By Quynh Le Truc  

  Sustainable interior design has been applied in numerous different ways in our lives and can be considered as a reply to this day and age, the age of Information and Ecology. Our need for sustainable environment is much more of an obligation than a desire, in professional interior design practice. ‘Form follows environment’ - a term addressed by Richard Hyde - is a simplification of this concept. Understood as a relationship between individuals and their current natural environment, its degree of impact depends on the selections of materials, furnishing and lighting.

    Green interior design practice requires addressing a number of primary issues. First, to decide which are the most reliable and useful sources of knowledge base taking into account the amassment of information available. Second, to engage the clients and users  by providing accurate understanding of the benefits which, in turn, make for more confident in decision-making process. Third, to find a way to assist and encourage the manufacturers and builders to apply and deliver more environmental architecture.  As an interior designer, sustainability in design primarily focuses on the specifications of furnishing, fixtures, equipment and lighting.

    One of the criteria for specifying sustainable materials is the aspects of function. A carpet being used in a commercial building must be more durable than the one used in a residential space due to its high traffic. Considering all of the possible contexts and maximizing the potential and longevity of the material is of great importance. Additionally, the process of how materials are made should also be taken into account. The energy being used in this process is called embodied energy. Each different materials has a different amount of embodied energy. Natural materials such as wood and stone require less energy to be manufactured than plastic, concrete or steel. The gas emission during the period the material is in use as well as the future recycling potential of the material should be considered not only for the sake of the environment but also to ensure a high level of indoor air quality for the occupants.A typical example of sustainable materials are cork, straw, wool or bamboo. Rapidly renewable materials are known to be less energy-intensive to produce. For example, bark from the cork oak tree can be harvested every nine years. Ultimately reducing the use and depletion of finite raw materials and long-cycle renewable material. Cork is also being used in acoustic and thermal insulation for its sound-proofing quality and is a resilient building material that is less affected by impact and friction.

Interior design by: Sarah Barnard  -  Photo by: Brad Nicol

An Ocean Avenue penthouse with a bird's eye view of Santa Monica's coastline. Eco friendly furnishings, natural textiles and organic rugs provide a perfect Zen retreat.

  Sustainability also can be demonstrated through lighting choices. The use of lighting plays a great part in the total consumption of electric energy. This requires not only the clients but also the interior designers to consider the possibilities of other alternatives to maximize the light coming into the building without increasing the energy consumption. This can be achieved either by taking advantage of natural light source through bringing light into a building interior and distributing it in a way that provides better illumination and considering pleasing, light-friendly interior objects and surfaces as well as flexible light controls; or using products that assure more energy saving than traditional ones. 

Interior design by: Sarah Barnard  -  Photo by: Brad Nicol

Taking advantage of natural light source through bringing light into a building interior and distributing it in a way that provides better illumination

Modern technology allows installation of light piping system and/or laser cut panels to carry daylight to the deep interior space of a building, even to the basements. Such advanced techniques like the piping system can provide 25 - 50% (Kadir, A., Ismail, L.H. & Kasim, N) of the workplace illuminance in commercial  or office building and overall reduce energy consumption. These light tubes acts as a light transport guiding the light into the room, increasing the efficiency without producing extreme warmth. This is because the tube is made with highly reflective internal surfaces, like aluminium sheeting with a reflectance of about 95 - 99% (Kadir, A., Ismail, L.H. & Kasim, N).

    Last but equally important, the furnishing choices have a significant impact on the environment and occupant’s health. Manufacturers can control the emission of volatile organic compounds by limiting the use of solvents in paints, stains, and glues. However, it is also the designers’ role to help their clients be more environmentally conscious with the furniture they choose. Purchasing the FSC certified or reclaimed wood helps to prevent the deforestation of tropical rainforests. Another example is in the choices of mattresses. The concern about what really is in a mattress, is important, not only because you spend a third of your life in bed but also it is believed that any product made with synthetic materials carries potential health risks. Because such items like mattresses, furniture cushions, pillows, carpet pad, and clothing, all contain a certain level, if not mainly, of petroleum-based foam, which is known to affect the nervous and immune system and cause illnesses.Therefore, lessening the dependence on petroleum is a commendable attempt. Manufacturers are experimenting with vegetable oils like soybean and latex foam producers are replacing some or all of the synthetic content for natural latex. Besides all of these efforts, the easiest way a responsible purchaser can do is to choose a mattress that can be kept for a long time.

