Pantone’s Color of the Year: Living Coral

The family cat is the primary resident of this Manhattan Beach guest suite featuring a pink and coral color scheme.

The family cat is the primary resident of this Manhattan Beach guest suite featuring a pink and coral color scheme.

Coral reefs are disappearing from our oceans at an alarming rate. It is imperative to the ocean’s ecosystems, and as much as a quarter of all ocean species depend upon it for food and shelter. Precious marine lifeforms are also the inspiration for Pantone’s 2019 color of the year: Living Coral.

Coral and lush greens create a lively and inviting atmosphere for an outside space.

Coral and lush greens create a lively and inviting atmosphere for an outside space.

Sarah Barnard, a Los Angeles-based interior designer, WELL AP and LEED AP, specializes in interior design that contributes to her client’s health and wellness and strives to make nature a part of each home she creates. “A happy and uplifting color reminiscent of the ocean is the perfect starting point for a happy, healthy home.”

Coral colored tiles and beautiful glossy stone slabs make this coastal bathroom warm and bright.

Coral colored tiles and beautiful glossy stone slabs make this coastal bathroom warm and bright.

This color takes its name from the beautiful coral marine invertebrates that build extensive coral reefs, habitats for a vast diversity of life in the ocean. Sometimes referred to as the "rainforests of the sea," coral reefs are quickly dying, and are projected to reduce to 10% by 2050. Half of the world's coral has died since 2016, due to rising sea temperatures, pollution, destructive fishing, invasive species, and changing sea chemistry.

"The timely selection of this color by Pantone should be an important reminder to all of us that nature inspires beautiful interiors. If we aren't careful to preserve the natural world, we will have nothing left to take inspiration from," said Barnard.

Coral naturally complements with blues and ocean tones. Coral embroidery was a perfect companion (complement?) for a throw pillow in a coastal home.

Coral naturally complements with blues and ocean tones. Coral embroidery was a perfect companion (complement?) for a throw pillow in a coastal home.

Pantone is most widely known for their color swatch books. It is the company responsible for color matching paints and graphics; and now devotes the time and resources of Pantone Color Institute to research the purchasing trends of various industries. With this information, Pantone determines this year's color. The naming process regularly pulls inspiration from the natural and human-made world, naming colors such as "rose quartz" or "millennial pink." Pantone's color of the year for 2018 was ultraviolet, a beautiful, energizing shade of purple reminiscent of bright flowers and the sky at sunset. This year's choice is PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral, a potent reminder to preserve and protect ocean life.

Coral colored ceramic provides earthy contrast against the ebonized table and black lamp.

Coral colored ceramic provides earthy contrast against the ebonized table and black lamp.

Coral is vibrant, cheerful, delicate and energizing, and the perfect shade to start the New Year. Living coral, described by the Pantone team as “An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.”

The bath and shower feature locally sourced handmade ceramic tiles in a coral gloss.

The bath and shower feature locally sourced handmade ceramic tiles in a coral gloss.

Pantone published, “Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment. [...] Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”

Coral and pink shades blend beautifully with wood tones. Art is a subtle and seamless way to introduce colors like coral.

Coral and pink shades blend beautifully with wood tones. Art is a subtle and seamless way to introduce colors like coral.

While top interior designers don’t necessarily recommend painting one’s home to match the color of the year, art, accents, and of course plants are an easy and safe way to introduce vibrancy to your living or work space.

Pinks and coral create an inviting atmosphere.

Pinks and coral create an inviting atmosphere.

For those interested in using Living Color in their home, Sarah Barnard said,  "Living Coral is a perfect complement to blue shades, and pairs well with coastal or beachy interiors. For the daring, reupholstering a treasured piece in a bright color like Living Coral can revitalize a space. For those who prefer to mix pops of color with neutrals, I recommend starting with small accents."

Pantone's Color of the Year is an excellent opportunity to add lively, earth-focused tones to your home. Make having a happy and healthy home your New Year's resolution.

by Kelsey Betancourt

Cream and coral ceramic jars are a perfect storage solution for bathroom necessities.

