Working together – Sarah and Rosie Ward on their family business
Like all businesses, Interiors by Sarah Ward has evolved over time. When Sarah began her interior design career over 30 years ago it was just her, working solo. The business quickly flourished, at one time with a staff of 26. But, although this was a fantastic experience, Sarah decided to reset the company with a smaller core team as she wanted to stay closer to the creative detail, which is her passion. Now, there are eight people, with Sarah’s daughter Rosie as Associate Director. Rosie is an integral part of the design process, her own flare shining through. The company also has a little black book bursting with specialist partners from bespoke furniture makers to luxury lighting designers.
‘I’m delighted that Interiors by Sarah Ward is now a family business,’ says Sarah. ‘I began being interested in interior design as a child growing up in the Far East, with the good fortune to spend time in amazing and inspiring places. And Rosie has always been interested, too, ever since she was about 12. It feels like a natural evolution for us to work together now.’
Rosie says, ‘I was always happy to come along to installations in the school holidays and help at the final stages, unpacking everything and setting up accessories and artworks. We found a photo of me recently among some old work files, showing me at an install in a wonderful chalet in the Alps; I must have been about 15.’
But Rosie embarked on a career in TV production before working as a designer. Looking back now, she sees she was gradually drawn back to interior design, assisting on projects with Sarah whenever she had spare time. She learned the trade partly by osmosis from being immersed in it from childhood, but has also trained in CAD tools and other technical specifics. But her eye for interior design has always been a natural talent. Sarah says, ‘When we made the decision for Rosie to come onboard as a full-time designer, I made her ask me – I didn’t want her to say I’d coerced her into the family business.’
Sarah and Rosie say it feels very natural working together. They both inherently understand the Interiors by Sarah Ward design ethos of creating superb comfortable interiors, which exudes from all their projects. Sarah says, ‘We are very respectful of each other and the things that are important to each of us in our designs, which is essential.’
They also both recognise that the client is the most important person in the room. Their design process involves getting to know each client, really drawing out their preferences, desires and needs for the project, then tailoring a bespoke interior design for them. Rosie says, ‘Our style is very much related to the client we have in front of us. But of course we are drawn to certain elements, too. I love mixing colours and textures for an earthy and eclectic result. Sarah’s natural tendency has slightly more glamour. We both love metallic finishes.’ And of course when designing hotel interiors, they have additional considerations, and often more than one stakeholder to think about.
‘Every project is individual and needs a fresh approach,’ says Sarah. ‘It would be very dull if we just replicated ideas from one project to the next.’ Sarah and Rosie make a very conscious effort not to use the same items in different projects – everything is bespoke. They spend time at international shows such as Maison et Objet in Paris and Milan’s Salone del Mobile furniture fair to gather new ideas, and both travel the world, too, picking up inspiration.
Sarah says, ‘My favourite part of the job is when we get to know each new client and begin to imagine a whole new space. I also love the challenge of coming up with ideas and communicating them to the client.’ Both Sarah and Rosie stress that their interior design is about perfecting the feel and flow of a space as much as it is about final details such as fabrics and furnishings.
Rosie agrees, saying, ‘What I love most about working in luxury interior design is the diversity. Each interior design project has a different look and feel due to the different tastes of our clients, making every job exciting and creative. The beginning and the end are the best, coming up with the ideas for the space, then fulfilling the design story, and finally seeing it come to fruition.’
The difference that using a specialist luxury interior design company such as Interiors by Sarah Ward brings is in the approach to the complete space. With in-house interior architecture specialists, and lighting design partners, no element is left without thought. Sarah says, ‘A space comes alive with specialist lighting and attention to every single detail – from cornicing to panelling, wall colours to flooring and of course wonderful furniture and fittings.’ Interiors by Sarah Ward can design bespoke furniture to divide rooms differently or tuck away clever storage spaces. The whole approach covers ergonomics, practicality and aesthetics. It’s always about far more than decoration.
As for working together, Sarah says, ‘Rosie adds a new dimension, which is great for the business. I have a lot of experience to offer – and we’re both very enthusiastic.’ Rosie agrees, and says, ‘We bounce off each other very well. We will look at a project in different ways which gives us the best results, especially when it comes to planning the space and finding clever solutions for tricky elements.’
If you’d like to talk to Sarah and Rosie about an interior design project, don’t hesitate to get in touch, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: +44 (0)20 3667 7796.
We’d love to hear your ideas.