In conversation with stylist and personal shopper, Sarah Corbett-Winder
We caught up with stylist Sarah Corbett-Winder to chat about all things vintage, house renovations and creating a home that balances aesthetics with functionality.
How do you describe your interior design style and how has this evolved over the years?
I would say classic, which it hasn’t always been. Everyone laughs at me because I am such a fan of brown, we often get called the ‘Brown Family! It’s the best interior colour. It definitely acts as an anchor in our house. I would say my style has definitely become more grown-up, I really don’t want to get bored of the interior choices that we have made. I know what I like and I know what I think goes together. I am all about the overall picture – so everything has to be from the same family – the ‘Brown Family’!
How do you incorporate vintage and antique shopping when you are choosing furniture for a space?
I really tire of seeing the same thing over and over again, so often when it comes to furniture I look for vintage/antique pieces. I think it’s so special to find something unique that fits perfectly. You have way more choice when it comes to vintage/antique and also you get way more character. You come across things you would never think of.
Do you have a favourite vintage or antique find?
I have a thing for pillars and am very proud of the rust coloured marble one in our kitchen. It is extremely heavy, so a nightmare to move but it adds such strength to the room. It’s great dressed with an object, a flower arrangement, a small piece of china fruit or naked. I love it and it is definitely a forever piece.
I used to get SO carried with vintage/antique shopping and almost hyperventilate at the thought that someone else was going to buy it. A bit like being at your first fashion sample sale! Now, I take a deep breath and really think about where and how it’s going to work in our house. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. If someone else gets the piece that you had fallen in love with, then it wasn’t going to work and you will find something better. So I would say don’t panic buy, enjoy the journey of buying vintage/antique pieces.
Do you approach your role as a stylist in the same way you approach interior design, do you have any advice on where people should start?
Do you know that it is so interesting because yes when I’m working with clothes I’m thinking of one’s wardrobe as one would think of one’s home when you’re designing it. For me, everything (clothes/interiors) should be from the same family. And I think you need to work out what you want your family to be. So is it that you are about clashing prints and bold colours, is it that you are about neutrals and playing with textures, is it that you are about stripes (me!). I think you then need to work out your colour palette, and this will ensure that everything works together. I mean, of course, you can have things that are off-menu, but in general, I think everything should be able to talk to each other. So yes, for clothes and interiors I use the same recipe.
What is on your vintage shopping list?
For me, a house (and a wardrobe) are forever growing, moving, evolving, so my list is always going to be long! I am always open to some new furniture, although right now we don’t have much space left! I have a serious addiction to china fruit and china dogs who have a permanent fixture on my wish list. This is seriously niche but I am after a large china fruit ceiling light – I’ve seen it in my head but I am yet to see it in real life!
How do you make your space functional for a family whilst still keeping a strong design identity?
It comes down to me having OCD! So everything in our house has its home, it’s not like a showroom where you can’t move/touch/sit down, but it is all very considered. So in our kitchen, my husband designed this bench, which we cut holes in for storage baskets to live in for our children’s toys. In our bookcase – the kids have the bottom two shelves. In the kids’ bathroom – there is a beautiful terracotta pot that has all their bath toys in. I think it’s about really thinking. The kids changing station is in a cupboard, as I was adamant that we weren’t going to look at nappies. We spent a lot of time thinking about how we would live and it’s meant that we can have a functional family home and it still looks great. I also really wanted to use the space together and not have the children banished to their rooms. I am also very militant about what comes into our house – so quite a few things get donated to charity before coming into our home. I sound like a Headmistress! I just really enjoy being around wonderful things.
Do you have a favourite design era?
Yes, I am influenced by so many but if there had to be one – postmodern.
What are you currently reading and what is your favourite reading chair?
My husband Ned, designed this amazing high back pink suede chair. It is perfect for escaping from the world and reading a book. At the moment I have two books on the go – Anya Hindmarch’s book – If In Doubt Wash Your Hair and The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller. I like to either learn something or enter a dark world when reading a book.
How was your experience with house renovation? Anything you would have done differently?
Great question! Our planning permission took much longer than we thought and because of that we had so much time to plan how we would live, and how everything would look, so I can say no we wouldn’t have done anything differently. My Ma always says to me ‘it’s all about the preparation’ and it’s so true, put in as much time as you can when it comes to planning, it really does pay off.