Sarah Irving

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Sarah’s room is a reflection of who she is. Decorated with butterfly and floral motifs, beautiful works of art and cozy lighting, her room is like a museum about her personality; her dresser and bookshelf display cherished photos and memories captured in handwritten notes and pressed flowers. She shares the space with her boyfriend Sean and their room is full of mementos from their life together.

“The green leather chair is a newer addition that Sean and I bought in Staunton, VA when visiting the American Shakespeare Center. It is not something we would normally buy since we were on vacation and it was a bigger purchase, but we both loved it and didn’t want to pass it up. It’s an antique and fits both our personalities so well, so I’m really glad we bought it. It is the first thing we jointly owned. The chairs kind of represent our personalities. They are both antiques but his is more slick and mine is more homey. His is leather and mine is floral, but they look nice together. I think that’s kind of cute.”

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As we talked more with Sarah, we discovered the many beautiful things that she and Sean have collected and curated to make this room a cozy and inviting space for them to share. 

How Sarah Uses Space

There are two windows next to the bed, so especially now that it’s getting into winter, it’s really chilly and the bed is really warm. I like the feeling of the room being cold but the bed being really warm. I think that’s very cozy.

I originally had a desk when I moved in here. It was by the window, and I never used it. It just became a space for clutter so I got rid of it. I usually study either in the living room or in here. Sean and I do seminar readings in these chairs. We sit here a lot and read and we play backgammon on the ottoman. Honestly, a lot of times it gets used as a space where I throw my laundry sometimes, but I try to clean it up every week or so.

Personal Touches

Sean moving in was great. We both clean the room now so that is a huge help to me. He also brought over some of his decor and knick-knacks which we displayed, and it makes the room feel like ours instead of just mine. When he moved in we also got rid of my bed and now only have his, so we consolidated furniture as well. I love him and I love that he lives in my (our) room.

I have a lot of antique furniture and I have a lot of IKEA furniture because I am poor and in college, so it’s a good mix, I think. I own all of these things–even the living room furniture and stuff, I purchased them for the house. So I kind of feel a little pride in having people here and saying, “These are my things and this is how I choose to represent myself.”

A lot of the instant photos were shot on my grandfather’s Polaroid camera from the 70s. My grandmother gave it to me after he passed away and it’s one of my most prized possessions. I love taking photos and I never get rid of them, even if they’re of someone I am no longer dating or no longer friends with. I keep everything in a memory box because it feels wrong to me to throw anything like that away. I display the ones I want to look at the most.


Q: What is the meaning of home to you?

A: I think it’s a place where I feel most comfortable. It’s also my place. The first time I ever moved was when I moved to St. John’s, so my dorm room was my first time I felt like I had my own space. I always shared a room with my sister when I was growing up, so after sharing a dorm room, now this apartment is really “my place.” I own all of these things, I’ve decorated it how I want, so I feel very comfortable in this space and I feel comfortable inviting other people in because I opened it in the way I want. I think home should be comfortable.

Q: What objects in the room are most important to you?

A: I love my art pieces the most probably, they have been with me for a long time and I think it’s really cool how the same art and objects can come to a new space and make it feel like something old and familiar.

Q: Does this place feel like home to you?

A: For sure. My brother, when he first came over, thought that the house looked like it belongs to an old lady. He was like “It looks like a grandma lives here” and I think that’s very me. It’s decorated the way I want, it holds all my most precious objects, and I get to share it with the person I love the most. It’s the place I come back to after long days, it’s the place I don’t have to wear shower shoes, it’s the place I rest my head. I love it here!

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