When Staci asked me to pick a favourite room, my thoughts immediately went to some of the amazing designers I admire – Kelly Wearstler, Barbara Barry, Miles Redd, Darryl Carter, Mary MacDonald to name a few. However, I had recently read an article in Elle Décor magazine titled the 5 Designers to Watch 2011, and found that Sara Story not only had a beautiful portfolio, but an intriguing life story as well.
This stunning designer could have been a model. Born in Japan and years of extensive travel influenced her design aesthetic from a very young age and gave her a great appreciation for cultural design. This New York based designer, has lived in several countries across the globe and today she even plays on an international women’s elephant polo team – who knew there even was such a thing?! In case you can’t picture it – here’s a shot at the Kings Cup Elephant Polo Tournament.
Her penchant for decorating started young, always experimenting with paint and moving things around her family home and then curiously strolling down the street to find out what treasures were behind the beautiful doors of her Texas neighbourhood (my mom also has some great stories of me doing the same, but I digress!).
Sara developed her craft while working for renowned New York designer Victoria Hagan before starting her own business. Her specialty is eclectic spaces combining pieces from different eras and cultures, which is something I also love do – otherwise known as “design mixology”. I decided to feature one of my favourite projects of Sara’s… her own 650 square foot condo in Gramercy Park.
This is not your average galley kitchen! Can we start with “Who does this?!” I bet the painter called before starting to ask “Are you sure I have the right ceiling colour?” I do love thedrama of that plum ceiling juxtaposed against the graphic floor. Given all the light flooding in with these giant windows and the white walls, this small kitchen is big on style and glamour. The black chairs really ground the table and offer some subtle curves against the clean lines of this showstopping kitchen.
What a great way to add some fun to a tiny office nook. The shimmering silver paper makes it seem as though the you are surrounded by water filled with beautiful silver fish (might be quite serene if you enjoy marine life while you “surf”). The wonderful thing about graphic wallpaper is that it’s great for camoflaging small imperfections in the wall or in this case, disguising the cupboards. This is a great way to create interest where space is at a minimum – make the walls and floors work hard to establish the mood for the space, then add simple furnishings in a solid colour to complete the look (white always works).
I’ve always told my clients that the powder room is the perfect space to experiment with colour, textures and pattern because it doesn’t have to match with the rest of the home. Without the lacquered red paint, this bathroom’s wood panels would still be beautiful and elegant, but nowhere near as interesting and definitely not as striking. I love how the antique brass fixtures, lighting and vanity stand adds glamour to the space and really make it feel special. The graphic floor pattern helps enlarge the space and continues the bold geometric theme we saw on the kitchen floor…it’s a nice little surprise when you walk in. The vintage ceiling pendant brings extra glamour to the space as well – why not? Overall, the red also allows the white marble counter to stand out while simple black trim on the mirror and picture frame provide the perfect contrast. The final touch is bold artwork –just gorgeous!
This whole room is so inviting and really looks curated over time! The furniture is, in fact, from different eras and cultures (which I mentioned above) and the colours are carried from other parts of the house perfectly to create flow from one room to another. I love black trimmed windows and doors for their ability to define a space and the graphic effect it sets on the space. The layered rugs and multi-fabric sofa makes this eclectic room really come alive. Large artwork is also a favorite of mine and with the fabulous artists on Etsy these days, there is something to suit everyone’s taste and budget.
So I’ve also added Sara Story to my list of designers to watch and, lesson learned – go bold or go home!
Thanks Ana! I had never heard of elephant polo - sounds fun! I hope you all enjoyed the space Ana shared with us today, I know I did! Oh, and be sure to swing by Second Wind to say hello to Ana!