From the moment you walk into a home, it should communicate to your senses and complement a myriad of daily experiences. Just like a song on the radio can transcend to a memory from long ago, the design of a home can literally change a mood or even how people live. As a certified NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) with more than 30 years of experience, Susan Witman, ASID, takes on this role with pleasure.
For Susan, senses come into play long before clients see results. From the start, it’s about listening and seeing and feeling. It’s an open-minded view of a space and her special attention to details, which is why the average person can’t see the importance of each and every choice. “It’s important to understand how each element can touch an emotion and play a role in defining the atmosphere of a home,” says Susan. “Our lives are elevated when we experience beauty, joy, and comfort in concert with the mechanics of how we live.”
At a young age Susan was seduced by the challenge of creating spaces that improve the way people live. What began as a youthful love of flea markets, farm-sales, and auctions soon grew into a passion for turning unexpected resources into elements that make a room shine with personality and highlight architectural aspects. Based in Ketchum, Susan has spent her career working in many different parts of the country cultivating relationships and design influence from all walks of life.
“Inspiration is a journey and comes from an accumulation of experiences that evolves with every project, every person I’ve met, every city I’ve visited, essentially everything I’ve ever done. I don’t have a specific style,” says Susan. “That’s the beauty of it. It’s about developing a heightened level of communication and trust with clients and industry experts. It’s about being open-minded and having the ability and the experience to see what isn’t there (yet).”
There are times, with the clients’ goals in mind, when Susan needs to gently push their boundaries and times when she needs to be more modest and tread lightly, both because she has taken the time to know a client so well that she understands how a certain decision can be a factor in how they live. Every room in a home is associated with a memory and a value, Susan explains. It’s her job as a designer to think through every situation and decision with confidence, experience, and a clear understanding of how it fits within her clients’ lives. The result is a home style that is perfectly suited for that client and one that will last a lifetime.
According to Susan, homes are more personal than perfect, more loved than lived in. Achieving the ultimate balance is the result of true collaboration and partnership, not only between designer and client, but also between designer and architect, general contractor, plumber, and electrician, to name a few. The melding of combined experience and decision-making is what creates a home that truly lives with you.
“IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW EACH ELEMENT CAN TOUCH AN EMOTION AND PLAY A ROLE IN DEFINING THE ATMOSPHERE OF A HOME.” –SUSAN WITMAN, ASID
Bringing her in early on a project and making beautiful decisions is affordable whether she’s on a micro or a macro project. “In fact,” she states, “indecision is expensive.” While not required, early involvement is ideal and allows clients to enter the building phase with decisions made, which results in efficiencies on all levels. Architects are able to provide more complete plans. Builders are able to order materials and schedule sub-contractors based on real specifications and real timelines.
The value of having a full team in place from the beginning of any project cannot be underestimated. This is where Susan and her team can play the largest role in ensuring every project is a success. Many clients come to the table with a vision but don’t know how to pull it together—Susan helps them do that. Especially when blending styles so the home works for the whole family. She also helps clients stay on track and within budget.
Conflicting styles and the amount of products available can be overstimulating and can often bring on decision paralysis and/or scope creep. Susan’s primary role is to help clients navigate through every step and provide clear details to the builder or the next phase of the project, in turn, giving every person involved a strong foundation. (Pun intended.)
“I love this industry,” says Susan. “It is constantly changing and evolving, which allows each and every client to develop his or her own creative path and journey. I get to help them realize their dreams. I’m always looking to cultivate new style and new vision and adapt it to live through all phases of my clients’ lives. There is no single style that works for everyone and it takes a true open mind to cultivate someone else’s vision and help define what is most relevant, honest, and true for him or her.”
It’s not how Susan looks at the world that makes her a highly-sought-after designer, it’s that she knows how her clients look at the world as well as her ability to apply that knowledge to her designs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL SUSAN WITMAN INTERIOR DESIGN AT 208.726.3639 OR VISIT SWIDSUNVALLEY.COM.