amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: sara hicks malone

by Amy Azzarito

sara hicks malone is a graphic designer, illustrator, and former art director for martha stewart kids. she’s also a former new yorker, who now calls nashville, tennessee home. she moved to nashville with her finace (now husband!) back in 2003 and their family has expanded to include – two kids, and two dogs! sara writes a blog all about giving parties – party perfect – and designs stationery for hicks paper goods. I’m just in love with the way she created a home that’s both comfortable and chic. My favorite touch? That custom decal on the front door (above). So cool! {thanks sara and family!}amy a.

[We completely renovated the house in 2007, so I am lucky that I was able to choose materials and colors. My main concern for this house was that it could be too sterile, because it is contemporary in style (built in 1967) and largely white (exterior is white and the majority of interior walls are white). So I injected color with wallpaper and furnishings, and tried to steer clear of anything overly modern- chrome, glass, etc. While it would have been ideal to have a design plan for the house that I executed from start to finish, I was budget-driven in many ways and had to compromise based on what I could find (a lot of shopping was done in consignment stores and less expensive stores like west elm). I’m happy with the majority of the results, but there are still some things I would change.]

[I’m totally in love with the yellow wallpaper (by Cole and Son) in our entry. It really sets the tone for the house. I think the splurge was worth every penny.]

[The Saarinen table was the biggest furniture purchase I’ve ever made. My husband was skeptical given how ‘finicky’ I can be, but it is a piece that I still love today as much as the day I bought it. The danish chairs were a gift from my friend, Gen– the console table was designed by her husband and given as a gift when they closed their store (it was originally a fixture in the store). I painted the large canvas since I needed something large and inexpensive that would unify the space.]

[image above: Our guest ‘room’ is a little space nestled in my office. I covered one wall in a floral wallpaper I found on ebay.]

CLICK HERE for more of Sara’s Nashville home!

[image above: I’m an organization freak! File dividers are ‘vintage’ Martha Stewart by Mail; utensilo was purchased at a discount from highbrow furniture showroom.]

[image above: I was really pleased with how our kitchen turned out (we did major renovations on the house 3 years ago). I wasn’t sure if I’d like the Corian countertops (we’ve had granite and honed granite in past kitchens), but it’s turned out to be the perfect countertop solution. I love the classic look of a shaker cabinet, and love this steel grey color.]

[image above: House decorating, for me, is always an experiment and a work in progress. Some of the spaces in my house turned out more random then I would have liked them to- but this one feels just perfect, and is my favorite room in the house. The sofa is a recovered consignment find; the stools were also bought on consignment and recovered; the danish modern chair (same as the ones in the breakfast area) was a gift from my friend, Gen; the table was an ebay find, as was the tree and side tables.]

[image above: I fell in love with these andirons after seeing them in House Beautiful. They are completely apropos for our house, given that we have two labs. I painted them white to be more in keeping with the house vibe.]

[image above: We spend a lot of time in the playroom. We have tried to make it both child-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, given that the room is open to the rest of the house. Circular table and chairs from Target, stools and rectangular table from tag sale.]

[image above: Our contemporary abode is nestled in a hillside, and is surrounded by big, beautiful trees. Our view is better in the winter, but the house feels so lush in the summer time with all the green. We are selling the house…the outdoor space might be what I will miss most! We have a deck on the frontside of the home- phillipe starck sofas, vintage metal chairs (scrounged from my in-laws basement and spray-painted), table from scratch & dent sale at highbrow furniture showroom, wicker stools from pottery barn.]

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  • Amazing home! I love that yellow door! Come check out the chairs I just redid! I think you will like them! Happy Monday!

  • ohhh, this home is just beautiful! i’ve been coveting one of those utensilo’s for quite some time now. a bit out of my price range for now though :)

    • jenn

      aren’t those great? i used to work for a PR firm that represented vitra back in the day, and i was always saving up my discount for a utensilo, and then i left before i could use it. i’m still kicking myself for that. i want a bright red utensilo so badly!


