked, with accents of lime green, rose, brown, and white. The colors leave an indelible imprint on my memory, but so do the pieces she has selected for placement just so throughout the room. A chalky screen in the corner, dramatic prints on the walls, the surprise of a scrolled garden bench beneath the window, the long and fluid salmon panels at the windows…sigh.
I’ve known Susan for years—decades, actually. She was one of the first people I met when I moved to Kansas City, and, probably without even knowing it, she helped to shape the career in training and development I would build over the many years that followed. Most of what I know about my field I learned from Susan; I can’t imagine what my professional life would have been had our paths not crossed! But these days our conversations reflect our shared interests in things like antiques, books, good food, and travel. Travel happens to be Susan’s passion, and you sense that her decorating choices have been formed by a desire to recreate treasured memories of the many spectacular places she has visited around the world. European influences are obvious; you can see subtle—and not so subtle—allusions to France, England, Scotland, and Italy throughout her home.
Her decorating aesthetic has evolved over the last few years, as she has worked on redesigning her home one room at a time. A major life change triggered this transformation. A few years ago her husband passed away after a long illness. “I decided at that point that I was going to be living a different kind of life from then on, so I wanted my house to reflect the things that I loved,” she explained.
So…as we reluctantly tear ourselves away from Susan’s bedroom, let’s take it from the top and step through her front door.
Susan has a penchant for glass: windows, crystal, and mirrors. When you approach her front stoop you’re met with a stunning prismatic entry. The windows along the sides and the top of her door were custom made. She has a similar window in her kitchen, which had been custom made for her previous home. For the kitchen she had two panels welded together to create a single window.
Susan’s Five Favorite Finds
Susan has been collecting antiques for years. Some of the items in her collection are family heirlooms, others are finds discovered at antique shops both here and abroad. I asked her if she would pick out her five favorite finds and tell me the stories behind them. What follows are her selections.
When you traipse through a person’s home, camera in hand, looking at their world close up, you learn a lot about them. Sometimes you learn things about yourself, too. Here’s what I learned from Susan’s house:
- I like peach!
- I tend to decorate too low, at eye-level or below. Susan’s house is so striking because her placement of vignettes guide your eye up to the ceiling and back down again.
- Sometimes more is more, especially when it comes to glass.
A very special thanks to Susan Robinson for letting me invade her home and also for her very kind invitation to “feel free to move things around, if you need to.”
Until next time…