After a decade long career as a writer and editor in NYC, traveling the world and reporting on fashion and design for magazines like Town & Country, ELLE Decor, Veranda, Hamptons and more, Sarah Bray moved to the beautiful island of Bermuda this past year, where she remains prolific in her creative endeavors! Her innate love of thrifting and anything artisanal or antique and unique informs her ideology and her super chic style in designing her own collection of sun-hats, caftans and accessories made from vintage, recycled and biodegradable materials, now available under her namesake brand Sarah Bray Bermuda.
Sarah brought the same love for all things antique and artisanal to setting a stunning tablescape for her Bermuda Cup Match lunch this past August. Centered around a cricket match, it is the biggest celebratory holiday event on Bermuda’s calendar commemorating the end of slavery in 1834. We are thrilled she used our artisan-made, block printed Amaya tablecloth and napkins, mixed in with antique porcelain plates and candlestick holders to set the scene!
“As a millennial growing up in Texas, everything seemed so fake and mass… I am anti fast-fashion. Good things take time!” – everything Sarah believes in is a natural fit with everything we do at Marigold Living of creating fine, meticulously crafted, authentic Indian home textiles and scarves. In our latest Style Guide, we are pleased to share Sarah’s tips and tricks for creating unique and chic table settings with thrifted finds and linens, which “are so important and really are the backdrop to everything”.
The Event – A Bermuda Cup Match Lunch
“Cup Match marks the end of slavery in 1834… the holiday weekend is anchored around a cricket match”.
Q: What event did you decorate this gorgeous table for?
A: A Bermuda Cup Match lunch. In Bermuda, Cup Match Weekend is as big as Christmas! Cup Match marks the end of slavery in 1834 and takes place over several days at the beginning of August. For 118 years, the holiday weekend has been anchored around a heated cricket match between two island rivals, St. George’s (the team colors are blue and white) and Somerset (red, white and blue). But, the fun continues all weekend long with beach parties, boat raft-ups and plenty of seafood and island cocktails!
Tips for Elevated Decorating for a Holiday
“I always mix in antique porcelain plates and candlestick holders I find at flea markets…. Linens are so important and really are the backdrop to everything though”.
Q: Are there any rules you follow when decorating for a specific holiday, without it looking gimmicky?
A: To keep things elevated and unique, I always mix in antique porcelain plates and candlestick holders. While you can find them at fancy places like 1stDibs and Chairish, I find them at flea markets and thrift stores. I love classic bamboo flatware, real silverware, and Laguiole flatware. Linens are so important and really are the backdrop to everything though. Nice pressed linens set the tone for the entire table. I use spray starch to get them extra perfect!
Importance of Collecting Thrifted Tabletop Options
“…having a lot of tabletop options makes it easier to set a stunning table. I never get caught up in having a set, but I do look out for the same colors and styles.”
Q: Such a great idea to tie a napkin around the champagne, do you have any other tricks up your sleeve for a creative table?
A: Thank you! Knotting a napkin around a champagne or wine bottle makes it all the more fancy. I collect vintage hotel silver champagne buckets, and look out for them when I am thrifting. It’s always so hot in Bermuda so anything on ice is preferred! Not to sound like a complete hoarder, but I find having a lot of tabletop options in your party closet makes it easier to set a stunning table. Perhaps, I learned how important options were when I was an editor at House Beautiful, ELLE Decor, Veranda, and Town & Country. So much to the dismay of my husband, I have an extra closet devoted to my tabletop objects. When we lived in New York, I actually had two extra storage units to house all of my thrifted antique plates, vintage linens, and tabletop objects. The good thing about porcelain plates and anything metal for the table is that you don’t need it to be climate controlled, so even storing your tabletop stash in the garage would work!
Don’t get so caught up in being matchy-matchy… stick with a color palette though. Even though it’s nice to have big sets, I never get caught up in having a set of anything. But I do look out for the same colors and styles when I am thrifting and shopping, I always love antique blue and white china, floral linens, antique silver, Murano glassware, and old heavy brass candlesticks…. They all were picked up from different places but because they all complement each other, I think it works!
Must-haves for Everyday Table
Q: Any must-haves for your everyday table?
A: Good glassware and silverware is a must! I really can’t use a basic knife now that I’m used to Laguiole steak knives. Also, if I am drinking wine at home it has to be out of a Reidel glass. Not to sound like a super snob, but the wine just tastes differently out of a thin-lipped wine glass and Reidel makes really delicate ones.
Q: How has Bermuda shaped or influenced your personal style since moving there? How does the island inspire you?
A: In so many ways! When you live near the ocean you have to decorate completely differently than you would in my previous apartments in Manhattan and Dallas. You can’t have heavy textiles or anything made out of fake wood or carpets. While I love setting a table with vintage suzanis as tablecloths, it’s super impractical in Bermuda. Everything needs to be machine washable, which is why I love Marigold Living’s collection of cotton table linens!
Since the island is just sitting out in the middle of the Atlantic, we are really exposed to sea salt and hurricanes so our buildings are made with natural coral stones that can withstand the elements. The stone walls weather and chip so beautifully and homes are never “perfect” by American standards here. I have grown to appreciate and love our weathering walls that warp with the seasons and embrace imperfections in general.
The Universal Appeal of Indian Textiles
“Indian block printing is one of the oldest art forms, but yet always feels so fresh and colorful—it goes with all styles in my opinion”.
Q: Is there any connection in your background with Indian design and can you please share what draws you to it?
A: I adore India! A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit to write a story on jewelry for Town & Country. The country was beyond beautiful and the artistry everywhere blew my mind. I hope to go back to India soon after COVID and see more of the incredible country.
Q: How would you advise someone with an all-American home to incorporate Indian textiles into their decor?
A: The eye has to travel to appreciate global design and history. I know with COVID, it’s impossible to travel to far-flung places, but seeing the world has really shaped my eye and I think many interior designers would credit their art-loving eyes to the same. Since we can’t travel, follow some well-traveled interior designers and style makers for inspiration like Alessandra Branca, Lisa Fine, Tom Scheerer, Michael S. Smith…. Pick-up an issue of House & Garden UK, Cabana or World of Interiors. Indian block printing is one of the oldest art forms, but yet always feels so fresh and colorful—it goes with all styles in my opinion.
The Inspiration Behind Sarah Bray Bermuda
“I love… anything artisanal or antique and unique. I am anti fast-fashion.
Good things take time!”
Q: We love your new lifestyle brand, Sarah Bray Bermuda, can you tell us about your future plans?
A: Thank you! When I moved to Bermuda, I knew I wanted to open a shop and perhaps a B&B. There is so much beauty in Bermuda that I want to celebrate and share with others. I love thrifting and antiques, as you can tell! So I wanted to start a brand that upcycles and recycles as much as possible, and when old materials are not available I want to try to commit to using biodegradable materials when possible. So we started with sun hats because they are mostly made of natural straw that won’t last long in a landfill and they aren’t made with any dyes. My caftans and headbands are all made from antique and vintage fabrics, as to not bring any additional waste into our beautiful world. I am also launching bamboo bags this fall! Bamboo is one of our world’s most renewable materials.
Q: What catches your eye when you’re sourcing textiles and materials for your home, personal style and your new brand?
A: I love anything that doesn’t look manufactured. As a millennial growing up in Texas, everything seemed so fake and mass. As I grew up, my eyes were so refreshed when I would see anything artisanal or antique and unique. The more unique the better. I am anti fast-fashion and really anti anything that’s too fast (Amazon is super scary if you think about It!). Good things take time! I love supporting local businesses, artisans and shopping small.