Judgement-Free Interior Design: Let's Get Weird!

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by Kelsey Betancourt

Home is a self-portrait of sorts. It’s a collection of who we are, where we’ve been and all the people we care about. For most of us, our home is a safe space to reveal our personal style, family history, beliefs, and state of mind and can and should represent who you are in a healthy, useful and enduring way. For many, this is a daunting task. Even creative people find it difficult to craft a beautiful, functional and healthy home that adequately reflects their uniqueness.

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The first step is finding a designer who you are comfortable with, who you can feel safe sharing your needs and aesthetic. It can be hard to let someone into your home to sort through the details of how you live, particularly if your style or needs are not like the cookie-cutter examples in home magazines, but ultimately, allowing an interior designer to know who you are allows them to enhance your life and lifestyle. It also means that you’re free from the burden of planning the minute details of your own space.

When asked how to begin, interior designer Sarah Barnard explained, “The first step in my design process is always learning about the people I’m working with. So, start by being honest. Tell your interior designer the truth about your habits, desires, future hopes and dreams.” Barnard, a Los Angeles based interior designer with a passion for healthy and unique design, is no stranger to special requests. She has designed homes for people who have physical limitations or challenges, pet menageries, tree houses, art and antique collections, vegan kitchens, and with children with special needs, not to mention the occasional adaptive re-use projects, which repurposes an old building for a different function, like a church into a home.

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Regardless of your comfort level letting a designer take the reins, it is important to bring your own situation–including all your challenges, whether that means your grandmother’s China with a questionable aesthetic or a mobility issue that requires a re-design. Asked her about finding and building a feeling of trust with your design team, Barnard said, “In my experience, people often have anxiety about how their home, hobbies or lifestyle might be perceived. Our team is made up of diverse individuals and we pride ourselves on meeting people where they are. An authentic home has the potential to be truly restorative and inspiring.”

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When asked for her favorite unusual design challenge, Barnard laughed and said, “Oh, I’ve heard them all by now. My favorite requests are often the incredibly personal ones. We’ve had several clients recently who practiced co-sleeping for example: the co-mingling of parent’s and children’s bedrooms”. One couple’s oldest child did not have his own bedroom, and slept on a separate bed in the homeowners’ master bedroom. Inegrating this request required the melding of different needs and maintaining an elegant adult aesthetic, as well as adequate kid friendly spaces.

Another client is expecting her first child, and desired ultra-healthy materials and furniture that would be safe for her expected family. “She basically wanted materials safe enough her child could eat them. My team supplied her family with the healthiest and most pure materials available, even giving attention to the dye ingredients in fabrics and the finishes on wood. Ultimately she had a home that was beautiful and that she felt safe in.”

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Worry of being perceived as messy can also hold a person back from contacting a designer. It often comes down to lack of storage options, but for some it can be a cathartic process to let go of the excess clutter. An excellent step as the design process begins is to take stock of what items are most important: what items are no longer useful to you, and what items bring you joy? Getting rid of excess items and furniture can be a healthy process and will make room for you to figure out what is precious and meaningful.

For many, part of embracing their unique identity may mean collecting, restoring or displaying treasured items. That should be no surprise–there’s an entire art-form dedicated to this idea: kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with 24 karat gold. The idea is that instead of throwing away something broken, it is made whole again, and it’s scars are proof of its history. It’s past and age are a reminder that there’s beauty in experience and what is finite.

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Items with some wear and tear show their history, their usefulness, and your love for them like a badge of honor. Allowing them to retain their imperfections is a way of embracing your own. It can be especially meaningful to hold onto the items that you found while traveling or that you were gifted.

Embracing an appreciation for flawed beauty allows you to hone in on the important items and create a natural, healthy space. Removing clutter yet holding onto and restoring imperfect, meaningful pieces is a delicate line to walk, but it can bring authenticity and personality to your home.

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There are so many unique situations that can be improved by custom, healthy design. In some cases that situation may be be health or physical limitations, in which case ergonomics may be something to consider asking a designer for help with. They can apply universal design principles to ensure your home is comfortable for you and your family. “I’ve had a number of clients with special requests. One client, aside from being over six feet tall, had multiple knee surgeries that made it difficult to get in and out of chairs. My team researched and commissioned furniture with custom seat heights and dimensions to make it easier for him to get up and down.”

“It’s not all eccentric requests. Sometimes the client needs something super personal that they feel unsure how to handle themselves.” Barnard described a pair of clients who were married and in their late 60s, living with one of their mothers, in her late 80s. “They wanted her close by so they could look after her, but they she also wanted her independence. The solution was creating a separate wing in their home; we essentially created a suite inside their home that included a master bedroom, sitting room and bathroom, but it was all closed off by a door from the rest of the house.”

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When asked how involved one needs to be in the design process Barnard said, “Every designer is different, but personally I let my clients be involved if they choose. Many prefer to live their lives and allow my team to handle things, but sometimes people prefer to have a more active part in the process. There’s no wrong way.” A designer who will listen to your needs and create a custom, personal space that fits your special point of view is best.

Asked for unique requests, or something fitting the free and uninhibited side of Los Angeles, Barnard recalled, “One client who was a pilot wanted us to design a space resembling the interior of a plane. More than one client has asked us to make their home resemble the set of their favorite shows: The Crown, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men to name a few.”

Barnard added, “newlyweds are always fun to work with. They are just starting out together and they haven’t figured out how to merge their styles and possessions yet.” Couples just starting out or moving to a new city can benefit from the direction of an interior designer, particularly if the couple has very different styles or collections to merge.

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An enduring aesthetic and lasting materials are an indicator of a good interior designer. Barnard explained, “Lately I’ve encountered clients asking for ‘bulletproof’ furniture and finishes. I think this comes from a few places. There are so many furniture lines available to the general public now who make furniture that is basically disposable, and so often clients have an expectation that furniture isn’t made to last. Furthermore, people don’t want to sacrifice luxury just because they have children or pets. I find it worthwhile to take the time to explain that pieces with quality materials and craftsmanship will last virtually forever with proper care.” Learning proper proper care is a perk of working with a qualified designer. Even a carefree man cave can integrate coasters with a favorite sports teams in order to protect finishes on furniture.