Cream and coral ceramic jars are a perfect storage solution for bathroom necessities.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Abby Siniscal, Chas Metivier, and Charlie Daniels

Design for a Healthy Mind: Interior Design and Mental Health

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It seems that every week, a new article is out asking what is the source of our mental health troubles. Depending who you ask, demanding work schedules or an over-stimulating world could be the culprits. It’s all too often not one thing, but a combination of factors that leave us feeling sensitive, low, or unmotivated. At the center of new conversations emerging on mental health is the effect of our environment on our wellbeing. Taking the care to consider our home spaces is an important step in seeing how our familiar surroundings impact us. From small adjustments to a total overhaul, the home can transform from a source of stress or isolation to a sanctuary for calm and comfort.

An exercise: pay attention to how you feel as you move about your space from room to room. Where do you spend your time? How do you react looking and living through your space? From the height of the ceilings to the presence of plants, subtle but pervasive factors can improve mood, focus, and alleviate anxiety. Humans intuitively respond to environments that promote productivity, intimacy, and efficiency.

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This isn’t a recent development: the practice of Feng Shui, for instance, has a history going back thousands of years. At this point, it is likely you’ll need to consult a compassionate interior designer to help guide the daunting task of creating your ideal, holistic home. They can assist from the smallest details to a total transformation of the space and how you live in it. “You’re never alone in the process,” designer Sarah Barnard says. “Having a second pair of seasoned eyes can bring our attention to the affect our homes and their layouts have on us and our visitors.”

The effects our homes have on us are largely defined by how we use and live within them. Architecture theorist Kate Wagner claims that most of our homes are too separated by function; most of our time is not spent in designated hosting spaces, such as a front room, but in the kitchen and the den. “Large, unused spaces designed for social functions foster isolation instead,” she explains. These isolated areas end up becoming pile-ups for unwanted furniture, or inaccessible simply because they’re too formally separated.

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Likewise, small, constricting spaces inhibit creativity and discourage freedom of movement. Laying in a darkened room in the comfort of a bed is difficult for anyone to get out of, even when the sun is shining.

Wagner makes an empathic suggestion to “channel [your] earlier self,” outside of the expectations of space and presentation that comes with creating your home in adulthood. In this project by interior designer Sarah Barnard, natural light and free movement is prioritized. Walls do not constrict, but are left open and accommodating.

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Much of what compresses a space isn’t tight walls and low ceilings, but its furniture. A clear and open home is a natural reflection of a clear and open mind. Prioritizing objects of beauty, function, and meaning within your house can be reflected in the popular Konmari Method, or “the life changing magic of tidying up”. Its founder, Marie Kondo, takes inspiration from Feng Shui to ensure that organization and tidiness are a permanent life change, not a cycle for us to endure every few months. She believes that every object in our home brings us joy, and that each object has a specific place where it belongs within in our home. The method suggests we ask ourselves simple questions when we encounter an object we can’t bear to part with: “Does this bring me joy?”

Cherished furniture shouldn’t be thrown away for the sake of self-renewal. In fact, they can be essential to giving a room its individuality. Older furniture pieces that you’ve had for years can be given new life when reinterpreted within the space.

During a revision of a Scandifornian style home, Sarah had the opportunity to place older furniture into a bright, updated, and minimalist aesthetic. A treasured antique dining set, found in Thailand, remained in the dining room; its deep rosewood and impeccable design and detailing brings warm elegance in the new space. The dining set has a new life, and the new rooms feel familiar and fully livable.

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Maybe you’ve decided to really start from the ground up: new furniture, fixtures, the works. Avoid the stress that can come from heavy-duty furniture pieces that forbid reorganization and movement. They aren’t active in the home, and an imposing weight or size can compress a room while taking away the opportunity for revitalization and customization.

Consider modern, playful furniture that is light and accessible to move, promoting autonomy in your environment to reorganize as you wish. As an experienced interior designer, Sarah has a deep understanding of the principles of Universal Design, which encourages flexibility, simplicity, and low demands of physical labor throughout the home. This is achieved through seven principles: the designed object or space must be equitable, flexible, intuitive and easy to navigate, stimulate as many sense as possible, safe and tolerant of error, physically undemanding, and with adequate space for free use. When a sensitive and informed designer adheres to these principles, their projects have the benefit of being widely applicable to a variety of needs: from every day appliance use to wide ease of access throughout a home. It makes your home more intuitive.

