Ask An Expert: Kevin Sawyers (Part 1)

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Today I am so honored to present to you an interview with interior designer Kevin Sawyers of Sawyers Design. Kevin shares some helpful advice and insight on how to decorate your space whether you are just moving in or in the process of tearing everything down and starting from scratch. Regardless of where you are in your design journey, his thoughtful answers are sure to spark your creativity and set you on the path to decor bliss.

Ask an Expert: Kevin Sawyers

Nicole: What is the first thing someone should do when moving into a new space in order to design it exactly how she wants it to be?

Kevin: When working with clients, I prefer to discuss curating the furnishings and really developing a personality for the space rather than quickly decorating and filling in all the blanks. My first recommendation is a space plan, even if just a rough sketch of the space with measurements, so you know what will and won’t fit. Failing to take accurate measurements can be costly. Restocking fees can be expensive especially on big ticket items.

Ask An Expert: Kevin Sawyers

Nicole: And after they have the space plan, what is the next step?

Kevin: I would consider creating some sort of inspiration board. Many people don’t realize that they already practice design concepts everyday when they get dressed. Try pulling out and really examining your favorite outfit. You’ll have a color palette to draw from, probably a metal or jewels from your accessories, and some other textile or leather from a belt or shoe. I recommend taking a photo of the complete look for your board. Take the elements that you loved in your outfit and use them to inspire all the pieces you need in your home. Think of the sofa as the basic piece of clothing, and build from that as you would an outfit. A simple black dress can be accessorized to be casual or very dressy so can your home.

There are great resources like, where you can find example furnishings. Add those to the inspiration board. Map out what you like and make sure you have each kind of material you want in the room represented on the board. Once you are happy with the board, let it guide your every decision. If something you’re looking at doesn’t fit within the concept, really question it. However, if it speaks to you and you can’t live without it, get it and you’ll most likely find a perfect spot.

Ask and Expert: Kevin Sawyers

Nicole: So you have your space plan, you have your board, what should be one of your first big purchase items?

Kevin:  As a first purchase I recommend a comfortable mattress. It doesn’t really have to do with beautiful interiors, but it’s the most important thing in your life. If you have a good nights’ rest, hopefully everything else will fall in place.

Get all the basic pieces first; mattress and the bed frame, a sofa for sure, and a dining table. All of these pieces can be classic and timeless in style. If you have a timeless sofa, and pair it with midcentury chairs, they look great together. Likewise, antique or modern chairs would look great. Going back to the black dress metaphor, you can dictate the style of the room using the smaller accessory pieces.

I also recommend a cornerstone element in each room. In my own home I have a clean lined sofa, inexpensive midcentury chairs which I had reupholstered, and a glass and chrome Platner coffee table that is really a gem. If you have one piece that’s a higher end quality design, it can elevate the room to the next level.

After you have the basics in place, start thinking about the curation of things, regardless of where you live there are places to shop for items with local flavor. Salvage and thrift stores or flea markets are great for unique finds that really make a home special and connected to the place around you. Let the neighborhood speak to you and wait for the right thing to come along instead of filling up the space with generic, off the shelf options.

Ask an Expert: Kevin Sawyers

I’ll be back with part 2 of our interview on Friday.



To learn more about Kevin, visit his website, Sawyers Design or his Facebook Page.
To contact Kevin, feel free to email him or call him at 415.606.7645.
All images courtesy of Kevin Sawyers. Photography for the second and third images by Eurydice Galka Photography.
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