Designer Susan Currie helps a North Shore couple feather an almost empty nest
Photos by Jacqueline Marque
At a Glance
Susan Currie Design
High ceilings, pilasters in the piano room and living area, abundant natural light, throughout the home, use of art to add color to the neutral walls.
Four years ago, having raised their three daughters (the youngest, was still a high school senior at home), Diana and Jay Cole decided to downsize to a smaller, newly built house in Covington’s Terra Bella development. The new address would be more than just a move; with the help of New Orleans- and Atlanta-based interior designer Susan Currie, it would be a fresh start for the next chapter of their lives.
“Our vision was to have someone come in and do a nice design, but also give it our personalities as well,” says Diana.
“They spend a lot of time at home,” says Currie. “It was an opportunity to take a home built by a builder and add features that made it personal.”
When the Coles hired Currie, they had already gotten rid of most of their furnishings from their previous house. Currie had the luxury of starting from scratch, and because she anchors most of her interiors with timeless pieces, she was well-suited to working with a blank slate. Decorated in two years, the house reads as if it’s been collected over a longer time. Vintage and reproduction pieces with period details provide polished elegance; distressed finishes and rustic woods impart warmth; contemporary designs such as minimal, sculptural lamps modernize the classic traditionalism.
“She’s great about layering,” says Diana. “It doesn’t look like we bought everything new.”
A few changes and upgrades were made to the house. Currie designed a drop-down counter crafted for one end of the kitchen island, replaced the existing hodgepodge of lighting fixtures with a curated selection of chandeliers and brought a single flourish of pattern to the white wall of the interior with a subtle floral paper in the powder room. Because the Coles’ youngest daughter is a singer and songwriter, the designer turned the formal dining room into a music room with the family’s baby grand piano. For the couple, she created a multi-use room that accommodates guests with a sleeper sofa, serves as a home office for Diana and includes an antique map of Louisiana, which speaks to Jay’s love of maps.
She also personalized the décor by repurposing furnishings where necessary and including custom detailing. Modifications were made to the vintage end tables purchased for the Coles’ daughter’s room so that they work as a pair, for example, while tufted backs and nail head trim elevate the arrangement of seating in the living room.
Color, one of Currie’s trademarks, enlivens the white envelope of the interior. Upholstery, pillows, rugs, custom shades and draperies, bedding and art were chosen in a calming palette ranging from dusty pastels to vibrant beachy hues. The art, found almost entirely through Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans, includes several abstract paintings the color of Florida’s clear blue skies and water.
“We had to pull three people’s visions together,” says Diana. “Susan was able to do that and make it into a home that we all love.”