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To make the most of your new space, have systems in place that facilitate organization, tidying, and reward. Cleaning can have therapeutic, empowering effects on the psyche. The areas around us reflect the care we have for ourselves. Interior designers carefully choose pieces or can work with skilled artisans to build furniture to suit your needs, from the perfect chair to expansive organizational racks that can transform the use of a room. Also, this can be where your creativity and distinct personal inspirations shine; a pair of homeowners wanted a cabinet that resembled a type of Japanese locker, getabako. The cabinets were numbered in a sequence that was significant to the husband and wife, culminating in a piece that was unique, functional, and intimately designed. In using the locker, the homeowners would feel comfort and satisfaction at its place in the home.

A cluttered environment has been proven to drain energy and negatively impact our overall mood and self-image.  In bringing in new furniture, we want to bring in new systems of living and using it. Wall-based organization is a great way to free up space on the floor. Light, free-standing shelves in this home office provide ample space for books and objects of meaning and beauty. The floor is freed up for movement and active use. All furniture here, fitting for a home office, has a cohesive design and an obvious function, encouraging productivity and serenity.

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Echoing the exercise of moving through the home, think of the importance of free and open movement: everything we encounter can be a treasure rather than an obstacle. The importance of possessions is knowing and fully appreciating their use and place in our home. Our home is a space for us to respect, personalize, and flourish with and within.

Just as promoting mental health and clarity through interior design goes back thousands of years, color therapy (also known as chromotherapy or color medicine) is as old as any other medicine, with a history going back centuries. There’s research that points to spectrums of colors even affecting different parts of the body! It’s physical and mental effects are essential.

Does this mean you paint your whole apartment blinding shades of sunshine yellow to spur energy? Not entirely - research points to the contrary. Researchers at Logan Regional Hospital in Logan, Utah discovered that overly vibrant color schemes produce heightened states of unease and anxiety.

Splashes of your favorite color are a given within the home, but we can also look outside for inspiration. In this idyllic guest retreat, Sarah Barnard has used the natural landscape as inspiration for a cohesive palette. Even visitors to the home are invited to a room that is earthy, grounded, and familiar. The prominent presence of green in the bedroom reflects the vibrant trees growing just outside with generous sunlight.

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Meanwhile, natural dark wood establishes a sense of warmth and comfort, once again using the surrounding nature as inspiration. The consideration of all senses, particularly touch, creates a holistic and familiar space. Organic textures such as stone, encaustic tile, and wood make us feel - literally - grounded in our environment.

Investing in the space of your home as a part of mental health doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Reach out to an empathic interior designer who understands the importance of the house in your health. With a rich history and vast resources, transforming with a healthy, mindful designer can have incredible effects on your day-to-day life and long-term happiness, letting your home come alive as your mirror.

By Rebecca Hac

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

References:

Samina T. Yousuf Azeemi, “A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy.” US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1297510/

Doheny, Katherine. “Clutter Control: Is too much ‘stuff’ draining you?” WebMD. Retrieved at https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/clutter-control

Silvis, Jennifer. “Interior Design Use in Alleviating Depression and Anxiety.” Healthcare Design. Retrieved at

https://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/architecture/interior-design-use-alleviating-depression-and-anxiety/

“The 7 Principles of Universal Design.” Retrieved from http://universaldesign.ie/what-is-universal-design/the-7-principles/the-7-principles.html

Wagner, Kate. “Our Homes Don’t Need Formal Spaces.” Curbed. Retrieved from https://www.curbed.com/2018/7/11/17536876/great-room-house-size-design-square-footage

“Psychology of Home Environments: A Call for Research on Residential Space.” Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1745691615576761

How to Design Your Home for Conscious Living

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Living consciously means embracing what you love. It’s living in alignment with personal values and making choices accordingly. As a philanthropist and former first lady, Michelle Obama said, “I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” However you express it individually, it’s what you appreciate and brings you joy. Being aware of what nourishes you, be it animal kindness or human welfare, awareness can offer you a clear path toward designing your home more consciously.

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Our values are as unique as each of us. It’s evident in our daily lives that our taste in food, color, and careers vary, but more subtly, our ethics are just as diverse. Whether you prioritize being healthy, sustaining our planet, and equality for all, living consciously is well within reach.

