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Susan’s Style File: High Point Market 2017

Susan’s Style File: High Point Market 2017

Each October Market brings the anticipation of new style directions, color inspirations, and crowds of stylish designers seeking inspiration and beauty! *sigh*

My first appointment was at the Vanguard showroom where we were greeted with three full hours of #purestyle inspiration. While grays and soft creams still dominate the design world, accents of chartreuse, deep plum, and sexy soft pink are here to make their own statement.

This fabulously different ombré finished round coffee table with its mirrored top seriously needs a home in my store! Or, maybe yours…I can arrange that too.


Following the lead from the recent Paris Maison trade show, the showroom boasted influences from the Art Deco era, with soft and sexy curves, mellow colors and fabulous hardware.

This curvy quaint side table is the perfect companion to the ombré coffee table. Oh. My. I’ll take two!


And talk about high style…this chair speaks to my heart. Several colors in the finish available + hundreds of fabrics make this stylish chair one to take note of. Curves, metal accents and sexy legs speak to the Art Deco influence predicted from Paris. Yes!


For the last several markets, pink has been important in color stories for all categories. Whether in upholstery, accessories, art, pillows, or walls, pink is a trending influence, and I, for one, am thrilled!

in this photo from the Vanguard showroom, soft pink upholstery on the bed and bench — with an unexpected touch of pattern and color in the contrasting pillows — makes this room sing with style!

One day behind and several more to come! Follow my Style File reports each day for my favorite picks and “ohsosusan” notes!

Susan’s Stylewatch Report #hpmkt2017 | Day 5: Black and White

Susan’s Stylewatch Report #hpmkt2017 | Day 5: Black and White

Our last day at market was another rain-filled day…gloomy, windy, cold, and nearly impossible to get from building to building without getting drenched! Whew! You really have to be a diehard buyer to persevere! But we’ll do just about anything to bring back style.

There were loads of examples of the black and white trend, and I edited a handful of my High Point Market photos to give you some inspiration! And even better, I just painted my foyer accent wall just inside the front door at Black-eyed Susan, I also want to give you guys a good recommendation on my new unu scooter which is a great transportation…you guessed it, black! Somehow, we get a step ahead before we see these trends becoming just that, trends! Stop in and see for yourself the bold beauty and neutral impact black can have. Walls, accessories, art…try some black in your own design!

This room uses black primarily in the art and the accent pillows. Everything else; walls, rug, upholster, table…stays white in contrast. I’m in love with it!

A little texture in solids really helps too. The bold black and white print makes for a strong contrast. I’m always saying that strong contrast can be as effective as strong color. Here you can see it for yourself.

This white organic table, carved like tree branches, sets the stage for the strength of the black lamp base. Perfect harmony…black and white. 

This room brings the drama of a black glass table into focus. Black is dramatic with all finishes in the gold or silver tones. Still, with a neutral sofa, the black table is the focal point by nature. A black wall behind the sofa puts the light sofa on stage.

Here you go, the black wall! Most of the time I saw a flat finish used. Silver metal table, but white accessories! Light sofa and light art…it’s a formula that really works!

Here’s an overall view of that same room. Wowza! Black. I’m really loving this strong color!

Walls and art play the black and white game perfectly here. Note the three white vases in perfect line. Black accessories on the coffee table…white books…you can’t see it, but even the chandelier shade was black! If there ever was a time you wanted to throw in a little color, say a hot pink or chartreuse green…well, that would work too! Ahhhhhh!

Another room with a black wall. Note the molding and wall are all painted black! A dark charcoal chair works nicely with the wall and of course, the white side table offers strong contrast and fabulous accent to the room. The floor is a bit blackened in the stain finish. Overall, a perfect formula for success!

This last example pretty much sums up the success of the black and white theme that every major showroom used! Black walls, black and white geometric art, black and white graphic pillows, white sofa, white table and dark if not black accents. A black printed menswear-ish chair fabric, and you have a fabulous room!

If you haven’t been to the store for a while, you can see my version of black and white with a grand Vanguard sectional that arrived just in time for my recent floor change! Black tweed sofa, black and white pillows, black and chrome accessories, fur rug…it’s a winner. I’m finding this color palette to be extremely versatile and strikingly bold all at the same time. 

