Last week we ran an interview with Francesca Connolly, one of the four women behind Remodelista. This week we hear from Sarah Lonsdale. Sarah, who lives in the Napa Valley with her husband and two children, is the daughter of an architect and has lived through five renovations and two ground-up constructions. She is also the author of Japanese Design. She brings all that design nouse, plus a good dose of warm minimalism, white interiors and Belgian linen, to her Remodelista posts.
How would you describe your workspace? What is the design aesthetic? I love my desk (pictured above) which is a wooden top that I had for years when I lived in Japan placed atop some recently acquired French metal industrial trestles. As much as I consider myself a minimalist and have a house that is fairly clutter free and simple, my desk is usually piled high with magazines and papers. My first job was in a production company in Japan where the way to demonstrate creativity was to have a desk with piles of interesting stuff and images and I don’t think I have ever stopped working that way. Once a week, I go through everything and clear it up then the piles begin again.
Does anyone else use your office? I’m afraid I am quite territorial. My husband works from home a lot and we each have our separate offices and respect each other’s space and it seems to work well.
How do you organize the space? My office is basically my desk and some shelves where I file papers in simple wooden file holders from Ikea. I also use large, natural grass baskets for storing magazines; they look good and can be easily moved around.
What impact do you think color has on a workspace? I spend my day looking at so many images daily, that great light is essential. I love an all-white space mixed with natural tones, grey stone colors and textures such as rough beige linen. That said, I would like to paint one wall of an otherwise white space this Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe grey (pictured above).
What desk accessory can’t you do without? My original 1227 Anglepoise “salvaged” from my father’s office. I also love Muji gel ink pen (pictured below) which I stock up on whenever I am in New York or London.
Is there a piece of furniture you’d love to replace? There is nothing I would like to replace however I love coming across a great find whether it be a chair in a garage sale or a piece of vintage furniture in a shop (which is how I found my current desk chair and the trestles). Those are the times I find myself adding pieces to the home.
What inspires you? We moved from the city to the Napa Valley over three years ago and being surrounded by such great natural beauty is pretty compelling. Being able to get on my bike and cycle on a country lane and see the seasons change is very poetic. I am a forager and invariably haul a branch or some fallen lemons ( or whatever is in season) back home to display. It’s a creative outlet in a way.
You see so many great workspaces. Is there one that really stands out for you? I have been thinking about this Japanese house recently by architects, Takaharu and Yui Tezuka and how for me an office really only needs a desk, some bookshelves and good natural light. An office along the lines of this bedroom (with shelving instead of bunks and a window to the ground) would work perfectly for me.
How do you manage a balance between work and the rest of your life? Since I work at home on the computer all day it is very tempting to be online the whole time. Multi-tasking is great but I am making an effort to close my computer when my children return from school even if it is only for 30 minutes so I can give them my undivided attention. The nature of this work is endless so being able to close the computer and do others things is really healthy.