Design Book Review: Suzanne Tucker Interiors – The Romance of Design

I don’t know about you, but I’m finally tuning in to the holiday calendar and starting to think about gifts for friends and family. Right now I’m considering several recently released design books as possible gifts. Over the next few weeks I’ll share some favorites in hopes of helping you whittle down your own gift list.

One of the loveliest design books of the fall comes from the San Francisco designer Suzanne Tucker. “Suzanne Tucker Interiors: The Romance of Design” (The Monacelli Press) is Tucker’s second book and it showcases some spectacular high-end interiors.

Tucker’s clients have lavish homes and the budgets to furnish them but her designs are not garish or conventional.  Instead they evoke a quiet, considered—albeit rarified—approach to gracious living.   “The Romance of Design” is divided into five sections that range from displaying collections to editing for the empty nest. Each section starts with a well-chosen quote from an author or artist about what home means and some words from Tucker about her own design philosophy.  For example, here’s what she has to say about designing for someone else: “A client’s house is not a portrait of me.  It is, however, my personal vision of their dreams—larger, utterly unique, and more special than they could possibly envision for themselves.”

On the mix: “Things don’t need to match, but they do need to marry.”

On what’s behind all those design choices: “What is home? Where is home? It’s what generates within each of us that feeling of being most at peace.  It’s where we are most ourselves, among the objects, treasures, and pieces that bear witness to our experiences and the deeply held memories that we share with those we love.”

Most of us will never live in these luxurious surroundings but we can visit them through images like the ones found in Tucker’s tome and recognize the universal components of a welcoming home no matter the design budget or location.  “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”  (Maya Angelou as quoted in “The Romance of Design.” )

This would be a lovely gift for a design friend who leans toward traditional design with a twist. Perfect for post-holiday perusals of exquisite objects thoughtfully placed in extraordinary homes.

Photos by Pieter Estersohn, Matthew Millman and Lisa Romerein

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Kathryn Pritchett

writes about Things Elemental — where we find shelter, why we connect, what sustains us and how we strut our stuff.