Coastal Chic Interiors from Petrie Point Designs

Petrie Point Designs interviewLong Island native Susan Petrie has an eye for creating contemporary homes with their ode to style and modern coastal chic. Dividing her time between New York City and Shelter Island, Susan is renowned for her coastal projects with a mission to move clients away from the nautical design cliche that so often plagues beach homes by mixing antiques and one-of-a-kind, vintage items with unexpected modern design choices. Read on to learn more about Susan and her firm, Petrie Point Designs:

1. Tell us about your journey to working in design.

I've always had a love affair with interiors, long before I was an interior designer myself. Early in my career I worked for magazines developing promotions and events for advertisers, which involved creating and conceptualizing design in one very specific aspect of the industry. The creativity that went into developing layouts and floor plans was appealing to me, and I enjoyed the client interaction too. When I married and found myself having to renovate and decorate an old artist loft in SoHo and a Shelter Island beach home, I become immersed in creating spaces that were personal and reflective of me and my family's lifestyle, while getting a sense of symbiotic palettes, balance, symmetry and overall design. I threw myself into these projects and really relished in the process, and eventually decided to make a shift and go back to school. While I was studying interior design at Parsons I apprenticed for Miles Redd and worked alongside a very talented designer in staging some incredible homes, including a landmarked one by Paul Rudolph. I was exposed to such amazing architecture and design during this time, and learned so much about the process that goes into creating great interiors from being hands on.

Coastal Chic Interiors from Petrie Point Designs2. How did Petrie Point Designs come about?

The process of sourcing all of the décor and furnishings for our Shelter Island home helped me find my calling. I grew up on the North Fork of Long Island and have so much admiration for the area and coastal lifestyle, so I wanted our home to reflect this, but also incorporate a somewhat contemporary design approach. I stumbled upon a vintage infant's 1920’s wool bathing suit that felt so unusual and interesting, nautical but not predictable. I took it, put it in a shadow box and hung it on the wall. It was one of the the first items that made it into our home, and sparked a business venture. I started Petrie Point Designs, re-purposing original, one-of-a-kind framed vintage suits for boutique hotels, private clubs and clients’ homes. As things took off and I naturally become more involved in the design aspect, and as the business evolved I transitioned into a full-time interior designer. The name Petrie Point actually comes from a nickname my father gave a vacation spot of ours. We stayed in Greenport, New York year after year when I was a child, and my father called it “Petrie Point”, as it was an isolated stretch of land that extended out into the Peconic Bay. I named my business after it as an homage to the area I adore and have such fond memories of growing up in.

Petrie Point Designs interview3. How would you describe your style?

I’d say my style is two-fold, beach-chic contemporary and traditional with a contemporary twist. I always like to inject color and something unique, and try to stay away from anything cookie cutter or too expected. While the bulk of my projects are by the beach, I also love working with clients in the city who subscribe to a more modern aesthetic. While it’s two different design approaches, the constant is to create a fresh design with clean, crisp lines, using high quality products (both new and vintage). I try to throw in a bit of whimsy and personal touches that are reflective of the clients’ taste, and always strive to create a space that is a reflective version of themselves in their home.

4. Tell us more about how you work with your clients.

The relationship I have with my clients is so important, as many of them start as friends or we become close in the process. I’ve found that balancing the personal interaction with the service and keeping a level of professionalism is crucial. After all, they invite me into their homes, tell me their stories, share their concerns and let me get to know their families- so having an inclusive, open dialogue is key. I am there to advise, trouble shoot and guide them, offering my vision and sharing my aesthetic to create their dream home, while providing solutions to design dilemmas. I want them to feel heard and ensure that they are contributing to the process, so trust and a good line of communication are key. With any project I like to meet with clients on a regular basis to make sure we’re on the same page about details both large and small. I love the progression – getting to know a clients’ likes and dislikes and understanding their short term and long-term goals with their homes. The icing on the cake is the final reveal. It's bitter sweet as all projects become "my babies", but I'm always thrilled to see client reactions after working together for so long.

5. How do you find the products and brands that you feature?

I am an obsessive shopper and source queen! I scour estate sales for vintage and unique finds with history and am constantly checking in at stores that are my “go to” resources. Trade shows are a great way to see what’s new out there, as are magazines and design books for sparking great ideas. I also find so much inspiration from meeting with other design colleagues and friends to discuss the latest trends and even what one of us might have seen in a movie recently, or on Instagram!

6. What do you love about what you do?

I love what I do, and as with any job there are always surprises and challenges. I always appreciate the process, and am constantly growing and learning by going through the motions with each and every client and project.

Visit our Facebook page on October 10th at 1pm where we will be conducting a Facebook Live interview with Susan!