At Home with Suzanne Rheinstein

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Looking stylish in a black linen ensemble and chunky gold bangles, renowned LA-based interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein takes Kimberley Seldon on a private tour of her gracious Hancock Park home and garden.

Industry Profile

Suzanne’s living room is luxurious and serene. She spotted the blue and white striped Regency chaise in a London shop window and insisted her husband pull over so they could run in to make the purchase.

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‘I design rooms clients can live in, and in this house we live in the family room’, says the designer. We can see why. Who wouldn’t want to relax on that cozy velvet-striped sofa with some late night reading?

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Natural lighting, soft hues and luxurious cotton print drapes accent the elegance of the master bedroom.

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To read the full article on Suzanne Rheinstein, check out Industry Profile, Issue 3 July/Aug 2011.

Industry Profile: Suzanne Rheinstein

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“There’s an art to entertaining,” says renowned interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein. Though she moved to LA more than 30 years ago, the New Orleans native has a deep appreciation for traditions, antiques, gardening and southern hospitality. It’s simply in her bones. Dabble spent a sunny day in Suzanne’s gracious Hancock Park home and garden, where she shared insights to successful entertaining.

Two things strike me when Suzanne Rheinstein answers her front door. First, her much-photographed 1914 Georgian-Revival home is even more beautiful in person and second, so is its well-known resident. Looking stylish in a black linen ensemble, chunky gold bangles, vintage watch and thick tortoiseshell glasses, Suzanne takes me on a private tour, but not before placing an icy glass ofaqua frescain my hands.

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1- DAB: How do you see your role as an interior designer?
SR: Interior designers have to be able to say more about a piece of furniture or a fabric than, “It’s super cute.” Clients expect expertise, not just enthusiasm. I know design and architecture because I study them. That allows me to design comfortable, authentic homes that act as a backdrop for a family’s real life.

2- DAB: How can new designers learn more about design and architecture?
SR: Start by studying house museums, they are a great learning tool. My favourites are:
Villa Kerylos, French Riviera
Sir John Soane’s Museum in London
Vizcaya in Miami
Longue Vue in New Orleans
Gallier House in New Orleans
Le Musée Nissim de Camondo in Paris
Villa del Balbianello in Lenno, Como, Italy

3- DAB: As a transplanted southerner, entertaining and hospitality are your birthright. Do you think dinner parties and entertaining are making a comeback?
SR: My parents entertained a lot and I do the same. Sometimes I cook, but I tell you, it’s so easy to assemble a buffet and bring friends together. I never fuss with renting dishes. I mix and match the plates and glasses I already own. I think that makes guests feel more comfortable right off the bat.

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4- DAB: What about flower arranging? Your home is filled with flowers.
SR: My southern roots and California lifestyle fuel my passion for gardening. But my motto when arranging flowers is: Keep it simple. Even something as uncomplicated as displaying leaves in a pretty glass vase enlivens a room.

5- DAB: What’s next for you?
SR: My second collection of fabric, Hollyhock II for Lee Jofa is coming out soon. I love antique textiles so I used them as an inspiration for the collection.

Suzanne’s Entertaining Tips:
– If you are new to entertaining, build your confidence by first inviting two couples to dinner. Once you feel confident, party size can grow.
– Don’t be afraid to assemble. A gourmet grocer’s roasted chicken is a perfect start to a buffet.
– Bring together young couples and older friends and serve comfort food. Try short ribs—they’re fattening and everyone loves them.
– Shake up the party with a game. I have a group of friends that come over to play international rummy. It’s a blast.
– Be yourself. Don’t pretend you like the opera if your style leans towards sporting events.

Aqua Fresca

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Recipe provided by Suzanne Rheinstein. Read more on Suzanne in Industry Profile, Issue 3 Jul/Aug 2011.

Ingredients

1 part pineapple juice (can be substituted with any juice, i.e. pomegranate)
3 parts sparkling water
Clementine slices
Fresh mint from the garden

Directions

Combine pineapple juice and sparkling water in a large pitcher. Stir and pour into glasses. Garnish each glass with a slice of clementine and fresh mint from your garden.