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All hail Sarah!

I’ve been following Sarah Richardson and her sassy right-hand man, Tommy Smythe, for a couple TV seasons now through several shows and have become a fully fledged disciple. Beyond the fact that Sarah and Tommy’s rapport is always hilarious, the designs are beautiful, airy, and livable with an attention to detail and pattern that makes me happy as I stare at the screen. If you don’t already, start watching them on HGTV – season 1 of Sarah 101 currently airs on Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.

Here are my three favorite key learnings from Sarah’s method and style:

1. If refurbishing is king…
Sarah and Tommy always comb through thrift and consignment shops, estate sales and antique fairs to find great pieces at even better prices that become prizewinners after some professional TLC in form of the re‘s – repainting, reupholstering, repurposing. Planning to do some serious hunting for a unique piece that I can put my own spin on when a bigger apartment comes into play this December.

The tub was found at an architectural salvage joint (Sarah just warned against any old tub with rust around the drain) with a new coat of paint. The vanity is a refurbished cupboard from an antiques fair with a piece of cut marble on top.

2. Then fabric is queen…

Often their jumping-off point for a scheme, Sarah and Tommy use various fabrics to tie rooms together yet give dimension and some pep. I always love how it turns out and can’t wait to try my hand at putting together pattern on pattern schemes (also leaving that for the new apartment. Currently in a whopping 150 square feet). Quite often the big ticket items in their designs tend toward the neutral elements or at least monochromatic and use accent fabrics on side chairs, pillows and drapes.

From the "Vibrant Living Room" Sarah 101 episode. A secondhand chair is done up with some beautiful colors.

Sarah's House Season 4 dining room. A corbel from architectural salvage frames a view of the pattern-laden room.

3. And wall art is the court jester.
Whether it’s a crazy paint scheme, wallpaper or framed work, these elements are such an easy, relatively low intensity way to bring soul to a space (sadly enough though, even painting is high impact for me – arm gets so tired from all the roller action). Always the one to tell you and where to spend money in a space, Sarah often uses creative ways to make beautiful wall statements without much budgetary impact.

This is one of my favorites... Sarah and Tommy showcased the owner's grandfather's war medals in a shadow box. Our possessions are art in themselves.

The "Sophisto-Nursery" from Sarah 101 has a big stripe wall pattern, on top of which are shadow boxes with monochromatic animal play cards she found at a bookstore.

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