Inside the Farmhouse with Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

Text by Robert C. Martin | Photography by Stacey Brandford

Sarah Richardson has been a key fixture in the Canadian design world since 1995 and launched her first TV series for HGTV in 2000.

It’s always enlightening to see how top design experts–those who are in the business of offering their know-how on the latest home trends and decorating tips–live themselves. Designer Sarah Richardson certainly ranks high within this category. As a key fixture in the Canadian design world since the mid-1990s, Sarah has shared her refreshing, timeless style by being both an author and a familiar face on lifestyle television, such as HGTV. So, when she and her husband bought a 19th-century, run-down farmhouse in rural Ontario, it was time for her to draw upon all the expertise she had diligently brought to others over the years.

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

For starters, the rustic structure not only required a full makeover, but also an expansion that proved to make the home more suited to Sarah’s energetic family. “While maintaining the character and integrity of the place, we added a new wing that includes the living room, three bedrooms, baths, and a fully furnished lower level,” she explains. As if this project wasn’t ambitious enough, Sarah’s husband, Alexander Younger, discovered a charming, old barn that sat 20 miles away, which he dismantled and put back together on their property.

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal
Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

Inside the farmhouse, Sarah stuck to her instincts by giving the place a comfortable, well-coordinated look that seamlessly mixed the past and present. “As in all of my work, I love everything vintage and antique,” she says, “and I specialize in creating interiors for modern living that are informed by a classic perspective.” Such a balancing act of old and new is also enhanced by her own line of home textiles, which include bedding, accent pillow covers, and table linens.

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

“My guiding design principle fits in well with that of William Morris, who once said, ‘Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.’”

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal
Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

One common thread found in this farmhouse and used prominently throughout Sarah’s work is her knack for using salvaged architectural finds and reclaimed materials. Whether it be a carved wooden bracket used to frame a doorway, or a section of trim or woodwork installed as a mantel or shelving, the presence of these items only adds to the authenticity of this designer’s intrinsic approach. “I also favor natural materials, and I’m always drawn to a home that’s filled with artisanal and soulful elements,” she says.

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal
Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

After renovating more than 300 rooms for television programs seen in over 100 countries, Sarah is well versed in nailing down what she sets out to achieve. Sarah says her guiding design principle is in sync with English author and textile designer, William Morris. “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” Sarah says, summing up Morris’ philosophy. And without question, such heartfelt sentiments are on full display in this updated family abode.

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

2009-Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

Sarah Richardson - The Cottage Journal

Read the whole article in our Autumn 2016 Issue!