Growing up, Sophia Brush Warren never imagined she would live on Martha’s Vineyard as an adult. However, after establishing herself in a successful corporate career in Los Angeles, the West Tisbury native was drawn back home by a unique opportunity. Warren is the chief operating officer for Vineyard Decorators, a business owned by her brother, Whitney Brush.
“I never anticipated moving back to Martha’s Vineyard,” said the 38-year-old new mother. “I was living in Los Angeles, very focused on my career, and was able to achieve some amazing things. I didn’t think I’d be able to have the career opportunity I wanted here.” Now, two years after taking on her present role, Brush couldn’t be happier.
“It was a very big decision to come home,” she said. “But equally as big an opportunity to come work with my brother.”
The move came about when Whitney Brush decided to start focusing on his furniture-manufacturing business. In 2005, he established Island Imports, a wholesale furniture line sourced and manufactured overseas, which ultimately acquired Vineyard Decorators. The business grew, selling to retail locations on the mainland as well as to clients of Vineyard Decorators. In December 2016, Warren came on board to manage the store and build an e-commerce website.
Prior to her move, Warren served as director of omni channel and store operations for the designer clothing brand True Religion. She oversaw 155 stores and 3,800 employees internationally. Warren worked her way up the corporate ladder from running a single store in Boston. “Without hesitation, I made my decision to come work with my brother and help build the business,” she said.
Warren noted that she started in retail when she was 20, working at Pandora’s Box in Menemsha every summer. “The amazing thing is I still get to work in an industry that I’m very passionate about,” she said. “And I get to do it in the place I was born and raised.”
Warren’s husband Dhakir, whom she met in college, was happy to make the move. At the time he was overseeing a dozen antitrafficking task forces nationally. Shortly after relocating to the Vineyard, Dhakir joined MVRHS as the administrator of student affairs. He remains involved in initiatives to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
In September of last year, the couple’s first child, Sloane, was born. Now Warren juggles motherhood and a full-time job with characteristic energy and commitment.
Last year, the Warren’s decided to install a modular home on a property they purchased off Old County Road in West Tisbury. Modular homes are preconstructed houses built in repeated sections called modules. Warren believes modular living is a cost-effective way to build a home, and still allows for creative design choices.
The home is a neat, simple Cape design, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, on a wooded plot. Warren said the process was amazing to experience.
“The house was delivered at the end of [last] January,” Warren said. “We moved in at the end of April. My general contractor, JR Construction, did it all under budget and two weeks earlier than projected.”
She continued, “I think modulars have a bad reputation for being very basic, plastic, cookie-cutter. It’s amazing what you can do with modulars today. There are a lot of options. When you’re making your selections, you can really elevate the process from what people think of as a modular home. I was very selective with my finish selections. I wanted to get a customized look.”
Certain details were completed after instillation — like hardwood floors throughout the first floor. Warren chose quartz countertops, and added a subway tile backsplash for the kitchen. She added pendant lights over the breakfast bar. The overall effect in the open-concept dining, living room, and kitchen is clean and uncluttered. For a home with a toddler, there are surprisingly few toys — and those neatly put away in one corner of the living room area.
“I personally don’t believe that kids need 3,000 toys,” Warren said. “They need a few really good things that help with education and development. We spend as much time as possible going on adventures in nature.”
As a Vineyard Decorator employee, the full-time working mom had plenty of choices when it came time to select furnishings. She opted to combine traditional silhouettes with a lot of modern elements. Her dining room table is a simple design in reclaimed pine, but she has contrasted the look by adding classic Windsor chairs with a modern charcoal finish. That contemporary touch is continued in the kitchen, with black hardware and subway tile backsplash with gray cabinets.
In the living room, Warren started with the couch, splurging a bit on a Lee Industries sectional, the size of two twin beds, in a marled, neutral fabric. “I would lean toward neutrals,” Warren said, “gray and beige with pops of color with the artwork.”
The whitewashed mango wood sideboard and coffee table, both from the Island Imports line, add a casual, beachy aesthetic. The reclaimed teak bar stools are imports from Indonesia, and the vintage Turkish carpet is from Vineyard Decorators in-house furniture line.
Some of the more personal details have history. A Doug Kent painting in the entryway, and a vintage sewing table converted into a bar with a marble table top, are from Warren’s childhood home. A large ficus tree in the living room has been in her family for over 30 years.
“It was in our house growing up,” Warren said. “It was one of my favorite things. My brother had it, but now he spends much of his time traveling for the business, so it’s migrated over here. It’s literally our family tree.”
Having found economic ways to build and establish a home on Martha’s Vineyard, Warren is sensitive to the needs of a young family trying to maintain a life on-Island. She explained that Island Imports collaborates with sustainable factories in Indonesia, India, and China to provide one-of-a-kind pieces that are cost-effective as well as unique. She further explained that Vineyard Decorators has an online and off-Island price-matching policy, which is made possible by the use of operationally efficient methods.
“We order direct from the source,” Warren said. “My brother and I are both operations and logistics people. Our approach to the business allows us to supply furniture at no additional cost to the consumer.”
Having settled on-Island, Warren is happy to be home, near her parents and in a place where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood.
“This is the best place on the planet to be raised,” she said. “It’s just so magical — all of the things you’re exposed to — sailing, fishing, riding horses, the beaches. Everyone is so involved in preservation and nature and being outdoors.”