Designer SpotlightDec 4, 2020

Designer Spotlight: Sarah Solis

Written by All Sorts Of

We’ve been coveting Sarah Solis‘ style for ages and are so thrilled we finally got to sit down with her to chat about all things interior design! Sarah is an ultra talented designer based in Malibu, California living with her equally artistic photographer husband, Rennie Solis, 2 kids, and 11 chickens. Sarah got her start in fashion but is truly an artist with so many talents, from ceramics to painting and wood working. With a background in Fine Arts, she made the switch to interior design after renovating and selling her first home. Sarah has such an incredible range with her designs—something that’s rare these days in interiors. She values organic and natural materials and a Wabi-Sabi approach to living which is evident in the truly unique spaces she creates.

Read on to learn more about Sarah’s journey, where she finds inspiration, and the heart of her design ethos. Keep scrolling to see her endlessly inspiring spaces, and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram!

a conversation with sarah solis…

Tell us about yourself!

Design and art is my forever passion. My family is my heart and soul. I have 2 children: my son is 10 and my daughter is 5. We live in Malibu, California with our two dogs, Princess Leia and Ben Kenobi, and 11 chickens whose names change daily. My husband is a photographer/director and we love to collaborate artistically. I was raised between the westside of Los Angeles and a small town in the Pacific Northwest just south of Seattle, WA. My immediate and extended family is all very artistic and musical. We were always encouraged to draw, create, and dream! I am very close with my mother and sister that are also incredible creatives. The last few years I have run my design studio out of the guest house on our property. I love working close to home in a relaxed, naturally inspired atmosphere; especially with the kids remote learning so I can check in on them during breaks. But I also have the flexibility to run out to the studio when I have an idea that I want to work out, and that happens often.


Tell us about your design journey. How did you get started and how did you get here?

My journey has been full circle. I’ve always been obsessed with interior design. My father was a contractor and musician. I grew up visiting job sites with my dad and fantasizing about building homes. I loved listening to how the different trades worked together and learning how to problem solve the numerous complications that came with it. I also loved learning how to realize a vision. I was an artist and very into my own art. I was the only girl that took wood shop at my middle school so I could learn how to build furniture, and am a lifelong ceramicist, and painter. I graduated high school early and entered an interior design program. It was a wonderful experience as I received awards and graduated top of my class, even got a few great job offers, but I was young and didn’t want to work for anyone else. So, I went back to school for another degree in Fine Arts and Art History. I’m a dedicated learner and always appreciate how one area can influence the other. After I received the 2nd degree I segued into fashion because my best friend was a photographer and always pulled clothes from my closet to style her shoots. Fashion and wardrobe styling was fun, inspiring, and I met incredible people, including my husband! I love fashion, but it never fulfilled my senses the way interior design does.
My husband and I bought our first home, the worst house in the best neighborhood, and I got to design the renovation. When we quickly outgrew it 2 years later we decided to sell it. It sold with multiple offers in the first couple of days. When it sold, people asked who the designer was, and it happened with the next 2 homes as well. Then my interior design work started taking over more of my life than my styling work—which became a full circle experience for me. It has been an incredible journey and I am so grateful for all of my experiences, as they have shaped my story and what I can bring to a design project.


When you were first getting started, what were some of the biggest hurdles you had to overcome?

One of my biggest hurdles was figuring out how to transfer all my efforts away from a successful career in fashion and wardrobe styling into solely interior design. My life revolved around styling; I created the most loving community, met my husband and many of my first clients. Embarking on a new endeavor while my styling career was still flourishing was difficult to walk away from. Design isn’t as social but way more artistically fulfilling—it allowed me to touch the world with purpose and greater impact. It was difficult to leave fashion but truly a natural progression. I know this is my life intention.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started in interior design, but doesn’t know where to begin?

Invest in your education—whether that is going to school, online learning, or mentorship. Learn the technical skills and develop a true understanding of how your ideas can come to life. Study psychology, as it relates to color theory, and learn how to listen to others and be supportive to your clients and your team. Have hobbies and interests that bring a fresh perspective to the conversation or space. Anyone can create great Pinterest boards and emulate pictures, but what sets you apart is your personal perspective. Design and construction require so many humans to realize our visions—patience and kindness is imperative. Above all, be kind and gracious to everyone.


How would you describe your design ethos?

Understated luxury that is livable, personal, and artful. My style and philosophy are very closely connected—a European aesthetic that respects architecture and incorporates modern artful elements and furnishings. Wabi-Sabi is an integral part of my life philosophy and perspective as a designer. It is defined as the Japanese art of finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay. Celebrating cracks, crevices, and all other marks that time, weather, and love leave behind. In my own words—it is an expression of gratitude for the weather of life. A space should make you feel something—it doesn’t need to be dramatic, but it should evoke emotion. I am very conscious about what I put into the world, using natural materials and I love to repurpose pieces and give them a second life. Life is the greatest luxury, and appreciating all stages, phases, and cycles is truly inspiring to me.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, either personally or professionally?

Anything is possible.


What inspires you?

My husband, children, and mother are all a well of inspiration—I enjoy their perspective and love to see the world through their lens. We love to travel and spend as much time as possible outdoors. Nature’s color palettes, textures, and organic forms will always be represented in my work. Art, museums, architecture, and books on all of the above. I tend more toward the natural world and experiences to fill my inspiration well, then the immediate digital world.


What are 5 things you can’t live without right now?

Nature: Ocean + Mountains


What’s next for Sarah Solis?

Growth! We are quickly expanding the firm and our presence, while maintaining an intimate studio. We have collaborations and features I’m really excited to share, as well as our family home remodel that has just begun!


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