Designer Impressions

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"Be fearless, personal and make sure you love and use every piece in every room, and that each one has a little story to tell."

Susanna Salk

Design Expert and Bestselling Design Author

Susanna Salk


We had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with Susanna Salk, interior design expert, bestselling design author, and host of The Quintessence video series.

What determined your passion for design?

Spending time with designers: Having chic yet cozy dinner in their own homes, experiencing how they could beautifully transform a show house room on no time and budget or shooting the rooms they’ve been hired to fashion for others: all their creativity and fearlessness inspired- and still inspires- me to try and do the same on a daily basis.

When you are away from home, what makes you feel most at home?

If I'm going to be gone a long time. I like to bring my favorite Nest candle and room spray as I especially like to give the sheets where I'm sleeping a spritz. If I'm on a work shoot this is incredibly comforting and refreshing.

What is your favourite hotel to stay in?

Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita Italy.  

What inspires you?

Instagram snippets from all over the world: travel, food, fashion, people, dogs: I love it all.

Can you remember your first design project?

Yes: my own house! We had just moved in and it was going to be shot for a local magazine. I couldn’t dawdle or worry that I didn’t know what I was doing: I just had to DO and make the house work for my family as well as reflect my aesthetic.

What is your process in designing a room or home?

I start by seeing what can be taken OUT before buying and bringing anything IN as editing is as important as any accessory! From there, I use a client’s dream file to determine what mood, colors and vibe make them happiest by trying to find a commonality through images they’ve pulled. Once we know the look and feel and what we have to work with and what we want to pull out, we begin the layering IN.

What is the best decorating advice you can offer someone?

Don’t worry about the rules and what goes with what. Be fearless, personal and make sure you love and use every piece in every room and that each one has a little story to tell. And then of course, make sure every room has one piece that feels a little unexpected, a little off, a little whimsical, even in the mud room.

What does it feel like to wrap yourself in Frette sheets or Frette bath?

It’s that instant recognition of: “So this is what true luxury and artisanship are supposed to feel like.” It’s the same feeling as when you’ve just been served that perfect Italian meal in that little out of the way local restaurant your concierge told you about. Or when you see the dashing man in Milan expertly weaving through traffic on bike while wearing a suit. It's effortless, timeless, classic style and quality, and deliciousness all rolled into one.

Do you prefer your sheets to be linen, sateen, percale, or poplin?

I’m a percale gal: smooth and soft.

What is on your bedside table?

Top shelf: Always a silver julip cup with flowers. Little gold gilt frames of my children. An old fashioned silver alarm clock and Doris Day type phone. Moisturizer. A glass bubble lamp with burlap shade. Bottom shelf: iPad for reading, Nest candle and cologne (to spray on sheets), personalized note pad to catch dreams.