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It’s important to remember that homes featured in books and magazines are chosen for their mass appeal. Your home can be a testament to your unique hobbies, interests and passions. Your home should enhance your lifestyle and express your uniqueness. “Form truly follows function. My work is centered on health and happiness. Anything we can do to help our clients live better, we will.”

No matter who you are—collector, vegan, expectant mother, newlywed, artist, person with special needs, pet owner—your lifestyle can be enhanced by good design. An interior designer can help you choose the most important pieces you own to feature, plan for your growing family, art collection or future health, and design the perfect enduring and custom space for your unique style and situation.

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Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). She is known for delivering, on time, all the time. Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation. 

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California Minimalism

by Kelsey Betancourt

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When a government executive from the east coast decided to retire, she knew it was time to finally make her home in Santa Monica into the perfect restorative retreat. From a lifetime of travel, she collected an eclectic and beautiful array of art and antique furniture that needed to be properly placed in the home she bought in the 1990s with her now late husband. She enlisted the help of Sarah Barnard Design to redesign the home, entrusting her with the task of blending the unique and personal pieces of the collection with a healthy, natural and minimalist style.

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Sarah Barnard set out to create a home that was not only beautiful, but that would allow the owner to be comfortable indefinitely. In all areas, both space and function were taken into account in the planning stages. In the kitchen, this was achieved by rearranging the space to best fit the clients’ lifestyle. An open-plan design was chosen to allow the owner to easily cook, as well as to allow for easy entertaining of guests.

Sarah chose pale grey flat panel cabinetry to help the small space feel lighter and brighter. Matte white glass tiles were selected to add a quiet elegance to the minimal space. Once the project was completed, the homeowner gushed, “Entertaining here is much more pleasurable, as is cooking for one in my new kitchen.”

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The natural French oak flooring seamlessly connects the kitchen to the dining area, enlarging the sense of space in booth rooms. Open shelving just outside the kitchen keeps cookbooks close and adds a sophisticated pop of color while stainless steel appliances were selected to subtly pair with polished chrome cabinet hardware. The simplicity of the color palette, the clean, natural materials, and the streamlined design created simplicity and a new ease of use.

Sarah knew that repurposing the owner’s treasured pieces would be essential in the home's re-design, so the owner’s antique chairs and matching rosewood table from Thailand are placed prominently, bringing warmth and history to the contemporary dining space. The Italian chandelier above it contrasts the classic style and is made of laser cut metal and glass.

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In the living room, the original design included a large diagonal bench that connected to the fireplace. The redesign eliminated this and other cumbersome architectural elements to create more floor space and a modern aesthetic. Sarah conceived a simpler fireplace in order to feature art and items her client painstakingly collected. A serene white plaster fireplace with a Qortstone marble hearth now anchors the living room in a place where a traditional wood and stone mantle once sat.

“I had not originally contemplated changing the living room fireplace wall, but am delighted with the sleek new look Sarah achieved,” said the owner, who was also happy to finally have the perfect place for her paintings. “This oil painting, ‘Raspberry’, previously hung in the stairwell between the second and third floors where its exuberant shapes and brush strokes could not be fully appreciated.” The painting, by Wendy Edwards, now hangs neatly above the fireplace.

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A pair of dark stained wood coffee tables, also from the owner’s collection, were carefully chosen to make entertaining easy, while the vintage rug anchors all the white space with vibrant color. The result is a sophisticated minimalism throughout the living room.

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Upstairs, the owner requested an expansive shower, so the master bathroom was designed as a "wet room.” Sarah planned ahead for every eventuality in the owner’s future, including her long term health and well-being using universal design principles. The result was a space free of any barriers like steps or glass shower walls.

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Sarah designed the space to feel light and boundless by selecting custom cabinetry, also adding storage and architectural interest to this modern master bathroom. Plumbing fixtures by California Faucets were chosen for their simple beauty, while the counter top slabs contain small pieces of natural shell, echoing the nearby ocean. Sarah finds that an element of nature adds a touch of calmness. Above the counter, diffuse split disc wall sconces were chosen to add soft light to the space.

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Both beauty and safety were accounted for in Sarah’s design. Beautiful and sleek hand-glazed wall tiles inspired by sterling silver accompany durable and slip-resistant porcelain mosaic tile flooring, that create a functioning and timeless atmosphere. Finally, the cool and crisp master bathroom was personalized with an antique Victorian chair and a giclée print by artist D.J. Hall.

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Continuing the elegant, spare aesthetic from the first floor, the master bedroom suite fills the entire second floor of this beautiful minimal townhouse, so special attention was paid to make it simple and calm. As the owner explained, “I travel frequently and the serenity of the space makes coming home very comforting.”

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The homeowner cares about her health and her environment; she practices self-care through activities like yoga and Pilates. It was important to her that her home be filled with natural materials. Sarah was careful as always to find organic and lasting materials that would contribute to her health and wellness. The master bedroom suite now highlights the beauty of natural objects and materials while planning for maximum comfort and use. The space features a vintage leather headboard by Duxiana, and the artwork is a framed print of a painting by Marc Chagall (c. 1957). Glass orbs were chosen to provide soft bedside light that keeps the nightstands free for books and other objects.

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A second fireplace in a corner was made over in sterling silver-toned ceramic tiles, adding visual warmth. The marigold club chair beside it was made more personal with the addition of a handmade honey bee pillow embroidered by the homeowner.

Plants and flowers dot the suite, as Sarah adds plants whenever possible to create a healthy and natural environment. The unique collection mixed with healthy materials in the design of this townhouse allowed a meaningful and sophisticated style to emerge. After the completion of this redesign, the owner explained that what she loves best about her new home is “[the] serenity of the color palette and surfaces, the bold, visually arresting scale of the principal lighting fixtures, and the way the new surroundings accommodate favorite furniture pieces and decorative items.”  The newly finished home is a testament to idea that less is more, and that health and natural design are the solution to luxury.

