Five minutes with… Sarah Ward, Interior Designer and Co-Founder of Ward & Co
Sarah Ward has run her eponymous interior design company for more than 30 years, but now comes an exciting new chapter as she re-brands the firm to Ward & Co with her business partner of seven years – daughter Rosie.
The mother and daughter duo and their team deliver luxury finishes to prime residential and commercial properties for private clients and developers in the UK and abroad. Their expertise and personal approach have seen the company gain recognition throughout the industry for their humanity, integrity and imagination.
Bold & Reeves has a long-standing partnership with Ward & Co, working together to bring clients the best service within their home. We catch up with Sarah during lockdown to find out how it all began.
How did you make the move to property?
I started the business more than 30 years ago – I try not to think about that bit too much! I wouldn’t say that I set out at the age of 18 with the intent to become an interior designer. I started on a more financial path, ending up in an office environment, and just knew that I wanted to be more creative.
So I left my job and embarked on interior design projects for friends. That’s when I learnt to draw and worked on the first Pitcher & Piano in Chiswick. From there, I went on to do lots of commercial jobs as a foreman, and that’s how I honed the craft.
How much has Ward & Co expanded since its launch?
In terms of our portfolio and the range of opportunities, we have been incredibly lucky – our knowledge and skillset are developing all the time too. But in terms of our team, we choose to stay small as everything we do is bespoke, and we like to remain very hands-on.
We’ve been working on a rebrand over the last six months, changing our name from ‘Interiors by Sarah Ward’ to ‘Ward & Co’. My daughter Rosie has been with the business for nearly eight years. She has successfully run enough projects of different sizes and with diverse briefs to know how to handle all our clients and their objectives, so it’s time to give her an equal footing.
What sets you apart in the world of prime property?
We are very adaptable with how we operate. We might work on a single dwelling, such as a 22,000 ft mansion in Totteridge, at the same time as working on a development of 13 apartments in Westminster. Typically, we will be working with a handful of private clients and developments at the same time.
We work hard on agreeing a brief with the client before we commence our creative work, so we know exactly where we are headed. Our team then visualises the brief in different ways; through photographs, sketches and CGIs, and the next step is to engage the team – such as the project manager, architect and builder. We produce all the drawings so they can bring in the relevant sub-contractors and together we bring the ideas to life.
Is there a typical aesthetic that runs through a project?
We don’t follow trends. Trends in fashion are fantastic but there is a limit to that in interiors. We work with clean lines, warm tones and there’s a thread of confident colour that runs through our projects. In many ways Rosie has been integral to that. When we looked back through our archives for the rebrand, we were proud to see that many of our projects really have stood the test of time.
What makes your service for HNWIs unique?
We get to know clients really well on a project and build trust throughout the journey. After all, we learn everything from how they want to decorate their bathrooms to how they want to organise their cupboards. We have one regular client we’re working with at the moment, who previously only wanted everything in white. We’ve encouraged them to add some colour to aspects of their home, which they’re really delighted with.
How did your partnership with Bold & Reeves come about?
I met Georgina Peech, Head of Business Development at Bold & Reeves, a while back, and we just got on really well. I really like what Bold & Reeves do. At the end of a project, we hand our private clients the Bold & Reeves manual and don’t have to worry. We understand the value of what Bold & Reeves do and it’s great to work together early on in a project with the knowledge of what we’re going to do at the end.
What synergies does Ward & Co have with Bold & Reeves?
We understand client service, what clients want and what they expect. It’s that appreciation of quality that gives us a unique synergy. There’s no room for half measures with the types of prime properties in London we work with.
How has coronavirus made an impact on your business?
I wouldn’t say it’s been easy. On the one hand, we’ve developed better relationships with clients because we can talk more regularly, but on the other hand, it’s hard not to see the team in person so often. Looking at a piece of fabric on a computer is soulless; touch, creativity, and togetherness is such a big part of what we do.
On a personal level, it’s been wonderful to enjoy the simpler things and have more time in the day to enjoy my home. I started looking after my parents’ allotment; they live across the road and can’t work on it anymore. Normally I look at something green and it withers, but it has been fascinating to plant a seed in a pot, watch it grow and eat it! A lot of clients have said the same thing – to have their home has been one of the best things in lockdown.
What’s your plan for 2021?
Alongside the rebrand, we’ve been working on a project in Covent Garden overlooking the piazza and another in Antigua, so that’s keeping everyone busy. We also have a sister company called Posh Trading Company that I started four years ago. We design and manufacture luxury table mats and coasters in lots of different finishes, selling them in 12 countries around the world. We will be part of a new luxury tableware shop in Chelsea Harbour that’s opening later in the year, so stay tuned!
To find out more visit: www.interiorsbysarahward.com