There’s a delightful new blog we’ve come across called “Ash Tree Cottage,” and the brains behind it is interior designed Susan Freeman.
Susan creates a fun, pleasant place to visit that will leave you smiling, and you’ll walk away with several good decorating ideas, too.
Front and center for Susan is her adorable dog Bentley, whom you just can’t help but love. We were touched by Susan’s story and thought she would make for an interesting interview. We were correct, and we’re very pleased to bring you this interview today.
1. Hi Susan, thank you for joining us today. Please tell us a bit about “Ash Tree Cottage” and anything else you’d like to mention.
“Ash Tree Cottage” is more than just a place, it’s a state of mind. It’s a home, a refuge from the troubles of this world. It is the nurturing place where my husband and I renew our spirit and enjoy our lives. It is my wish to carry forth this attitude to my readers. When my readers come for a visit I want them to come away feeling happy and hopeful. While I cannot solve the problems of the world, I hope to provide a comfy cushion, a safe zone to escape to for a brief time.
2. As a dog lover, I’m touched by your close relationship with Bentley. Please tell us a little about your pooch and why you’ve decided to make Bentley such a big part of your blog.
Bentley was born just one block away. We just lost our second Yorkie, Binkie, in a tragic accident. Bentley was the last puppy left in a litter of four. I truly believe that Bentley was meant for us. From the first moment I saw him, I felt a distinct connection. He was so very sweet and kind as a young pup, and he still is today. We talk to him all of the time and he has a very BIG personality. He is just so happy to be involved in whatever is going on at the moment. Yes he is a very big part of my blog, but that’s because he is a very big part of my life.
3. We’re very sorry to hear about the passing of your father recently. Since you’ve had some time to reflect in the recent weeks, what advice would you have for those of us who still have their parents but don’t spend enough time with them? What about people who still have their parents, but don’t necessarily get along with them? Should they make an effort to make amends, or should they let it be?
I had a very close relationship with my Daddy and I still have one with my Mom. Each moment we have left to spend with our loved ones is so very precious. If there is emotional distance, do your best to resolve it. Make time for your parents. Call and visit. If it is uncomfortable, keep the call or visit short and brief. The important thing is to make the effort, make the connection. Keep an open heart. Be kind. You will never regret being kind. Carry that attitude with you and it will always open doors. If there is rejection, you have the comfort of knowing you tried your best. That will bring you peace.
4. With respect to decorating, you’ve chosen a beautiful cottage style for your home. Why did you choose cottage style for your home, and what is it about cottage style that appeals to you?
Ah well, cottage style ~ or at least my own interpretation of cottage style, is a comfy cozy haven where it’s always okay to be relaxed and easy. It’s a place where beauty meets form and function. I think it clicked with me when I decided that I wanted to live in a cottage that was my interpretation of a 1940’s movie shot in an ivy covered cottage. The cottage with ruffled organza curtains at the windows, lots of family photos and a pie baking in the oven. I am drawn to a place where it’s okay if the family dog with muddy paws gets the slipcover dirty. You throw it in the wash and finish the game of Scrabble. It’s the place where kids can read comics under a handmade quilt with the aid of a flashlight. It’s pretty, never stiff, comfy, cozy and always friendly.
5. As an interior designer, do you feel yourself difficult to decorate for other people whose style may not necessarily be your favorite kind of style? For example, you like cottage style, but would you be able to effective decorate a retro style for someone if you didn’t necessarily like retro? Do you find it easy to set your personal feelings aside and decorate for your client’s tastes?
Absolutely! The artist in me is always looking for new ways to express myself. As a designer, I have studied all of the major influences in design. I have chosen cottage style for myself, but I am so excited about mid century modern. I can lose myself in bohemian style. I can happily replicate a formal, stately room. It’s like being an actress. You take on a role and you lose yourself in it. You have lots of fun and then you take off the make-up and costume and go home. My job is to find out what style my client loves. If they don’t know, and sadly that is often the case, we discover it together. My job is finished when the client walks through the door of their home, he or she is content and happy.
6. It’s very admirable that you’d like to publish your own book. How is that going, and what do you envision the book being about?
The death of my Daddy has slowed that process a bit, but not halted it completely. I have more than one book in mind right now. The first is about the Yorkies I have owned. I also plan to publish a book of Daddy’s letters to his family while traveling to more than 130 countries during his 25 year international business career.
7. A lot of people start blogs to talk about decorating and post pictures, but they soon start to develop a close relationship with their readers. The blog then becomes an extension of their lives, something of a support network, and goes far beyond simply talking about decorating. Have you felt the same way about blogging, and have you met a lot of good friends through it? How has it changed your life for the better?
I have met so many very lovely bloggers. I have only been blogging for six months, but I have developed friendships that I believe will last a lifetime. It absolutely has changed my life for the better. We have laughed and cried. We have shared recipes and decorating tips. We have asked each other for prayers and advice. We have welcomed each other into our homes. Yes we have become friends. Blog Land is a wonderful place indeed!
Many thanks to Susan for a wonderful interview and for sharing her time with us. Please pay a visit to “Ash Tree Cottage” today and you will not be disappointed!