Sarah Richardson

Do you know Sarah Richardson?

Sarah Richardson

I’ve admired her interior design work for some time, but I’ve only recently seen one (yes, she has more than one!) of her television series – Sarah’s House, which is now airing in the US.

Sarah Richardson

Have you had a chance to watch Sarah’s House on HGTV?

Truly, Sarah’s House is a show after my own heart – now in Season 2, the series follows the Canadian designer as she chooses a home and then flips it – complete with unbelievable staging.  As a Realtor, fellow flipper and lover of design, I don’t think a TV show could get any better than that!!  It’s really inspiring to follow Sarah through her thought process, from how to renovate each room to sourcing furniture and accessories to the big reveal.  And I think you’ll find that the spaces Sarah designs are completely liveable and approachable while avoiding an overly “designed” look.

This is the Toronto home that Sarah chose to conquer in Season 2 – which she purchased for almost $700,000!

Sarah Richardson

In the episodes that have aired thus far, Sarah and her design sidekick, Tommy, have completely swankified the second level:

Sarah Richardson

The boring nursery . . .

Sarah Richardson

. . . soon became this darling nursery (and I don’t use the word “darling” very often).  Ikea drapes paired with a snuggly chair upholstered in cheerful polka dots provide a fun, gender-neutral color palette for this space.

Sarah's House - Season 2

I think it’s particularly smart that Sarah chose to install a picture rail in line with the top of the window frames (with sky blue paint above) to bring the vaulted ceiling down to a more kid-friendly and cozy height.

Sarah's House - Season 2

And, of course, the whimsical alphabet is an affordable and easily-replicated design element that adds tons of character (and an opportunity for learning) to the room.

Sarah's House - Season 2

The home office began just as bland as the nursery . . .

Sarah Richardson

. . . but is now a modern, upbeat space with a hint of femininity brought in through the floral fabric on the bulletin board.

Sarah's House - Season 2

I find that the still shots of these rooms simply don’t do the spaces justice – you should check out these episodes to see the rooms in their full glory.

Sarah's House - Season 2

The master bedroom definitely benefited from Sarah’s decision to steal 27 inches of space (on the left-hand side) from the neighboring nursery.

Sarah Richardson

And I bet you never saw this gorgeous space coming, did you?  I certainly didn’t.

Sarah's House - Season 2

The entire color scheme for this master bedroom was pulled from those fabulous floral curtains in cream and gray.  The headboard was positioned below the low point of the vaulted ceiling so that one would have a feeling of space and height while lying in bed.

Sarah's House - Season 2

While I don’t know that I could ever be disciplined enough to commit to such a tight and subdued palette, it really is divine, isn’t it?

Sarah's House - Season 2

I always love the look of chandeliers in bedrooms, particularly master bedrooms, but I just don’t think I could take the plunge and part with my ceiling fan – even so, I’m totally tempted to nix my fan after seeing this room!

I am curious, though – does Sarah sell her homes furnished?  If not, it seems odd to devote such a large portion of the budget to furniture (some of it custom) and accessories that will, ultimately, need to find new homes.  Does anybody know?  Have you had a chance to check out the show and, if so, what do you think of it?

* There’s more to come for this series but, since most of the episodes haven’t aired in the US yet, I don’t want to spoil it for you!

Sarah’s House airs on HGTV at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday nights.  Images courtesy of HGTV Canada.

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  1. Erin says:

    I’ve been loving this show too. The first season airs on Fine Living Network on Saturday mornings, so I’m watching that one at the same time. I had the same question about the furnishings though. I also find it very interesting that she chooses a lot of upgrades that I wouldn’t think most buyers would notice. For instance, in season one (in which she gives her treatment to a Victorian) she bought expensive motorized opening skylights with rain sensors. I would think most buyers would say, “Oh nice, a skylight!” and be done with it, so I’m a little surprised that she spent the extra cash for the fancy one.

    • Liz says:


      I’m totally with you – I definitely don’t think she’d be able to recoup that money for the skylights and some of the other upgrades that I’ve seen her do, although she does turn out fabulous houses! And thanks for the heads up about Season 1 airing on the Fine Living Network – I’m going to have to add it to my DVR!! :)

      ~ Liz

  2. christy says:

    I didn’t know her last name, and I didn’t know that she was a famous designer. I also didn’t know that this is the second season of Sarah’s house OR that she has other shows! But I am so happy to learn all of that!!!! AND I’m so happy to click on her link and hopefully find her previous episodes and shows on dvd! I love her design style – and I’ve only seen a couple of these episodes – I missed the nursery and office – and they’re spectacular! Fabulous post Liz!!!

  3. Laura says:

    Boy this looks great! However, 700K?!! That is a wreck of a place for that much money compared to the US. I cannot believe that after paying that much for a house that she could make all those changes for only 170K…I don’t believe it. Otherwise the house price would have been different.

  4. Averill says:

    Love Sarah’s House!!! It’s been running on FLN for a while now, but I’m glad HGTV is showing it, too.

    I was also wondering what she does with the furnishings…wouldn’t surprise me if she sold some of the furniture at the very least. After all, I’d imagine her buyers are paying for her style as well as her flip.

