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Real Character
Mixed patterns, colors, textures, and styles layer on the personality in the formerly stark interiors.

Photo: Belathée Photography for Homepolish

This story begins with a wedding—and a TV show about drag queens.

In early 2014, Collin Foulds and Blayne Barnes were preparing to get married. The lawyer and violinist, respectively, had plans for their August “party with vows” involving an intimate ceremony with string lights, Top Pot doughnuts, and visits from out-of-town family and friends. The only problem? The couple’s Central District home, which they had purchased the previous summer, was in no shape for company.

Sure, they had unpacked boxes and moved in furniture, but their five-story, 2,100-square-foot contemporary town house still felt cold and disjointed. Lofted ceilings and odd nooks made decorating awkward, and their colorful collection of prints and paintings had been languishing, unhung, for months.

Fortunately they knew someone who could help.

Over a mutual love of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the couple had become fast friends with Seattle-based interior designer Sara Knowles, owner of Sara Adrienne Designs, who they often had over to watch the TV show. One night, they brought up the idea of Knowles decorating their home. Deadline: their wedding.

“They asked me to do finishing touches,” Knowles says. “You know, space planning and adding the things that make a house a home.”

She began by taking stock of Collin and Blayne’s furnishings and was relieved to find that their design tastes were as in sync as their TV-viewing preferences.

Big-ticket items like the tailored sectional and the low-profile bed were keepers. She also gave the green light to several pieces Collin had inherited, including a vintage bar cart and dining table. From there, it was all about reorienting furniture, maximizing empty nooks, and adding decorative elements to infuse the home with character and comfort.

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In the living room, Knowles found a diamond-patterned area rug to anchor the existing midnight blue sectional and lemongrass green club chair. Collin and Blayne’s whimsical art hangs on the playful gallery wall behind the sofa, while mismatched pillows, vases, trays, and throw blankets complete the lived-in feel. And in an adjacent nook, Knowles cleverly filled the empty space with a high-gloss table that doubles as a computer desk.

She layered more styles and textures in the lofted kitchen and dining area upstairs. Collin’s traditional dining table with turned legs sits on a graphic ikat area rug, while new Eames-esque chairs and an airy paper pendant give a nod to the midcentury-modern era.

The designer took a similar mix-match approach in the couple’s bedroom. Formerly white walls are kissed in the faintest of grays for subtle warmth, while a duo of midcentury tables and sculptural lamps flank the no-fuss bed, which sports open storage underneath. A quirky print of a Ritz-Craft trailer is the finishing touch above the bed.

Needless to say, this story has a happy ending. Knowles hit the deadline, and Collin and Blayne had their wedding guests over for a welcome dinner the night before their big day. The designer plans on visiting often—especially during the next season of RuPaul.


Sara Adrienne Designs, 907-230-3774;


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