Designer Suzanne Tucker's new book, Extraordinary Interiors, reveals the ongoing evolution of this San Francisco visionary.
Tucker helps clients realize their vision for each room through great design.
Suzanne Tucker’s latest book
Suzanne Tucker (suzannetuckerhome.com) admits she doesn’t follow a single trend. They don’t adhere to her design worldview, which is every project should tell the story of the people who live in a home. “Whether my projects are casual or formal, classic or contemporary, city or country, the quality they ultimately all share is that they’re deeply personalized environments that are highly functional and resonate with each of our clients,” says Tucker, the author of the recently released Extraordinary Interiors (The Monacelli Press).
As one of the four founding directors of the Northern California chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (she’s currently director emeritus), Tucker believes design is a way to capture and express identity and personal history in evocative ways.
Tucker’s so-called Panavision room design
“My innate curiosity sends me constantly searching for answers to the storyteller’s five basic questions: who, what, where, when and why,” she says. “The more we study and try to parse that individuality, the more nuanced, complex and layered our understanding of it becomes. Designing a house allows me to visually translate these facets of identity and personal culture.”
In her latest book, Tucker notes that each home project holds a special place in her heart; she feels fortunate to work with clients who love good design and are invested in the process, whether it’s tackling a “surf shack,” mountain home, a contemporary pied-a-terre or a grand Italianate residence.
“My aesthetic has evolved over the years as has my approach to projects and clients,” she says. “In my constant curiosity, I’m a very good listener and translator of the details and depth of design; the wisdom and expertise I’ve gained continue my education every single day. That curiosity, that learning still excites me with every project. I’ve always loved this Gandhi quote: ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’”
A colorful room in New York City created by Tucker.
One of Tucker’s many gifts as a designer is empathy. She reads the room, as it were. “I’ve developed a keen ability to listen—to actually hear what clients want, to intuit and understand their psyche, together with their fears and insecurities,” she says. “I once sat with a client in an initial meeting and knew immediately what I had to create for her—a very cozy, subtly layered, quietly sheltered environment—since she needed cocooning.”
Subtle hues and florals mark the aesthetic of this Tucker project, another in a long line of spaces that tell a story about her clients.
While Tucker’s design projects are worldwide (she’s excited about two new projects in Hawaii), Northern California remains a constant inspiration. “It inspires and invigorates me daily, especially as I drive back and forth across the Golden Gate Bridge every day,” she says. “Add to that the unique architecture, neighborhood nuances and the camaraderie of the San Francisco design community—where it’s so important to be collegial and mutually supportive—the Bay Area foodie scene and the outstanding culture scene, how could one not be inspired?”
Photography by: ROGER DAVIES; EDWARD ADDEO; COURTESY OF THE MONACELLI PRESS