  • I want details on that DIY painted canvas…Chez JLlo is always in need of inexpensive, punchy wall art.

  • White seems to be the great unifier in this house, but alas, I am not allowed to paint anything of my partners. Also, I love color, but man is white an easy way to get things to go together! I love the wall paper as well. So cheery!

  • Wow! This lady may just be my interior design sense twin. AND a Nashvillian, to boot? Sweet!

    I love the whole house. What a gem! I hope she got through the flood okay …

  • Wow, I just looked this house up on a real estate site. If they get anywhere near what they’re asking for it (double what they paid), I will be super impressed.

  • As a matter of fact, it’s very strategic of them to have a sneak peak here. I hope you guys are getting paid for this, Grace!

    • kell

      we’ve posted homes that are on the market before, and no, we aren’t being paid for them (and aren’t paid for any content we run). i’m hoping that was a joke, so i’ll leave it at that.


  • Grace, it was definitely a joke. Obviously, a poorly executed one! I really do hope they sell their house in this crappy market and I also hope they weren’t damaged in the flood.

  • Love the clean, airy aesthetic. Would you share the paint colors you used for your kitchen cabinets and your living room walls?

  • OH I am just in love! Thanks for this! I keep scrolling through to see if there are more photos! LOVE the kitchen and play room. I have the same colors throughout my home, and I love to see how you have put your space together. gorgeous!

  • Amazing from the start, the entrance door is just incredible and that playroom looks so great (Plus it reminds me of how much fun I had as a child with a tipi I had) :)

  • I’m with Cass and others. Would love more info and closer up photos of the canvas you painted.

  • Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! I loved decorating this house, which was a huge departure from my bungalow-ish last one. Kell- you did your research! Isn’t the web, great? The house was an INSANELY huge makeover, and if you can believe it, we’d make virtually nothing at asking price. What we thought was a primarily cosmetic job turned into a huge gut renovation- everything had to replaced down to the studs- drywall, plumbing, HVAC, etc. So it’s essentially a new old house. We’re actually in the process of taking the house off the market today, since listing and showing the house is virtually impossible with 2 kids two years and under. And yes! We did great with the flooding- the benefit of living on a hillside. We’re hoping to help get the rest of Nashville back on their feet in the mean time. Thanks again for featuring us Grace, what an honor!

  • Oh that teepee!! (tipi? tepee?)
    How awesome for a kids room. Can I find this somewhere, or was this a custom project??

  • Sara, you guys did a fabulous job with the gut! That’s part of what makes buying a house a little scary… not really knowing what exactly you’re getting into.

  • So nice to see a lovely home in my own city. Is this on the west side of town?

  • beautiful house! i happen to love sara’s blog, and it was so fun to see her chic home. i love the wallpaper in the entry, and that saarinen table!

  • Loved seeing what you did here! PS did I miss what the decal says? Have been squinting to see ;)

  • What a beautiful home! Such gorgeous details & so well edited. Love the beautiful yellow doors, the andirons, that organization! and so many more things! Thank you for sharing, I love it.

  • ahh i love party perfect, and sarah hicks malone’s style! awesome feature, and i’m with everyone else – LOVE that yellow door! if only my condo complex would let me paint my door a fun color ;)

  • Beautiful home! I would love to know who designed the fabric on the stools in the living room if you have the chance. Cheers!

  • Lovely! I am also in awe of those who can mix vintage pieces with contemporary ones so seamlessly. What a fresh color palette – and that wallpaper was definitely worth it!

  • I forgot to mention a couple of sources (requested in comments)…
    -pendant over table is from West Elm (this was the FOURTH light fixture I tried in this spot, and also happens to be the least expensive- I absolutely love it! A deal at around $100 on sale)
    -teepee is from Great Plains, I bought it on Amazon (just put in ‘tee pee’ in search engine, it’s the kid size version)
    -canvas took a lot longer to do then I expected, but it was definitely a good, inexpensive solution for a large expanse of wall space
    -the decal on our front door has our address on it, spelled out (six one five)

    I think that’s it? Thanks again,
    Grace & Amy.

