Sarah 101

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Sarah 101 is the back-to-basics crash course in design as seen by Sarah Richardson, popular host of Sarah’s House, Sarah’s Summer House, Design Inc. and Room Service. Sarah’s approach of tips and tricks solve design problems in any room in any home!

Design magazines, television shows and even your friends’ homes are great places for inspiration. How do you translate this information into rooms that you love? Sarah and design sidekick Tommy Smythe break the process down into step-by-step nuggets, set against the case study redesign of actual spaces.

Each episode is packed with useful tips and insight applicable to any design project you might come across.  By sharing Sarah’s design rationale, the “how” and “why” of her decisions, you are the inside track to winning style.  It’s almost like having your own personal design tutor!

Episode 1 – Vibrant Living Room

Brightening a dark, narrow living/dining room to bring its family back. As a crumbled ceiling and worn floors are replaced Sarah spots a new attitude in punchy floral fabric that ends up on vintage side chairs.  Painted side tables flank the room’s statement, a pink sofa. A daybed separates living from dining and shoehorns even more seating in for both. A painted wood table, comfortable new chairs, storage and a feature wall in vintage dinnerware tie directly to the upbeat design scheme! 

Episode 2 – Sophisto-Nursery

Creating a welcoming nursery that will grow with your child. Sarah’s inspiration springs from blue paisley wallpaper she and Tommy install on the ceiling. Fabric and furniture take deep, rich blues until complementary orange spices up the mix. Sarah’s flash card art idea creates original pieces for mere pennies. Contrary to its elegant undertones the nursery is a warm and happy place for now and the future!

Episode 3 – Big Box Kitchen

Sarah and Tommy bring style and sense to a tight, illogical kitchen and equally small adjoining living area. Flooring, paint and other finishes unite the two spaces. A customized out of the box kitchen plays on Sarah’s green and white color scheme. It is carried into the living area with smart, dual-purpose solutions for modern living. Sarah’s “wall clock” is an easy, high impact DIY to round out the episode!

Episode 4 – Industrial Soul Bedroom

Adding warmth and comfort to a large bedroom in an industrial-type space Sarah and Tommy soften with furnishings, a splurge Oriental rug and high-style low-cost drapery for expansive windows. Unique dragon fabric sparks the eclectic scheme, artfully mixed with plaids and pseudo ethnic patterns. Keepsake artwork adds soul, and helps to convey masculine and feminine appeal!

Episode 5 – Jewel-Like Dining

Creating a warm and welcoming space for entertaining. Sarah lands on dramatic gold leaf wallpaper that inspires this blank space. Vintage shield back chairs offset a splurge dining table and sideboard. A light jewel-tone palette informs paint, drapes, upholstery and accents. A plate rail and molding add interest, as does a painted border to the hardwood floor. Color, pattern and texture make this once empty space ready to celebrate!

Episode 6 – Boho Chic Girls’ Rooms

Two rooms for three little girls become fun, personality-packed retreats. Tea towels capture Sarah and Tommy’s eye, leading us to greens and blues in one room, where Sarah’s platform bed solution banishes bunk beds forever. Meanwhile the nursery pops in cheery reds and corals. Everything sits on new, low gas carpeting in a neutral stripe that ties into flooring in the rest of the home. Both rooms receive a ton of storage and ideas for accessories and the girly fun stuff!

Episode 7 – Contemporary Living

Practical, stylish choices turn ostensibly a kids’ playpen into a living room for all. Sarah spices up the color, she and Tommy tie furnishings to the room scale and revise the layout to serve the needs of adults and toddlers. The jumping off point is bright yellow and grey floral fabric, with other new fabrics used for impact and practicality. Sarah devises a tiny dining room that seats six and creates light-box artwork. This combined living/dining space serves every family need with style!

Episode 8 – Classic Ensuite

The lesson: transitioning an 80’s master bathroom into a child-free respite by not moving an inch of plumbing. Sarah shoehorns major style and comfort into this space, replacing a built in jetted tub with a sculptural one, replacing vanity and sink plus all finishes and accessories. The eclectic mix of splurge and save appointments results in a master bath worthy of its name yet neutral enough to be ageless!

Episode 9 – Re-imagined Kitchen

This family kitchen has great bones but needs a facelift. Sarah trades the dated yellow and brown palette for fresh robin’s egg blue and off white. Hand-built cupboards are sprayed as the island is reconfigured. New flooring and lighting nod to the retro style of the house yet modernize the space for today’s needs. Sarah gives you the how and why of trade-offs in updating one of the most important and costly to renovate rooms in a typical home!

Episode 10 – Neutral Master

Long ago this master bedroom was decorated in florals, fuchsia and frilly lace, as was the style at the time. Sarah and Tommy trade the 80’s for neutral shades that will look good now and forever more. Insider info on layering of fabrics, textures and wallpaper amp up the style. Repurposed vintage furniture gives this bedroom the appeal of a chic hotel suite. No longer trendy, this master bedroom is now classic and timeless!

Episode 11 – Clutter-Free Basement

This basement has become a dumping ground of subterranean splendor. Sarah and Tommy start by delineating and organizing spaces to meet the daily functional demands of the family. It becomes an exercise of where to spend and save and how to make the most of the lack of height. In the end they find a way to put everything in its place and have this sophisticated basement look more like it belongs above ground then below!

Episode 12 – Fresh Laundry

This basement laundry space is typical to many homes, hidden in a damp, dark basement corner. Sarah freshens and makes this task much more attractive by creating new storage, hanging and folding space, and by reviving an old favorite, the fold out ironing board.  The mood is further lifted with bright color, artwork and other personal touches that make this into a chore with so much more!

Episode 13 – City Chic Condo

If you’re living in a brand new condo there’s no need to go without style and substance in the creation of a space that it is a personal expression of you. Sarah and Tommy pump up the classic appeal of this blank canvas by mixing old with new to give this condo instant soul. Their masculine palette leans to black, grey and white throughout. Keeping it all simple helps to frame a sublime skyline view.