Kerry Crauser

In the nuanced world of interior design, where the essence of space is intimately tied to the fabric of personal expression, Kerry Crauser, owner of Kerry Crauser Interiors, emerges as an architect of environments that resonate deeply with elegance and grace.

At the heart of Crauser's philosophy is the belief that true luxury and personal well-being are inextricably linked to the spaces we inhabit.

Sagee Manor stands as a testament to this belief, each room a narrative woven from the threads of her clients' lives and aspirations, embodied in a space that is both an escape and a reflection of their highest ideals.
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Kerry Crauser on Designing Sagee Manor's Timeless Interiors

In the nuanced world of interior design, where the essence of space is intimately tied to the fabric of personal expression, Kerry Crauser emerges as an architect of environments that resonate deeply with elegance and innovation. With over two decades of crafting spaces that stand at the intersection of contemporary and timeless, Crauser has distinguished herself as a luminary in South African design, her expertise showcased on national platforms such as the esteemed interior design program, Top Billing, and recognized by her shortlisting with the Society of British & International Interior Design (SBID). Bringing a narrative depth and sophistication to projects like the esteemed Sagee Manor, she navigates the realms of luxury with a deft touch that marries the personal with the universal.

Perched atop the rolling hills of Highlands, NC, Sagee Manor unfolds like a grand narrative set against a backdrop of lush landscapes and timeless elegance. It's a bright, sunny summer day when I arrive, the kind that highlights the manor's majestic presence and the genius of its design by Keith Summerour. The grand doors of Sagee Manor ease open, marking the beginning of a story that intertwines the essence of luxury design with the personal journey of Kerry Crauser, the visionary interior designer behind this grand project.

As Kerry steps through the threshold, her presence is a testament to the elegance and thoughtfulness that characterizes her work. Dressed in a meticulously chosen ensemble that mirrors the sophistication of her designs, Kerry carries the aura of a person who has spent over two decades perfecting the art of interior design. Celebrated for her appearances on Top Billing and recognized by the Society of British & International Interior Design, her approach to Sagee Manor has been one of blending her rich tapestry of global experiences with the unique identity of this luxurious estate.

Editor: Kerry, your portfolio reflects a rich journey through diverse cultures. How has this global experience influenced your design of luxurious spaces, particularly Sagee Manor?

Kerry Crauser: In my journey across the world, I've been privileged to immerse myself in a kaleidoscope of cultures, each rich with its own design ethos and aesthetic values. This global tapestry of styles and traditions forms the cornerstone of my design philosophy. At Sagee Manor, this philosophy comes to life through a meticulous amalgamation of design elements that span continents and epochs. Influences from haute couture fashion to classical architecture are woven together with an exacting selection of materials and finishes. This synthesis not only cultivates a luxurious ambiance but also ensures that the interiors remain timeless. The essence of my work lies in this harmonious interplay between diverse cultural influences and the pursuit of enduring elegance, making each space not just a testament to luxury but a sanctuary of sophisticated, worldly beauty.

E: How did you craft a vision that would resonate with the discerning tastes of the luxury market?

KC: Sagee Manor, with its inherent grandeur, presented a canvas that demanded reverence and subtlety in equal measure, closely aligning with the owner's grand vision for the estate. My vision for this architectural gem was guided by a principle of 'understated elegance.' This ethos informed every decision, from the selection of serene, muted tones that whisper luxury, to the integration of bespoke pieces that articulate elegance through their expert craftsmanship and place within the space. Each element was chosen not just for its aesthetic appeal but for its ability to complement the mansion's splendid architecture and landscapes, mirroring the owner's desire for a harmonious blend of luxury and natural beauty. My approach was to let the property's natural beauty and stature shine, subtly enhancing its features with textures and tones that evoke a sense of calm and sophistication. In doing so, Sagee Manor was transformed into a haven that not only showcases luxury in every detail but also deeply resonates with the owner's refined vision and the tastes of the elite market, creating spaces that are both grand and intimately inviting.

E: Your designs are known for their luxurious yet functional elegance. Can you share how you achieve this balance?

KC: My design philosophy is deeply rooted in the belief that true luxury is defined not just by grandeur, but by how effortlessly it melds with the practicalities of daily life. This delicate balance is achieved through an intimate understanding of our clients' lifestyles, aspirations, and the unique ways in which they inhabit their spaces. At the heart of our approach is the integration of sumptuous materials and bespoke elements that carry the imprint of exclusivity and high craftsmanship. We layer these with meticulously planned spaces that are as functional as they are visually compelling, incorporating ergonomic furniture and the latest in integrated technology to create environments that elevate the act of living to an art form.

Each project begins with a dialogue, a collaborative exploration between our team and the client, ensuring that every facet of the design not only meets but anticipates their needs and desires. It is this synergy of luxury and functionality, underpinned by a relentless pursuit of perfection and a deep sensitivity to the client's voice, that transforms spaces into timeless sanctuaries of elegance and comfort. Our work at Sagee Manor stands as a testament to this philosophy, a space where grandeur and practical elegance exist in perfect harmony, offering a bespoke living experience that is both opulent and intimately personal.

