Ambassador Spotlight: Sarah Rosenhaus

By: Morgan Young

Wescover Ambassador Sarah Rosenhaus is an interior designer based in Santa Monica. We sat down with Sarah to learn about how she got her start, her definition of "California Cool" and more.

How did you first get your start in interior design?

I was always visual when I was younger, but I wasn’t aware of design. My mom didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so she learned how to make her own clothes. Even after she had me she would sew her own clothes, and she would take me with her to classes at the fabric store.

I loved being in the fabric store. In the 90s, when grunge was a big thing, I tried to sew myself a flannel shirt, but it was really hard. So instead, I decided to make myself some curtains. I made really cool sheer curtains with a layer of regular drapes. I loved it. 

I started doing creative things like hanging tapestries from my ceiling, decorating my room, and rearranging my furniture. I always wanted my room to be fun, different, and a space of self-expression. That’s where it started for me. 

When I was in high school, I got into photography. I ended up getting a job right out of high school, working with a professional photographer. The photographer said that I always made his shots look better because I was fussing with things and making the shot visually better. I realized that photography wasn’t for me, but there was something to what he said. 

When I was about 20, I signed up for some classes at Santa Monica College to try to figure out what I wanted to do. I took a variety of classes, including an interior design class. I loved it. 

In my first semester, I got an internship working for an architect and from there started to take off. I didn’t finish school and within two years of starting, I had gone out on my own. Here I am 20 years later.

Photography by Marcia Prentice

You’re known for California Cool interior design. How would you describe your style?

California style is laid back. It’s effortlessness. I’ve got street style, but there’s an elegance to it and a sophistication that is uncontrived.

The last thing I want is for someone to walk into a space that I’ve created and have it feel designed. I would much rather people wonder if my clients had a designer because there’s an effortlessness to the space. That’s the definition of cool.

Photography by Marcia Prentice
Photography by Marcia Prentice

What are some signature design elements that you like to use?

My signature is the expression of who my client is, married with my sensibilities. All of my projects are pretty unique. The through-line is that there’s a crispness to them, a very considered use of color, and, most importantly, texture and natural elements.

One aspect of California Cool is that we’re connected to nature here. We’ve got everything right around us—from the beach and the ocean to the mountains. It’s an amazing opportunity to immerse ourselves in nature and surround ourselves inside and out with the elements.

Photography by Marcia Prentice

Why is making custom furniture an important part of your practice?

Half of the time, I’ve got something in my head that I want, but I can’t find it. Some of the time, the space is asking for something that’s easier for me to design than to try to find—something that fits the exact dimensions that I’m working with. Sometimes there’s just something about the client that inspires me to create. 

When I’m working with a client and there’s a specific need, it’s like solving a problem. There’s a tangible, functional item I can provide that solves something but also creates something new and beautiful.

I’m definitely a maker. Furniture design excites me. Songwriters have songs in them, but I’ve got furniture in me. It’s really easy and it flows through me.

Photography by Marcia Prentice

As we move further into 2023, is there anything that excites you in terms of trends or the future of interior design?

I’m loving the way that a lot of the designers I admire are incorporating rich, deep colors. I love color, but I think it has to be used thoughtfully. I love being immersed in color and I love the idea of coziness. There’s something about deep, rich color to me that embodies that. 

I also think we’ve hit this moment in design where people are steeping their work in tradition, but really pushing the boundaries of that in very modern ways. I love that because there’s a familiarity in it, but it also feels so fresh. 

Photography by Marcia Prentice

What would be your dream project to work on?

I love working with clients who are daring, who appreciate the process of working with an artist, and who are interested in exploring who they are and how they live. I appreciate when someone is willing to surrender to what I’m able to provide for them and I can bring history and tradition in a fresh, new, modern way. I want to take a space and push the boundaries of what it is while also making it totally effortless and California Cool.

To learn more about Sarah Rosenhaus, visit her website.

More From Wescover Hub