If you’re starting a new room and gathering ideas, put this one in the forefront of your idea folder. Do a little searching on Pinterest and Instagram and you’re bound to see plenty of inspiration! I’m really pleased with the new look incorporated into Black-eyed Susan. Stop in and see for yourself!

(Susan’s front foyer at Black-eyed Susan!) #ohsosusan #purestyle #paintismymagicwand

Small on Space, Big on Ideas

Small on Space, Big on Ideas

black-eyed-susan_latern_local-living-magazineYou know that spring is just around the corner when designers are counting down the days to Press Day for the Bucks County Designer House. It seems quite simply impossible that the lacquered lipstick pink dining room I created for last year’s house is a thing of the past and the finishing touches for this year’s house are nigh at hand.

The process begins when local designers are asked to view the home, select their first, second and third choices, and then submitting the best design idea to support their choices; there is a lot that goes into making your selection. Sometimes it’s about the size of the room. How many windows are there to dress? Are the fl oors in good or bad shape? Is it a pass through room, or a prominent room? Can you get furniture through the doors? Are there steps to maneuver? Lots of thinking, measuring and visualizing.

I’ll just say that it doesn’t always go like you wish! There have been times that I’ve been asked to design a room that I immediately thought was the “worst room in the house” upon first look. Other times I’ve been overwhelmed by the assignment. Each time I accept a position on the design team the thought process begins, design ideas abound and the work is charted.

This year, my assignment is a tiny 8×10 room that is a pass through between the master bedroom and the baby nursery. Not much light… one outlet… plaster needing repair. Quite a challenge. The one thing that I was drawn to was a ceiling formerly wallpapered with vintage sheet music. This too, was in need of signifi cant repair. This was my inspiration! My mind was instantly fi lled with organic natural collections… cloched objects, nests, branches and bird motifs. Reclaimed furniture and burlap fabric are in my design plan. Once I had this vision, the rest of the work began.

For months, purchases from 20 vendors have been coming into the stockroom at Black-eyed Susan. If you could just hear the words of my staff, “Really, Susan, all this is going to fi t in that tiny room?” I would simply nod and ask them to set it aside for my special purpose. Lighting, containers, lanterns, collector’s boxes, books, wood chips, exotic mosses, all things organic in nature. I even found the perfect linen chair with an outside contrast fabric in burlap!

Suddenly, my room was taking on its personality. I chose a dramatic color for the walls, a fabulously gray neutral for the trim and reworked the ceiling, keeping the vintage music! Yes, my tiny 8×10 room is suddenly spectacular. Inspiring. Engaging.

At the end of several days of thoughtful, creative work and lots of help from my talented staff, I think pretty much what I do every year… “I think this might be my favorite room ever.”

Come see the magic.


by Susan Taylor, Local Living Magazine

10 Ways to Wake UP Your Kitchen!

10 Ways to Wake UP Your Kitchen!

black-eyed-susan_dining-set_local-living-magazineOkay, so you have a perfectly good kitchen…layout works, and the cabinets are solid, but something needs a little lift! There are plenty of ideas that don’t involve a demo team or disrupting your life and home. Here are a few.

Color is one of my most transforming magic tricks. If you don’t feel like trying the new Radiant Orchid or my personal favorite, SW Yam on your walls and ceiling, you could get a pop of style with an oversized sculpture… try a lacquered orange 14″ apple. Oh. My.

Using my paint wand, transform the entire kitchen with painted cabinets. If you are ambitious and willing to do a little Internet study, you can tackle this yourself with success…or you can call me for a professional! I just finished a fabulous kitchen in Charleston, SC in three shades of gray… it’s a show-stopper!

While you are mulling over your new painted doors, consider new hardware. New jewelry always picks up my mood, and it can do wonders for your kitchen too… new hardware and wow light fixtures will put you on the road to style.

Why not remove the top doors of your cabinets for the look of more industrial open shelving? Paint the backs of the shelves with a pop of color… turquoise, chrome yellow, or porpoise. Add a colorful rug, and voila! Your room sings.

Your kitchen walls become the canvas for personality when you hang a favorite collection. A vintage tea towel becomes a focal point when hung under an old carved frame. This favorite collection of special sterling forks hung within the footprint of an ornate oval frame has always been a personal favorite for me. A modern kitchen gets instant character and smiles with style.

