Women of Charlottesville

Highlighting the unique and diverse amazing women of Charlottesville, VA.

Sarah Otis

This is Sarah. She is full of grace and kindness and so much warmth. She has a gift for hospitality and a fantastic for eye mixing vintage and modern styles in a simplistic, beautiful way. She has quite a knack for entertaining and hosting—a can throw together a beautiful dinner party effortlessly.

What we don’t cover in her interview below is that her and her family (whom you see most of, but not all of, in the photos below) built the house they live in–and when I say built, I mean they built it . . . on their own . . . from start to finish! For this reason, we chose to do her shoot at her fantastic modern/vintage style house. I will add that images these were shot in the middle of summer–when the days were long and hot and the watermelon was ripe, juicy and delicious! Enjoy!

Sarah with her bright smile greeting me at the door.

us: Tell us a little bit about who you are Sarah:

her: Ok, I am a mom to 4 kids. I have a little side business selling vintage items. I also clean houses and I homeschool my youngest of my four children.

us: What did you have for breakfast this morning?

her: This morning I had a smoothie for breakfast, but that’s unusual. Usually I don’t have anything for breakfast—just coffee.

us: Does pineapple belong on Pizza?

her: No

us: Do you sleep in your socks?

her: No

us: What’s your favorite midnight snack?

her: I don’t really snack much at night.

us: Room entrance song?

her: Dancing Queen by ABBA

us: Mountains or beach?

her: Mountains! I especially like clear mountain rivers.

us: Salty or sweet?

her: Sweet. I definitely love a sweet pastry with my unsweetened coffee. A perfect moment. Especially when I’m with a friend or one of my kids!

us: Pet peeve?

her: When someone blows their nose  at the table.

us: What is your current favorite song?

her: There’s a song that my father-in-law wanted us to sing when we honored him for his 60th wedding anniversary. It’s called “Consider the Lilies.” It’s an old song. It’s really pretty.

us: What’s your favorite room in your house?

her: Probably upstairs, where the sun shines in–there’s the library and a big black chair that we’ve had forever. It has so many memories. It’s just a really cozy and sunny spot.

Sarah with one of her daughter’s Esther.

us: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

her: Probably…Paris. That was so fun and surprising to me, because I kind of expected more it to be more cliche. You know, like the Eiffel Tower is just something we see everywhere in America–t-shirts, postcards, little bulletin boards at Marshalls…. But it was really neat to be there. It was impacting–the buildings are so beautiful. The romance of the city, the age of everything, and the artsiness of it was just so neat.

us: Who has been the most influential woman in your life?

her: Wow. That’s a hard one, there’s just been so many. But, I would say probably, of course, first, my mom. I know she’s impacted me in ways I don’t even realize. And then, also my daughters have taught me a lot about who I am and spiritual things about prayer and growing. Those are the people that come to mind.

us: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

her: Definitely my kids. Just raising them and who they are there. I take take pride in how they impact other people, their Artistic abilities, and their spiritual depth.

Sarah’s painting with her daughter in her favorite room in her house.

us: If you could give your younger self, a single piece of advice, what would it be?

her: Just to enjoy the moment. Enjoy every day. Don’t get caught up on the little annoyances. Just, notice that it happened and was there–and then move on.

us: Can you tell me about a challenge that you’ve overcome?

her: Lately, I’ve gone through some of depression in the past two or three years. It is something I’ve been able to overcome–just with being more deeply impacted on how fleeting life is and how it really is important to enjoy the relationships I have. I’ve been working on soaking up the goodness of everyday and looking for the good instead of the negative. I try to let go of the things that are a little bit annoying.

us: Where do you find your inspiration?

her: Oh well, of course, Pinterest. And . . . the natural world . . . just like right now that tree with the sun shining on it–it’s so beautiful–the light on branches of that beech tree (outside.) So definitely nature. And, just Art—old art that other people have done. It’s very inspiring to me.

Having coffee wih her husband.

us: Any embarrassing nicknames that we need to know about?

My dad used to call me Petunia.

us: Any hidden talents we should know about?

her: I know that names of most plants.

us: What are you most thankful for?

her: I am for my husband and my kids. I just love them so much! I am thankful to God for them every single day.

us: What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?

her: I really love Charlottesville! I love seeing the mountains all around. Its so picturesque here. I love the old buildings on the mall and on the grounds and the friendliness of the people. I appreciate community of people I have here too. I love all the students that I’ve been able to get to know. I really love it here!

Sarah’s amazing house her family built!

Thank you so much for sharing with us Sarah!