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Sarah Richardson Doesn’t Care About Trends

With over 250 episodes of design television under her belt, the Canadian design powerhouse reveals her secret to creating perennially appealing interiors, and why we should never get hung up on trends

By Sara Cunningham

Sarah Richardson’s most recent HGTV show, Sarah Off The Grid, follows the popular designer and her family as they build a country home in the wilds of Ontario. Going off-grid, however, is nothing new to the veteran TV personality.

“When I’m designing something that’s going to be in the public eye,” she explains, “I’ll go and do Pinterest searches to see if my idea already exists, because if it does, I don’t want to do it.” So her signature style – seen in over 250 episodes of hit design programming – embraces more than just up-to-the-minute trends.

Instead, she curates oases that people can “actually live in” with neutral toned walls, copious amounts of cushions and judiciously applied accents, such as oversized mirrors or curtains featuring wild botanical prints.

At the Interior Design Show, where Sarah Richardson launched two kitchens for luxury appliance brand Monogram Monogram Canada, she talked to us about pizza, soulful design and why comfort and relaxation should always come before trends.

Sarah Richardson X Monogram Canada IDS
“At first, I thought about pizza as the ultimate fast food,” says Richardson, “but that’s kind of insulting. It’s not a drive-though experience for one – a pizza is something to be shared. So I designed this kitchen with an arching countertop around the central feature – the Monogram self-venting pizza oven.”

What inspired your pizzeria-style kitchen? 
“I don’t know how often you would say that supermarket packaging was a source of inspiration, but this kitchen really came out of graphic design.”

“I think about a can of tomatoes as the foundation of pizza. It’s all about a gourmet tomato sauce, and most people use canned tomatoes. So we were thinking of that green with accents of red, white and black.”

“I feel like if you’re going to do IDS, you need to make a splash. It’s an opportunity to put that daring foot forward, instead of playing it safe with a white oak Nordic kitchen with no uppers – it just didn’t seem like the place.”

Do you have any trend predictions for 2018?
“So often trends aren’t something I want to touch on. There seems to be a growing focus towards natural materials, recycling and living well with less. And really curating a collection of well-made pieces that embrace quality and design in equal measure.”

“We’re moving away from mass consumerism and focusing on fewer, more artisanal objects. That’s not a trend – but the fact that it’s being considered as one feels like the groundswell towards getting design and most consumers to a place where design is more meaningful.”

“If you want two words then I’d say: soulful design.”

Sarah Richardson X Monogram Canada IDS
Sarah Richardson stands in her resort-inspired kitchen. A calming palette of grey and pink is brought together by a SR designed botanical wallpaper.

What’s your personal approach to design?
“It’s about using design to help you feel a certain way. It’s about recognizing the fact that the materials you choose and the palette you execute all inform the way you feel when you’re in that space.”

“As I’ve transitioned back and forth between these two kitchens all week long, I feel completely different in each one. Over here [in the resort kitchen], it’s light-hearted and bright, and then I go to the pizza kitchen, and it as another energy and buzz altogether.”

“As designers, our discipline is to curate from everything – from the floor to the walls and all the surfaces – and it’s the way you bring each piece together that leads you to the final design. Each of these decisions is paramount – if one changes then the whole feel of it changes.”


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