Interior design by: Sarah Barnard  -  Photo by: Brad Nicol

A master bedroom outfitted with eco-friendly finishes in leather, rattan, maple and wool.

Overall, the main objective of choosing and using sustainable products, either under the role of customer or interior designer, is not only to improve the quality of life of the occupants but also to maximize positive impacts on environmental, economic and social systems over the life cycle of a building. These all start from the awareness of the surrounding environment and the availability of eco-friendly choices.


Ayalp, N. Environmental Sustainability in Interior Design Elements. Retrieved from

Kadir, A., Ismail, L.H. & Kasim, N. Optimization of daylighting system by using light pipe system in a building. Retrieved from

Rainforest alliance (2012). Cork oak. Retrieved from

Varela, M.C. Cork and the cork oak system. FAO. Retrieved from


Quynh Le Truc is a dynamic designer who has experience in branding and incorporating ideas into tangible objects to strengthen the identity of a brand. Her practice encompasses interior design, media design including editorial layout, photography, website and application interface to illustration. She loves travelling and studying within diverse cultures and countries. She is also an active member of the KOTO project to help street children and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.

Sarah Barnard is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy's board of directors and specializes in sustainable interior design and historic preservation.


NKBA Feature: Healthy, Sustainable, and Wise

For Sarah Barnard, AKBD, sustainable design is common sense: "Do we want to fill our homes with toxic materials? Do we want to hurt the earth while pleasing ourselves?" the Santa Monica, Calif-based designer asks theoretically.

Barnard has formal training in eco-friendliness. And whether it-s a sustainable harvested wood lounge for the Teen Choice Awards or outfitting the National Immigration Law Center in L.A. with recycled furniture, she brings a high degree of environmental awareness to all her projects.

She's a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and an International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology Building Biology Practitioner (BBP), a European framework for creating healthy environments. While there is considerable overlap between the two programs, together they've provided Barnard with a comprehensive approach for creating sustainable spaces. For example, while LEED emphasizes the use of recycled, locally sourced materials, Building Biology stresses non-toxic finishes, Barnard references both when evaluating materials and products. 

 Such knowledge is ket to accommodating clients with chemical sensitivities. For one such project, in the Pacific Palisades, Calif., Barnard created a minimalist version of a farmhouse kitchen. The clean-lined cabinetry was made from formaldehyde- free wheatboard and finished with zero-VOC paint. The countertops and backsplash are a composite quartz containing pieces of mother-of -pearl, a pleasing connection to the home's costal locale.

Still, Barnard approaches sustainability with pragmatism, recognizing that there are some trade-off's. For a lavish kitchen in Redondo Beach, Calif., she relied on local businesses and suppliers to get the best results. She started with moldings from a Southern California company Enkebell and supplemented them with elaborate custom columns by a local woodcarver and locally made cabinetry with solid maple doors. "We've tried sources cabinet doors made from official FSC Certified wood, but they had to be shipped from an out-of-town mill." Barnard recalls. "For this kind of intensely detailed design work, I rely on my local cabinet shop and their suppliers."

It's standard practice for Barnard to specify Energy Star-rated appliances and low-flow faucets. She also uses energy efficient LED lighting and includes activity sensors so that the lights will turn themselves off if people forget. In bathrooms, she recommends dual-flush toilets as an easy way to reduce water use and heated floors as a more effective and luxurious alternative to forced air. In the Pacific Palisades project, a Moroccan-influenced powder room has a radiant heated pebble floor. She also designed the bath with a neutral contemporary backdrop for great design longevity: Should the homeowners decide to take it in a different direction, they can switch out the showpiece mirror for something else.

"Sustainability is a modern word for being resourceful: You don't throw things away and make unnecessary waste," says Barnard, whose parents restored antique furniture for a living. "The basic ideology isn't new: it's how we apply it to our lives in every category."

Recent Reviews

The client's health and happiness is always a priority for Sarah. These recent reviews reflect mutual respect and fluid communication that Sarah strives for in her professional relationships. The feedback from our clients, acquaintances, and friends is greatly appreciated, thank you all for taking the time to write on your experiences with Sarah!

