Sandra Barrio von Hurter’s colourful jewellery is adored for the way it brightens up Zoom calls – and she has a home to match
Meet & greet
Sandra Barrio von Hurter (jewellery maker), Felix von Hurter (businessman), and Frida, one.
Sandra Barrio von Hurter lives and breathes colour, from the cheeky cherries that dangle from her jewellery to the sun-blasted yellow of her kitchen. Her business Sandralexandra was in its early days when the first lockdown hit, so she had feared that when shops (including Harvey Nichols and Selfridges) closed their doors, she would be in trouble. But then her earrings became the must-have Zoom accessory and internet sales took off. Embellished with cute curvy bananas, plump pea pods and hot chillies, people loved how her designs could add zest to even the greyest Monday morning meeting. “Sales went crazy,” she says. “But if my colourful style helps put a smile on people’s faces, that’s great.”
At home, Sandra’s style is as brilliant as her designs, with Latina cantina paint shades and vibrant fabrics in every room of the Victorian home she shares with her husband Felix von Hurter and their baby daughter Frida.
Barcelona-born Sandra came to London when she was 23 with hopes of finding a short internship in the fashion world. That was 11 years ago and she’s worked non-stop ever since, including stints at Matthew Williamson, MaxMara and Hackett before moving into jewellery. “I worked on the wholesale side, but in my spare time I was always making jewellery, and I took classes in Hatton Garden,” she says.
Sandra now designs and makes her own jewellery at home, threading tiny glass shapes (which are made in a family-run glassworks in Spain), cultured pearls or gold-plated fruity segments onto hoops or chains. As she works away, she’s surrounded by crates of faux fruit for inspiration – and those citrus shades continue through the rest of the house. “I decided I wanted an orange room, a yellow room, a pink room…,” she says, as if picking out the freshest produce at a market stall.
But the process of finding the right colours took a while to get right. “At one point there were paint swatches daubed on every wall,” Sandra remembers. “It was important to see how they looked at different times of day.” Sandra and Felix, who is the co-founder of an alcohol-free beer brand, worked their way through the more ‘obvious shades’ before discovering that tones and colour combinations rooted in nature worked far better, including olive greens and an orange reminiscent of the flesh of an over-ripe papaya.
To ensure the array didn’t become too dazzling, the couple had a steer from an interior designer, who also helped Sandra with fabrics. “She brought round a huge pile of samples, including a fantastic Christopher Farr Cloth pattern that I’d seen on a hotel headboard, but didn’t know who it was by,” remembers Sandra. Renowned British interior designer Emily Todhunter, a long-standing friend of Felix’s family, also popped by to contribute her expert advice. “Colour is such a tricky thing to get right, so it was great to get their input,” adds Sandra.
The paint shade that injects sunshine into their kitchen year-round is Orangery by Farrow & Ball, with candy-striped linen blinds and units that add a colour kick. In the living room, a more serene green – Farrow & Ball Lichen – sets the tone, while woodwork, door frames and shelving have been given a glossy paint finish to pep them up. “Adding that glossiness brings the whole scheme to life,” says Sandra.
For furniture, Sandra and Felix bought at places such as an antiques market, an auction house and online. The couple added plenty of paintings, prints and framed exhibition posters, including paintings on long-term loan from Felix’s parents. “They started collecting art in the 1970s but recently downsized, so we were very happy to accept some of their colourful pieces.”
Sandra has used the lockdowns to fine-tune their interiors look – along with running her business and looking after their daughter Frida. “Yes, I’m always on the go,” she laughs. “Even the day after Frida was born I was on my laptop catching up with emails. The midwife told me off because I should have been sleeping.”
Most recently, she got Felix redecorating their hallway, adding a warm band of yellow and a shelf with a scalloped trim that fits over the radiator. “I always find a way to add some extra decoration,” she smiles. More scallop shapes are dotted around the house, including the rattan lampshades by Matilda Goad, Sandra’s good friend. The fruit and vegetable theme also pops up regularly, with bowls of faux fruit and veggies, and giant vintage vegetable tins that Sandra uses as lamp bases. “The jury is still out on whether my jewellery influences our home style, or the other way around.”