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Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). She is known for delivering, on time, all the time. Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

Sarah 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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation. 

Sneak Peek: Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts - 2018

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by Kelsey Betancourt

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On April 10th, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) opened their 2018 Design Showcase House and Garden for an exclusive press-only preview. Sarah Barnard, an interior designer and social media influencer, attended the press viewing and captured a sneak peak of the house which opens later this month. While the select group of visitors were allowed to take photos, no guests will be allowed to take pictures or use cell phones once the event officially opens.

This year’s house is entitled “The Overlook”, and is a Mediterranean-style property that includes a main residence, a guest house, and grounds. Notable architect Reginald Davis Johnson designed the home for two sisters in 1915. Design showcase houses are a home or property where different interior designers are responsible for the design of one room each, and in this case, landscape designers are also given a garden space to transform. The owners of the home generously allow designers to make-over a room, the organization to raise money, and the general public to tour their home for a short time.

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Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, runs this showcase house as a fundraiser for their charity work and welcomes around 25,000 visitors each year. The proceeds PSHA makes off “The Overlook” will go to benefit children’s art programs in Pasadena. They do this in four ways:

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Gifts & Grants: Cumulative donations of more than $23 million have been made in support of outstanding music and arts programs throughout the community. Gifts & Grants are awarded to non-profit organizations for music education, music therapy, underwriting of concerts, etc., as well as continuance of our longstanding support of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

Pasadena Showcase House Youth Concert: Begun in 1953, more than 250,000 fourth grade students have attended this annual free concert designed to weave musical concepts into an appealing program that is presented at the Walt Disney Concert Hall by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Pasadena Showcase House Music Mobile™: Created by PSHA in 1971 and now produced in partnership with the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, the Music Mobile™ is a hands-on, award-winning program that is presented to third grade students. It provides an introduction to classical music and the opportunity to play a selection of instruments and be part of a simulated orchestra. More than 103,500 students have participated since its inception.

Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition: Since 1984, promising young musicians between the ages of 16-24 have been competing annually for monetary awards in the categories of woodwinds, brass and strings. Nearly $600,000 in prize money has been awarded to assist them in furthering their musical education.
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While it still maintains the original Mediterranean atmosphere, the house has contemporary updates made by the homeowners and additions by the showcase designers, culminating in a wonderfully eclectic and surprising home.

Complimentary parking & shuttle services are provided, as the house is in a residential area. The house is open from April 22nd to May 20th, 2018, and tickets range from $35 - $60, depending on times. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at http://www.pasadenashowcase.org/

Designers from all over California come to take part in the making of this project to benefit the community. This year’s crop of designers who generously donated their time and expertise can be found here.

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Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). She is known for delivering, on time, all the time. Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation. 

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Photos by Sarah Barnard

Beach Style Interior Book vol.1

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Amir, the owner of this house, visited California for the first time in his late 20s. "My friend lived in Los Angeles, where I was invited to visit" and this was the trigger. He fell in love with the land of California at a glance, and says he packed his bags six months later and moved to Southern California. "And since that, I never thought of going back to the East Coast where I had spent the first half of my life."

Born in Brooklyn and living on the East coast, Amir moved to Southern California in his late 20s. He found success working for a financial affiliate PennyMac. "I love living in Santa Monica - it feels like I'm on a constant vacation (well at least when I don't have to be in the office working)!"
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"This was my first home purchase and when I bought the place it was pretty chaotic. Fortunately, I was able to see that it had a lot of potential." In addition to the beautiful Santa Monica location, there is also a private parking garage for three cars, as well as ample outdoor space. "It had all of the essentials I desired." As a result, he hired interior designer Sarah Barnard to create the perfect home. "Being so near to the Pacific Ocean, it was important to us to honor the sea and bring the surrounding nature inside. Natural textiles, vintage furniture and ample plant life to encourage connection with friends, family and the outdoors."

Sarah Barnard, whose diverse body of work includes upscale private residences throughout the greater Los Angeles area says "Amir wanted his home to be handsomely appointed, masculine and enduring. My team and I gathered artisan made and antique pieces from across the globe. Pottery from Spain, lighting from Italy, a favorite arm chair from Brazil. The collected aesthetic honors and appreciates arts from many cultures."

This home is packed with all of Amir 's ideals. As a designer, Sarah provided the vision to transform the home into exactly what he wanted. "To say there is one part I love the most is difficult since I find so much of it appealing, but the master bedroom would have to be the area that likely stands out the most. Although the Marble bar is exquisite!" Amir commented with a laugh. The area formerly designated for formal dining was repurposed as a custom marble bar, maximizing the space for entertaining. 

Amir spends his time at home either hanging out with friends, or a girlfriend, or his younger brother. If the house is lovingly loved, everyday life must be more fun!

Written By: Saki Yamanouchi

Text Translation by Google

Photos By: Steven DeWall

Visit the following link to purchase on Amazon: Beach Style Interior Book Vol.1

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). She is known for delivering, on time, all the time. Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation. 

Eluxe Magazine: Dream House! Sustainable Interior Design by the Sea

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DREAM HOUSE! SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN BY THE SEA

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By Chere Di Boscio

Who doesn’t dream of a beautiful home outfitted with all natural materials, organic textiles, handmade and eco-friendly furnishings – on the coast, no less? Eco-friendly interior designer  Sarah Barnard was asked to perform a design overhaul on a 3,600 sq. ft. family home in Santa Monica. The stipulation? The owners wanted sustainable interior design that reflects a seaside theme throughout the living spaces.

Called the Peaceful Palisades Project, the resulting house boasts materials such as ceramic, wood and wool, as well as outstanding customised features such as a concrete fireplace, designed by Sarah.

Sarah’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters, and her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Here, we asked her a little bit about what motivates her ecological interior designs.