There's an idea in Korean culture that everyone possesses within them a bowl, a vessel, if you will, that needs to be filled completely before one can overflow in a truly abundant act of giving.  Sarah is one person who possesses a vessel with a remarkably large rim, so that when she overflows, a multitude of people are left touched, moved, and inspired. I had the pleasure of being one such person that Sarah reached out to as she searched for artists whose work could fill the walls of the National Immigration Law Center. Thanks to the abundance of Sarah's giving, I now have the unique opportunity to share my art with the world in collaboration with an institution that takes a stand and speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. I am honored with the opportunity to work with Sarah and I would highly recommend her services for anyone looking for a way to transform space into experience, an office into a hub, a house into a home. -Dohnbi K



I hired Sarah Barnard because I was impressed with her portfolio of work and I was looking for a LEED certified designer. In our initial meeting, I discussed my design intent and what materials I was interested in using and she really knew how to respond to my brief. In addition, she was one of the most organized people I worked with. I could count on her to take the lead on things like prequalifying contractors and drafting the request for proposal. In my opinion, she has competencies that extend beyond design. She respects and understands your deadlines and time frames and makes things happen! I also had a lot of my furniture fabricated in LA and was very happy with the result of the pieces we chose. I recommend her to anyone who is looking for a top-notch interior designer in the LA area. -Renimah A

You can't do better than Sarah Barnard as your interior designer.  I should know; I looked high & low before deciding to work with her. Sarah helped remodel my 1918 West Hollywood craftsman bungalow, a designated historic landmark, from a crack house (literally, this being East-West Hollywood) into my dream house.  She produced full, contractor-ready plans (plumbing, electric, etc.), specified fixtures and furniture, colors and materials.  It was a two-year process, and I could not have survived it without her.The first thing is that she listens.  She spent a lot of time getting to know who I was and what I wanted - and going way beyond my favorite drape colors.  I felt that she understood me ... which is good, because she wasn't about mirroring my ideas back to me.  She brings her own strong aesthetic to the table.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the easiest to work with - but Sarah challenged me creatively in a way that expanded my aesthetic. Moreover, she backs up her design and creativity with the highest-level work ethic, and is a great communicator.  She is also that rare designer who is fully-qualified (CAD familiarity, procurement, project management, etc.) to oversee a project cradle-to-grave.  And she is a wizard at materials, especially those that are environmentally-friendly. Sarah was also first-rate as an intermediate between me and suppliers - which turned out to be essential.  She represented me fairly and effectively, solving problems and saving me money. It should also be mentioned that Sarah is honest and fair to a fault.- Seth R

I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll start at the end. I walk into my home every single day and feel a powerful sense of appreciation and comfort, as I’m sure only doing a remodel yourself can feel. And, when I say ‘by myself’, I really mean ‘with Sarah’. It was my first time doing any remodeling, go figure why I would choose to start with a gut and re-design of an entire home. Sarah was gracious in her ability to walk me through the completely unknown territory of interior design. Sarah was sincerely interested in understanding my personal style and vision for the home, and she was not going to give me a cookie cutter design from the latest magazine. I have always liked things that are unique, usually with some sort of luxurious or playful twist. When I said I wanted something ‘shiny’ in the house, Sarah had the idea of a completely unexpected and beautiful wall of iridescent tile in my entry way. Sarah achieved that effect, the feeling of uniqueness, in all of the rooms in the house. Sarah’s design and taste is impeccable, and yet the results are comfortable and practical. I am a busy professional most days, and Sarah, besides being extremely talented and knowledgeable, was also efficient and organized during my project. She never wasted my time. She did her homework, and when she presented me with recommendations for designs, materials or colors, Sarah had enough choices, but not too many, and nailed it every time. Sarah was instrumental in all aspects of the project, design, materials, lighting, colors, yet I don’t feel like it’s a ‘Sarah’ house, the results feel like I did it myself. Simply put, Sarah listened and understood and executed, and I still walk into my house every day and smile when I see each unique and personal detail. Quite remarkable for a first time remodeling project. I am delighted to return the favor and do not hesitate to recommend Sarah. It was truly my pleasure to work with her. -Katherine K

We are pleased to write a letter of recommendation for Sarah Barnard and her design team. We had been seeking a designer to help us remodel and update our Cape Cod style home in Santa Monica Canyon. In looking over the websites of many different designers in the Los Angeles area we were impressed by Sarah's ^designs. This turned out great for us. as .we have now completed a renovation of two bathrooms and four bedrooms under Sarah's direction and could not be more pleased with the results. Sarah and her team worked diligently with us and our three teen children to develop designs that were beautiful, individualized, practical, in keeping with the overall style of the house, and within our budget. Sarah sourced all of the items, kept careful inventory, and was diligent and accurate with her proposals and invoices. Additionally, Sarah worked with and supervised the contractor to be sure that the designs were executed faithfully. We have done this a few times and this was by far the best experience and most beautiful and pleasing result of any of our projects. We recommend Sarah Barnard without hesitation. -Mark N and Eileen M

