interior decorator | writer | producer

SusanC. Kim

San Francisco, CA

A little about myself: I decorate interiors, write stories, and produce photo shoots for a living---mostly about food, travel, and interior design, but I also dabble in news, environmental, and health stories, too. As the W. Coast Editor (and, previously, the Features Writer) of Coastal Living magazine, I produced entire stories and photo shoots from conception to publication, scouted coastal locations from Alaska to the Caribbean, and generally spent a lot of time with sunscreen on.

I'm now a free agent, decorating, writing, and producing stories in Northern California. I've been published in several national publications, appeared on television and radio to discuss lifestyle topics, and developed original recipes for cookbooks and food magazines. I also assist at The Merchant Home, a boutique consulting firm specializing in creative direction, retail merchandizing, and sourcing of housewares ( Health Magazine and the Chicago Tribune covered the story of my career switch from attorney to the design world. Do I ever regret making the jump? Um, no.



  • Interior Decorator
    Marin County, CA
    Recent Completed Projects:

    Stanford University Humanities Center, Stanford, CA
    408 Laurel St., San Francisco, CA
    GENOS Corp., San Francisco, CA
    50 Bayard St, Brooklyn, NY
    Jess Krick Massage Therapy, Corte Madera, CA 
  • Writer | Producer
    San Francisco, CA
    Jan 2002 - Present
    Susan C. Kim
    Published works include those in ELLE DECOR, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, TIME, California Home + Design, Sunset Magazine,,, House Beautiful, Where Magazine (San Francisco), California State Visitor’s Guide, AOL Travel Guide, Pregnancy Magazine, AcuraStyle, Hyphen,, Coastal Living, Design Like You Give a Damn [2] (Harry N. Abrams, 2012), Preservation, and Living 101.

    Developed recipes and produced entertaining photo shoots for Select Magazine, Culinary Trends, and The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook (Sasquatch Books, 2009).
  • West Coast Editor
    San Francisco, CA
    Jan 2008 - Jan 2009
    Coastal Living (Time Inc.)
    In charge of West Coast editorial content for national shelter magazine. Developed a wide range of story ideas covering home design, entertaining, travel, and lifestyle topics. Scouted coastal story and shoot locations around the country (including Alaska and Hawaii), Mexico, and the Caribbean.

    Produced stories from conception to publication, sourced subjects and locations, created overall vision, hired and directed photographers and stylists, drafted photography shot lists, and assisted photo crew and stylist.

    Promoted Coastal Living on local and national television and radio programs. Appearances include live interviews on the ABC and NBC, as well as decor and cooking demonstrations, presentations at furniture showrooms, judging food contests, and attendance at media events.
  • Features Writer
    San Francisco, CA
    Sep 2004 - Jan 2008
    Coastal Living (Time Inc.)
    Same as above, plus:

    Researched content, interviewed subjects, and wrote features stories, photo cut lines, and web/blog content.

    Heavily involved in annual content planning and story selection process, with eye on West Coast coverage.
  • Editorial Intern
    Menlo Park, CA
    Mar 2002 - Nov 2002
    Sunset Magazine (Time Inc.)
    Provided editorial assistance for Sunset Magazine, California State Visitor’s Guide, Sunset Magazine Summer Travel Guide, and Select Magazine. Produced competitive analysis for AcuraStyle Magazine. Pitched, produced photo shoot, and wrote text for a Chinese New Year entertaining story idea.
  • Store Manager
    San Francisco and Palo Alto, CA
    Jan 2001 - Mar 2002
    Lounge (formerly Zonal Home Interiors)
    Managed a homes furnishings retail store specializing in modern custom furniture, rustic antiques, and artist-made homes goods, such as lamps made from engine parts and Martha Sturdy resin vases.


  • Juris Doctor
    Ann Arbor, MI
    University of Michigan Law School
    Treasurer of Asian-Pacific Law Students Association, Associate Editor of The Journal of Law Reform
  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science (with High Distinction) with minor in Environmental Studies
    Ann Arbor, MI
    University of Michigan
    James B. Angell Scholar,  Treasurer and Community Service Chair of the Asian American Association, 58 Greene

Other Education

What Others Are Saying About My Work

  • Mark Blumling, CEO at GENOS Corp.
    Susan was fantastic.  We had just moved into our new office space and desperately needed someone to help us decorate our office.  Susan was highly organized, worked effortlessly with us to determine our budget and scope of the project, and put together a timely and highly creative strategy to decorate the office in record time.  Susan went the extra mile to make sure that everything was perfect and we couldn't be happier.   Without reservation, I would recommend Susan to help with your office interior design needs.

  • Shari Jones, homeowner
    We worked with Susan to transform our Presidio Heights condo. Susan collaborated with us on every detail and took a partnership approach. The work included a kitchen update, new floors, walls, as well as textiles, draperies, color consultation and pulling it all together with accents. Our place is beautiful. We couldn't be happier with the results. Best of all, it was a truly enjoyable process. Susan made it fun; she brings an expert eye, passion and commitment to her work and is a joy to partner with. Highly recommend!

