Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sarah's Cottage & Sarah's Giveaway

The warm weather is finally upon us and cottage season has just begun.  For most folks living in Toronto, we are all sun-deprived after months of wind and snow, and can't wait to visit cottage country whenever we can to unwind and relax.  Trust me, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting on the floating dock, having a glass of wine with the loved ones, and as Chris would say " just watch the water".

Living in Toronto (and Canada) does give us the advantage of being the first to watch the latest shows by Ms. Sarah Richardson!  We all loved her beautifully designed cottage when it was first aired a couple of years ago ... and yes, I was so inspired that I'd decorated my own balcony with one of Sarah's color schemes at her cottage.

After much anticipation, the show is finally available for our neighbour south of the border.  While the "Sarah's Summer Home" marathon is on July 1st at 3pm on HGTV, I would like to share with you some of my favourite elements of the show.

Episode 1: Living Room Addition

I LOVE all the rooms in the cottage but the living room is my absolute favourite.   No doubt that this is a fantastically designed/decorated space; however, what an ambitious project to add an extension on a remote island where it is only accessible by boat or plane!  The living room serves as the hub of the cottage and with full height windows on three sides of the room, it is also the perfect spot to enjoy the breath-taking views.

Sarah and Tommy had planned a perfect living space to sit & chat, read a book, or just lounge.  What are the perfect colors for easy breezy Summer living?  Look no further than different shades of blue, sand, and light-colored wood tone!

I've always amazed by Sarah's mix of fabrics for colors, interests, and textures. In the living room, Sarah used so many different fabrics but they worked together beautifully by a common thread: blue.

Episode 2: East/West Guest Bedroom + Front Entrance

Of course you will need to plan for overnight guests at the cottage, especially when civilization is a plane or boat ride away.  Working with the mother nature, Sarah and Tommy selected two very different color schemes for the guest rooms.

The East Guest Room gets lots of sun in the morning and hence, a warm and vibrant mix of greens and pinks as its color scheme.  My favourite elements in this room is the pink/white polka dot fabric and the vintage brass bed frame: so much character and fun!

The West Guest Room has my favourite color combination: soft apple green + robin's egg blue.  Love the playful fabric on the custom headboard and the old window frame turned mirror.

and of course I love Sarah's pillows ... who doesn't?

By pushing one exterior wall out by 4 feet, Sarah was able to incorporate a proper entrance to the cottage and added a bench + extra storage along the way.

Episode 3: Baths

This main bath has it all: a free-standing soaking tub, a glass shower, honed marble floor, a beyond gorgeous vintage vanity, an incredible amount of storage for towers and other bathroom essentials, and a skylight!  Who would have thought this is a bathroom on a remote island!

My favourite features of this bathroom hands-down are the textured mosaic on the back wall, the repurposed vintage vanity, the placement of the pendant in front of the mirror, and the use of rock pebbles as floor in the shower.  This bathroom just take relaxation in a cottage bathroom to a whole new different level.

The powder room is on the second floor.  Sarah and Tommy selected a bold race car red for the custom storage, and used a mix of mirror and shutter as doors.

Episode 4: Master Bedroom and Kids Loft

I love the use of red in the master bedroom.  Though many people might say red is not a relaxing color in the bedroom, I believe it all depends on how you apply "red".  In her own bedroom, Sarah showed us with the right doses of red as accents and mixing in soft blues and creams, red can be your ticket to many hours of sweet dreams!

The Kids Loft featured playful colors and patterns.  My favourite of the room (beside the wood panels) are the tuffits and the painted stripes on the floor!  A tip from Sarah if you plan to paint your floor: mix in 25% mineral spirit for the first coat to make sure the paints are soak into the wood.

Off the master bedroom is an absolutely breath-taking deck offering a panoramic view of Georgian Bay and the ultimate lounging experience.

Episode 5: Kitchen, Dining Room + Lounge

This kitchen has all the bell and whistle a chef would want for a Summer feast at the cottage.  For me, I love the mosaic backsplash, the subtle monogram cravings on the kitchen doors, and the painted "groceries" sign: it is perfect for a cottage kitchen!

I also love the use of vintage architectural details.  They add so much charm and a sense of history to the space.

