October 13, 2017

Fall Home Show: Sarah Richardson

In the city, Richardson’s home is cool and contemporary.

Designer Sarah Richardson shares the tips and tools DIY-ers need

By Kathleen Freimond

Don’t follow trends, says Sarah Richardson.
“It’s not about what’s trendy, it’s about what makes you feel that your home is everything you want it to be—a space where you feel nurtured, relaxed and calm,” says the designer and television personality who is as comfortable at a desk in her elegant design studio as she is wearing a hard hat and calling the shots on a construction site.
For the multi-talented Richardson, appearing at the Vancouver Fall Home Show is an opportunity to share insights and tips that help people successfully tackle their own projects.
“My mission is to create and design and, by doing that, inspire people with great ideas. Then I want to educate them with tips and knowledge that will help them navigate their project,” she says. “Ultimately I want to empower them with everything they need so they can tackle their project and feel like they can pull it off with winning results.”
She advises decorating DIY-ers to set a budget and stay within it, but more importantly, to buy what they love and not necessarily what is considered trendy. “I don’t think you can overestimate the importance of crafting a home that feels good to you every time you’re in it,” says the mother-of-two.
Her own first published project was an image showing a space she designed using a table from a yard sale and a $2.50 lamp from a flea market. Since then, dozens of magazines have featured Richardson’s work. She’s also the author of two books and is the host, co-creator and co-producer of eight HGTV series seen in more than 100 countries around the world.
Richardson explains her signature style as a “recipe” combining contemporary, traditional, exciting, calm, colourful, neutral and masculine and feminine elements. And there’s always some whimsy and a vintage or antique piece.
“I love the hunt for vintage/antique pieces and architectural salvage and the soul and character they bring to a home,” she says. “But then I’m also drawn to crisp lines and modern innovation.” Richardson’s latest foray into reality television, HGT

Richardson’s city home reflects her design “recipe” balancing contemporary and traditional, colourful and neutral, feminine and masculine elements.

V’s Sarah Off the Grid, showcases all the facets of her busy life.
“We started with a field and ended up with a house,” she says. “This show is unique because it is a personal journey that chronicles the building of an off-the-grid country home for me and my family.”
Richardson and her husband Alex Younger acted as the general contactors for the home on a 100-acre property about two hours from Toronto. In addition to the four-season home’s decoration and design, the series also explores its systems, building and construction, providing a more balanced perspective of the challenges of construction.
While Richardson’s designs are inspirational to her many fans, she often finds her own inspiration while browsing social media channels such as Instagram.
“I can see through the well-trained eyes of other creators—the artists, architects and photographers—and what’s inspiring them. You can get the pulse of another city, culture or architectural style without getting out of bed. It’s so exciting—and it’s free,” she says.
Richardson is also excited about her visit to the Vancouver Fall Home Show.
“The show always attracts a wide variety of people, from students looking for career advice to people building their own dream home and everything in-between,” she says. “My goal is to make sure they walk away energized, invigorated and empowered to go out and tackle whatever project they’re dreaming of.”
Sarah Richardson appears on the Urban Barn Main Stage at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, and 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28.

HGTV’s Sarah Off the Grid follows designer Sarah Richardson, her husband Alex Younger and their family as they build their country home outside Toronto.

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