Founded in 1933 by interior designer Sister Parish, Sister Parish Design is a fourth generation family-owned firm helmed by Susan Crater and her daughter Eliza Crater Harris. Once the decorator for the Kennedy, Getty, Astor, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Whitney families, today the firm is remaking its classic aesthetic with an eclectic mix of prints and projects, all while bringing the Parish Hadley archives to the US and UK (including a full line of fabrics on Chairish). Here, Susan shares their insights into American style, along with their Chairish favorites.


Sister Parish established a true family business, currently helmed by you with your daughter Eliza as creative director. How did your grandmother’s vision inform the business, and how have you carried her legacy into the 21st century?

At the end of the day, my grandmother was an entrepreneur with well-known tenacity and grit. She worked very hard and loved what she did. I think Eliza and I carry that gene and try to bring that energy to everything we do. We consider ourselves very lucky to be doing what we are doing!

Interior Design by Sister Parish | Styling: Mieke ten Have | Photo: Read McKendree JBSA

Flip-side of that question: After Albert Hadley joined, and then Parish Hadley closed in 1999, it was up to you to revive the business. What did you change, and what have you introduced to keep it fresh and relevant while building on your family’s foundational work?

There is an expression that heritage brands are important, but they are old! We honor our heritage and, at the same time, concentrate on our current clients and what they are looking for. As a creative director and a young mother with two children, Eliza is constantly infusing a fresh dose of style and creativity into all of our products. She represents the younger generation while continually drawing inspiration from our family’s design heritage.

Interior Design by Sister Parish | Styling: Mieke ten Have | Photo: Read McKendree JBSA

Tell us about your approach to vintage and antique finds. How do you like to incorporate vintage/antiques in your projects?

We are always looking to the past and come from a long line of antique shoppers. Sister’s father was a well-known antique collector and she loved combing the countryside with him, looking for new pieces. Our approach is to bring in the unique and special and layer as much as we can. Part of the fun in layering is that what you find has its own story and provenance and then you are bringing it to the project to create a new story.

Interior Design by Sister Parish | Styling: Mieke ten Have | Photo: Read McKendree JBSA

You have a fantastic line of fabrics and wallcoverings. Sister Parish was known for mixing prints, and that sensibility continues in your new collections—any tips for mixing contrasting prints and materials?

It never can be said enough: Don’t be scared to follow your instincts—avoid overthinking! What feels good is right for you. The contrast is what brings the interest. The “matchy-matchy” inclination is usually based on fear—don’t let that override your imagination, which is your best tool.

Interior Design by Sister Parish | Styling: Mieke ten Have | Photo: Read McKendree JBSA

What’s inspiring you most about your work right now?

There is so much! Between the new technologies, the design communities elevated investment in sustainability, and all of the archives we draw from, the future is bright. Our new print La Fortuna is one of the best we have ever produced and I can’t wait to see it in our clients’ houses. I rushed to get it on my favorite sofa and it makes me happy every day.

Sister Parish’s New York Studio | Photo: Maura Mcevoy


What do you find most compelling about Chairish?

Chairish is a candy store of delight. To be able to access such unique pieces in so many categories is pure pleasure to the avid antique shopper, which I am.

How does sustainability factor into your design choices and love of vintage?

We are big believers in “sustainable luxury” and believe saving and refreshing pieces is always preferable to buying new.

Susan Crater and Eliza Harris of Sister Parish | Photo: Caryn B. Davis


Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room? It would usually be through a statement piece like an incredible canopy bed or an intriguing color like the wall color in my office.

Favorite paint color? At the moment, it is Charlotte’s Locks by Farrow and Ball. As I mentioned, I just used it for my office, which has old plaster walls, so it literally glows at night.

Favorite piece of decor in your home? A very large Victorian birdcage my grandmother gave me.

Favorite style icon? Sister Parish, of course.

Design destination every creative should visit at least once? London.


Favorite vacation destination? Turkey.

Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling? Number 16 by Kit Kemp in London.

Favorite host (or thank you) gift? Flowers.

Favorite flower? Peony or Pansy.

Favorite entertaining essential? A crackling fire.

Lead Image: Eliza Harris and Susan Crater of Sister Parish | Photo: Jane Beiles.

March 14, 2024

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