In the dining room, Sarah and Tommy selected a delicate candle chandelier as the ideal light source, a painted bench for maximum seating, and upholstered wing-back end chairs for softness and comfort. 

The Lounge is the perfect spot for casual conversation and afternoon tea.

Form and function has always played an important role in Sarah's design.  In this case, a wall of hats is not only beautiful but also practical on those sunny summer days.   The vintage dresser offers extra storage and the hard wearing fabrics are selected for the chairs

Episode 6: Bunkie

The bunkie is a retreat for overnight guest and really, who wouldn't want to stay in this bunkie?  Yes it is a small room but it has everything you need in a bedroom, especially when it comes with a four pillar bed!

I absolutely love the DIY bedside table lamps and will make a pair for myself one day.

Still not convinced this is your dream cottage? You will after checking out this striking view.

Other than the geniusly designed rooms, what I also love is Sarah's commitment to green power for her cottage: solar panels were installed to power the water plumb and small numbers of lights, two septic systems sit under the front deck, and most of the kitchen appliances are run by gas to minimize footprint on the environment.

So you wonder which color scheme at Sarah's Cottage was the inspiration for my balcony? Check this out!

Learning from Sarah's mix of colors and patterns, I selected a number of fabrics for the balcony and I loved the contrast between the blues and the whites!

Now you have seen it all and can't wait to improve your own cottage.  Look no further, Sarah has generously offered one lucky reader a fan deck of her Designer Palette with Para Paint and your very own "Sarah's Cottage" T-shirt! 

All you need to do is drop me a comment telling me what improvement you have in mind for your cottage and the Sarah's Giveaway could be yours!


  1. When we purchase our cottage (which is on the works...fingers crossed!) I hope to make signature rooms like Sarah. We have to boys 15 months apart, so I dream of having their room with bunk beds. I want to spray them in the beautiful blue colour to mirror the water, and cover them with quilts I've seen at Homesense, that have a nautical theme to them. Then for some finishing touches, I would love to use buckets on hooks, like Sarah used, to place items the boys will need to help organize, and place them at the boys' height so they can help keep things tidy. Ahhhh, summer! Great post!

  2. Hi Tim,

    We've had our cottage since 1989 and just did some major renos last summer. We've done the main lounge and kitchen and can't wait to tackle the bedrooms this summer. We have wood panelled walls in all the bedrooms and I think some of Sarah’s colours would make all the difference while still keeping that cottage charm we love. Paint is such a great way to freshen up any room and these bedrooms will definitely go from drab to fab!

    Happy Tuesday!

    Laura x

  3. Love the recap! I hope we get reruns when the us gets her show - wouldn't mind a little extra sarah's cottage in my life in the form of a rainy sunday marathon! (not that i am in any way hoping for rain...but it is the only thing to keep me inside!)

  4. LOVE Sarah's cottage! One of the things I'd like to do for my small bathroom someday is put in beadboard panels painted in Sarah's signature blues, and then use an idea I saw in a magazine. It was the use of sailor's rope strung along the wall with bath towels hanging from it. Also using pebble tile in the shower floor is a must! Sarah's use of colors are so tasteful and calming....Sea dreams....

  5. We have a park model trailer with a peek-a-boo of a beautiful BC lake. When we moved in I had the out-dated patterned wallpaper painted a soft sage green. Up next will be getting rid of the pink vertical blinds and honey coloured kitchen cabinets.

    I'd love to style my kitchen like Sarah's cottage, paint out the cabinets, add tile backsplash, and add beachy/cottagy decor.

    I would love to have Sarah and Tommy redecorate my cabin. :)

  6. We are in the middle of redecorating our deck. We built it new last year and this year it is all about decorating. New chase lounges, pillows, and painting the table in great Summer colors. I love Sarah's style, her colors, and her shows ( and her sidekick).

  7. Great Post! Not planning on a Cottage at this point, love to incorporate Cottage style decorating into a regular Home, so one can have that Beachy/by the ocean feeling all year long. Love the colours Sarah used and the mix of old and new keeps everything interesting and unique!

