Sarah Yerger did not get started in interior design the traditional way. Design was always a part of her life, but she didn’t realize it was going to be her full-time career until years later. While living in Los Angeles, California from 2004 to 2011, Sarah was writing, acting, and producing in film, tv and commercials.
Her other creative love was design and remodeling and she began to get involved in flipping, remodeling and staging. Along the way, she worked with contractors and other designers who helped make her passion a reality. She quickly found success.
After moving to Atlanta, Sarah decided to start her own company in 2013, Sarah Yerger Interiors, while continuing to act in TV commercials. In the years following, Sarah got married to her husband, William, and they had a baby girl, Evelyn. She was doing small remodels for homes that weren’t selling quickly, and suddenly they sold very quickly! This was the moment she went full steam ahead with design and never looked back.
“With my personality, I tend to just go in (with the mindset) if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it,” Sarah said. “I went in full steam ahead, and thought I’m on this planet one time, so I’m going to take a leap of faith and start my own company… and I’m so glad I did.”
Sarah and her family lived in Madison, Georgia for about three years. Then COVID-19 changed everything for them. Her husband, William, no longer needed to go to his office in Atlanta, and Sarah’s business was booming in Georgia’s Lake Country. They found a beautiful fixer-upper in Reynolds and decided to move to Lake Oconee a year ago.
The pandemic changed a lot of people’s lives. More and more people were moving from California, New York, Atlanta and Massachusetts to Georgia’s Lake Country. As an interior designer, Sarah noticed this trend and recognizes how it is impacting design in homes around the lake.
“These are homes that were weekend homes that are transitioning to full time homes,” Sarah explained. “We’ve seen a lot of younger families moving from the city to Lake Oconee, so my job is to create a space for a family. There are a lot of storage areas that we’re renovating and turning them into offices or a child’s room. The goal is to make these homes more functional for a family.”
Sarah’s passion is doing renovations. She loves working with older, neglected homes or buildings that most people fail to see their potential beauty. Most of Sarah’s designs are inspired by her love for the South and her time spent in California. She favors a timeless design and elegance, but she also enjoys throwing a little quirk in there, whether the quirk is in the art pieces, pillows or funky colors.
“What I don’t want to do is create ‘The Sarah Show’,” she explained. “A question designers get asked a lot is ‘what is your style?’ and at the end of the day, it kind of doesn’t matter what my style is. I want to bring out the best of my client, so really listening and understanding what is important to the client is where I feel I’ve been very effective in helping people create a vision for their homes.”
The pandemic changes how people live and work from day to day. After being stuck at home for months and working remotely, people are craving a home that is livable, clean, functional and beautiful. Sarah shared three design tips that will transform your home into the home you desire.
Many lake homes have a concrete slab in the backyard, and one way to make that space useful is transitioning from indoors to outdoors smoothly. Make your outdoor living space beautiful by carrying the design from inside the home to the outdoor space. This will encourage your family and friends to naturally move around from inside to outside when entertaining.
In a house on Lake Oconee, Sarah kept the color palette soft and combined soft textures downstairs to transition outside. Adding a creamy porcelain tile over the concrete created a great outdoor living extension. The furniture is from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams and Ethan Allen.
“We have been thrilled with the transformation,” Karen Bailo, resident of the house on Lake Oconee said. “Sarah and Weidmann (Remodeling) has been great to work with, and she really walked us through step by step how to refresh the whole house. It’s been amazing. I think she did a great job helping us get comfortable lightening it up, but not using too much white. We feel like we can be comfortable here, and my favorite part is the kitchen transformation.”
Keeping everything clean and uncluttered will bring your home to the next level. Most people are afraid of white, but having white as a base creates a blank canvas to add color and texture in all the accessories of the home such as light fixtures, rugs, tables pillows, doors and handles. This is how you can achieve a timeless, elegant design with a little quirk.
If you are totally afraid of white, then there are soft color options which can create a similar effect. In the house on Lake Oconee, Sarah used “Drift of Mist” by Sherwin Williams on the walls, and “Greek Villa” for the trim and cabinetry. Beautiful quartzite countertops were installed and Sarah mixed in wood and stone accents.
Sarah is working on a commercial project for Riezl Baker, owner of Luxury Lake Oconee Real Estate Group. This building embodies clients from all over – creating a style that is comfortable, luxurious and sophisticated. It combines the styles from North and South, East and West. It all comes together in this building.
“This concept is specific to this building because when (Riezl) is bringing in clients from everywhere, we want to appeal to clients from everywhere,” Sarah said. “Overall, I wanted to create comfortable, stylish luxury.”
The outside of the building is painted in “White Dove” by Benjamin Moore and “Tricorn Black” by Sherwin Williams. Inside the building, Sarah used one of her favorites, “Wish” by Benjamin Moore on the walls.
She also mixed grays, beiges and creamy whites, and used mixed metals and mixed art styles. She had the conference table handmade by Table Top Dan in Woodstock, and the outdoor furniture is all Restoration Hardware.
Nooks with a purpose
Take the little nooks that have no purpose and give them a purpose. Turn the space under the stairs to extra storage, a reading corner or a lounge area for your dog. Create a breakfast nook under the window in the kitchen. Transform a corner into a library by adding built in book shelves. Use the awkward spaces in your home and transform them into something you will use and appreciate.
In downtown Madison, at the Reese-Bourgeois house, circa 1850, Sarah’s clients called her and said they loved their kitchen but something was missing. As soon as she saw the space, she knew they needed to extend the kitchen and create a comfortable window seat and a cabinet to display all of her client’s blue and white dishes. Sarah achieved this by keeping the same cabinet design and bringing in Schumacher fabrics on the windows and seating area.
“Sarah understood my taste and pretty quickly understood what I liked and the style I liked,” said Peggy, the Reese-Bourgeois house resident. “She knew I liked the traditional look, but clean. It’s such a usable space now, and we spend a lot of time in here.”
Sarah Yerger Interiors offers full service interior design. She mainly works on residential properties and occasionally commercial properties. She is a designer that understands functionality and takes the time to know her clients’ interest and lifestyles, so their homes represent them in the best way possible.
“I do anything from helping clients pick out new furniture or fabrics to completely renovating homes and finding my clients the right contractors to bring in on projects,” Sarah said. “It’s so varied, and I enjoy doing both.”
For more information, visit www.idofmadison.com to see more of Sarah’s work.
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Story and photos by Katie Marie O'Neal, published in the Sept-Oct 2021 issue of Lakelife magazine.