Interior decorator Susan Matrka is counting the days until she and her builder husband Michael move into their new Upper Arlington home. The couple is accustomed to working together professionally, but this project is a bit more personal-this time they're the clients.
As a decorator with 17 years of experience, Matrka is familiar with filtering options for her clients and their varied projects, whether it’s a classically restyled Ohio State sorority house, a modern remake of a Downtown penthouse or a soft, contemporary new build in the ’burbs. And for half the projects, she’s teamed with her husband’s building business, Matrka.
As recent empty-nesters with a blended family of eight children, the couple eagerly anticipates moving into their self-built English cottage-style home filled with their favorite finishes—and designed with plenty of space for family gatherings.
“We’re having fun, but doing our own home is the most difficult project,” she says. “It’s tough narrowing down the options, especially as so many new things come along.”
Matrka got her start as an apprentice for a high-end design and antiques firm in Bexley. Two years later, she was inspired to start her own decorating business and founded Susan Matrka Interiors. Through the years, Matrka’s designs have been a crowd favorite at the Columbus Decorator’s Show House, a biennial event hosted by the Women’s Board of the Columbus Museum of Art since 1975. The show features room after room styled by the city’s top decorators; at the 2013 event, Matrka’s antique highboy repainted in hot pink—and featured in her restyled blue-and-white living room—was a highlight.
“I grew up with a fascination of color … colored blocks, boxes of crayons, paints and even a collection of colored glass pieces,” she says. “I thought everybody saw color like me.”
Today, Matrka enjoys helping the color-challenged and still gets excited about hues, especially the 2014 palette trends, which feature muted yellows, aqua and teals, warm reds and neutrals and lighter browns. “I’m lucky to be working in a field I love,” she says.
Teresa Woodard is a freelance writer.