The Design Questionnaire with Sara Barney of BANDD Design


In this edition of Love Happens’ Proust-style Design Questionnaire, join us for a peek inside the creative design mind of Sara Malek Barney, founder and principal of the Austin, Texas-based design firm BANDD. Spearheaded by Sara and her highly collaborative approach, BANDD creates effortless, interesting, purposeful, and distinctive interiors for each of their clients.

Sara Barney, Founder + Principal of BANDD Design
Sara Barney, Founder + Principal of BANDD Design

Sara Barney is the mastermind behind BANDD’s designs. Prior to launching her firm, Sara spent the first phase of her professional career working in the fast-paced entertainment and sports industries, as an executive at companies such as SXSW, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Her past experience helps her deliver timeless, unique designs.

Castle Ridge dining room by BANDD Design
Castle Ridge dining room by BANDD Design

An Austin-native, Sara spent nearly a decade in Los Angeles, California, where she met her writer husband, Dana, while they were both chasing the Hollywood dream. Now back on home turf, Sara and Dana enjoy endless amounts of breakfast tacos and college football with their two daughters.

A University of Texas alum, Sara has degrees in Corporate Communication and Interior Design. She was named one of Fortune Magazine‘s Most Powerful Women {Next Gen}, one of Austin Monthly‘s Women to Watch, and is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and the Female Founder Collective. Go girl power!

When not designing, you can find Sara wearing sequins, learning a hip hop dance routine, watching Seinfeld (yes, still), trying to be a cool mom, or daydreaming about Napa.

Adorable children’s room design at Regan’s Crest by BANDD

A Peek Inside the Fabulous and Inspiring Mind of Sara Barney with the Lh Design Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Having balance between all of the things in life that I love; my family, my friends, my career, and me time.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Taking a risk by quitting my day job to pursue my dream and start my own interior design firm.

What profession does your alter ego have?

A pop star. I love to dance and sing (even though my singing hurts people’s ears) and of course, I love to get dressed up and be my most extra self.

The project you will never forget.

A project I will never forget is Chloes Bloom New Build. This project was an absolute dream to design because the clients were wonderful to work with and they let us have some fun and play around with interesting design elements, such as hand-painted murals that climb up the walls and bold, textured materials.

Your favorite business tool or resource.

Ivy – it’s basically a hub for all things design! It helps me manage projects, save vendor and product information, and collaborate with my team.

The most timeless design.

California Spanish inspired. This design will always have such a special charm to it.

The biggest design faux pas.

Rugs and lighting that are too small – they can completely break a room!

Your design motto.

‘Designing spaces & places that bring people together’. Of course, I want my designs to look beautiful and unique, but I think that function and comfort are so important for creating a space that people want to be in.

If you were to design a room around one KOKET piece, which would it be, and why?

I would love to design a room around the Decadence Bookcase because it’s such a stunning statement piece that works for so many different spaces; such as a study, living room, bedroom, or game room. I would style the shelves with some chic accessories and let the piece speak for itself!

decadence bookcase koket gold round
Decadence Bookcase by KOKET

Love happens when…

Love happens when you accept who you are and are your most authentic self. It starts with you. You have to love yourself before you can fully give or accept love to anyone else.

Explore more beautiful work by BANDD Design at!

By Anna Beck Bimba