Have you ever wished you could take some design lessons from a pro? What if the class was free, entertaining, and could be completed in the comfort of your own home? And what if the pro was none other than ultimate designer Sarah Richardson? We’re all in luck, because Sarah 101 begins January 4th on HGTV Canada, and this is one course you’re not going to want to miss! (Coincidentally, although Sarah looks like no typical professor, I did once see her sporting a jacket with elbow patches!)

From Design Inc. to Sarah’s House, to the brand new Sarah 101, this Toronto-based mom of two informs and entertains us while tackling reno projects both big and small. I was very excited to have the opportunity to get Sarah’s answers to my most pressing questions for this edition of the This Mom Loves Momterview.

This Mom: How do you think your career would be different right now if you hadn’t become a mom?

Sarah Richardson: I think I’d be working too much and not laughing or cuddling nearly enough! Kids add an element of  juggling and time management, but they bring incredible balance and clarity on what really matters!

TM: I’ve read that you are good at leaving work behind at the end of the day. How do you turn off your ‘work brain’, and not think about issues on sites, ideas for shows, etc.?

SR: I’m good at compartmentalizing, and I’m not a worrier. There’s a solution to every problem and you always have to think about the big picture. When I get home, I want to be able to focus and be good to my kids, not be distracted and irritable about the work stuff. They don’t understand it, so why bring it in the door? To be honest, I have my husband Alexander to thank for this life lesson, which he taught me when we first met and I was working too hard.

{I don’t know how not to worry about work at home. I’ve become good at not bringing so much home physically – marking, etc., but I don’t think I have ever fallen asleep without classroom ‘stuff’ churning around my brain.}

Sarah’s family, as photographed for the November 2010 issue
of Canadian House and Home

TM: What do you think is the biggest mistake that parents make when decorating for babies and children?

SR: Decorating for the age they’re at when the project is executed. Kids grow really fast, and rooms can become outdated before they’re even aware of them, so decorate for the future and avoid themes and juvenile motifs in favour of timeless choices that appeal to all kids.

TM: Your daughters are around the same age as mine. {Sarah’s girls are four and a half and two and a half.} The other day when watching Sarah’s House, I asked my oldest “Don’t you just love Sarah Richardson?” and she replied “Oh, I don’t know…do HER daughters get time-outs?” So…do they?

SR: Fortunately the mere mention of time-outs rights any errant behaviours since I followed through in the early days and gave them…so they know it’s not a reward! We want our girls to be happy, polite, positive members of society that people want to be around, so discipline, manners, and proper behaviour are very important.{Sarah requested that I not use her daughters’ names, which I have to respect. My loyal readers know that I didn’t actually name my children Frannie and Maggie, so I can understand her wish for privacy.}

Sarah and sidekick Tommy

TM: Often when I’m watching one of your shows I’m distracted by your terrific wardrobe. In fact, when I told my next-door-teacher that I was interviewing you, the first thing she said was “Her sense of fashion is just as good as her decorating!” So the question is – where do you shop?

SR: Wow – thanks! My oldest friend and Tommy’s sister are business partners in a fashion line called Smythe, and they design great jackets which I wear all the time. I have so little time to shop that I go for the tried and true winners like Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Nine West, Club Monaco, Gap…and I have a true weakness for Diane von Furstenberg dresses!

{Sidenote: actress Rachel Bilson just mentioned Smythe in the January 2011 issue of InStyle magazine, and their website showcases tons of celebs wearing their creations, not least of which is Ms. Sarah Richardson!}

TM: What can you tell us about the new show, Sarah 101?

SR: It’s a back to basics crash course in design aimed to help viewers achieve great results at home.

TM: How would you complete the sentence “This Mom Loves….”?

SR: …spending precious weekends away from the buzz of city life and celebrating the simple pleasures of country living with the three most important people in my world!

Catch Sarah 101 premiering January 4th on HGTV Canada…though be forewarned that your significant other may not understand how   time-consuming the homework might turn out to be!

If you’re currently tackling a project and searching for that perfect colour, you can check out Sarah’s paint line for Para Paints, available at Lowe’s. You can also keep up to date with the diary feature on the Sarah Richardson Design website.

10 comments on “Sarah Richardson: The Momterview”

  1. Nice to know that all moms have to do time-outs! I recently Googled "4 year old behaviour" and discovered that being silly, running around screaming and saying silly things like "batty watty" (or "farty tarty poop" at our house)
    Congratulations on 161 posts in 2010, that is an amazing accomplishment. I have to confess not having read all posts, but those I have read are interesting, witty and well-written. All the best for 2011!

  2. I'm a huge fan of Sarah and I wish her show would air in the US also. She and Tommy are so great together.

  3. I wish her show would air here in Bermuda! In the meantime, I'll live vicariously with the help of blogs like yours.
    Sarah, you're international!

  4. Her daughters' names were published in the Canadian house and home article. Why the need for privacy now? Her kids, her call, I suppose. She really is fabulous and her design ideas are so inspiring.

  5. What a great interview! I am not such a great decorator so I love to watch the experts on T.V.! The idea of not bringing work home with you is such a great life lesson to live by! I am also trying a new one for my New Years Resolution – to slow down and appreciate the little things in life! What is your resolution Kate?
    Krista S.

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