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What are the biggest differences designing a family home and one for singletons or couples?

While all of our clients care about healthy living, parents with young children are especially concerned about the materials that make up their home environments. Natural, non-toxic materials are of the highest importance when creating spaces for growing children.

Where do you source your eco-friendly decor materials from, generally?

I buy locally whenever possible. Our firm has longstanding relationships with local artists and artisans who hand-make most of our goods, focusing on using natural, reclaimed, and honest materials. Aside from being beautiful and healthy, pieces made this way tend to be more treasured and are more likely to be kept by a family for longer.

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What are some of your favourite features of the Palisades house?

The original bones of the house were excellent. The living room has a beautiful exposed beam ceiling and there is an exposed brick fireplace that remains a decorative element in the new kitchen. We wrestled with the idea of preserving or upgrading the original red brick. We collectively decided to keep it (in the kitchen only) as a homage to the architect’s original intent.

And what are some of your favourite design features?

Unique handmade objects bring authenticity and personalization to a home. The sculptural wall sconces in the living room and dining room are one-of-a-kind; I designed two different sets specifically for this home. The dining room pair were made of ceramic and were inspired by the property’s calming ocean view. The elegantly contoured living room sconce was carved by hand from American Walnut by a trusted woodworker based on sketches and hand-made miniatures. The organic forms and natural finishes match perfectly with the coastal ambiance of the space.

Both fireplaces needed to be completely redone. In the living room I designed a long horizontal concrete facade and hearth with gently waving etched lines to mimic the movement of the nearby sea. In the dining room, I chose a Ann Sacks tile glazed in brilliant blue to create an updated linear pattern neatly framed by a custom concrete mantle.

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What are some of the biggest challenges you face when sourcing eco-friendly interiors items?

The wait times-miracles don’t happen overnight. We often work with small shops and individual artisans who handcraft our pieces to order. Patience truly is a virtue when building natural, custom homes.

What was the family’s reaction to your work?

The homeowner for this project was very happy with the final result and the new connection the space had with its surroundings. She was easy to work with, since she is highly intelligent and conscious about sustainability. Caring deeply about the environment and the health of her family, we didn’t have to pitch these concepts about health and wellness to her, she embraced them wholeheartedly.

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What would be your ultimate dream house?  

That would be to design would be a home that is harmonious with the nature around it. I love to work with nature and my ideal projects are ones where the environment–whether that’s the desert, ocean, prairie, jungle, or anything else–is physically and spiritual intertwined with the home. The house would have epically grand views and a unique personality. It would also have an owner who cares about sustainability and wellness.

Photos by Steven Dewall

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). She is known for delivering, on time, all the time. Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation. 

Biophilia: Nature & Design

by Kelsey Betancourt

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You may have seen the terms “biophilia” or “biophilic design” brandished around the internet lately, posted between beautiful images of sprawling interior design and architecture filled with plants and nature-inspired sculpture installations. Biophilia isn't new–but it is a growing discipline in interior design. If you are interested in healthy living or are a  building owner, it’s a subject worth learning about.

Biophilia is our inborn desire to be close to nature–and biophilic design aims to make healthy and comfortable interiors by meaningfully incorporating natural elements into our home and work environments. Los Angeles-based interior designer Sarah Barnard sat down with me to explain how she uses biophilic principles to create healthful, smart spaces for her clients. “It's intuitive when you think about it. Biophilia exists because we are comforted by nature, and we all understand that on some level. Nobody wants to live in a little grey box–we want to live in open spaces connected with the environment, plant-life, and the seasons.”

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Biophilic design puts a few simple principles to use to create spaces that are both visually beautiful and spiritually healthful. As more and more of us make our careers our focus, calmness, serenity and healthy living can be difficult to achieve without the help of nature and smart design. There are years of study to support what we already know in our bones: spaces that have nature incorporated are more appealing to us, and they have marked health benefits.

Terrapin Bright Green is a consulting firm specializing in sustainability in order to create a healthy, prosperous, and regenerative future for all. They produce workshops, research, planning, guidelines, and product development. They have researched biophilia and organized their findings into 14 principles of biophilic design and have studied the effects of biophilia on our health and wellness. For the most part many of the principles are simple and intuitive, such as ‘Visual Connection with Nature’, which is just what it sounds like: adding natural elements or a view to nature into your space. However if you’d like to read an in-depth, thorough explanation of all 14 principles, you can see the results of Terrapin’s research here: https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/14-patterns/ . For today, we need only to talk about the three subcategories of the design principles: Nature in the Space, Natural Analogies, and Nature of the Space.

Nature in the space refers to the presence of natural elements in an interior. For example, that could mean having plants, shells, or water features. But it could also mean more abstract features, like natural light or light that changes throughout the day, air circulation, and a view to the outdoors. “What you exclude is as just important as what you include,” said Barnard. “I choose art made with natural materials or vintage art that has off-gassed to avoid putting noxious smells or chemicals into a space. Indoor air quality accounts for part of how we feel about our homes and how comfortable we are.” All of her designs include live plants, too, which contributes to air quality, a non-visual connection with nature.

Natural analogies refers to art and forms inspired by nature: a light fixture that looks like a plant or a sculpture that looks like an animal, for example. A good designer will find natural forms and art for you to choose from so you can have art that imitates nature. Barnard walked me through a project she made custom light fixtures for. “The home was beside the ocean, and I wanted to make something inspired by the beautiful surroundings of that space. I started by sketching forms inspired by coral reefs, and I made miniatures in clay by hand. When they were ready, I had them fabricated by a local craftsman. Having forms that imitated the shape and texture of coral and having light cast in beautiful organic patterns made the space feel natural and serene.”

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Nature of the space means making the space itself seem like nature. Having a large open space through which you can see an expanse of space, as well as an enclosed room that feels safe fulfills this need. When asked for an example of how Nature of the Space might be used, Barnard said “I finished a project recently where the space had floor-to-ceiling windows with a view to the ocean. I selected low profile furniture to preserve the open space of the room and the sightline to the sea.”