  8. Our family owns a wonderful 2-story log cabin in the Bosie National Forest (Idaho, USA). The cabin is a mystical place to me and probably my most favorite place in the world.
    The cabin features 2 decks overlooking the roaring Bosie river and many a morning are spent sipping coffee and laughing with friends. It is constructed of solid logs that are visible from the interior.
    Unfortunately the decor of the cabin is like a time capsule. Shag carpeting, harvest gold appliances and outdated linoleum all are showing their age. I hope to take the cabin into the 21st century during my lifetime and would love to have some of Sarah's help.
    I love all of the Sarah shows and will continue to be an avid fan!

  9. My "cottage" is my family home, a quaint and cozy brick one story built in 1952. My husband and I have been slowly renovating the interior with the hopes to convert the attic to bedrooms and another full bath to accommodate our growing family. We also intend on opening the kitchen and dining area to make the space the heart of the home for gathering. I love the relaxed, vintage style of cottage living. Sarah always creates such inviting spaces that speak to me in every way! I would be thrilled to make my cottage into a little gem I call home. -Holly Schafer

  10. I don't have a cottage, but have loved following Sarah's summer cottage reno here in the US. I would love Sarah's fan deck with all of the yummy cottage colors she uses in her rooms so I can bring a touch of Sarah into my home here. Just finished watching the building of the bunkie. Such a cool little place!

  11. I so wish I had a cottage and Sarah to decorate, but sadly I have neither. I do, however, have a lovely 3 seasons room which I am still working on the hubby to heat to make it into a 4 seasons room. Sarah's cottage is definitely an inspiration, as are all her projects.

  12. My father purchased a lake house almost three years ago (we bought in the middle of winter when no one was looking). We have been tirelessly renovating the house the past two summers and was so excited to FINALLY see Sarah's Cottage here in the states. I have of course seen the pictures hundreds of times, but seeing the process was completely inspiring. We have tons of pine panel elements in the space that we put at a 45 degree angle (hello 1970s). I was ready to throw it all out the window rather than deal with the headache. Instead I am running the panels through a planer (thank you neighbor) and using the pieces at chair rail height. I am going to attempt the ever so gorgeous white wash that Sarah emblazoned on the pine panels in her home. This element has proved to me that pine can be beautiful.

    Thank you Tim for sharing all of her work, pretty sure if it wasn't for your updates I would have moved North. :) If we don't get Sarah's House 4 at the same time as Canada I may picket HGTVs offices (if i can find them that is).

    My blog is about my own home renovation and is very Sarah! We haven't had much going on lately (my other half was between jobs) but now that we are back swinging the house is going to get done!! (If you have time you should check it out)

  13. Our backyard is our cottage! My dream one day, is to buy a small cottage to retire in, and re-do with that cottage feel. Its my FAVORITE look for any space, and we are currently renovating our own home to have that cottage inspired design look! With 2 bathroom renos on the go right now, we could definitely use the inspiration and Sarah is my all-time favorite designer. Thanks so much for the giveaway and LOVE the blog!! :)

  14. Since Sarah has redone her cottaqe we purchased a home back on the water. With your blog featuring Sarah's cottage we have oodles of inspiration to pull from to do it "Sarah Style". Even on a liquid sunshine kinda day we love it here. Thanks for making us smile.
    Anne Marie

  15. Great post Tim! We're planning on buying a place on Bainbridge Island in Washington State in 3 years. My husband watched Sarah's Summer Home with me and at the end he said "Let's buy a reno on Bainbridge and do it like Sarah ..." Amazing!!! He's only wanted new and "done" before. I'm a happy wife!

  16. Bought a cabin on a lake, moved the tenents out (raccoons, squirrels, birds)knocked it down and built a log cabin on existing foundation with an add on. After 1 year of working weekends, the cabin is done. Tried to use local products and reclaimed barn beams etc as we could.My husband made all the kitchen cabinets from the "vintage" wood, ceiling ties, etc from the original cabin. Reminds me of Sarah's kitchen in her summer cottage. We recently added a screen porch using reclaimed logs and barn siding and vintage tin roofing. Adding slate flooring and then ready to furnish...Sarah and Tommy are definitely an inspiration!!

  17. My husband and I purchased a 72 yr. old rock house in a small town in West Texas. I call it my "Stone Cottage". It is in the process of being renovated-everything from being completely re-wired to all new plumbing. It's a long task but in between we are finding wonderful suprises like 12" horizontal ship lap boards. They are being painted white. I plan on making signs for the bedrooms doors painted North and South. If you'd like to see the beginning of this charming Stone Cottage go to Pamelotta.blogspot.com. I want you to see the biggest suprise...the decorations on the outside around the windows and doors put in by the original owner 72 yrs ago.

