Talking Bold Colors and Healthy Routines with Interior Designer Sara Gilbane

There are so many ways that we’re inspired by the women around us, and we’re so excited to share and bring together the Smart Sisters who we’re lucky to count as part of our Bitsy tribe.

Not only is Sara Gilbane the mother to our kids’ BFFs, she’s also one of our own. We love this brilliant, acclaimed interior designer for too many reasons to list: hilarious, thoughtful, and kind, she’s a forcefield of energy and fun. Add to that– she’s the sort of friend who will step in and overhaul your closet-sized office, because she cares. 

Today, she’s sharing some healthy tips, and encouraging us to go for it, if it makes your heart sing. Words to live by.  

Bitsy’s: What does “healthy” mean to you?

Sara: Feeling good! I try to make healthy food choices, drink my greens, and some days that means exercise, if I can fit it in.

Bitsy’s: What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to health– your family’s, or your own?

Sara: I have two young children, ages 3 and 6, and I’m trying to teach them about making healthy choices.  Right now, keeping them well is the priority– I feel like someone always has the sniffles… or a full- blown cold!

Bitsy’s: What’s your general philosophy when it comes to feeding your family?

Sara: Make it count when I can! Breakfast and dinner are the meals I have most control over, since that’s when I’m home with them. Breakfast is usually a bowl of oatmeal with sunflower butter, a spoonful of coconut oil, and hemp seeds. For dinner, I aim for a protein, a vegetable, and a carb.

Bitsy’s: Can’t-live-without food or drink:

Sara: After all that healthy talk…I’m a sucker for Mexican food. Bring on the fish tacos.

Bitsy’s: What’s your favorite Bitsy’s product?

Sara: It’s a tie between Orange Chocolate Beet cookies and Sweet Potato Cinna-Graham crackers.  Delicious all around!

Bitsy’s: At Bitsy’s, we love bright colors, and we know that color is huge for you, too. What’s your best advice when it comes to incorporating colors into your home?

Sara: If it makes your heart sing, go for it! That being said, you have to find out how much color and pattern you can live with.  If you go for a bold color on the wall, then keep your furniture neutral, and tie it all together with vibrant throw pillows.

Bitsy’s: In addition to color… you love kids. What are your tips for creating a kid-friendly home?

Sara: I did not do much in the way of baby proofing. I am a strong believer in integrating your kids into your life and that means at home, too. All of our furniture is comfortable with durable fabrics, but aside from the clear plug covers I put on all the outlets, I wanted my kids to learn to live with beautiful objects, art, and upholstery. And since the kids are very into making their own art, they love discussing the art on the walls. Inspiration is everywhere! Don’t dumb down your interiors for your kids!

Bitsy’s: On starting a business and building it from the ground up: what inspired (inspires) you?

Sara: I started my business in 2008 amidst the financial crisis, and I was fortunate to have a few clients who were not impacted by the world falling apart. I had one assistant then, and my initial jobs went well and we were profitable.  Profitability was my only goal that year, and it felt great to achieve that.  Every year there’s a new challenge, which keeps things interesting, but I thrive on client interaction. And I love how each project is as different as the owners of each home.

Named one of the Top 20 Next Wave Designers by House Beautiful and one of TradHome’s Top 20 New Traditional Designers, Sara Gilbane is best known for her classic modern-traditional style– combining low-key and elegant pieces with a youthful, chic flair grounded in practicality. Above all, Sara enjoys creating casually elegant homes that are warm, comfortable, and livable. 

After graduating from Brown University and studying interior design at Rhode Island School of Design, Sara launched her career in 2003, working with acclaimed design firm Kemble Interiors. Sara has been featured in House Beautiful, Trad Home, Lonny, The New York Times, Elle Decor, Better Homes and Gardens, and The New York Observer. 

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