It’s a new day, and we’re back with a new K&B Q&A! Get the latest in interior design with one of our favorite designers who really knows kitchen design, Susan Serra!
Q. List one word to describe your style.
Q. What design trend(s) are you excited about for 2021?
A. I see new and unique materials and surfaces being used in key areas of kitchens and baths creating unexpected and fabulous focal points within a design. I see more modern furniture design elements in kitchen design, in very cool shapes and forms. Much of this look is inspired by Midcentury design but is definitely a new interpretation. So much modern design yet so much warmth happening! Even more connected appliances and ways to interact with technology.
Q. What design trend(s) do you wish would die?
A. Shiplap, subway tile, uninspired uses of gray, uninspired heavy industrial looks for kitchens and bath spaces.
Q. What is your favorite color combos?
A. A very soft white as a foundation on walls and light colored floors with watery blues and other colors in (lots of) artwork and accents. Larger elements being soft and light with colorful accents and interesting textures adding attention to shapes and forms.
Q. What inspires you the most when designing?
A. It’s the 50,000-foot view, first and foremost, to anticipate the numerous ways my clients will move about the space. There are always several design solutions to create. I LOVE the combined approach of working with the right and left brain, back and forth – not one after the other. My personal design philosophy is that form and function must be equally considered at the start of the design process, but form does not always need to follow function!
Q. What is your favorite room to design?
A. The kitchen due to its numerous activities that need to be considered – cooking, dining, social interactions, projects, storage challenges, appliance locations, natural and artificial lighting, other sensory issues. I’ve always said: “The kitchen is where all five senses reside.” I think that’s the reason I love it.
Q. Do you have a signature touch? If yes what is it?
A. Yes! Every kitchen should have a REAL sofa built into the dining area! It’s a magnet for social interactions. It’s conducive to lingering over a meal and it’s the ultimate in comfort. I’ve had one in my personal kitchens for the past 15 years. You need a taller leg and a cushion that is not too soft and not too firm and appropriate fabric.
Q. Did you always want to be a designer? What did you want to be when you were a child?
A. Before my mid-teens, I wanted to be a history teacher with a focus on the Civil War, a missionary in Africa or a psychologist! From mid-teens on, design became of great interest. OK, very early on I wanted to be a napkin folder at the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood and get discovered.
Q. If you could design a room for anyone who and what would it be?
A. I’d love to design personal kitchens for several top chefs. I bet we could learn many interesting things from one another!
Q. How has digital media impacted your business?
A. I have a virtual history of great experiences in digital media for nearly 20 years. The first thing that comes to mind is the people I’ve met over the years, solely via digital channels. Great people, great friends continuing to today. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled extensively in the US and Europe as a speaker, via press tours, as part of design councils and participating in other events here and abroad. My social media presence online has rewarded me immensely, both personally and professionally, and these activities have provided rich insight into what’s happening in kitchen, bath, and interior design year after year – insight I am always hungry for!
Q. What are you most excited for the future of the architecture and design industry?
A. I’m extremely hopeful for continued progress in the creation and/or enhancement of products and materials that are created ever more sustainably, have aesthetic appeal, are affordable and have excellent performance and energy saving properties. That’s worth continually striving for. The goal is to have all those attributes built into a product.