Meet My Friend: Sarah Engelke - Handmade in the Heartland

Meet My Friend: Sarah Engelke

If you missed the first part in this new series called Meet My Friend you can see it HERE.  Basically i have a lot of talented friends and i want to share them with you because they are more than post worthy.  

Today meet Sarah.  I met Sarah the very first day I arrived at RISD because we were on the same freshman dorm floor, which was actually kind of small so we became friends quickly, i'm pretty sure that night we all went out together.  This texan-now-manhattanite is as beautiful as she is talented. She is an interior architect and i'm desperate to build a house and have her design everything. Read through the interview with her, its fascinating!

Interior Architect Sarah Engelke

What is your current job & Where do you live?
I live in NYC and I'm an architectural designer for West Chin Architect a high residential firm and I have my own freelance interior design company called Faster Horse Designs that I started a year ago.

Describe your work process
In my spare time, I'm constantly designing imaginary spaces and buildings in my head. Going to existing spaces (restaurant, museum, offices, ect.) I can't help but conceptualize how I would of designed it.  I move walls and rooms, change the furniture, flooring and finishes, I do it over and over again in my head until I feel satisfied that I've designed it to completion in my head. If I've been to your apartment before, I've redesigned it at least twice. 

At work, I'm constantly sketching. We do everything custom so I'm sketching everything from a custom millwork handle to how a marble wall will meet with the floor. From there I put it into a detailed CAD drawing and work with the fabricator or contractor all the way to completion. It's a long process but it's really gratifying in the end. 

Interior Design, Sketch to Completion

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 
It's something different everyday. Last week, I was designing a minimal baby gate for a glass stairwell, today I'm working on a floor plan on how I'll merge 2 apartments into 1, tomorrow I'll be on a construction site making sure kitchen counter tops are installed properly. 

If you could design for any client who would it be?
I'd love to be able to design a vacation home where my entire family could each have a little cabin on a lake with one large hang out house that we could have celebrations in. I have a very large family so that would probably be about 15 three bedroom cabins, just to give you an idea of the scale. I'd enjoy making cohesive aesthetic but giving each family member their own personal slice of heaven. 

Beautiful Retail Space

What has been your favorite project to date?
I worked for 2 years with a real estate developer converting a factory in SoHo into 9 high end condos. It was a small team so I really got to put my thumbprint on the project and I was on site everyday for construction. We were really conscientious of the history of the building (it was built in 1865) so we wanted to give a nod to that but also make it modern. In the end, it was the perfect balance of both that I think the buyers really loved. Some really famous people ended up buying them and they even filmed the movie Side Effects with Jude Law in it. It was a fun building to be a part of and it has really added to the neighborhood. It's nice to know that the changes I made on that building will be there long after I'm gone. Whenever I walk by it now, I look up and say, I was apart of that. 

Modern New York Penthouse

Modern New York Penthouse

Modern New York Penthouse

Modern New York Penthouse

Modern New York Penthouse

Tell us a few of your favorite spots in your city. (restaurant, shop, coffee bar etc)
My favorite sandwich shop in the city is Parisi (Kenmare and Mott). It's a family run sandwich shop and it's been around since the turn of the century. I always get their Chicken Parm sandwich with roasted red peperes, fresh moz and balsamic. The sandwiches are big enough for two people (I get half for lunch and half for dinner). 

The best cheesecake in NY is Eileen's (Little Italy). I'm surprised more people don't know about it. It's like eating heaven's clouds. 

For a nice quite dinner with my boyfriend, there's a place on our street (81st and 2nd) called Balon. Their wine list is amazing and the menu changes daily. Plus they have the cutest little backyard patio.  

Modern New York Penthouse

After reading that don't you just want to go back to school to be an interior architect?! Thanks so much Sarah! 
You can see more of Sarah's work on her website: and the website of the firm she works for: 

Be sure to follow Sarah on Pinerest and Tumblr

Or Google +

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