Q&A: Sarah Richardson on her new book, and how she celebrates the holiday

Home-design guru Sarah Richardson has just released her first book, Sarah Style. We sat down with her to find out how she celebrates the holiday season.

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Sarah Richardson. (Photo, Bjorn Wallander.)

 

Q: What are you looking forward to this December?

A: Time to enjoy what the season is all about — being outdoors with our kids, cooking in the kitchen, and relaxing by the fire.

Q: What’s your favourite present to give?

A: My signature gift would have to be the Kosta Boda snowball votive holder. It’s a perfect example of an original idea, beautifully executed.

Snowball Votive Holder, William Ashley.
Snowball Votive Holder, $45, William Ashley.


Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: After 15 years of renovating over 300 rooms for my shows, I felt that I was in a good position to offer a valuable resource of design ideas. It was a huge undertaking to manage and write, but it’s my vision, my work and my words, so it feels gratifying to see it finally come to fruition.

Q: Favourite family tradition?

A: Sipping champagne while trimming the tree and listening to Handel’s “Messiah”.

Q: What’s the most exciting part of your job?

A: The opportunity to tackle new challenges on an ongoing basis. I’ve always said that no two days in design are ever the same, so it’s never dull, but now with all my side projects, my days are filled with more strategic, big-picture design thinking. It’s been very exciting and very busy. TV has always allowed me to share my ideas and my enthusiasm for design with a global audience, so the introduction of products and publishing to that spectrum is a natural extension, and I’m lucky to be working with the best of the best when it comes to my collaborations.

Q: What was your first breakthrough job?

A: Landing a job as a behind-the-scenes prop stylist for a daily home show in the early days of lifestyle television almost 20 years ago. I threw myself into it with all the enthusiasm and energy of my youth and was able to make a name for myself in the emerging world of design and lifestyle television. It was a steep learning curve, and the road to success was unpaved and uncharted territory, but I’ve enjoyed the journey and know there’s still a long way to go.

Q: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

A: I work hard enough that I don’t feel guilty about things that bring pleasure. Who wants to spoil a great vacation, delicious meal, fine wine or fleur-de-sel chocolate by feeling guilty? Nope, not me!

Q: What or Who has been your biggest influence?

A: The viewers and readers have guided my path and challenged me to always focus on delivering new and inspiring solutions that appeal to their tastes and suit their lifestyle and budget. I’ve worked hard to earn their respect and always try to think about whether the ideas and concepts I’m offering are accessible, approachable and relevant. I’m trying to design solutions that help you live in style and love your home. I want to make design fun, affordable and easy for everyone.

Q: What’s your go-to meal over the holidays?

A: About five years ago my brother Ben, who lives in London, introduced me to the amazing food of Yotam Ottolenghi. The fresh and flavourful combinations are what I crave during the holidays — especially the roasted sweet potatoes with ginger, lemon and maple syrup. I can’t get enough. Our mom is a fabulous cook, so turkey was never the main event, and I tend to follow the same approach.

 

Sarah Style, by Sarah Richardson.

Sarah Style ($32).

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