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  • Writer's pictureSarah Fremont

Pattern Stories Interview from

How Sarah Fremont’s Scandinavian Roots Inspire Her Pattern-Filled Home (and Her Tips for Filling Your Home With Pattern, Too!)

Sarah Fremont isn’t afraid of pattern. Where others might opt for quiet and neutral, Sarah goes bold. In Sarah’s world, there is no place in her home that is not perfectly suited for wallpaper, whether it be an accent or wall-to-wall pattern. “I am drawn to the whimsical and cheerful and really making my home a cozy snuggery using patterns, colors (particularly reds and blues), and yummy textiles,” says Sarah—a tendency she credits to her Scandinavian heritage. Raised in Wayzata, Minnesota, Sarah was surrounded by Swedish culture and spent much of her time at the Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, “partaking in all the crafts, celebrations, and foods, and being a bit wistful that I was not Swedish.” It wasn’t until her 30th birthday, while researching her ancestry online, that she discovered that in addition to her Norwegian roots on her mother’s side, she was, in fact, second-generation Swedish through her paternal grandmother. “It was such a delicious discovery for me,” Sarah recalls. “It was really the beginning of me embracing that side of my heritage.” With her Danish husband by her side, Sarah began to infuse her home with Scandinavian-inspired design elements. “This has informed and influenced my choice in housing decor,” she says, “and when I am considering rooms and spaces I definitely consult all of my Carl Larsson books.”

Today, Sarah and her family live in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico after recently selling their Texas home. “My husband traveled internationally a lot before the pandemic hit and, like everyone else, he shifted to working from home during the lockdown,” says Sarah. “It was during that time that I read to my children a picture book biography of Georgia O’Keefe and I became completely drawn to (obsessed with!) the New Mexican landscape. I just had to get there.”

While her fixer-upper home in New Mexico had long been abandoned, it “was once an architectural beauty with all of the traditional New Mexican elements: brick floors, wood ceilings, and stucco garden walls,” says Sarah. “We are in the process of lovingly restoring this home and I am looking to the homes and gardens of O’Keefe for all of my inspiration—with a Nordic flare!” Much of that Nordic flare has come from pattern, particularly wallpaper. An avid gardener (she writes and photographs gardening articles for a girls’ magazine), Sarah often draws inspiration for inside her home from what’s just outside it. “I like my garden to have the same whimsy and cheerfulness as my home: vegetables mixed with flowers, delightful garden trellises painted red, sprawling vines, and fairy lights,” she says. “As a result, I am definitely drawn to wallpaper that has garden and nature elements.”

After many rooms filled with many patterns, Sarah has picked up more than a few tips and tricks for using wallpaper to create beautiful spaces that feel like home. Here are just a few of her favorites:

  • “I start a folder in Pinterest for each room that I am considering wallpapering. Start collecting ideas so you can see a common theme for where you are heading. Be specific in your search field with words like: red, blue, small floral, dark floral, Scandinavian, bohemian, nature, folk, mural, etc.”

  • “I prefer accent walls for hallways, entries, stairwells, and backs of shelving. These pass-through areas are perfect for the bold patterns you may be hesitant to use elsewhere.”

  • “I like wall-to-wall wallpaper in bedrooms and bathrooms. I had initially done only two walls in a bathroom but went back and did the entire room and it felt much more finished and cheerful.”

  • “Do not be afraid to put nail holes in your wallpaper to add art. Think of the wallpaper as the first layer. Art can be a great way to break up the pattern and add a lovely second layer to the walls.”

  • “I’ve used wainscoting on the lower half of the wall and wallpaper on the top half. Less wallpaper is used and it makes for the coziest room.”

  • “Do not be afraid! Wallpaper is not permanent, so do not think you have to find the most perfect wallpaper in the universe before you go for it. If you tire of it or change your mind down the road, it can be removed.”

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