  • Judy Chen, Asst Manager of Global Education at Estee Lauder Company
    Susan brings years of experience as an editorial photo stylist and finally (it's about time!) delivers her smart and unique style to people's homes, design blogs and interior websites. Her styling is inspiring yet practical because she considers people's lifestyles and incorporates her high esthetic to churn out an amazing and personalized look! What's more, Susan's personality makes working with her like hanging out with your best girlfriend. And you can trust her to go to bat for you doing her best to get you a good deal.

  • Alison Sung, homeowner
    Susan is such a gem. I had her help with with some key decorating decisions in my house, including choosing paint colors. She has an incredibly discerning eye and a real talent in understanding what you want. I had a real sense of what I wanted, but had a hard time articulating and executing it. That's where Susan came in. She took her time making sure she really understood my style and what I was hoping to achieve. As we worked together, she kept that image in mind but also made suggestions that created a sense of balance with varied textures, materials, and colors. She is a perfectionist and spent a long time helping me pick the perfect paint color for my living room, taking into consideration the lighting at different times of day, the color of surrounding rooms, our existing furniture, and the "dream room" pictures I had ripped out of magazines. She nailed it--I love the color we choose! Most importantly, Susan is so easy and fun to work with. She is extremely personable and goes out of her way to make sure you are achieving the results you want. I will, without a doubt, be reaching out to Susan in the future for help finishing other rooms in my house.

  • Julie Johnson, Architect at JMJ Studios
    Susan helped us with color consulting for our home in Sausalito. She is very diligent and discerning, and was able to help us develop an overall "vision" for our home that we were able to execute, over time. I highly recommend Susan for any interior design or styling needs. 

  • Allegra Hsiao, Commercial Stylist for Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn
    I am a prop stylist for commercial and editorial photography and hired Susan Kim as my assistant for a 2-day shoot. Susan showed up full of energy and positivity from the very start of the day. She took direction well, and did wonderfully with each task I gave her. Her job involved a great deal of organization, packing and unpacking, and ironing. In addition, having experience in this field, she offered up some helpful suggestions with art direction and styling choices. I couldn't have done my job half as well without Susan's help. She also stepped in as an unofficial producer! I highly recommend Susan as a stylist assistant or producer on photo shoots.

  • Pat Tanumihardja, Food Writer and Author of The Asian Grandmother's Cookbook
    Susan is an accomplished writer and editor with over a decade of experience under her belt. Having written and produced numerous magazine articles, she now brings her artistic eye and sophisticated style to her new passion—interior design. Not only is Susan reliable, efficient, and organized, she’s also caring and thoughtful. She has always looked out for me, her fellow freelancer, and helped me out many times. I can’t recommend Susan highly enough. 

  • Susan Haynes, Sr. Travel Editor at Coastal Living
    Susan Kim is among the most talented writers and producers with whom I worked during my 40 years as a writer, editor, and communications manager. Not only is she an excellent wordsmith, but she also has a keen eye for photography and styling. And she has a visual and factual grasp of any subject matter she pursues. Her winning personality is coupled with serious dedication to details, and to the hard work of developing and producing a wide range of materials for publication or broadcast. She works easily with all types of people and brings patience and good judgment to any task she undertakes.
    A few years ago, I was among the trio of COASTAL LIVING Magazine senior staff members to interview Susan for the editorial position for which we hired her. Now, I have personally retired to focus on writing my own book, but if I were to return to a hiring position, I would want Susan Kim on my team.

  • Kay Fuston, Editor-in-Chief at Coastal Living
    Susan is an extremely talented and hard-working writer, editor, and producer. In addition, she is organized, resourceful, and conscientious. I recommend Susan without hesitation.

  • Kendra Smith, Sr. Editor at Sunset Magazine
    Susan is someone you want on your team. She shows so much dedication to her pieces. Whether an article is hard news or something as fluffy as nautical decor for your seaside cottage, she commits completely. She's also creative, and exceptionally skilled at pulling together all the pieces of a package. Committed, creative, resourceful... what more could you need?

  • Steve Millburg, Sr. Travel Editor at Coastal Living
    For anything to do with words or other editorial work, and for anything that requires organizational skills, initiative, and good judgment, I would highly recommend Susan. She is a fine writer on many levels: very knowledgeable about the basics of story construction (grammar, structure, pace), with an engaging voice and a knack for compelling images. She's careful with facts (she's done fact-checking and knows how easy it is to let a mistake slip in). She's very reliable and deadline-conscious. And she's simply a joy to work with; always cheerful, always professional, always thoughtful and caring. She has had a wide range of interests and experiences in her life, so she brings an unusual depth of understanding to her work. Hire her. She's great.