Susan Wintersteen, the founder of Savvy Interiors in San Diego, aims to create joy through everything she does. We spoke with Wintersteen, who is part of our Trade Program, about how she brings together texture, color and do-good design.
How would you describe your aesthetic? I like I a lot of different styles, but often find myself doing a heavily textured California-coastal look.
From where do you draw your inspiration? Everywhere. I love beaches, the color palette in nature and the herringbone floors and marble in Italy. I love Kate Lester Interiors in L.A., Jean Stoffer Design in Michigan and Kristen Forgione of the LifeStyled, Co. out of Arizona. They’re each so different.
What should every home include? A really good well-made sofa for the family room, some sort of architectural detail — paneling or millwork — and wallpaper. Anyplace I can put wallpaper, I will. I love it.
What design element do you think people should use more? Aside from wallpaper, color on upholstery. With performance fabrics out there, there’s no reason not to do bright colors, like peacocks and berries. Also vintage pieces — I love doing a richly colored contemporary sofa mixed with antiques.
Speaking of colors and materials, what else are you loving right now? Honed materials, such as honed marbles and quartz for countertops. Also mixing blonder woods with alders and knotty woods. I’m getting into richer, warmer wood tones and mixing in black matte tile and emerald greens.
What’s one of your favorite design memories? My heart is with my nonprofit. I thought the very first room we did would be a one-off. I never thought it would grow the way that it has. I knew the healing benefits [the makeover] had for that child who was fighting through cancer. It’s one of my most memorable and rewarding experiences.
Can you tell us more about your nonprofit, Savvy Giving by Design? We make over rooms for kids who are undergoing a medical crisis. It’s really exciting to get designers involved. We make sure to use materials that are safe, healthy, organic and waterproof, as well as whimsical and fun. We have eight chapters around the country and are opening another six in 2019.
Read more about Susan’s nonprofit, Savvy Giving by Design, here.