Green in the City: Sarah Richardson

Photo: Courtesy HGTV
The designer shares her green decor secrets–and more.

It pays to ask an expert. Sarah Richardson (design inc., Sarah’s House) is a born-and-bred Torontonian and the city’s best-known designing woman. She reveals her picks for the best vintage furniture and eco-friendly fabrics—and lets us in on her favourite leafy enclaves.  

What’s your favourite Toronto neighbourhood?

I love Rosedale and Moore Park for their incredible access to the Don Valley ravine and the Brick Works. I think it’s truly amazing that you can be minutes from the downtown core, yet walk under a dense canopy of trees, enjoying nature in the heart of the city. I regularly see foxes on my street!

Your ideal greenspace?

Yo-Yo Ma’s Music Garden at Queen’s Quay. I think it’s a magnificent urban park.

What are your go-to spots for the best vintage and antique finds?  

I love Ritchies (380 King St. E.) for auctions and the Yonge/Summerhill strip for antiques and vintage: Chair Table Lamp (1156 Yonge St.), Absolutely Inc. (1132 Yonge St.), Decorum Decorative Finds (1210 Yonge St.) and L’Atelier (1224 Yonge St.). Then I get great deals from Around the Block (1903 Avenue Rd.) and The Elegant Garage Sale (1588 Bayview Ave.) for consignment and estate-sale goodies at lower prices.

Where do you find eco-friendly fabrics?

I’ve always been drawn to natural materials over anything synthetic and am currently using a beautiful eco-approved linen from Designer Fabrics (1360 Queen St. W.). Every fabric house is now focusing on eco solutions. I love some of the patterns from Schumacher—if I’m using a patterned fabric with lots of colour, it’s probably one of theirs.

You recently gave your cottage a green reno. What green building materials do you like to use?

Anything reclaimed. I’m currently renovating a 120-year-old house for the next season of Sarah’s House and we’re using lots of reclaimed building supplies such as old doors and an antique bathtub, and lots of architectural salvage including flooring, reclaimed brick, lighting and decorative elements. We’ve combed many local and out-of-the-city suppliers such as The Door Store Limited (1260 Castlefield Ave.), Artefacts (St. Jacobs, Ont.) and Legacy Vintage Building Materials & Antiques (Cobourg, Ont.).

Where do you get your groceries?  

I’m away most weekends, so I hit the Parry Sound Farmers’ Market.

If I were in town, I’d go to the Brick Works Farmers’ Market (550 Bayview Ave., page 12) on Saturdays, or buy organic at Summerhill Market (446 Summerhill Ave.).  I buy pretty much everything at small grocery stores and don’t mind paying a bit more for the convenience and charm of a family-run business that focuses on fresh.

What environmental organization is closest to your heart?

The Georgian Bay Land Trust. It is trying to purchase and protect Georgian Bay, which I think is the most beautiful spot in the province.