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Wherever you are on this journey, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. If you’re beginning, consider making future purchases aware ones. If you’re buying a pillow or rug, find one from a cruelty-free source or a craftsperson who is conscious of their impact on the planet. If you’re ready to embark on a deeper level of commitment, assess an entire room or your whole house. If that seems daunting, hire a designer who aligns with your values to make substantial changes to transform your home into a sanctuary. An experienced designer will work to express what lights your imagination on fire. A designer takes the stress off your plate so you can focus on the beauty and big picture while they take care of the minutia. They can help push your bravery into the limelight, so your house can be what you envisioned.

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Conscious living requires little to no sacrifice. For example, being vegan does not mean trading in personal luxury. You can bring quality and opulence into your home while honoring the welfare of the person fabricating your sofa. By making informed decisions, we can improve the conditions of workers of Vietnam, and help a single mother supply artisan handcrafted goods to anyone in the world, while supporting her children financially and emotionally. However, with such freedom and availability, we also have information overload. In design, it takes knowledge and experience to create a harmonious space that matches your preferences. Look for designers and artisans who specialize in handcrafted goods, or sustainable products. Because there are so many options, it truly helps to have a skillful designer evaluate the myriad of choices and to verify legitimate sources.

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As you design your life intentionally, you convey to those around you what you love, which then draws more of what you want into your life. Being intentional in your choices will be reflected in all areas of your life. “You are your choices,” according to German philosopher Sartre. Generously expressing personal truth brings abundance to your life. A home that resonates with positivity brings more vitality to the physical body and uplifts family and friends. A home with thoughtful design works symbiotically to achieve goals and allows energy to flow into projects with passion. For those who are clear about what brings them joy, their spaces radiate it.

by Grace Carter

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Biophilia: Nature & Design

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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.

Biophilia is our innate 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 challenging 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 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.

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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.

by Kelsey Betancourt

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

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

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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Sarah Barnard Design was established in 2003 with a focus on creating spaces that are respectful of history, healthy, art-forward, and deeply connected to nature. Sarah was LEED accredited in 2007 and WELL accredited in 2017. Some of her notable projects include the National Immigration Law Center, Heritage Square Museum, National Geographic Entertainment, and numerous beautiful 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. 

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

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

Vegan Interior Design

“You can still have everything you want, even if you are vegan,” Sarah Barnard explained. For those vegans who want to surround themselves with luxurious vegan linens, more natural, beautiful and durable vegan materials are available than ever. If you are the type of vegan who loves the look of animal products, more and more perfect options are available for you as well. Los Angeles designer and recent ASID award-winner Sarah Barnard took time to go over the growing vegan interior design market and her experience with clients who care about animals. “Happily, the days of sacrificing comfort for principles are over. There are plenty of luxury options for vegans, too.”

Of course, vegan and vegetarian mean different things to different people. It helps to clarify your preferences ahead of time. A knowledgeable designer can help you sort through what is desirable to bring into your home and what isn’t, and can help with any additional design considerations that frequently go hand-in-hand with a love of animals, like the desire for an eco-friendly home. DIY strategies are abundant on sites like Pinterest or Etsy, but some subtle animal materials may slip past you if you aren’t sure what to avoid, or less perfect materials may get selected by default.

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“If vegan living is important to you, find an interior designer to help you. It’s the best way to make sure you feel good about your design decisions,” Barnard explained. “Ideally, you would work with a designer who has experience and vegan resources prepared.” One must vet each component of every item. There are the obvious things: fabrics, leather, and fur. But plenty of materials that you wouldn’t expect to use animal byproducts, too. Paint, glue, and lacquer are less obvious and slip by unnoticed most of the time. Old master painting or collectible paintings, for example, can potentially have small amounts of animal byproducts: nevermind that canvas was sometimes made of animal hide, but eggs were used to make tempera paint, and some pigments were derived from animal skin or hair as well. “Essentially, every part of every item could potentially bring animal products into your home.” Barnard cautioned. When asked how she avoids this, she answered, “I work closely with local artists and manufacturers that work with vegan materials. The artists care deeply about animals and the environment and make careful choices in the selection of materials.”