Sarah was the designer when I remodeled my Pacific Palisades home in 2011-12. She was there through every stage of the process. Every step of the way she was professional, prompt, attentive to detail, and also let me have as much or as little participation in those steps as I preferred. I love her style of working with her client in a completely full service manner, and also really going the extra mile to understand their vision for their environment. On the green front, she was very accommodating and made the process easy. I am very particular about the kind of products used in my home, and Sarah always found the best and most beautiful eco friendly options to show me. I told Sarah from the beginning that I wanted a sanctuary, and that is exactly what she created. I enjoy being in my home so much that I am reluctant to leave it and always happy to come home. Everyone who walks in says the same thing, that it is peaceful, beautiful, and happy. I would recommend Sarah, and I do constantly, to anyone who wants a beautiful environment that they can feel good about. She is excellent. -Julie F

Totally worth every penny. I wanted highly personalized luxurious service and I got it. We planned a 6700 SF custom home with Sarah and her team. We've worked with designers before and this was by far the best experience we have had. She is small operation and we did have to WAIT. I would do it again without hesitation. - Angie B

I have worked with Sarah Barnard designs as her photographer for a decade. She is the most pleasant and easy to work with designers I know.  And, her work speaks for its self. Her creative range of design has no boundaries. From corporate headquarters, small bungalows, and 7000 square foot mansions, she does it all great, putting her personal touch in each project while also satisfying the client's needs. She is the only designer I know who brings in original art pieces to most of her projects, again, making them unique, stand out, spaces. Looking for a designer? Look no further than Sarah and her team. -Charles M


I have worked with Sarah Barnard Design and you can expect nothing short of a professional level of expertise and a wonderful working experience. The level of professionalism and detail to her craft is definitely a reason I recommend her services to all. If you want innovative design and fresh ideas do not hesitate to use Sarah for your space. -Brian J

Sarah Barnard designs is efficient and communicates well with design choices and alterations.  We found that throughout the process of interview, designs, and installation, it was accommodating and found it enjoyable.  With every remodel there is bound to be frustration but we found working with Sarah we were in good hands. Working with Sarah Barnard was a joy and her color choices and patterns along with the stunning furniture made our choices come to life. We were pleasantly surprised with the attention she took with our likes and dislikes. We couldn't be happier with our newly designed rooms. -Michael K

Meeting Sarah was the best thing that happened to the face of my business. She brought the image of our salon to life.  We described the feel we wanted and she had a very customized color pallet and personal touch that has brought nothing but compliments in our space. She really took into consideration everything we talked about and had decided on the interior arrangement with function and style.The way our salon guests have been receiving the space and we've only been open for less than a month,  I'm considering having her work her magic in my apartment. -Pony L

I have had the great pleasure of working closely with Sarah for the past few months. She is a wonderful designer with a great personality and is very professional. She works with trusted vendors and contractors and has the ability of taking clients ideas and transforming them into visionary works of art. Being considerate of clients wants and needs and she is readily available to answer any questions and resolve any issues there may be.  If the quality of a product is not up to par, you can be sure that she will handle it, probably before you even realize there was an issue. Her work is both stylish and sophisticated while being eco-friendly. She is truly passionate about her work and loves what she does. Any home, office, hotel, or business would be lucky to have her redesign it to be appreciated for its fullest potential. -Danielle T

When I decided it was time to re-design our master bedroom and bathroom I was unsure about hiring a designer, but I am so glad we did! Sarah was professional, always communicative, and an overall delight to work with. We were so impressed with how well she catered to our preferences while making the most out of the space. Her eye for color palettes is phenomenal and she brought in incredible furniture pieces that really bring the rooms to life! On top of coming away with two incredible new rooms, it was a completely stress-free process. Sarah took care of everything and I felt so relieved to leave everything in her capable hands. I am so pleased with the results and I can't recommend her enough. For any future design projects we are absolutely going back to Sarah Barnard Design! -Agatha P

I have worked for years with her as a writer focusing on her finished projects, which have been great; she is fabulous about sharing information and getting back to me promptly. I would use her as a design pro in a NY heartbeat, or LA one! -Barbara B

I found Sarah Barnard Design... and fell in love with her style and eco chic stance on design. Throughout the design process she listened and offered the best of the best for my home. Overall Sarah was an amazing designer to work with and I am very happy with what she did for my home! -Amber A


