Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Afternoon tea with Sarah Richardson + Tommy Smythe

Tonight the newest series by Sarah Richardson, Sarah 101 launches on HGTV and I, among many, am quite excited . Sarah remains Canada's own design darling but her appeal has spread far beyond our borders. With her down to earth approach and  fresh sense of pattern and colour, she has won over our hearts and you'll be happy to hear she's just as delightful in person. I was excited to be among a few bloggers invited to interview Sarah and Tommy about their new show, just a few weeks ago. It was a completely delightful afternoon - always the perfect hostess, we arrived at Sarah's offices to find her in a simple grey knit dress and tights paired with red Ferragamo heels and a long beaded necklace. She warmly greeted us all and then proceeded to make us all tea in her in-office kitchen, complete with a plethora of treats they'd picked up for the occasion. We then assembled in the living area, on chairs from Sarah's own collection to chat about the new show, her other projects and all the fun behind the scenes.

Sarah's shows have each strived to show a different perspective. In Room Service, the concept was simply about re-imagining and designing a single room in a space; Design Inc focused on the behind the scenes work - including all the trades involved in pulling a design project together; Sarah's House was a wider view on work behind designing an entire home from start to finish; and now Sarah 101 is taking things back to the very basic building blocks of design. Showing design wary home owners how to approach the spaces in their home they find most challenging, showing them where to invest their money and why.

Here are some fun facts from our afternoon with Sarah + Tommy:

·         -Sarah and Tommy have known each other since high school (Perhaps this is the standard for all the main men in Sarah’s life – as this also applies to her husband Alexander, who was a school friend of her brother’s)
·         -Tommy’s sister is Christie Smythe, (co-owner/designer for Canadian design label  Smythe: Les Vestes), whose covetable jackets Sarah frequently wears.
·         -Tommy is way more hilarious in person (I’d love to see an adult rated version of the show – I think his humour would be twice as fun! ;)  )
·         Sarah lured Tommy away from his position at Toronto boutique L’Atelier to come and work with her on her first show, with only two requirements: a car and a cell phone (he had neither at the time)
·         Sarah’s day starts at about 7am with phone calls to Tommy and her design assistant Lindsay, en route to drop off her daughters. While she tries to keep a ‘normal’ schedule and maximize any time with her daughters, she’s often up past midnight working, designing – or moving her own furniture around – a perpetual hobby.
·         If they had to choose another designer to design their space (other than each other) it would by Thomas O’Brien (a close friend) for Tommy, and for Sarah – perhaps a mix of Victoria Hagan and Miles Redd.
·         Sarah and Tommy have a policy of never repeating any fabric or pattern – if it’s been used once before, it’s no longer an option (no matter how much they love it). This helps to keep them fresh and creative.
·         Sarah’s design genes must have rubbed off on her daughter Robyn – she recently woke up in the middle of the night upset because her walls were too white and she ‘needed more colour!’

Thank you again Sarah + Tommy! For a fantastic interview + a most lovely afternoon!

and follow along what is sure to be a fun + very educational season.

{Photos: via Sarah Richardson Design, and by kind favour of Emma from The Marion House Book}


Renee (eatliveshop.com) said...

Happy New Year!

Wasn't that an amazing day at their office?! Can't wait for the show tonight!

escapade said...

It certainly was!
Looking forward to the show tonight + a very happy New Year to you Renee!

sarah, flourish design + style said...

How lovely! Boy I wish I was in To instead of Calgary :) I am so happy to meet you, and will be a follower of your gorgeous blog from now on! xoxo

danica said...

So awesome! I really liked the show Sarah's House and I'm so glad they created another one! :)

Dancing Branflake said...

How incredibly fun! I bet their chemistry is amazing!

Style Attic said...

OK, THAT is AWESOME! I have been following Mizz Richarson for some time and LOVE her work. SO happy for YOU :) XO

Kathysue said...

Omgosh, You are so lucky I live in California and we don't get the new show. I am dying. I have followed Sarah and all of her shows from the beginning and I can hardly wait until this show is in the states. It was fun to read more about Sarah, If I had a designer do my home it would be her or Phoebe Howard!!! Kathysue

Jenny | Aubrey Road said...

jealous! how fun for you!

Connie @ SogniESorrisi said...

They seem so nice and I enjoyed the first show tonight.

Suite Henry said...

I'm a Tommy fan too!

Carla said...

Wow the love facts on Sarah and her beautiful work.. thanks for sharing Carla

Karla @ {The Classy Woman} said...

What a fun experience for you. I am a huge Sarah fan (Tommy too!) and have always adored Sarah's style many years before many even knew of her. I met her several years ago at a Home Show in Toronto where I was living before moving to the U.S.

Thanks for sharing, it was fun to read!


KB said...

Can't wait to watch your show on HGTV, I LOVE that pink lamp in the living room! Since you and your readers are into Interior Design, I’d like to invite everyone to check out Heritage Window Coverings. I offer window coverings throughout CA, AZ, and NV. You can visit my web site at http://www.heritagewindowcoverings.com. Any feedback would be appreciated as well. Thanks!

Dining and Decor said...

Oh, you lucky gal! What a treat. I love her designs.

Hope Ava said...

Great interview...I'm a huge Sarah and Tommy fan! And I totally agree with you...Tommy's dirty mind is delightfully devious and I always chuckle to myself when little shades of it slip out on camera. Hope you had a fantastic Christmas and New Years!

Hope Ava


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