Fabulous Fellows Visit to Suzanne Rheinstein’s Home

On June 2, 2023, thanks to our incomparable Fellows Chair Jeanne Anderson who imbues each event with her special brand of magic, the Fellows were treated to a very special tour of world renowned interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein‘s residence in Hancock Park. Suzanne recently passed away on March 20, 2023, and was a great supporter of The Virginia Robinson Gardens. Over the years, she designed several exquisite rooms at our annual Garden Tour. The Friends were thrilled to honor her as our Grand Marshal in 2016, and she gave lectures and book signings at VRG.

Such was Suzanne’s passion for gardens, her support for VRG, and her admiration for Jeanne, that she insisted before her death, that the Fellows event continue without her.

Her assistant Alexander Richard designed fabulous floral arrangements throughout the house – an enchanting one of delicate Canterbury bells in the dining room, and dramatic ones of eucalyptus in the entrance hall and Metrosideros branches from her home in Montecito in the living room. It was as if Suzanne’s presence was still with us.

Since she was from New Orleans, Jeanne served us her special iced chicory coffee with fresh coconut milk. Not only was the coffee excellent, but the beignets from Beignets du Monde were equally delicious. Guests enjoyed the different flavors – plain, lemon, berry, and chocolate– with several jams in the Pool House.

Suzanne’s gorgeously appointed rooms reflected her fabulous talent. Jeanne walked us through several stunning rooms. The dining room, classical in style, featured multiple prints of birds on the wall. The graceful, Greco-Roman style sculptures enhanced the elegance of the room, as did the antique Russian chandelier over the Regency dining table. Panels of Chinese wallpaper hung in frames in the warm and welcoming living room. Suzanne used the faded backside of a floral fabric on the English Regency chaise longue and other furniture for a more subtle look. 

Superintendent Emeritus Tim Lindsay then gave us a very knowledgeable tour of Suzanne’s garden, which was designed by landscape designer Judy Horton. Tim pointed out the magnificent Chinese elm tree that has been pruned over the decades. Nearby, the pulsating water feature in the round pool is very calming, adding to the peaceful atmosphere of the garden.  In a nod to the French influence of New Orleans, her garden is filled with hedges and boxwoods.

The vegetable garden, a secret garden tucked away to the side, was a beautiful surprise. Velvety black petunias, fragrant sweet peas, and roses added to the lush atmosphere. Tim remarked how the ochre pot has a wonderful presence as a centerpiece.

A “button” chair from the 1930s graces one of the garden “rooms.” This chair is a smaller version of the ones at VRG by the Lily Pond. Virginia and the film director George Cukor each bought them, and they were shipped from England.

The “button” chair in Suzanne’s garden
The “button” chair at VRG

Tim concluded, “God bless Suzanne for creating such a paradise.”

As a memento of the day, Jeanne gave us each a copy of Suzanne’s latest book, Suzanne Rheinstein: A Welcoming Elegance, charmingly decorated with a twine ribbon with delicate leaves. Her book depicts beautiful photographs of homes of her clients; the stunning cover portrays a Georgian library, richly lacquered in green.

Everyone gave a huge round of applause for Jeanne, exclaiming how she outdid herself and how she gave us a real treat. Bernice Balson said, “Jeanne is amazing. She has us visiting the best and the finest in grand style. She was so creative with Suzanne’s book, beautifully garlanded with the little flower in the vial of water!”

Kerstin Royce added, “Suzanne continues to inspire us both in her garden and with all her treasures in her home. Her talent sure lives on.” 

Post by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member
Editor of the Happenings
Photos by Linda Meadows and Sharon Gart

  1. Kerstin Royce
    | Reply

    It was indeed a wonderful day to share with good friends. Suzanne’s presence were everywhere!

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