Interiors photographs: Christopher O’Donnell
I have known Sarah Clark for over ten years, when she used to come into Matches when I was a PR and she was Senior Fashion Editor at Glamour. I always remember her being so charming and funny, and then 6 years later we ended up working together at Red where she was Senior Contributing Fashion Editor. I have always loved her style and we bonded when we started our blogs around a similar time: hers turned into Little Spree, a one-stop kids and chic mum’s shopping destination. Sarah lives in Richmond with her husband, Tom, and her twins Tabitha and Marlow (or ‘Tabarlow’ as they’re collectively known). As someone with impeccable taste, I’ve always been interested in her interiors style, so I was thrilled when she let us into her beautiful home. Over to Sarah…
How long have you been in Richmond?
We moved here almost four years ago, and haven’t looked back. We used to live in Little Venice which we loved, but we simply outgrew our lovely two bedroom flat (we bought it when I was pregnant, but didn’t know it was twins then), by the time the twins were two and a half, it was time for more space. I have always loved Richmond and spent a lot of time there as a child, both with my family, and later with friends as I went to school nearby. Richmond Park has always been my favourite London park, and we often used to come with the twins at the weekends. I fell in love with Petersham immediately, but it wasn’t easy to find a house here, as it’s so tiny – they’re aren’t that many houses!
How would you describe your interiors style?
Hmm, probably ‘cosy’ would be the first word I would use. I have always loved cosy spaces, and have always been a real homebody – I love staying in! I love lots of (organised) clutter – piles of books, cushions, rugs, throws, photos, lamps, candles, pictures, nick nacks… I like lots of ‘layers’ – book shelves crammed not just with books, but scented candles, photo frames etc. It’s funny – when people come here for the first time, I can see them just looking at everything, taking it all in, particularly the books. I guess there’s a lot to look at!!! Minimalists we are most definitely not!
Where are your favourite places to buy interiors?
Anywhere and everywhere. I love car boot sales, antique sales, junk shops – wherever I am, I will seek them out – I love a rummage. And nothing beats the thrill of finding a unique find for a bargain price. I also love the High Street – I’ve bought things things from Ikea, John Lewis, The White Company, Trouva, Cox & Cox, M&S, H&M Home, TK Maxx (they are great for interiors actually – I’ve got some fab things from there). The key is to mix and match – I wouldn’t never want to have everything from just one or two places.
Do you do any DIY/upcycling yourselves?
Not really, no. Tom is (by his own admission) ridiculously ‘unhandy’ – do not ask a Psychologist if you want something fixed around the house!! I like changing things – I would never buy a house that was completely ‘done’ – I like to put my stamp on a place, but generally I will get someone else to do it… There are still lots of things we want to change about the house – we’re slowly getting there…
Which one of you is the record fanatic?
Tom!! This is just the tip of the iceberg – the loft is full of records too. Saturday mornings are dedicated to vinyl! The kids love it.
‘If you don’t have the money to decorate or make certain changes in your bedroom, just try switching up your bedlinen. I love the whole mix and match bedlinen thing (none of the beds in our house ever have matching sets on at any time, and this is very deliberate!). So sometimes I might just buy two new pillowcases to mix in and give the bed a little ‘refresh’. Or a new sheet in a dusty pink, or a new quilt to just have folded at the end of the bed (I have found some lovely ones in TK Maxx in the past) will instantly make you love your bedroom again. I love the idea of lots of different layers on a bed too (a bit ‘Princess and the Pea’), particularly for the kids’ beds – duvets, quilts, eiderdown, sheepskins… Also, there are some prints (like paisleys, floral and toile de jouy) that I love, but wouldn’t necessarily want all over my bed. It’s also a way of adding in some more expensive bedlinen, without spending a fortune. I was obsessed with particular pillow cases that I’d seen in Domino magazine years ago, and hunted them down and ordered them from America. I just bought two as they were pretty pricey, but I still love them now. I guess it works in the same way a great designer accessory can elevate an outfit – one expensive piece makes everything else look expensive too.’
Star light: Cyrillus – ‘I always leave it on during the day as it’s so pretty, then it acts as a night light when they are sleeping’.
Where do you mainly shop for the twins?
For fashion as with interiors, anywhere and everywhere. For Fashion a few favourites include Olivier Baby, Greenberry Kids (I love the uniqueness of the Korean brands), Mabo Kids, Louis Louise, April Showers, Louise Misha, Velveteen, Numero 74, Bellerose… Then on the high street I love Mango, Zara, Boden, and Gap. I like to mix High Street and smaller, independent brands.
How do you keep the kids’ room so tidy?!
Haha! By keeping the kids out!! Obviously I was tidying like a maniac before Chris came to take these pictures! I don’t mind their room being messy during the day if they are playing in there (or downstairs for that matter – you should pop by on a Saturday afternoon – you probably wouldn’t recognise the place!), but I am very strict about everything being back in it’s place by bedtime. I cannot stand the house being a mess in the evening. I do regular ‘toy culls’ – passing things onto friends and family, and I keep the local Fara well-stocked (with clothes too)! Their room is small for two kids sharing, so I have to store thing cleverly – there is a large drawer on casters under their bed, which is FULL of books. We also have huge toy cupboard under the stairs. I try to keep their room more for chilling out – sleeping, reading, quite activities etc. Downstairs is where the real playing takes place!
Any frugal interiors tips?Nothing specific, other than be open to finding great things anywhere and everywhere, and don’t be a snob about where you shop (the same as with fashion). Keep an open mind. I love nothing more than a trawl around somewhere like TK Maxx. I recently found some great children’ iron beds in Next for example, not necessarily somewhere I would expect to find them, which makes the find even more satisfying. Spend the money on things like a sofa as it gets so much use (well if you’re a homebody like me anyway). Make your home your own by accessorising/filling it with things that are personal to you – things you have found on your travels (always take the time to look for things when you’re on holiday, even the tiniest of things, like a sweet old postcard, propped up on a shelf), things that you can’t buy on the high street, so they feel more special and personal to you and your home. I also love to be surrounded by things that evoke memories – for example a (potentially) tacky little statue of David that I love that sits on a book shelf, always reminds me of all our lovely trips to Florence, and it makes me smile every day; framed Manolo Blahnik shoe prints remind me of all the fun times I had working at magazines; a framed Mulberry show invitation reminds me of when I took Tabitha to her first fashion show. And the most recent one is the most beautiful snow globe of New York that I bought in The Guggenheim shop on a trip in December with the family. I was so excited when I found it! These little memories make me happy as I potter around the house.
Thank you for letting us have a nosey around, Sarah! You can shop her fashion and interiors style over on Little Spree (she always finds the best pieces!).