Sarah Barnard Design helped us achieve a work space reflective of our mission,  in addition to branding our national office in Los Angeles. A huge undertaking matched with sheer zest, compassion and kindness.  Sarah assessed our needs, streamlined details and effectuated an office community-oriented project.  Sarah's compassion for our project has resulted in many roots springing up in our midst, including a beautiful and inviting work space accommodating the communities in which we serve; hosting a first of its kind art exhibition featuring local and international artists; forging new community-ships, and the list or the roots keep spring up and making new trees daily.  Sarah and her team are not only exceptional professionals with a myriad of bodies of work in the field of design but also outstanding visionaries. Working alongside Sarah on this project has been a blessing from day one -- I count her as the go to guru of design, as well as a friend.  I will not hesitate to contact Sarah for any design projects in the future. -S.M.

Sophisticated, stunning, timeless and inspiring are some words to describe Sarah Barnard's designs. She listens to her clients needs and style preferences to create them a one of a kind masterpiece that is also livable. Every design is finely and carefully detailed and crafted. Her portfolio speaks for itself and she is an absolute pleasure to work with. - Emily E

Sarah Barnard is simply the best. She is very patient in dealing with clients (like me) who have tastes larger than their wallet. Sarah always found the perfect pieces, both in the visuals and in the price, a rare talent for sure! I loved her attitude and "go get-em" outlook. She brought a great energy into my life throughout this remodel. I was so stressed about redoing the whole first floor, and Sarah was very understanding in walking me through the process, certain to address all my concerns. She really eased all my worries and actually made the design process very fun. I felt secure in her leadership. Her great attitude and ability to design quality, but still within a budget, would have me recommending her every time! Loved working with her for sure. -Jordan C

Sarah Barnard Design is as good as you can get! The office itself is top of the line. Friendly, and inviting. I have been a client of Sarah's on and off for several years and this was the first time I was a client at her new Valley location. Normally, I would feel like I was the new kid, not knowing anyone, feeling a little out of place but this was not the case at all. Shaina, the office manager was kind, friendly and funny. She made me feel very welcomed. As for Sarah, you can't get any better. I admit when she was at another location, it was very close but I know in my heart that I would NEVER EVER trust anyone else to do my house. I'm a big baby and am not fond of new people but loved the whole team--so good in fact that I have already recommended them to a friend. And Sarah has a way of putting her clients at ease. There was no guess work at all, a detailed client survey and visual aids to make sure we were speaking the same decorating language. I will never go to anyone else!  -Mynra M

We contracted Sarah Barnard to redesign our weekend place in Malibu in a Cape Cod style. The staff was totally awesome and attended to our every need throughout the entire process. When we had our first meeting with Sarah we knew this was going to be a good fit because of her portfolio of soothing neutral colors, natural materials and ties to historic preservation. As the process went on she presented choices that consistently delighted and surprised us. We had previously worked with another designer and found the Sarah Barnard Design team to deliver professionalism that we previously thought impossible to get from artistic people. We are so pleased with Sarah's excellent design style and pleasant working style that we have already contracted her to design our place in Colorado. -Michelle C

Through out our renovation Sarah addressed quality and construction issues with our contractor and proposed solutions along the way that were practical and did not compromise our style. She is approachable and has an easy going and down to earth manner which makes her a pleasure to work with. -Paul J

I work with Sarah Barnard on various residential projects. Being in the design business myself, I require that the professionals I work with be talented, meticulous and professional. Sarah Barnard is all of this and much more. Her ability to carry a project from beginning to end is un-paralleled. Her style is unique and artful, never dull. I would recommend Sarah on any interior design or art installation. When quality and professionalism are of paramount concern, Sarah will exceed all expectations. - Environmental Concept and Jack Haley Exteriors


Sarah Barnard Design is an excellent company to work with. They are extremely professional and organized. I have worked on a quite a few jobs with her and they have all gone as planned. She is on top of the job every step of the way. -Lauren S

I've worked with Sarah for many years. She is able to understand the need of her clients with minimal effort. Her ability to go from conceptual ideas to full completion is uncanny. Her designs not only meet her client's expectations but often exceed them. Sarah is a great resource, if you need design help. -Johnny Chao Designs

My wife and I have consulted with Sarah for her design expertise on various rooms in our home over two years. Initially, and before speaking with Sarah, my wife an I were concerned that we weren't going to be able to combine (1) our preferences and tastes with (2) the functionality (and durability) we needed as parents of three children under the age of 5. Of course, we were also concerned about whether we could successfully marry our different taste and preferences in furniture, colors, design. However, literally within minutes of meeting with Sarah for our initial design consultation we knew she was going to be able to accomplish our goals and fulfill our needs. She listened to exactly what we were saying and created a masterful design of color, texture and modifications to our rooms. During each step Sarah was responsive, attentive, professional and competent. We really can't say enough good things about Sarah and her talents. -Eric and Katie

I have worked with Sarah Barnard Design for more than 20 years and cannot speak highly enough of her attention to detail, her creativity, timely execution of project and her constant hands on care of each and every project. - Valley Upholstering Inc.

