i am pretty over the moon about this unexpected guest. i’ve been a fan of interior designer sally breer ever since i stepped foot in L.A.’s Hotel Covell, which she so cleverly designed around a fictional character she made up, George Covell — with each room in the small boutique hotel designed around telling the story of one portion of george’s life. genius, right? well, that’s just the kind of designer sally is as you will soon see by her Elysian valley (also known as frogtown) loft which is just as brilliant. sally invited me and photographer laure joliet over one recent saturday for one of the most fun shoots i’ve ever attended and even cooked us brunch with her fiancé dan (and their pet bunny, circle). good times ensued, as well as some killer photographs by laure. i’m so excited to share and honestly had a tough time editing down laure’s pretty pics, so enjoy! and to check out more of sally’s talents, visit her company etc.etera’s (etc for short) inspiring online portfolio. grab a beverage of your choice and settle in — here we go!
What is your idea of a perfect day in L.A.? Any favorite secret spots we should know about?
The beauty with L.A. is it’s really a ‘choose your adventure’ city. I sort of have too many different versions of a perfect day here to just narrow it down to one. The self-realization center in Mount Washington is a pretty incredible place to meander through — on Saturdays, you can hear the monks’ chanting. Huntington Garden for a beer in the Chinese Garden is completely transportive. The Atwater village Farmers market on Sundays! A Sabich sandwich from Dune OR an Ira Glass sandwich from Wax Paper. AND then there’s a trillion great thrift stores, and flea markets.
What’s your favorite feature in your home?
My windows, but maybe even more importantly, the white wall of the building that my windows face. It bounces the light in the most magical way.
Who or what do you find inspiration from?
My parents had/are a pretty big source of inspiration for me. My business partner/design sister Jake Rodeuth Harrison is also a very big source of inspiration for me, he’s a dreamer and when we both start riffing, i feel like a lot of magic happens. BUT ALSO THE DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES LIBRARY. Their collection of vintage design/interior books is incredible.
How would you describe your personal style?
Simple, shapely and a little bit absurdist.
How did you get started in your career?
Completely organically. It has always been a hobby, but when I was living in Austin, Texas when I was 21, I started pursuing it in a more serious way. From there it kind of just quickly grew into a monster.
What part of your job would we find most surprising?
All of the (mundane) management skill required to do a project — of yourself, of subcontractors, of folks that you work with on your team and even of clients.
What has been one of the best moments of your career so far?
Boy, hard to pick just one. I’m feeling very grateful right now for the folks we have on our team. I’ve been working for a long time as a small operation and was scared to take on the extra overhead but it’s been incredibly energizing to have all of these smart and creative people working as a team.
If you had to select the perfect soundtrack for being your most creative, do you have a musician, album or genre you’d recommend?
It so depends on the project. I was recently in major creative block for this boutique hotel we’re opening downtown in the spring/summer until I started listening to Bo Diddley and then everything started flowing so funk & soul became my soundtrack while I worked on the first version of the design concept.
Is there anything you collect?
I’m really into tramp art. It’s incredible to me the patience that people had to make some of the stuff they did. I’ve also got a pretty obscene collection of Nemadji pottery, it’s living at storage currently.
Who would you like to sit down to drinks with?
Do you have a guilty pleasure or indulgence?
Dan and I get this loaf of Danish Rye bread from Cookbook every Friday Morning that we eat for breakfast for the week. The simple routine of calling on Friday morning to reserve the loaf (CUZ IT SELLS OUT FAST!), chatting with the ladies of Cookbook when you pick it up and then savoring it to last us until the following Thursday, is one of my favorite rituals.
What souvenir did you bring back from your last trip?
I brought the girls in the office these funny plastic Watermelon earrings from this tiny shop in Ostuni, where the gal handmade everything.
You’re taking a road trip – what’s the perfect dream destination?
I’m itching to drive out to Zion. But this past Christmas we did a two-week, no-plan, road trip that started in northern California and we meandered through Yosemite, down through all the charming coastal towns around Point Reyes and inland through the redwoods and Napa. California is pretty bonkers.
What’s next for you?
Well, we’re cramming a lot into 2017 before it ends. We’re opening a special restaurant we’ve been working on in Chinatown called Oriel that we’re very proud of and excited to share. ALSO, we’re adding 4 more chapters/rooms to Hotel Covell, opening this fall/winter which has been a really fun project to revisit. And a couple residential projects wrapping up (And having a Baby and moving into our house in Highland park, while simultaneously working on an addition for it).
• photography by laure joliet for sf girl.