Introducing Sarah McPhee from Sarah McPhee Interiors

Introducing Sarah McPhee from Sarah McPhee Interiors

Tell us about your journey into interior design. 
My fascination with interiors and architecture has been present from a young age. I suppose it may be inevitable coming from a family who for generations have held great appreciation for history, architecture, and art; along with an appreciation for the transformative power of a beautifully designed and decorated home. 

Despite initially pursuing a career in large-scale events management, my innate creativity, passion for interiors and a desire to positively impact the lives of others, led me to taking a leap of faith. I pursued formal education in interior design and decoration at one of Australia's top design schools. I was then fortunate to spend many years gaining invaluable experience at design firms both in Melbourne and interstate. In 2016 with the encouragement of my husband Oscar, I opened my own interior design and decoration studio. 

Fast forward to 2024, and our studio thrives as a hub of creativity and expertise. Together with my talented team, we have the privilege of collaborating with discerning clients who share our passion for bespoke interiors. We understand the profound impact a beautifully designed home can have on lifestyle, and we take pride in creating spaces that enhance everyday living.

Who inspires you 

I draw inspiration from the traditional interior design and decoration approaches of both English & American designers. Their focus on layering exquisite designer fabrics and wallpapers, custom furniture and soft furnishings, combining antiques with new pieces, and curating captivating collections of art and objects deeply resonates with me.

I recognize, however, the importance of adapting these influences as needed to suit the the Australian way of life and climate. 

An always evolving inspiration board in the Sarah McPhee Interiors design studio.


Tell us about your home and the design process with renovations and the interiors. What makes this home so special

My husband and I purchased our 1930’s home, in 2021. Preferring old homes over new or modern, we instantly fell in love with the home’s Old English style façade, original leadlight windows, highly decorative ceilings and the list goes on.

 With respect for the homes heritage we have embarked on minor renovations to begin with, careful to preserve the home’s character while infusing it with fresh perspective. Alongside some essential structural maintenance, we chose to paint the bedrooms in rich, inviting hues to evoke a sense of warmth and comfort. Opting for a simple yet inviting warm white for other spaces, we ensured this complemented the texture of the stucco walls and brightened the home as a whole. We also installed bespoke joinery, updated lighting fittings, and transformed a once dark and heavy clinker brick fireplace which has breathed new life into our living spaces.

We then of course  filled the home with our existing collection of bespoke upholstered furniture and soft furnishings, artworks, and treasured antiques. Having always embraced my late Nanna’s ethos of investing only in quality pieces that you love and will have forever, we only needed to make some adjustments and additions to complement the home's layout rather than succumbing to an unnecessary and costly overhaul. We love that ultimately our home preserves its period charm whilst being infused it with our unique style and personality.


Our fireplace transformation, simple yet big impact. (1) Before work commenced.


(2) During the fireplace rendering process


(3) My husband Oscar painting 


Our dining room now


Our living room now


Our Master Bedroom during painting, our son then three years old loved 'helping' (1 & 2).


Our master bedroom after (3).


What is your best piece of advice for someone trying to create a cohesive design aesthetic at home?

Ensure you have a comprehensive plan for your home's design and decoration. Avoid purchasing furniture merely for the sake of filling a space. Instead, prioritise investing in timeless, high-quality pieces such as upholstered furniture and soft furnishings made in a beautiful array of fabrics. These items collectively elevate and set apart an interior.

Source antique and vintage furniture pieces, artworks and objects that resonate with you to infuse your spaces with character. Combine these items with new pieces to create an enduring aesthetic that will stand the test of time.


Sarah scheming in the Sarah McPhee Interiors design studio


What is your fav vintage or antique piece at home. Tell us its story, where you bought it and what you love about it so much/why you cherish it
An antique burr walnut marquetry inlay oval table that has been in my family for four generations. Once cherished by my Nanna, it graced my Grandparents' bay window, adorned with an array of small treasures, family photographs, and fresh flowers from their garden. Inspired by my Nanna's penchant for displaying cherished items throughout their home, I find myself following in her footsteps, adorning tabletops with my own collection of meaningful treasures.

(1) An image taken many years ago of the table, then in my grandparents home adorned in some of my Nanna’s treasures.

(2) Now the table in our home serves as a side table. 


What do you love most about buying vintage and antique pieces
I deeply appreciate the quality, craftsmanship, and patina of antiques. Personally, I find any imperfections in antiques endearing, as they reflect the realities of a well lived-in family home. The environmental benefits of purchasing antique and vintage items, also align with my design philosophy of valuing history, quality and longevity.


What is in-store for Sarah McPhee Interiors in 2024?
This year, alongside welcoming new clients, we're delighted to have several past clients returning with additional projects in their homes or with additional properties. The design journey is deeply personal, relying on trust and mutual respect. It's a pleasure to continue this journey with many of our clients and their families over the years, forging lasting relationships along the way.


You can find out more about Sarah's interior design firm via her website: 

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