Tuesdays are good days. Each week I get Little M down for his post-lunch nap and wonder what kind of design adventure Sarah Richardson and Thomas Smythe have up their sleeves for another episode of Sarah 101 (Tuesdays on HGTV Canada). (Doesn’t my life sound thrilling?) ;)
I’d say this show is in many ways a departure from her previous shows in aesthetic. Though Sarah 101 still has oodles of “Sarah signatures” (painted furniture, a touch of sparkle, throw pillows with buttons…) and does sort of pick up where Sarah’s House 3 left off (in using more colour and pattern), it also goes a little crazy.
The biggest factors are her use of colour and pattern, and an overall more eclectic look. Now I know out there on the message boards there are a ton of women having heart attacks since their love of Sarah stems from the predominantly white and cream years of Design Inc., or even the very pastel-y years of Room Service. I also love when Sarah embraces white and cream, but for myself I think it’s neat to watch a designer evolve since style and design evolves too. And why shouldn’t she push the envelope? I think people in touch with design outside of HGTV know that Sarah’s hardly the kookiest designer there is.
So the results thus far are a mixed bag in my opinion… Check it out and let me know what you think!
EPISODE 1: “VIBRANT LIVING AND DINING ROOM”
This room sort of “broke us in” for the season. While the walls were neutral and the chaise and drapes were mostly cream… there was a hot pink sofa. And hot pink dining chairs. And some pretty bold fabrics.
And I loved it all! A bold scheme (I mean it’s pink. C’mon.) but the overall look worked.
EPISODE TWO: “SOPHISTO-NURSERY”
Other than hating the name of this episode (yeesh) I really liked a lot about this one. Blue and orange is one of my favourite colour combos, and I thought this was marvy-fab. (I stole that word - “marvy-fab”- from an Archie comic, I think. It sounds almost as cool as “Sophisto-Nursery”.) ;)
In addition to the colour scheme, I’m in love with the wallpapered ceiling. I think it’s a great move in a nursery. Period. And it helped that the intricate paisley pattern was gorgeous. Other plusses? Drapes. (The fabric is great, and Tommy finally got his ball fringe.) Light fixtures. The piece used for a change table. The stripes. And I totally agree that a boy could “grow up in” this room.
My detractions? It depends on the baby you have, but I never could have survived my many sleepless nights with Little M in that chair. I need rock. I need recline. Swivel will not cut it. However it’s a chair a kid could love when he’s older. Also the floor plan felt a bit funny to me with the crib peninsula’d like that. (Though I might feel differently actually standing in the room.) And the picture frame arrangement isn’t my cup of tea.
EPISODE 3: BIG BOX KITCHEN
I liked this kitchen. Liked. But it’s maybe a little forgettable.
Obviously it’s a great improvement on the old kitchen, and cool to see Sarah use more IKEA cabinetry (though her IKEA-based farmhouse kitchen in Sarah’s House 3 was magnificent, so you can understand why I’m underwhelmed).
The biggest issue for the kitchen was space and layout. One of my favourite Sarah-isms is that an island isn’t always best. She uses them sometimes when it’s right, but she’s a big proponent of peninsulas, which just make more sense in some situations. Here, if you look at the floorplan you can see the island was ridiculous. I’m not sure I love the peninsula either, though. So my opinion for this episode is that I don’t really have a strong opinion.
EPISODE 4: INDUSTRIAL SOUL BEDROOM
Loved this one! A loft bedroom, with some bold colours, and dragon fabric on the bed? Not exactly what Sarah’s known for. But after watching the episode a second time I decided it was awesome. I love the use of colour, the roman blinds and drapes with the thick trim, and just how the whole room fit the loft look without being run-of-the-mill.
I also loved how they used the client’s grandfather’s war medals. The colours were exactly right and the sentiment was perfect.
EPISODE 5: JEWEL DINING ROOM
OK. Here’s where I have issues. Overall I do not like this room. There is a fine line between “Granny Chic” and “An Old Lady Lives Here”. Maybe the room needed a bit of restraint. Or maybe a few less straight-up vintage pieces. But whatever the issue, I just couldn’t dig the overall look. The nail in the coffin was the painting (seen on the left wall in the picture above.) When that came out the old lady moved in.
There were many elements that I really liked: Wallpaper? Wonderful. Chairs? Charming. Fabrics? Fabulous. Trim? Terrific. But when it was all put together it just felt like too much and too old lady. (No offense, old ladies.) And so… we move on.
EPISODE 6: BOHO GIRLS’ ROOMS
I love watching any episode on a nursery or child’s room - even if you don’t like the aesthetic, you can usually pick up a good idea or two. Plus you can be pretty bold in kids’ rooms. These rooms were a mixed bag for me. Plenty of cool ideas and cute features, but I’m not in love with either room.
In the blue room I felt like the scale and composition of the wallpaper animals felt weird (such a tall giraffe paired with a short alligator nearly hidden by the bed frame? That felt “off” to me.) And the painted green “hill” effect on the bottom of the wall was too much for this room. (Funnily enough, as someone who used to paint murals for kids’ rooms I’m really not a fan 99% of the time.) But I am a fan of the headboards and side tables, and thought the bed arrangement was a cool solution to sharing a small bedroom. (The beds were pushed against the wall with the ends touching, giving the look of one giant daybed.)
EPISODE 7: CONTEMPORARY LIVING ROOM
Sorry, dudes. Since this is the most recent episode it’s tough to find decent pictures. When I find some I’ll share. This room? I liked. A lot. Maybe because even though a couple years ago I was sure the grey-and-yellow scheme would be short-lived I’m still crushing on it. Also because I like every single fabric used in the room. And the rugs. I’m not in the Grasscloth Loving Club, so the wallpaper isn’ for me. And I’m not someone who’d enjoy a light-box photograph in my living space. But I can appreciate both elements and like pretty much everything else in the rooms. Since this show is not done with client consultation I did like how much this design complemented the kitchen which the homeowners had recently renovated. It’s nice that the whole main living space jives and fits the homeowner’s aesthetic. (Though I was surprised by the husband’s enthusiastic reaction in episode 1 with the pink sofa.)
So there’s my run-down. What do you think? What’ve been your highlights so far? I’m certainly looking forward to the second half of the season because I really don’t know what to expect…