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Terrapin also explains that there are three basic types of “nature-health” relationships: cognitive functionality and performance, psychological health and well-being, and physiological health and well-being. Cognitive functionality and performance is our mental acuity and focus. Psychological health and well-being refers to our mood, perception, and emotional state. Physiological health and well-being is our bodily health and performance.

All three areas of well-being see improvement when the 14 principles of biophilic design are applied in a space. The benefits have been thoroughly studied: each principle has been individually tested and shown improvements such as concentration, stress hormone levels, overall happiness, and numerous other positive effects.

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In fact, research by other sources has yielded similar results. The Human Spaces Global Report also found greater levels of well being in subjects with a view of natural elements rather than urban settings, according to a recent article by Steelcase’s magazine 360.

Steelcase, the largest furniture manufacturer in the world, is dedicated to sustainability, innovation, and wellness. They too have invested into researching biophilia in order to produce furniture for healthy, sustainable spaces. They describe the human experience with nature in four categories:

Sensory richness: mixing colors, textures, sizes and shapes. Varied elements in a space mimics nature and puts us at ease.

Natural rhythms and signals: anything that reminds us of natural processes can help restore us. Natural lighting that allows real sunlight, or artificial light that changes to mimic natural light.

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Challenges in nature: the idea is that our challenging environment is what pushed humanity to grow into what we are today, so there should be encouragement towards effort.

Local distinctiveness: having a feature that does not repeat anywhere else in the building can help large offices from becoming soulless or bleak. Reserving a certain material or color for one room can make it and the surrounding space more special and pleasant.

These four principles are a useful way to understand how we are affected by nature, and offer another way to begin tackling the design challenges you may be facing in your home or workspace. Whether you use these four facets or the 14 principles of biophilic design as a jumping off point to improve your space, a deeper connection with nature is healthy and beneficial.

“When you strip it down to basics, using biophilic design means including pieces of nature in the design, elements inspired by nature, and mimicking natural environments with layout, architecture and planning,” Barnard said. Homeowners and building owners especially might consider taking these premises into account in order to make their home or office a place that promotes their mental and physical wellbeing. Getting started can be as simple as purchasing a few plants. If you aren’t sure where to go from there, a designer can help you put all the principles into practice. Ideally, your space incorporates nature, smart design and healthy living.

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References

Browning, W., Ryan, C., Clancy, J., 14 PATTERNS OF BIOPHILIC DESIGN. Retrieved from https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/14-patterns/

Steelcase Corporation, Restoration Office. Retrieved from https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/wellbeing/restoration-office/

Photos by Chas Metivier, Steven Dewall

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). She is known for delivering, on time, all the time. Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation. 

Beachy Bachelor

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For this Beachy Bachelor, Sarah Barnard introduced mid-century vintage character with a beautiful collection of modern pottery, driftwood and vintage ceramic vases. This Santa Monica townhouse embodies the coastal California luxury lifestyle, effortlessly combining opulent materials with a relaxed beach-side setting.

A custom Calacatta marble bar expands the living rooms entertaining space, while the natural wool rug anchors the conversation area. The floating American walnut console keeps the masculine space light. A reclaimed Elm wood side table rests atop the home's original Oak floors. Crisp, white walls accentuate the natural wood finishes throughout, while allowing the minimalist stair-railing to float in space

The masculine dining room and adjacent patio make the most of their indoor-outdoor connection with a versatile area rug specifically selected to withstand the bright light and high traffic. A sculptured glass and steel chandelier reflects the natural light of the surrounding space.

Handmade roman shades attach to a custom wood enclosure for privacy and shade on the patio. A natural teak root ball fashioned into a rugged side table pairs with a weathered teak armchair and lightweight concrete pottery. Acacia wood deck tiles add a warm angular base to the cool blue patio space. The vintage mid-century modern whale ashtray is brass and Sarah found it in Georgia.

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The master retreat features a handmade bed of tweed by Domonique Keiffer from Venice, Italy is covered in Belgian linens, and shaded by wool draperies. A bold, abstract painting by Jonathan Elder hangs above the bed. Surf-inspired artifacts and unique vintage pieces complete the look.

A vintage leather chair with its original leather patina, designed by Percival Lafer, manufactured in Brazil in 1958. Sarah worked with her longtime collaborator, artist Reid Winfrey, placing several of his surf inspired paintings in the beachside home.  

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.

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Pantone's Color of the Year is Ultraviolet... How are You Using It?

by Kelsey Betancourt

 A quick snapshot from Sarah Barnard Design's office late last year.

A quick snapshot from Sarah Barnard Design's office late last year.

Ultraviolet, an intense and bold shade of purple, is suggestive of the cosmos and the future, while still reminiscent of royalty, wealth, and creativity. It’s also Pantone’s color of the year for 2018. Pantone, the global authority on accurate color matching, is known worldwide for their standard color language which allows designers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to accurately produce the same colors across platforms and industries. (If you’re not familiar with Pantone, you may have seen their swatch books, or their line in Sephora!) They research style trends in art, fashion and design, and predict the upcoming year's most popular trends. 

This year they’ve selected ultraviolet as their “Color of the Year”, so if you were waiting for the opportunity to make a bold change in your home, it has arrived!

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In interiors, Ultra Violet can transform a room into one of extraordinary self-expression, or conversely its polish can tone down a room with subdued, modern pairings. Adding spice and brightness, Ultra Violet calls attention to a tufted couch, piece of art, or accent wall. As a color that can take you in so many directions, Ultra Violet makes a statement in any space, whether it’s one of tradition and elegance or unexpected boldness. In hospitality, we are seeing purples like Ultra Violet take center stage in interior spaces as large and small hotels harness color and design to entice travelers and stay relevant.
— Pantone

Trends go in and out of fashion–unless you already love ultraviolet and had plans to use it, it may not be a good idea to paint your whole house purple. However, there are many ways you can feature violet and freshen your home or office, such as adding a bold color in through plants, linens, or art, which will allow you to enliven the space in a way that won’t be out of style by the end of the year.

