*Due to technical issues, footage of the most amazing interview with Sarah Richardson was lost.*
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Sarah Richardson, acclaimed Interior Designer and host of Sarah Off The Grid on HGTV. I must admit I was pretty nervous and a bit star struck heading into the interview. Here was someone that I had seen on TV multiple times and admired. But Sarah quickly put me at ease with her down-to-earth, relaxed and friendly attitude.
We chatted briefly about the amazing career she has enjoyed (and rightly earned), starting back in the 1990s when interior design was not recognized and respected the way it is today. People told her, or rather expected her, to be a doctor or a lawyer. Interior design was a ‘fluff’ job, a dead-end, and not worth pursuing, but Sarah forged ahead, having always been interested in the creative arts. She also had an opportunity to work on a TV show for a year right after university, planting the seed for her future work on HGTV.
With an amazing and full career, that now adds Australia to her fan base, why does Sarah still participate in home shows and expos? It comes down to people – shows like the Calgary Home Renovation Show provide her with the opportunity engage and interact directly with people – something she can’t do on her shows. She’s been attending these shows for so long now that she recognizes a number of the faces. She loves seeing the nods of recognition from people in the crowd as she tells a story because they “get it” – they understand. But it’s still surreal when she meets people and they feel like they know her.
I asked Sarah what’s her favorite space to renovate? Of course, the big impact rooms like the kitchen and baths are a focus for many people, she simply enjoys creating comfortable and unique spaces that reflect the homeowner.
We also talked about trends for 2018. Sarah likes the trend toward the use of woods, more natural products, the incorporation of recycled materials as reusing and re-purposing items, which fits in with her approach to design. She did find it kind of funny that natural woods are being described as a ‘trend’ – it’s just good design.
The big question that our viewers wanted to ask was, how does she do it? How do Sarah manage her time and make her work-life balance seem so effortless? Sarah attributes this to her husband and to strict time management. When she first started her career, she often had meetings in the evenings and the weekends to accommodate her clients, but one day her then boyfriend (now husband) said, “what about you and your time?” She started setting boundaries, letting the clients know that she was only available between 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. When something came up, particularly with her family, she didn’t say, “I have to pick up my kids,” or give an excuse, but rather simply stated that she wasn’t available and tried to find another time. After much practice, she is very focused structuring her work time as work time and family or rest time as just that. Sometimes friends ask to go for lunch, but she says no because it would just mean that she has to stay longer at the end of the day. She eats lunch, usually at her desk. Of course, she still does these kinds of things – visiting Calgary for the shows – but that’s rare.
By the time the interview was over, I felt like I had been sitting with an old girlfriend, chatting about our lives and catching up. I gave her a copy of a recipe card book I had put together for Kim’s Kitchen and chatted about our favorite recipes, her latest find was a 45 minute cinnamon roll tested with her daughter Fiona. Mine of course is my stand by Pumpkin Pie Spiced Bread:
All in all, I can say that without a doubt, Sarah is all that you see on TV and MORE!!! Thank you for your time Sarah, it was lovely to meet you.