Influences from haute couture fashion to classical architecture are woven together with an exacting selection of materials and finishes.

E: How has your base in South Africa shaped your approach to serving an international clientele?

KC: Operating from the vibrant heart of Johannesburg, South Africa, our design studio brings a distinctively global yet uniquely local perspective to the luxury design landscape. This geographical positioning is far from being a constraint; rather, it enriches our capability to serve an international clientele with unparalleled innovation and creativity. South Africa's rich tapestry of cultures, combined with its abundant natural resources, infuses our designs with a depth and character that is as diverse as it is exquisite.

Our adeptness at remote collaboration stems from a foundation of robust communication, advanced project management techniques, and a deep commitment to understanding and embodying the visions of our clients, no matter where in the world they are. We leverage the best of local craftsmanship, materials, and design ethos, bringing to life pieces and spaces that are not only luxurious but also imbued with a narrative that resonates on a global scale.

The advantage we offer is twofold: the ability to provide cost-effective yet uncompromisingly luxurious solutions and the opportunity to infuse projects with a fresh, South African-inspired perspective that distinguishes our clients’ spaces in the crowded luxury market. It is this unique blend of local excellence and global appeal that enables us to meet and exceed the refined expectations of our discerning international clientele.

E: Custom furniture plays a pivotal role in your designs. How do these pieces contribute to the uniqueness of spaces like Sagee Manor?

KC: Within the sphere of high-end interior design, bespoke furniture transcends its role as mere decoration to become a reflection of our clients' unique identities and sophisticated preferences. It is here, in the careful curation and creation of bespoke furniture, that our design ethos finds its most expressive form. Each piece is conceived not just to fill a space but to create an ambiance, to tell a story, and to evoke an emotional response.

Our commitment to bespoke design extends beyond aesthetics to embrace functionality, ensuring that each piece not only complements the lifestyle and desires of our clients but also enhances their daily experience. The selection of materials, the precision of craftsmanship, and the meticulous attention to every detail combine to create furniture that is as unique as it is luxurious.

From the sweeping elegance of a custom-crafted sofa to the intimate charm of a bespoke cabinet, these pieces serve as the cornerstone of a space's identity. They are conversation starters, indeed, but more importantly, they are the physical manifestation of our clients' dreams and aspirations. This philosophy of personalized luxury is vividly embodied in our projects, transforming spaces into bespoke environments that are both exclusive and intimately personal, elevating the very concept of luxury living.

E: Your work seamlessly complements Keith Summerour's architectural vision for Sagee Manor. How did this synergy influence the project?

KC: In the orchestration of Sagee Manor's interiors, the architectural mastery of Keith Summerour serves not merely as a backdrop but as the very essence from which the design narrative unfolds. His profound understanding of blending structure with the surrounding landscape set a harmonious canvas for the interior vision to flourish. Inspired by this architectural symbiosis, my design choices were meticulously aligned to complement and enhance the natural grace and stature of the estate, fostering a dialogue between the interior and the exterior that is both fluid and intuitive.

This partnership between architecture and interior design transcended conventional collaboration, evolving into a synergistic exchange that imbued Sagee Manor with a soulful harmony. The architectural contours crafted by Keith became the silent language through which the interior narrative spoke, guiding the selection of textures, colors, and elements that resonate with the Manor's serene and majestic setting. Together, our intertwined visions gave rise to an ambiance of timeless elegance, where each design decision, from the grand to the subtle, was a reflection of a shared commitment to creating spaces that are not only visually magnificent but emotionally resonant.

The confluence of Keith Summerour's architectural artistry with our interior design ethos has culminated in a remarkable creation that stands as a testament to the beauty of collaborative excellence. It is within the walls of Sagee Manor that this union has crafted an environment that is both grand in its elegance and inviting in its warmth, a true embodiment of luxury living where the legacy of design transcends the ages, inviting inhabitants and guests alike to dwell in the beauty of harmonized artistry.

My design philosophy is deeply rooted in the belief that true luxury is defined not just by grandeur, but by how effortlessly it melds with the practicalities of daily life.

E: Can you discuss your process for selecting materials and textures that define Sagee Manor's interiors?

KC: In curating the materials and textures for Sagee Manor, my guiding principle was to weave together a tapestry of luxury and sophistication that not only pleases the eye but also invites touch. The selection process was a meticulous journey through the world of fine materials, each chosen for its ability to impart a sense of lavishness and depth to the interiors.

Plush carpets underfoot speak of comfort and refinement, while intricate wall coverings transform walls into works of art, each telling a story of elegance and grandeur. The furnishings, detailed with the utmost care, stand as monuments to the craft of luxury design, their textures and finishes adding layers of opulence to the spaces they inhabit.

This deliberate interplay of materials and textures is not just about aesthetic appeal; it is about creating an atmosphere that envelops the residents and their guests in a world of sophisticated luxury. At Sagee Manor, every touch, every glance reveals a commitment to luxury that is both seen and felt, ensuring that the interiors not only define exclusivity but redefine the very essence of sophisticated living.

E: What strategy informed the color scheme and lighting design at Sagee Manor?

