The mother-of-three’s blush-toned home emanates a peaceful aesthetic.
Sarah Pickersgill-Brown’s New Zealand Home Playfully Nods to Neutral Modernism
The mother-of-three’s blush-toned home emanates a peaceful aesthetic.
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour product and editorial stylist Sarah Pickersgill-Brown’s blush-toned home in Māpua on the South Island of New Zealand.
Decorating a home that reflects your personal style while also remaining functional to cater for a growing family is always a challenge, but for mother of three and digital content creator Sarah Pickersgill-Brown, her New Zealand home in Māpua proves it is possible to achieve both. Her peaceful blush-tone home playfully nods to the relaxing interior design style of neutral modernism, while also integrating elements of coastal chic, fitting in with the home’s location.
After enduring the chaos that was the 2020-2022 lockdowns in Melbourne, Sarah and her husband decided it was time to return to the place they both grew up in, and continue raising their young children in New Zealand. Since we last caught up with Sarah, she’s expanded her impressive list of clients, from New Zealand based skincase brand Kōtia, to premium children's toy company Ooh Noo.
Creating content is something that comes naturally to Sarah. She has that unique ability to make anything look beautiful in a curated space; a skill she has nurtured from a young age. She started her career in the fashion industry, then pursued makeup artistry, before discovering home decor styling and photography after the arrival of her twins. "The beauty of my work is how flexible it is," she says.
It would be a challenge to not feel relaxed in Sarah’s earth-toned New Zealand home. Similar to her light-filled home in Melbourne, Sarah’s new digs carry the same soothing aesthetic as her previous abode. The majority of her furniture was brought over from Australia during the move, making it easy for Sarah to recreate the same tranquil energy that emanates from her new space. Her New Zealand home is a rental, but this hasn’t stopped Sarah from making changes to elevate her space. “This rental is getting demolished after we exit, so I’m free to do a lot of changes if I wish (with permission), which is handy considering what I do for work!” she shares with Bed Threads Journal.
So far, Sarah’s made minimal but impactful changes to her home, including removing old curtains and replacing them with blinds, which has made a major difference to the overall look and feel of the space. Varying shades of blush and ochre are peppered throughout her home, creating a warm and inviting feeling – something that’s difficult to achieve in all-white spaces. Natural elements of jute, oak, linen, and stone have been used to create dimension and texture in the space, while also giving it a coastal feel that fits in with the home’s surroundings.
The earthy textures and rubescent earth-toned hues are extended into the master bedroom where the warm and earthy energy of the Pink Clay & Terracotta bedding infuses the space. A frayed linen lantern hovers over the sleeping area, which illuminates the room with warm amber light in the evening hours.
We were lucky enough to meet with Sarah again and explore her new space, asking her about her home’s plans for the future, and how she juggles creating content with three young children.
Hi Sarah! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I style and photograph products in our home for brands to use as content for their website and social media platforms. I often also use these images to promote the businesses which I partner with on my own Instagram page, extending my role of stylist and photographer to digital influencer as well.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
It’s been very clear from an early age that I’m attracted to creative tasks. I made all my own dolls and toys to play with as a little girl, with a particular interest in their clothes and the spaces I made for them to play in. I had a prized “doll house” that I spent weeks making out of an old heater box, complete with teeny-tiny chests of drawers constructed of three stacked matchstick boxes for teeny-tiny clothes to be folded inside.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I had a strong interest in art and fashion throughout high school and completed a diploma in fashion after I left. I worked for a couture wedding designer while studying at the fashion college and continued on afterwards, specialising in intricate hand sewing using one-off antique lace pieces and beadwork. I studied a night course in makeup artistry over this time also, and split my workload between the two jobs, eventually working full-time in makeup once moving to Melbourne at 21. I stayed working as a makeup artist until falling pregnant with my twins at 29, at which time I began to play with home decor styling and photography while caring for our babies full-time at home.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I receive requests through my agency to work with different brands and depending on the client's needs and how well it suits my natural aesthetic, I will begin brainstorming from there. Once I receive the product, I get familiar with the brand's ethos and wrap my head around the brief, which outlines what the business needs. I love this part as it means I’m not just working alone, but part of a beautifully collaborative team. It is a great starting point for my own creative ideas to come to fruition.
Living in a beautiful home is an amazing byproduct of this career which we fell into, and it enhances the environment of our family life a lot which is pretty special.
