Sneak peek into Suzanne Zahr's new studio on Mercer Island

March 20, 2016 | by Erin Sirianni

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Perhaps you are looking for great art or an architect, a beautifully designed light fixture or a comprehensive interior design service, or maybe just an inspirational place to escape for a moment, Suzanne Zahr has created a space on Mercer Island that provides all of these things and more.

Suzanne Zahr | Contributed image

Suzanne Zahr | Contributed image

Her gorgeous new studio is soon to open next to The Islander in the Aviara building in Mercer Island’s Town Center. She is unveiling the unique retail space with a Grand Opening on Thursday, March 31st, from 5 to 8 pm.

I met with Zahr earlier this week for a sneak preview of the space and to learn more about her sister companies Suzanne Zahr, Inc. & SZ Build, Inc., combined as a design/build team of multi-disciplinary creatives.

“Previously, I owned and managed an Architecture Design firm, and when the market crashed, I had my daughter and did the responsible thing. I went where the work was and landed a corporate job,” said Zahr, who worked on the architecture and design teams for Starbucks Corporate and through IA Interior Architects in Seattle from 2010 to 2015. “The experience gained in working for such iconic brands was invaluable. When the market picked up, I decided it’s time to venture back out on my own again.”
With an appreciation for both creativity and craftsmanship, Zahr founded SZ Build, Inc. in 2015. As a seasoned architect with a structural engineering background, Zahr provides a multi-disciplinary approach to her projects, whether commercial or residential. Her design/build method focuses on time and cost savings, high quality of work, and happy clients. Her team includes Ed Bom, Construction Manager, Rania Qawasma-Dana, Architectural Project Manager, and Lara Tedrow, Designer, Nancy Wenneker, Marketing Manager, along with a vibrant cast of creative consultants.

When searching for a commercial real estate, Zahr, an Island resident, wanted to be close to her daughter’s school and was drawn to a raw space on the ground level of the Aviara, a recently built apartment in building in Town Center. She is using the studio to realize her dream of expanding her work beyond a design service practice.  The storefront serves as a public gallery, which she will also offer as a program venue.
“I’m collaborating with The Islander and other local retailers to eventually do monthly wine pairing and art walks. I already have two pop-up exhibits on my calendar. Later this month, my fellow Kindergarten room-parent will be displaying a collection of beautiful photos taken of each student dressed as a famous painting. She offered an amazing way for our little ones to engage in our art world,” she said. “That’s what I love about it. It’s not just my space. It’s already becoming a venue for others to express themselves and explore their creative interests.”
At the Grand Opening, Zahr will debut the Danish-born artist, Gitte Peters, and her son, MUGGI, along with furnishings in collaboration with Gary Henderson Interiors. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for Art with Heart – a non-profit with the mission to help children overcome trauma through creative expression. Zahr has an ongoing commitment to donate 5% of all art sales to this inspiring cause.

Suzanne Zahr studio location | Contributed image

Suzanne Zahr studio location | Contributed image

Curious to see how the space came together?  Watch this amazing time-lapse video, which captures four months of construction into five minutes:

Learn more about Suzanne Zahr and SZ Build, Inc., at