Sarah! We're so honored to be profiling you. You recently launched your eponymous shop SB Sarah Bartholomew in Nashville - what made you make the move to retail? Honestly, I never imagined I would become a shopkeeper but there was a need in Nashville and after waffling on the idea for years, I decided to take the plunge. Nashville has such a rich design community and in the South, people really love, use and decorate their homes; but what the city has in a commitment to beauty, we lack in resources. I created SB. to begin to fill that void! It’s a design destination offering decorative accessories, textiles, art, furnishings for the home. It’s as an extension of my firm's brand, known for its fresh take on traditional and the shop doubles as a showroom featuring a careful edit of special, chic, under-the-radar lines and brands we love.
Having grown up in Virginia and attended UVA have you been influenced by neoclassical/Jeffersonian architecture? Yes! My first inspiration to be a designer came when I visited Monticello with my parents as a young girl. I remember being intrinsically taken by its simple American beauty. Jefferson’s attention to detail and creativity has been a lifelong inspiration. What I love most about Jefferson’s design is that while it’s centuries old, it still feels contemporary. Then, I was lucky to attend University of Virginia, one of the most beautiful campuses in the country; also, designed by the Father of American architecture.
How do you think Instagram has changed the design business? Instagram has changed the way designers — and design-enthusiasts — discover design. It allows more people to be inspired by and exposed to design. With this, there is a level of similarity in the air — everyone sees and is inspired by the same content and so sometimes, originality and authenticity are at this expense.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in life? I wouldn’t call them accomplishments but I’m most proud to be the mom to four amazing kids.
When working on your beautiful collaboration with Pottery Barn what drew you to choosing the Foyer as your focus? The foyer is the first impression of a house and often nowadays, the most functional room whether it be for storage or as a catchall and home base. The goal of all of my design work is to create a home that is lived in, used and loved (aesthetically). Turning to the entry, it was the perfect means to translate this idea and showcase that you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for practicality.
How did you end up in Nashville? If you didn't live there - where would you live? My husband was born and raised in Nashville and when we were considering where to settle down to start our family we decided to return to his roots. The great thing about Nashville is that it has Southern charm and a strong sense of place, without feeling the least bit provincial. If we didn’t live in Nashville? I love an adventure so I’d be up for a stint abroad in Paris or London.
Designers, architects, or artists who have most impacted your personal aesthetic? Bunny Mellon, Givenchy, Gil Schafer, Billy Baldwin, Bruce Budd, Oscar De La Renta, Stephen Sills, Marella Agnelli, Lee Radziwill, Renzo Mongiardino and Studio Peregalli… each absolutely brilliant with a singular, authentic style.
What is your approach to setting a table and how do you come up with a scheme? I always start with the color scheme. It could be a special set of vintage china, beautiful table linens (like yours!) or seasonal flowers from the florist or cut from the garden. The scheme is also based on the season and occasion.
Favorite design or style hack? Elevating an inexpensive lamp by upgrading the shade or taking a basic bedside table and changing the hardware to give it a custom look.
What's next for SB? So many fun and exciting things! 2019 is going to be a big year for us with more beautiful interiors and special collaborations in the works!