January 28, 2012

Decorator + American Beauty

Sara Gilbane {left} • Bedroom designed by Sara, fabric from Carlton V

I am just delighted to interview interior decorator, Sara Gilbane. I first discovered Sara's work searching for something on Google that led me to her blog—and, I quickly became a fan of her cozy, elegant rooms. After graduating from Brown, Sara studied interior design at RISD and blossomed as Celerie Kemble's assistant. Last year, she was named one of TradHome's Top 20 New Designers and House Beautiful previously named her as one of their Top 20 Next Wave Designers.

Darling kitchen breakfast nook perfectly accessorized in blue + white

The thing that is so good about Sara's work is that she understands how to accessorize. "I am a fanatic about details and I must admit that this is my favorite part of a project." She gets it! Each room looks naturally finished. Sara has great taste in fabrics and her details—from piping to pleats are indeed, impeccable. She also makes wonderful, bold wallpaper choices.

Powder Room wallpaper, Poppies by Lee Jofa

I love this combination of large navy paisley with yellow lattice wallpaper.

Headboard, Ralph Lauren St. Kitts, navy • Wallpaper, Carlton V

Settee, Zimmer + Rohde, Oak Leaf Blue • Blue chaise in Rogers + Goffigon, pillow from Turkey

Inlaid chaise in Robert Kime's Suzanni Yellow, pillow Chelsea Textiles • Ottoman, Stark Burlap

Headboard fabric, Brunschwig + Fils
NYC Living Room, antique oushak carpet, custom lucite table, and Natasha Law painting

American Beauty photographed by Vogue alumna, Claiborne Swanson Frank

In addition to being a super-talented designer, Sara is a quintessential American beauty! She is featured alongside winemaker, Michelle Ouelett and style virtuoso, Jenna Lyons in Assouline's upcoming book, American Beauty.

I am so happy to meet Sara and to ask her some fun questions:

Current obsession: Wallpapers and fabrics by Idarica Gazzoni
Last thing you bought: Erdem floral blouse and tan suede Proenza Schouler bag
Favorite vacation spot: St. Barth's is heaven to me

Inspiring artist: So difficult to choose but I love Hugo Grenville right now - his work is stunning and reminds me of Matisse.
Listening to: I am a music fanatic and am all over the place with what I listen to, it really depends on the day. So on any given day you might find me listening to: Broken Bells, Florence and the Machine, Black Keys, Bon Iver, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, or Robyn.

Style icon: I look to a bevy of icons for inspiration: Lauren Hutton, Jackie Onassis, Ali MacGraw, Bianca Jagger as well as Diane Kruger, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and Kate Moss.
Can't live without: My husband Jay and my daughter Gin
Most precious belonging: My wedding ring and old family photos of my grandparents and parents

French 75 [recipe here]
Cocktail of the moment: French 75 - a glass of champagne with a splash of gin and lemon juice and a sugar cube to make it fizz. Delicious!!
Favorite shape: A cube
Color of the moment: Purple is always intriguing

Museum pick: The Frick in NYC and The Musée Marmottan in Paris
Most comfortable shoes: A pair of low-rise linen boots by Rag and Bone
Favorite time of day: First thing in the morning when my daughter climbs into bed with me smelling like sleep.
Thing about interior design you already knew at age 18: Layering is the key to warmth in a space, bring on the sisal, area rugs, and accessories!
Best design advice for readers: Go into the process with a strong idea of how you live and how you would like to live.

Thank you, Sara!

You can visit Sara here.
And, on Facebook.
See the 2012 New Trad Designers at TRADhome.
You might like my interview with Tom Scheerer here.


  1. Gorgeous rooms. I could live in these!
    Beautiful woman.
    Inspiring soul.

  2. LOVE LOVE Sara's work - for all the reasons you mentioned!! And she went to Brown! Icing on the cake! What fun questions!! Just what I love to learn. Such a wonderful post all the way around - thank you!!

