An interview with Sarah Richardson; meet Sarah in person September 25th at the Ottawa Fall Home Show, at the EY Centre, on stage 4:30 p.m.
Q-Where does your inspiration come from?
A-Inspiration is everywhere for me - in travel, in nature, in magazines and books, but also in technology. What's truly amazing now is that you can be inspired and rejuvenated without ever leaving home thanks to incredible visual resources like Instagram and Pinterest. I start every day by skimming through instagram and pinterest on my phone while having my morning latte and it gets me going for the day. I am immediately taken on a world tour of architecture, nature, art and fashion that takes me to far-flung places and opens my eyes to things I've never seen before, all thanks to the adventures of others. There is so much to explore and so much to drink in (sometimes I need a second cup just so I can keep looking and dreaming!).
Q-How do you think lifestyle should influence décor?
A-Lifestyle is everything in decor. You MUST design for how you live in order to be successful. A house filled with kids, cats and dogs requires a different approach to one owned by empty nesters. I need to know how people live in order to be able to design for them. I love to entertain and thrive on a house that is used and appreciated, so our homes are filled with practical materials and design choices that stand the test of time. Life happens at home and you shouldn't spend your time worrying about it. I've always been drawn to simple materials with thoughtful design details that create naturally beautiful interiors.
Q-What would you consider your signature style to be?
A-I've always said that I design interiors for modern living that are informed by a classic perspective. This means I appreciate the soulful elements of antiques and historic architecture, and the timeworn history of vintage furniture and decor, but then I reinterpret them and mix them with contemporary influences and new materials to find a harmonious balance that is fresh and new and speaks to tastes of a contemporary audience. So that's my overall approach to design, but I'm obviously also known for my love of colour and pattern. No matter what the style or the budget, I appreciate and celebrate the simple things in life and am drawn to natural materials over glitz. I've built a career on being approachable and accessible and helping people make the most of whatever resources they have available to improve their home. I think great style isn't about how much you have, but how you use it. I've got a new book coming out this Nov 3 (my first launched nov 4 last year), and this is definitely a showcase of my personal style as it showcases personal spaces and combines them with my signature recipes for a inside look at life At Home Sarah Style. (see below for more info)
Q-Do you have a go-to colour scheme?
A- That's a tough question!! I'm probably most known historically for my use of soft blues and watery greens (which I do still absolutely love), but I also enjoy playing with just about every shade imaginable. I think what's most "signature" about my design style is that I tend to opt for monochromatic palettes as I like the calm and fresh look of a rom executed in a single accent colour. And truth be told, while I adore the way a burst of colour and pattern can bring any room to life, if you look closely you will notice that I almost always dress all the major pieces in the room with pale neutrals like cream, white, or oyster and then just use colour in the accents that create impact. This way I can change the accents and the feeling of the room without needing to do a major overhaul. No one really wants to hear that my favourite colour is white…but it is! ;)
Q-What is your rule for combining pattern?
A- Stick to a single colour palette. Start by finding a large scale print that you love and treat it is a the hero of the scheme. Next, pull all the fabrics you can find with the same colours as the hero. Edit the overall selection down to include a mix of prints and patterns in varying scales (for e.g. a large scale floral, a wide stripe, a small dot or check, and a mid- size geometric). Too many large scale prints will look confusing and a mix of scale and style will create a casual, effortless look. Most importantly, have fun!
Q-What is your favourite room in a house to decorate?
A-I can't possibly pick just one because I want you to live in and love them all! However, I will say that I really enjoy a great living room challenge. In my view your living room should be LIVED IN, used and enjoyed, yet I find many people still treat it as a museum. I don't want to encourage you to fill it with clutter and junk, but I really want people to think about how to make their living room the favourite gathering spot of the house. It's usually got the best light and the best features in the whole house, and I think it deserves to be appreciated daily. If you aren't using your living room, it probably doesn't suit your lifestyle, so it's time to get rid of what's not working and make it work for you! It doesn't need to be fussy, but it can certainly be fabulous!
Sarah's new book at home Sarah style is available for pre-order sarahrichardsondesign.com