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Interior Designer Spotlight
Q&A with Sara Ryan
Interior Designer at McNabb & Risley Fine Furniture and Interior Design

Submitted photo

April 2017

Describe your aesthetic in one sentence.

My design aesthetic is classic with a timeless appeal.

Tell us about one of your favorite projects — and why you enjoyed it.

I recently completed a design project for a client who was downsizing from their family home on the East Side to a condo in Mequon. They wanted to update their décor to a transitional style while retaining an antique and fine art collection. I enjoy assisting people in transitional periods of their lives, whether it is a young family moving into a larger space or someone like my client who wants a smaller home and a simpler lifestyle.
I worked closely with my client assessing what they already owned and how it would work in their open-concept floor plan. We updated the new interior with classic design elements, custom upholstery and an interesting mix of patterns. We then layered in their art and antiques in a fresh, creative way. As a designer, I am always respectful of my client’s personal style, needs and design preferences. The condo is comfortable, warm and inviting and represents what my client wished for.


Aside from furniture and décor, who or what influences or inspires you?

Recently, I spent time in Manhattan and was inspired by the architecture, restaurants, shops, sights and sounds of New York City. I love the Kate Spade store and its playful design aesthetic. I recently used Kate Spade’s new fabric collection in two of my design projects. I love the fun color palettes, whimsical patterns, and on a personal note, who doesn’t love the purses and shoes?

Finish this sentence: Every room needs _____ .

Books. Print books are my favorite accessory, especially antique books along with a scented candle. An e-reader or tablet on a shelf just isn’t the same.


What is something that would surprise people to learn about you?

I am a sports enthusiast and love it all — baseball, basketball and football. I grew up with three brothers and have fond memories of enjoying sporting events with family.


What are your favorite Milwaukee-area spots — to dine local, shop local or do local?

I love to dine out with family and friends. My favorite Milwaukee spots for dining are La Masa Empanada Bar on Brady Street, C-viche in Bay View, Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar on Humboldt Avenue, Buckley’s on Cass Street and The Cheel in Thiensville.I love to walk anywhere along Lake Michigan with my husband. My other favorite local spot is the Ozaukee Interurban Trail. It is a 30-mile trail through woods, farmland and historical downtowns. I also enjoy attending art shows and events at the Cedarburg Cultural Center in downtown Cedarburg.


This story ran in the April 2017 issue of: