CUSTOM HOME FURNISHINGS
I have a not so secret love of designing custom home furnishings. When you think of custom, you tend to think “luxury,” which is often true — and desirable — but there is a lot more to custom home furnishings than luxury. For one thing, custom furnishing is often practical or even necessary. Sometimes, for example, a client needs home furnishings to function in a particular space or function in a particular way. In that case, I need to design it. Practicality is the initial reason I design home furnishings. A second reason I design home furnishings for my clients is that I prefer they are able to control all the details that will make them comfortable. They don’t have to compromise. Custom home furnishings are often not more expensive than other high quality pieces. If you are going high end, you might as well get exactly what you want!
From an esthetic perspective, designing lighting is probably the coolest thing to do because when you turn on that light, it comes to life. There is something magical about it.
A third reason is that I really like to understand how things are built and how they work. I geek out on that kind of stuff. It’s part of my obsession with interior design. I don’t just want to sit on an exquisitely comfortable sofa. I want to know why it’s exquisitely comfortable. In fact, I love sofas because they are, of all home furnishings, the place where you can make the most difference to a client’s comfort. I also love custom case pieces, like cabinets and tables, because they provide opportunities to use a lot of different materials, like shell or bone and shagreen or lacquer. Beautiful materials, especially beautiful materials used in unusual ways, inspire me. The downside of custom home furnishings is that they always, always take longer than clients think they will. Before we start any custom project I’ll explain how long we might expect to wait and make sure the project timeframe can accommodate this. It’s not the design process, it’s the manufacturing process. Custom really does mean “built for you.” It takes time to weave and dye a fabric, engineer and build a sofa frame, procure all the internal materials, put them together with the expertise of a fine artisan and then have it sent to my client’s home. In the end, though, patience pays off and my clients love the results.
READY-MADE HOME FURNISHINGS
I am in showrooms, researching, or designing all day, everyday, so it’s almost like I have a catalog in my head! I tend to be aware of new things that are coming in, the latest trends (to embrace or avoid!), and what the possibilities are. When you’ve remodelled countless bathrooms, bought hundreds of chairs, spent hours looking for just the right drape fabric and lived with dogs and children there are myriad issues that you’ve dealt with in the past and can navigate with foresight in new projects. When it comes to retail home furnishings, people often try to discover what they like, spending hours online, pouring over websites and trying to make decisions. Clients sometimes come to me in a state of paralysis because there are so many options and it’s easy to go around and around in circles trying to figure out what works with what. There’s another way to approach it. Rather than say, which sofa do I like? You can ask, how do I want this room to feel? Then we can begin asking questions like, Where did you last feel that way? Maybe it was on a trip to Morocco . . . together we find the vision and develop your room design and home furnishings selections from there, which makes the process lighter, more creative, and endlessly fascinating.
YOUR INVESTMENT IN HOME FURNISHINGS
I love to help my clients understand that not everything in a room needs to be at the same cost level. If someone falls in love with a particular coffee table, and this coffee table is more expensive than they expected, I’ll find ways to bring the costs of the room’s other furnishings in line so that the overall budget works.
When clients hire me I know where to go to look for home furnishings and materials based on budget, which saves time. And time is the client’s money.
My background in venture finance means that I can run preadsheets backwards and sideways! It may seem like a strange segue into the world of interior design but what it taught me was that numbers have to be accurate and you need to be able model the likely costs and upside of every dollar you manage. My clients are making investments in their homes and I give the same level of thought and attention to their budget as I would if they were investing millions of dollars into a venture fund. My clients are in the process of renewing their homes and, really, their lives. I want to make it as enjoyable an experience as possible.
CLIENTS ARE SAYING
Sarah was a gem to work with! She understood our family needs, especially as a mother herself. She’s a great listener and possesses a very creative eye. Additionally, Sarah stayed within budget (actually came in below!) as she offered me many options that fit our needs and the look. My first experience with Sarah was impressive. I highly recommend her.
Janet Kunze, San Francisco, CA