With over 20 years of experience as interior designer with projects throughout the US and Mexico and having been published numerous times in major shelter magazines like Southern Living and Traditional Home, Susan Jamieson, owner of Bridget Beari Interiors, has long earned herself a place in the Who’s Who of American interior design and yet, each one of her projects strikes me as fresh and spontaneous.
Unexpected elements like the Buddha chair have a place in all of Susan’s designs, including this serene beach house.
Her design philosophy, ‘Good design comes from the ability to visualize the potential in every space’ seems simple but really it means that she has the ability to carefully listen to both, the space and its owners and to develop design concepts that fit the client and the architecture whilst maintaining that signature style of easy living paired with unexpected elements.
Soft colors meet interesting shapes and textures in this beach house bedroom. Notice the metallic effect on the coffee table and slightly over scaled wingback chairs.
Susan is one of five designers we’ve invited to become the DXV Design Panel 2016 and while we eagerly await the launch of the projects in New York City in September, I was able to take a few minutes to talk to Susan about her work, her life and her vision.
A guest bedroom is kept purposely minimalist with built in alcoves instead of night stand to hold essential items without wasting space.
1. Where, when and why did you start your design business?
I wanted to be a stock broker so I went to college for that but Economics 101 was extremely boring and not what I expected. Instead, I moved on to College of William and Mary in Williamsburg to obtain my degree in art history and studio art and later I got a second degree in design at Virginia Commonwealth University. I worked for designer in Richmond during school and stayed on with her for another two years afterwards. In 1992 I started my own design firm, named after two dogs Bridget and Beari. So no, my name is not Bridget Beari!
Design helps people live better. By optimizing the functionality of a space and creating an environment that is aesthetically pleasing people in that space feel more comfortable and relaxed or, in the case of a commercial space, may even be more energized. It’s hard for me to be in a space that is not designed well. A person’s wellbeing is directly impacted by the space they find themselves in, by the color, light sources, finishes, comfort levels of furnishings and ergonomics. Design is just very important and it is everywhere.
3. What are the goals you want to achieve in any design you create?
It has to have proper proportion, proper scale and it needs to function.
4. What challenges do you face in your design process?
The biggest challenge is to get clients to understand creativity and to step outside the box sometimes. Our goal every year is to be more creative. Every project, even if it is small, always starts with “what if we did this?” and the clients always want to revisit that idea. This process creates ongoing inspiration for myself and my team as well as for the client.
5. What do you think your design brings to the industry?
My philosophy is to always start with the architecture. I’m looking at architecture and what I can do to enhance it, if there is no architecture I look how I can bring style to that space and how I can make it function well for the client. I don’t typically work in the same style, instead I base my design on how I feel about the architecture.
6. What would you like to achieve in your work in the future?
I want to do a hotel or an apartment building that is centered around dogs. We are very dedicated to the rescue of pets and animals of all types. It would be a nice goal to have that come full circle. Another goal is to finish a book on Bridget Beari color rules, using the paint colors we’ve created and how to achieve a great space with those colors.
7. What would you like to see change or evolve in the design industry?
I would like to see more creativity in the industry. The two color scheme room has got to go. I would like to see more unique design. I like to see a room pulling elements from different backgrounds and making it work. I like the look of a collected space which can still be minimal if you do it right.
8. What is your favorite kind of design project?
The one where you start in the very beginning with the architect. You’re inspiring them, they are inspiring you. Start at the beginning when everyone is working together, that is the best scenario. You don’t have to have the same vision, just need to work well together.