"Creating the Art of Atmosphere"- Susan Ferrier Interiors
I thought a nice follow-up to the last Designer Spotlight: McALPINE, would be that of Susan Ferrier Interiors. She founded her eponymous firm in 2018 after more than 18 years as a partner at McALPINE.
One of my favorite designers, Susan Ferrier is known for creating dramatic, romantic and atmospheric interiors. Typically working with a neutral & natural backdrop `a la McALPINE, she often incorporates one accent color and repeats it throughout a space creating an expansive and cohesive effect I love.
“There’s a sensuality and depth that comes from a thoughtfully layered and curated environment. When we design, we are not just making something nice to look at. We are creating spaces that evoke emotion and open the door to endless exploration and discovery.”
In an excerpt from a 2019 interview with Style Blueprint, Susan dives into how heritage comes into play, her unique aesthetic and where she gets her inspiration:
What is your design Aesthetic and how do you translate that to a client’s home?
My aesthetic blends timeless glamour with cinematic drama. I design spaces to evoke emotion with sultry, earthy colors and diverse textures — I want my rooms to make you feel something. I love curating meaningful collections and objects, and I work with clients to layer that to express their view of the world and make them feel at home.
Tell us a bit about your background in studio art and history and how that knowledge informs your design work.
I got my degree in fine arts and have always been very interested in art history. In school, I realized that creating beauty was more dynamic and satisfying for me than being academic about it. The principles I learned in my art classes are tools that I use daily in creating environments with balance, rhythm, texture, color and movement. It’s important to be able to work in a two-dimensional way, as you lay things out in drawings and schemes, but then you have to be able to bring your vision to life in a three-dimensional way. Scale is important for that and it’s something I always discuss with the architects I am collaborating with.
What brings you the most professional joy?
When we finish a project, and the client is happy because the atmosphere we’ve created for them looks and feels important, strong, beautiful and sustaining. When that finish line has been crossed and the clients are settled into their home, there is no better reward.
How does the South’s design scene differ from the rest of the country?
The South’s design scene is special for so many reasons, but two very specific things come to mind. First, the South recognizes that beauty and grace in your environment are important and worth investing in. It’s not an academic approach to beauty but an emotional approach. Second, the design community in the South supports each other and sees other designers as part of their tribe rather than the competition. We are colleagues and want to see each other succeed. It makes the world more beautiful for everyone!
Where do you get your inspiration?
I love to travel and find endless inspiration in the places I am lucky to experience. I think curiosity is essential for good design. I recently returned from India and was incredibly moved by the people, architecture, history and fashion there. India is a complicated place where the beauty of ancient temples intersects with a destitute population, where the ancient craftsmanship of old stirs concern about whether the country can foster and support its continuity. I will be thinking about the trip for years to come. Experiences like that are very influential in my work.
Her work has been featured in publications around the country including the The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Veranda, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Harper’s Bazaar, Coastal Living, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and many others.
Consistently inspired by travel and other cultures, she shops the world for treasures for her clients and projects. When not traveling for work or pleasure, Susan and her husband reside in Atlanta.
She is also the co-author, alongside Bobby McAlpine, of Art of the House, published by Rizzoli, full of truly gorgeous & unique design inspiration:
Shop the book:
Art of the House by Bobby McAlpine and Susan Ferrier