Interview with Interior Designer Suzanne Tucker

Once a protégée of Michael Taylor {a designer known for creating the “California look”}, Suzanne Tucker is now recognized as one of the country’s leading interior designers. She founded the San Francisco interior design, Tucker and Marks with her husband Timothy F. Marks in 1986.  Over the years, Suzanne’s esteemed 20-person firm has received numerous design awards and has been featured in countless shelter magazines. Most recently, the firm was honored as one of  Architectural Digest’s AD 100 for 2012.
I’ve long admired Suzanne’s work and I’m not alone. Her elegant, layered, yet refined approach to design attracts clients from around the world. Suzanne believes, “a polished mix of fine antiques, richly sensual textiles and beautifully designed accessories are the foundations for a timeless home.”
I am thrilled to be interviewing her today!
suzanne tucker interview photo designer
Simplified Bee: Your award-winning designs are luxurious, timeless and beautifully blend old and new. When did you know you wanted to be an interior designer?
Suzanne Tucker: My mother will tell you she saw it coming when I was a little girl and would spend hours re-arranging all the ornaments on the Christmas tree. I always took art classes outside of my school curriculum and it was natural for me to gravitate towards the arts, art history, architecture & design when I was in college.
elegant living room suzanne tucker design
{photo by Matthew Millman}

SB: How would you describe your personal style?
ST: I’m a classic girl, my style is timeless but relaxed. I love the word “sprezzatura”, loosely translated “the art of unstudied elegance”.
suzanne tucker interview

SB: What type of architecture are you drawn to?
ST: I work with so many wonderful architects and in a diversity of styles that for me the common thread is scale and proportion. I’m a classicist at heart and feel strongly that one must learn the scales on the piano in order to write the modern symphony.
yellow designer bedroom suzanne tucker

SB: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
ST: I would have loved to have been under the tutelage of John Fowler when he was working for Pauline de Rothschild. Think what you could have learned from those two…. what taste, what style!
suzanne tucker kitchen design

SB: Do you have “go to” paint colors? If so, which ones?
ST: I love the Fine Paints of Europe palette, particularly for high-gloss woodwork, Pratt & Lambert, for their lovely clear colors, and Benjamin Moore for their historic palette. Also, Ann Hall paints have the most marvelous multi-pigmented hues.
suzanne tucker console table

SB: Which of today’s interior design trends are here to stay and which ones will we see fade away?
ST: Classic scale & proportion will never go out of style.  The decorating “rules” of matching and perfect coordination have been permanently broken and I highly doubt they will ever come back. I don’t follow trends, trends by nature are here today, gone tomorrow.
foyer suzanne tucker design

SB: Where do you recommend clients splurge versus save?
ST: Splurge on the best quality upholstery you can afford and on one really good piece of furniture for a room. Concentrate your dollars and don’t spread them too thin. You can definitely save on accessories in a room because you can find the interesting and the unusual at flea markets or garage sales.
suzanne tucker home textiles africa

SB: In addition to designing, you’ve been busy launching Suzanne Tucker Home and started with an exquisite fabric collection. Can you tell us about your latest collection and what inspired you?
ST: One of the greatest inspirations to any designer is travel. While daydreaming about traveling, I thought of the vast continent of Africa, the historical journeys, the adventurous safaris, the spice trade, nomads, tribes & exotic caravans. So we launched our Caravan Collection with eight new designs all evocative of the “Dark Continent”. The collection offers an enchanted journey of textiles – a lovely silk jacquard reflecting the exotic colors and fauna of Morocco; two luxurious cut/loop velvets inspired by the coat of the cheetah and traditional African trade baskets; soft subtle weaves mimicking the patterns of the sands of the great Sahara desert; dream-like hand woven Ikat stripes and rich cottons inspired by the flora of the jungle and the magnificent zebra.  I was so thrilled to see that Pantone had selected Tango Tangerine as the color of the year, as it is a prominent part of the caravan palette.
dinnerware by suzanne tucker home

SB: What’s next for Suzanne Tucker Home?
ST: We just launched my first table top collection for Royal Limoges called San Marco, inspired by the mosaics in the Piazza San Marco. I am also working on a new textile collection inspired by my travels to Istanbul. Up next is furniture, lighting and wallpaper.
entry by suzanne tucker art

SB: Fill in the blank. No room is complete without… 
ST: a touch of black.

Thank you Suzanne for your time and generosity. Keep inspiring us!
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5 Responses to Interview with Interior Designer Suzanne Tucker

  1. Claudia Juestel February 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    Great interview Cristin. I loved Suzanne's rooms at the Marin Showcase.



  2. Chic Coles January 26, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    What a great interview. Beautiful work.

  3. Melinda January 25, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Very interesting to read, particularly like and agreed with her last comment about black. Lovely images which illustrate her style well.

  4. Stacy Curran January 25, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    Great interview! I LOVE “sprezaturra”…. Hope I remembered it right for this comment 🙂

  5. Karena January 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Cristin a wonderful interview. I love Suzanne's style. Her fabric and new dinnerware lines are so luscious!


    Art by Karena