In Autumn 2018, we were delighted to speak with The Gloss Magazine about all things Irish Girl. See the full article below:
"At one point in my career I worked for the avant-garde composer and artist La Monte Young. He and his wife introduced me to Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. That’s a classic New York City scenario – anything can happen,” says the former real estate agent Amanda Hilton Sawyer who, over a 25-year period, witnessed the transformation of SoHo and TriBeCa. Her career inspired a love of industrial architecture, reflected in her former turn-of-the-century Brooklyn home which she bought in what she calls “a pioneer spirit” with her husband in 1992, after living in Manhattan for many years. The district at that time felt abandoned but Sawyer grew to love its creativity. “If you go, stay at One Hotel in Brooklyn Bridge Park from where you’ll have the best views of New York City, the harbour and Statue of Liberty.”
Light, quality of materials and comfort guided Sawyer’s decision in transforming her home into an open-plan space prioritising access to the garden. Adding a 600-square foot extension to the ground floor and maximising the light with floor-to-ceiling steel doors and windows, the garden design blended seamlessly with the interior – something which Japanese architect Shiguru Ban calls “infinite floor”. As an agent, Sawyer had sold one of Ban’s iconic apartments, as well as classic Fifth Avenue co-ops, and trophy townhouses. Thus her knowledge of interior design and architecture was nurtured. She cites David Collins, Rose Uniacke, Axel Vervoordt and Roman and Williams as influences.
Investing in classic pieces, using many Brooklyn “small makers” to create fittings and adding antique finds (“City Foundry on Atlantic Avenue is a great source for mid-century pieces”), Sawyer’s home was a reflection of her excellent taste, and the project would inspire her new interior design business.
Returning to Ireland because she wanted a slower pace where she could “live a more reflective family life,” Sawyer launched Irish Girl in Brooklyn recently with her sister Siobhan and partner David – the culmination of many years of study, acquisition and reflection. “I think there is an opening in the market for unusual decorative items and furniture,” she says of the online business which also has a showroom (by appointment only) in Thomas Street, Limerick. Sawyer describes the retail venture as “home aesthetics for purveyors of style, culture and craft.” The name references Brooklyn’s diversity and dynamism. “Brooklyn covers 71 square miles, in which almost every nationality in the world is represented, with over 800 languages. Irish Girl in Brooklyn merges this energy and differing styles.”
In addition to flowers, furniture and lighting, pieces are sourced from the US and Europe and will no doubt be a useful resource for interior designers and enthusiasts. A keen proponent of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra, Sawyer’s states her mission: “I try whenever possible to use all-natural materials and look for new products that are organic and sustainably sourced. I truly believe we should aspire to buying pieces that last a lifetime.”