People often ask us who we hire to do the interior design for our model homes and other custom homes. The answer? Nobody! We do it ourselves! Our co-founder Paula Suriano is an accomplished interior designer. A great example of her work is the first Suriano Homes model in the Riverchase Estates subdivision near Charlotte – now home to Mark and Lan Bailey. (The next model will feature another one of our beautiful floor plans.) Mark and Lan rave about the construction quality and interior design, so we asked if we could interview them for this article. Not only did they agree, they asked if Mark could write the article to share their thoughts completely in their own words.

By Mark Bailey

Lan and I couldn’t be happier with our Suriano Home, thanks largely to Paula’s interior design. That says a lot, because we always planned to build custom. Even though there are many beautiful inventory homes, we wanted our house to be truly “ours.”

We fell in love with Riverchase Estates the first time we visited, before Suriano Homes had become a featured builder there. We chose a builder who ended up becoming overextended, so we were moving ahead very slowly. Meanwhile, Suriano Homes came into Riverchase and started building their model home. At every stage of construction, we could see the quality that Tom and his team were putting into the house. We saw things that we didn’t see with other builders, for example rounded corners and 45-degree corners on baseboards. It didn’t take us long to realize that we wanted a Suriano home.

We visited the model several times when it was being built, and every time we fell in love with it more and more. When it was finished, we were floored when we saw it staged as a model, with Paula’s incredible design throughout the house. We realized it was as beautiful as any custom house we could have come up with. And, when the house went on the market as a staged model, we knew we had found our dream house.

The best things about Paula’s design are that it feels like home, and we can tell that a lot of heart went into it. In every room the furniture, wall décor and other accents are perfectly coordinated to the room, while remaining continuity with other rooms. The overall style is a perfect blend of casual elegance. The house is very comfortable and inviting, without being stuffy or pretentious.

Paula clearly put a lot of thought into every detail, and we can tell that she sourced components from various places. They’re all high-quality pieces too. For example, we have seen various desks similar to the one in the office at the house, but none of the other ones seem nearly as substantial or well-built.

We also love the coffee bar. Of course, it served an important purpose in a model home, and it is also very functional for us and our visitors. It matches the rest of the great room, and it gives us a great place to make coffee and other beverages without having to clutter the kitchen counters with a coffee maker and accessories.

We see that kind of thinking throughout the house, and we have learned that interior design is much more involved than just interior decoration. Of course, interior design includes decoration, but it also involves a great deal of advance planning to ensure the best flow and function. We know that Paula worked closely with her husband Tom in planning the construction to make the house as beautiful and comfortable as possible. She also chose the colors throughout the house. While many interior decorators have to work around or change existing colors, Paula planned these details from the beginning. The decorations aren’t afterthoughts, they are part of her overall vision that was taken into account from the beginning.

Our guests share our opinion of Paula’s work and Tom’s quality construction. Their first reaction is always, “Wow!” Thanks to Paula’s design, the house is perfect for entertaining. The open floor plan and room arrangement enable a perfect flow, with enough room for people to gather comfortably in various places: the island, the dining room, the great room, and the outdoor living area.

I’ve saved our favorite detail for last: A Bible verse on the wall: Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made.” Paula placed it where it is the first thing we see every morning when we come out of the master suite. As Christians, we believe in putting God first, although in today’s busy world it’s sometimes hard to do. This verse helps us start each day with the right thought, and we still smile when we see it.

That verse also summarizes Tom and Paula’s values. They are devout Christians who always praise God as the source of all their power. And, in our business dealings with them, we found that they are truly good people who literally practice what they preach.

As mentioned, it was a big deal for us to buy an existing home instead of building custom. But Paula’s interior design skills are that good.



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