An Interview with Suzanne Stevenson

You are in for a treat today! This post is something we’ve had in the works for a while now and are so excited to finally bring it to life. We are featuring an interview with Suzanne Stevenson of Stevenson Interiors!

Suzanne is warm, she’s fun, she puts her whole heart into everything she does, and she’s amazingly talented in the world of interior design! At Magnolia Homes, we suggest her as our preferred Interior Designer in all communities. We even offer four hours of Suzanne’s work complementary to our new homeowners in our Shepherd’s Creek Community. She also does a fantastic job assisting in staging of our model homes! We hope you enjoy this conversation – we know we sure left with extra knowledge in our minds and laugh-lines on our faces!

Suzanne, tells us how you got started in interior design?

I grew up having a talented mother who was very creative and an incredible seamstress. If she had an idea or was itching for a change in our home, she would just up and do it. We would go with her to get new wallpaper, paint, or fabric for window treatments. My dad would often come back home from a weekend work trip and always joked that he was returning to a completely new home! I think that’s where I can pinpoint my love for interior design started.

I went to the University of Memphis and graduated with a degree in Psychology. After graduation, I realized I didn’t really want to work in that field! Around that time, my friends were getting married and moving into their homes. They would all ask me to come help them decorate and design their homes! Eventually, I decided I wanted to go to school for Interior Design. I lived in Nashville at the time and decided to attend Watkins College of Art & Design where I learned so much! I was even able to score the dream internship of working under Dana Goodman, who is still my mentor to this day! She is known for her impeccable design of traditional homes. I can still remember when Dana assigned me my first project! She told me to pull three different fabrics for window treatments for a baby nursery in Belle Meade. I was so nervous, but Dana instilled confidence in me when I went along with her to present to the client. The client ended up loving it and I knew this is what I would want to do!

Suzanne continued building up her clientele in Nashville before eventually moving back to Memphis. She continued doing the same and even began working part time for some amazing local companies until she took a break when her mom fell ill. When her mother passed way, Suzanne needed time to grieve. She turned away from Interior Design for a while because it continuously reminded her of her mom.

A few months later, one of her close friends had passed. The husband of the friend had approached Suzanne and explained to her the plans they had previously made to redesign the home with full intention to have Suzanne help. The husband begged Suzanne in order to honor his late wife’s wish. Suzanne said she had to do it for her sweet friend and took the step back into the world of Interior Design. Suzanne told us, “I wasn’t sure I would ever get back into Interior Design, but I really felt like that was my mom giving me a little wink!”

What is one thing you think is a necessity in each home you help design?

That’s hard to pinpoint because each home is different… but if I had to choose just one thing, it would be window treatments! They can completely transform an entire space. Window treatments are something I talk about with my clients from the get-go, as I firmly believe it should be incorporated into their budget and should not be an after-thought!

What’s the best part about designing in new construction homes?

The excitement from the homeowners! There’s nothing more fun than getting to share in their excitement and work together on a blank canvas. There’s also so much more room to work with on a blank palette.

What’s your favorite color palette to use?

I have my favorite colors, like creams and natural colors like pale blues and greens and browns. Also, I personally feel like every room should have a little black somewhere in it. I love adding gold, as well!

However, if my client does not like those tones and colors, we won’t use them! At the end of the day, I want my clients to know their home incorporates their favorites. If they have a bold color they love, we can use neutral colors and add pops of those colors throughout for extra fun! Ultimately, you want it to feel like their home, not a show room – so it’s okay to put out some personal items that add to the space in a tasteful way!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’d say that rugs and art are the biggest features that I go off of when designing a room. If a client has a specific item for me to build off of, that’s even better! I once designed a room off of an Hermes scarf a client had as the focal point. I loved it!

What are your top tips in preparing for your meeting with your designer? 

Take some time doing a little homework on Pinterest! Make a few boards and get a few pictures of what you’re envisioning. Sometimes it’s hard to describe and put into words what they’re looking for!

Additionally, make a list of things that you hate. Can’t stand a specific color? Let me know on the front end! Also, if you aren’t sure what your favorite color is, look in your closet and it will be a representation of what you like!

It’s also important for you to have a budget in mind for furniture! Be clear with yourself of what you want to keep in your current home and what you are going to get rid of. Also, make sure to include window treatments and landscape in your budget, especially for new home construction. These are important design elements that are often forgotten!

Any remaining advice you would give?

Just remember that if you do go out of your way to do the research to find an interior designer, be wary of also including all of your friends in the design conversation. Your friends give great advice, but the more opinions you have, the more the home looks like your friends than your own.

Once you’ve made your decision on a design item, feel confident in it and put your blinders on!

Lastly, I’m a strong believer that everyone needs a zebra rug somewhere in their home!

Thank you for sharing your wise advice and expertise, Suzanne! It was so fun getting to hear more about her background, upbringing, and the fun projects she’s worked on over the years! We sure do value her.