Spotlight on Brookhaven: Meet Susie Prince, Owner of Susie Mae Design
Susie Prince, Interior Designer - www.susiemaeday.com - 706-836-7325
Describe your business.
I am a residential interior designer based in Brookhaven. My passion is to work with clients who want to make their home styled and tailored while still being able to walk into a room and feel at home. Most of my clients have been living in their home for a while and are looking for an updated look using some items that they already have, and purchasing new essential pieces.
Do you shop for clients or do you work with what they already have?
It’s a little bit of both. If a client has a piece with really good bones, I try my best to recover it. However, a lot of the time I will bring in new items in to compliment the old pieces that we are using. I try to work with what my clients already have because a lot of the time they have selected pieces that have overtime meant something to them. Usually if there is a unique piece, for instance— something that a couple picked out when they were newly married, I will try to incorporate it into the new style or look that they want.
What do you love about Brookhaven?
I love how Brookhaven has so much green space! Everyone here is always outside and active which you typically don’t get when you are living so close to a major city. I also love how community oriented Brookhaven is. Over the past few years it has been fun to walk Brookhaven grow into its own city and even commercially grow with new shops and restaurants!
What do you like about working with your clients in the Northlake/Tucker area?
The Northlake/Tucker area is so special! I adore all of the mid-century styled homes with the clean lines and beautiful ceilings. So many of the homes in the Northlake/Tucker area have super cool architectural features that you can’t find in other parts of Atlanta which makes it fun. One of my favorite things about working on these mid-century styled homes is finding a way to bring out a unique feature in a positive way using different colors or décor. Simple changes can make a vast difference that causes homeowners to fall back in love with their (sometimes) outdated homes.
My most memorable client?
I was working on a condo in Buckhead and had a vision for the bedroom to have a dark purple trim, almost a plum color. When the client signed off on the color she did not realize what she was in for and was completely shocked when she came home to the purple trim. She told us that she trusted our vision and to keep going even though she was hesitant. When we did the final reveal for her she was so pleased and in tears because she was so happy with the way that it turned out. We did a video of her walking in – it was like an HGTV moment.
I really do love to find out what a client’s style is so that we can achieve their vision even if they are not entirely sure of what it is. I really have a gift for seeing that vision for them.
How do you help the people who are not sure what their style is?
When I first take on a new client we have a “Kick-Off” meeting that last about an hour and a half. I start with a questionnaire that includes photos of different styled homes, furniture and finishes where they select things that they like. This helps me gauge what style or style(s) they like. It is hard sometimes because the architecture of a house does not always easily fit the style of the client. Because of this I really have to figure out how to incorporate their style into whatever home they have so that it does not look like we are trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. Most people are not just one style anyways, so finding a balance between styles in a particular home is always fun.
So when you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I am definitely a foodie— especially ethnic foods off Buford Highway (another hidden gem about Brookhaven, SO MANY GOOD EATS!!) I like to hang out with my stinky fat dog and my wonderful fiancé, Victor. Being in the kitchen and baking or cooking ethnic foods is also a huge love of mine!
Do you have many objections when you meet new clients?
Usually the husbands are the ones who are very hesitant at first. They think that when you bring in a designer that they are going to want to shellac all the walls, and do crazy stuff because “this is a design experiment for them,” which is simply not the case. My goal is to make their home feel styled while still making them feel comfortable in a beautiful and functional home. A clients’ house is not my art exhibit, it is their home, so I never push my own personal style onto them. Because of couples different perceptions of designers, and different tastes, it is always important for me to meet with both decision making parties. This helps me set expectation, understand what they are looking for, and let them know that I have their best interest at heart.
How do you charge your clients?
I give my clients an estimate on how many hours the project will take based on an hourly rate. In addition, if I sell them furniture, I am able to offer them discounted prices from retail. If it is a trade brand piece of furniture they are also getting it at my discount plus it is not a traditional store bought piece. Either way my clients really get their bang for their buck because the pieces I bring in are great quality and they are purchased at such a great price.
What is the difference between using an interior designer in a store, compared to working with you?
Going into a store and meeting with a store interior designer is great, however they are limited to show you what items that store has. When someone is working with me I am able to offer a lot of different brands because I source from all different budgets, styles, stores, and trades. I even have connections with carpenters and specialty brands that make custom pieces to meet unique needs of a home.
Interview conducted by local REALTOR® Kelly Marsh.