  3. Thank you, Bruce! It was such a pleasure to interview Sara!! BTW, amazing bird photos this month on Facebook! ox

    Hi Stacey-Q! Well, I knew you would love the fact that Sara went to Brown!! And, I am delighted that you love the post!! ox

  4. My heart is going a pitter patter!
    Barb, you were so right when you said
    I was going to love her design eye!
    I'm so pleased that you interviewed Sara.
    A delightful peek into the life & style of an American Beauty for sure!
    Thank you for another inspiring post!
    xo Lisa

  5. I am a firm believer in "Beauty is as Beauty does"
    what lovely work.

  6. Hi Lisa! Yes... an American Beauty and talent! She is one of the really good designers of her generation! ox

    Hi Patricia! Yes, indeed it does. Thank you for stopping by! Have a great week. ox

  7. What a wonderful interview. I love Sara's style! A perfect mix of sophistication and spunk. Hope all is well!

  8. oh!

    That Chaise - a cup of palest earl grey and a 19th century novel....

    yes. please.

    lovely blog post and delicious interview, yet again :-) brava!

    love from us at teamgloria. x

  9. Oh, Team Gloria!

    I adored your Friday visit to the

    American Wing. D I V I N E! ox

  10. Love getting this sneak peek into the woman behind the designer. And I've adored her work since first seeing it in HB. Great interview, Barbara! Hope you are well! xoxo, Casey

  11. Great talking to you today! I love Sara's sense of color ad texture. Enjoyed thi!

  12. Hi Shani {Camille!} - I love the Tracey Garret sofas on your site!! Thanks for popping by! ox

    Hi Casey, I knew you might be familiar with Sara and would enjoy this post! TYSM!! ox

    Hi Renae, Thanks for reading and keep up the good work but don't push it too much!! Talk soon. ox

  13. We love Sara - all around...her gorgeous work and her sweet personality :) Great interview. Now we must check out Idarica Gazzoni!

  14. Hi Anne + Suysel, Thanks for stopping by! And, yes, do check out Idarica Gazzoni! ox

  15. I just stopped by for lunch, to relax and read. Thank you. It was delightful as always. xo Lisa

  16. this is news to me!!

    love this post
    and she is pretty darn talented.


  17. Hi Ioana, of course!

    Hi Lisa, So happy you stopped by today!! Let's catch-up soon! ox

    Hi Renée,
    Great to see you this evening. And, I'm delighted you enjoyed the post. Sara is one to watch, indeed. ox

  18. Beautiful, brilliant, smart with taste! Sara's a total package. Thanks for stopping by to see our beautiful Reynolda.

  19. great post....!

    check page 52 of june's elle decor!
    them mention YOU!!!


  20. A delightful peek into the life & style of an American Beauty for sure!
    Thank you for another inspiring post!online makeup course

  21. These are fabulous! The kitchen nook is just wonderful. Have a lovely week ahead, Kellie xx

  22. Dear Barbara, I am going to echo so much of Bruce Barone's response to this posting as to waste the responsibility of constructive remark, except in one detail. I do not much care for these rooms, while at the same time being certain that she could interpret what I do like with very invigorating consequences -- which I appreciate in a designer. My reason for this certitude is the gift she shows for colour and the rapport of one hue with another. I welcome her inclination toward boldness in geometry, and would enjoy immensely arguing through her suggestions with her; but our battle over accessorising, as you say, would be audible. That said the rest of Bruce's comment and Muhammad's certainly work for me; and this was a terribly sweet posting. She enormously 'owes' you for allowing the remark on her daughter's scent of sleep. With that, who would not endure expulsion of place, to the (occasional) pursuit of that bond, never promising not to photograph it, quietly, in the rising morning light.

  23. Barbara what a wonderful post. Boy do I have much to catch up on. I've not seen Sara's work and I obviously have been living under a rock. What I admire is her 'lack' of decorating; which truly means her rooms look not overly designed, contrived, if that makes sense? Obviously a woman of much talent & beauty. Not bad taste when it comes to a good cocktail either!

  24. What a wonderful talent - the perfect combination of sophistication and warmth...love the wallpapers!! Thrilled to find and follow your beautiful blog ~

  25. oh, how lovely!

    we got a sudden pang about wallpaper - perhaps we will paper in the inside of a small powder room when we move to the Other Coast shortly.

    a small toile pleases.

    love your blog.

    it's dreamy.

    waving from downtown manhattan (for now - eek!)

    _teamgloria xx

  26. Gorgeous... not to mention a new Champagne recipe pour moi!


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