sneak peek: sarah foelske and james milward

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Sarah Foelske is an associate creative director at Bruce Mau Design, and James Milward owns a digital agency called Secret Location. After dating long distance for a year, Sarah packed up and moved from New York to Toronto, Canada. She moved into James’ place, and with some trepidation about mixing James’ clean and modern tastes with Sarah’s more textural and handmade style, they decorated together, and can’t wait to do it again (and the process has Sarah interested in dimensional and interior design). Their biggest issue was that they had to stop adding typographic elements — omnipresent in Sarah’s work — to the house because it got to be too much. Thanks to Sarah, Alexis and Jen Arron for the great photos! — Anne

Image above: We decided to decorate our spare bedroom like a cabin up north. We call it “The Cottage” and sleep in it on weekends. The items on the wall are a combination of things we’ve found at flea markets in Canada.


Image above: Our friend built this wood wall for us, and I made the neon for James. The couches are from Dwell.


Image above: This is a neon sign I had made for James, from my handwriting. I love having neon made; I’d love to make more signs.


Image above: These binders contain all the tear sheets I’ve saved through my career of things that inspire me; any time I get stuck on a project, I go through these books. I find walking away from the computer can be the best way to move through a project.

Sarah and James’ full home tour continues after the jump . . .


Image above: I made the pillows from blankets we found at flea markets. The wallpaper was custom designed by friends.


Image above: We found this vintage locker at an antique store in Toronto. It’s awesome for coat and shoe storage. Everyone who comes over asks where we bought it. Someone should remake it.


Image above: This clothing rack in our spare bedroom (“the cottage”) is very special to me because my dad and I made it together. It was pretty simple to make and really inexpensive, built with plumbing pipes and wood from Home Depot.


Image above: The table and chairs moved with me from New York. They came from the flea market on 26th street.


Image above: Spray-painted vintage trophies from Value Village (thrift store). I am obsessed with spray painting things in one color high-gloss. The card is from Barcelona.


Image above: One of the best things about my move to Toronto is the space to have stuff like a dressing table; space is the biggest luxury to me after living in a Manhattan shoebox.


Image above: Our dining room is possibly the most motivational place to have dinner in Toronto.


Image above: The deer bookends and wolf mask are from San Miguel De Allende Mexico, where some of James’ family lives.


Image above: My laundry hamper is one of my favorite items in the house. I found it in an antique store in Toronto. Of all the items in our house, this one is the most “me.”


Image above: My sister painted the silhouette of our dog, Pearl. It’s one of my favorite possessions.


Image above: The print behind us is by one of my favorite graphic designers, Mike Mills.


Image above: The drawing on the right is by my friend Paul O’Donnell.

  1. Adrian Ross says:

    Now that’s a real home, no wonder you guys look so happy.

    I used to live in Toronto, now I live in San Miguel

  2. Hi Sarah, it’s all so great!! I’m very curious where the print is from, the one above the desk? Thank you!

  3. Henriette says:

    Fantastic. Love seeing Canadian style – more of it, please!!

  4. Vanessa says:

    great use of colour. the photo of you both together is so cute. and i love your handwritten message (beside the drawing of the diamond).

  5. scott wittman says:

    A unique place for two unique people with their own unique points of view and styles when combined only become stronger. Rather than one person’s style dominating the other, they complement each other beautifully. Totally inspirational and unique. The house speaks volumes about surrounding yourself with things you love that have meaning. Every item should tell a story and this house does it in spades whether its hand made or from a thrift store. A home is a constantly evolving space made from these stories which makes furnishing them so much fun and why it can’t be done overnight. Thanks Design Sponge for covering such a great space that reminds us all how imp it is to be surrounded by design and things we love. Im starting my decorating this weekend! I also think Pearl the dog is secretly watching America’s top model the way she is posing in all the photos. YOU GO GIRL!

  6. Elen says:

    I love how creative, fresh, warm and personal your home is. Thank you for sharing!! ^^

  7. Svietka says:

    LOOOVE your mix of antiques and old pieces with modern-awesome! some divine pieces u got there…too many to mention:)

  8. Haley says:

    I’m crazy in love with this house!!!!!!

  9. Natalia says:

    Such great little pieces here and there. Love this home!

  10. john Hinrichs says:

    Best House ever / Best sneak peek ever. Everything so carefully chosen without being in the least obviously “design” conscious – It just seems so all perfectly you.

  11. Congratulations, Sarah and James – what a wonderful living space you have created. You each have your own keen sense of design, and have put everything together in such a fresh and innovative way. You two are the best!

  12. Jess says:

    That puppy is precious! Beautiful home too!

  13. So warm and inviting. I love it!

  14. Jess Tasker says:

    Nothing says cozy like a Hudson Bay blanket and a fireplace against a wooden backdrop. Whatta house!

  15. @megan I can’t remember who the artist is, but we got the print here. http://telegramme.ca/ I bet if you contact them, they can point you in the right direction (or sell you one!).

  16. @amanda + @jessicaclare the print above the kitchen table is from Etsy.

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/31658188/food

  17. @CHARLOTTE the “DON’T GIVE UP” print is from Print Liberation.

    http://store.printliberation.com/

  18. orlando says:

    omg the dog on the desk is real?! lol

  19. erica says:

    I love to see this! Sarah, you and James are a great creative team and darling together. What fun….I love the just-enough-touches of pinks and reds for pop…Red socks, pink shoes!! And Pearl! She’s perfect!

  20. i LOVE your space and i LOVE that it is in Canada (our home and native land). i’m very curious as to where you found your collection of arrows hanging off the home made shelf? i looked everywhere when i was last home…

  21. Emily says:

    i love the casual gemini award in the bathroom, haha!

  22. Faye says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Lovely, lovely place!!! You’re an inspiration!

    Could you please tell me how much it cost you for the neon sign?

    Please and thank you.

  23. Denise C says:

    HI guys,
    Just love ur house designs, thts what is awesome about ur own space
    it reflects u, it allows uall to make a statement and b ur own kind of beautiful.
    GOOD JOB guys

  24. Acacia says:

    Your house is beautiful, both of you. Also glad to hear of a successful NYC to Toronto long distance love story. My partner will be moving up here from NYC once our immigration paperwork is done processing.

    I think apart from the neon sign I love your cottage room best. You’ve picked up on Canadiana quickly and I like it.

  25. Ben Weeks says:

    That poster artist is Aesthetic Apparatus who are based in the US. Also worth a look from Toronto; Doublenaut.

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