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Welcome to My Design Alley. A design blog celebrating design in many forms - from interior spaces to new products, stores and interviews with designers both local and from around the world.

A Moment With | Sarah Ellison

A Moment With | Sarah Ellison

Sydney-based interior stylist Sarah Ellison has navigated her way through many creative career paths - from fashion to lifestyle. Having worked for many of Australian's leading magazines, including Senior Stylist at Real Living Magazine, it's safe to say she knows a thing or two about design - especially the kind that's timeless. With a firm grip of design knowledge, Sarah has recently accomplished what most designers dream of - her own line of furniture and homewares. Her new collection, The New Wave, draws on her passion for the sea, focused on coastal living which is beautifully designed, and won't cost a fortune. We're totally smitten!

 Pieces from  The New Wave  collection. Photo - courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

Pieces from The New Wave collection. Photo - courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

Hi Sarah, tell us about the journey to designing your own range of furniture - how did it come about? The journey began a couple of years ago, I knew I wanted to move in a design direction, having already designed a line of wallpaper and really enjoyed it. The question really was, 'what should I make?' I toyed with the idea of smaller decorative pieces, homewares and bedding. I felt these areas were already quite saturated and there were a few brands doing them really well already. As an Interior Stylist I’m constantly surrounded by the most desirable and beautiful furniture, but it was always saddening when I looked at the price tags and discovered how inaccessible it was to the average person.

“My idea for the collection came from a need to design beautiful contemporary pieces that were affordable and give them my spin.”
 Pieces from   The New Wave   collection. Photo - courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

Pieces from The New Wave collection. Photo - courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

What was the main inspiration behind your new collection, The New Wave? As the name suggests the inspiration for the designs really was A New Wave in coastal Australian style. I wanted people to see a new version of the urban beach lifestyle, one that was a little more layered and contemporary looking than the usual.

“It was important that my first collection be authentic to me and my lifestyle, a lot of my ideas came from days at my local beach, the colours, the tones and the feeling.”

 

Do you think your background as an interior stylist has had a big influence in the designs? Yes, absolutely - I definitely consider my collection to be one that’s through the eyes of a stylist. The design process for me was all about how the pieces would all work together at the end as much as it was about them individually. I think this is probably the main difference between my brand and others, I’m thinking about the design of the piece, how it fits in to the collection and also how it will look in a photo shoot all at the same time.

What’s the best thing about what you do? The constant ability to put creative ideas in to action. For any creative sometimes the hardest thing is not the ideas but being given the opportunity to execute them, I’m very grateful that this is what I do for a living. Although the flip side of this is that it’s quite exhausting!

Has design always been a big part of your life? I’ve always been creative, even as a child I was always in to photography, painting, making things. As a career path I only ever pursued creative endeavors, that’s all that’s ever interested me.

 Our absolute favourite piece - the   Long Low   shelf, three layers of marble within a streamline brushed brass frame.

Our absolute favourite piece - the Long Low shelf, three layers of marble within a streamline brushed brass frame.

What motivates you? Besides coffee, there’s a motivation in me that’s always striving to be better, to be creating better work, pushing myself to be the best I can possibly be, the motivation is innate. Sometimes it’s a bit of a curse because I’m never happy with what I’ve produced at the time, but I’m learning not to be too hard on myself. I always look back on jobs a few months later and think, wow I’m actually really happy with that!

What’s your greatest strength? Resilience.

Best advice for someone starting out? Just stick with it, success always takes much longer than you want it to. Realistically it took me about 7 years to find a career where I thought I was going somewhere.

“You have to pay your dues - success doesn’t come overnight, you have to put in the hard yards.”

What are you loving at the moment? Poke bowls, Two Hills earrings, curved sofas, White Boucle upholstery fabric and Daimon Downey art works.

 Pieces from   The New Wave   collection. Photo - courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

Pieces from The New Wave collection. Photo - courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

What’s in store for you in 2018? Designing more pieces to add to the collection and some super exciting interior projects which I can’t wait to share.

Thank you Sarah! | Sarah Ellison | @sarahellisonstudio


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