Having had the opportunity to call many places home, including Washington, DC; Istanbul, Turkey; and Maine, Sara Bengur developed a passion for design and interiors which she believes are more inborn instinct rather than acquired aesthetics, and all of which ultimately led her to found her studio Sara Bengur Interiors in 1993. Based in New York City, the designer’s signature love for colour and east-meets-west eye allows her to bring the world home to her clients and which has resulted in an impressive portfolio of residential and retail projects across the country. Mastering the art of translating a client's desires into unique homes by paying careful attention to the everyday details of every individual client, the final result presents a truly inspiring and one of a kind space every time. We had the opportunity to talk with Sara about how her home represents all her travels, how summer is a time to utilise more playful and informal interiors, and how lockdown re-emphasised the importance of home.
Where is home for you?
I live in New York City in the Chelsea neighbourhood, two blocks from the river. I have an apartment on the 17th floor of London Terrace and an office on the ground floor.
What does your daily routine look like?
I can hardly remember normal times!!! I start the day with a pot of white jasmine tea, then slip into meditation or qi gong practice. I'm at work by 10 in the morning. Each day in interior design as you know is very different - some days are office days and other days I run around the city shopping or visiting job sites. Pre-Covid I would end the day out for dinner with friends, or an evening at one of the museums or a play… then wind down at home afterwards, enjoying my sanctuary and decompressing from the day.
What’s the style of your home interiors?
I would say my interior is very personal, eclectic, and layered. It is full of all my purchases from my travels, layered on coloured walls and textiles. Cosy without being cluttered — but cleans up nicely for entertaining.
Where’s your favourite room/spot in your home and why?
My favourite spot is my LR sofa. It is nice and deep, full of pillows, and has a great vantage point to look out at my spectacular view. It is where I read, relax, pour through my art books, and get inspired - looking at and studying art is an essential part of my process, and many of my clients are collectors. My second favourite spot is my desk made by my friend Richard Wrightman. It’s where I create, make collages, drawings, and come up with ideas for clients…
Please can you share your top tips for how our readers can easily refresh their interiors for summer?
A great way to refresh for summer is to take out wool carpets and either use your bare floors or lay a sisal rug down. Also, consider putting white slipcovers on your upholstery and swapping out your pillows for ones that are bright and fun. Summer interiors can be more informal and playful - adding more flowered plants and herbs brings the outside in!
You’ve got a day to spend at home with no obligations or distractions. What would we find you doing?
I would go to the farmer’s market and stock my refrigerator up with delicious organic foods and fresh flowers to make a special meal - I love to cook using fresh ingredients. I grew up mostly on the Mediterranean, so I use food and flowers to transform my NYC apartment into a house that reminds me of the south of France or the coast of Turkey. I then catch up with friends and family; indulge in the quiet through meditation or other practices I do, winding down with a luxurious bath and then dinner and a British mystery! I re-organise my closets and accessories around the apartment if I feel a surge of energy!
Lockdown caused everyone to spend more time at home than ever, which renewed everyone’s interest in their interiors and gardens. What design changes, if any, did you make to your home or wish you could have made to improve your home environment for this period?
Like everyone I designed a special area for my home office. This took some time to get used to, but now I almost prefer it to my real office! That was the only real change I made, otherwise I felt a greater appreciation for my space, and am so grateful to have such an oasis in which to quarantine.
What did you learn from spending so much time at home and what do you think we can all take away from this period?
For me staying home all this time re-emphasised the importance of home and how we need to give it attention and love for it to give that energy back to us. I also realised how much we have all been running and travelling these last few years — never stopping to smell the flowers as they say. I used this period to reflect, re-evaluate, and introspect. It helped me identify what is important in my life and also how essential it is to give back in any way we can…I was also able to really dive into my work in a creative way, re-awakening designs that had been shelved due to lack of time…
What exciting projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a great project in upstate New York, a country home for a client whose apartment we just completed in the city. It is full of colour and imagination- extremely inspiring! I am also working on a project in the Caribbean, which is on hold for the moment, but also a wonderful opportunity to think outside the box.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I have been playing with product design these past years, and plan to slowly roll out new items through our online shop in a custom and bespoke way! I am also waiting for the go ahead for a non-profit project in India, which I am excited to announce in more detail soon.
Image Credits Peter Murdock