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So Canadian eh? : Sarah Richardson

January 7, 2013


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.


Canada's design darling.

She is...


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!

XO Barbara

48 comments:

  1. Girl!...kuddos to you for landing this interview. How exciting! I had no idea that Sarah wasn't formally trained. Doesn't it seem like the really great designers truly design from their soul?!

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  2. What a fabulous interview Barbara! I'm a big fan of Sarah, and now after reading this - I'm even more appreciative of her talent. She is such an inspiration to me!

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  3. Congrats on landing such a great interview Barbara!! Sarah Richardson is o e of my favorite Canadian designers! Way to kick of your 2013!

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  4. How fantastic to interview Sarah Richardson! In my fantasies, Sarah comes with her design wizardry and redoes my home from top to bottom. I watch her shows over and over!

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  5. This is such an amazing interview, Barbara. Sarah is my all time favourite designer too! I am always inspired by her styles and couldn't agree more with her perspectives on becoming a self-taught designer. I am a fabric addict so I am sure her Kravet line is going to be awesome. And I've been waiting for her book for-ever. Again, congrats on starting the new year with such a high note, Barb!

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  6. She has a lot on the go! Can't wait to see all of her new projects come to fruition!!! Great interview Barb! :)

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  7. She's fantastic! Great interview Barbara...Can't wait for her new show and book!

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  8. I loved her from the start on Room Service! Fabulous interview to start off the new year, Barb!

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  9. Fantastic!!! Great questions! Oh to be Sarah ;) hehe

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  10. Fantastic!!! Great questions! Oh to be Sarah ;) hehe

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  11. You don't understand...I LOVE HER! I watched all those shows, too. I loved Room Service. To this day, she did a master bath reno that I still drool over. Her advice is fantastic. Sarah, If you read the comments....come to the States. HGTV runs your shows too late over here, and we are forced to read all about it on the Canadian blogs (I'm grateful for that).

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  12. Woohoo! Thank you for sharing this interview! Love Sarah, and have since the beginning. What fun for you to start the year off with this one! Here's to a fabulous beginning to 2013, Barbara!!!

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  13. I'm with you in being a longtime follower way back to the days when Sarah was sewing pillows on Room Service. What a great interview and really interesting questions. Good for you Barb and nice that Sarah is willing to take the time to answer questions.

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  14. Wow! Excellent blog and FAB interview with the wonderful Sarah Richardson! Been a fan of SR since the beginning too. Great questions Barbara and I love your blog!

    Linda
    aka ChartreuseMonkey Iam

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  15. Congrats Barb! How thrilling for you! I am so happy that you got this interview! You go girl! I shared it on facebook with all my readers too! Love the interview! Angie xo

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  16. Congrats Barbara!!!! I saw your name & blog mentioned by Sarah in my Facebook feed and I was like "What!?!" SO cool that you got to interview her!! You my friend are so fabulous :) xoxoxo

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  17. that is CRAZY! I can't believe how much thought she put into each of your awesome questions. I'm super impressed. I too have always loved Mrs. Richardson, but it wasn't until Sarah's House the cabin edition that I became obsessed. What I wouldn't give to have a family getaway only accessible by boat and a sidekick like Tommy. well done Barbara! Xo

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  18. Great job Barb! Im a huge fan of hers and love her shows. She seems more like one of us than some of those tv designers! I saw this link from her FB page as well! Kudos to you!
    xo Nancy
    Powellbrowerhome.co

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  19. Kudos on the wonderful interview Barbara! I have admired since Room Service and love that she has never lost touch of her DIY roots and approachable style. Can't wait to see what she does next - she is always ahead of the curve!

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  20. I just Love Love Sarah and her designing. Everything ends up looking like places I just want to live in, so relaxed, friendly and colors are always spectacular! She looks like a hands on designer and I too, have followed her since she first came on the scene. Wish we saw more of her in USA, can't understand why they don't have Sarah Richardson on as much as they have Property Brothers or Love It/List It!!!!