I am happy to see my designer listed here! Sarah Barnard is a gifted design genius. She took the time to LISTEN to what I wanted and incorporated my wants into her designs. The result was a beautiful house! My Santa Monica property is now the talk if the town! I give Ms. Barnard the highest praise. -A.H.

You need this company! Sarah Barnard Design is amazing! From beginning to end, totally professional, not to mention a great talent. Barnard was able to guide us through the renovation of our 1912 Craftsman home. No detail left undone. Everyone raves about the beauty of our home now, and we absolutely love it! We tell everyone who visits, this is the company to use for any interior design work. You will be delighted as we are. - Olmstead Preservation Association

When we decided to remodel our home in June 2006, we knew that there would be many decisions to make. One of the best that we made would be to hire Sarah Barnard Design, a firm recommended to us by our architect. Our California Mediterranean home was built in 1927 and has been remodeled several times. We wanted to upgrade and modernize the house while maintaining its charm. We had never worked with a designer but knew this was going to be too big of a project to handle on our own. While working with us Sarah was able to: coordinate plans, demands and requirements from a disorganized architect, an opinionated contractor and their team and get them to complete the project in as timely manner as possible. Listen to our preferences and suggest alternatives that we never thought of, including custom furniture and window treatments, modern light fixtures and a beautiful fireplace carved with roses that she designed. Accommodate our desire to use as many of our existing pieces as possible. Tolerate our whining about costs and delays. Start over a few times when we changed our minds. Help make our home functional as well as beautiful. A family member who has seen all of our homes in the last 35 years recently visited us. She said, "It looks like Ken and Marilyn, only better." I don't think we could ask for more than that. We highly recommend Sarah Barnard. -Marilyn P

I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Sarah Barnard over the last several years. From the very start Sarah's professionalism and integrity made us entirely at ease. She has been an absolute pleasure to work with and, in fact, I have recommended her to a number of my friends. Some of Sarah's strengths include: Sarah is an excellent listener. She displays remarkable sensitivity to our families differing viewpoints and offers insight and options for reaching our design goals. Sarah is extremely dependable. She has excellent follow through and always follows up on requests quickly. She also ensures that the people who work with her are also dependable and highly skilled. Sarah is kind and patient. While Sarah can see a space and immediately provide recommendations, sometimes I need more time. Sarah has always been happy to provide more choices and time. In the end i made very few choices to Sarah's original recommendations. My husband and I were incredibly impressed with the time commitment that Sarah made on our behalf to make sure that we were pleased with the results. I have enormous respect for Sarah personally and professionally, and would be delighted to offer the highest recommendation to anyone in need of a similar service. -Penny B

Sarah Barnard’s firm exceeded our expectations on every level.  Sarah and her team have raised the concept of personalized client service and custom designs to an art form.  A previous design team spent months trying to determine the proper layout for our difficult kitchen.  Sarah’s team came in and magically figured it out, giving proper emphasis to our wish list and design principles.  We are thrilled with the result.  No detail is too small for Sarah to do to perfection.  Architects and contractors who usually bristle at the thought of working with a designer embrace Sarah’s level of professionalism and organization.  She views each project as unique and is able to masterfully do varied styles driven by client preferences. -Diane P

We enlisted Sarah's support in planning and executing fairly significant (or at least for us) improvements to our condominium. The time and expertise Sarah spent with us made the stressful process decidedly less so. She displayed remarkable sensitivity to out different viewpoints, as well as our budget constraints. Those same skills came into play as Sarah helped us choose products that would meet needs and helped us understand our limitations when we presented you with yet another "brilliant" but impractical idea. My husband and I were so enormously impressed with the time commitment Sarah made on our behalf to make sure we were pleased with the results. The amount of time Sarah spent researching and consulting did not go unnoticed and we are deeply appreciative of her effort. - Carol B

