Books- Be Your Own Decorator

Susanna -you studied English at Vassar, how did you get from there to helping launch Elle Decor?   Did you always have an interest in design?

I worked at Conde Nast International for all the home magazines abroad as a point person in NY.  I heard Elle Decor was launching and knew it was time to make a move.

And how did you get from there to working on television?

I was special projects editor at House and Garden and was asked if I would represent H and G on tv for a segment when a regular editor couldn't do it.  It was a sort of "fake it til you make it approach" as I had no experience.  The first one was for CNN and then the Today Show followed, and I am happy to report I have been doing them almost monthly since.

Your career started when print magazines were on a high, but now many are struggling and have disappeared.   Meanwhile online and social media has grown.  You seem to have embraced this change, via your blog, and twitter.  How do you feel about the  change?   What do you imagine for the future?

Social media is a key component to anyone marketing themselves or a brand.  It must be embraced or it will leave you behind.  Magazines are coming back but it's exciting to see them linking with social media now so closely.  5 years ago bloggers were considered wanna be's by many print editors and vendors.  Now they deservedly embrace them as viable players.  But social media is only as good as the content it relays so we need print as much as we ever have.
What 4 quick tips can you share from Be Your Own Decorator ?

Be bold, be whimsical and remember editing is just as crucial as what you put in.

There is such a range of styles and amazing images in the book .  How did you go about finding and narrowing down the spaces?

I came up with the chapter titles which I felt were every rooms best asset.  Then from there I just picked images that I loved and inevitably they fit into one of the chapter headings.
This book empowers people to be their own designers .  Were the designers you spoke to reluctant to give away their "secrets"?

No they were incredibly generous.  After all, they of all people want the world to be as beautiful and as functional as possible!

There is such a range in the books you do.  Where do your idea's come from?

I try to think of what I would want to read/collect on my shelves.  And if it doesn't exist I want to do it.  My next book with Rizzoli will celebrate the iconic style of CZ Guest 
Over the course of your career you've had the good fortune to meet and work with so many fabulous designers.  For 1stDibs alone you 've interviewed everyone from Iris Apfel to Romans Williams.  Who stands out in your mind?

They all do in their own way.  I have been so impressed they have all had such distinct visions and voices, whether designers or dealers. It has been the very best part of my career; the privilege of getting to know them.  
I just interviewed a dealer, Marie Fioratti of Lantiqauire for the Connoisseur last week.  The woman is in her late 70's and still runs a full time business, cooks gourmet Italian meals for guests up to 20, she is an avid painter and decorator as well.  This is incredibly aspirational!

In your 1stDibs articles you ask designers where their style compass is pointed .  Let's turn the tables - where is yours telling you to go?

Favorite books: 

What are you listening to on your iPod? 
The soundtrack from The Piano, Cage the Elephant.

Where is the next place in the world you plan on traveling to? 

Favorite place in the world to shop: 
My town of Preston, CT.

P.S... see if you can spot the shot of my home, but for that you'll just have to run, don't walk out and buy the book.  Trust me the book is gorgeous... now go!!

What object are you lusting after for your home? 
Bertoia stainless steel stools for the kitchen.
images 1,2. photo Joshua McHugh design Ryan Korban  3. photo Peter Estersohn design Nate Berkus  4. photo John Gruen design Carol Bokuniewicz  6.Photo  Bjorn Wallender design Annie Brhler  5. Photo Tinywater design Victoria Smith