Meet Sarah-Jane Bonner

RRA Architects > Meet Sarah-Jane Bonner

Sarah-Jane Bonner
Project Designer


Born in London to parents from Shepherd’s Bush, I then grew up in Gloucester but always knew I wanted to return to the city to study Architecture.
After completing my studies, and spending four years in the capital, I packed my bags and solo travelled around South East Asia. I then returned to my hometown to work in practice and have since moved to Cheltenham.

What attracted you to being an Architect?

I love exploring historic architecture on my travels, so that’s always been a dream of mine: incorporating my new designs with inspirations from those of the past.

I also have a passion for interior design and spend most of my spare time looking at the latest trends. It’s amazing to have a job that allows me to share my passions with clients and to bring my ideas to life.

How did you end up working for RRA?

Little did I know that my one week of work experience, when the Managing Director, Mark, kindly drove me to the Hereford office each day, would turn into a full-time role that I’m still learning and developing in three years later. Thankfully I’m now driving myself to the office.

Before joining, I had slowly watched RRA evolve and improve the landscapes of Gloucestershire, so I wanted to play my own role in that. There’s something rewarding about collaborating with people in the town you grew up in and seeing it shape everyday life.

What did you like about lockdown?

Extra time to put my hand to some creative hobbies, which I wouldn’t usually have the time to try, such as gardening, candle making and painting.

I am now the proud owner of a dozen extra house plants that I didn’t have before. Recently I have started to propagate new plants from them, which aren’t always successful but when they are, I like to give them to friends and family.

Did you take up any new hobbies in lockdown – will you carry on with them?

On top of the hobbies above, I’ve also picked up some vegan baking recipes to treat myself and my boyfriend. My brownies have come a long way but still need perfecting! Together we’ve also been upcycling furniture for our house in Cheltenham, putting a new spin on an old chest of drawers and bedside tables.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

That you don’t need to travel far too for a good escape. Highlight of last year was exploring the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands, which I probably wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for the travel restrictions. It’s the largest island in the inner Hebrides archipelago and has medieval castles, rugged mountains and picturesque fishing villages. There are also some impressive self-builds that I got to spot on our travels. We were really lucky to see it with a blue sky overhead. Silver linings.

What do you hope the world will learn from the pandemic?

To savour every moment and make every journey count.

Name one thing on your Bucket List.

High on my travel hit list is Japan. I’d love to travel from Tokyo up to see the snow monkeys in the north. There’s also these beautiful forests in the south of the island that have ancient cedar trees and winding rivers through them. I don’t know much about them but they’re on my dream list for that all-encompassing Japan adventure I’ll hopefully do one day.

If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go and why?

I would click my fingers and head to Cinque Terre, Italy, for the Nocciola flavoured gelato.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Travelling, or dreaming of travelling, visiting museums, hunting for records in charity shops, and going to festivals in the summer when I can. I hadn’t missed Glastonbury in the last 7 years, so it has been sorely missed this past year!

As a family we enjoy skiing, we try to go once every two years together. We return to Gressoney-La-Trinité in the Italian alps, it has spectacular views. Plus, I’d go just for the Italians’ portions of hot chocolate and Prosecco that’s served mid-run.

What do you actually do in your spare time?

Pottering around Cheltenham Town, I have a particular coffee shop that I can be found in most weekends, but if not there, then I would be trying out a new one. I also try to fit in a family dog walk most weekends in the Malvern hills. Her name is Rosie. She’s a black Labrador and it’s more like she’s walking you than the other way around, but that’s why we love her.