Skip the line: Win one-on-one design advice from Sarah Richardson

How would you like to get one-on-one, personalized design advice from Sarah Richardson? The celebrity designer is coming to Ottawa and you can win a few minutes of her time to get your design questions answered.

The design titan, best-selling author and star of eight HGTV shows is the headliner at the Ottawa Fall Home Show later this month. And while she will give a presentation that shares her insights on design and renovation, a big draw for her appearance is the one-on-one consultations she’s offering.

Got a room you don’t know what to do with or having trouble pulling a look together? You can ask Sarah. For most folks, the 40 consultation time slots will require lining up and will be first come first served, but as part of a promotion with All Things Home, you can enter to win one of two dedicated time slots with the design star (details below).


In an emailed question-and-answer exchange earlier this month, here’s what Richardson had to say about coming to Ottawa, her new wallpaper line and dancing to Abba.

Q: You’re doing two appearances at the show, one a stage presentation and the other the five-minute one-on-one consultations. What prompted this approach?

A: I know that people often make the trek to come and see me speak, sometimes from far away, and while they are interested in what I have to say about my approach to design, my thoughts on trends and new ideas, and my anecdotes about my design journey and making the TV shows, the reality is that they may just have a specific question that they REALLY need help with that pertains to their own home.

Maybe they’ve hit an impasse or reached a road block in a renovation that they can’t get around and are ready to “seek professional help” from someone they trust (and hopefully that’s me), or perhaps there’s a difference of opinion that needs an external voice of reason to get things back on track.


Maybe they don’t know what to keep and what to get rid of in a room, or one of the most popular questions I get is: “What would Sarah do?”

Giving my Ottawa friends a chance to come and meet me and get a quick one-on-one personal consultation is a fun add-on to the normal stage presentation.

Q: What will your stage presentation be about?

A: For the stage presentation I’ll be sharing my insights on design and renovation.


Whether you’re inclined to contemporary style or something more traditional, there are lessons and tricks that can help every homeowner navigate their project and get to the finish line feeling happy with the end result.

I will be sharing my tried-and-true recipes for how to tackle projects big and small, how to think about budget and style, and also — how to keep a positive attitude along the way, which is a very valuable tool!

design advice from Sarah Richardson Ottawa Fall Home Show


Sharing: The kitchen from Sarah Richardson’s most recent HGTV Canada TV series, Sarah off the Grid. Photo: Stacey Brandford

Q: For those who plan to stand in line to get a consultation with you, what should they do ahead of time to maximize their time with you? Should they bring pictures of the room or design issue they want you to address? Should they write out their questions so they won’t forget?

A: Writing out their questions is a great idea, and they might want to record the conversation so they don’t miss anything as the time will move quickly.

Photos are the best and most effective way to illustrate your design challenge so definitely bring those along. If they are printed on 8.5 x 11 paper I can even draw right on top of them.


The consultations are short, so I can’t solve every design dilemma (no matter how fast I talk), so coming prepared with your top two questions is a good policy.

(Editor’s note: You’re asked to limit your questions to one room of your home. It’s also a good idea to bring fabric swatches and other inspirations, like magazine photos.)

Q: What’s next for Sarah Richardson? Is there a new show in the works? Another design line?

A: I’m just finishing up a new TV series, which will air early in 2019, and some other projects that are still top secret, but suffice it to say that I’m busier than ever and excited to share all the news, products and new developments as soon as possible. I can say that I’m working on a super exciting furniture collection that I can’t wait to release into the market in 2019.


Q: And can you talk a bit about your new wallpaper line, like what inspired you (beyond being nuts for wallpaper) and how it came about?

A: The wallpaper collection is a dream come true. As designers we use wallpaper in many client projects and love the transformation it creates. Whether you do a single wall, a small powder room, or a big all-over statement, wallpaper can really bring a room to life in ways that paint can’t.

My new collection for A Street Prints features raised inks, which add a dimension of texture to the prints — and it’s really amazing! Some of the patterns are drawn from my fabric collections for Kravet Fabrics, and some of them are brand new ideas.

I wanted to ensure we had a fresh collection that blends both contemporary and traditional references, offers both bold and subtly neutral colour options, and hopefully has something for everyone. I’ve already used a number of the wallpapers in my latest TV project and can’t wait for everyone to discover how beautiful and fun they are.


All the papers can be ordered through my website (and at discounted prices, which everyone loves!).

design advice from Sarah Richardson Ottawa Fall Home Show

Richardson’s wallpaper collection is a mix of patterns drawn from her fabric line plus some new ideas. Photo: Valerie Wilcox


Q: What’s new in the design world right now?

A: The current direction I’m seeing is towards buying less and buying good quality, which always makes me happy. When we support our local trades and artisans and embrace thoughtfully crafted, well-made items for our homes, we create rooms that tell a story and homes that have a soul.

Q: Can you tell me one (or a few!) things about Sarah that people don’t know? Are you a closet Abba fan, or a speed demon, or have a weakness for chocolate … or perhaps something more profound?

A: I’m not sure that there are a ton of mysteries about me as I’ve always been open and honest about how I live and what I do. Whether it’s on TV, in the press, or on social media, what you see is what you get, and I’m proud of that.

But to answer your questions… I grew up doing Abba dance routines in my friend’s dining room (and spent this summer listening to my daughters blast the same album decades later, which made me laugh and remember Grade 4 fondly). Speeding is not a great idea for a designer who spends half her life in a car on the road. Yes, I do absolutely love sea salt dark chocolate and crave it within mere seconds of finishing my lunch. And I can’t think of what’s “more profound” right now.


It’s been one of “those days” in the life of entrepreneur, but I guess my takeaway from today is that you should always give everything you do 150 per cent and stand up for what you believe in — if you don’t, no one else will, and if the time and energy you invest in whatever you’re doing leads to a better end result, you should own it, be proud of it, and keep doing it.

Maybe I do have a profound thought for the day after all, but I sure didn’t expect it would ever come in the same sentence as Abba — now that’s a first.

How to enter Skip the Line for one-on-one time with Sarah Richardson

On Friday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m., Sarah Richardson will provide quick one-on-one design consultations to 40 visitors to the Ottawa Fall Home Show. Two lucky readers of All Things Home will get to Skip the Line, winning time with Sarah at the beginning of her appearance. The prize includes show passes for the winners and a guest, but parking is not included.


To enter, simply email with the subject: Skip the Line and send it no later than noon Ottawa time on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Your email should include your full name and phone number. One entry per person. Winners will be chosen at random and notified on Sept. 26.

Also at the Ottawa Fall Home Show

Packed with home improvement specialists, design inspirations and advice, there’s plenty to see and experience at the show, which runs from Sept. 27-30. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Tour a Bonneville model home
  • Enter the High and Low contest
  • Take part in an upcycle workshop with Rust-oleum and designer Sarah Kidder
  • Vote for the People’s Choice Award in the Housing Design Awards put on by the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association
  • And catch the All Things Home team stage presentation on Home Improvement ROI: Top 10 ways to get the most out of your home on a budget

For more show details, such as times and admission, visit



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About the Author

Anita Murray

Anita Murray

Anita Murray is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and owner of Three C Communications. The veteran journalist has covered the Ottawa housing industry since 2011.



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