Designer Spotlight: Sarah Sherman Samuel
When Sarah Sherman Samuel's eye for design meets Fireclay Tile's colors and patterns, it's a match made in heaven. We're not the only ones who lust over her effortless style — she's known for transforming celebrity spaces into coveted sanctuaries. Read on to get a glimpse into how she creates her unforgettable designs.
Want to bring Sarah's style home? Snag one of her sample packs, featuring 2x4 ceramic samples in Calcite, Dawn, Mesa, Halite, Sand Dune, Tusk, Rosemary, and Akoya. Want even more inspiration? Check out her Pinterest Board.
Image: Stoffer Photography
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into design?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative. In high school, I took any and every class they offered, and when I took them all they even made up one for me (an independent study). In college, I first went to school for fine art and painting but after discovering graphic design I switched majors. After graduating I got a job at an ad agency but quickly realized designing solely in one dimension wasn’t for me. I left and dipped my toes into interiors first by working at a furniture showroom doing sales and merchandising.
From there my next job married graphic design and product design and I jumped right in at a start-up and fell in love with product design. I didn’t get back into interiors until my husband and I bought a cabin and renovated it ourselves. From there it snowballed.
Image: Sarah Sherman Samuel
What made you choose the 8 colors in your palette? What do you like about these glazes?
The color variation and soft sagey green of Rosemary is the first Fireclay Tile color that I used and it’s still one of my favorites.
Halite is the perfect warm white:
I’ve used Calcite quite a bit which is a lovely very clean white:
This bright and cozy A-frame kitchen gets an uplifting boost thanks to the vertically stacked 2x6 backsplash in Calcite.
Tile Shown: The Desert Collection
Akoya is a warm charcoal color that reads as black but not too dark of a black:
Why do you love tile? How do you like to use tile in your designs?
There’s nothing like the materiality of tile to elevate a space. In bathrooms the more tile the merrier up the walls on all the walls.
Midcentury modern details make Mandy Moore's Jack & Jill bathroom sleek and streamlined, but it's Rosemary's high variation and crackled detailing that lends it a luxuriously organic allure.
I also love using tile in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Like as a threshold transition between a room of carpet and wood. Or on furniture like a coffee table.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
It’s relaxed but edited and modern but warm. I like to work in contrasts, combining refined with raw and new with old and play with scale in unconventional ways
What are your top five personal design tips?
1. Measure twice, cut once (or if ordering tiles is concerned... measure twice then have someone else measure and then add 15% overage and THEN order).
Please note: we always recommend you add 15-20% to orders!
2. Get creative with your brick or subway shaped tile layouts and think outside of the box with different patterns.
This Brick clad bath features straight-set Brick from the ceiling to the floors:
Abounding in effortless luxe, this kitchen is anchored by a stunning herringbone Thin Brick floor:
3. Grout Matters. Choosing grout is one of my least favorite parts of the process and I’ve defiantly chosen wrong in the past. As a general rule, it’s better to aim slightly darker than the tile color if you’re between shades.
If the grout goes in and you hate it Isn’t the end of the world. I’ve had a grout that was far too light for the tile and we used a grout colorant that dyed the grout darker and have us the look we were originally going for.
4. Things don’t need to be symmetrical to feel balanced. Asymmetry can often be much more interesting.
Paying homage to Mandy Moore's Pasadena home's midcentury modern roots, Sarah Sherman Samuel resurfaced the fireplace in white thin Brick and added a terrazzo floating bench to make it the focal point of the family room.
Balancing out the aesthetic of the new creative studio Light Lab, our white Triangle tiles around the kitchen island to add the pattern it needed to make it pop.
You've worked with us on a number of projects, do you have a favorite (or two)?
Oh, I don’t think I can choose a favorite. That’s like choosing a favorite child so I will just pick the most recent. The Nashville bathroom with the black and white mosaic floor OR the NYC bathroom with the brick that echoed the original architecture of the 1890 built building.
Loving Sarah's style? Shop her favorites. Need some help? Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.