Good Gracious

Surrounded by beautiful things from a tender age (her mother owned an antiques shop in her native New Orleans), interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein has made a career of showcasing them.

Interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein

Her Los Angeles store, Hollyhock—a destination for fine antiques and new decorative objects—and the homes she creates for clients both display her impeccable polish and a talent for mixing old and new.

On the release of her book “At Home: A Style for Today With Things From the Past,” we pick her estimable brain for ideas decorative and otherwise.

One of my decorating tricks is using fabrics on the wrong side. Certain materials seem too bright and strong on the right side but when I turn them over they’re often very subtle and interesting.

Why save your special things like “good” china and “good silver” for once a year? Joan Didion once said “every day is all there is.”

My favorite shopping street in the world is Magazine Street in New Orleans. There are lots of great antique shops and wonderful little children’s stores and when you finish there’s lunch at Lilette.

A room decorated by Ms. Rheinstein

I always have jugs of flowers or branches of berries or pretty leaves. The great thing about leaves is that you can just leave them and a month later they still look interesting.

I’m pro scented candles. This time of year I’m burning Michael Smith’s Angkor when I’m in New York and Diptyque’s Cannelle in L.A.

When I write letters I use engraved cards from The Printery in Oyster Bay.

My all-time favorite flowers are black dahlias and Rêve d’Or roses, which have kind of a pinky buff-y color.

A Rêve d’Or rose

In the winter I use black beeswax candles by Del Mar on the dinner table. Black candles were used in Regency times and I like that they don’t stick out like white ones.

The tackiest thing I love is Velveeta melted in a pan with Ro-Tel, which is diced tomatoes with hot chilis in it. I serve it in a chafing dish with Fritos.

The Printery cards

My favorite room in the world is Pauline de Rothschild’s bedroom in Paris, which features this fantastic juxtaposition of a very spare, contemporary metal canopy bed she designed with green 18th-century Chinese wallpaper.

Pauline de Rothschild’s bedroom

I’m not one for hiding the television set. I think it should be where you watch it. Most of ours are in bookshelves and surrounded by books. The one place I really don’t like it is above a mantelpiece because it ruins your enjoyment of both fire and TV.

Right now I’m reading “Artempo: Where Time Becomes Art,” by Axel Vervoordt. The man has the most amazing sense of art and style. I believe his influence will endure long after the flood of China-made Belgian-esque furniture has ruined that look for many people.

To keep people from using their phones at dinner I think there should be a sort of seventh-inning stretch where everyone has 10 minutes to use their gadgets. Really, the rules of common courtesy should prevail, but these days courtesy is uncommon.


Full article and photos: