Susan Ferrier: Decorate With Jewelry

Susan Ferrier is a native New Yorker who found herself studying interior design in the Deep South. She began a partnership with Bobby McAlpine and Ray Booth in 2000, forming the acclaimed design firm McAlpine, Booth & Ferrier. She and her husband, Adrian, love to travel so much that their passports read like an issue of National Geographic. When they are home, they live just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

I didn’t grow up assuming I would travel the planet, so I’m still like a little kid when I get to go and see a new place – it is such a gift! Travel for me has always been a three-part process: planning the trip, doing the research, and dreaming about what it is going to be. Then there is the actual feet-on-the-ground experience of the place and its culture. It’s really important for me to keep that memory, hold on to what I have learned and apply it to my life. As I move forward, I build on every trip and experience. It’s not just about the travel – it’s the layers after the trip that kind of feather into your life and how you then see the world.

When I first began to travel, I realized it was hard to bring things home and then display them. As a designer I know it’s not about one specific piece but rather the relationship between pieces and how they interact with one another. I realized the best way to document my travel was to actually collect jewelry. I started to understand how important adornment was to all the different cultures that inspired me.

At home, I started leaving the jewelry out, because it was so inspirational and decorative. Seeing the pieces reminds me of the texture of the places I’ve been and the different raw materials available to people and how that dictates their aesthetic, especially in more remote cultures. In Africa, for example, I bought conch shells on ropes that actually signify money in that place. And the strings of amber are so beautiful, you want to layer them in your interior. It makes me so happy to live surrounded by these collections — it’s a way to carry my travels and the people I’ve met with me everyday. 

We were so inspired by Susan’s idea of decorating with accessories, we’ve selected a few of our own collectibles and accessories for design inspiration:


The Hanami Necklace

The Hailey Necklace and Earrings

Follow Susan on twitter @mbfinteriors, on facebook, and on McAlpine, Booth & Ferrier’s homepage. Her book, The Art of the House, is available on Amazon. Photos courtesy of Susan Ferrier.

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