anne ditmeyerinterior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: sarah albrecht of little rock boutique

by anne

After living in Melbourne, Sarah Albrecht and her partner Shaun Vijoen decided they’d had enough of big city living and the rat race, so they moved to the costal town of Torquay in Victoria, Australia. With a background working as a visual merchandiser, Sarah was ready to do something new and teamed up with her sister, Louise, whose background is in fashion, to create Little Rock Boutique. With the idea of unearthing the things they love and sharing them with others, their business supports both Australian and international designers. While Sarah’s home isn’t traditionally coastal, they’re still inspired by the colors of the ocean and strive to create a “mash-up” of city culture and the relaxed vibe of the coast. Thanks, Sarah! And special thanks to Louise Albrecht for the photographs and Rebecca Martin for helping with the styling! — Anne

Image above: My mum and sister’s artwork hangs on the wall behind our bed. The other pieces were painted by Louise while she was studying visual arts. A vintage suitcase that we found at our favourite antique store has become kind of a clotheshorse when we get home at the end of the day.

Image above: The dining room is where we have our morning coffee, which is a major highlight of the day. Shaun and I love coffee and recently discovered world-class beans just up the road. Nathan and Adriano at Coffee Cartel are making waves in the coffee world with their amazing products. They import beans from around the world and roast them on site. We were thrilled when we found out they were so close by. We recently traveled to NY, Paris, Florence and Barcelona, and our travel books proved invaluable. They are also a great reminder of the trip. We have also collected a few recipe books that have mouth-watering photography.

Image above: I just love old bottles, especially milk bottles. There are so many interesting shapes, and milk really does taste better out of a glass bottle.

CLICK HERE for more of Sarah Albrecht’s Australian home!

Image above: Shaun worked as a hip-hop DJ for many years, and we still keep one of the turntables out. He says that music sounds much better on vinyl and that all the imperfections on the recording give it much more life. The painting, I just love. It’s by local artist Megan Weston. She has a large collection of these resin-coated canvases in all sorts of colours that look like flowing water. They are so unique and beautiful.

Image above: Shaun is a big reader. He has so many novels that we have run out of shelf space, hence the piles. I love books, too, but more for their photography and images. Cook books, design books and health and body books make up the bulk of my collection. I started Iyengar Yoga last year at a fantastic studio and [have] several books on yoga and stretching. I’m really enjoying this class and love this style of yoga.

Image above: This is where we do most of our relaxing and where I get a lot of my work done for the site. It’s a really relaxing space that I love to be in. We watch a lot of films here or just lie and read. Chief the dog is Louise’s pet who follows her everywhere. Luckily, he is always a pleasure to be around.

Image above: This is my collection of favourite vintage pieces, paintings by my sister Katie and my mum’s take on Wayne Thiebaud’s Freeway. Some of my favourite books are here, including one on the incredible street artist Banksy and home-inspiration book Flea Market Style.

Image above: I love colour but I also like clean lines and classic colour palettes. I don’t like rooms that have masses of colour —they tend to stress me out. We have tried to create a space that is calming with predominately neutral tones and splashes of colour. This way I can update as often as I like with new colours by introducing new cushions and homewares rather than spending thousands on new furniture pieces.

Image above: Shaun and I are big eaters and love fresh fruit. We go through a bag of apples every week. Hopefully they’ll keep the doctor away.

Image above: Our kitchen is a place where we spend a lot of time. My dad has inspired a true love and real appreciation of food. Our mini-herb garden is all we have time to cultivate but does make its way into much of our cooking. I keep a pin board on the cupboard for inspiration, and I use it for recipes, family photos and trinkets we’ve collected from around the world.

Image above: I love the outdoors; I grew up with big backyards and vegetable gardens, and my mini-herb garden is a way to bring a small piece of the outdoors inside. My dad is a landscape gardener and chef and has an amazing vegetable garden, so I guess this is my miniature version. I love eating at my parents’ house because all their meals are full of veggies and herbs picked straight from the garden.

Image above: My sister Louise and I with family pet Remy. Our whole family [consists of] massive animal lovers. My favourite thing in the whole world is our two wonderful dachshunds. Such characters! This is my favourite boy, Remy. He is an ex-show dog and is gigantic for his breed. Our other dachshund is Tommy.

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  • This is gorgeous,

    I love the color.

    I also am really loving how people are sharing what they love most about their home!

    Thank you for sharing. Design Sponge is always very inspiring.


  • I love the duvet. The blue is perfect. Can you tell me who is the designer?

  • I can’t see the Sarah Albrecht’s Australian home but all the other images are so lovely! Love milk bottles and everything from the sea too.

    • hi design elements-

      are the pictures not showing for you? can you tell me which ones and what browser you’re using?

      sorry about that,

  • Beautiful colors! Can you tell me anything about the large red vases/urns in the second picture? I am suddenly obsessed with them!