  5. I love her! Thanks for sharing. I did not even know she had a website!

    Learn something new everyday :)


  6. Katrina says:

    I love her, I’ve only seen a couple of the episodes in HGTV…I wish they would show more. I really like her style and personality

  7. Melissa says:

    I have watched Sarah for years…Design, Inc. and Room Service were older shows of hers. Sarah’s House highlights more of her personality than the older ones. Particularly fun is her interaction with Tommy and I enjoy him as much as Sarah. Episode 1 and 2 have both aired on FLN. I am confused why she totally decorates interiors because what if the buyer doesn’t need/want the rooms as she purposes them. Obviously she gets better prices on some items due to her connections. Nevertheless her style is great and I thoroughly enjoy her show.

    Oh, she decorates each room seperately from the others rather than carrying a color theme throughout. I’ve noticed she leans toward blues and grays, even in her earlier shows, when browns and earthtones were the “in” colors.

  8. Karen says:

    I have also watched Sarah for years (Room Service then Design Inc.). She is my fav designer (sorry Candice, you’re second).

    Melissa, I used to wonder about the interiors too (why bother!), but you couldn’t NOT do the interiors. It reminds me of another show about income property where the landlords buy an income property, and have it done over. The show also does the interiors because otherwise, the show would fall flat…how blah to look at pretty paint in empty rooms. Same reason Sarah does it. I’ve heard them say on the income property show that they need to take pics for the rental listing ad before the gorgeous furnishings are taken away. I’ve never heard tell of whether or not Sarah’s houses are sold furnished. Anyone know?

    • Liz says:

      Clearly, I need to watch more TV! I can’t believe I’ve only now started watching Sarah’s design shows.

      As for selling the homes furnished, I’m thinking now that she must. For example, the master bedroom in Season 2 cost almost $11,000 for her to renovate and decorate – part of that went to adding wood floors, moving a wall, installing a beam, etc., but there’s no way those construction costs came anywhere near her $11,000 budget (I’m guessing closer to $5-$6,000, if even that). That means that around half of her budget likely went to furnishings so . . . my vote is that she would have to sell the furnishings to recoup her expenses. (And this isn’t like the Income Property show where the furnishings are rented and then taken away, as many of Sarah’s pieces are custom). What do you guys think?

      ~ Liz

  9. I love Sarah (and Tommy)! I’m not sure how the show works in terms of actually selling the houses she renovates but this house came out beautifully when all was said and done.

  10. That girl has got some skills and really knows how to balance it all with color and fabric ! Thanks for sharing these pics, hadn’t seen them yet.

  11. Melissa says:

    Thursday afternoon on FLN, Design Inc. will have several episodes starting at 2:00pm. You might want to record them.

  12. JPManuel says:

    It’s great to discover another co-fan of Sarah! It’s funny that we both blogged and selected similar pictures from her show Sarah’s House on hgtv. —

  13. LB says:

    If the cabinets are in good shape, I’d leave them and work with the rest of the room. The red flooring – gotta go. The blue around the cabinets and on the island – ditch. The biggest immediate eyesore to me is the lack of color coordination. It doesn’t pull the room together. But that’s what Sarah’s house has. It’s not about dumping money into having the best or ideal of everything. It’s making do with what is there and improving what is way wrong.

    I would also list what you think are the top pros and the top cons. Then think if you got rid of the blue/red what could you put in its place that would make the pros even greater and the cons less of a con? That’s probably going to be a cheap solution and yet pull the kitchen together much better.

    If it doesn’t, think about the realistic real estate value: the kitchen is one of the biggest dealbreakers of a house so if you have to weigh where money should go for the remodeling of the entire house, budget more for the kitchen so you can do more. I know when we bought our house, the amazing kitchen sealed the deal for us. DH and I also talked about how realistically if we move and buy a house in the future, likely the kitchen will be a main deciding point.

  14. Matt says:

    Cool, didn’t know about all the other shows. Just started watching a series running in the US called Sarah’s Farm. She buys a farm for $500K and budgets $600K to renovate and expand the farm house. She has some good design ideas and her interaction with Tommy is funny.

    • Liz says:


      I’m watching it too, and I LOVE IT!!! I think this is my favorite show of hers so far. The entryway is the last episode I watched and I wanted to move right in! Hmm, I think I need to post about this . . . :)

      ~ Liz

  15. Matt says:

    Hi Liz!

    Oops, it is still called Sarah’s House – my other post I wrote said Sarah’s Farm. This series is great! I’ve only watched a few episodes from past shows as they are repeated. I think my favorite room she did was the entryway/mudroom! Some really good tips in that episode too such as prime with a gray primer when you are going to use red paint and what to look for in antique furniture (was it planed or is it rough cut, look for worn edges).


  16. Joanne says:

    Design has to be functional and I don’t think Sarah Richardson has grasped that concept yet. Her farmhouse was a disaster. She spent far too much money building an addition, wasting money on costly errors, and failed to consider the functionality of the home. It was just plain dumb for her to leave the house with 1 bathroom,and to put two child’s rooms on the main floor right off the great room. Parents want their kids close by, but upstairs in the old part of the house, all the bedrooms are too tiny, and she left them like that. The bathroom was so poorly laid out the door hits the sink when you open it. But Sarah thinks as long as she hangs a chandelier in the room people won’t mind the inconvenience. This house is currently being used as a Christmas style prop in House and Home magazine and Sarah admits owning 3 properties is not for everyone,but she says real estate is a great investment. No it is not, Sarah, it is a drain on the pocket book, especially if you have to pay the taxes, utilities and upkeep. So designers, stay away from the Sarah Richardson fluff and look to designs that function. And no barnboards on the ceiling – hang nothing that can’t be cleaned!