Art Keeps You Falling in Love, with Home: Beachy Boho Project by LEED and Well-Accredited Interior Designer Sarah Barnard

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Visiting a museum or well-curated gallery offers many proven mental health benefits, but it’s not the only way to reap those rewards. Curating a collection of art in your own home aids in beautifying your interiors and boosts your sense of well-being.

“Well-chosen art can delight you — leaving you with the feeling of falling in love,” says LEED and WELL-accredited interior designer Sarah Barnard. “It’s a curated and everlasting love affair.”

Barnard, who is an artist herself with a master’s degree in fine art, reimagined a new-build family home in Manhattan Beach, filling each room with bespoke furniture pieces and original artwork. The clients, two busy professionals with young children, entrusted Barnard to curate a collection that would inspire a more peaceful, healthier home.

In the entry, an abstract painting by Michelle Jane Lee punctuates the space with bold blue color, and a fiber sculpture by Aneesa Shami adds warmth and interest. A custom storage bench upholstered in a deep teal linen textile creates a convenient spot for removing shoes just inside the front door.

Inspired by traditional Japanese getabakos, Barnard designed a cabinet on the adjacent wall for the family to store their shoes and keep coats, gym bags, and dog walking accessories tucked away neatly. Barnard’s iteration was handmade by local craftspeople using American walnut and accented with matte black doors. The various numbers, which hold special meaning for the family, were hand-painted by an artist from Barnard’s studio.

The color palette in the open-concept kitchen, living and dining area brings together desert hues with oceanic blues — a subtle nod to the home’s Southern California locale. A geometrically-shaped painting by artist Kevin Moore anchors the custom-made leather dining sofa and solid walnut dining table in the eat-in kitchen.

In the family-friendly living area, a track-arm sofa covered in durable, peacock blue fabric withstands sticky fingers and dog drool. It was designed by Barnard to meet the family’s unique lifestyle needs.

The sofa, paired with a custom-made American walnut coffee table, exudes a mid-century modern vibe and is a welcoming destination. A petrified wood table serves as a piece of natural art, and the vibrant area rug underfoot was crafted using ancient weaving traditions, resulting in an intricate flat weave pattern.

The real focal point, however, rests above the marble-clad fireplace — it’s yet another colorful piece by Moore. Surrounding the canvas are built-in bookshelves that house an eclectic collection of art objects, including a tabletop sculpture by artist Renae Barnard.

An area rug grounds the serene master bedroom with a striking graphic pattern that features the same navy blue tone as the upholstered bed. The space has a gallery-like feel to it and is adorned with pieces by Ruben Vincent, Abby Sin, and Jennifer King.

A cozy reading nook with a patinaed leather chair sits across from the fireplace, where an oil painting on canvas by King entitled Dream Boy leans casually above the mantel. Barnard livened up the ensuite bath, a traditionally utilitarian space, using a custom roman shade trimmed with delicate embroidery and a small painting on panel by Sin.

“Fine art energizes and activates interior spaces, encouraging us to pause, to gaze deeply, and to be transported to another world momentarily,” says Barnard.

The reverie continues in the nearby guest suite, which feels a bit playful and unpredictable with its pom pom-embellished pillows, hand-thrown ceramic vessels, and two artworks in conversation — a popsicle resin sculpture by Betsy Enzensberger and an ethereal painting by Karrie Ross. A custom, texture-rich roman shade adds privacy, while allowing just enough filtered light.

Completing the extensive collection of art is an abstract painting in the man cave by Gianna Vargas entitled Phoenix. The masculine space is decorated with walnut side tables that feature a live edge design and a finely detailed rug in the colors of the client’s favorite sports team.

Art curation isn’t a God-given talent, and it’s a skill honed over time. In addition to designing healthy, sustainable spaces, Barnard helps homeowners put together collections that reflect their tastes and investment interests.

Originally published at on March 17, 2020.

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Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

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