Adventures in Design

Interior designer Suzanne Trecco on going bold

One unquestionable quality of SUZANNE TRECCO’s approach to interior design is her drive to take a risk. From vertical garden walls to eyecatching wallpaper to international-inspired approaches, Trecco’s designs are unique yet comfortable.

Being adventurous is not something that Trecco consciously tries to be, it’s one of her features. Trecco was born in Brazil, where she lived in the Amazon for a few months and then traveled to Wilmington by sailboat.

“I lived on a boat for two years,” Trecco says. “That’s how I got here. I sailed here with my ex-husband from Brazil.”

“Were you scared?” I ask. “No, it was great. I’m a risk-taker. My challenge is getting other people to take risks with me,” she says.

As an interior designer, Trecco got her start in film set design after studying art history and fine arts.

“I learned mostly by doing it, but the art history part of it – bringing in concepts of different periods of time, textures, patterns, and composition – that’s all like painting a picture,” says Trecco, owner of SUZANNE TRECCO DESIGNS .

When working with clients to design their spaces, Trecco approaches it as a collaboration.

“A lot of times you have to sort of decipher what the space requires, what their needs are, and then what current trends are,” she says.

“You always want to be ahead of the trend a little bit. If you’re with the trend, you’re behind,” Trecco says.

While Trecco does both residential and commercial design, some of her favorite projects have been with local companies.

Some commercial projects she has worked on include nCino’s corporate headquarters, Ceviche’s restaurant space, and Tropez Salon.

Design elements Trecco incorporated at nCino, the cloud banking software firm at The Offices at Mayfaire, include a green wall covered in plants and wooden reading nooks with simple, patterned cushions. The front desk at nCino’s newest building features a brass wall with custom-made patina and a walnut slab desk. All these features create a relaxed and productive space.

“They wanted a concept that was more of a culture, so they wanted their people to come in, feel comfortable, and want to be there,” she says. “They have breakrooms and reading nooks and quiet areas where they can be on their laptops and work.”

Her approach with Ceviche’s was different. There she wanted the Wrightsville Avenue restaurant, which features a Panamanian-inspired menu, to make a statement.

“That was a high-energy food profile with high-energy pattern and color,” Trecco says. “The original concept was to hit them with a punch. A lot of the restaurants are on a budget, so you have to get drama in a tight punch. I think I would say that that’s probably what my specialty is, finding a way to bring in drama in a small area with a signature look.”

Tropez Salon has a bohemian, south of France-meets-California vibe, Trecco says. The hair salon features furniture and flooring in different tan hues and pops of greenery here and there.

Trecco’s individual style is largely connected to the place she was born.

“My personal style is bringing the raw textures of South America. I love wood, I love metals, I love concrete, I love exposed brick and exposed beams. I really love architecture. Anytime there’s a view or something like that I use it,” she says.

Staying ahead of the curve is important for Trecco, but there are some current trends that she is a fan of.

“I would say less is more and say white is in. The higher the ceiling, the better. Expose all ceiling beams and expose the nuts and bolts of the building. Those are the trends I like,” Trecco says.

Other trends, however, she would rather stay away from. “I don’t like too busy or when it’s too feminine or too masculine,” Trecco says. “I don’t like spaces that are not comfortable, and I don’t like spaces that you can’t move in, that don’t have a good flow pattern to (them). I think so many times designers don’t think about flow pattern.”

Trecco hopes Wilmington’s commercial buildings start adding more variety to their designs.

“There’s so many buildings being built that from the exterior, they all look the same. Where I come in is really more than a designer. I work with the flow pattern of the building itself, but I also can really help define where the drama is going to be,” Trecco says. “If you’re going to put money into a big building that’s going to be here for years to come, then we should be two steps ahead, design- wise. It doesn’t cost any more, it just takes a leap of faith.”


To view more of photographer Kevin Kleitches work, go to


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Categories: Women to Watch