- Sarah Pickersgill Brown
How do you juggle being the mother to three beautiful children with creating beautiful home content?
It is a challenge! The house has heavy foot traffic whenever the twins are home, with toys and food scattered on most available surfaces within minutes of them stepping through the door! They are very active little boys who ironically prefer inside “play” rather than kicking a ball outside, a trait I am trying to balance out! Elbie has been attending daycare a few days a week since we moved to New Zealand and on the days he’s home, he has nap times when I can sneak work in. Last year when Elbie was home full-time, my husband would juggle his work load if I needed to do something urgently. He would join Ben in various business meetings sometimes! The beauty of my work is how flexible it is. I can turn the quantity of my work on or off depending on my capacity.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
When I began styling products for businesses, it allowed me to get a feel for the types of products and brands I loved to support and had a passion for. Based on this, I would invest the money I made into special decor pieces I couldn’t have otherwise afforded. It was a slow process that happened over many years, but eventually I had a house decorated in a style I loved and it was then simple to pop products in for clients and photograph them easily within the brief. I have always loved well lit rooms which is the foundation of my preferred canvas when photographing for clients.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
Having children. Being a mother is actually the only “career” I’ve ever really wanted. All the rest was either biding my time until I was finally able to fall pregnant, or it was a hobby that organically morphed into a job. I absolutely love the styling and photography work I do, but it is secondary to my role as a mum. Living in a beautiful home is an amazing byproduct of this career which we fell into, and it enhances the environment of our family life a lot which is pretty special.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
We began renting this cute little home in January this year.
What inspired the move back to New Zealand?
Melbourne had so many lockdowns during 2020-2022 and it made us realise how much we wanted to be in the same country as our families again. It became possible for my husband’s job to be done remotely during the pandemic too, making that part of the move quite simple. It has been the best decision, we love being back here.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
It was literally the only rental available in the tiny village we chose to live in! Luckily it has beautiful natural light, and a layout that suits the furniture which we shipped over from Australia. We are going to stay here while we look for an existing house to buy or find land to build our own house design on.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
This rental is getting demolished after we exit, so I’m free to do a lot of changes if I wish (with permission), which is handy considering what I do for work! So far I have only removed the curtains, put blinds up in the windows, and hung linen curtains which has made such a difference! I love finding small ways you can elevate a space and make it your own.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
It is a very tiny house so the challenge has been keeping it functional while still looking visually appealing. My focus was on having enough storage to keep things out of sight and organised whilst hero-ing my favourite pieces.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
Our dining table and chairs. The table is a custom piece made by Tov & Co. It’s so beautiful and timeless and has suited each house we’ve lived in previously. The chairs are new from Life Interiors. These are super comfortable to sit in, and the wooden arm rests feel smooth and satisfying to hold. They compliment the table perfectly with similar curves and quality craftsmanship.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
I love using as many natural materials as possible in decor. Linen is one of my favourite textures, it strikes the perfect balance of being relaxed and stylish. I love choosing it in bedding, cushions, and lamp shades. I prioritise lighter tones of oak wood for furniture, leather is another beautiful texture I’m drawn to. Woollen throws on the couch and shaggy wool rugs on the floor make any space feel cosy and complete. Taking inspiration from art is always a lovely starting point for bedrooms and living rooms, something which I have adopted as my preferred initial planning phase.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I am always on the lookout for one-off antiques to add to our decor, I love the idea of getting a vintage sofa reupholstered at some point too.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
Our master bedroom and Elbie’s nursery. Probably because they stay clean and tidy, out of bounds from the “twinnados”!
What are your top styling tips for children’s bedrooms?
I love that the boys use bunks still. This set fills the room without much need for a lot of other styling once the bed is made and a few cushions are popped on. Because the bunk is white, it doesn’t clutter the space, and I’ve kept it very simple otherwise with a chest of drawers and a wardrobe for clothes. The twins bedroom has a built-in shelf, which is handy for books and nicknacks. I love shelves in kid's bedrooms, I think they are the perfect way to document childhood mementos of their day-to-day life and the years that have passed.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
We are exploring the idea of building a new home this year which is super exciting! We will build with a Design and Build company to draw on their expertise to manage the build and overall project. It will be such an interesting experience getting to bring my ideas to life, some of which I’ve dreamt up since childhood! Secret ladder/entrance up to the attic for the kids' wardrobes, and a mezzanine office space… my head is spinning with all the creative possibilities with building a house from scratch!