Having worked with such illustrious brands as Prada, Donna Karan, Stella McCartney and Christopher Kane, Sarah Crook is something of a fashion heavyweight. As the current CEO of Dundas, she’s at the helm of one of the industry’s most disruptive brands – one which eschews traditional collections in favour of ‘seasonless drops’ ideal for modern nomads. That Sarah is just such a person, living between a garden cottage in London and a rambling home in Ibiza, is no coincidence.
‘The need to escape through travel runs quite strongly in our family,’ she says. ‘I grew up in England, but our parents instilled a love of Africa in us from an early age.’ So much so, that when she first travelled to Ibiza in the early 1990s to experience the island’s legendary music scene, Sarah felt an unmistakable sense of déjà vu.
‘I found a certain quality to the light, the seasons, the colours and even the landscape that feels quite similar to parts of Africa,’ she explains. ‘There’s a sense of wildness and freedom.’
Realising the island offered a counterpoint to her busy life in London, Sarah began searching for a holiday home and, after two years, finally found this property in Santa Gertrudis. ‘It was bigger than what I was looking for,’ she says of the villa, which stands on a 10,000 square-metre plot. ‘It had an awkward layout, with a tower at its centre and
a disproportionately large garage and storage room that blocked out most of the views, but I knew straightaway it had potential.’
Sarah quickly went to work transforming the former garage into a summer living area, the storage room into a new kitchen, and one of the downstairs bedrooms into an entrance hall with views through the house to the garden beyond. When it came to the interior, her approach was to create a calm, neutral space with lots of earthy textures and tones.
‘I'm fond of a combination of wood, bamboo and ceramics, all mixed up with African artefacts and indigenous textiles,’ she says. ‘I’m a sentimental buyer, in that I far prefer vintage pieces with character to something brand new, out of the box.’ As such, there are key pieces of mid-century modern furniture by Hans J Wegner and Robin Day, as well as finds from flea markets and artisanal studios that Sarah has stumbled upon on her travels.
‘I like the alchemy that comes with mixing old and new,’ she adds. It’s a skill that she is now looking to share with others as, to complement her work in fashion, she’s recently launched Beyond The Ordinary, a studio that will do everything from finding clients a house to visualising its layout and interiors.
Her personal approach to design extends to her garden, too. ‘It’s not my style to add huge olive trees so that it immediately looks established,’ she says. ‘I’d much rather plant young trees and let them adapt to the soil so that I can taste it in the olives.’ It’s a philosophy that’s perfectly suited to the slower pace of life in this sunny retreat. sc-bo.com
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration July 2020
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