what is your idea of perfect design happiness?
susan | WHEN I WALK IN TO A ROOM AND FEEL LIKE I AM GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME THERE. WHETHER JUST TO SIT QUIETLY AND READ A BOOK OR HAVE A DINNER PARTY FOR 12. IT’S A VIBE OF COMFORT, BEAUTY AND IMAGINATION COMBINED.
what is your greatest fear in design?
susan | THAT THINGS LOOK “WISPY’ WAS ONE OF MY GRANDMOTHER’S MOST NEGATIVE COMMENTS. SHE DID NOT LIKE “WISPY” CURTAINS, COLORS OR ANYTHING WITHOUT SOUL OR HEART. IT ALSO IMPLIES A ROOM IS NOT WELL LOVED.
which historical design figure do you most identify with?
susan | MY GRANDMOTHER SISTER PARISH.
which living designer do you most admire?
susan | I LIKE MANY PEOPLE WORKING NOW. MARKHAM ROBERTS, JEFFREY BILHUBER, LIBBY CAMERON, KATIE RIDDER IN THE NORTH EAST. CATHY KINCAID IN THE SOUTH. RUTHIE SUMMERS, LUCAS STUDIO AND RAMEY CAULKINS IN THE WEST. I LOVE WHAT MY MOTHER APPLE BARTLETT DOES WITH HER FANTASTIC COLLAGES AND HER STORE.
what profession other than design would you like to attempt?
susan | I USED TO BE A LAWYER SO THIS IS MY SECOND CAREER. ARTIST PROBABLY - I LOVE COLLAGE, DECOUPAGE, PAINTING.
what is your greatest design extravagance?
susan | FRESH FLOWERS ALL OF THE TIME.
when and where were you happiest with your design?
susan | AT OUR HOUSE IN MAINE, WHICH USED TO BE MY GRANDMOTHERS.
what do you consider your greatest achievement in design?
susan | STARTING SISTER PARISH DESIGN.
if you died and came back as another designer or design object, who or what do you think it would be?
susan | MAYBE AN ANTIQUE GARDEN ORNAMENT OR FOLLY SO I COULD BE IN A GARDEN ALL OF THE TIME - PREFERABLY NEAR THE OCEAN.
what specific design related talent are you lacking that you would you most like to have?
susan | A BETTER KNOWLEDGE OF FURNITURE.
what is your most treasured design related possession?
susan | A GIGANTIC VICTORIAN BIRDCAGE MY GANDMOTHER GAVE ME TO MAKE INTO A DOLL HOUSE WHEN I WAS 12.
what do you regard as the lowest depths of misery in design?
susan | ROOMS THAT LOOK LIKE CRATE AND BARREL CATALOGUES.
what curse word do you most frequently use?
susan | SHIT.
what is your favorite design related word?
susan | PRETTY.
what is your least favorite design related word?
susan | EDITED.
what turns you on in design?
susan | COLOR, IMAGINATION AND COMFORT.
what turns you off in design?
susan | LACK OF THE ABOVE.
what is your motto in design?
susan | OUR COMPANY MOTTO , WHICH IS SOMETHING MY GRANDMOTHER SAID “IN DESIGN, INNOVATION IS THE ABILITY TO REACH INTO THE PAST AND TAKE WHAT IS GOOD, WHAT IS USEFUL AND WHAT IS LASTING.”
ABOUT SISTER PARISH DESIGN | Susan Bartlett Crater, granddaughter of the legendary interior decorator “Sister” Parish, was bemoaning the state of decorating with kindred spirit Libby Cameron, Parish’s last apprentice, when they realized, in Cameron’s words, “…that everything had gotten too white and beige.” In 2000, Susan and Libby teamed up to create Sister Parish Design, which offers fabric and wallpapers from Mrs. Parish’s archives and that of her venerable design firm Parish-Hadley. Susan and Libby’s goal was to resurrect the prints and colors that Sister loved. The resulting collection embodies the charm, warmth and flair of her signature style. From a tidy pattern of dots to a star spangled trellis design, Sister Parish Design fabrics and wallpapers carry on a tradition of the “Parish Hadley” style, of timeless patterns that represent an eclectic mix of materials-both traditional and modern.
ABOUT PROUST ON DESIGN | Answered by our design icons, these must-ask questions come from a 19th century parlor game made popular by Marcel Proust, the French novelist, essayist & critic. Proust believed the direct questions and honest responses that they elicited revealed the true nature of the individual. For this specific column, we have put a design related spin on the traditional questions. While this method of questioning has been used by many journalists throughout the years, we were primarily inspired by The Proust Questionnaire, which appears monthly on the back page of one of our all time favorite magazines, Vanity Fair (also Krista's alma mater).
Proust on Design alumni include Anne Maxwell Foster & Suysel dePedro Cunningham of Tilton Fenwick | Madeline Weinrib | Todd Nickey & Amy Kehoe of Nickey Kehoe | Michelle Nussbaumer | Serena Dugan of Serena & Lily | John Robshaw | Mally Skok | Katie Leede | Peter Dunham | Seema Krish | Zak Profera | ZAK+FOX