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April 2014

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From design gems to sparkling people, the April issue of SCENE will light up your world.

The Design Talent of Susan Dabney Print E-mail

By Sue Cullen

As a designer of luxury interiors, Susan Dabney understands the power of balance and simplicity, enlivened with the unexpected, to create beautiful spaces that enhance the interactions and relationships of those who live within them.

Dabney has created stunning interiors for private residences nationally, and as a testament to her ability to meld design and functionality seamlessly, has more recently crafted interiors for luxury yachts around the world. In October, her talent landed her among the top 12 yacht designers in the 14th edition of “Mega Yachts,” a book celebrating concept, design, and construction of the world’s most luxurious sea-going vessels.

Closer to home, she has been involved in a number of exclusive new projects from the ground up, including the Ritz Carlton Tower Residence, Ritz Carlton Beach Residence, Ritz Carlton Hotel and Residence, Somerset Cay, Seagrove, and Orchid Beach Club.

Rather than focusing on particular styles or trends, Dabney keeps her creativity focused on her client’s needs and desires. “It is my obligation to interpret my clients’ styles according to their sensitivities. Ultimately, it’s about what makes them feel good,” she says. “I am not influenced by trends, which by their nature, focus on large groups. I am influenced by my clients’ lifestyles. I enjoy being challenged by their diverse and unique requests.”

While focused on her clients, she also has a firm conception of style and livability as well as the possibilities that are being created by emerging technologies. “What I envision is more balance and simplicity in design. It is important to avoid things that are too clean, too clear, and that have tones that are too similar. This results in spaces that will become dull,” Dabney says. “I have always believed in contrasting tones, textures, and color. I like the unexpected. LED lighting is making a huge impact on design as well. You can control the color and even make it resemble the color of natural sunlight.”

Dabney, who is an Allied member of ASID, has a bachelor’s degree in textile design allowing her to create beautiful spaces that balance design, humanity, and sustainability. “I have clients with a wide range of requests from real leather, exotic wood, and natural stone to more ecological selections,” she says. “Luxury doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. Materials and objects that have been repurposed can have a very luxurious appearance if properly approached in the design.”

One of the key factors in Dabney’s success is her complete understanding of the client she serves. Working with international clients has aided her ability to convey her ideas with visuals, displaying a design, style, and beauty that go beyond language. “The best reaction is when my client is overcome with joy,” she says, “and the best testament is when they come back to work with me on multiple projects, which the majority of my clients have done.”

To reach Susan Dabney, call 941.350.2981, email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit www.SWDstyle.com

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