In honor of our new collaboration with Sister Parish Design, we had the pleasure of interviewing its President and Co-Founder, Susan Crater. We learned about her decorating style, inspirations, and the lasting influence of her grandmother, legendary Designer Sister Parish.
What inspired you to revive your Grandmother’s work and start Sister Parish Design in 2000? Did you always know that you wanted to work in the design field?
The truth is that I did not always know that I wanted to work in the design field. I did always know that I appreciated a beautifully decorated room, and especially appreciated and loved the rooms that my grandmother and Albert [Hadley] designed. It is these rooms that inspired me to create this collection.
Many of your patterns are from the Parish-Hadley archives, though you have also launched new patterns along with a home accessories collection. How do you find a balance between honoring the Parish-Hadley tradition while continuing to update your offerings?
We look to the rooms that Parish-Hadley decorated and we look to the rooms that inspired Parish-Hadley to guide us in building our collection. How are textiles being used and what types of textiles are being used in these rooms? Will decorators today want to use these textiles in the same way or will they want to use them differently? These are the types of questions we ask ourselves in order to build a collection that will continue to honor the Parish-Hadley legacy.
What is your favorite piece of decorating advice that you like to share with friends and clients?
“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting.” -Sister Parish
What do you think that everyone should avoid when decorating a home? Do you have any design-related pet peeves?
One thing my grandmother taught me was the importance of scale. Overly large and overstuffed furniture will ruin a room.
You have a gorgeous house up in Bedford, New York! How would you compare your personal design aesthetic to that of your Grandmother’s? Do you have any favorite pieces of hers that you have out in your home (furniture, decorative pieces, etc)?
I’ve always wanted to create the same comfortable and beautiful rooms for my family that my mother and grandmother created for theirs. I’m particularly in love with a green velvet Lawson style sofa designed by Billy Baldwin. Baldwin was small in physical stature and would use the Lawson sofa as his bed in his studio apartment. The same green velvet has been on the sofa since the 1980’s and it has only gotten better with time!
We’d love to hear a bit more about the Desmond and Serendipity patterns that are featured as part of our collaboration. How did you end up choosing these particular designs?
Both Desmond and the Serendipity are small all over prints that make a big impact. They are tried and true patterns that have added depth and sophistication to many rooms over the years. We knew they would have the same effect on stationery as they’ve had on rooms.
You have priceless handwritten letters from First Lady Jackie Kennedy to your grandmother in your archives—a perfect tie-in with our partnership. Why do you think that handwritten correspondence is still important in 2018?
A beautifully handwritten letter is like a beautifully decorated room. If properly cared for, it will last forever!
Where is your ideal place to sit down and write a letter?
My porch in Maine.
Many thanks to Susan for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to shop our collaboration on our site here!