Unexpected Treasures Are This Houston Designer’s Calling Card


The passion Sarah West of Sarah West & Associates has for a project is evident in her use of architectural details—ranging from door pulls designed using vintage glass chandelier parts to bathroom floors comprising 18th-century terra-cotta tile harvested from a horse stable in France. “The one motivational factor that keeps me going is finding those unique treasures and incorporating them in an original way,” says the Houston designer. Read on as West muses on how to leave a creative mark.

black-and-white portrait of Sarah holding glasses in her right hand

Large wooden doors open to a room wrapped in the same wood with an 18th-century fireplace centered below a beamed ceiling

Are architectural elements conducive to all styles? Absolutely. They can be defined as so many different things. Architectural details don’t necessarily need to be an 18th-century fireplace installed in a project. I’ve stumbled across a 1960s Turner bubble mirror and integrated it on a powder room ceiling.

Any sourcing tips? Never limit yourself to a specific shop or fair. I love a good treasure hunt and find architectural pieces everywhere from European antique shops to the bottom of a pile at a vintage flea market. 

What is your main goal for these pieces? My hope is to make each project different so when you walk into a space, it’s yours and yours alone. I create a lot of my own furniture and rarely repeat the same design. My process requires a lot of thought, but it also makes my projects feel unique and my clients feel special. 

Describe your design process. I start by asking my clients how they want to use the space and what’s most important to them. After that, the hunt begins. I often find myself falling in love with an architectural element, and from there, I will design everything around it.