By Kitty Golding
Kitty & Company will be conducting a series of short interviews with local Chelsea Residents for 52 weeks in order to appreciate differing personalities and design thoughts and styles in our community. Perhaps you will meet someone new through these weekly interviews or perhaps it will be YOU! Stay tuned and follow us each week – we look forward to introducing you to the finesse of 52 Chelsea individuals. Up next – Susan Lynn Whitmarsh.
1.What is your profession and for how long? Yoga Instructor-7 years /Studio Owner of Breathe Yoga -5 years
2.My family members: Son Sam, daughters Rosie and Ellie.
3.People think of me as a peaceful Yogi but I am really just as stressed out as everyone else!
4.When did you move to Chelsea? In the year 2006, from North of London, near Cambridge, England. I am originally from Poole, in Dorset, England.
5.What do you love about where you currently live? This loving , supportive community.
6.If you could have a second home anywhere, where would it be? Back home on the South Coast.
7.What three words describe your style? Mish-mash, Unfussy, and Relaxed.
8.Who most influenced your design styles? No-one really; it's accidental and based on my gut reactions.
9.As you think about the home in which you grew up, what elements did you like and do you think you have incorporated some of them in your own home? I loved the homey, comfortable, lived in feeling in my childhood home. I have continued with that lovely environment and have included family pictures, books, and meaningful pieces passed on to me. Oh – we also have a lot of plants dotted around.
10.When entering your home, you want it to feel: Peaceful.
11.I am most inspired by nature in design.
12.What is one trend you do not like? Pretentious opulence – such as swags, gold plated items, marble, status-driven, stand-on-ceremony type of decor. When I moved to the States I found homes to be unnecessarily large and overdone at times. My first house here was embarrassingly huge and I found myself having to purchase furniture just to fill the space. These spaces were hardly ever used and seemed a waste. I like a home to appear comfortable and lived in, not perfectly 'coiffed' and over styled.
13.Have you ever sought professional help with the interior design of your home ? Yes, but not for a complete project, more as needed for storage aspects and also with some fabric choices.
14.What is the one biggest interior design issue you struggle with? * Clutter – especially now that I work from home.
15.Have you stayed true to a style through the years, or have you fluctuated in your tastes? I have mostly stayed true to a style , however, I have bought less and less through the years. My desire now is to simplify and 'make do', as my mum would say. I am not interested in keeping up with trends or having new stuff. Respecting the environment and reducing my consumption is more important to me than buying new things.
16.Which room in your home gets the most use? Most definitely the open plan kitchen and sitting room.
17.No room is complete without: A throw blanket.
18.If you were moving and could only pick one item from your home to keep, what would it be and why? *My dad was an upholsterer and I have his rocking chair. I would keep this special piece. As a side note: I do have a couple other pieces of furniture my dad made for me - one footstool, which has followed me from house to house. I have another chair that was actually a gift to my parents on their engagement in the 50s. He reupholstered that for me and now my sister and I each have one of the pair.
19.Name an item you purchased for your home that you regret buying: Je regrette rien! Translation: “No, absolutely nothing No, I regret nothing Not the good that has been given Not the bad, it's all the same to me No, absolutely nothing.”
20.If you are a pet owner, how has that influenced your choices in design? *I've learned to love scuffy baseboards, scratching posts and chew toys strewn all over! (Not)
21.I tend to be a Collector of things
22.If you had $1000 to spend on a piece of art, what would you buy? Perhaps a fabric wall hanging – definitely something with texture and or natural elements.
23.What did you do to pass the time during the COVID-19 State shutdown? * I took my business online and I cleared out lots of cupboards.
24.Has any local venue particularly caught your eye ? When I am in Serendipity Books, I feel I have walked right into my parents' front room, and a trip down memory lane ensues.
A few of your favorite things:
Movie: Jean de Florette
Favorite Historical Place: Florence, Italy
Music Style: Many different kinds, from the Police to Sanskrit Chanting.
TV Show: Bagpuss, a British children’s television series
Future Travel Destination: Prague
Things to collect: Books, houseplants, shells, stones and old teacups
Museum: The Natural History Museum in London
Favorite Designer/ Style: William Morris- the leading designer of the Arts and Crafts movement
Item on a bookshelf *The card my sister sent me
Dogs or Cats? Both My dog is a 10 year old Cockapoo, named Milly, and we have 3 cats: Sir Thomas, Little Titteen, and Madame Calico, who is the Matriarch of the house.
Kitty’s Note: Susan is a respected Chelsea business owner and has a beautiful yoga studio on Middle Street, downtown, named, “Breathe”. We certainly connect over the classic Arts and Crafts style- it has always been a favorite of mine..and her comments about opulence ring home with me as well, in fact one of my favorite books is about small homes. From all the photos shared with me by Susan, (not all could be printed) Susan is talented at making her house and her studio a haven.