Q&A: Rye-Based Designer Susan Anthony
Susan Anthony has been in the design business for more than 30 years—and she has the projects and knowledge to prove it.
Photo By Ellen McDermott
Q: What inspires you?
A: A show at the Whitney or the Met, looking up while walking in Manhattan, seeing the work of other designers, art galleries, walking through retail stores, nature, popular culture, magazines, design books (I have a large and ever-growing collection), walking through design centers, fashion, research for a new project, theater, travel, my collaboration with my vendors, and my clients.
Q: How do you mesh your style with your client’s wants and needs?
A: I try to see things from my client’s perspective. I ask a lot of questions so that I can be sure I am translating their vision. If I know their personality and their dreams, I blend them into their home. I then kick it up a notch or two and add a few surprises. Interior design should be a wonderful journey.
Q: What is your favorite paint color or colors?
A: I love all colors. It is not the color that matters but how it’s used in the space.
Q: How do you transition your home (or a client’s home) from summer to fall?
A: I start with the smells, by changing scented candles to woodsy, cinnamon smells. I change the flowers and plants in my entry. I add fall colors to my dining table—moss, boxwood balls, and pine cones.
Q: What is your favorite fall home accessory?
A: Large pomander balls made from grapefruit, cinnamon, and cloves, in large antique blue and white bowls.
Q: How do you prepare for the holidays?
A: I order custom cards early. I celebrate by decorating the house in stages and cooking favorites for my friends and family.
Q: What is your favorite hostess gift to give?
A: I buy an antique basket or dish and fill it with homemade treats.
Q: How do you like to decorate a dinner table?
A: I decorate with abandon! I have dozens of linen napkins, napkin rings, and tablecloths, and I mix it up by season.
Q: Do you have an entertaining tip you live by?
A: Make food simple but elegantly served. If you are not a cook, then go to specialty shops like Susan Lawrence [Chappaqua] and source the meal. Get good wines and fresh flowers. Thoughtful touches make such a difference. The host and hostess should have everything, including drinks, ready when guests arrive. The best hosts are available.
Q: What is your all-time favorite piece of furniture or accessory?
A: My antique Swedish Mora clock. It is so female!
Q: Where is your favorite place to shop for yourself and/or clients?
A: Lately, shows like Art Basel.
Q: What should a person splurge on and what should someone save money on?
A: Splurge on really well-made upholstered pieces of furniture and great rugs. You can save on accent pieces and accessories. It is the equivalent of wearing great shoes and jewelry with jeans and a white shirt. It’s chic and elegant.
Q: What is your favorite trend right now?
A: The return of geometrics, tactile wall coverings, and color.
Q: What is the one thing you wish clients would always ask you?
A: It is funny, but clients never ask me my design philosophy or my process. If I were hiring a designer, those would be my first and second questions.