About Sara

Sara has over 20 years of experienced in all aspects of programming and space planning and firmly believes that every project requires a strong line of communication from concept through construction. Sara takes a holistic approach to design based on the needs and desires of each individual client. She believes that design is constantly evolving with society and continues to push the creative process to reflect that development.

What inspires you?

“Nature. Some of the best textures and color combinations are part of our everyday views. Sometimes I’ll be outside and see something and think that pattern or those colors would be amazing in a space.”

What is your favorite podcast?

“One of my favorites is, “How I Built This.” I love to hear how people built their business and what led them to do that.”

Joined SVPA Architects

June 2003; prior to joining full-time, Sara was an intern at SVPA while completing her degree at Iowa State University. She became an Associate in 2008 and a Vice President in 2011.


Iowa State University, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Interior Design, 2001

Professional Affiliations

International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Member

State of Iowa Interior Design Examination, Past Board Chair

Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, Past Board Member

IIDA Great Plains Chapter, Member, Past President


National Council for Interior Design Qualification, Certificate Holder

Registered Interior Designer in Iowa

U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional

Honors & Awards

IIDA Gold Award, Government Category – Urbandale City Hall

IIDA Silver Award – Waukee YMCA

IIDA Silver Award, Educational/Religious Category – United Methodist Church

Des Moines Business Record “Forty Under 40,” 2009

Community Involvement

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, Board Member, Bowl for Kids’ Sake 2021 Co-Chair 

ChildServe, Bubble Ball Décor Committee Chair

Notable Project Experience

  • BrownWinick Law Firm, Des Moines, IA
  • City of Ankeny
    • Fire Stations #1, 2 & 3
    • Public Services Building
    • Police Station Furniture
  • Athene, West Des Moines, IA
  • B.E. Smith Family Center, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, Merriam, KS
  • ChildServe Campus, Johnston, IA
  • Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA
  • Drake University, Collier-Scripps Hall, Des Moines, IA
  • Hy-Vee Corporate Headquarters, West Des Moines, IA
  • Nationwide 1100 Locust, Des Moines, IA
  • Sammons Financial Group, West Des Moines, IA
  • Valley Community Center, West Des Moines, IA
  • Vermeer Yellow Iron Academy, Pella, IA

I take a holistic approach to design based on the needs and desires of each individual client.

- Sara E. Herman, IIDA, LEED AP