Sue Kelly of Fairbanks Interiors
Based in Solana Beach, Fairbanks Interiors embraces the challenge of creating custom-tailored environments for their clients
Her style is classic, and craftsmanship, her trademark. Her taste is simply flawless and her quality, among the finest; of this, her clientele would overwhelmingly agree. Sue Kelly of Fairbanks Interiors shares her passion for good design, honing more than three decades of expertise. And with an overflowing portfolio of custom and model home designs, she is quick to offer a detailed narrative – relaying her approach and partnership with her clientele.
Based in Solana Beach, Fairbanks Interiors embraces the challenge of creating custom-tailored environments for their clients, fitting their individual personalities and lifestyles accordingly to encompass both their living and entertaining needs. And with a more European-style approach to design, the end result, as Kelly notes, is a reflection of a personal style of living – speaking to the emotional nature and connection with a home.
“Design is a collaboration between [good design] and our clientele,” states Kelly – who actually began her career as a fashion model. “It’s about learning their lifestyle; designing for pets and children, as well as color [associations], hobbies, interests and taste. I’m truly open to their experiences, talents and thoughts, throughout the creative process – which of course, is never duplicated or repeated when [crafting] individual tailored design.” Along with custom home design, Kelly is also known for her model home and estate staging savvy – having established her career as one of San Diego’s top designers in the industry.
In seeking balance in design, she stresses the opportunity to embrace classic and timeless styles; being trendy is too often fleeting, not to mention the ease of duplication for a non-custom look and feel. Being “ahead of the curve,” as Kelly words it, is about being “unique” and fresh while holding longevity; natural elements of wood, stone and iron, along with natural lighting and overall flow are utilized to explore this difference in design. In the end, it is the unexpected details that complete the narrative of a home, giving her clients the pleasure of living well in a space that truly reflects who they are.
FINE Magazine: What inspires your designs?
Sue Kelly: I’ve always been inspired by a number of things. I actually keep a library of visuals, colors, textures and fabrics – a library of ideas for future use. It’s not only about a look, but the feeling [and mood] it creates as well.
FINE: How do you define good design?
Kelly: Good design incorporates the personality of a client, accounts for the architecture of a home, and always insists on quality and fine detail – including finishes on furniture, the feel of upholstery, and the added dynamics and unexpected presence of antiques. Trends don’t last. Go after the classics. You want design to hold longevity, so be timeless, in essence. Quality and taste are also factors. Design shouldn’t be about what everyone else is doing or how others have designed their home. Less is more; it’s about simplicity and drama.
FINE: What is it about design that is personally rewarding for you?
Kelly: I’ve always been a visually-oriented individual; and with an artistic lifestyle, design naturally unfolded for me. It’s all about the process of creativity.
Photo Descriptions in Order of Shown
1.) Location: Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe
Project Overview: Illustrating the simple elegance of the kitchen, this custom design blends the elements of stone, wood and iron. And with a neutral palate, detail in the flooring and ceiling beams stands out, along with the tile and cabinetry.
2.) Location: Solana Beach
Project Overview: Showcased in her design studio along Highway 101, Kelly demonstrates scale, height and softness, along with color, texture and balance; her designs are about simplicity and drama.
3.)Location: Point Loma
Project Overview: An historical renovation, this 5,400 square foot home is a testament to how good design and flow can be blended. In keeping with the architectural essence of the home, Kelly employed several period-antiques with a contemporary feel to accentuate the height of the ceilings, the curve of the arches and seamless motion from one room to the next.