We first visited the Oakland warehouse loft Sarah E. Owen uses as an office and studio when she hosted Edition No.6, a collaboration of six Bay Area artisans. The studio was decked out for a party but it was the permanent features- plaster walls, handpainted details, an oversized lounge chair- that caught our eye. Sarah’s background in fine arts clearly showed in the design of her space. We had to learn more.
Art and design are soul sisters, but how did you transition from focusing on painting to working in interiors?
My background is in fine art– painting and photography. After college, I worked for years as a decorative artist creating custom surfaces in paint, plaster, wax and metallic leaf. Most of my work was for residential interiors, but there were many commercial interiors, events, theatre sets, and film projects in the mix. My professional exposure to some truly incredible spaces fueled my inherent appreciation for, and desire to create, immersive interiors.
Each space I’ve inhabited over the years has served as an opportunity for me to experiment with color, texture, material, scale and light. Always a ‘work in progress’, I paint, scrape, knock down, build up, reconfigure, install and transform my environments. I have the same hands-on approach to furnishing and decorating; mixing in one-of-a-kind handmade, salvaged or re-purposed lighting, furniture and fixtures. Increasingly, my DIY ideas and unique objects were sought after by clients for their homes and businesses.
You call yourself an interior stylist, what does that mean to you?
Interior Stylist is the descriptor I use most often when I’m asked about my work; there could be several correct answers on any given day. Frequent clients and collaborators include designers and architects who visit my studio to find pieces for their interiors, photographers looking for props, custom surfaces and/or a location to shoot event producers looking to create a unique environment at my studio or off site. I’m also producing my own hand-painted mirrors and custom upholstery.
Edition No.6 is only one of the events have you recently hosted in your studio, correct?
I also host figure drawing sessions, workshops, brunches/dinners, swap meets, concerts and other events at the studio. Ideas are always welcome!
Another recent collaboration was with Airbnb for their latest launch event at their SF HQ.
Also, I’ve rounded up a batch of my favorite found and handmade treasures for sale online and in an upcoming pop-up shop at my studio this fall. I love to be a resource to my clients and fellow designers for furnishings, fixtures and decor. I’m selling my latest collection out of the studio– visits by appointment until the pop up– and online. It lets me share my compulsive maker/magpie tendencies!