Founded in 2000 and based in Chicago, Soucie Horner has been commissioned for projects throughout the United States, Mexico and the UK. The firm provides interior architecture and interior design services for private clients and SH Studio residential developments. Their interiors illuminate the individuality of each client with a sophistication and flair that serve to refine lifestyle through design. Every detail is considered in creating environments that are comfortably livable and absolutely lovely.
What inspired this career path for you? Shea: My dad was a contractor, so I grew up around construction sites, thinking about space and proportion and detailing. It was only natural I’d end up studying interior design as a way of formalizing what I’d observed as a kid. Martin: I actually got a business degree before I went back to school to study interior design. It was one of those things where I just couldn’t ignore the real calling of my heart, which had always been focused on making things beautiful.
What is your go-to source for inspiration? Martin: We’re both inspired by art, food, music, architecture, fashion, and especially travel. There’s just nothing like leaving your routine, and everything that’s familiar, to absorb new scenery and culture. It’s endlessly inspiring for both of us, and we do it as often as we can.
Tell us about your creative process. Shea: It’s funny you should ask, because at Soucie Horner, we like to say we specialize in not only the creation of beauty, but the business of beauty. As creative as our team is, we take a process-oriented approach to everything we do. It’s an unusual way to design, but we’ve found it keeps our work on schedule, on budget, and most important, uniquely on point for each client’s particular lifestyle.
Describe your style in 6 words or less. Shea: Gracious, timeless, luxurious, refined, and uniquely personal.
What’s a staple in your tool kit? Shea: Wood-finish markers. They’re great for patching scrapes and scratches, and come in a range of stains, from cherry to oak.
Who do you look up to in the design world? Martin: Bill Blass’s New York apartment has always been inspirational for me. I’ve always loved its classic elegance, its symmetry, and its worldliness. Plus, Bill Blass was from Indiana, like me — which made me love it even more. If he could become a big designer having grown up in a small town, so could I.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be? Martin: If I could design a space for anyone, it would be a drawing room for a well-traveled man of the world. Someone who enjoys taking risks and isn’t afraid to embrace the opportunities that come his way. A collector of the finest things life has to offer, and the things that are discovered and gathered while living life to its fullest. I recently had that opportunity while designing our room for the Merchandise Mart DreamHome.
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote. Shea: I love quotes! I love how they can inform and inspire in one little nugget of a sentence. I hired a graffiti artist to paint quotes on my family room walls, so my kids can be surrounded by that same sense of inspiration right in our house. One of my favorite design-oriented quotes is from Steve Jobs. He said, “Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works.” That quote hangs in our offices, as a reminder that beautiful design alone isn’t enough — truly good design has to work for the people who live in a space, and enhance their lives as a result.
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without? Shea: I’m more interested in the intersection between design and other art forms than design just by itself. Show me the corner where fashion and interior design meet, or art and interior design, and then I get excited. I don’t know of any design shows or design magazines doing that right now. Martin: I really admire the romance and the storytelling aspect of Bobby McAlpine’s work, and the way he carries his design sensibility through to his website.
What do you love about Viyet? Martin: We’ve purchased a number of high-quality, sophisticated items on Viyet. They’ve been terrific additions to our rooms. I especially appreciate how easy the purchase process has been, from initial selection all the way through to shipping and delivery. We could not ask for an easier, more convenient way to buy unique product.