Sally Breer

Sally Breer

I'm thrilled to share a conversation with interior designer and all around creative mind and warm human, Sally Breer. She designs commercial and residential spaces with a unique perspective and an eye for making personal, livable environments. Her award winning designs have been featured in The New York Times and Architectural Digest, to name a couple. 


I have so much respect for people with an eye for spatial design, I always have a hard time thinking about space in the way of how you will live in it, use it and how to transform it. The spaces you create have a lot of personality, they feel warm and playful, texturally rich and dimensional. Tell us a little bit about your design process, how you get started or some rules you design by.

It’s a tricky sport! Doing it for hire, lends a slight advantage because as soon as we start, I’m given some confinements to design within. The client comes to the table with their own references, and preferences and then my job is to put that through my own lens and then filter with the architecture. That said, I like to build a project with a holistic narrative - so that the rooms and objects are part of a bigger picture. The first question we ask is, "how do you want it to feel?" Is it light and airy, is it cozy and warm, once you can articulate how you want to feel in your home it drives some of the smaller decisions. And then of course, I have an annoyingly large amount of house rules, like the ideal sofa back height is 26” off the ground and fewer bigger things in a room is always better - or at least one mega large anchor. But that’s a long list for another time.

Don't mind the sweet little finger in this photo, these were taken by Sally's 6 year old :)


To me, it also feels like there is a lot of nostalgia in your designs. Is that purposeful?

Man that’s a very sweet observation - to be honest, i’m not sure that i was even aware of it until now! My parents were artists, and making things for each other was a large part of my upbringing and so I think subconsciously I value craft and objects with a human hand. I think i’m also pretty sentimental as a person, and I hope that we make unique spaces where people in their future will feel nostalgic for them, that feel special to them and their memories.


You moved from LA to upstate NY, has your changed environment influenced your work or just your daily life! 

I spent the first 18 years of my life between the east coast and France, though I spent such a formative chunk of my working life living in Los Angeles that I’m definitely having to re-learn what the light is like here and how colors saturate. In los angeles, so much of our palette is vibrant year round, that we don’t need as much richness inside (in my opinion!) but winter months on the east coast really make me crave it. 


Did having kids change your perspective on your work at all?

Entirely. Both in practice, like material choices - and in my relationship to it. For the practice part, I can’t help but think about durability and sharp edges now, even if my clients don’t have kids! I’ve been trained to think about interiors in a more hardy way because it’s important to me that spaces don’t feel precious and that the people who inhabit them can feel at ease. So there’s a million decisions that I make for a space to anticipate high traffic, toddler avocado mittens, whether they live in the house or not. And for the existential part, I had to go to creative bootcamp after I had kids. I took for granted the long hours i used to have to let “flow” happen – I can do administrative tasks all day but actually have the quiet brain space for ideas is way tougher for me as a mom. I really have to work hard at letting my brain wander, and giving myself permission and time for that. I love to run outside which is where alot of my best ideas come.


Tell us about your personal style, what are you most comfortable in?

A lot like my interiors, I like an elegant silhouette but with an easy utilitarian function. I don’t like to wear skirts or dresses (even my wedding was a pantsuit). I’m not really into prints, unless it’s an old celine blouse - mostly texture driven and really love color. The right color! For as long as I can remember I’ve been wearing mary janes and cowgirl boots. I’ve re-soled and re-bought 80s guess booties over and over for the last 15 years. They’re my jobsite shoe. 


Sally wears the Ombre Plaid Split Neck Shell and Wide Trouser. Our exclusive set, woven from organic and undyed cotton grown in color by Sally Fox. Read our interview with Sally Fox about here cottons here.

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