Decorating A Home Gym

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					                                                                                                                              If Sara Duckett, the creator of the blog and online shop Sadie Olive, did not lose
                                                                                                                                   omething positive came from the mortgage crisis.

                                                                                                                                  her job as a mortgage underwriter in early 2007, she would never have started
                                                                                                                                    her own business. As a way to help with household finances and keep her
                                                                                                                                     mind preoccupied from real-world pressures, Sara channeled her passions
                                                                                                                                    of shopping, home décor and design into a business model.
                                                                                                                                            Those familiar with Sadie Olive’s Web site, highlighted on every blog
                                                                                                                                  with an interest in lifestyle products spiced with vintage and French influences,
              An inventive woman parlays her passion for decorating
                                                                                                                            will be pleased to learn that Sara’s home shares her online sensibility. Think of a
                       into a full-time living arrangement.
                                                                                                                        French scrapbook with an affinity to the past yet entrenched in today’s sensibility.
                                                                                                                          Sara lives in Tustin, California, with her husband, Josh; Hannah, her very excitable lab;
                                                                                                                        and two cats. The Ducketts’ block resembles most streets in Happy Town, USA, with
                                                                                                                        shiny new cars purring in the driveways as kids soar on bicycles in search of activity.
                                                                                                                          Hannah is always the first to greet visitors, her paws hooking the Dutch door while
                                                                                                                        Sara disappears momentarily to arm herself with pacifying treats, a familiar rigmarole
                                                                                                                        that sets the excitement of what is to come. Inside is a festival of vintage items mixed
                                                                                                                        with modern pieces and fabulous accessories placed here and there. Cloches displayed

                                                     WRITTEN AND STYLED BY JACQUELINE deMONTRAVEL
                                                                   P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y J A I M E E I TA G A K I

Red accents on natural-
tone linens set the color
themes for Sara Duckett’s
bed and bedroom.

                                                                                                                                                                   Dark accents, such as wood flooring, bed frame and accordion coat
                                                                                                                                                                   rack, ground light and airy rooms.

      4   ROMA C I O HOM•            • rom into homes.c
3 4 3 R O M A N T IN T HC M E S E Sr o m a n t a c h i cm e s . c o m o m                                                                                                                                          MARCH 2008          35
                                          above her antique piano keep objets d’art gorgeously captive. Enam-
                                          eled bunnies leaping every which way in rooms swathed in
                                          creamy colors and punched with bold black accents lend a subtle
                                            There is a playful courtship between found and functional items.
                                          “I’ve always liked French things,” Sara says. “Though not the obvi-
                                          ous things, like an Eiffel Tower, but what is seen in the harlequin
                                          pattern in the dining room.”
                                            The pieces that create the Ducketts’’ home are sourced from fami-
                                          ly, flea markets and, to no surprise, catalog and online shopping.
                                          While many will begin decorating with their larger furnishings, Sara
                                          decorates in an opposite fashion. “I will find that chalkboard,” she
                                          says brightly, pointing to the board above her dining room table,
                                          “and then set the scheme around its color.”
                                            There are certain things Sara is particularly drawn to, such as the
                                          simplicity of a Swedish piece, the feel of heavy linens, enamel lock-

                                          (Left) An oversized clock, a cluster of cloches and a rustic bench add eclecticism
                                          to a classic corner. (Right) An antique music book and Old World keys are perfect
                                          accents to Sara’s elegantly worn pieces. (Below) Objets d’art showcased atop
                                          glass-covered pedestals add art and whimsy. The Ducketts’ pup, Hannah, is right
                                          at home with chocolate brown flooring that has been distressed to blend in
                                          with Sara’s vintage collections.