Some things that may be marketed as a cruelty-free product need to be verified also. For example, some silk manufacturers claim they wait until the silkworms have died to harvest their cocoons, but less reputable manufacturers have been caught lying about their processes.

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While it can be exhausting searching for an alternative, don’t settle for just any synthetic material. A designer has access to samples and access to a myriad of information on the manufacturers’ technical specifications on art, furniture, and building materials.

Consider your health when designing or decorating with synthetic materials. Humanmade options could mean introducing elements that off-gas chemicals into your home. Vinyl and PVC for example, have been known to release chemicals for at least two weeks after installation. There are plenty of safe synthetic materials made by responsible manufacturers.

If you were on the fence about making your home vegan, consider that for a family member or guest with allergies, making your home vegan can be an excellent way to make sure there are no allergens that cause discomfort. Artificial down, for example, can be better than it’s feathery counterpart because alternatives are often water-resistant in addition to being hypoallergenic.

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For a family member on the autistic spectrum, the smell of animal leathers and the rough textures of some wools and skins may be bothersome. Ideally, a space designed for them has carefully considered and created the materials, lighting, and flow.

When asked about her favorite part of designing a vegan home, Barnard said, “Vegan interiors often end up being automatically eco-friendly.” It turns out vegan homes can have a smaller carbon footprint, simply because any process involving cultivating materials from animals means using resources to care for the animal to grow, and the carbon dioxide they exhale during their cultivation contributes to a large carbon footprint. Wood should be researched as well and sourced from responsible, sustainable sources, or reclaimed from previous projects and buildings.

Whatever your reason for choosing a vegan home, it should be relevant to the designer who helps you create your perfect home, too. You don’t have to sacrifice style or comfort; more than ever, it is possible to luxurious, durable, cruelty-free, materials.

By Kelsey Betancourt

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier and Steven Dewall.

Contemporary Luxe: Indoor Outdoor Family Room

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This contemporary luxe Manhattan Beach family home has a cozy patio pairing luxurious outdoor textiles with Chinese artisan pottery to create a quiet retreat. The modern luxury of this patio level family room reflects the individuality and youth of the homeowners.

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With a focus on the homeowner's art collection, Sarah Barnard's design allows for plenty of display space featuring one of a kind pieces: an antique brass lamp, a vintage Japanese sculpture by Kent Artware and a hand carved mahogany conch shell from Negril.

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An innovative guest room features a custom bed with a metallic leather headboard and a claw foot base. Luxurious silk bedding and warming brass accents adorn this contemporary retro bedroom.

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A second guest bedroom hosts twin beds with matching leather bolsters. The painstakingly veneered custom headboard features a floating desk drawer and a vintage 1930's office chair that melds Hollywood Glamour with Industrial Chic.

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Charlie Daniels

Historic West Hollywood Bungalow: Dining Room

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A historic 1918 Craftsman Bungalow features a beautifully remodeled dining room with contemporary updates by Sarah Barnard Design. By utilizing and restoring pieces original to the property, Sarah preserves the home's traditional aesthetic while introducing modern elements to create something personalized and unique. The fresh blue wall color modernizes the otherwise traditional dining room complementing the deep redwoods of the vintage furniture. 

An original built-in cabinet, a collection of art objects, a vintage dining table, and a contemporary chandelier sing together in harmony. A ceramic bust by artist Deborah Cansler rests atop an original antique cabinet with plenty of display space for the homeowner's eclectic treasures. An arrangement of wild blue thistles in a ceramic vessel made by artist Nashua Alfaro creates the perfect centerpiece.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Historic West Hollywood Bungalow: Living Room

A historic 1918 Craftsman Bungalow gets a fresh face! Utilizing the original Arts & Crafts woodwork design, Sarah Barnard adds a pop of contemporary color for an updated take on this traditional style. In keeping with the classic aesthetic, Sarah treats the interior with eclectic and vintage mid-century modern furnishings.

Saturated colors and modern patterns pair perfectly with wood and brass accents. At the heart of the living room is an original brick fireplace restored to its former glory. Items collected on the homeowner’s travels make fast friends on the mantle with abstract paintings by Los Angeles based artist, Lori Dorn.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Historic West Hollywood Bungalow: Heineken Green Kitchen

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This bright West Hollywood bungalow features a custom remodeled kitchen with a collection of handmade elements reflecting the homeowners love of nature and commitment to sustainable materials. Locally made cabinets, countertops made with recycled Heineken bottles, handmade ceramic backsplash tile, and cardboard pendant lamps make for a truly unique space.