KC: The orchestration of color and light within Sagee Manor was envisioned to create an ambiance where elegance whispers from every corner, and luxury is felt in the subtlety of its presence. My strategy embraced a palette of soft, ethereal hues, each carefully chosen to lay a foundation of serene sophistication. Accents of gold are judiciously placed, not merely as embellishments, but as deliberate strokes that bring a rich depth and a touch of opulence to the spaces.

Lighting, in this symphony of design, plays a pivotal role. It is not just about illumination but about crafting an atmosphere that is both warm and inviting. Through a balanced integration of ambient, task, and accent lighting, each area of Sagee Manor is brought to life, highlighting textures and enhancing the soft color palette to create an environment that is both visually pleasing and emotionally resonant. This strategic use of light ensures that every element, from the grandest architectural feature to the most intimate corner, is showcased to its fullest potential, contributing to an overall sense of sophistication that is both seen and felt.

E: Luxury estates like Sagee Manor require meticulous planning of space. How did you ensure the layout would accommodate both lavish gatherings and private retreats?

KC: In conceptualizing the spatial dynamics of Sagee Manor, the objective was to craft an environment that gracefully accommodates the dual demands of grand entertainment and private tranquility. This intricate balance was achieved through a thoughtful layout that harmonizes open, expansive areas with intimate, secluded nooks.

The design of the open spaces is centered around flexibility and sociability, allowing for the effortless hosting of lavish gatherings. These areas are orchestrated with versatile seating arrangements and fluid connectivity to outdoor landscapes, ensuring that each event becomes a memorable experience for guests.

Conversely, the creation of private retreats within the Manor was guided by a philosophy of sanctuary and calm. These spaces are designed as havens for reflection and relaxation, offering a secluded counterpoint to the estate's more communal areas. The strategic placement and design of these retreats ensure that they remain undisturbed and tranquil, regardless of the scale of activity elsewhere in the Manor.

The seamless flow between these contrasting spaces is a testament to the Manor's architectural finesse, allowing residents and guests to navigate effortlessly from the vibrancy of social gatherings to the serenity of private spaces. This dynamic interplay of spatial planning not only elevates the living experience but also reflects the nuanced lifestyles of our discerning clientele, making Sagee Manor a paragon of luxury living where every space is purposefully crafted for elegance and ease.

The seamless flow between spaces is a testament to the Manor's architectural finesse, allowing residents and guests to navigate effortlessly from the vibrancy of social gatherings to the serenity of private spaces.

E: Reflecting on Sagee Manor, what strategies were crucial in achieving its grandeur and exclusivity?

KC: Sagee Manor stands as a beacon of architectural and interior design excellence, a testament to the power of meticulous attention to detail and a deep commitment to luxury. The estate is ensconced within meticulously manicured gardens, setting the stage for an ambiance of unmatched grandeur and serenity. These outdoor spaces, coupled with expansive entertainment areas, are designed not just to host events but to create unforgettable experiences, encapsulating the essence of exclusive hospitality.

Inside, every corner, every surface resonates with the signature of bespoke elegance. The finishes, carefully curated and crafted, speak to an audience with an innate appreciation for the nuances of luxury living. High-quality materials meld with exquisite craftsmanship to bring to life design elements that are both unique and timeless.

This commitment to unparalleled luxury and detail does more than just cater to the functional needs of its inhabitants; it crafts an atmosphere of opulence that is palpable, setting Sagee Manor apart as a domicile not just of refined beauty but of a lifestyle that transcends the ordinary. It is this dedication to creating spaces that not only reflect but elevate the standards of luxury living that makes Sagee Manor a paragon of exclusivity, appealing to those with the most discerning tastes and aspirations.

In Sagee Manor, every detail, every choice, is a reflection of a philosophy that luxury is not an addition but the very essence of design, a belief that the finest standards are not a threshold but a foundation upon which we build spaces that are not just lived in but cherished, now and for generations to come.

E: Looking forward, how do you envision expanding your design philosophy into markets like the US and UK?

KC: Reflecting on the journey that has brought us to Sagee Manor's doorstep, I'm filled with a humble appreciation for what we've achieved and a hopeful gaze towards future endeavors. The thought of bringing our design philosophy to the US and UK is both an exciting and a deeply personal aspiration. It's about more than just marking new territories; it's about sharing a piece of our design soul with new cultures, understanding their unique narratives, and weaving those into spaces that speak universally of beauty and comfort.

Our approach will be thoughtful and respectful, aiming to harmonize our design ethos with the rich tapestries of these regions. We believe in the magic of collaboration, in the beauty of merging global perspectives with local wisdom to create spaces that are not only luxurious but also meaningful and resonant with their inhabitants' lives.

As we contemplate this expansion, our hearts are set on crafting environments that inspire, that bring solace and joy. It's a vision driven by the hope to touch more lives, to bring the elegance and grace that have become our hallmarks into homes across these new landscapes. Our journey forward is not just about design; it's about building bridges, fostering connections, and creating spaces that echo with the warmth of human experience, inviting all who enter to find comfort, inspiration, and a sense of belonging.