  18. I am a huge fan of your work! I am from Rhode Island, USA and love the warm color pallet used and extracted from the water at your cottage! I am in the process of starting the building process and plan to use a lot of your inspirations as my inspirations!

  19. Love her inspiration! I will be building my dream house soon and I am taking all her colors from the getaway and the country house. Love the way she uses textures, pattern and colors and all the use of furniture.

    Elle F.

  20. The Bunkie is to die for! What a great little spot for over night guests. we have to build one for ourselves!

  21. I love her show! Sarah and Tommy constantly inspired me and my partner of what to do with our home. We don't have a summer home but would love to create an outdoor/indoor living space with ideas learned from Sarah's Summer Home.

    The fan deck will come in handy and hope the T-shirt is my size!

  22. I unfortunately only able to dream about what type of renovations I could do to my own home, not even a cottage. My house however, is in need of an update and I sit tirelessly wondering what would be the right colors for each room. I actually posted on Sarah's page yesterday wondering about her color choices and if she has any "go to" colors or does she usually end up using custom colors? Sara is an amazing designer and have loved everything she has done. The hard part is trying to incorporate some of her fantastic ideas into my own home. I LOVE how she is sure to give furniture a second lease on life with a coat of paint or sometimes by using them in a different way. Would LOVE her fan deck, it would REALLY help me out with making decisions in my own home. Love this page by the way!

  23. As a first time homebuyer, I have used many of Sarah's design principles and am slowly but surely decorating a large house.

  24. As the owner of Brown Butterfly Interiors located on the sandy NJ shore I always look to Sarah for inspiration on my own projects. A fan deck would come in very handy to use & pass along color options to my clients!

  25. Just finished a laundry room gut and re-do with Sarah's style as my inspiration. Just wish I was as good as her team with the accessories. I think that would make a good series "Sarah's Accessories" - How to add the finishing touches to the room of your dreams.

  26. Well, I'm stillin the dreaming stages for my own cottage, collecting photos where ever I find them... love the WEST BDRM and the BATHRM in Sarah's Cottage! She always inspires ME!!!

    Karen (Western Canada)

  27. That would be the living room. Definitely want to stick with several shades of light green, as in nature outside. But get stuck on accent colours: browns?, blues? Somehow, I keep going back to thoughts of a monochromatic with shades of white sage, but is there a more updated light green that has various shades, as in nature?

  28. I just love how Sarah marries beautiful design with family life consideration. Families with small children (and even big kids) can live in a beautiful and fully functioning space. I am inspired to get there!

  29. I'm not fortunate enough to own a cottage, but I am in love with the idea. The joinery throughout Sarah's cottage is just perfect - the style and colors are all inspirational...as is everything she does.

  30. Thanks everyone for your comments!! I love them all but sadly we can only have one winner.

    Chris had once again done a random draw and the very lucky winner of Sarah's signed fan deck and t-shirt is comment#21 Mr. Vince, who shared with us that he would put the fan deck into great use and making his very own outdoor/indoor space inspired by Sarah's ideas!

    Please contact me at www.designmaze.ca for your contact information and the Sarah's giveaway will be on their way to you!

  31. First of all let me say that Sarah's cottage is just so wonderful I want to come for the weekend. That said our cottage is about a million miles from that style. It is a place where our family has brought old loved furniture along side various items we have found that were so mad they had to be bought 'for the cottage'. It a place where you can slep around in rubber boots and shed sand on the braided rugs at will. It only requires housework once a week and it doesnt care if that happens or not. Your cottage is, as I said previously,beautiful but those kind of dreams I save for the city where I can settle down and enjoy that level of comfort. Cottages should be places where one can really relax almost like one step up from camping. I may be a little retro here but they should be more like the 'rec rooms' of the 60s. Sorry to be so anti gentrification of the sacred summer cottage but mine will not be going upmarket in my lifetime.

  32. What’s great about having a skylight in your bathroom is that it captures natural light, creating an elegant and soothing ambiance in the area. You will really feel it most especially when you stay on your bathtub! That’s really relaxing! :’)