This cook's kitchen has a place for everything and everything in its place! Built-in wall shelving provides extra space for storage and creates a cheerful display of dishware and other kitchen utilities.

A hard-working home office tucked away in the corner of the kitchen. Custom designed to fit the compact space perfectly, this corner nook gets plenty of natural light. A countertop made from recycled bowling alley lumber makes the utilitarian space special! Framed artwork by Gwen Samuels adds unique handmade detail atop the desk.

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Historic West Hollywood Bungalow: Caribbean Blue Bathroom

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This historic West Hollywood bungalow is all about color! The newly remodeled bathroom features a custom tile design by Sarah Barnard. The rich browns and vibrant teal blue's inspire thoughts of the Caribbean Sea. The spacious walk-in shower features a limestone seat providing the perfect complement to the saturated chocolate wall tiles.

Subtle details and accessories counterbalance the bathroom's bold colors. Handmade art tile and a beautiful handmade vessel make this masculine space special. A rustic mirror frame made of recycled barn wood helps to keep the new space fun and funky.

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Historic West Hollywood Bungalow: Orange Dreamsicle Bathroom

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Orange dreamsicle! Formerly a coat closet, this jewel box of a bathroom is made more functional by re-distributing the unused space. Sarah Barnard was able to add a walk-in shower to the previously compact guest bathroom.

This particular shade of orange inspires positivity and energy. By installing ceramic tile in a vertical pattern, they elongate the tiny space. Pebble tiles on the shower floor create an indoor/outdoor feeling. The small corner mounted sink makes the most of the limited floor space.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Harbor-Side Loft: Master Bedroom

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This harbor-side loft in Marina Del Rey features a masculine master bedroom with a contemporary nautical design. The master bedroom breathes with calming deep blue walls and dark walnut furniture. The artwork by Sara Pae and rich, dark furniture complement the blue tones of the room. The wall behind the bed is papered in a hand-blocked geometric pattern and paired with drapes made of wool in a warm winter white.

Vintage and brass elements add visual interest to the contemporary maritime theme. Tom Dixon pendants frame the headboard adding a pop of gold over each nightstand. A collection of coral, driftwood, and tillandsia enliven the matching bedside tables. Strategically placed houseplants in the bedroom contribute to clean indoor air and add to the calming seaside atmosphere.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Harbor-Side Loft: Living Room

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A high-rise apartment building in Marina Del Rey, California seemed the perfect fit for a beach-loving New Yorker and his beloved golden retriever. While he valued the location and the bones of the place, the homeowner wasn’t sure how best to make this house feel like his home. Interior designer Sarah Barnard introduced natural materials, saturated colors, modern fixtures, and a textured palette elegant enough for entertaining and durable for everyday life.

The apartment’s open floor plan allows for a pleasant flow between the kitchen, dining and living areas. The dining area features a muted neutral palette accented by the oversized chandelier. This modern circular design brings rustic brightness to the dining room. Artwork by Sara Pae, Evan Conway, and Rebekah Waites adds a playful contemporary element to the otherwise traditional spaces.

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Park View Pied-à-Terre: Kitchen

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A Park View Pied-à-Terre features an elegantly modern kitchen with ample counter space. The counter's tiered design creates additional bar top space for kitchen-side dining. A dramatic chandelier made of recycled rock crystal adds sparkle to the sustainable kitchen design.

Dark wood cabinets compliment the natural stone countertops and glossy backsplash tile. The extra-deep single bowl sink in an under mount, stainless steel design is both high functioning and lovely. The sleek design and minimalist elements of the kitchen work correctly with the home's integrated layout.

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Chas Metivier

Ocean Avenue Penthouse: Contemporary Kitchen Style

Maple cabinets and natural granite pair with stainless steel hardware in this Ocean Avenue penthouse kitchen. The light maple cabinetry maintains a spacious, airy feeling in the petite modern kitchen. Matching barstools turn a kitchen cut-out into the perfect breakfast nook. The adjacent custom built-in desk provides a tidy corner for paying bills or reading recipes on the web.

