Suellen DeFrancis
Suellen DeFrancis

Suellen DeFrancis is the principal and founder of Suellen DeFrancis Design Associates, Inc., (SDDA). DeFrancis spent many years living and working abroad -- in Europe, but primarily in Japan. Due to this international exposure, her work is characterized by a wide variety of European and Asian influences. Her signature spaces exude quiet, refined elegance. She is known for creating environments that capitalize on the use of wood and natural materials, as well as fabrics that radiate warm light. Her interiors are at once classic yet eclectic – she tends to juxtapose both period and modern furniture and decorative items.

Her work has been exhibited in Beijing, China on two occasions and also at the AIA headquarters in New York City. Her projects have been published in magazines and books including Greatest Designers of the World; Custom Builder; and 101 Designers’ Favorite Rooms, in addition to The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Most recently her firm has been featured in local New York publications like The New York Observer, The Tribeca Tribune, Downtown Express and Brokers Weekly.

Her local residential work includes a complete restoration of a prewar 40-unit apartment building in Scarsdale, NY; the interior design of The Castle at Tarrytown, NY; and numerous private residences in Manhattan, the Hamptons and the North Fork of Long Island. She has also designed several private homes, from inception to completion, and has specified furniture, finishes and garden landscapes for residences in Rome and Tokyo and New York.

Among her noteworthy commercial projects are several in Tribeca, Soho and the Chelsea area. These projects were purchased by a private developer as raw space and designed for resale. DeFrancis has also designed several model homes for Mitsubishi Real Estate Corporation, the renovation of guest room suites at the New York Yacht Club and the president’s corporate office suite at Nippon Steel, USA.

Under her leadership, SDDA is currently completing the construction of a new eight-story luxury residential condominium on Laight Street, in the Tribeca North Historic District of Lower Manhattan. Comprised of six units and a duplex penthouse, the Landmarks Preservation Commission enthusiastically approved her design for the construction of this new building. The Commission commended the architectural design and its ornamentation as consistent with other pre-war buildings in the neighborhood.

Prior to establishing her practice more than 25 years ago, Ms. DeFrancis worked at Johnson Burgee Architects with celebrated architect Philip Johnson focusing on architectural designs for several major office buildings in Boston. She has taught architectural history at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York and was one of four designers featured in Interior Magazine’s “Women in Architecture” lecture series that was offered at several universities. She has also lectured on interior design in Japan.

Professional affiliations include: associate member of AIA; member, The International House of Japan in Tokyo; listing in “Who’s Who” of American Women and “Who’s Who” in Interior Design; and a member of the the Far East Society of Architects and Engineers in Japan. DeFrancis has served on the board of directors of the St. Christopher/Jennie Clarkson Home for Children; her role was as liaison among the school, architects and New York State, in planning an $11 million Special Acts School.

DeFrancis was a recipient of the New York Society of Architects del Gaudio Award for Total Design Excellence and a New York Chapter AIA Scholarship for Graduate Study. She earned a master’s degree in urban design, as well as BA and BS degrees in architecture, each from City University of New York.