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Home of the Year judge Sara Cosgrove tells INSPIRE how a ‘no moan zone’ helps her make good business decisions



Whether you agree with her taste or not, Sara Cosgrove brings an air of authority to the Home of the Year show alongside her fellow judges Hugh Wallace and Amanda Bone.

She may be considered a bit of a newcomer, in that she’s only been on the TV show for three years now, but prior to the small screen, Sara was renowned in her field as one of the leading lights in interior design and architecture not only in Ireland but globally.

On this week’s INSPIRE podcast, in association with HerMoney, Sara joins Sarah-Jayne Tobin to chat about how she grew her incredible empire from a carpet showroom in Connemara to the head designer with Harrods before she founded not one but two lucrative and ever growing interiors businesses, Sara Cosgrove Studio and Grove & Co.


Sara’s interest in interiors began at a young age, but she told INSPIRE that a stint working in one of the world’s leading luxury carpet weavers, McMurray Carpets (now Connemara Carpets) was the real start of her journey.

As she honed her craft with an internship with John Rocha, she was encouraged to head to London where her talent had the best growth opportunities. While there, she spent a lot of time with friends working in the legal profession and adopted a similar work/life balance.


‘I was probably earning an annual salary that was a quarter of their annual bonuses,’ she said. ‘I had friends who were being flown to polo matches doing all of this, but I sort of knew like the opportunity was there for me. And as I said, it really came together because I had that sort of laser focus.

‘I feel in your twenties once you’ve had your fun, put it aside and start working.’


Sara’s dedication saw her climb the career ladder to almost dizzying heights, and she ended up as chief designer at Harrods for five years before she came to the realisation she wanted even more.

Setting up her own business, Sara Cosgrove design, her very first project ended up being a three-year-long labour of love, a hotel chain that ended up selling for €64million- needless to say, working for herself hasn’t seen her take the foot off the gas. Sara’s star has continued to soar.


These days, she has a small, dedicated and talented team that she can rely on, saying the right attitude means you’ll go far.

‘I actually always remember Sarah Andrews, who’s now the director of retail at Harrod- an amazing, amazing female mentor through my career. But she had a sign on her desk in her office. This is a no-moan zone.’ Sara said.


‘If you have any sort of overly negative characters within a team before long, it’s pervasive. It just starts to drag people down.’

As dedicated as they are to her, Sara says sacrifices have been made so that she has ultimately enjoyed huge success. ‘The reality is you need to manage your cash flow, and that can be scary at times.

‘And there were definitely times in the early days I would not have paid myself at all. But I had vision, and I knew where I was going, and I knew. You know, business is not for the faint of heart.’

Sara says her transition into TV was an accident, and without the pandemic, it may never have happened at all. ‘I started like a lot of people, doing Insta Lives. When the judge role came up, a producer happened to see the Insta Live and I got a call and I went in and I want to say two weeks later, I was on the road.’

You can catch Sara’s full chat on the latest episode of INSPIRE, available wherever you get your podcasts now.

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