Natural wood, rattan and stone accessories make this modern kitchen lively and fun. Cable system track lighting illuminates the natural stone counters and floors. The architectural cut-out around the stove beautifully integrates the kitchen with the rest of the space allowing for more natural light.

The kitchen seamlessly flows into the adjacent dining area where a custom table of chrome and maple sets against a wall of mirrors. Tillandsia plants make a perfect centerpiece for beachfront dining. This modern kitchen design fully utilizes the compact space while preserving an open and integrated feeling with the rest of the penthouse.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Brad Nicol

Ocean Avenue Penthouse: Contemporary Master Bedroom

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The calming blue views of the ocean and sky were the inspiration for this Ocean Avenue master bedroom retreat. By outfitting with eco-friendly finishes in leather, rattan, maple, and wool, the biophilic impact of every detail was considered to optimize health and well-being.

Matching low-profile bedside tables in dark walnut topped with orchids and the homeowner's favorite books flank the master bed. The accompanying wall mounted swing arm lamps are perfect for reading. The custom commissioned artwork is reminiscent of an underwater world and adds peaceful minimalism and balance as a design element.

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A custom wall-hung console tucks away electronics and compliments the deep wood bed frame. Antique stone pottery and a dollop of moss are the perfect home to this indoor bromeliad; touches of nature are everywhere throughout this environmentally conscious design. Pottery and other artisan elements were handmade by local craftspeople and paired with indigenous plant life.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Brad Nicol

Ocean Avenue Penthouse: Contemporary Living Room

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An Ocean Avenue penthouse with a bird's eye view of Santa Monica's coastline is outfitted with eco-friendly furnishings, natural textiles and organic rugs to create a perfect Zen retreat. White fabric poufs provide extra seating for guests and are low enough to preserve the ocean view. A natural driftwood sculpture compliments a collection of organic objects as the centerpiece to this biophilic design.

Fine art can become a unique design element within a room. This one of a kind artwork fashioned from hand-thrown clay disks explicitly created for the living room captures the calming energy of the ocean air. The installation's delicate minimalism and organic formations add dimension and complement the room's natural textures.

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Sustainably sourced organic textiles and fabrics adorn this custom sectional with natural latex cushions, a perfect companion to the organic wool rug and toss blanket. A modern white metal side table with a fun organic shape adds interest.

This modern design preserves the expansive coastline view while utilizing a wall of mirrors to extend the entertaining area visually. The integrated dining area features a custom table of chrome and maple perfectly sized for this compact space.

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A collection of eco-friendly materials, organic textiles, and vintage accoutrements make this Ocean Avenue penthouse the ultimate beach retreat. The delicate chandelier made up of tiny light bulbs, and wire reminds us of stars strung together in the sky. Tillandsia plants make a perfect centerpiece for beachfront dining. 

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Brad Nicol

Healthy Home Design: Natural Interiors

The impact of sustainability can be addressed both in terms of the built environment, and its effect on the day-to-day lives of the people who inhabit these design spaces. Sound environmental design should create a symbiotic relationship between the user and their environment. Designer Sarah Barnard’s holistic approach considers the psychological and emotional factors within a model to promote wellness.

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Healthy Materials

When choosing the basics, one should keep in mind the range of organic materials that offer health benefits. Sarah believes that eco-friendly and natural material selection is the basis for a healthy design. “Creating a restorative environment begins with sustainable choices. Even the smallest decisions matter and can have profound effects on our health and the environment.” Her holistic approach towards material selection includes raw fibers and natural textiles, such as wool, cotton, and linen.

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This all natural (non-toxic) sofa pairs with a handmade, live edge coffee table displaying a collection of the homeowner's favorite things: agate slices, ammonites and an array of rose and lavender colored thistles. A group of brightly colored floor cushions provides the perfect casual living room seating. Natural fibers like wool and linen are comfortable and healthy and can be organically dyed.

Intricately hand carved sconces in American Walnut were designed by Sarah Barnard specifically for this “Scandifornian” style home. Natural woods are another excellent material with an array of attributes that can become a defining focal point within your design. From stunning colors to unique knots and grain patterns, natural woods such as oak, walnut, and maple provide various utility and elemental beauty within a home. Sarah Barnard works closely with local artisans and craftsmen to realize her custom furniture and lighting designs. This beautiful walnut dining table was custom made for this room from a single fallen tree.