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite design strategies and items in ultraviolet and purple:

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While some might relish the opportunity to use this news as an excuse to paint their entire house violet, most people will find ultraviolet to be an intimidating color to decorate with. So how might you use it? Consider bringing a small splash of violet in. Flowers, for example, are a beautiful, healthy way to add a pop of bold color that will not be out of fashion in a year.

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Adding art to your walls is a fantastic way to add color and interest to a space. This piece by Renae Barnard has swirling shades of violet, blue and pink. An elegant art installation like this will never go out of style.

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Lavender and violet: together at last. Invigorate a traditional girl’s room palette of lilac or lavender by adding violet is a great way to keep your daughter's room from getting tired.

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For the National Immigration Law Center, jewel tones were the perfect choice to convey richness and sophistication. Violet and yellow are complementary colors, meaning they are opposite each other on the color wheel. Their opposing hues and differing values are naturally striking when used together, and add energy to the space.

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For an ultra-sleek look, Steelcase's office in Grand Rapids, MI is outfitted in a mix of ultraviolet and neutrals. Mixing many colors can get too intense too quickly, so using a bold violet with white is fresh but simple way to modernize an office. 

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Last but not least, this beautiful space sits right next to the ocean. Many people's first instinct is to add blue to a beach home to echo the ocean. However the space is quite literally surround by blue, so adding more can quickly get tired and dull. Instead, analogous colors–bright green and purple–were used to add life to the space and complement the ocean outside.

Pantone's annual announcement is an opportunity to be creative and update your home or office. Ultraviolet is daring and sophisticated. If you are interested in adding an air of curiosity, wisdom, and richness to your home, give it a pop of Ultraviolet!

Photos by Chas Metivier, Steven Dewall

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). She is known for delivering, on time, all the time. Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation. 

Designing a Safe Space for an Autistic Child

by Jacqueline Salgado, edited by Kelsey Betancourt

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Designing a calm environment for children with autism can seem like a daunting task. While every child is different and may react differently to certain environments, there are five key design points to consider in order to successfully achieve a calm and structured space. 

Layout

Consider the scale of the space. What do you want to integrate in the room? One way to successfully choose what you want to include in the room is knowing your child’s needs, and paying close attention to how your child responds to an environment. How do you want your child to navigate through the space? Start the layout by placing the furniture on the sides of the room and leaving the middle open to navigate. This layout is not only simple, but easy for the child to move around the room. When placing the furniture on the sides, the child is able to easily access things he/she needs within the room, fostering independence.

Often children with autism are more comfortable in rooms with clear divisions. Consider subdividing rooms and allowing for reconfiguration. Plan easy storage for items so they can be cleared away easily when not in use.

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Noise
Noise is another aspect of designing a room that is often forgotten about but is essential when designing a space for a person with autism. Children with autism are sensitive to loud noises, and sometimes cannot filter them out. This may cause anxiety, affecting the way the child behaves on a daily basis. There are simple ways to prevent background noise from filtering in. Start by pinpointing what background noises you can easily hear from the room that may cause discomfort to your child.

Keep the background noise out by integrating small fixes. Try applying acoustic panels to your walls. This not only brings down the noise, but it can be used as a discrete and functional decorative element. 

If the first option is not something that would be convenient, another way to bring the noise down would be to replace any hardwood flooring with carpet. Not only is carpet recommended for children with autism because it reduces the chance of your child getting hurt and prevents lighting glare, but also because carpet keeps noise from echoing throughout the room. 

If damping the noise is not possible, try adding pink noise. Similar to white noise, pink noise may improve memory and be better at gently drowning out disturbances. 

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Lighting
Lighting can have a strong effect on someone’s mood. Just as we can be affected by specific lighting, children with autism are often hyper sensitive, therefore specific lighting should be considered when integrating fixtures. One thing to stay away from is fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lighting is known to flicker and depending on the wattage and lamp type, can be extremely bright. The flickering is not only distracting, but it is known to cause eye strain, headaches, and migraines. Opt for a fixture with diffused lighting or a fixture with adjustable settings in a neutral, unsaturated color. Being able to dim the light can make a difference for someone’s mood. 

Color
Choosing the right color for the room is an essential step. Choose light, neutral colors. Just as bright lights can affect the mood of the child in a negative way, certain colors can have similar effects. Colors to stay away from are anything bold or dark. Although primary colors tend to be the norm when choosing room colors for children, it is not the case when choosing a room color for a child with autism. Bold colors are allowed in small accents, such as their toys. 

In addition, wallpapers with busy patterns or stripes can be distracting for your child. Be especially careful to choose a paint that is non-toxic and does not off-gas, to keep your child safe. Try pale blues, soft greens, light purples, and pale pinks for room color options. 

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Privacy
Research has shown the benefits of a sensory room (or space) for kids with autism. These spaces allow children to feel safe. There are certain things that can be integrated into a sensory room in order for the child to feel better. As stated previously, layouts are important. If it is not possible to dedicate an entire room, a corner of a room can be reserved specifically to be the “sensory room", which can be done by separating the space with a dark curtain. The idea is to make a place the child can feel comfortable and stress free. Items such as a bean bag, or a sensory pea pod sold online can help a child feel comfortable and safe.

With these simple ideas in mind, your home can be a safe place for both you and your autistic loved one. 

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Photos by Chas Metivier, Steven Dewall

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah Barnard’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Sarah is intrigued by clients who have unusual requests and lives for a challenge. She hasn’t met one yet that she didn’t like. Sarah loves designing for anyone with pets! She adores people who are avid collectors of anything they love. Sarah is often retained by clients who have never worked with an interior designer because they thought designers weren’t for them (until now). She is known for delivering, on time, all the time. Sarah is incredibly down to earth and people love her for her frankness. Sarah and her staff will do just about anything for a client, build a custom sunroom for the kitties, organize and alphabetize boxes in the garage, take the kids out shopping for their own bathroom tiles…

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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation. 

