Sarah Nicollier

I caught up with our Fashion inspiration, Sarah Nicollier to get the low down on her recent move to the Algarve.

1. So, what’s your background?

I studied Hotel Management in Switzerland and then added a BA in Business. I worked in a big construction company for 5 years which I absolutely loved. Afterwards, I managed a restaurant in Geneva with my ex-husband and after my divorce in 2006 I founded my interior design company. I have always loved construction and interior design. I think if I didn’t have this job I would have gone into the cosmetic and beauty business, my second passion…

2. Which countries have you lived/worked in where you feel you have gained great experience in terms of interior design/fashion?

No doubt London. It’s a very inspiring city where everything is happening in design, art and fashion. In London, you can dress in any way, and everything is permitted. The art fairs like Frieze, Masterpiece and Photo London were always so inspiring. In terms of design, there is so much inspiration to get from all the beautiful hotels, restaurants and design centres. I really took it all in before Covid started. Now I embrace a very different way of finding inspiration and I love it. I find that change is very inspiring and boosting.

3. Why the move to Portugal, and in particular to Albufeira?

This move wasn’t planned at all, to be honest, and we are still pinching ourselves every day for what happened to us. We loved the Algarve for holidays so after over 100 days of lockdown in our London apartment we decided to come over for the Christmas holidays last December with a suitcase each. Our flight back home got cancelled on January 2nd as lockdown started. In a panic, we had to rent a house here to sit out the confinement as we couldn’t get back home. It was very stressful and unexpected and not easy every day. We didn’t have clothes; my daughter had a stressful week to be able to get here and it felt strange to be in lockdown in strangers home. Well, life is full of surprises, 10 months later we are settled in our own beautiful new house, I’m opening my interior design business here which is a continuation of my Feneva and London business and feeling extremely grateful to live in such an amazing country.

Lockdown seemed to have suited us after all because we never wanted to leave again. We never went back home, and I even had my flat packed up via face time. Why Albufeira? I love its location as we are anywhere from Lagos to Faro in 25min. I love the beaches nearby; we are close to our golf Pine Cliff and it has a city feel in the winter. My Albufeira is not the strip or the touristic streets, I really got to know another side of it. I love just how practical and easy everything is from here.

4. What’s your style?

Boho Chic with an edge I would say. I love to mix styles, and everything has to be effortless and fun. The Gucci belt matching the Gucci shoes is not for me. I’m not obsessed with brands; I rather find that little cheap dress that I can style to look like a million dollars.

5. Favourite colours to work and contrast with?

This changes constantly. I’m into grey/blues now but give me green and pink and I get very excited. It really depends on the rooms, spaces and light which colours I work with. I’m passionate about colours and prints so it’s constantly changing and evolving.

6. What do you bring to the Algarve in terms of design, what’s your vision/aspirations for life in Portugal?

I thought about this a long time and have been researching and looking at existing shops, designers and showrooms. I find that the Algarve could benefit a little from “less boring” and “everything looks the same”. People play it very safe here which is a pity. I think I will just be “ME” and offer what I love all in accordance obviously what my clients desire. Often, I feel people who buy a summer house or apartment feel that the second residence doesn’t have to be as great because they don’t spend as much time as in their real home. I feel that any home deserves to be amazing. About living in Portugal. I find life here extremely easy and stressless coming from a big city like London. Let’s not forget that over 300 days of sunshine a year is medicine to the soul. I love new challenges, creating new businesses, meeting new people, learning a new language and embracing a totally different lifestyle. The Algarve is a very special place to live and brings many opportunities that I did not have in the UK.

7. You have a collaboration with your husband who’s a professional photographer, will you be incorporating his work in your design statements?

I love my husband’s artwork and admire his talent. I will definitely work with his pieces but it always depends on what the client wants of course.

8. Favourite get-away luxury stays, where and why?

I love road trips, so definitely Lisboa as often as we can. I love the vibe and to get that city feel and eat in restaurants we don’t have here and discover beautiful new hotels. A trip abroad? Bring me back to Paris to the Georges V. It’s the sexiest city and this Four Seasons Hotel is the utmost luxury. I also miss Seoul in South Korea, one of my favourite cities I love to spend a week with my daughter. On my bucket list is definitely Finca Coretsin in Marbella, the most stunning interiors and luxury treats.

9. What’s in your handbag?

Wallet, passport, mask, hand sanitiser, sunglasses, iPhone charger, hand cream, business cards, house keys, SPF50, about ten lighters my husband throws in there frequently, painkillers, a bit of sand from the beach…it’s a mess.

10. Must-have daily drink/health routine regime?

I will disappoint you here. I do eat extremely healthy but I’m not the smoothy girl at all. I don’t function before my decaf in the morning and after 12pm I switch to diet coke (so much more delicious than in the UK). I also get my 2L water intake and at night it’s a good glass (or two, or three) of Vinho Verde. I believe in balance and that enjoying life keeps us healthy as well.

Sarah Nicollier
+351 962 109 698