Elemental Accents

A key component of biophilic design is to incorporate natural elements within an artificial environment. We spend so much of our time indoors that the objects we surround ourselves with become very important. Recently, Sarah Barnard completed 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. By utilizing furniture and accessories as an expression of nature, Sarah’s custom designs bring the outdoors into the home. Elemental accents such as stone, concrete, minerals, ceramics, and plants create a sense of grounded balance.

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Sarah designed a concrete fireplace specifically for this home with features such as subtle, etched lines that reference the movement of water. The mantle displays specimens from the homeowner's collection of minerals. Delicate orbs are a soothing and repeated design element throughout the home. Sarah worked closely with a local artisan to realize her vision for custom designed wall sconces. This piece of functional art was hand-made from ceramic clay and fired in a kiln using traditional glazing processes.

A handmade table with a live wood edge feels close to nature drawing attention to its organic form. When displayed among collected shells and family photographs, large mineral specimens diversify a typical collection. Sarah believes it is vital to surround yourself with things both meaningful and beautiful.  "Live with what you love. Surround yourself with beauty and positive energy." Her design philosophy recognizes the importance of creating contemplative spaces that highlight her clients valued mementos and personal collections.

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Another beautiful hand made wood table was made to fit perfectly within the foyer alcove providing a gentle, welcoming display of objects meant to inspire, protect and enlighten. The subtle sheen of the pale blue wallcovering references the nearby reflective sea and accompanies delicate coral inspired wall sconces.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Steven Dewall

Biophilia + Interior Design = Healthy, Happy Homes!

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Our day to day lives are often spent moving from one artificial environment to another. The familiar routine of home to car, car to work, and back leaves many unsatisfied. Over the course of the last three decades scientists have begun to investigate psychological connections between human beings and the natural world. 

The principle of Biophilia was first introduced in the 1984 book by Edward O. Wilson, which hypothesizes that humans have a deep psychological affinity for other living organisms. While scientists believe this empathy may have developed as a way for nature to protect and preserve itself, others have begun to consider how this principle might benefit people. Designers in particular have been quick to recognize the possibilities for transforming the environments we inhabit in ways that could have genuine and positive psychological effects.

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Biophilic design has become a popular approach to domestic and commercial design. It employs strategies ranging from the modest to elaborate to create spaces that acknowledge and satisfy our deep-seated need for nature in our lives.

One approach to Biophilic design is the incorporation of natural elements within an artificial environment. From architectural design that capitalizes on natural light, to the simple incorporation of plants in an office environment, modest decisions can have a dramatic effect on our spaces. One study done at Washington State University by Virginia I. Lohr and Caroline H. Pearson-mims measured the stress levels in test subjects while performing a task in an office environment. When plants were present in the room, subjects displayed an increase in productivity (12% quicker reactions to their computer task) and were less stressed according to their blood pressure. More research has been conducted on the subject of human-plant interaction and how a natural element can provide real benefits to your daily life.

Other strategies take cues from natural forms to design architectural and interior spaces and furniture. From organic materials or floral patterns to entire rooms that reflect natural themes, there are endless possibilities for Biophilic design. The image above from the Cape Cod Guest Retreat project is a perfect example of incorporating vine patterned fabric and specific color palettes to create a harmonious blend between outdoor and indoor spaces. 

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The Ocean Avenue Penthouse design recalls the bright sands of the shore while the splash of green of potted plants gives a sense of healthy, tranquil living. Outstretched wings offer the viewer a feeling of weightlessness and flight, and the addition of wooden furniture with their airy and open forms completes the natural beach scene. Air quality is an often overlooked but vital element of Biophilic design. The Ocean Avenue Penthouse is an example of how suggestions of air can make a space feel open and clean, while the potted plants help to provide actual clean air. Fostering a peaceful environment is the surest way to foster peace in yourself.
 

Biophilic design has become a popular and effective response to the innate desire of humans to live in natural harmony. When it comes to designing or remodeling your home, consider the many benefits of Biophilic design. More than just a style, it has real effects on your quality of life in your home or office.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.