Suzanne Pollak is the dean of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits in South Carolina, along with Lee Manigault. Suzanne and Lee established the academy in order to promote domestic pursuits, after a noticing a decline in the familiarity of important domestic skills, and a subsequent decline in quality of life. Suzanne is also the co-author of two books, Entertaining for Dummies and The Pat Conroy Cookbook. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Suzanne Pollak.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
I love juxtaposing the old with the new, such as living in an 18th C house and creating a contemporary interior. Also adore contrasting opulent with plain, such as an on sale Create and Barrel round dining table chopped down to make a very low coffee table sitting underneath a magnificent square chandelier, that cost too much but will be a family treasure. Do you want a photo here?
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
Go into the space and let it speak to you. This may sound crazy but objects and spaces want certain things. A chandelier, if you just listen, is telling you to turn it down so it can turn you on. A dining room is yelling ‘why don’t you ever come in here?’. Chairs love big booty. Sideboards are proud wallflowers. Imagine the future good times in the space and what objects should fill the space to support your vision.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
One eye above all others in the world. James de Givenchy, of Taffin jewelry, has an design eye that is original, beyond creative and supremely beautiful. He sees space, objects, color and proportion differently than others.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
I go for a walk in a beautiful place, or pay attention to the relaxing moments before I fall asleep. Those are the times that ideas pop into my brain fully formed, at the most random moments. I need to be present and pay attention.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
I have come to this point in my career because of my unique background of growing up all over Africa, becoming a very young mother of four children, and learning how to use a house as a tool for living. My advice is simple. Listen to your instincts, they are correct for you. Don’t copy, be an original.