Striking that perfect balance between elegance and exuberance can be tricky when designing a space, but for Austin-based designer Sarah Wittenbraker, that’s her decorating sweet spot. Since launching Sarah Wittenbraker Design in 2010, the Texas-native has been designing interiors that reflect an appreciation for tradition, but seen through a modern (and very fashionable) lens. Lively wallpapers, dramatic swaths of bold color, and unique vintage pieces are some of her decorating hallmarks, as is the confidence with which she wields them. Get to know this tastemaker on the rise, and don’t miss the chance to shop her chic Chairish picks!
What do you love about shopping on Chairish?
I love that Chairish gets me out of the showroom mindset. Finding those one-in-a-million gems for my clients’ homes elevates the design. Plus, browsing Chairish goes swimmingly with a glass of wine.
Is there any particular product category where Chairish is your go-to?
I’m usually starting with something specific, like a pair of oversized vintage lamps or a runner. Hours later, my wish list is loaded with weirdly beautiful objects, tea sets, vintage chairs and art.
Favorite thing about designing with vintage pieces:
An off-beat vintage piece looses up the room and shows a little more insight into the homeowner’s personality. Even the most impeccably designed room can fall flat without something old and imperfect to shake it up. We need soul!
Favorite way to add drama to a room:
I love an over-the-top wallpaper, an oversized mirror, an oversized dog (like my old great dane, Dolly. She’s also vintage…)
Favorite source for design inspiration:
Favorite paint color:
My current favorite is Benjamin Moore’s Lafayette Green.
Favorite pattern (and how you love to use it):
I adore a bold floral, preferably with a little moodiness or quirk.
Favorite design rule to break:
I probably never learned all the rules! So, oh well…
Favorite color combo:
As much as I love color, nothing beats black and white.
Favorite way to mix high and low:
Couple gorgeous fabrics and quality upholstery with more budget-friendly vintage tables and accessories. Vintage accents make for a much more compelling room, rather than (less interesting) accents from a big box store.
Favorite way to work a bit of vintage into a room:
I like to mix vintage into a room in all different shapes and sizes…from an over-the-top chandelier, down to the curious accents on a bookshelf. Keep the eye traveling!
You live in Austin. Is there such a thing as Texas design? If so, how would you define it:
Austin is a melting pot and probably not very representative of the rest of Texas. We have many ‘big city’ transplants that often bring more contemporary aesthetic. Together, we create this wonderful mashup of traditional, southern sensibility with an off-beat edge.
Favorite travel destination:
Italy. Or Paris! Also, you can’t beat a quick weekend to Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
Favorite hotel to check in to:
I always stay at the Marlton when traveling solo to NYC. It’s in my old neighborhood, and their beautiful (cozy!) rooms feel like home. My husband and I also love the Belmond Maroma in the Riviera Maya.
Favorite weekend activity:
Early morning boat ride with my family, brunch at Elizabeth Street, movie at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Do Podcasts count? I’m an addict.
Favorite morning beverage (and how you take it):
Yogi Super Antioxidant tea – plain and simple. I also chug a glass of Goop Glow. (Thanks, Gwyneth!)
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Facials, massages, acupuncture… love it all, but rarely make the time.
Favorite thank you/hostess gift:
Bath salts or face mask for the hostess.
Favorite adult beverage:
Vodka soda with lots of fresh lemon or a Sancerre.
I’ve found myself saying, “We’ll figure it out,” just about every day…. since high school.
Favorite entertaining essential:
Great music, good lighting, cold wine, simple flowers.
Favorite thing to collect:
Design books, tableware and vintage jewelry.
Local Favorites: Austin, Texas
Justine’s, Clarks, Uchiko, Lenoir, Elizabeth Street
Favorite hotel to recommend to visiting friends:
Hotel St. Cecilia for a splurge. The South Congress Hotel for frozen Palomas by the pool.
Favorite local culture hub:
Austin City Limits Fest and concerts/ACL tapings at the Moody Theater.
Favorite local attraction:
The trail around Lady Bird Lake.
Favorite local flea market/vintage hunting ground:
Roundtop… and Chairish, of course!
Lead photo by Kristin Kilpatrick