Creating in community is always better
As she sits in her beautiful Berlin apartment, sunlight peeking through curtains illuminating all her DIY projects scattered around her home, they shine like trophies of memories made a new. The 27-year-old designer and prolific DIY home project creator humbly describes herself as just “creating things in my home” on her Instagram profile. A profile that non only caters to nearly 37K followers, but also is a great source of inspiration and communication when doing the thing she loves most. DIY projects.
It must be in the blood, as Sarah’s fascination with reworking, up-cycling, and reinterpreting vintage objects and furniture were passed onto her by her mother who was herself an avid bargain hunter for just the right objects. What started as simply decorating her flat as she eased into living alone in adult life, turned into a passion that led to more objects, more furniture, and more ways to give them facelifts. Facelifts that are inspired by her love of 70s design and color combinations. Pastels and browns to be precise.
But what is old, eventually becomes new. And when it’s old again, it’s time to reach out to her community for feedback, inspiration, and tips. Self-taught, her DIY vocabulary is heavily supported by her activeness online. Not only on Instagram where she can express herself documenting her creative process for all to see and learn but also with the genuine interaction with her followers and friends, who also play an active role in what she does. Whether it be feedback and tips, or links to ads and bargains for objects and furniture that help Hartmann find just the right materials for her ideas.
With a special spot in her heart for violets, the browns and earth tones that often accompany them look right at home. Her projects are mainly focused on the changing of color and color combinations to breathe new life into already interesting objects. Meaning little more than some sand paper, some primer, and color are all that is needed to make things happen. That was until we introduced her to the Montana Granite Effect spray and Montana Metallic spray lines which introduced different origins of color and texture. The Granite Effect gave new life to a simple wooden display tray, while the Montana Metallic sprays put some funk back into a classy vintage lamp base and vase.
To have such a clear idea and direction at such a young age was as intriguing for us as the work itself. The perfect invitation for us to reach out and request to Meet, Sarah Hartmann for a little chat. The cold, yet partly sunny Berlin day played out as backdrop, and Sarah Hartmann gave us a little insight into her creative life.
Interview with Sarah Hartmann
allspraypainted: How did your career start? Is there a moment when you knew that creative work as your preferred way of working?
Sarah Hartmann: There was no specific moment when I knew that I wanted to work creatively, it felt like it had already been decided for me. As a child, my dream job was to be an artist, then later a fashion designer, and finally, I studied graphic design. My current profession takes place mainly on screen, so I love the hands-on aspect of DIY projects even more.
allspraypainted: Where do you find the most inspiration?
Sarah Hartmann: I find most of my inspiration through the exchange in the interior community on social media. Just like in fashion, trends come and go faster than you can look and I try not to follow them too much, but instead, make my interpretation of them.
allspraypainted: What role do craft materials play in your work?
Sarah Hartmann: Craftsmanship is the basis of all my projects. I am not a professional in this field and somehow taught myself everything. Accordingly, failed projects are just as much a part of the learning process as successful ones.
allspraypainted: How did your interest in interior design come about?
Sarah Hartmann: The interest in vintage furniture and interior themes I share with my mom, who helped me back then when I moved into my first apartment alone. It was the moment I could choose the right Mid Century furniture that I wanted. Through my studies, I got to know some designers and styles and became more and more interested in interior design. In my apartment, I could finally really let off steam and not have to compromise with any of my choices.
allspraypainted: Part of your concept for allspraypainted meets is a lamp you paint. What is the process of designing projects and which part is your favorite?
Sarah Hartmann: I work with little to no mood boards, and usually don’t plan my projects in advance. Since I work mostly with second-hand furniture and decor, the found item itself dictates my next steps. Mostly I choose items that get a whole new modern look through a new color. To do this, I roughen the material a bit with sandpaper and then I can get started with the paint. I love to see how the old object (through the new color) suddenly gets its place in my apartment and becomes part of my decor as if it had always been there.
allspraypainted: How would you rate the role of Instagram in the context of your work?
Sarah Hartmann: Instagram plays a big role in my work. It is the platform on which I and my work take place the most. Starting with the inspiration that floods on my phone every day from posts from all over the world. I also like to let my followers participate in my projects through Instagram by letting them determine what color to use in my Stories or asking for tips and tricks.
allspraypainted: Which color or effect in the Montana product line do you like the most?
Sarah Hartmann: I just worked with the Granite Effect Spray for the first time and I’m really excited about the end result. I didn’t think the effect would look and feel so good on the wood tray. With the Granite Effect Spray, you can immediately create a whole new look without much effort. This can be used to quickly and successfully implement small DIY projects with great ease.
allspraypainted: How balanced is the proportion between digital and analog in your work?
Sarah Hartmann: As far as my digital work goes, you need to consider the sometimes very tedious and time-consuming research work for second-hand vintage furniture and accessories. Most of my finds I have bought through classified ads or auction platforms online where you usually have to act quickly to get a bargain. Accordingly, I spend a lot of time on various platforms for vintage furniture to compare and negotiate. The analog part is much more fun for me as it is the actual process of working on the furniture and seeing it transform. Of course, mistakes happen and some things just don’t work out or the right tool is missing. But I haven’t yet had a slip-up that I couldn’t somehow fix. In the end, none of my projects are perfect, but that’s probably what makes them so charming.
allspraypainted: What are your plans for 2022?
Sarah Hartmann: Almost half of the year 2022 is already over and I’m just incredibly grateful that I could already inspire so many people with my projects. I hope in the coming months that I take more time to be able to implement even more projects and involve my community even more. It’s a lot of fun to document the creative process and exchange ideas about it.
allspraypainted: How important is color in your work?
Sarah Hartmann: I think what makes me different from other creative profiles is the color selection. I don’t shy away from color but pay attention to a harmonious overall picture. My world of color is very much inspired by the 70s. I particularly love the interplay of pastels and browns. Even if I no longer like a particular color in my project or it simply no longer fits into the overall concept, it can be easily changed again with a new color or Effect spray.
allspraypainted: Has the exchange with your community changed the way you work?
Sarah Hartmann: The exchange with my community is very important to me. My followers even send me ads for special finds, which of course makes my work easier. I also always have an open ear for any interior questions and try to answer every message. I’m especially happy to see photos and videos of projects that are inspired by my DIYs.
Whether it’s Mid Century, the 70s, or another period in time that turn you on, or you have your own niche in furniture and object upcycling, Sarah Hartmann has that special something that we can all get inspired by. A child of now with a passion for the past makes for a great combination in creativity. As does her role as creator in the modern day communities both online and offline. We can’t wait to see what else is round the corner in her cosy Berlin abode.