Interview with Designer Sarah Bartholomew

Imagine yourself enjoying a home that actively encourages serenity through its sense of balance and proportion. A home where patterns, colors and textures mix and mingle in a way that feels effortless, natural. A home where surprising choices somehow fit in perfectly and add a truly unique and personal signature that is wholly your own.

Now meet designer Sarah Bartholomew. If you are lucky enough to have chosen her to design your home, this imagined sense of harmony is where you will find yourself.

Image Courtesy of Sarah Bartholomew

In the last eight years since having established herself, Sarah has received accolades from across the design world from Architectural Digest to Vogue Magazine. In 2016 she was named House Beautiful’s “Next Wave Designer.”

All of this success was of course, precipitated by a long process of creative learning. “I grew up in the D.C. area and loved visiting historical homes in Virginia with my parents. When I was little, my mom let me decorate my own room and I chose a white wicker headboard and colors inspired by a green and blue Laura Ashley print. Then in high school, I edited the architectural plans for my parent’s renovation; they ended up going with the layout I designed!”

Image Courtesy of Sarah Bartholomew

And while she dabbled in design all her life, it wasn’t until after having had children that her career really took off when a friend asked her to help with the design of her custom built home. From there, the requests began to multiply. Her talent is now sought after around the country, allowing her to design for different areas in a wide range of aesthetic sensibilities. “I love all the places that work takes me and all of the types of homes I get to design.  I believe there should be a natural relationship with a house’s architectural style and geographic location with the interiors of the home.  A San Francisco Bay Area bungalow needs something quite different than a Greenwich Georgian.  Designing in different locales allows me to explore and express different iterations of my style and aesthetic.”

Image Courtesy of Sarah Bartholomew

Working in a variety of styles has surely influenced her ability to layer patterns, colors and textures in a unique way. “Layers are what give a room soul, what makes them come to life.  Layering is not just about fabrics, and textures, although these things are ingredients in the mix: layering is about juxtaposing silhouettes and lines, colors and art and always adding an element of the unexpected.  Also, layering needs to be curated.  Too much is too much, you have to know when to push and when to draw the line to keep the overall look fresh and not overdone.”

Image Courtesy of Sarah Bartholomew

Despite her natural talent and the hard work that brings it to life, she did not always give herself proper credit. “I had the honor of meeting the legendary, late Albert Hadley at his apartment for cocktails just before he passed away.   When he asked about my career,  I told him, “I’m just doing small design work here and there.” and he replied “Don’t sell yourself short.  Never call what you are doing small!”  I have carried that with me ever since.”

Beautiful advice that many of us would do well to take to heart.

Image Courtesy of Sarah Bartholomew

4 Questions with Sarah Bartholomew

TLV: What advice would you give your younger self?

SB: Be grateful and kind, that is all that matters.  Slow down and be patient with yourself.


TLV: Favorite home fragrance?

SB: Cidre Turdon Ernesto Candle

TLV: Favorite vacation spot?

SB: Harbour Island, Bahamas


TLV: What is your ideal way to relax at the end of a long day?

SB: Flipping through magazines or watching The Crown.

Text by Liana Hayles Newton

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