Beginning a career in lifestyle television more than a decade ago, Sarah Richardson has since launched a number of hit interior design shows including room service, design inc., Sarah’s House, and Sarah’s Cottage. On Sarah’s Cottage, viewers watched as she tackled her own off-the-grid getaway to make it the perfect summer oasis. Check out our interview with the celebrity designer to find out about her favourite space in the Georgian Bay retreat and more.
Cottage Life: The redesign of your cottage is quite modern and breezy. Is there anything about classic cottage décor (skin rugs, hunter green, pine panelling, etc.) that you like?
Sarah Richardson: I love the classic charm and character of old cottages, which is what I grew up with. I love natural materials, painted floors, antique furnishings (that aren’t too precious), vintage ceramics, and linens. I also have a nostalgic love of soft, handmade quilts, so the combination of these elements makes any environment quintessentially cottage in my experience.
CL: Where is your favourite space to relax in the cottage?
SR: The living room or “storm room” addition we put on during the renovation. It has wrap-around windows and is the greatest place to experience the weather. Whether it’s sunny and beautiful or howling wind and rain, you feel like you are in the midst of everything, yet completely snug. It’s invigorating!
CL: Some cottagers seem to think cottages are becoming too much like homes. Did you make a conscious effort to limit how luxurious you made your own cottage or do you disagree with this notion?
SR: We run entirely on solar power and propane, we have no TV, and no electric lights in the kitchen, living or dining rooms. We do have a stereo, but it runs off the solar power we generate. If you want to live the same way in the country as you do in the city, why not stay home?
CL: Yard sales are big in cottage country. Have you had any great finds for the cottage at local yard sales?
SR: With two little kids and a dog in tow, our goal is usually to get to the cottage as quickly as possible! Plus, the cottage is done and doesn’t need anything more, so I have to focus on finding things for clients and other projects, but I guess there’s always room for another green or blue ceramic—or another quilt!
CL: What room was most important to you in the renovation of your cottage?
SR: The storm room is the one that transformed the entire space and took it to a whole new level. When you walk in and see the view, you immediately become overwhelmed with the magical beauty of Georgian Bay—it’s awesome!
CL: Your work generally focuses on indoor spaces, but we’re curious, what’s your favourite thing to do outdoors at the cottage?
SR: I can’t pick just one thing! Georgian Bay has the most amazing, crystal clear water to swim in and the feeling of diving into it is incomparable. Going on picnics to undeveloped islands is the best way to spend a sunny day with family and friends, and sitting on our west deck watching the sunset on a calm or windy evening makes us appreciate the raw, rugged, natural beauty of the bay.