—Sarah Brady and her team at Salt Design Company bring cool, effortless, and transitional style to New Jersey.
Sarah Brady grew up admiring the coastal aesthetic of nearby homes that dotted the New England shoreline. She would often imagine all the nuances one could create with those designs. As the daughter of a residential contractor, inspiration was never far away. It was those aesthetic memories that called to her artistic sensibility during her tenure in the corporate world of sales and trading. Soon she began freelance designing, but side projects began to feel more like a creative void. And so, after seven years, Brady left her job at Morgan Stanley and formed Salt Design Company.
Now 14 employees strong, Salt has expanded their reach with the addition of a retail location that opened in Fair Haven in November of 2017. “We started off with small design projects, a few single-room designs,” Brady remarks on the company’s history. “Through our storefront, word of mouth, and social media—demand grew quickly.”
Based primarily now out of Red Bank, Salt Design Company specializes in a largely transitional style. In the interior design world, transitional style is the meeting of traditional and contemporary styles that equate to a classic, timeless look. This effect is achieved through blending casual aesthetics that are emboldened with fresh, eclectic accents—a modern style many Garden State homes have been deprived of in decades past.
Salt Design’s palette includes a substantial amount of earthy, natural tones complemented by white or ebony walls and lush greenery creeping out of terra cotta pots. Pulling these muted hues together and paying close attention to details, both large and small, is what sets Salt apart. “A neutral palette creates the perfect canvas for layering textures and pops of color,” says Kiera Gannon, interior designer and project manager at Salt Design Company. “It also gives [you] the ability to swap out accessories for a refreshed look. The key is to be more selective about use and placement so the home maintains a timeless feel.”
Contrasting furniture is another core element of Salt Design’s aesthetic, one which strives to create a balanced room. “Sometimes this means pairing a beautifully tailored sofa with a reclaimed wood coffee table and sleek mid-century style chairs,” Jessica Chepauskas, fellow interior designer and project manager, explains. “We’ve come a long way from a quintessential coastal look. We like to incorporate a more natural feeling in our client’s homes.” This natural variety allows Salt Design’s clients to convert their spaces with the changing seasons.
“Being on the East Coast, we’re lucky enough to go through each season. We like our designs to go from winter to spring seamlessly,” Chespauskas continues. Even the home’s location plays a role in their designs. While Salt receives plenty of coastal residential projects, each client and home are different. “Not every beach house needs to be blue and white!” Chepauskas adds. Still, the overall goal for Salt Design Company remains the same: to use the traditional style model to fuse the past with the present and the comfortable with the durable, all while constructing an enduring, liveable space.
Ever-evolving and relishing a design challenge, Salt is dedicated to their client’s needs from initial vision to the final installation. That’s not just a company mission statement, but a serious mantra that Brady and her team execute in real-time. This has no doubt been a huge part of their success. From the beginning, the Salt team assesses the particular needs and desired styles of each client that walks through their doors. Part of their process goes so far as to determine not only how the space will be utilized but by whom.
“We aim to fully develop the design from start to finish,” Brady says about the collaboration process. “Determining everything from the architectural components, hard materials, soft furnishings, and final details.” From there, the Salt team invites the client into their design studio; the team presents their concept, while still allowing the client to develop their own personalized style. “A lot of puzzle pieces come into play depending on the client,” says Chepauskas, “It’s not as easy as Instagram makes it look.”
2020 undoubtedly brought a set of changes to Salt Design’s doorstep. While their Fair Haven store was temporarily closed, the team took this opportunity to launch their online shop, receiving an overwhelming amount of support both near and far. On the design side of the business, Brady admits that the company met other challenges. All over the globe, manufacturing was halted, residential construction was put on hold, and Salt Design began operating from home.
“It’s been a priority ever since March [of 2020] to keep all our employees and clients as safe as possible while also continuing to make progress with all of our projects,” Brady explains. As virtual work became the norm, many urbanites found themselves hardly, if at all, needing to report to an office. This allowed many to venture out of the city, and throughout 2020, we saw this pattern continue. Some of this migration was a blessing in disguise for Salt Design Company, as these new residents sought them out to design their living spaces.
“We saw an increase in demand for our services with the trend of residents moving [in] from New York City,” Brady says. Perhaps it’s this same influx of New Yorkers that gave rise to the new, “natural” transitional interior trend sweeping across New Jersey. But one thing is for sure, the aesthetic is here to stay, and perhaps break the mold of what we’ve historically known Garden State interior design to be.
Main photo of Salt founder Sarah Brady by Raquel Langworthy