Downtown Meets Cape Town

By Janice Llanes Fabry

Pedestrians and drivers are lingering a bit longer on the corner of Purchase Street and Purdy Avenue. Sarza, the shop that opened its doors on April 1, is a feast for the eyes. A storefront that boasts a potpourri of rich tones and texture is merely a smattering of the South African bounties and African artifacts that await customers inside.

“Sarza is a retail space of curated, contemporary furniture, homeware, jewelry, and fashion accessories,” said owner Sarah Briginshaw. “In creating it, I hoped to offer my customers a place to find an easy gift with a difference, or a little spoil for themselves or their homes.”

The store’s eye-catching moniker is a portmanteau, combining Briginshaw’s first name with South Africa’s Internet country code. Pleased about the positive response she’s getting, Briginshaw has discovered that many shoppers have vacationed in Cape Town and gone on safaris. For those who may not know at first glance what to make of her products, she will gladly help them incorporate selections into their style.

Born and raised in South Africa, Briginshaw had never visited New York. Eighteen months ago, however, she took a leap of faith with her husband, John. They relocated to Rye, which felt very familiar as they were used to an “outdoor lifestyle and being close to the beach.” Their son Yves is now a sixth grader at Rye Middle School, and daughter Anais is a third grader at Milton.

“Everyone here has been very welcoming. We thought Rye was a beautiful part of the world,” remarked Sarah, high praise coming from a woman who lived in the south of France for six years.

Always involved in the interior design arena, Briginshaw was a buyer for stores in a series of hotels (“lodges”) in South Africa and Africa. Owning her own store surrounded by merchandise she loves and knows intimately was a natural progression.

She carries predominantly South African merchandise from small businesses owned by women. Each piece is handmade and has an interesting backstory. Vibrant papier-mâché bowls, for instance, are hand crafted by Wola Nani, a non-profit organization that provides employment for HIV-positive craftswomen.

Briginshaw proudly related that Cape Town was deemed the design capital of the world last year. Certainly, Sarza is replete with innovative designs and high-quality merchandise, from hand-blown cognac and wine glasses made with Ngwenya glass in Swaziland to stunning baskets woven in a range of color-coated wire. Plush, machine-washable, 100% cotton throws and towels come from a family-owned business in the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay that blends traditional Congolese styles with contemporary designs.

Other home furnishings include a bold line of pillows, cushions, trays, and wallpaper created by designer and photographer Clinton Friedman, whose botanicals are inspired by South African plants in his own garden. Briginshaw also carries John Vogel, a custom line of contemporary furniture with an African edge that includes indoor and outdoor chairs, tables, and décor. Shoppers can choose the style, weave, and timber.

African artifacts include intriguing decorative sculptures and fine Namji dolls, carved from wood and adorned with beads. The Kirsten Goss jewelry line of precious and semi-precious gemstones that are mini works of art is designed by Briginshaw’s “dear old school friend.”

No doubt, customers are sure to discover something different each visit to Sarza. For the arrival of new goods, also visit SarzaStore on Instagram and Facebook. Shop hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:30-5:30. For more information, call 305-2023.


Owner Sarah Briginshaw

The Westchester Children’s Museum is celebrating its first birthday with activities galore Saturday, April 29 from 12-4. Exploration Stations will feature interactive experiences in art, science, music, engineering, storytelling, and creative play. A special center stage will feature a variety of performances throughout the day. 

Since opening the doors of its 6,500-square-foot Hoch Laager Boardwalk Galleries in March 2016, the Museum has welcomed more than 40,000 visitors. Nearly 800 families have become Members and the rate of monthly visitors has steadily increased.

First-time visitors, repeat visitors, longtime supporters, and new friends are invited to enjoy:

  • Balloon Car Racing
  • Ball Wall – balls, tubes, and tracks to create ball runs that explore speed and obstacles
  • Float Your Boat — explore buoyancy by building your own boat
  • Light and Optics — explore light and color at the MakerSpace
  • Science of Sound — bang, tap, tinker, chime with the water xylophone and drums
  • Performances by musician Graham Clarke and bilingual puppeteer/singer Flor Bromley.

For more information, call 421-5050 or visit

The Children’s Philanthropy section of The Woman’s Club of Rye will host its 13th annual Spring Boutique Wednesday, May 10 from 10-8 at Whitby Castle.

Co-chairs Jennifer Ham, Young Kim, and Alison Pugsley-Levine are excited to be heading up this event, just in time for Mother’s Day. The Boutique will feature over 30 vendors and raffle prizes. Lunch will be available at Whitby and you’re invited to enjoy an evening cash bar with hors d’oeuvres during ladies night out.

Bring your friends and shop for a cause. The Children’s Philanthropy helps make a difference in the lives of Rye’s children through support of local programs as well as by providing food gift cards for children in need.

See you May 10.

Every week Bread of Life, a Rye-based nonprofit, feeds 10,000 people around the county, from senior residents in the Town of Rye, to children in Port Chester, and a men’s center in White Plains. It redistributes food from area restaurants and grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. It’s a considerable undertaking.

Bread of Life is hosting a fundraiser at Serendipity Labs May 3 from 6:30-8:30. Tickets are $30 each.

Rye Presbyterian Church Women’s Assn. 







APRIL 29th 


9 AM – 1 PM

Rain or Shine


  • Great things! Low prices!

Decorative items, Jewelry, Framed Pictures, China, Books, Toys, Small Furniture, Seasonal Décor - and MORE!


882 Boston Post Road – 

Across from Rye High School



Questions/Info: Church (914) 967-0842, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

At Westchester Home’s 6th Annual Design Awards gala held April 12 at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, four of Rye’s best were among the 2017 winners announced by acclaimed interior designer Vicente Wolf. Best Use of Small Space: Jennifer Howard, JWH Design & Cabinetry Pool or Pool House: Sean Jancski, SJ Landscape Architects Traditional Kitchen: Randy O’Kane, Bilotta; Dipti Shah and Paul Benowitz, Benowitz Shah Architects Whole Home Architecture: Robert Georgio, Georgio Home