Sarah designed the renovation of the first floor of our home which included our family room, guest bathroom, kitchen ,dining room, and living room. This was our first renovation and Sarah guided us through the whole process. She listened to our concerns and design our home in a contemporary style which fits our lifestyle and addressed our needs. We have been very pleased with the results of her services and continue to receive compliments of our home, particularly the kitchen and guest bathroom. Sarah was very professional and thorough. Throughout the renovation, Sarah was responsive to our questions and promptly resolved any design conflicts that arose. She addressed quality and construction issues with our contractor and proposed solutions along the way which were practical but did not compromise style and aesthetics. She is approachable and has an easy-going and down-to-earth manner which makes her a pleasure to work with. We are grateful to have had Sarah assisting us through our renovation. - Johanna C

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Our house has been transformed into a home with the help of Sarah's design expertise. So many of our insights involving fabric choices for drapery and pillows, color and light balance, even the selection of placement and items on shelves made the transformation possible.  Given the difficulty we experienced with our first decorator at the beginning of our remodel, I was tentative in believing we would find someone I felt confident working with. From the very start Sarah's professionalism and integrity eased our skepticism. It was a pleasure to finally be working with someone that took our project as seriously as we did and yet made us feel entirely comfortable describing our vision to. Her listening talents are quite keen to have extracted what we wanted from how we described it. Her attention to detail and her follow-up/follow- through skills serve her well in this area and we were fortunate benefactors. I would most certainly recommend her to any friends and anyone else that is in search of a designer that is not only creative but delivers on the vision. -Kelly B

It is our pleasure to strongly recommend Sarah Barnard and her design firm Sarah Barnard Design for anyone considering home or office projects. We first met with Sarah to discuss what we wanted of our remodel and to get ideas of opportunities from her to update our house. While we had a relatively large budget, it was not unlimited. Sarah worked carefully with us to ensure that what we spent would have the greatest impact on a unifying new look for our house. She used a wide range of contacts to arrange a variety of contractors to complete the work on our house. She and her team of consummate professionals, creative, honest, and always responsive to our needs and queries. We trusted them to hear our desires and opinions, but also trusted their instincts and design acumen. - Michael M and Timothy A


After interviewing several different designers, we chose Sarah to guide us through this stressful process of our remodel. She was the only designer who really seemed to listen and understand our priorities and desires for our new, improved home. We also chose Sarah because her process for managing major remodels could not be more organized and professional. Sarah's guidance made planning the remodel as easy and painless as possible. She was very flexible about how we worked together. Sarah made the process efficient and organized, and we were confident that the items we picked together would "go" with the items chosen previously. She is very direct with her opinions and will tell you if she doesn't think something will work.  She will also argue strongly when she believes something will substantially enhance your home. More than half a year after moving back in since the remodel, we are absolutely thrilled with how the place has turned out. -Teryl N. Scott

If you have worked with Sarah and you like to write a review, please do so our Yelp or Houzz pages. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sarah Barnard is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy's board of directors and specializes in sustainable interior design and historic preservation.




CODAWorx: National Immigration Law Center

Sarah Barnard organized a probono art and design project featuring local artists and a the National Immigrantion Law Center, one of the leading organizations in the U.S. dedicated to defending and advancing the rights to low income immigrants.

  Gardeners ,  Exodus , and  Nabe  by Jose Ramirez. Photo by Chas Metivier.

Gardeners, Exodus, and Nabe by Jose Ramirez. Photo by Chas Metivier.


National Immigration Law Center recently expanded/relocated. Their new suite would nearly triple the square footage of their existing space (almost 13,000). NILC is a non-profit and has extremely limited financial resources. Sarah Barnard Design was asked to take on the project on a pro-bono basis through the 1% for Design Program. In addition to creating specifications for the construction project and overseeing the interior design/furnishings purchasing, Barnard curated a long term exhibition for the organization that would feature 16 artists from around the globe. The artworks were created specifically for NILC’s space and with their organization mission in mind.

  Cherry Picker I  and  Cherry Picker II  by Narsiso C. Martinez. Photo: Chas Metivier

Cherry Picker I and Cherry Picker II by Narsiso C. Martinez. Photo: Chas Metivier


Defend & Advance is a temporary exhibit of 39 original artworks by 16 artists that celebrates the establishment of the National Immigration Law Center’s permanent art collection. With broadly varied approaches and narratives, the artists in this exhibition explore current conditions of immigration and migration, displacement and labor, and struggle against collective amnesia. The artists are from a diverse range of geographic, political and social backgrounds. Considering their work in dialogue allows us not only to reflect on their differences but also to consider their shared concerns. The exhibit offers new perspectives on issues we may have previously thought familiar. The curation seeks to discover shared experiences that can be explored in conversation and used to promote intellectual and emotional engagement with the subjects being presented. The artwork becomes a critical component in the overall design experience.

