After a successful career in LA, Sara Barney and family moved to Austin to pursue her passion, interior and event design. What we love about Sara’s story is that like so many of us, her passion didn’t materialize until later in life proving once again, it’s never too late! Since moving to Austin, Sara started Bandd Design,  Sara shares the advice we all need to hear about pursing our passions, best practices for keeping kids things organized, and the one thing she wishes more mothers did for themselves, today on Love Child.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My family moved to Austin shortly after my 8th birthday and I grew up in Lakeway before Lakeway was a thing. Our schools were so small back then! I had dreams of moving to California and working in the entertainment business and about two weeks after my college graduation from UT, I kissed Austin goodbye. I swore I would never be back. I went on to have a very successful career in the entertainment business, working for Ellen DeGeneres and then moving on to be a talent agent at the biggest, most powerful agency in the business. But, after I met met now husband, Dana, I wanted to be back near family, have a house, a family and a life! We moved back to Austin in 2009. Once I got here, I was sort of burnt out on the entertainment biz, but was offered an amazing job at SXSW, running sales for their entertainment brand side, that I couldn’t pass up. I was there for 7 years before I honed in making interior design my full time profession. It was always something I loved and did as a hobby, so I went back to school and got my degree in Interior Design. Shortly thereafter, I had more client than I could count and everything went off like gangbusters. We are having a blast over here!

What inspired you to start BANDD and what is the significance behind the name?

So I get this question A LOT. When I set out to create a name for my company, I knew I didn’t want to have a design studio with my name on it. You weren’t going to find me naming it Sara Barney Interiors because I never felt like the design was about me. It was about my clients and the work itself. So with that in mind, I knew I wanted to pay tribute to my young daughters, Blake and Decker, in some way. The first name I scribbled down was B and D Design. I hated the name. I thought it sounded boring but for grins, I checked on the domain’s availability. As I typed in the web address (bandddesign.com), I realized it looked like Band Design. I liked it. Thought it was fun, fresh, catchy and still played in to my sweet kiddos. Thus, BANDD DESIGN was born and my social media handles (@jointhebandd), easily followed thereafter.

We love that your true passion for design emerged after a 15 year professional career. What advice would you give to our readers who are nervous to take that next step to pursue their passions?

Just do it! I mean I don’t mean to be cute about it, but if you’ve got a passion for it, find a way to make it work. I had to work full time and spend every other waking hour on my business to get it off the ground, but I am so glad that I did. I have never been happier. Life is too short to do something you hate. I now don’t understand why I didn’t do it sooner, but I am also so happy about my journey to this point. 

Let’s talk balance! As owner and principal of Bandd Design, wife and mother of two daughters, how do balance your work, relationships, motherhood, and self-care? All so important!

So they say “it takes a village” to raise kids and nothing truer has ever been said. The key to being a successful working mother are the people you surround yourself with. That person for me is my husband. He is immensely helpful with the kids and around the house. My life would be an absolute mess without him!! I also have family nearby who can step in if needed, a trusted circle of babysitters and many amazing neighbors. Oh and special shoutout to my cleaning lady, Griselda. We have her come every week and I swear it is the best money ever spent. I joke about this, but I say even if I had nothing to clean, I would still splurge for professional cleaning help. It is a game changer!
Also, and a lot of moms don’t do this, I am purposeful about making time for myself. I will go to the gym after the kids are in bed and schedule spa time for myself. I’ll even schedule quarterly girls trips with my friends. It is so important for you to take care of yourself first, so that you can properly (and happily!) care for your kids. Everyone will be happier in the long run.

As a designer, what is your philosophy when it comes to decorating a space? 

Don’t overdo it and design in layers. Start with the basic, large pieces and build from there. Also, don’t be too precious about your space. It should feel beautiful but comfortable and functional as well. Lastly, invest in big pieces. I am working on a blog post about this right now. I know it’s tempting to get that sofa from Wayfair for $400 but you will be so much happier, for much longer with that handmade piece that is much pricier. 

Speaking of, we love your daughter’s room makeover! We will be transitioning our son’s nursery to a toddler space soon. Can you share some tips for redesigning kids rooms in a thoughtful and purposeful way?

Thank you! I’ve actually got two girls and she is my youngest. She has been always been a party animal at bedtime and that includes her climbing out of her crib around 13 months! We moved her to a “big girl” day bed shortly after that, but we kept her room so minimal because otherwise she would stay up all night playing. She’s almost 5 now and once she started showing that she was a bit more responsible at bedtime, we upgraded her space. I knew we wanted to add a larger bed, because she had to match big sister’s queen bed. I would recommend doing the biggest bed possible in a kids space, in case you ever need to use it as a guest room. You don’t want to have to squeeze your aunt and uncle on to a full size bed during Thanksgiving! I also opted for a bed frame that didn’t allow for a box spring, which opened up for storage under bed. I also wanted the space to speak to her, so I did leave a small area that was for playing and reading. This space will be good as she gets older and wants to spend time in her room more often. Thinking about how she would use the space for years to come was a big deal. I made sure the larger pieces were transitional and only small items like bedding or lighting would need to be swapped out in the future.

 

Any additional tips for keeping kids toys, clothes, artwork to a minimum? Best practices for organizing?

Bins, boxes, and baskets! If you opened the dresser drawers on my daughter’s dresser, you would see that not a single item is folded or organized. It makes me crazy, but not as crazy as trying to keep it tidy would make me. My kids have to put away their own clothes and if you’ve ever folded baby clothes, you know how tedious it is. I make her do it all and sometimes that means her just shoving the clothes in the dresser. But I live with it because she’s being responsible for herself. So if you give your kids the tools to clean up themselves, it’ll make everyone happier. That’s why bins and baskets are great. They can just throw everything in there. The mess if off the floor. And everyone is happy.

Any home decor trends you are excited about in 2018?

I LOVE matte black hardware and plumbing fixtures. They are just so chic and feel classy. I am loving the return of color and am excited to be incorporating it more. I am also having a blast with wallpaper right now. The options are so endless!

What’s next for Bandd Design?

We’ve got a lot of fun stuff in the pipeline. Right now I am working on a massive home in Dripping Springs for a family with 7 kids! It’s going to beautiful and absolutely durable at the same time. I’ve also got a beautiful living room makeover I am about to start for a neighbor with gorgeous taste. 

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