To kick off the new the year with a bang - I am over-the-top-ecstatic-excited-giddy-in-7th-heaven-over--the-moon thrilled to have interviewed one of my all time favourite Canadian designers, Sarah Richardson.
Yes, THE Sarah Richardson.
Canada's design darling.
I have been following Sarah's career from when her small studio living space was featured waaaay back in House and Home. She had just started Room Service, her first HGTV show. Her girl-next-door charm, innate sense of style, DIY know-how and creativity had me hooked from day one. From Room Service, she has gone on to start a very successful world renowned design firm, her own furniture line, has worked her magic on several HGTV shows, most recently Sarah 101, been featured in countless publications and writes a column for The Globe and Mail. All the while she manages to fit in time for her family, as a wife and mother to two girls!
Sarah is the epitome of an inspiring success story. A girl with an art background but no formal training in design who has shaken and changed the world of design with hard work and perseverance and gobs of talent thrown in. There is no doubt in my mind that we have seen only a smidgen of what she is capable of. And with Tommy by her side, it will be a fun and hilarious ride!
As a self-taught designer, what advice can you give other aspiring designers who also don’t have a formal design degree to hone their skills?
The fact that your education isn't a design degree does not mean you can't be well educated and well versed in the world of design. You should continually educate yourself by studying history of art, architecture, design and furniture, as well as studying the work of the great talents in the design world past and present to be inspired and educated by their knowledge and their tricks of the trade. If you have the passion and the knowledge to back up your craft, you can succeed, but there are fundamental rules and knowledge you need in order to trailblaze in an industry that you do not hold a degree in.
Have you made any mistakes along the way?
Of course - lots! The key to making mistakes is being accountable and taking responsibility. Everything is quickly forgotten if you step up, learn from your mistake and make it right immediately. Never try to blame others, and always remember that your reputation relies on your clients feeling that you treated them with respect and had their best interests in mind. If you add up the cost of all the mistakes and the real life lessons learned, you'll likely reach a total that is still far less than the cost of school, but you'll have gained true experience in your chosen field.
What do you see has been the greatest motivating factor in your success?
I love what I do and I love the people I work with. I try my very best at every project and everything I do and never rest on past accomplishments to carry me. I care deeply about every job I take on and want to leave people with a home they love.
As an entrepreneur, designer and creative genius behind your very successful business, how do you maintain the home/work/family balance? What is a typical day like?
No two days are ever the same, but they are always busy. I've found the best thing to do is streamline my work day and cut out anything that isn't work related. Personal calls and lunches out will just result in a longer day. When I'm at work, I'm completely focused, but when I'm home with the kids and my husband, I try to turn my work brain off. And I don't work on weekends (though I do sometimes need to go back to work after the kids go to bed, but that's the reality of running your own business, and my husband takes the same approach).
Are there any colours or design trends you have tapped into or are wanting to try but haven’t had a chance to yet?
I always have a list of colours and fabrics that I can't wait to use - that's the best part of my job! Everything changes quickly and there's always so many new and exciting products to play with. I really don't like brown, but every other hue is fair game! Right now, two of my designers are pulling together schemes for a home in Florida so I'm feeling energized and uplifted on a cold November day by the beautiful palettes I see around me. Coral, yellow, mint, aqua, lavender....yum!
Being surrounded by inspiring design on a daily basis, how do you decide the design direction of your own homes?
I try to tie the home to the landscape and the architecture in every project I tackle. Being aware of your surroundings and being sensitive to the architecture and the overall style of the home is so important to me. Our farm is inspired by the fields and the landscape, the cottage is all about a reverance for the water and the sky, and our house is a mid-century contemporary residence in the heart of the city, so each has a distinctly different outlook.
What is next for Sarah Richardson Design? Anything exciting in the near future?
Launching a line of fabric for Kravet in 2013, working on a new TV show, a book, and lots of exciting product lines....so it's a busy time, but I love every minute!
I am so incredibly thrilled that Sarah managed to squeeze in some time for my little ol'blog!
Thanks you so much from a die hard fan!
Can't wait to see your fabric line, watch your new show and read your book!