Year after year, Sarah Richardson and her talented design team produce covetable country homes, cottages and seaside escapes worthy of bookmarking. From Sarah’s signature watery palette to her pattern-mixing prowess, she’s mastered the elements of summer style. Here are some of the best-ever spaces by Sarah Richardson Design decorated with the sunny season in mind.
A Sweet Southern Abode
Sarah and co-designer Kate Stuart, refreshed a
family home in Nashville, Tennessee — no renovations required. The makeover was all about the power of decorating, injecting traditional English touches and a fresh, updated feeling with just paint, fabric and furniture. Sarah tells us how they did it.
“The house has yellowy, golden tones throughout that we had to temper and cool off, so we went with a palette of oyster, cream and greyed aqua,” she says. “Because we couldn’t change the dark green marble or wood mantel in the living room, we added notes of blue-green to work with the existing surround. Overall, everything feels sun-faded and soft.”
“In the kitchen, we worked with the creamy palette of the existing tongue-and-groove walls,” says Sarah. “The chairs were vintage finds that we had painted white and reupholstered to go with the limed oak table. On a thick, flatweave rug like this one by Surya, chairs pull out easily. The rug creates a lovely neutral foundation.”
“This is a room for him and her, for morning coffee overlooking the garden or for reading a book in the afternoon,” she says. “It doesn’t need seating for many people, so a pair of chaises works. It’s also where their dogs will come and go from the outside, so the large indoor-outdoor rug is very practical.”
“If you’re going to have something as bold as this wallpaper, everything else has to whisper,” says Sarah. “The linens and grasscloth-covered dresser offset the richness of the principal bedroom’s wallpaper, which was already here. We covered the headboard in creamy chenille and added the lightest of accent touches in aqua and green. Everything is light and ethereal. To soften the existing California shutters, handkerchief linen drapery is layered over top.”
A Coastal Connecticut Home
Steps from Long Island Sound and boasting views of the water, this
century-old Georgian home in Connecticut has a distinct maritime feel. Designers Tommy Smythe and Lindsay Mens Craig took a refreshing take on classic coastal style. “The first time we walked the property with the homeowner, we fell in love with this house,” says Tommy.
Despite steering away from typical nautical themes, Tommy and Lindsay allowed themselves a gallery wall of seafaring prints along the stairway. In mismatched frames, these images add maritime atmosphere.
“We were mindful of not over-renovating the house,” says Tommy of the decision to turn one small window above the kitchen sink into two larger ones, which opened up the wall space they needed to place the appliances in more logical positions. “Little things like that made big impacts.”
A charming guest bedroom is tied together by shades of white and blue inspired by the sea and sky.
The principal bedroom takes its color cues from the garden. The floral linen drapery fabric was used in reverse, to give it a faded, watercolor quality. Because the bedroom has windows on three sides, the designers used cooler tones to balance the plentiful summer sunshine.
Sarah Richardson’s Off-The-Grid Country House, Starlight Farm
High on a hill, less than two hours and a world away from Toronto, is Sarah’s discreet country house,
Starlight Farm. Fans have been following along with the construction, design and decorating journey on her hit HGTV series, Sarah Off The Grid.
In the mudroom, each family member has their own closet plus a basket stored on open, accessible shelves. A cowhide-covered bench provides seating.
In the sunroom, throw pillows have patterned fabrics inspired by the woodsy setting. “This house is meant to feel connected to the natural landscape,” says Sarah.
Statement ceiling treatments like the dining area’s dramatic star-like compass rose — a recurring motif on the farm — visually defines the area on the open-concept main floor. The simple white covers on the seat and back cushions of the rattan chairs bring a relaxed, indoor-outdoor vibe.
A durable marble “rug” installed in the high-traffic area between the kitchen’s sink and stove has a mosaic detail at the ends that’s reminiscent of fringe.
