Susan Sully is the author and photographer of many books about architecture and design published by Rizzoli International Publications, The Monacelli Press, Stewart Tabori & Chang, and Clarkson Potter. These include Past Present: Living with Heirlooms and Antiques, The Southern Cosmopolitan, The Southern Cottage, Charleston Style, Savannah Style, and New Moroccan Style. Sully also co-authors books with leading architects and interior designers including Bobby McAlpine, Susan Ferrier, Phoebe Howard, Norman Askins, and Ken Tate.
A graduate of Yale University with a degree in art history, Sully has contributed articles to The New York Times, Town & Country Travel, Veranda, Southern Accents, Martha Stewart Living, and other publications. Her books have been reviewed and excerpted in magazines including World of Interiors, Veranda, Architectural Digest, Town & Country, House Beautiful, and Southern Accents. She lectures frequently on the subject of architecture and design at organizations including Sotheby’s Institute, the Smithsonian’s National Building Museum, garden clubs, antiques shows, and design centers. Visit the lectures page for more information.
Sully’s expertise in architecture and interiors is rooted in an early familiarity with the houses of New England (she grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut) and the South (her extended family lived in Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas). She describes herself as having dual citizenship—a factor informing her ability to appreciate the distinct styles of both regions. Childhood travels to the cultural capitols of the world sewed seeds for a fascination with the antique roots of architecture and design. Fostered by famed Yale University architectural historian Vincent Scully, Sully’s approach balances an interest in historical fact with a passion for the human feelings expressed and evoked by buildings and their contents. “I am an architectural medium,” says Sully. “Houses talk, I listen, and then I tell their stories.”
Sully lives in Charleston, South Carolina, in a mid-century modern house filled with 19th– and early 20th-century furnishings. “I don’t know if I would have had the courage to mix things up like this if I hadn’t written Past Present,” she says. “I chose this house because it provides a simple backdrop for displaying elaborate things.” In her new blog, Sully shares lessons she has learned from the diverse residences featured in the book and ongoing insights into living with heirlooms and antiques. “I honor family hand-me-downs ranging from gold-rimmed goblets to tousled toys by keeping them sight and use. Even if you don’t have space to enjoy everything at once, treat your house like a petting museum with a constantly rotating menagerie of touchable things.”