Get to know gallery-owner-turned-television-host Susie Frazier as she gives Housetrends the inside scoop on her new design process and today’s trends.
Q. Your style focuses on reflective design…what is that exactly?
A. We’ve developed a platform called reflective design and this is now a philosophy that I go by with the way I present my work to all clients: ‘When we connect with nature, healing begins.’ That’s why all of my work over the last years is not only recycled materials from natural and industrial environments, but they’re usually originally natural material of some kind or they are connected to nature’s pattern. So these warm behavioral designs that I come up with are very calming to the brain. And what it does is we say to the client, the kind of things this does to your room or in your building, will have this calming effect on the people that live here or visit here, and who doesn’t need more of that in their life right now?
Q. Where does your design inspiration come from?
A. I’m a product of growing up in the Southwest and being outdoors was a pretty big part of my life all through my childhood and young adult years. So I just grew a sensibility around seeing patterns in the environment and color and texture, and over time—even if they were decomposing—they just became very beautiful to me.
Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve done more reading about why this is so interesting to me and it turns out there is a very strong, long-standing Japanese design aesthetic that speaks exactly to this and it’s called Wabi Sabi. It’s like this anti-glamorous movement and it spoke to this very simplified, humble way of living where things were broken and edges were worn and there were knots and I realized that that metaphor of finding the beauty in that which is broken is the perfect metaphor for just how to accept myself as a person.
Q. What is the most popular material that owners elect to use?
A. Driftwood. It’s crazy how many different ways we make things out of it. I go to the beaches several times a year and do a harvest. One of our best-selling products is driftwood candle holders.
Q. What do you recommend people do if they want to incorporate this style into their life, but don’t want to do a total overhaul?
A. This is the beauty of reflective design. It’s not starting over. It’s looking at what you have and placing a greater priority on the things that hold meaning for you.
My first mantra on this one would be, let’s minimalize what we have and just put the things there that really, really speak to you.
The other thing is, I’m a huge advocate of removing the television from above the mantle. The reality is that if we can take away that distraction from the places where people gather—in those environments where you want to be connecting with your family and friends and talking and actually looking each other in the eye—that creates a more soulful home and that creates the environment where people feel well. If it’s filled with lots of distractions and superficial noise, it causes over-stimulation in the brain and people then don’t understand why they don’t feel good.
Q. What's been your favorite place to design?
A. I would have to say it probably is The Edison at Gordon Square. The model suite there was a blast because I could completely re-paint walls...I literally brought everything from the couches and floor coverings to the details of the magnet board we installed.
Q. Can you describe the style of your own home?
A. My style has always been eco-modern. I redesigned our kitchen to reflect some of that with very simple flat panel cabinets and stained dark walnut finish and stainless steel handles. I had a lot of crown molding and built-in shelves removed.
Q. As owner of a gallery, a designer and host of a television show, you’re a busy person. Which of these experiences has been your favorite?
A. The most exciting thing that I’m doing at the moment is the television project. It’s been in development for a while and we have the pilot that’s airing on March 25th. This is really allowing a whole host of other talents that I have to be able to be applied. I have a background in communications and spent a lot of time on air…I used to be a DJ for a radio station. You know, other skill sets besides the art, and it’s exciting to be able to see now how I can bring it all together and spread the love. What I love about this opportunity is more collaboration. I get to interact with really smart, creative people and then showcase that so that the world can be inspired.