36   ROMANTIC HOMES •                                                                                        MARCH 2008   37
                                          er tags and such ephemera as old letters, grade
                                          school papers, music books and postcards. These
                                          souvenirs from someone else’s history fascinate
                                          her, partly for their beauty but also the stories she
                                          imagines they come with.
                                             Currently, Sara is trawling her shopping destina-
                                          tions for old wire baskets, which are both practical
                                          and pretty. As her eyes brighten, you can’t help
                                          but wonder if she is referring to an old basket or
                                          her raison d’être. The comfort Sara has for her
                                          home is seen and felt throughout, as evident in a
                                          guest bedroom currently sequestered by her stay-
                                          at-home cat, her craft room and a kitchen so large
                                          it could accommodate a restaurant crew.
                                             “Josh is the cook; he will even do the dishes,”
                                          she says happily. Home tasks are harmoniously
                                          divided, as Josh will cook everything from black
                                          bean soup to a brined turkey on the grill while
                                          Sara will set the table with her garden clippings
                                          contained in understated jam jars, further perked
                                          with French linens.
                                             The French linen theme is followed in the bed-
                                          room as the appointed accessory to set the room’s
                                          style. Sara uses the thick pieces as wall art, cur-
                                          tains and pillows. There, natural tones lined with
                                          red create the room’s color palette. Adjacent to
                                          the bed is an old shoe rack that has become the
                                          perfect showcase for pretty books, a basket of
                                          gift favors from her wedding day and other odds
                                          and ends.
                                             Across the house is Sara’s office, where all
                                          things for Sadie Olive happen. The décor corre-
                                          lates to her online home from all its vintage trim-
                                          mings. Her site has earned such a loyal
                                          following—no surprise in part for its design—that
                                          Sara stumbled onto another business designing
                                          Web sites because of all the solicitations.
                                             The office is remarkably orderly considering the
                                          plethora of office supplies and decorative items
                                          she has accumulated, such as old game pieces and
                                          ledgers. Sara’s hands are constantly reaching for
                                          tiny, unique little objects that ignite awe and won-
                                          der. Cupped in her hand, they come to life from
                                          stories about how they were acquired. “I like buy-
                                          ing knickknacks,” she says.

                                          (Opposite) The repeating shapes of bulging blooms make a
                                          dramatic statement over a gently distressed chest of
                                          drawers. (Top right) Sara infuses a bit of classic cottage
                                          charm into the living room with an antique hutch boasting
                                          pressed glass cabinet façades, a vintage wire basket and
                                          bucolic bunnies rendered mid-leap. (Bottom right) Sara
                                          makes use of pastoral painted tins and paper crafts to add
                                          touches of color to a room.
38   ROMANTIC HOMES •                                                                MARCH 2008   39
                                                                                               Don’t be afraid to mix
                                                                                                 woods. Old benches
                                                                                              mingle nicely with new
                                                                                               chairs and shelving in
                                                                                                  Sara’s craft space.

                                                                            (Opposite) Sara finds inspiration from the
                                                                         colors and textures of the vintage notes and
                                                                          ephemera she lovingly collects for her Web
                                                                          site, Sadie Olive. tures of the vintage notes
                                                                           and ephemera she lovingly collects for her
                                                                                                 Web site, Sadie Olive.
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     ROMANT C HOMES • roman                       chomes com                                                              MARCH 2008   41
                                          The Office
                                       SARA’S TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE AN AWARD-WINNING SPACE
                                       • Decorate with inspiring things that are fun to look at; it fuels
                                       • Mix the old with the new for style and function. Sara’s antique desk
                                         is flanked by two Pottery Barn armoires.
                                       • Create plenty of storage space to house less attractive items.
                                       • Strategically locate your office so there are no household distractions.
                                       • Don’t be afraid to look for organizational bins and baskets at
                                         flea markets, garage sales and antiques stores. Some of Sara’s
                                         favorite storage solutions are old wire gym baskets purchased at
                                         flea markets.
                                       • Look for items that can be used in a new way. Flower frogs to hold
                                         business cards, vintage bobbins to store ribbons, a flower pot to
                                         hold pens. “I have a silver-plated toast rack to hold all my thank you
                                         notes and envelopes. I also love looking for old general store twine
                                         holders to keep my string handy when I package and ship my
                                         products,” Sara says.

                                          Working at Home
                                       HOW SARA STAYS DISCIPLINED                                                     Wrought-iron touches lend an
In her home office, Sara combines
                                       • Discipline comes easy when you                                             aged appeal to Sara’s otherwise
the best of both worlds: an antique
                                          are doing something that you                                                             modern kitchen.
writing desk for ambiance and
                                          love. “The hardest part for me is
Pottery Barn bookcases for function.
                                          trying to keep my thoughts or-
                                          ganized. I am a list maker, and I
                                          love to check things off as I go,
                                          which has helped tremendously.
                                       • “I use my Microsoft Outlook
                                          calendar daily. I try to make
                                          notes every time I work on a
                                          project,” Sara says.
                                       • Sara takes breaks when she feels
                                          overwhelmed, either watching a
                                          program she saved on TiVo or
                                          playing with Hannah. Then she
                                          returns to her tasks feeling

                                          For more information on Sara Duckett
                                          and Sadie Olive, visit

                                                                                                                                                          Sara prefers the indistinct
                                                                                                                                                             Parisian influences. The
                                                                                                                                                           Harlequin pattern on the
                                                                                                                                                      dining room wall is a bold yet
                                                                                                                                                      restrained use of French style.
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