As interior designers, we operate from an awareness that because we create the built spaces that our clients inhabit, we exercise tremendous influence on their lived experiences and the ability to make a tangible difference in our clients’ mental, physical, and emotional health. (1)

A grey sofa with teal pillows sitting on a grey rug.

A kitchen countertop displaying two potted flowering plants and one potted indoor tree-like plant. There is a wooden tray with citrus and a pitcher of lemonade. There are windows letting in sunlight.

As we collectively navigate this new way of living, I am thinking of you and your family and wishing wellness and security. With so many unknowns, I am grateful for the sureness of a community that uplifts with compassion, resilience, and ingenuity, and offers inspiration to forge forward.

During a time when our world feels new and uncertain, our studio is drawing on the core foundational beliefs and principles behind our approach to design. We create spaces that support health, emotional security, and wellness, that is the bedrock of our work. These ideals go beyond our creative process and into…

A home is a place of rest and comfort, providing a sense of belonging. It is full of elements that we interact with daily- texture, lighting, furniture. A beautiful aspect of being human is that we all have unique experiences with these tactile elements. Even better, we can design these elements to facilitate more comfort and joy. Lately, our studio has been thinking specifically about how interior design can improve the experience of Neurodivergent children within their own homes.

A bright and airy living room with two grey couches, a wooden coffee table, an a frame ceiling and Kale Tree’s Mangrove rug in the color Land, which includes a tan base and a brown line drawing of the Mangrove.
Mangrove Rug in Land, Kale Tree by Sarah Barnard Design

Just in time for Summer, Kale Tree by Sarah Barnard Design is releasing an exclusive mangrove patterned rug honoring one of nature’s greatest natural healers.

Crucial for sustaining a vast ecosystem, mangroves provide food and shelter for local wildlife and offer filtration. Found above ground but rooted in saltwater, the plants connect land and sea. Their presence improves water quality, particularly beneficial to coral reefs, another crucial ecosystem. Mangroves will also naturally absorb water when typhoons and hurricanes hit, serving as a protective barrier to those living near the coast.

Coastal development, farming, and industry are all contributing to…

A potted succulent arrangement on top of a wooden table.

When considering eco-design, interior and architectural designers recognize that our clients seldom seek to achieve environmental perfection but rather hope to make an increased commitment to sustainability, health, and wellbeing. While there is a consensus regarding individual actions to minimize ecological harm (recycling, limiting single-use plastics, and reducing our meat and dairy intake), there are instances where it may be challenging to weigh some benefits over others. For example, is it better to ship a sustainable material from far away or use a less sustainable material sourced locally? …

Interior design by Sarah Barnard, Photo by Steven Dewall

The first step in any design process is learning who you are designing for and their design needs. Particularly when designing for something as intimate as a residential space, effective design requires a great deal of honesty, vulnerability, and open communication with all parties. When clients are open with us, we can design genuinely supportive spaces. If clients feel embarrassed or guarded, they may not feel comfortable being honest about their lifestyle, limiting the ability of the designed space to serve them.

Photo of a large white porcelain bathtub with a side table displaying a potted green leaf, stacked folded hand towels, and a soap dispenser. To the left of the bathtub is a large window with pull-down bamboo blinds, and featured in the background is Kale Tree’s Abutilon wallpaper in Midnight Forest. Wallpaper has a dark green background with large pastel pink Abutilon flowers with cool grey leaves.
Abutilon Wallpaper in Midnight Forest. Image courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design.

Kale Tree Founder Sarah Barnard is an advocate of all things nature. “Being in nature brings me great pleasure, and is the source of inspiration for much of my work,” says Barnard. “Setting aside time to enjoy and plant in my garden helps me decompress, and fully engage mentally and physically outside of my design practice. After gardening, I feel re-energized, focused, and ready to return to work.” One of Sarah’s favorite plants is Abutilon. She has three different varieties that she tends to in her garden.

A closeup of a peacock.

One of the most rewarding aspects of birding is finding new and unexpected spots to point your binoculars. Bird enthusiasts in Los Angeles have an abundance of options when it comes to the sheer diversity of bird species and places to observe them in the local region, but the hunt for new places to explore is always part of the fun, and the more unlikely the better.

A blue bird ornament on a decorated fir tree.

2020 is already coming to a close, so that means the holidays are just around the corner! This year has been a challenging one, so let’s spread some holiday cheer by following some simple, yet meaningful decoration ideas to brighten up the holidays.

Design’s Impact on People, Places and the Planet

Woman with long brown hair and black framed glasses standing in front of greenery. Text reads: “Sarah Barnard. WELL AP, LEED AP, ASID Ones To Watch Scholar. ASID Virtual Conference.”

Leading wellness designer, Sarah Barnard, WELL AP + LEED AP speaks as part of the 2020 American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Virtual Conference.

Transcript: Hi, I’m Sarah Barnard, WELL AP, LEED AP and ASID Ones to Watch Scholar. Design has the power to profoundly impact healing. As we collectively navigate this new way of living many of us face challenges maintaining our wellbeing amid trauma and chronic ambiguous loss. When we embrace empathy as the foundation of our design process we help to increase agency and reduce adversity. Together, we can make all built environments supportive, restorative spaces.

Sarah Barnard Design

Sarah Barnard is a WELL and LEED accredited designer and creator of environments that support mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

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