  • Which cole & sons paper is that? I’m thinking about putting paper in my entry but am overwhelmed by the choices!

  • This is amazing!! I just kind of “finished” my living room and now I see something like this and well, let’s just say I’d like to make some adjustments….beautiful.

  • Hi Sara- Would you mind sharing that most perfect shade of gray on your kitchen cabinets?? It blends beautifully with all of the white and stainless steel! Also, could you share the yellow color on the front door? Thanks a bunch!

  • love the home specially the wallpapers are so attractive and most of all there are so many things which are different from regular blog post

  • I absolutely love the cool clean appeal of this house! Its gorgeous!
    Where did you get that lovely teepee from in the playroom. Inspired.

  • As far as paint colors go, I don’t have a name for you- sorry! We used low VOC paints from Velspar. I picked them at the last minute since we were racing the clock (our first baby came shortly after moving in). The name of the Cole & Son wallpaper is ‘Cow Parsley’.

  • Sorry- two other things: 1) Jane- not sure who the dining room chairs are by, there’s no mark. 2) I designed the door decal and just used a local vinyl company to make it.

  • Hi Sara, a last question about your kitchen… What about Corian ? Is it more nice looking then really practical for intensive use (i heard its rather fragile and going yellow, not supporting high temperature, etc…) can you give us your opinion on this material ?

    Thanks for this gorgious pictures !

  • macncheese- no! I’m sorry…we actually had the island built after the rest of the cabinets. Our cabinet maker had to take a door off the hinges and to his studio to match the grey, since we couldn’t find the paint can (somehow got thrown out in the aftermath of the renovation)…frenchy- LOVE the Corian. I have been so pleased with it as a material-which surprised me. We’ve had it for 3 years and it still looks as good as it did in the beginning- if we get any spots, a ‘spray bleach’ easily takes up any spots. The installer told me I could have the whole countertop refinished at some point for just $75 and it would look the same as the day we installed it, but I haven’t seen the need for it yet.

  • sara–i wonder if you can tell me the manufacturer of the table and chairs in the kids playroom? i’ve been searching target’s website w/o any luck, and that set would be ideal for my son’s room. thanks a million:) and, surprise surprise, i adore your stunning home.

  • I am dying! We just bought an old 70s ranch and the first thing I said I wanted was a YELLOW door. I love your style :) We are to renovate our kitchen as well, without upper cabinets on the back wall as well, and that wall is windowless too, and i was wondering what to do about tile – whether to take it all the way to the ceiling or not… I LOVE how yours turned out Sara! Is the tile penny rounds? Please DO tell :)
    p.s. Also – I cant believe you have that wallpaper, i just ordered it for our new dining space last week! This post was so ME!

  • Thanks for sharing your home with us – your design is beautifully executed! The yellow door is perfect.

  • i was wondering what type of rug you put down in the kids play area – looks like jute? i need to get something for our playroom and i like the look of what you have if its soft and pretty stain resistant. thanks!

  • What a beautiful home! I was wondering what kind of wallpaper you have in the guest bedroom? I know you said that you got it on ebay but I was curious to know the name…love it all!

  • laura- the area rug has some chenille in it which makes it soft for the kids. I bought it years ago at Pottery Barn, I think. laurie- the wallpaper was from the 20’s or 30’s with no distinctive markings or brand name on it- so I’m not sure who originally created the guest room wallpaper.

  • does anyone know what the brand is of the stacked blocks (in a tower) in the teepee room? thanks!

  • The teepee looks like Butterick pattern 4251. I made one for my granddaughters out of dropcloths & PVC pipes.

  • The house is beautiful – but where’d you get your back on the kitchen island?

  • Hi – Ioved the article/pictures in the new HGTV magazine. The rooms are amazing! I am decorating our nursery in yellows/grey and love the polka dot fabric on the windows in the playroom… Did you buy the fabric or were they premade for you? I would love to find out where you got it, so I can track some down..