A light did indeed go out in Santa Fe when architect and designer Susan Butcher died April 15, 2009, at her home in Galisteo, N.M., after a long illness. She was 48.
Susan was known for her interior-design work on hotels, restaurants, museums, and residences. A native of Albuquerque, Susan was hired by architect Michael Graves in Princeton in 1983, and founded Susan Butcher Designs in 1991.
Her projects included the DisneyWorld Dolphin and Swan hotels, Aventine Hyatt Hotel (La Jolla), Humana HQ (Louisville), Emory University Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Sheraton, Rio Mar Resort (Puerto Rico), the Eldorado Hotel, Inn of the Anasazi, Four Seasons Resort (Nevis), Little Dix Bay (Virgin Gorda), the Ritz-Carlton (St. Louis), Fairmont at the Plaza (Kansas City), and the Westin Hotel (Detroit).
Like Susan herself, her design work and drawings were elegant, delicate, precise, and graceful — never cookie-cutter — with the confidence and aesthetic vision to find the perfect balance of design elements that made her projects both tasteful and unique.
Susan also loved to cook, and even entertained friends with delicious and beautiful meals while still a student. She is survived by her husband and collaborator, designer Henry Noestheden; her parents, Barry and Anne; and brothers William and Jim.