Suzie Jellinek is a Darien-based mom, artist, and founder of Curio, an online, curated shop for home décor, tabletop pieces, jewelry, art and more. With a background in fashion and design, and inspiration from travel, she’s infused her site with her classic personal style. We spoke to Suzie about Curio, her family life in Darien, her favorite décor tips and more!
Can you please share a bit about your family life?
We live in Darien; we moved here from Rowayton nine years ago after building our house. We live near the beach and have a view out to an inlet that changes with the tides. The view changes all the time and I love to watch the wildlife that gather there. I have three kids, Oliver (16), Harry (14) and Lulu (10).
Can you please tell us a bit more about your professional background?
My background is in fashion; I worked for a company called AMC and had the privilege of traveling all over the world doing product development and private label for them. From there I went to work for Ralph Lauren doing Product Development for their collection and Purple Label sweater line. I left the fashion industry when I decided to have kids.
How would you describe Curio to anyone who is not yet familiar?
Curio is place to discover beautiful objects to layer home your home with and enhance your entertaining spaces.
What was your inspiration for Curio?
My inspiration for Curio came about because I have a penchant for collecting unusual treasures and objects with which to layer my home; the initial inspiration came from all of the objects I have collected over the years from my travels. Those objects hold treasured memories for me. My intention is to engage with companies that are artist and artisan focused, and are making a difference in their local communities—makers that are maintaining their traditions to create special products that will be cherished for years to come.
How do you choose what goes onto Curio?
I choose brands and designers that are unique, often handmade, make a positive impact in their communities and support artisans that are upholding traditional craftsmanship. Everything is intentional and nothing is ever mass produced.
Are you still painting, too?
Yes, I am still painting. I have always been interested in art but I started pursuing it as a career about 15 years ago when I had the flexibility to paint while staying home to raise my kids. I had always enjoyed it as a hobby and felt connected to it in a way that I didn’t feel connected to other subjects in school, but I didn’t really take it that seriously as a career choice until after I had kids. I am mainly self-taught, but I took a few painting classes at a local art school. My studio is in our home which is nice because it give me the flexibility to go in and work whenever inspiration calls! I am inspired by the nature that surrounds me in this beautiful area.
How would you describe your personal décor aesthetic?
Feminine, Timeless and eclectic, I love the juxtaposition of time worn objects that tell a story and newer pieces that are clean and modern in design. I love anything that feels organic looks like it was found in nature.
What are your favorite tips for refreshing decor without making a huge change?
After lockdown in 2020 and spending an enormous amount of time in our kitchen and family room, I decided to lighten the house. We had very dark grey trim and our kitchen cabinets were also dark grey. When we had our house built we did our cabinets in shiplap fronts which I got a little sick of. Instead of redoing our cabinets which were still in decent shape we had the fronts covered in a flat veneer and we repainted them in a putty color. Our trim and walls were painted white and we removed built-ins in our family room and replaced them with plaster shelves built into the wall. I often move objects and art around my house as an easy way to refresh and keep things new. A fresh coat of paint in a new color or wall paper is a great way to make a change without a huge commitment.
What are your favorite tabletop trends you’re seeing lately? And decor?
I am less about following trends and more about what speaks to your own personal style. I am loving the interesting design coming out of Columbia. Curio carries a line of handmade raffia placemats, napkin rings and accessories from a Colombian company called Myto Designs who work closely with the talented artisan community of Colombia respecting both traditions of the people who make them and the environment that surrounds them.
What’s next for Curio?
Now that we are able to travel again I have some trips planned where I hope to source more inspiring pieces to share on Curio. I have a trip to Italy in April and to France and Belgium in the summer. Curio will also have a shop on the Cherish website in the coming months and there will be a couple of local pop-up/trunk shows dates in the coming months. I plan on adding some of my recent paintings to the site soon too!
We love to support local businesses. Would you please share your favorite local places to:
Get dinner as a family – OKO in Westport
Go out for date night – L’Ostal at the bar in Darien
Have fun as a family (outdoors or in!) – On the Long Island Sound on our boat in the summer, walk at Waveny Park
Work out – Peloton in my basement
Grab coffee – NEAT
Photos: Julia Dags