Family life à la mode: At home with fashion designer Sara Berman

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Style queen Sara Berman may have two young children, but that doesn't mean her London house isn't packed full of gloriously grown-up glamour

I firmly believe that you have to look at what a house is before you think about making changes. There's no point trying to make it something that it is not. This Grade II-listed building had a lot of character when we bought it eight months ago. We spent six months doing it up before we actually moved in because we found out that the heating didn't work, and we had to re-plumb and re-light throughout the house. We also put in new bathrooms, and once you start all that, you have to then decorate extensively.

This was an incredibly easy house to decorate. I have a strong sense of style, and already knew that I very much wanted this to be a family house. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so we needed to combine the living and dining space, and marry the formal and informal. Kitchens are usually quite modern, but ours is not: there are flashbacks of thick Carrera marble against white and gold wallpaper from the Designers Guild, a leather armchair and details everywhere to make this feel like home. There's a floral, twirly-whirly effect. Throughout the house, we laid parquet wooden floors, but in the kitchen we went for super-thick chevron planks, rather than the usual herringbone style. It's more dramatic this way, but still in keeping with the rest of the house.

Our garden leads out from the kitchen. It's really sweet, with a love seat at the back, triangular Moroccan lamps and a grassy area for Luella to run around on, as well as a patio, which is perfect for eating outside. At the back, around the rockery, I've started to collect gnomes. Everywhere I go now, I'm searching for them. In such a glamorous space, it's great to add a touch of humour. In Paris, I found the most amazing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves gnomes. They were too expensive, but I was desperate for them! There was a pretty jasmine arch in the middle of the garden when we arrived, but we took it out and then missed it so much that we put another one back in. The size of the garden is quite deceptive, as we cut two foot off the height of the shed, making the rest of the space look far bigger than it really is.

I see each floor of the house as a separate area. Upstairs is for grown-up time. It's a sexy space, perfect for entertaining, with a dining room and study. This part of the house is like the story of our lives together, with all the things we've collected as a couple. There's a photo from Simon Atlee, and film posters we bought for a reason, things that hold memories for us both. The furniture has emotional attachments, too. I work at my grandfather's desk, which I've used since I was at college.The sofa we've had for about 10 years. It's far cleaner up here, with no fancy wallpaper, because it's an area in which to be calm. I paid careful attention to the art we've put in here: muted tones, with flashes of red and orange from the paintings and the sofas. None of the furniture requires an effort to see it; sometimes you look at pieces and get excited, or it triggers an emotion, but this isn't the case in these rooms.

Our bedroom is glamorous and lush, without being dark. It's open-plan, with soft, metallic minky/silvery baroque wallpaper. I had super-thick brocade pink and purple curtains specially made, which form a five-inch puddle of material where the curtains meet the wooden floor. I painted the chest of drawers a high-gloss pink, which kicks off against a raspberry brocade headboard and adds further colour. On Sundays, Luella comes into our bed. She and I love to have a bath together, so I designed the space to ensure that she could watch television at the same time as bathing, while David lies in bed.

I love to mix contemporary and vintage pieces, and I'm particularly fond of baroque with a Sixties twist. We found an amazing light piece: three 1960s blown-glass Venetian ball lamps, which hang in a cluster in the bathroom. I've found a couple of chandeliers at an antique shop in the Marais in Paris, and Paul Bert market and the flea market at the Porte de Clignancourt is fantastic for finding pieces. Scandinavian interior design pieces are also littered through the house, which I find at either Skandium on Marylebone High Street or Mint on Wigmore Street.

A fantastic couple of rugs came from the French artist Nathalie Lete, who makes applied textiles and created the skull that sits on my grandfather's desk. The contrast works, and it's a humorous combination.

On the ground floor, we put in a little loo, which is covered with this amazing wallpaper with women's faces all over it, which our friend sold in her shop. We saved it for years and finally found the right place for it, and it looks brilliant. I buy all sorts of curtains, wallpapers and cushions from the Designers Guild. David is horrified by my collection of cushions, but we've been together too long for him to complain. Cushions are very much a girl's thing!

The fashion designer Sara Berman, 32, runs her self-titled label with her sister, Aimee. Sara lives in London with her husband, David, and their four-and-a-half-year-old daughter and their baby son.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine