Tour Sarah Richardson’s Beautiful Island Summer House

I think I remember when my love affair with beach houses started. It was a few years ago when I flipped on the tv and Sarah Richardson was right in the middle of creating the most charming beach cottage I’d ever seen. Sarah’s hubby had purchased the island home several years before, long before they met. Though very pregnant (already 6 months along) she decided to take on the challenging job of giving it a full makeover while filming it for a TV series. As I watched, I was amazed by how sure she was in her vision for their summer house and how beautiful it was turning out.

Sarah Richardson's Summer Cottage Exterior


Sarah was truly fearless that summer. Despite being so far along in her pregnancy, she was often out scouring antique shops and flea markets for just the right pieces, all while overseeing the work being done on their home. Just the effort it took to get all the construction supplies and the furniture to her remote island home was a feat by itself!

Every room is a dream. I could totally buy a beach house, turn it over to her and walk away. There aren’t many designers I can say that about but I love every happy, light-hearted room Sarah created in her island summer-house.

Sarah wanted the living room to be a room where the weather, good or bad, could be viewed fully. She wanted this room to feel light-filled and open and to take advantage of the great ocean views. In an article I read about her this home, Sarah said she was going for a “solarium” feel in her living room. To get that she included lots of great windows.

Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach House Living Room


Sarah chose linen and twill upholstery fabrics for her living room furniture so the pieces in here would be comfortable, yet durable.

Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach House Cottage Living Room


In an interview I read online, Sarah said, “The big change we made during the renovation was moving the entire east wall of the cottage out four feet – this allowed us to install a proper front entry and storage area, and it also meant the bedrooms were separated from each other by a hallway for a greater sense of privacy.”

Sarah kept the walls of their cottage light but instead of going with white walls, she went with a soft neutral wash. I love how it looks with the floors and furniture. I especially love the warm wood look of the floors…so gorgeous! Notice the mix of seating around the table…a fun, casual look for a beach house.

Sarah Richardson's Summer Cottage Dining Area With Fireplace


A view looking back toward the kitchen…

Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach House Kitchen


I love the candelabra there on the counter because to me it symbolizes perfectly the feel of this summer cottage: a mix of rustic beach house with plenty of luxury built in for comfort.

Kitcehn in Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach Cottage


Sarah used painted, chippy boards on the front of her eat-in bar area, perfect for that beach cottage look and feel.

Sarah Richardson's Summer House Kitchen


The lanterns are perfect, they look like something a lighthouse keeper or boat captain might carry around.

Sarah Richardson's Summer House Bar With Weathered Wood


One of Sarah’s favorite areas of her beach cottage home is this sitting area. Ummm, I just noticed there’s a door up high. Not sure where that goes but if there’s a room on the other side, that first step through the door could be quite a surprise.

Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach Cottage


Sarah uses this area for curling up with a good book after a fun-filled day of swimming and boating.

Sarah Richardson's Sitting Room in Summer House


I’ve seen this done before in an entry, and I love it! I’m keeping this in mind for that cottage home I’d love to live in one day.  I bet those kerosene lamps come in handy during bad weather.

Sarah Richardson's Beach Cottage Chest & Hats


Sarah’s hubby loves the color red and he was super excited when Sarah agreed to use red in the master bedroom. Love the red and white life buoy hanging on the wall! Sarah recommends adding real pieces (like a vintage life buoy) to a room to give it a little extra charm and character. Notice the storage underneath the bed…brilliant idea for a small cottage home.

Master Bedroom in Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach House Cottage


I captured this shot from an episode about the home. It shows the other side of the room with a vintage writing desk. The fabrics Sarah chose are so vibrant and pretty. Just because it’s a beach cottage, doesn’t mean you can’t use some upscale fabrics. I love the subtle touch of blue and white in the striped pillow on the chair.

Red and White Master Bedroom in Sarah Richardson's Beach House


Notice how the chest adds so much warmth to this space, in addition to providing great storage. Is that red mirror not perfect?! Love!

Sarah Richardson's Master Bedroom Summer House


Sarah said that their master bedroom didn’t really have much of a view at all. She wanted to fix that and figured out a way to add a walk out deck just off the master bedroom.Sarah Richardson's Summer House Uppder Deck with Ocean Views


Check out this magnificent view from the deck…Wow! I think she totally fixed that “lack of view” issue.

Sarah Richardson's Roof Deck Off Master Summer Island Cottage


All the guest rooms are completely charming! I love the quilt hanging on the wall. Guests won’t have to worry about wondering where to find a blanket in the middle of a cool night. Can you just imagine sleeping here with the windows open a bit, listening to the sound of the waves all night. Yes, please!

Guest Room in Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach House


Another wonderful bedroom with great views.

Sarah Richardson's Summer House Guest Room


I think this cottage home only has one bath, but Sarah made it extra special. Notice the Venetian glass mirror…more of those touches of glam that make this cottage home feel extra luxurious in just the right spots. If I’m remembering correctly, I think Sarah and her sidekick, Tommy, found the vanity table while antiquing/thrifting and she had it made into a sink. That was one of the episodes that I really enjoyed and got me hooked on the series.

Cottage Bath in Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach House


Love the colors Sarah used in this guest room. The next time someone tells you that every room in your home needs to be in the same color scheme so your house “flows,” remember this cottage with its red and white master and blue and green guest room…not to mention the children’s loft room yet to come.

In that same article mentioned earlier in this post, Sarah said, when rooms are small, fabric and pattern are important tools for giving it a lot of personality and interest. She followed that up by saying, “I want every room to have its own story and character. We’ve always referred to these rooms by their orientation, dubbing them “East” and “West” so I wanted the decor schemes to look completely unique and play on their views and exposure. ”

Blue & Green Bedroom, Sarah Richardson's Summer House


Love, love, love all the painted pieces Sarah used throughout her cottage home. I never would have though about hanging quilts and throws on the wall but if you live in a cottage style home with fairly small rooms, it’s a great idea for creating some additional storage. Plus, they can be really pretty…like art that can be put to work. 🙂

Blue Painted Chest in Sarah Richardson's Summer Beach House Cottage


Sarah created a darling bedroom in the loft area of their beach house.

Sarah Richardson's Kid's Loft in her Summer Beach House


One of my favorite parts about this area were the two green buckets she hung on the wall at the foot of the bed. They are hidden by the wingback chair but they were adorable in the tv series stuffed with toys and other fun, kid-friendly goodies.

Sarah Richardson's Loft Bedroom in Summer Beach House


I love that Sarah included a wonderful screened-in porch for her cottage home. There is so much to love about this wonderful cottage that Sarah calls her summer-house. With fairly short summers in Canada, Sarah really created a special oasis for her family to make the most of all their summers to come.

White Wicker Furniture for Sarah Richardson's Porch


Sarah has another island home that she’s fully renovated that’s available to rent for your summer vacation. You can tour it in this previous post: Vacation in Sarah Richardson’s Island Cottage Home

It’s an amazing Before and After!

Sarah Richardson's Cottage Living Room on Georgian Bay


Sarah has also written her first book! You can read more about it here: Sarah Style

Sarah Style by Sarah Richardson


Update: Sarah has a new book coming out! Going on my wish list! It can be preordered at a savings here: At Home: Sarah Style

At Home Sarah Style by Sarah Richardson


Pssst: I post almost daily to Instagram. Follow Between Naps on the Porch on Instagram here: Between Naps On The Porch.

Photos in this post are by Stacey Brandford and were found here: Sarah’s Summer House

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links. *

 Never miss a Between Naps on the Porch post! 

*Subscribe to have updates delivered to your Inbox. 


  1. Surely not just 1bath for all those beds

  2. The guest room with the hanging quilt —- anyone know what that duvet cover is on the bed? I. want. it.

  3. Beautiful, inviting, and absolutely stunning views. Everything a beach cottage should be. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sherry Myers says

      I love Sarah Richardson! Everything she does is always so fresh. Thanks for this post, Susan. While viewing, I just wanted to take keep taking a deep breath! I almost felt like I could smell the salt air!!! So pretty.

  4. Linda Page says

    This house is adorable. I love the “Groceries” sign in the kitchen. Such a cute, whimsical feature. I could definitely deal with just one bath if I could live in this house!!!

  5. I fell in love with Sarah several years ago. I love everything she does. She is my favorite designer!! Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed every minute of it. Go ahead and share more, I won’t be bored!! 🙂

  6. I am also a long-time fan of Sarah Richardson. I couldn’t wait for each new episode to air for this summer house project, and also the farmhouse she renovated. I do believe the bed shown with the tea tray was from the Bunkie she built on the property for guests. I agree with you and I would gladly turn over the reins to Sarah to renovate/decorate any home I purchased. I just love this summer house — thank you for sharing it. I really enjoyed seeing it once again.
    P.S. Love your blog!

  7. She did an amazing job, I could feel right at home there! Susan, I have seen her do a two story house and she only put one bathroom in and it was upstairs. There was discussion about putting one downstairs close to the dining area and she was against that, so only one in the house! I really wonder how well that has turned out.

    • I would not like that, having to send guests when you’re having a party, all the way upstairs. Plus, you would be sharing your bathroom with all your makeup and stuff with your guests. That would not work for me. Wonder if they’ve added a second bath by now.

  8. Charlotte says

    I could live in the Beach Cottage! Love the colors and painted furniture. I truly enjoy your Blog and look forward to your emails.

  9. I love Sarah Richardson’s little summer cottage and have watched all the episodes multiple times; in fact I have watched most of her shows multiple times when I was able to find episodes online. Became a big fan of hers years ago when Room Service was airing, and her farmhouse renovation and summer cottage series sealed the deal for me. I sure wish we could see more of her on HGTV USA. For the summer cottage bathroom– I seem to remember that she added a second, very small bathroom in one of the episodes. Thanks for sharing.

    • I agree, I wish they would give her a show full time that aired in the U.S.

    • You are right. There is a second bathroom. There are bright red floor to ceiling cabinets on each side as you enter. I think there was just a commode and sink.

  10. Renee Cook says

    I enjoyed this so much! I, too, am a fan of Sarah’s work, and remember watching the episodes when they worked on this cottage. It’s so nice to see it in pictures, because the camera is always moving on the show and sometimes I want a better look. I’m glad I have a DVR and can pause, because I do that quite often.

    I was especially drawn to the picture of the bedroom with the tray on the bed, but I think it is because of the sunlight. There’s just something about dappled sunlight that does it for me!

    • Renee, I so agree…the lighting is so pretty coming in on the bed. I love it when photographers show a room in natural lighting like that.

  11. I agree with you she is one of my favorite designers. Of course I am kind of parcel to JoJo and Chip. Wish she had a new series. Thanks for always having something new and exciting to share.

    Cathy <;)

  12. I loved Sarah’s show. I feel HGTV has really gone down hill. I miss the creative shows and the gardening shows.

    • I’ve had that from so many folks. I wonder why they don’t bring some of those shows back. Hopefully they will sometime soon!

  13. Thanks for sharing Susan! It was nice to get my fix of Sarah Richardson! She is my all time favorite designer, and this is my favorite of her TV shows. I was lucky enough to get to hear her speak at a window treatment conference I attended a few years ago. She was wonderful, and we even got to have our picture taken with her after she spoke! She talked a lot about her love of fabrics and window treatments. It was such a treat!

    • Jann, I’m so glad to hear that. She seems like she would be just as nice in person. I wonder when she sleeps! She is one busy lady!

  14. You’re so right!
    What a beautiful beach home!
    Thanks so much for sharing it with us!
    Wishing you a super great weekend!

  15. Consider me in line behind you to have her do our homes. I remember watching this series, but had forgotten so much of the final work. Not a thing I would change–especially the hanging quilts. Actually, especially everything. Thanks for the tour!

  16. I remember when she built that first summer cottage, Susan. She is, without doubt, my favourite designer, as she speaks to my heart regarding ocean style decorating.
    Have followed her for many years, even my hubby likes her!!:)

  17. Sarah is a wonderful designer. One of the best! Received her book for Christmas. I’ve really enjoyed it.

  18. Kathy Jensen says

    I believe the door you see above the kitchen is one of two, side by side. When open they show the children’s room in the loft area. Thankfully, they have a railing across on the inside.

    • Interesting! Glad there’s a railing on the other side. Wonder why they left it there. Maybe they were thinking of adding a balcony or a walkway across there. It looks like there’s something like that over the kitchen area.

      • Kathy Jensen says

        I expect they left the doors to close out noise at nap time. They could be open when the children are up there playing. ???

  19. This is GORGEOUS!! I’m not familiar with this designer or show….Is she on HGTV now?? I would love to watch this series…

    • Her shows are usually on HGTV in Canada which is where she lives. Occasionally they air them on HGTV in the U.S. We always get them later, I think…and maybe not all of them.

  20. Ronda Murrell says

    I love Susan Richardson design!

  21. Nancy of Lake Stevens says

    I am a real fan of Jacobean fabrics and I also love a red, white and blue color scheme. Imagine my surprise to see the two combined on the headboard or large pillows in the master bedroom. I would never have thought to use a Jacobean pattern in a cottage yet it works so well. Be still my heart.

  22. This is cottage done right!! I’ll wager there is an outdoor shower…we use ours all the time in the summer (spring, autumn.) I DO SO HOPE that HGTV will “bring back” SOME KIND of series by Sarah…she is amazing!! franki

  23. I really like Sarah’s style. Her designs are simple and elegant. I watched this series and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  24. wow. Wow. Gorgeous. That bathroom!! One comment. She needs new speakers. Or to paint those. Otherwise perfection. Oh. The groceries sign. That is the cutest.

    • Joni, so funny that you say that because I almost wrote in that post that she need to invest in some Bose speakers, the tiny ones that have the huge sound. 🙂

  25. Cathy Clark says

    This beach cottage is perfection in every way—Gorgeous! I could move in today!!!
    LOVE it!
    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Perfection

    I think the loft bedroom shows the mystery door on the right hand side of photo

  27. I love Sarah’s style. Before my Mom passed away, she and I would watch Sara’s shows together every day and laugh about the banter between her and Tommy. In fact, we watched all of the episodes where she worked on this house. It was fun to watch how they did everything. I also love, the farmhouse that she and Tommy did. Thanks for sharing, I love all these homes. I love everything about your blog. In fact, your blog was the first ever that I subscribed to and I love it more each day.

  28. I remember watching the entire series on HGTV. I thought how hard it must have been completing her island home while pregnant. Not to mention the only way to get there was by boat. She’s one strong lady. I was exhausted thinking about it. lol It’s a beautiful home!
    Sarah has a another show on HG that’s called “Sarah Sees Potential” she helps people find a fixer upper and completes one of rooms for them. It started last Oct. The shows air in the morning.

    • LuAnn, I caught one episode of that show (Sarah Sees Potential) and loved it. I almost never watch TV in the morning so I guess that’s why I haven’t caught any others.

  29. I’m with you 100% on loving her style and I could totally trust her to design for me too. She has the best sense for selecting furniture, fabrics, patterns and color. I watched her during those episodes too. Everything had to come in on a boat so it had to be a very expensive project including the laborers. I’m surprised she’s renting it just because I’d be worried what people would do to it, but then I imagine she’s charging a lot for it.

  30. Barbara Anne says

    Love the revisit of this home! I also saw it on HGTV and loved it start to finish. One thing that sent Sarah-style about 100 points higher in my estimation is that the bench at her dining table has a back so no one has to perch on a back-less bench. That trend in dining furniture just mystifies me. Picnic tables are a given, but for families that are talkers and visit around the table, seating with backs is essential! Or so I think. 🙂

  31. I am a great admirer of Sarah Richardson’s work, so I bought her book. I’m sorry to say that I was very disappointed in it. The photos were lovely, as you would expect, but in an attempt to be artsy, the small font and light gray ink made the text unreadable for me. I wonder if anyone else has this problem?

  32. I remember watching this a few years back and falling in love with this cottage. Sarah Richardson did an absolutely beautiful work here. I have often wished Sarahs Summer House was available on DVD so I could watch it again. I was wondering if anyone knew what paint color and technique was used in the living area.
    Thanks so much for posting.

Leave a Reply to Beth Cancel reply