  Soul of Food  and  Nutrition  by Jose Ramirez. Photo: Chas Metivier.

Soul of Food and Nutrition by Jose Ramirez. Photo: Chas Metivier.


The designer was entirely responsible for curating the works commissioned for the space. Selecting from a pool of nearly 300 applicants, 16 exceptional artists were selected to create site specific works for National Immigration Law Center. Working closely with the fine artists, Barnard encouraged works that explore controversial political themes and offer opportunities to contemplate socio-political issues that affect us all. Access to healthy foods and education, farmworker rights, border politics, the terror of uncertainty, domestic worker rights, transportation issues, and the plight of the refugee are some of the many poignant themes explored in the works exhibited. Painting, print making, photography, mixed media installation and fiber sculpture are among the mediums employed by the participating artists. The curator/designer held a artists potluck at her home so that the artists might form permanent relationships with one another prior to the show opening. While the design project helps NILC staff to work more productively, the art installation encourages hope by way of connecting people with ideas and each other. This collaboration of designers, artists and non-profit attorneys to promote social justice may be the first partnership of its kind.

  With Her Own Hands  by Xilomen Rios. Photo: Chas Metivier.

With Her Own Hands by Xilomen Rios. Photo: Chas Metivier.

Additional Info

Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants. NILC believes that all people who live in the U.S.—regardless of their race, gender, immigration and/or economic status—should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Over the years NILC has been at the forefront of many of the country’s greatest challenges when it comes to immigration issues, and plays a major leadership role in addressing the real-life impact of polices that affect the ability of low-income immigrants to prosper and thrive.


Sarah Barnard is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy's board of directors and specializes in sustainable interior design and historic preservation.

Elle Decor: Designers Reveal Their Favorite Kitchen Paint

Sarah shares one of her favorite paint colors for kitchens.


"It's a delightful, versatile neutral that pairs brilliantly with blues, greens, and grays. The hint of green elicits thoughts of the first days of spring and the taste of fresh garden vegetables."

Sarah Barnard is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy's board of directors and specializes in sustainable interior design and historic preservation.

Kloss, Kesley. Designers Reveal Their Favorite Kitchen Paint Colors. Elle Décor. April 2016

Life Rolls on in LADESIGN Magazine

  Burnett, Cindi.  Repurposed/Renewal. Life Rolls On.  LADESIGN Magazine. P30-31. June 2016.

Burnett, Cindi. Repurposed/Renewal. Life Rolls On. LADESIGN Magazine. P30-31. June 2016.

Life Rolls On, a subsidiary of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, works to inspire others to see the boundless possibilities beyond paralysis through adaptive sports programs such as surfing, skateboarding and skiing. Giving careful consideration to the organization’s fiscal limitations and environmental responsibilities, Sarah Barnard Design re-used the building’s existing carpet, specified inexpensive materials and rallied donations of recycled items and labor. Inspired by LRO’s signature adaptive surf/skate program, the design is a catalyst of hope, creating a fun, energetic space that includes columns and counters made from salvaged skateboards and surfboards painted by LRO youth and a graphic timeline chronicling LRO’s history and achievements. Combining local and non-toxic materials with salvaged finishes and fixtures, SBD’s design reinforces the organization’s core purpose of promoting accessibility, interaction and wellness.


SBD worked closely with the organization to understand their specific needs, as well as their core mission so that the design solutions would promote that mission. Throughout the design process, SBD sought to create better working environments, focusing on ergonomics, daylighting, indoor air quality and human connectivity. The space is designed to foster community within the organization and by extension to the people they service.

Sarah Barnard is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy's board of directors and specializes in sustainable interior design and historic preservation.

  Burnett, Cindi.  Repurposed/Renewal. Life Rolls On.  LADESIGN Magazine. P30-31. June 2016.

Burnett, Cindi. Repurposed/Renewal. Life Rolls On. LADESIGN Magazine. P30-31. June 2016.



Interior Design: Sarah Barnard Design

Custom Skateboard Tile: Art of Board

Signage: Signarama Santa Monica

Life Rolls On:

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Photography: Chas Metivier


  Burnett, Cindi.  Repurposed/Renewal. Life Rolls On.  LADESIGN Magazine. P30-31. June 2016

Burnett, Cindi. Repurposed/Renewal. Life Rolls On. LADESIGN Magazine. P30-31. June 2016