Award Winning Los Angeles Interior Designer Achieves WELL Accreditation

Interior designer and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP), Sarah Barnard of Sarah Barnard Design has recently achieved recognition from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) as a WELL® Accredited Professional. The WELL Building Standard® is the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness.

WELL was developed by integrating scientific and medical research on environmental health, behavioral factors, health outcomes and demographic risk factors that affect health with leading practices in building design and management. WELL Certification and the WELL AP credentialing program are third-party administered through IWBI’s collaboration with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which also administers LEED certification, the global green building program, and the LEED professional credentialing program. This relationship assures that WELL works seamlessly with LEED.

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Established in 2003, and LEED accredited since 2007, Sarah Barnard Design is well known for creating healthy, artful spaces that are respectful of history and deeply connected to nature.  Notable projects include; National Geographic Entertainment, National Immigration Law Center, Heritage Square Museum, backstage retreats at the Academy of Country Music Awards and Teen Choice Awards as well as countless private residences.

Barnard was recently recognized as an American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) National Ones to Watch Scholar, was featured in the July 2017 Issue of Metropolis Magazine and is scheduled to guest lecture at the 2018 ASID National Student Summit, SCALE in Los Angeles, CA. 

For more information about Sarah Barnard please visit www.sarahbarnard.com 

For more information about WELL https://www.wellcertified.com/en 

Remodeling Your Kitchen to Last Forever

BY MELINDA CARDENAS

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As many people move towards preparing their own meals, and as open-plan homes are being embraced as natural and healthy, the modern kitchen is more important than ever. A kitchen must provide high quality performance and functionality in order to cater to your specific needs and to add to the value of your home. Many homeowners know a kitchen remodel would benefit their lifestyle, but do not want to commit to the expense and disruption of a remodel. The best way to approach a kitchen-remodeling project is to create a plan that focuses on your family’s specific needs in order to balance form and function, and make your kitchen the ideal space for cooking and entertaining, while being comfortable for everyone.

It is best to start by establishing what areas in the kitchen are used the most. Take into consideration how many people might use it at once, and if there are children involved, make sure your kitchen accommodates their safety. Typically it is best to have the main functions of the kitchen–your stove, sink, and fridge–no more than six feet apart from each other. This will help create a working triangle that benefits you by allowing easy maneuvering throughout the space. Identify areas that need extra storage for food, snacks, or dishes for display. Some particular functions require more space than others.

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It is also important to make your kitchen a space that you cannot only use, but enjoy. Make a list of what is important to you, and consult a designer if you can. She or he will help you decide what is realistic, possible and practical for your home, and determine what areas are the areas as focal points in the room. If you love to have people around while you are cooking, add seating at the counter. If there are many people who use the kitchen together, consider implementing various food preparation areas. By considering using universal design methods, such as lower countertops, two-tiered kitchen islands, and under counter storage for food and appliances, homeowners and guests are able to access all areas of the kitchen with ease. 

Often overlooked, lighting is hugely important to a kitchen. Determine what lighting options are best suitable for different kitchen zones. Interior designers can be especially useful in this area, and will help define what lighting would be best for tasks and overall aesthetic value for the different spaces in your kitchen. Under cabinet lighting is a great technique to use for displaying a favorite kitchen item or to easily find kitchen products. Recessed lighting and pendant lights can help create an even ambient light throughout the space.  

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Finally, when redesigning a kitchen, there should be a focus on making it a beautiful and pleasing place to be, as well as providing functionality. If the kitchen is connected to the dining room or living areas, consider how it can relate visually to people entering the space. There should be a visual connection from the kitchen between its connecting rooms. If the kitchen has barriers from other rooms, consider opening up those areas so that rooms can connect visually and practically. Finally, consider storing appliances to look like they belong in the kitchen without standing out. This can be accomplished through using panel-ready appliances or incorporating under counter microwaves or oven drawers to create extra counter space in a kitchen island. 

A kitchen remodel should work with the needs of the homeowners in a way that creates a space that can be used by everyone. In addition, a kitchen should support the needs of your entire family’s lifestyle and still be a place of beauty and comfort. By implementing smart technology and planning ahead, a kitchen can save time and energy. By focusing on functionality and durability, your kitchen can be a space that can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.   

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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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation.

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Barnard is currently working on interior design projects in the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Los Feliz, Hancock Park & Palos Verdes Estates. Other recent projects include the corporate offices of National Geographic Entertainment in Beverly Hills, the headquarters of Life Rolls On, a subsidiary of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation in Culver City, a Backstage Celebrity Eco-Lounge for both the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Teen Choice Awards and a Sustainable Penthouse on Ocean Avenue for an out of town couple with super meditative space requirements. Think total relaxation and harmony with the universe.

Photos by Chas Metivier, Scott Van Dyke, Brad Nichol

3 Simple Steps to Create a Bathroom That Will Stand the Test of Time

By Melinda Cardenas

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Although bathrooms can be small spaces, they are substantial investments in your home. Bathrooms should provide not only functionality, but beauty and comfort for both homeowners and guests. An ideal bathroom design incorporates functionality, comfort, and beauty, regardless of age or mobility.  

