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Snugly tucking her knowledge to create bespoke, high-end residential projects long legs under the brightly emerald scalloped sofa,  Sarah Zafria was all calm and charm; as fresh and vibrant as the nearby lush hand-painted wall exhibiting a mural befitting a tropical locale.

Despite a recurring sinus problem in rainy seasons, the interior designer’s enthusiasm was unclouded as she told Indonesia Tatler about the indigenous birds that occupy the room, their wings spread wide akin to fans arranged neatly on green shelves to accompany the cage-shaped lamp covers hanging above.

“I got all these from my travels to Eastern Indonesia,” Sarah said. “Indonesia is a country rich not only in resources but also culture; however, we need to learn from other countries how to take care and to develop products that are on par with the highest international standards.” Staying true to her love for the country coupled with a wide understanding that a global approach is needed, she often goes out of her way to source unique Indonesian materials and work with local artisans to create unique pieces for her clients. Sarah’s personal style is reflected in three galleries that showcase her work from semi-classical to modern in themes, including the one we shot this cover story at.

Although her interior design firm only started in 2010, Kotta Interior Design is not short on experience thanks to Sarah’s years learning and working in New York and Melbourne. She has also been exposed to the finer points of different arts thanks to her father, who often took little Sarah to museums and art fairs. Today, she applies these cultural knowledge to create bespoke, high-end residential projects with demands steadily trickling in by word of mouth.

Sarah acknowledged that interior design is more than just choosing and arranging furniture, as her talents would lead her to discover. “Each project is different and special, and sometimes I’d help with the lighting design, landscape, or any other part as necessary,” she said. “I also love to infuse artworks into my designs— either my own creations or from those I found at different fairs.” Sarah’s bravery in design is best exemplified in past concepts, such as a combination of Promemoria furnitures with antique tenun Sumba, or Armani with ikat from Turkey. However, she does admit that it is rather challenging to find clients who fully appreciate, support, and respect her daring ideas and visions in designs; as such, she always gives clients a spectrum of options to how they could apply her designs.

This story appears in the February 2020 issue of Indonesia Tatler. For the full story, grab the copy at your nearest newsstand, or subscribe here.

Photography by robin Alfian | styling by Clairice Halim | make-up by Bennu Sorumba| hair by Fajri| wardrobe by Biyan and private collection | accessories by tiffany & co.