Hang a wild card light fixture, such as a turquoise papier Mâché chandelier or an unexpected purchase from the Paris Flea Market, dripping with crystals… my personal choice! It will travel with me to any kitchen. Wow.

Wallpaper is so unexpected in the kitchen and more durable than you think. Bold graphic pattern or tone on tone neutral… it could be the personality you need. Anaglypta paper on the ceiling is a great way to add instant age and architectural interest. It resembles old tin pressed tiles and can be found in a variety of patterns. Paint it in a metallic sheen or stunning satin hue. You’ll get a rave review.

Bring in a tall glass vase with oversized branches and blooms. Seasonal cuttings are always dripping with drama and you will find their fake cousins at my store for substituting when needed. Your friends won’t know the difference! Yellow, orange, white, lime… oh so Susan.

Several years ago, while designing a kitchen in Charlotte, NC, I substituted antique mirror for glass in an accent cabinet. It was the drama we needed and the wow factor of the mirror also eliminated the need for interest or neatness behind the glass. It’s an easy substitute and we even sell DIY kits for antiquing mirrors. You’ll love this easy transformation.

With a little imagination and energy from a few of my tips, you can wake up your kitchen with a new look, outside the box design and original style. Go for it.


by Susan Taylor, Local Living Magazine

Tied Up with a Bow

Tied Up with a Bow

stylebox-designs-suburban-life-magazineInterior designer and decorator Susan Taylor has been operating her local studio, Black-eyed Susan, out of Bucks County for many years. Recently, though, Taylor has responded to the need for a service somewhere between full-service design and piecemeal home purchases. As she explains in an exclusive interview, her new service—StyleBox—allows Taylor and her staff to offer individualized professional advice to clients who enjoy doing decorating their homes themselves, wherever they may live.

Read the full article on Suburban Life Magazine.


by Sharon A. Shaw, Suburban Life Magazine

Order by Design

Order by Design

black-eyed-susan_lamp_local-living-magazineThat urge to purge hits all of us occasionally. The trending towards minimalism and clean lines embraces this need, calling us all to re-examine what we live with. Having been a serious collector for many years hasn’t helped my “stash” shall we call it? Books, silver trays, monogramed silverware, cake plates, butter pats, and glass cloches just to name some of my favorites… I have too many. So, when the opportunity came my way to write about clutter free spaces, I had to turn a blind eye to the massive amounts of my favorite things that are sitting in piles, waiting to be sorted and placed in new homes. If you’ve been following my articles, you know that I have been in a long drawn out process of re-designing many of my personal spaces. Now the task of editing and incorporating my favorite things into my new chic look is challenging!

Let’s face it: the style now is to revel in clean, pure minimalism. But it doesn’t have to be boring. “X” may mark the spot, but so do triangles, circles and squares. Reinventing the modern lifestyle with geometry-inspired designs can provoke and captivate this look, leading to uncluttered and interesting personal design. And how do I work some of my favorite and cherished collections into the mix?

I’ve replaced many of my crystal dripped vintage chandeliers (28 to be exact) with modern drum shaded fixtures. I’m in love with the high gloss orange one I hung in the family room. There are still crystal accents, but they are modern bubbles, not multi-faceted 100 year old ones. Mirrors are style-infused and sizzling hot. They are cleaner and less carved-round sunbursts or glamorous mirrored frames around the mirror itself. Perhaps a high gloss lacquered one… navy you say?

And then there’s the art. Vibrant watercolors, exotic batiks and lots of navy and white. Clean, crisp stripes and chevron patterns call for a look of more order. The masses of personal photographs dotting multiple surfaces are passé. While there is always a place for generational photographs, they should be framed to be used as larger wall art and kept in more personal spaces such as bedrooms and hallways.

Even the style of our floral accents has changed to a more minimal attraction. I had a pang of sadness when I sold the massive and stunningly colorful center hall arrangement that had dressed my foyer library table for ten years. Consider using three of a kind, perhaps tall clear cylinders with dramatic orchids. Yes, it’s more towards the clean and exact.

Finding order in the new direction of interior design is simple with the right inspiration. Browse through your favorite publications and stroll through the most current retail design studios. You’ll be inspired and with a little help      from your trusted design professional, you will find your perfect mix.

It’s all about style. Clean, pure style. Now, what about those 20 cake plates? I’m pretty sure I can work them into my plan.

I like cake.


by Susan Taylor, Local Living Magazine

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