Sue Burgess’ Town and Country

It’s not uncommon for designers to partner with great photographers to shoot their projects. In this case, designer Sue Burgess married hers. Gordon Beall, whose work can be seen in Architectural Digest, The Washington Post, and Darryl Carter’s book The New Traditional, has taken pictures of the town and country homes they share in Chevy Chase and Upperville, Va.

A hallway leads to the living room in the Chevy Chase house.

A vignette from the Upperville bedroom

I profiled both houses in the current issue of Bethesda Magazine in the wake of a new book out this year called Designers Here and There: Inside the City and Country Homes of America’s Top Designers by Michele Keith.

In the story (which sadly is not online), Sue describes how her Chevy Chase house is decorated to the hilt in fine antiques and tailored looks. She wanted the Upperville house to be more relaxed, and filled it mostly with items taken out of storage in Chevy Chase. She plans a major renovation of the Upperville house in the next year or so, so she didn’t want to use anything that she didn’t mind parting with later on.

Gordon expertly shot both houses — Sue insists that the country house is merely populated with castoffs, but her trash is our treasure, as you will see below.


This monumental Biedermeier chest in the living room is an example of precious antiques that won't be replicated in the country, Sue says.

My favorite space -- the kitchen.

The dining room. Sue's stark walls and floor coverings allow the fine antiques and artwork to shine.

Sue had limestone specially cut for the fireplace surrounds. She also had all the drapery hardware custom made by Barry Remley at Salvations Architectural Furnishings in Silver Spring.

The quietly elegant and formal bedroom.

I adore Gordon's detail here of the clock on the bedroom dresser, flanked by cool blue-gray succulents.


The living room, with upholstery by Perennials indoor/outdoor fabrics that are impervious to spills -- and Sue and Gordon's dog.

Sue used panels from an old show house as window treatments in the dining room. The painting is by the owner of Oly Studio, my favorite furnishings manufacturer. She pulled the massive candlesticks, given to her by her father, from storage. The benches are also leftovers from Chevy Chase.

The mirror is from one of Sue's trips to Paris. The huge doors were a find from Leesburg -- she used them in a couple doorways to make the builder-grade entries seem more grand.

I sooo love this kitchen detail. Sue had everything in the kitchen, including tacky salmon-colored laminate counters, painted white so she could bear to look at it until a new kitchen is built with the renovation. She added the open shelves and light fixture.

The pleasing guest room, which features prints from the Paris flea markets that Sue had had in storage for years. She overlaid several white hide rugs on the floor.

A striking detail in the guest room.

This is my favorite image -- hand-painted Oriental silk screens in the master bedroom that feature stags in the countryside. Sue says they represent the horse country where Upperville is located without the cliché hunt scenes that have riders in red jackets.

Sue is the only DC-area designer featured in Designers Here and There. Other notables that are included are Barclay Butera, Eric Cohler and Vicente Wolf. You can get it right here.

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  1. Just found your blog via Pinterest. Glad, that I did. Really enjoyed this post. Will look around some while I am here.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Amy, thank you! I do hope to meet you at some point — back at ya for a beautiful Web site and blog.

  3. Hi Jennifer!
    Just checking in from Charlotte…
    Susan Burgess’ work is amazing and I adore the Greek key detail on the console in the Guest Room. Really lovely.
    Your blog is beautiful and very informative.
    Amy Vermillion

  4. This home is gorgeous. I especially love the detailed shot of that console table in the guest room – everything about it is perfect.

    What I found interesting is how simple, open, and calm both houses feel, even though they’re anything but “simple.”

  5. I LOVE THIS BOOK!! Was just looking at it last night thinking about what a team Sue Burgess and Gordon Beall are.. serious talent.

  6. Greet, thanks for writing in! I think I have seen your name on Things that Inspire? You have a wonderful blog yourself — great to know you. — Jen

  7. Dear Jennifer,
    I discovered your amazing blog by Viera of VT Interiors. I am so glad I did! Beautiful and inspirational posts!!
    This post about Sue Burgess is stunning! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Holy moly, what beautiful homes! I love how she (and Gordon through his beautiful photos) makes whites look like the warmest and most inviting of shades rather than stark an unwelcoming.

  9. Sue has replicated her success by applying her exquisite design aesthetic to home number two. Both are prime examples of the kind of classic design a shrewd eye can produce.

  10. Jennifer, wonderful blog! Love the houses… Love Sue!

    Pamela, I happen to know that some of the chandeliers are antiques and the others are pieces that Sue had custom made.

  11. Thank you for sharing Sue Burgess’ exquisite homes on your blog. Such elegance, and discipline! Can you please source with us the iron chandeliers featured throughout her Chevy Chase home?

  12. Hi, Jennifer,
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful images. I recently purchased Designers Here and There and was so taken with the photos of Sue Burgess’s beautiful home. Love seeing these additional photos. Very inspiring! My favorite elements–the metal screen in the living room and the silk panels in the master bedroom!