Alumna Sarah Moll Part of Interior Design Team Featured in Bravo's 'Sweet Home' Show

Sarah Moll, an interior design alumna who works in Oklahoma City, is featured on the show "Sweet Home" on Bravo.
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Sarah Moll, an interior design alumna who works in Oklahoma City, is featured on the show "Sweet Home" on Bravo.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The first year in the workforce can be a hectic time that comes with a steep learning curve. For Sarah Moll, a University of Arkansas alumna, that first-year experience also included filming a reality television show.

Moll, who graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Interior Design, works for Jennifer Welch Designs, an interior design firm in Oklahoma City. Welch and her firm are the subjects of the show Sweet Home on Bravo, which aired in November 2018. The show is currently being re-aired at 10 p.m. Wednesday nights.

The show is a spin-off from the first season, Sweet Home Oklahoma, which followed the lives of Welch and some of her friends. For the second season, the show focused more on the design work at Welch's firm.

Bravo is launching a new endeavor that they're calling "Bravo Home," Moll said. One night a week, the network airs Sweet Home along with two other design shows. Moll said the network is trying to fill the niche of design show entertainment.

"Everyone really loved the first show, but they thought this design show, while still keeping a lot of the same people, would have better longevity," she said.

Along with the name change to Sweet Home, the format of the show also switched, going from 16 30-minute episodes in the first season to eight one-hour episodes in the second. The longer format allows the show to focus on more design work, and now each episode follows one of the firm's projects from planning to installation.

The Jennifer Welch Design team gets each episode a couple days in advance, and then watches them together in the office.

Moll said it's fun to see the episodes and the way they're put together to make a storyline.

She said they worked on multiple projects each day, so there could be scenes from episode one and episode eight that were shot in the same day.

However, the show did a good job of reflecting how the team works together. Moll said having fun and enjoying the design process are important to everyone. Sometimes that even includes a few pranks.

"We're not doing brain surgery here," she said. "This is fun design work, and we want to have fun with it and have our clients enjoy the design process too."

Moll said they were never coached on what to say or do, aside from occasionally being asked to repeat something if the microphone was muffled.

"It is definitely reality TV — there is nothing staged about it," Moll said.

Moll, now a senior designer at Jennifer Welch Designs, got her start at the firm as an intern during the summer before her final year at the Fay Jones School. That's when she first glimpsed what it takes to film a reality television series.

About a week before Moll started her internship, Welch called to tell her about the show and asked if she would still be interested.

"Of course, I said, 'Yes,'" Moll said. "What a cool opportunity."

That experience with Sweet Home Oklahoma really helped her prepare for the bigger role she played on Sweet Home.

"I was apprehensive, but also very excited because it's such a great opportunity in such an early portion of my career," Moll said.

Moll worked at the firm for about nine months before they found out Sweet Home had been given the green light for a second season. She said they filmed four or five days a week from April to June 2018.

The filming period required many long, strenuous days. Moll said they would have to slow down while going through their normal activities, because they had to wait for everyone to get miked up and to make sure film crew members weren't in the shots. Eventually though, they got accustomed to all the extra people and equipment.

"You get used to the cameras being there, and you become friends with the film crew, and it strangely enough becomes normal," Moll said. "You don't notice the cameras being there, and it's just another day at work."

The fact that Oklahoma City, part of Middle America, is getting featured is also exciting for Moll. She said many people don't associate Oklahoma with good design, and this showcases what the state has to offer.

So far, the majority of the firm's projects have been in the Oklahoma City area and the surrounding region. However, Moll said they've had an increase in out-of-state inquiries following the show.

Moll said the firm collaborates as a team on the projects, although each individual has different focus areas. She helps Welch design the spaces, and she also helps Alex Hodges, the project manager, prepare the site.

"I work with Jen on designing the spaces, whether it's a residence or commercial application," Moll said. "She specs the furniture, and I put it in the plan, and then it's a back-and-forth process until we're happy with it and then present it to the clients."

Moll said she's learned a lot since she started working for Jennifer Welch Designs. Design school gave her a good foundation and the building blocks for design, but the field work and seeing her completed projects really helped her grow. When she was studying interior design, Moll said she imagined she would be in more of a corporate job, working on big, commercial projects, rather than focusing on residential interior design.

"After my internship, I was so pleasantly surprised that jobs like this existed and were doing well," she said. "You could do really quality, beautiful designs that pack a punch in a small space and really transform the way people live their day-to-day lives."

Although the firm is waiting to hear if the show will be renewed for a third season, Moll said they are enjoying the success that the show has already brought. 

Contacts

Shawnya Lee Meyers, digital media specialist
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-4744, slmeyers@uark.edu

Michelle Parks, director of communications
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-4704, mparks17@uark.edu

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