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Barclay Interiors

Designer In Profile: Sarah Barclay Creative Director of Barclay Interiors

Name: Sarah Barclay

Company: Barclay Interiors Limited

Position within company: Creative Director


Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I grew up in central London surrounded by a very creative family. I was studying European Law at University, spending a semester in France where I took a class in History of Art at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille. That was my lightbulb moment!  I went on to study for a degree in the History of Art and Architecture and a diploma in Interior Design. I started my studio in 1998 working predominantly in central London.  That was 23 years ago and, since then, we have completed a fantastic selection of interesting and beautiful properties nationally and globally – grand country house, Balinese villas, ski chalets, Ambassadorial residences, Embassies, hotels and all manner of homes and apartments.

How would you describe your personal design style?
We have no in-house style at Barclay Interiors but work with all styles, allowing greater creativity and individuality in our designs for our clients.  Personally, scouring auctions, antique and vintage shops has been a hobby since my early 20s so I have a home filled with finds from our travels – a mix of antique, vintage and modern pieces – so my personal taste is eclectic.  I rarely dramatically change the decoration in my home because I love it, and each room reflects our family life; However, I reupholster a lot, keeping pieces fresh and interesting. 

Where does your design inspiration come from?
My designs have taken inspiration from everywhere – the cosmopolitan, far flung and exotic places to the more rural places, wherever. World travel has always played a significant role in my life. Having lived in London, Indonesia, the USA, France and Scotland, each place has offered its own enchanting originality,  influencing the way I approach my commissions.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I think design will move towards a more flexible way of living, with multi-functional spaces that accommodate the transition to people working remotely.  Sustainability in design is vital – being socially responsible, energy efficient and recycling are more important than ever. We live in a wasteful world which must change.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
Sustainability, innovation, personalisation, multi-functionality and timelessness for longevity.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
To keep an open-mind and ask the right questions to determine how a space will be used before creating a design scheme…and lighting, lighting, lighting.

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
It is beneficial to recognise outstanding work within our industry because it motivates others to push the boundaries and to continue to innovate and exceed industry and personal expectations. 

What projects are you currently working on?
We are currently working on an English manor house and its cottages, a ski chalet, a modern Portuguese home, several Central London town houses, and many clients’ homes in the Home Counties.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To continue working on our incredible projects with our amazing clients, as well as launching our new homewares website.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession? Family photographs and mementoes
Your favourite holiday destination? Bali, Indonesia (a home from home)
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar? My favourite hotel is likely to be an Aman (understated luxury) like Amanjena in Marrakesh or Amankila in Bali; my favourite restaurant this year is L’Escargot Bleu in Edinburgh, a perfect little bistro near my home there; my favourite bar is anywhere where you can step back in time – Paris’s Les Ambassadeurs at the Crillon or Bar 228 at the Meurice are perfect examples.
Your favourite book, film & song? Book: One hundred years of solitude, Gabriel García Márquez; Film: Jean de Florette/Manon de Source; Song: Five Years, David Bowie
Your favourite food and drink? Oh goodness, too many to mention! My favourite drinks for relaxing with friends has always been a G&T or a glass of champagne
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? With family and friends, eating, drinking and going for a walk or a gallery followed by afternoon tea or a late lunch (there is a food theme here!)
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? An architect

  • Samuel Heath

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