Since being raised in the UK, Sally Wristen has explored most of the world’s continents, before settling here on Ibiza in 2014, and making the island her permanent home.
Whether bijou, palatial – or anything in between – Sally Wristen has styled a myriad of homes and businesses on Ibiza, and further afield.
“When I was a kid my mum was always into making things look nice; although her style is very much not my style. (You often go for the opposite don’t you!). It was in the 70s, and she was into gold velvets, coffee tables and chocolate brown corner bathtubs – which for the time was very out there. At Christmas and birthdays, I used to always commandeer a wingback chair and display my presents. I wanted to make it look like a shop window. That was the start of it I guess. I would also help my dad, and dip bricks in water while he was building things. I was about 10.
My parents were very inventive and creative, and I was brought up in that environment”.
Fast-forward some four decades of life experiences most of us have only dreamed; Sally and her husband Tony have lived in variety of places around the world, ranging from Barbados to Bali, and beyond.
So how did her business evolve? Sally vividly remembers living in Andalucia, renovating their property, and being asked by friends to design the bar in the restaurant they’d recently bought. As they couldn’t afford to replace the old appliances inherited from the former owners; inspired by a hotel installation, Sally created a floor-to-ceiling wine tower as a focal point. “When you were sat at the bar, you didn’t notice the dated appliances, because you were looking up.” A metaphor perhaps, for the positive attitude she applies to every project, however ambitious.
Sally’s first business on Ibiza, was ‘Bite Me’ in Dalt Vila. A shop offering a broad selection of carefully curated locally crafted handmade gifts, jewellery, candles, bags, and clothes. She designed her store to be unique, evolve constantly, and provide little touches she describes as the “icing on the cake”.
5 years later, the ethos and attention to detail which defined her shop, was carried forward to Sally’s next venture, ‘White Island Styling’
‘It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make things look nice’
Sally shares her thoughts on realising clients’ desires: “There has got to be a reason you choose something. It is important to know what they want it to feel like, and what they are aiming for. They might want to rent it, sell it, or they might want it to feel like a nice family home for example. I listen to their ‘whys’. I don’t define myself as an interior designer because I’m adding a style to the place; whether you are making it feel more cosy, more welcoming, or more practical, family friendly, or they have a dog. So I listen to those things, and think about the ingredients we need to make it look the way the client wants. Also budget is something. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make things look nice. I often furnish entire properties for people who aren’t on the island. I get recommended by estate agents, and I’ve recently worked for a few for people who have inherited properties. They’re not always able to come over. If it is zoned, people can walk in and clearly see a living area, a bedroom etc. If it is a lot of blank rooms, people can sometimes get overwhelmed”.
‘It’s important that you love your space’
“Sometimes it’s a case of finding something you love, and using that as a starting point. Like a cushion or a plate, looking at what you like about it, and using that inspiration to reflect your home”. She uses the example of a house she styled in Ibiza’s Roca Llisa development. “The owner wanted the main bedroom to feel feminine and soft, but not girly; and wanted the second bedroom to feel like a hotel and quite masculine. She had a cushion and it had blues, silvers and greys. So now that one cushion still sits there, but everything around it has changed. The cushion inspired that.
“I’m really down to earth with my approach. I don’t want people to feel like they should know what they are doing. If I need a piece of clothing altered, I take it to an expert who can sew. It’s the same here. They haven’t got to know exactly what they want, or go to expensive shops. It’s important that you love your space – it hasn’t just got to be practical”.
Is there a dominant theme to Sally’s styling? “It’s very neutral, I like neutral. I remember as a child watching the ‘Imagine’ video (with the white piano and white curtains), and thinking ‘WOW’! – and I always reflect and think that would still look good today. That it’s so classic, so retro, but so now…it is so everything”.
Sally offers a range of services, including home staging, personal shopping, set-dressing photoshoots, and wedding styling.