One of the many beautiful things adorning the walls of Susie’s home is a special piece of art titled “Guardian of the Adventurer”. I can’t think of a better way to describe the entirety of her home. Walking in, I immediately felt safe and welcome and like I had just stepped into a treasure trove. Susie herself is quite the adventurer, and her home is a perfect capsule of the many places she has been, the loved ones she has experienced life with, and the beautiful art she has both collected and created herself along the way.
A native of Oak Ridge, Susie spent many years with her husband, Carl, living abroad and in the D.C. area. When she returned to Tennessee in 2015, she settled into her home and has transformed her space into a wonderful collection of stories and past and present memories. With a fondness for where she’s come from and an excitement for what the future holds, her sense of adventure is contagious.
When I asked Susie what home means to her she described it as her nest, her safe haven-- and one that she can open up and extend to others as well. Home is her happy place, and it’s filled with the stories of her life. When people come into Susie’s home, her desire is that they feel loved and welcome. She loves creating a comfortable place that evokes curiosity and invites questions and storytelling.
Susie’s decor leans toward traditional with a deep love for antiques (including some incredible European pieces) and a bit of quirkiness thrown in. One of her go-to spots for furniture and home decor was Westwood Antiques of Knoxville, which closed in 2018. The owner, Scott Bishop, now has a booth at Bearden Antique Mall. A self-proclaimed lover of all things hand made, she has a special love for created items. Artwork of all sorts graces her home, including carvings, sculptures, quilts, paintings, antique samplers, lithographs, and mixed media pieces. Susie shares that she’s had a good sense of her design leanings for as long as she can remember. She’s always loved antiques and folk art and has always gravitated towards certain colors.
I was intrigued by how travel had influenced Susie’s decorating, and she shared that early on in her marriage, while they were living in Europe, they would purchase a piece of artwork in each place they visited. Sometimes it was a print or a lithograph and sometimes it was an original painting, but they always brought back a memory. As an Army wife, she was heavily influenced by the people she met and the places she visited in their travels.
If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Susie shares, “The above quote has always been my mantra for creating the 13 homes I’ve lived in as we’ve moved all over the world. As an Army family who had to relocate often, it was very important for Carl and I to make each place special—unique, our own, no matter if it was an Army-furnished set of quarters with generic furniture, a temporary apartment, or our dream home.”
In the same way, Susie’s own creativity and art has influenced her home. She has beautiful quilts, sketches, and other crafted creations throughout her home. She considers her home a large- scale photo album of her life.
In the same way that Susie has collected art and artifacts, she’s also collected people and brought them into her clan, blending and connecting beautiful things and friendships in new and synergistic ways. Thank you so much Susie for opening up your amazing home and sharing part of your story with us!