  • Im in love with the painting of the pheonix or whatever it is. I think your home is amazing. I love the freshness and lightness of the color palette. All white and sand against and oray of contrast. From the apples against the wall to the plants- which by the way realy adds a great touch to any home. Also plants give the sense of ” welcome ” -they are good to have around. The dog is cute. The living room is to die for…seriously. It reminds me of when I used to vacation in CAP COD- the bed and breakfast there are so comfy and homey- amazing post !!!! IM HOOKED !!!

  • I love love love the duvet cover! And the blue & white cushions, and the armchair with it’s lovely colours! I could go on for a while with lots of “and’s”! Thank you for the lovely sneak peak :)

  • This is such a lovely & cozy home! I love all the prints & textiles, piled one on top of the other! Homes like these make me smile because you know, when you’re looking at them, that they really reflect the owners :)

  • Agree with Helen. I LOVE the blue and white duvet cover. Anyone know where to get one like it? My BF recently moved in and I’ve been looking for something a little more gender neutral than the floral duvet I have now.

  • You have created a space so unique and true to both of you. I love the incorporation of family art – especially the Edward Hopper piece above your bed! This speaks volumes about you and your design aesthetic – which is superb.

  • Such a stylish, laid-back home! I especially love the breakfast area. Where can I find a modern looking toast caddy like the one pictured? I’ve only been able to find really gaudy ones at antique shops. Thanks for sharing!

  • This space is so warm and inviting. I have a feeling people like to stay over. It’s probably all of the cushions. :)

    Beautiful sisters too! I love the shorts!

  • What a bright and airy space. It’s fantastic. I don’t know why of all the details in these photos I zeroed in on the front door. LOVE it.

  • I must find that duvet and those pillows! Does anybody know where to find them?

  • Hello all,
    Thank-you for the lovely comments!
    The duvet cover is from an Australian homewares and bedding company call ‘Adairs’ they do have an online store.

    The couch cushions are all from a ‘S&R Gifts Homewares’ Torquay Australia. I know Rebecca the owner has a facebook page, just search the store title and send her an email. She is a very helpful and not to mention super creative : )

    I hope this helps!

  • Elizabeth: Shaun’s dog is called a dachshund. I have one myself – albeit, much smaller in size. :)

    As for me: I am loving the herb garden! Such a simple yet, elegant idea.

  • Wow, I love the laid back but beautifully styled decor, and that she incorporates things from their shop! (Hello, retro scale!) I really hope to open a full online retail shop like Little Rock someday. Their shop is super fun!

  • This is the style I’ve been trying to achieve in my bedroom. Alas, their version is much more polished. How do you make all of those little bits look like they’re in just the right place?

  • hi everyone!
    I am loving all the comments, thank you so much! …

    The toaster caddy I found in my favorite vintage store. I’ll be sure to keep my eyes open the next time I’m out on the hunt for new vintage pieces for the site – I’ll let you know if I find one :)

    The duvet cover I bought on sale at Adairs, but I’m not sure that it is available any more.. if you are really keen to get your hands on one, let me know and I can check my local store for you, here is the Adairs site:

    The vases I bought years ago at another Australian home/furniture company called Freedom Furniture – we are looking at sourcing some similar items to sell on the little rock site. We found a great wholesaler called Tractor.. check them out- they are amazing:)

  • Yes, the duvet is still available. The pattern is called Catalina and is sold by Serena and Lily out of California. They sell wholesale as well as online so check out their retailer list, you might find a store near you. http://www.serenaandlily.com

  • An Aussie place- LOVE IT- Thanks Design*Sponge- I religiously follow your site everyday – it’s my form of meditation! Thanks for all the inspiration!!!.

  • Beautiful home Shaun and Sarah – not surprised by the excellent taste shown in decorating your home:)

  • “Image above: My mum and sister’s artwork hangs on the wall behind our bed. The other pieces were painted by Louise while she was studying visual arts.”

    Correction: I believe the painting above the bed is actually an Edward Hopper entitled “Chop Suey”.

  • hi Megan.. You are right, this an Edward Hopper piece – my mum’s take on it.. this should have been mentioned in the article, we certainly would not try to claim it as an original!! :)

  • It looks fabulous just wish I lived closer so I could meet you and see it for myself. am Shaun s aunt from South Africa. x

  • Beautiful home! Those silver tripod lamps are amazing! Do you remember where you got them?

  • My hubby and I are leaving tomorrow to go back to Australia from the States and this post is definitely getting me excited to go “home”. I’m awaiting fresh homegrown strawberries and veggies from our backyard when we get back. What a sublime post!

  • how can i like/share this on facebook? you need a facebook link in addition to your “tweet this” please!!!