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Monday, March 23, 2009

'DESIGN BY 5'- Housewears chats with HGTV's Sarah Richardson

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing 5 well-known designers in Toronto from Canadian media: HGTV, Canadian House & Home Magazine, and CityLine. I had a couple of burning questions for each of them, and I'm happy to be able to share their comments with you. I'll be featuring a new designer each week for the next 5 weeks.

Sarah Richardson and I at IDS09 Opening Night

First up, HGTV's Design Darling, the Gemini award-winning Sarah Richardson, star of the popular television series 'Sarah's House' and 'Design Inc.'

Both shows air back to back on HGTV Tuesdays at 9pm ET, and on Fine Living in the U.S.. Sarah's House is currently ranked the #1 television show on HGTV Canada. Sarah is a very busy girl- she also runs her own design business, writes a weekly column for The Globe & Mail, designs signature indoor and outdoor furniture lines, is featured in Canadian, U.S. and U.K. design magazines, and is a wife and mother of two. Her television shows are seen in 50 countries! She received the Caldwell Partners Award for the Top 40 Under 40, and was named the youngest Stylemaker in Canada by Canadian House & Home Magazine. Sarah is known for an elegant, modern, yet classic style aesthetic. Here are a few stunning photos of her work (photos courtesy Sarah Richardson Design):

The Carlu, Toronto's historic event venue was remodeled by Design Inc.

Oceanfront home, featuring a piece from Sarah's upholstered furniture line, the Quinn daybed.

Park Hyatt Toronto suite done in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness the room to spend the night!

A designer, in my view, should look the part. On Opening Night at IDS09, I met a friendly and chic-looking Sarah in black, wearing a slim black mini-skirt and tights, punctuated by gold jewelry and a pair of stunning chunky calfhair pumps in magenta. This lean, fit Sarah was just coming off maternity leave for her second daughter, Fiona, and she looked fabulous!
Calfhair magenta pumps from Eileen Shields.

The Interview:

Housewears:As you know, Revenue Canada has introduced the HRTC (Home Renovation Tax Credit) to save homeowners up to $1350 on a $10K renovation this year. What do you see as the most impacting changes a homeowner can make to give their home some 'wow' factor?

Sarah:I don't think it's any one thing that can create the 'wow' factor. I would rather see everything done in a room as opposed to just one thing; you can actually do alot on a budget of $10,000. I just did an entire kitchen renovation for $11,000 in the most recent house we did for this season's Sarah's House. (Photos of this $11,000 kitchen are below).

Housewears: That's amazing. Can you elaborate -how did you do that?

Sarah: We went with in-stock cabinets rather than custom, they were from Ikea, which was huge savings, so we were still able to do everything else. We sprayed some of the cabinets for a custom look and added hardware, the appliances were stainless, but well-priced, not restaurant quality high-end. (See below, photos of another kitchen by Design Inc. using Ikea's Abstrakt and Rubrik cabinets.)

Housewears: So you would recommend shopping at Ikea?

Sarah: Not necessarily, it really depends on the home. I think you need to stay true to the house. If your home is high end, then you need to do a high end renovation. If it's a moderate home, then in-stock cabinetry from places like Ikea is a great option because it allows your budget to stretch so you can afford to get everything you want, the complete look.

Housewears: If someone is in a high end home, what can you recommend they do on the 10K budget?

Sarah: Paint is always a cost effective option and a great way to make a huge impact, and definitely things can be made more dramatic by painting cabinets and changing a backsplash for a kitchen. (Sarah is known for creating interesting backsplashes and tile configurations.)

A lottery home done by Sarah Richardson Design -note the drama created with rich purple paint. Photo courtesy Sarah Richardson Design.

Two types of tile are used to create a striped pattern on this backsplash. Photo courtesy of Sarah Richardson Design.

Housewears: Speaking of paint, can you give me a current paint colour or paint chip you love right now?

Sarah: I'd have to say I really like green. We just painted our office a gorgeous green from Farrow and Ball (Pea Green 33) that is rich and intense and fresh.

Photo courtesy Farrow and Ball.

Another favourite colour right now would be apricot.... I really like apricot.

Design Inc.'s renovation of a dining room, using apricot hues (Farrow and Ball #232 Loggia). Photo courtesy Design Inc.

Sarah's use of green makes this child's bathroom look fun and fresh. Photo courtesy Sarah Richardson Design.

Another hit of green adds drama and freshness. Photo courtesy of Sarah Richardson Design.

Hits of apricot add drama to this bedroom. Photo courtesy Sarah Richardson Design.

Thanks so much, Sarah, for your answers!
Be sure to tune into 'Sarah's Cottage', which premieres Tuesday, March 31st at 9pm ET on HGTV for more great ideas and inspiration, as Sarah gives us a look at the renovation process of her own cottage.
Enjoy some more fabulous photos from the talented Sarah Richardson: (all photos courtesy Sarah Richardson Design).

Be sure to check in to find out what next week's featured Designer had to say in my 'Design by 5' series, or better yet, subscribe to Housewears blog via email so you won't miss out!

Please visit Hooked on Houses for Hooked on Fridays, and Fifi Flowers for Fashionable Friday!


  1. Love your blog! Signed up and excited to know who else you're interviewing.


  2. I subscribed and really have enjoyed reading your blog, Jillian,

    Karen Davies

  3. Absolutely love this blog. Beautiful layout...nice and clean. The photos are so inspirational! Glad I found you.

  4. Wonderful Blog! The photos are inspirational and I am glad I found you.

  5. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. Thank you for writing this article that I have enjoyed reading.
    Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  6. I'm such a fan of Sarah Richardson's--how amazing that you got to meet her and interview her! I really enjoyed reading her thoughts on design, interspersed by such inspiring photos. Thanks! :-)

  7. Thanks everyone, for your kind comments, stay tuned for more interviews!

  8. I just discovered your blog.... thanks so much for sharing your interview with Sarah :-) I've watched all her series, from Room Service in the beginning to the most recent season of Sarah's House. I find inspiration in so many of her designs. And you're right, she does amazing things with tile!!!

    It was interesting to see her own home on an episode of Cribs. Some elements of it are very un-Sarah like -- like the big cowboy painting in her dining room!! But she makes it all work :-)

    I'm looking forward to reading your upcoming interviews :-)

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  9. How exciting, her designs are lovely. And I would love to have a tax credit on renovations....Canada is looking better everyday!

  10. Thanks for joining in on my blog party FUN... join any time with your very FASHIONABLE blog! I'm sooooo glad you did... now I know about your site... I need to go look around.
    Love Sarah Richardson's designs too!

  11. What a great interview and pictures. We have fantastic talent in Canada. Thanks for dropping by my Blog and signing up. I will be reading your Blog also.
    Happy Blogging

  12. What a fantastic interview! I really, really love Sarah Richardson's style. I have my TiVo set to record Design Inc every week, but unfortunately we do not get Sarah's Cottage here in the states!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I look forward to reading more of yours!

  13. I wanted to see more pictures from the basement on the recent house Sarah did. How do I get to view any of these? Loved the look! Was amazing that it didn't even seem like a basement.

  14. I too enjoyed your blog. I have followed Sarah Richardson for a few years now and think she is the absolute BEST designer for 'clean lines' in decorating. She has taught me so much. I search for all of her shows on HGTV and Fine Living. I wish there were more of Sarah and less of Candace in the States!! Sarah does 'magic', with every room she touches, and she keeps it clean and not cluttered. I just adore her!!


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