By Design: Sara Story and the Role of Art as Dialogue

By Design: Sara Story and the Role of Art as Dialogue

When your husband surprises you with a commissioned portrait by Will Cotton, you know your love for art has taken the front stage in your home. In Sara Story’s case, her candy-laced portrait sits proudly in her living room in Gramercy Park.
When your husband surprises you with a commissioned portrait by Will Cotton, you know your love for art has taken the front stage in your home. In Sara Story’s case, her candy-laced portrait sits proudly in her living room in Gramercy Park.
Portrait by Will Cotton. (Photo by Sara Story)

S ara’s compositional talent for placing (and often sourcing) art in her interior design projects is as deliberate as it’s calculated. A visceral reaction by the client is required, but also the artist’s history, representation and the work’s potential appreciation in value.

The Texan designer, who spent part of her childhood in Japan and Indonesia (where she picked up an interest in elephant polo), is the first in our series of interviews focused on the intersection of art and interior design.

How do you use art in your interiors? Are there any styles or periods that you gravitate towards?

Art is central to my interiors. It creates a dialogue with the space and its residents. I feel an interior is not complete without its art story.

Describe the artworks from Sotheby’s Gallery Network that stood out to you.

There are a lot of pieces I gravitated towards, such as Leo Villareal’s Bulbox 5.0. He is such a talented artist and this piece is really engaging. I thoroughly enjoy Hiroshi Sugimoto’s meditative and quiet works. Erik Thor Sandberg’s works are interesting, too.

A print of Yayoi Kusama's Dance Party Night immediately defines the entrance of this 1870s historic home. (Photo by Marco Ricca)

How do you usually help clients select artwork for their space? What does a designer or client need to consider when choosing artwork for their home?

A lot of my clients ask for my input in their art selections. I believe that the client needs to have a visceral reaction to the works — I like them to know the artist has a strong point of view and will have a productive future. I consider an artist’s gallery representation and their support system. You want to know the work will retain its value and you will also continue to love it. I don’t follow trends and strive for my client’s art collection to be timeless and for it to appreciate in value.

What was your process in creating this specific mood board?

I think about the architecture and functionality of the space, the atmosphere I am creating and what pieces of art will add to the space and complement it.

Sara’s mood board, composed of her favorite Sotheby's Gallery Network and Interiors online emporium pieces, alongside personal inspiration.

What is the aesthetic story that it tells? Who lives in this room?

It is a study for a discerning collector. This room has warmth in materiality and tones, but the collector has selected artwork that is more playful in color and vibrancy. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the artwork and the furniture pieces.

Are you a collector? If yes, what do you collect and why?

I do collect art for myself. Viewing art, and living with art, provides an enormous amount of inspiration in my life. Art can provide both stimulation and peacefulness. I collect paintings and drawings, mostly contemporary, and I love sculptures as well. I am collecting more photography, too. Some of the artists I am collecting are Friedrich Kunath, Harold Ancart, Sarah Lucas, Yoshitomo Nara, Ragnar Kjartansson and Per Barclay.

The dining room of Sara Story’s New York Victorian project, Niederhurst, is a full-on work of art with a bold mural by Otto Zitko. (Photo by Marco Ricca)

www.sarastorydesign.com

Portrait in banner image photographed by Taylor Jewell.

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