Sarah is a professional home stylist from Detroit, Michigan. If she’s not busy running her online interior design studio, she either works on some personal home project or writes about her daily design adventures on her blog The Yellow Cape Cod.
Through her custom design plans, Sarah hopes to help people create a home that is one-of-a-kind, practical, and beautiful. Each plan is customized according to the client’s lifestyle, abilities, and budget. Sarah’s sense of style is very articulate, and through her blog, she is able to express her ideas that empower others to create a beautiful home. Sarah’s work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Cottages and Bungalow’s Bedrooms and Baths Magazine, Houzz.com, and HGTV.com among others.
The Yellow Cape Cod features a portfolio of Sarah’s personal and professional design projects. Starting with the renovations she did for their home, Sarah launched the blog, which was named after the yellow cape cod home where she, her husband, their three children and dog live. I interviewed Sarah about her work, her home and her not-your-usual half Christmas tree from Balsam Hill.
BH: How did you get started blogging? How has it changed your life?
Sarah: My blog is named after our builder home, which is a yellow cape cod style house. I started the blog to document the process of decorating, shaping and giving it character.
Most of my time was spent with our three young children, so I did not do a lot of professional design work at the time, although I did showcase a few in the blog. From then on, the blog gained momentum and gave me instant and unexpected exposure. I was then able to leave my day job as a banker and pursue my passion in home design full time, which I’ve been doing now for five years. I always knew my passion and calling was in interior design, and the blog is what allowed me to do that. It really changed my life! Because of it, I’m able to manage my own schedule and become more available, making it easier for me to get involved with the kids.
BH: How do you come up with your projects? Do you feature all of them in your blog?
Sarah: The blog started with projects from our house. Then I started doing more professional design work for clients, which I began to showcase in the blog as well. Many of my client work are in the blog, but a lot of it I haven’t even had time to put out there yet. I deal with my clients online – I do online questionnaires, we have an online convocation, they send me digital photos and measurements, and then I have a whole room design plan delivered to them. I’m really selective about the projects I take. They have to be pretty substantial for them to be on site.
BH: Tell me a little more about your decorating style in general.
Sarah: I love clean, uncluttered and simple rooms. To add some drama, interest and depth, I make use of black. The color black, however, can become harsh if used too much. I use black in statement pieces, and also love adding a lot of cream to soften the look and give contrast.
I like to use large items, instead of small pieces that tend to clutter up a space. I use a lot of vintage pieces that I’ve updated with black paint for a crisp look. I can say that my style is traditional, with a contemporary twist and a little bit of whimsy. I have three small kids, so for them, I try to keep the house young, fresh and fun.
BH: How would you describe your holiday decorating style? Are you sticking with more classic elements or do you experiment every year?
Sarah: I like traditional holiday decorations, so we use more reds and a lot of our classic Christmas décor that have meaning for us. I try to make our red Christmas baubles look contemporary by incorporating some graphic elements for a young fresh look. This year, I want to try something different and mix things up a little bit by using traditional elements in nontraditional ways.
I love using fresh greenery! But if I’m going to use a live tree, I have to decorate really early so I can photograph them and get them ready for a blog post before Christmas. This is not practical at all when I’m writing for the blog because by December 1st, they will all be ready to be thrown out! This is why using realistic artificial Christmas trees, garlands and wreaths is a bright idea. I was really excited about my Balsam Hill products because of the positive reviews I’ve read. I knew they were going to be nice and when I opened the box, I still couldn’t believe how real they looked! I couldn’t wait to get them up on the blog.
BH: Is there a holiday memory that left an impression in you from your childhood or recent years?
Sarah: My participation in the 12 Bloggers of Christmas is actually dedicated to our family Christmases in the family cottage in Northern Michigan, where we spent a lot of time when we were little. That kind of scene is what I want to depict in our Christmas tree and I’m excited to share it in my blog. It has a lot of meaning to us, although I still want to add a young, fresh, and contemporary touch to the cabin feel.
BH: Do you have a signature piece or is there a must-have décor or Chirstmas ornament? Why do you use that piece?
Sarah: I actually have a precious collection of ornaments that my dad gave me when I was little, until he passed away about six years ago. Every year for Christmas, he would give me a Hallmark ornament, which I would then put up on the family Christmas tree. That’s my little holiday tradition that I observe every single year. Some ornaments stood for something, like the little dog ornament I received the year I got a puppy. But a lot of them are Santas, which now makes up my cool collection of Santa Claus ornaments.
I also love using the giant reindeer antlers that I got from my neighbor years ago, which I painted and put glitter on. The kids love them because they are very whimsical, and they make a statement on the mantel.
BH: How did you choose the products from Balsam Hill?
Sarah: When I saw the Fifth Avenue Flatback Tree, I knew it was perfect for our small home. I’ve always wanted to put up a Christmas tree in the dining room but nothing ever fit in there. The tree always looked awkward and we could not walk around the table anymore! So as soon as I saw the tree, I knew I had to have it. It’s so light I can actually move it around. We displayed the flatback tree in the living room next to the fireplace, as well as in the dining room when we had thanksgiving dinner.
BH: What is the foliage that you chose for the garland?
Sarah: I chose the Castle Peak Pine Garland and Wreath because I thought they have similar needles with the flatback tree. They may not be an exact match, but they’re so close, you can’t tell the difference. This year, the garland will sit on the mantle, and the wreath I’m going to decorate with Christmas cards as I get them from the mail.
BH: What other things are you excited about for the holidays?
Sarah: We do a lot of entertaining in the house. I have a big family and we love to have holiday parties. This holiday, I look forward to writing posts on entertaining, DIY holiday projects, as well as table styling, including centerpieces and tricks on how to mix and match dinnerware. I’ll have a lot of posts dedicated to these things this year.