“Since this house is for forever, I wanted it to be dressed in a palette that I would never tire of,” says Sarah of the principal bedroom’s calm, quiet and ethereal neutrals. Painted to highlight its ornate carving, an antique bench piled with pillows is an elegant perch. Sarah used a carved architectural fragment from a church to create a canopy effect above the bed and added contrasting wall panels and an antique silver-plated chandelier to emphasize the ceiling height.
The pool is a favorite spot for relaxing and entertaining.
A Nature-Inspired Cottage
Designers Natalie Hodgins and Shannon Morrison filled this
Muskoka cottage space with sky blues and natural texture. Outdoor bentwood chairs enhance the living room’s indoor-outdoor feeling and the light blue coffered ceiling mimics the sky.
Painting the island and lower cabinets in a darker tone injects color into the light and airy kitchen. Natalie and Shannon tried many samples to attain the perfect cool grey before settling on Benjamin Moore’s Steel Wool (2121-20).
With its full-height windows, the dining room gives the feeling of enjoying meals alfresco. Designers Natalie and Shannon paired a Gothic-inspired chandelier with black fan-back Windsor chairs. To create a matching bench, they had three of the chairs crafted into one unique seat by local furniture makers.
The powder room’s thoughtful details include a two-toned vanity and a charming seagrass mirror that echoes the circular basin.
In the principal bedroom, blue and white patterns, including a tall headboard in a sand-dollar print, play up the cottage’s island location. Vintage finds, like the chandelier and side tables, balance the contemporary pieces.
A Seaside Home In P.E.I.
Sarah brought coastal charm and color to this relaxed beach house in Prince Edward Island. “We took a classic coastal palette and brought it to life in a streamlined way, using blues and pale colors evocative of the sea,” says Sarah.
The home seamlessly blends traditional and modern elements. For a dramatic moment in the kitchen, Sarah offset the time-worn shiplap ceiling with a wall of contemporary Moonstone mosaic tile.
In the principal bedroom, quilted bedding, a shag rug and trellis-inspired headboard and mirrors add pattern and texture.
In another bedroom, old-fashioned quilts are modernized against crisp white walls and a geometric pendant light. Patterned fabrics on pillows and a striped rug lend the space an easygoing charm.
A Cozy Lakeside Cottage
Designers Natalie Hodgins and Kate Stuart designed this kitchen’s cabinets to resemble freestanding antique furniture for a sophisticated, old-world feel. An oversized island is perfect for entertaining.
Natalie and Kate wanted the house to be a fresh, pastoral take on lakeside living. The home’s large, lofty living room was inspired by the landscape that surrounds it, with a whimsical forest-inspired chandelier, woven coffee table, and sand-colored sofas. A deep blue rug grounds the space and makes the seating arrangement feel more intimate.
The homeowners chose to forgo installing televisions in the home so that there’d be more time to read. In the library, wing chairs covered in a fun floral print make for the perfect place to curl up with a good book.
A nautical display is a sweet touch on the main floor.
Natalie and Kate chose to paint the principal bathroom’s ceiling a pale seafoam green for a breezy, tranquil feel. The homeowners decided against installing mirrors over the vanity in favor of preserving the view outside, and left the windows undressed to let light stream through. “It’s not so important what you look like at the cottage,” says one owner.
A New England-Style House
Inspired by the shingled homes on Maine’s picturesque shoreline, Susan Sinclair-Brockelsby and Gerry Brockelsby hoped to recreate the charm of New England architecture when it came to building their own
weekend home. Sarah provided another major source of inspiration; Susan admits she is a longtime fan.“I just thought everything she did was yummy, so I contacted her office, and they came out right away,” says Susan.
The library features a gold bar cart, rich alder wood panelling and pure linen drapes with a duck motif by Schumacher (not shown). “The only thing missing are cigars,” jokes Natalie. A coffered ceiling suits the country setting.
The vanity was custom-made to look like furniture, while vine wallpaper “has a beautiful organic feel that brings the outside in,” says Natalie. A large nautical-style window recalls New England architecture.
Intricate chinoiserie-style wallpaper turns the hardworking laundry room from utilitarian to charming.