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  21. I did not know she had no formal training in interior design. What a great inspiration she is! I'm even more thrilled by her success now!

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  22. Barb....you have ARRIVED! LOL - Loved SR since those crazy Room Service days and her bob :) Lots of great stuff in your interview. Funny, I did not know she was not educated in this field. Huh, sends hope out to the rest of us hey? Thanks for the great read and Happy 2013!

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  23. Oh what a great interview. I could read about Sarah all day long.... Thanks so much for doing this and what a way to start 2013!

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  24. Congrats on landing such an great interview!! I love that Sarah is a Canadian designer with a cult following internationally. I've also been a fan since those very first Room Service episodes. She is my all time favourite. I didn't know she had a fabric line coming out though - so there's something to look forward to in 2013.

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  25. Wow! Congratulations on scoring the chance to interview Sarah Richardson! Great questions-- she's a long standing favourite designer of mine!

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  26. Lucky you!!! Congrats on such a wonderful interview with Sarah! She is my all-time favorite Designer, add to the fact she's Canadian and that makes her a winner all around! My mom is Canadian and I have dual citizenship! I'm happy to be your newest follower and would love to have you stop by for a visit. Also following you on FB, P. & T. Blessings ~ Judy

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  27. Congrats on this Barbara! How fabulous! I loved reading this interview and you asked the same questions on my mind!!

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  28. what a fantastic interview to kick start an exciting 2013 Barbara!! I just LOVE it and great inspiration and tips for those who are aspired by the design world but don't hold a design degree. It's a lot of hard work for sure, but what an amazing success story!

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  29. WOW!! What a score, another great interview from one of THE biggest / well known designers in Canada! HOw exciting, and great interview.

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  30. I've been looking forward to this one Barb and it was well worth it. Great interview. I can't wait to see the book .... let's all set our PVRs for her new show!!!

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  31. This is amazing Barbara, such a fantastic interview!! Sarah is so incredibly talented and inspiring - I absolutely love this!

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  32. Wow Barbara! I love her. Great interview. Love that she isn't formally trained : )

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  33. Amazing interview Barbara! Great questions, and its great to hear about some of Sarah's upcoming projects! You rock (as usual)!

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  34. Way to go Barbara! What a great interview!

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  35. So so thrilled you did this for us!
    What a wonderful interview & it answered a few burning questions too!
    Thanks ...as always fabulous!
    Colleen

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  36. Loved reading this - great questions - great interview!!!

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  37. Awesome interview with my favourite designer of all time! I've also followed her since Room Service and am ashamed to admit, almost stalked her when she and Tommy were shopping the Christie Antique Fair a few years ago! Her style is exactly what I'm drawn to and I can't wait to see what she's got in the works. Congrats for landing an interview with her! xo

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  38. What a great interview....love her style...she is one creative lady!

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  39. Wow! Very exciting! This was such a great interview -- very interesting!

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  40. I love Sarah. Like you, I've followed her forever (remember her Dorthy Hamill haircut and bushy eyebrows?) Lucky you! Great interview.

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  41. Sarah is one of my favorites and I love her approach to design...so fun to read this interview...nice job!!

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  42. I have had this post up on my computer for 4 days and finally just got a chance to read it! As everyone I love Sarah!!! Great interview! It was totally all of the questions I wanted to ask too!!!

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  43. You gotta love Sarah, she is my favorite. Love the way she mixes the old and the new, just so fun and lovely...

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  44. That was so fun to read! Thank-you Sarah and Barb! :)

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  46. Thanks so much for sharing...This was a fun article...and Sarah Richardson is one of my very favorites. I've been watching her since the beginning!

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  47. Wow, this is incredible! Just stumbled along your sweet little blog today.
    Hugs,
    Jamie @ somuchbetterwithage.com
    PS: I'm Canadian too!

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