Sarah Simon, Managing Editor, The Thing Quarterly
Sarah Simon is our new muse and one of those once in lifetime women - amazing at everything she sets her mind to. A Los Angeles native, Sarah has made the Bay Area her home and boy, has she done a good job of that. Today Lisa Says Gah brings you a look in to the picture perfect details of Sarah's space. From travel adventures to creative endeavors, this is a truly curated life. We are saying GAH to this lady and you will too.
LSG: Hi Sarah! Thanks for having us over! This is a beautiful area of Oakland, what’s the neighborhood called?
This is Grand Lake. This house sits on top of a funny little hill triangulated by Grand Ave and Lakeshore Ave. Lake Merritt, the country’s very first wildlife refuge, is a short walk away, so all kinds of birds pass through. There’s also a lot of sun here, so you can find all kinds of plants growing - roses, wisteria, paperwhites, lemons, oranges, figs, plums, avocados, loquats...
LSG: Your house is stunning. Can you tell us the story behind it? What are some of your favorite places to source decor?
The house is Spanish Colonial Revival and was designed in 1917 by an architect for himself and his family to live in. It has really good California vibes - we try to keep all the doors and windows open as much as possible. I fell in love with the house the moment I stepped inside. When I was a kid I would draw floor plans of my dream home, and the blueprints for this house may as well have been lifted from my drawings. All that’s missing is a swimming pool with a water slide in the courtyard. I can’t take all the credit for the décor - it’s a wonderful joint creation between me and my two housemates/soul sisters. But I think we all try to surround ourselves with things that have history and carry stories. Almost all the decor is second-hand - either passed down from family or friends or scored at flea markets, thrift stores, and estate sales.
LSG: You have a really cool job at a unique company. What is The Thing Quarterly all about? What makes you passionate about working there?
The Thing Quarterly is an art periodical in the form of objects. We work with a different artist every three months to produce an issue, which takes the form of a different useful object each time. It’s kind of a dream job - I work with a small team of amazing people, most of whom are working artists, and we get to collaborate with some of our favorite artists, designers, filmmakers, and musicians to produce our issues and projects. It’s fascinating to learn how someone like Tauba Auerbach or John Baldessari works and then figure out how to make the things they want to make - clocks, dice, umbrellas, pillowcases... Each issue is completely different and I am constantly challenged and learning new things.
LSG: So, we know you are a very multifaceted woman. You have a few projects going. Can you tell us about your musical path and how the band Magic Magic Roses came to be?
Magic Magic Roses is a folk/country band my friend Kate Sweeney and I started in 2008. We started off by playing Jimmie Rodgers covers and then slowly began writing and playing our own songs. We recorded our first album on a four-track in my living room. By the time we recorded our second album at a proper recording studio we had a drummer (Sam Berman). Now we’re a four-piece with bassist Damon Bennett. So official! Aside from recording and going on a couple of small tours, it’s been very low-key. Kate teaches 4th grade and my days are spent at The Thing - but it’s been a really important part of my life. We’re planning on recording a third album this summer!
LSG: Can you speak to your relationship with fashion? How/do you see fashion intersect with art and music?
When I was in high school I learned how to sew, drape, and make patterns - and this still helps me recognize good garment construction and appreciate interesting design. I also recently spent a summer learning how to spin yarn and weave at my aunt’s farm in Vermont, so I appreciate textiles that carry the mark of the human hand - I love finding little imperfections in weavings or places where vintage garments have been altered to suit some past occupant. Fashion can carry meaning as much as art or music carry meaning.
LSG: What are some of the most important things you look for in a clothing item when shopping? How does something need to make you feel for you to consider it?
I’ve recently decided that from here on out I’m only going to buy clothes that I can wear for the rest of my life. I’m drawn to clean shapes and lines - and comfort. I look for clothes that I can move in. I wear a lot of black and navy, mostly because I’m particular about color. This is going to sound a little woo woo, but when I do wear colors I wear them to channel different energies. I wore a lot of red after my last break up. Sometimes I wear all white to feel like a prism refracting all the colors.
LSG: (Now for the lighter stuff!) Where might one find you on a sunny day off? Is there anything special in your neighborhood we should check out?
I’m a true LA girl. I love the sun. I try to spend as much time as possible on our deck at home - it’s great for morning yoga or reading or napping or crafting. I’ve been dabbling in ceramics for the past year and I try to spend some time making pots every weekend. If I’m not at home, I’m usually on a hike or at the flea market with my boyfriend. He goes every Sunday like it’s church. Saturday mornings I like to walk down to the Lakeshore farmer’s market. There’s also a mini redwood forest a couple blocks away.
LSG: A little birdie told us you recently went on a Nile cruise in Egypt! That sounds amazing. Where would your next dream trip take you? Top 3 destinations on your wishlist.
Yes! I recently sailed down the Nile with a group of friends and family. The boats are owned by my boyfriend’s incredible aunt and uncle, and I’m actually helping with the redesign of their very 1990s website (www.nourelnil.com). There is obviously so much history there - but you can really feel it. I loved marking the hours by the calls to prayer, which would kind of float over us as we floated down the river. It was all very surreal. Next dream trips? Japan is at the top - especially Naoshima island. Also northern Europe - we’ve been talking to friends in Copenhagen about going on a canoe/camping trip around some islands out there. And Greece – I think I’d really vibe with those blues and whites.
Interview by Olivia La Roche