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Meet the Chicago-based designer with a knack for bold colors and whimsical charm, whose powder room “take two” served as the backdrop for our Scallop Bath shoot

Tell us about your journey into design! How did you begin your career as a designer?
After spending my twenties in Chicago in what was shaping out to be a career in advertising, I realized that everyday felt like work. My daily escape was helping my parents design their new Palm Beach villa. Which prompted a quarter life crisis of sorts where I decided to pick up and head to NYC to attend Parsons (just as most of my friends were getting married and settling down).

During my first month in New York I fortuitously stumbled upon a hair salon that my dream designer Celerie Kemble had designed. I begged the owner to introduce us, which then landed me an internship with her firm. I saw in Celerie exactly what I wanted to be as a designer - savvy, sought after, whimsical but, most importantly, kind and fun.

I didn’t stay long though since I managed to accidentally attract clients sooner than anticipated. I had entered design school surmising that I would start my own design firm the day that I graduated school (which was several years away). I didn’t intend to stumble upon my very first client Week One of school at a friend’s dinner party. But I also didn’t intend to let opportunity pass me by, especially in the face of the Great 2008 recession. After meeting an investment banker desperate for some help in pulling together his new apartment, I went home and googled “how to start a business”. The very next day Sarah Vaile Design was born.

Your style in a few words:
Classic style, bold colors and always a touch of whimsy.

Your forever inspo:
My late grandmother’s Palm Beach villa. She is undoubtedly where I get my love for all things animal and color. Her villa was filled head to toe with monkey lamps, camel drink tables, pig and pug art on the walls. And the colors were so vivid - lime green dining chairs (the first laminate I ever remember seeing), purple shag carpeting in our room, sun-kissed peach all over theirs. There was not a shy bone in my grandmother’s decorating body. It was light. It was fun. And I loved it.


Can you give us a glimpse into the process of bringing this beautiful bathroom together?
This was funny enough Take Two on the room. We started with a much quieter wallpaper, but after spending some time in the house our client realized she wanted a powder room that packed some punch. The powder sits at the end of the grand foyer so was begging for a wall covering that almost felt like art. It was a tricky one to land though since it also needed to work in consonance with the foyer’s blue and white floral stripes. Miles Redd’s Brighton Pavilion chinoiserie murals checked all of the boxes and then some once we saw how beautifully it paired with the Oomph chartreuse scalloped vanity and black and white harlequin floors.

The design brief:

Before you go… 

What are you reading?
I’ll admit, I couldn’t stay away from Prince Harry’s Spare.

Who are you following?
I just discovered my new favorite photographer, Nick Miele. I can’t get enough of his portraits that embody a perfect blend of chic and tongue-and-cheek. He mixes privilege, nostalgia and sexiness in the most clever ways.

Recent interiors splurge:
My great awaited kitchen and family room renovation is finally taking place! 

Recent interiors steal:
The new woven seagrass in our dining room rug barely hit $1000 which is just about all I need for this kid + dog stage of life.

Recent Instagram saves: 
We are in the thick of designing the grand foyer for the Lake Forest Showhouse. My phone is full of all sorts of black and white marble statement floors. But that’s all I’ll tell you for now!



About the Author

Liz Eichholz

Liz Eichholz

Co-Founder & Creative Director
University of Georgia, BFA, Graphic Design
11 years of experience