How Sarah Pickersgill-Brown Created a Light-Filled Family Home in Melbourne
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, product and editorial stylist Sarah Pickersgill-Brown takes us inside her beloved Melbourne family home that doubles as her creative project, which has captured the attention of thousands on Instagram.
From fashion to home decor and lifestyle, Sarah Pickersgill-Brown is the embodiment of chic, neutral modernism. One look at her impressive Instagram feed, you'd think she's been styling her entire life. However, it wasn't until she turned 30 and gave birth to her twins did she decide to shift her focus on decorating her home, specifically honing in on her boys' playroom, and post her progress on social media. After her posts started to gain traction, it was then she discovered her true passion for styling spaces.
While she claims she's "not business-minded", her natural creative flair to turn ordinary home decor items into trendy Instagram-worthy ones says otherwise. In fact, her ability to create flawless content is reflected through this Bed Threads home tour, which she completely shot and styled herself.
Over a year ago, Pickersgill-Brown and her partner purchased their new family home and began the process of ripping out floorboards, giving the space a fresh coat of paint and carefully sourcing decor items that would inject style and warmth.
The result is a light-flooded abode designed with warming wood tones and layered with textural contrasts. The spacious open-plan dining and living room is a serene space fitted with blush and neutral shades, which complement the rays of sunshine beaming through floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains. The three bedrooms — all with beds dressed in a range of Bed Threads hues — each have their own personality and yet, somehow work together seamlessly.
It's not fancy, elaborate or complicated; Pickersgill-Brown describes her style as bright and practical enough for her young family to comfortably enjoy.
"I love light and bright rooms with texture and tonal colour palettes," she tells Bed Threads Journal. "I imagine how the rooms will be used, the practicality of furniture and their comfort to use daily. I also consider what will still look beautiful over time with wear and tear from a young family."
While she explains the home will be undergoing a major renovation in the near future, for now, it serves its purpose as a practical space that exudes warmth and tranquility while also doubling as her creative project for her Instagram followers to enjoy.
Hi Sarah! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I “make” content. I love creating beautiful rooms within our home to photograph. These rooms give me a setting to then include products from businesses to style and provide content.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I love making visually pleasing scenes. It’s built into my DNA! When it comes to home decor, my focus is also about creating an atmosphere and making a space feel really good as well as looking good.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
As a child, I loved creating and always had a big interest in fashion and decor. I spent months making my own doll house out of a heater box, decorated with carpet, bedding and the lot! I also loved dressing my younger sister in outrageous outfits to then pose her around the neighbourhood and take photos for my scrapbook. It has always been clear I’d choose a career that involved creating beauty to photograph.
I studied fashion straight out of high school, then worked for a couture wedding designer and hand sewed intricate details on the gowns. During the quieter winter months, I picked up makeup artistry.
I continued this job full-time until becoming a mother at 30. During the first few years of raising our twin boys, I shifted my focus onto decorating our home and the boys' playroom. I began posting photos on social media and so my new career of styling products for businesses began.
Shop Sarah's look with our Terracotta Throw.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
When designing a room from scratch, I think about how to utilise the natural light best and what colour palette will suit different products to style within it. Normally, there’s at least one product I already own or something I’ve seen, which I’ve fallen in love with and I choose other items around that special piece.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your business?
Reinvesting the income I’ve earned into items I believe to add value to future photos.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your business?
I’m still figuring out the right balance of showing styled rooms versus lifestyle content. Obviously, I’m a mum living with young kids and the house is a mess more often than not, so I’m sure some misunderstand the lack of mess and “reality” as creating a false representation in our home. The challenge is finding a way to differentiate this — something I haven't quite yet mastered.
Shop Sarah's look with Terracotta and Turmeric in our Build Your Own Bedding Bundle.
I’m actually not business-minded at all, and the pressure I put on myself to achieve perfection when doing work directly for others has prevented me from starting any type of traditional business in the past. Having the freedom to style products in my own home is a loophole I’m so grateful for. The beautiful items I receive as part of my content creator job is the best part. And of course, the decor and renovations I can now afford using income generated from paid work is amazing.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
This is tricky as I don’t feel I’ve got my own head around it yet! But in all areas of life, I try to trust my gut. It’s usually bang on.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
Shop Sarah's look with Terracotta and Turmeric in our Build Your Own Bedding Bundle.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
It just felt good. So many parts needed changing but the overall feeling was that I liked the layout and saw a lot of potential. It also had plenty of space for us to spread out.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
We are planning a big renovation in the future, moving and upgrading the kitchen, building an ensuite and walk-in robe in the master bedroom downstairs and changing the laundry and main bathroom. I did a lot of painting when we first moved in and we ripped up the dark red floating floorboards so I could paint the boards underneath white. The plan is to lay herringbone wooden floors later down the track as part of the renovation.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
I love light and bright rooms with texture and tonal colour palettes. I imagine how the rooms will be used, the practicality of furniture and their comfort to use daily. I also consider what will still look beautiful over time with wear and tear from a young family.
Shop Sarah's look with our Oatmeal Bedding Set.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
Our dining table is the main one. It was custom made by a small business called TOV&Co about three years ago and it’s one of those timeless pieces I know I will love forever and never tire of.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I’m in the process of having custom-shaped nesting coffee tables made in a Venetian plaster finish to live in our main lounge. I’m keen to add in vintage pieces around the home, too, when I find the time to hunt these jewels out.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
I love spending time in the upstairs bedrooms because the light is always so beautiful. Also, these rooms are the only ones 100 per cent finished whereas most other rooms are still works in progress.
Shop Sarah's look with Lilac and Lavender in our Build Your Own Bedding Bundle.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
I love using natural fibres like linen on the beds and wooden furniture so the overall feeling is relaxed and warm. I include a variety of heights and textures to create interest. Sheer curtains filter the natural light beautifully and create a dreamy atmosphere. These look best hung floor to ceiling to accentuate height.
For more from Sarah, follow her on Instagram @sarah.pickersgill.brown.