At home with the Green Door

Designing and decorating a home is either something you love, or something you wish you could live without. For Susan Swanson — owner, interior designer and store curator of The Green Doora gift and home accessories shop in East Greenwich, RI — it’s pure love. Susan has had a love of design since she was in high school when she served on Seventeen Magazine’s “Fashion Board,” and it just comes naturally.

The living room in Susan Swanson's home; the glass display case houses a portion of her vintage.

The living room in Susan Swanson’s home; the glass display case houses a portion of her vintage.

“I love making things look good,” says Susan. “I have always been very aware of how my living space affects the way I feel.” With her passion for design and aesthetic sensibilities, Susan has helped many homeowners create beautiful living spaces. “Whether furnishing an empty room or remodeling and updating an existing, fully furnished home, I truly enjoy the process of collaborating with my clients,” she says.

Susan’s clients recently weighed in on their experiences working with her:

· From Jill Stockman: “I fell in love with The Green Door. I had grown up in the land of ‘Martha’ (Stewart) and Susan’s decorating skills reminded me of hers…her taste in gifts, visual merchandising and display and the ambiance of the whole store.” When it came time to furnish her home in East Greenwich years later, she turned to Susan. “It’s just not my thing to look at 50 shades of white or pour through 15 different wallpaper books.” Susan was happy to do just that and she assisted Jill and her husband with creating a home that reflected their “Stockman lifestyle.” Susan has since helped with another home, as they downsized three years ago.

· From Meredith MarcAurele: After working with Susan on two previous projects, Meredith tasked Susan with a tall order: transform a 70-year-old, three-story family beach house shared by three families into a winterized year-round home (while holding onto that summer decor). Susan was responsible for decorating three floors of living space, each with its own unique colors, fabrics, furniture, rugs, window treatments and accessories. “Susan’s innate ability to select the perfect colors for any style home is one of her greatest talents,” says Meredith.

· From Patty Miller: Susan assisted in decorating both their home and their condo. In Patty’s eyes, Susan is a “miracle worker.” In just several days, she helped Patty choose oriental rugs, wall coverings, paint, furniture and accessories for both properties. “There is a timelessness about Susan’s work. It doesn’t get old. She decorated my house over three years ago, and I think I appreciate it more and more with each passing year.”

· From Sue and Perry Clough: This couple credits Susan with doing something no other decorator could do: get them to agree! “Over the years, we’ve worked with perhaps five decorators on three homes. Some were talented but unreliable. Others were reliable but dull,” says Perry. “Susan broke the mold. Very talented, listens carefully, takes an OK idea and makes it great. We’re 100 percent pleased.”

· From Erica Blackman: Susan is an “absolute genius” who turned Blackman’s “simple ranch home into a designer showcase,” with only a few photographs and roughly sketched floor plan sent via email. “Within days, Susan had emailed me paint colors and Thibaut wall coverings for each room. She was able to look at the fabric on my furniture and come up with an instant plan. The way each room flows together is incredible!”

· From Maryann Chamides: “Susan has been my decorator for three homes in three different states. Her service does not stop at her consultation. She is attentive to even the smallest detail: a gorgeous flower arrangement, dinnerware, wall hangings, which she brings to the home and arranges beautifully. She takes all the stress out of decorating.”

Article published in 2013-14 annual issue.

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