Suzanne Humphries of Suzanne Humphries Design on how the coworking environment at Forge revitalized her business, plus don’t miss Your Big Idea at Forge on October 16

Suzanne Humphries of Suzanne Humphries Design, a Birmingham-based Interior Design firm that operates out of Forge Coworking space. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

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Suzanne Humphries of Suzanne Humphries Design, a Birmingham-based Interior Design firm that operates out of Forge Coworking space. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now
Suzanne Humphries of Suzanne Humphries Design, a Birmingham-based Interior Design firm that operates out of Forge Coworking space. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

Suzanne Humphries recently made the move back to Birmingham after a few design stints in Atlanta and New York, just to name a few. She and her husband, a successful chef, both grew up in North Alabama and heeded the call of Magic City, where they are now pursuing personal projects.

Humphries used this move to set out on her own and create her own Interior Design company, Suzanne Humphries Design. Only a year and a half in, the company has had large success in the Birmingham area and beyond, but Humphries was feeling like she needed a change of pace. She had worked from home (and coffee shops) since setting out on her own, but was feeling like she wanted a place to go where she could get work done.

The sleek design at Forge creates a modern space in which to work. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

Forge to the Rescue 

Humphries actually credits the team here at Bham Now for introducing her to Forge (#humblebrag). When I asked her how she found out about the chic coworking space in the Pizitz building, she said she was scrolling through Instagram one night and one of our posts about Forge caught her eye. She called in for a tour and was a Forge member the next day.

Perhaps you remember Humphries from a previous Forge article for which she gave the following testimony:

“Working at Forge has reinvigorated my business. I am more motivated, productive, and fulfilled now that I have the balance of self-employment and workplace culture. The best professional decision I have made was to move to Birmingham and start my own company…the second was to develop this company while working at Forge.”

Let’s Back Up 

What Is Suzanne Humphries Design? 

Humphries has worked for several different design firms since her graduation from grad school with a Master’s in Interior Design. These jobs took her from Washington D.C. to New York to Atlanta, and she finally branched out on her own in Birmingham. These opportunities gave her experience in an array of different design styles. In New York, she worked with Ralph Lauren in commercial design. In Atlanta, she gained experience in residential design through her work with Suzanne Kasler and in hospitality design with Smith Hanes. As you can tell, her portfolio is quite varied and broad. With her experience in the different design styles, Humphries has been able to move confidently throughout them, and it has empowered her in her current project: opening a restaurant with her husband, Chef Adam Evans.

A New Birmingham Restaurant 

There is no doubt that the space will be beautiful. Evans, who formerly worked at The Optimist in Atlanta, has plans for the space to serve gulf-caught fresh seafood and other local ingredients. The restaurant, whose name has yet to be revealed, will be in the Lakeview district. Humphries and Evans are hard at work designing and preparing the restaurant space, which is expected to seat 160 people, for an opening.

Stay tuned for more information on the restaurant!

Chef Adam Evans and Designer Suzanne Humphries are a dream team for the newest restaurant opening the Lakeview District of Birmingham. Photo via Suzanne Humphries Design

Humphries’ Focus

While her focus is currently on hospitality, Humphries enjoys each different style of design and is open to projects of all kinds.

“I want to build my business to be open and accepting and excited about any type of project that comes my way. I want to be able to pull from my past experiences from the different places that I’ve been and use that skill set to work with whatever client is a good fit.”

Humphries

Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator 

With her degree in Interior Design, Humphries went through a curriculum in which she learned about construction and building, enabling her to understand the architecture component of the spaces she is working with. I had no idea that interior designers are involved with visual aspects of the structural ins and outs. When I thought of an Interior Designer, I was under the impression that she was choosing paint colors and focusing on the surface level of the home. However, it’s much more than that. Humphries explained to me that there are various roles involved in creating and finishing out a space, including an Architect, Interior Designer, or Interior Decorator. The three can and often overlap in scope but all have different focuses and skill sets.

Holman Ranch Estate wine tasting room in Carmel, California. The winery is owned and operated by Birmingham-based clients of Humphries. Photo via Suzanne Humphries Design

Because Humphries’ title is Interior Designer, she has a broad list of responsibilities to the space in which she is working:

“The true Interior Design process includes everything and anything that goes on inside the walls of a home, a restaurant, a hotel — any sort of structure, permanent or temporary. I enjoy doing the full process, but I am also happy doing parts of the process.”

Humphries

Spaces Shape Experiences 

Have you ever walked into a restaurant, a hotel, or a store and it feels impeccably designed, yet effortless? That is the work of an Interior Designer. The layout, the colors, and so much more impacts the way we move through a space. Almost even more so, design impacts the way you live in your home. Of course, we never think about this, but the design of our homes impacts our everyday experiences. This is one of Humphries’ favorite things about what she does.

“It’s almost like you are creating this space that shapes the family, person, or couple’s day-to-day life. I think that’s a way in which design is so much more than picking paint colors and fabrics. And that’s why I like it. That is my favorite part.”

Humphries

Humphries’ work experience is vast and varied. Check out her website and her Instagram.

What’s Happening At Forge? 

Your Big Idea 

Your Big Idea is a pitch night held at Forge Coworking space that you do not want to miss. Photo via Forge

Your Big Idea is a monthly event at Forge that calls on new businesses to present their ideas and business plans. This will be the third pitch night at Forge, and it will feature appetizers and drinks for a Happy Hour starting at 4:30. This is a fun event that highlights new local businesses and helps them get their name out! Tonight’s presenters are:

  • Allison Litton of Meals OnCol
  • Catherine Gregory and Delphine Carter of Boulo Solutions
  • Diego and Bonnie Faulkner of Table2Farm.

Details:

  • Tuesday, October 16
  • Happy Hour: 4:30- 5, Event: 5-6pm
  • Forge Coworking Space a The Pizitz Building
  • Tickets here.

Can’t make it tonight? Don’t worry — Your Big Idea happens every month. Catch the November installment of the event on November 13, and check here for all Forge events.

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