You know us by now. We love to travel, to get new ideas, appreciate beautiful architecture and design and well, our own four walls aren’t cutting it right now. We got chatting with Sarah Ellison, founder of Frank & Faber and interior designer of London gems such as George Northwood’s salon and Number One Bruton. I’m sure we’ll come away with some inspiration and hope you will too…
HOC: Hello, Sarah! We absolutely love your work and the phrase ‘everyday luxury’ that we came across on your site. What does everyday luxury mean for you?
Sarah: Everyday luxury means a lot of different things to different people and that is why we invest a lot of time getting to know and understand our client’s needs and priorities, we find out what luxury is to them and help them bring this to life. For example it could be the perfectly considered space which maximises functional efficiency and has glazing positioned overlooking your favourite tree with the perfect view of sunset.
It could be investing in a piece of art which really inspires you, positioned in your home so that you see it every day and it always brings you a quiet joy. It is considering the materiality and fabrication of the tiny details, the fixtures and finishes that you see and touch every day. It’s the a beautiful doorknob or kitchen handle that is quality, beautifully fabricated, texturally and aesthetically pleasing and reassuringly durable.
In our job, the devil really is in the personal details, which are unique to each project and client.
Sarah Ellison, Frank & Faber
HOC: We hear you focus a lot on lighting in your interior design – how much of a difference can lighting make, especially in these dark months?
Sarah: It makes ALL the difference. Lighting has a transformative power, which has never been more critical than now, when we are all working, schooling, relaxing, exercising, eating and socialising (virtually) at home. The right lighting scheme can change a space from classroom to family film night at the flick of a switch.
My previous career was in events and I learned the fundamental role that lighting plays in creating an atmosphere and transporting an audience. We take that almost scenic approach into our work now creating cinematic pockets of light which help to define zones and function. Lighting is huge topic but from a functional perspective a great scheme will be layered and have a mix of wall, ceiling, table and floor fittings which fulfil your general and task needs as well as creating atmosphere. It should be designed to suit your furniture layout and be tailored to your personal requirements.
The perfect feature fitting has the same decorative impact as a piece of jewellery, it will draw the eye, highlight a feature, enhance the aesthetic and can transform an otherwise basic space, it is full stop on your interior.
HOC: How, on a modest budget, would you recommend a reader to bring some everyday luxury into their home?
Sarah: The investment of time and consideration can be as important as the investment of money, really thinking through how you want to live and your personal priorities and making sure those are fulfilled. For me personally lighting (as you said), the use of natural materials with an innate character and patina and layering textures are what bring homely warmth to a space and that is my every day luxury.
Consider the pieces you really will see, touch and interact with every day. You could save on the internals of your kitchen but buy a stunning worktop and handles, buy a cheaper sink but beautiful taps. Some high street brands are doing great pieces and (much like fashion) when mixed with statement investment items and vintage you can elevate the overall aesthetic and create a space that is unique to you.
A cliché but true, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, regardless of budget we always choose to mix vintage with new because it brings history, character and a story to a space and it can also be an effective way of saving money. It takes time, patience and a real passion for getting up at 5am to trawl flea markets and auction houses but when you find the perfect piece it’s all worth it. Every day when you look at that piece in your home, you will know the effort and love that went into finding it; this is where the magic lies.