1. Planing Ahead

  • Prioritize the space: When remodeling a bathroom, remember to establish what areas are best suitable for specific tasks. Plumbing, outlets, and ventilation are all key elements to a high-functioning bathroom. Consider adding outlets for hairstyling products, or adding ventilation close to the shower. However large or small your bathroom may be, it is still important to address which areas are most used, how, and by whom.
  • Smart storage: Bathroom designers should consider the specific needs and storage requirements of you and your guests to ensure the bathroom to feel spacious and organized. For example, the area next to where you apply makeup or shave may need hidden drawers or a built in cabinet. Children’s bathrooms may require space for bath toys or step stools.
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2. Safety and Comfort for Everyone 

  • Use easily accessible strategies: Barrier free showers, slip-resistant flooring, and lever-style door handles are safe and simple. Planning ahead to make bathrooms comfortable and accessible may also help save money in the long-run. You can have comfort by knowing that these implementations will last, and there is no need to remodel again. 
  • Consult an expert: Interior design professionals can help implement universal design methods into any bathroom space. They can plan for accessibility, the environmentally conscious, and help you implement a classic style that will not need to be replaced again in a few years.
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3. Luxurious Experience and Materials  

  • Use a variety of lighting: Lighting is a crucial component of good bathroom design, and can help improve the human experience. Task lighting should be in places used for applying make-up or in other preparation areas. Ambient lighting can create a soft look and pleasant feel to the space. 
  • Choose the right materials: When choosing colors and materials for the bathroom, select options that are durable and easy to clean to save yourself time and headache later on. Also consider timeless materials and avoiding fads so that the bathroom’s beauty can endure. 

It may seem like a daunting task, but your bathroom can be a serene and healthy space with careful planing, consideration for safety and accessibility, and the right materials. Start with a clear vision and be mindful of health, sustainability, and timeless style to make the most out of your bathroom. 

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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 WELL Building Institute as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), 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, health and wellness and historic preservation.

Undertaking a broad range of projects, all of which are grounded in smart design and mindful of healthy living, Sarah’s diverse body of work includes upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas and impressive corporate headquarters. Her projects have been featured in local and national publications, and have placed prominently in several noted design competitions. Sarah holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University as well as undergraduate degrees in Art and Interior Architectural Design. Her interior design practice is the culmination of education and interests in art, architecture, textiles and the environment and she has written several articles for important publications including the USGBC, United States Green Building Council.

Barnard is currently working on interior design projects in the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Los Feliz, Hancock Park & Palos Verdes Estates. Other recent projects include the corporate offices of National Geographic Entertainment in Beverly Hills, the headquarters of Life Rolls On, a subsidiary of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation in Culver City, a Backstage Celebrity Eco-Lounge for both the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Teen Choice Awards and a Sustainable Penthouse on Ocean Avenue for an out of town couple with super meditative space requirements. Think total relaxation and harmony with the universe.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Designer Crush: Sarah Barnard

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Designer Crush: Sarah Barnard

By Michelle Konstantinovsky on 12/26/17 at 12:07 am

Upscale private residences, chic restaurants, luxurious spas, and corporate headquarters: all are fair game to Los Angeles designer Sarah Barnard. With specialties in sustainable interior design, health and wellness, and historic preservation, Barnard brings a passion and dedication to her projects uniquely grounded in innovation. Barnard is currently working on interior design projects in the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Los Feliz, Hancock Park & Palos Verdes Estates. Learn more about the designer in our Q&A below. 

1. How did you get your start in the design industry?

As a native Angeleno, I spent much of my childhood living in historic homes, which sparked an affection for all things aged and beautiful. Later I studied art, interior architecture and sustainable design in undergraduate school, expanding my work with materials, form and space in graduate school, creating sculpture and environmental installations. It made sense that I found a niche in sustainable, healthy design, especially in California. One of my earliest projects was in a penthouse on Ocean Ave, which focused on preserving the beautiful ocean view and using reclaimed materials and natural textiles.

2. Your designs are “mindful of healthy living” - what does that mean to you?

Our mental, physical, and emotional health are deeply and immediately impacted by our surroundings. A visual connection with the outdoors can improve mood and productivity, and what we bring into a home or space (finishes, furniture, artwork) determines both the quality of the air we breathe and how we function in our daily lives. With that in mind, I give careful consideration to my clients' unique personalities, lifestyle needs, and long term goals in order to craft customized spaces that contribute to their overall health and happiness.

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3. What’s your process for getting to know a client?

No matter my clients future plans, I love to see where and how they’re living now. Observing their current possessions, collections and lifestyle—then having the opportunity to chat about what they love, what they don’t, and why is an excellent first step in getting to know each other.

4. How do you define “California style”?

California style is natural, luxurious, and comfortable. It is approachable, enduring, and connected to the landscape: mountains, valleys, sea, desert and the shore. Like the people here, it is often kind to animals, nurturing of artists, the earth and each other.

5. Where do you draw inspiration from?

My garden! I spend a lot of my free time there. The colors and textures that come with each season are delightful and inspiring. I grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, (carrots, radishes, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers of all kinds, cantaloupe, lemons limes, avocado, lettuces & herbs) as well as cactus, succulents and flowering/ornamental plants. Some of my favorites are Abutilon, Brugmansia and Camellia.

6. What’s your favorite travel destination and why?

Most of my traveling involves art, architecture and eating. Milan for the Salone del Mobile and saffron risotto. Paris for Maison et Objet and sampling potatoes at Chez Dumonet or my most recent trip to Victoria, Canada for the American Society of Interior Designers Platform retreat exploring sustainability, wellness, technology and lots of delicious local, farm-to-table cuisine.

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7. Favorite musical album or artist of all time and why?

I am a forever fan of female singer songwriters. My favorites right now are Stevie Nicks, Ingrid Michaelson, Sarah Harmer, Corinne Bailey Rae, because they simultaneously independent, strong and feminine.

8. If you could design the set of any movie, which would it be and why?

The Other Boleyn Girl—they used gorgeous locations across the UK, and had brilliant sets with lush textiles and fine details everywhere. The set and costuming contribute so much to the feeling of period films like that, so color and material is important. Not to mention that I would’ve loved to meet a cast with two smart and talented female leads, Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. I would love to work on a project with either of them. They were both so enchanting in that movie!

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Lightning round!

9. Chuck Taylors or Christian Louboutins?

Christian Louboutins.

10. Oreos or Chips Ahoy?

Oreos, although I occasionally eat the Newman's Organic variety and pretend they’re not that bad...

11. Sand or snow?

Sand, every time.

12. Karaoke queen or dance machine?

Dance machine!