Escape out west with Sarah Richardson in her newest HGTV Canada series, Sarah’s Mountain Escape, premiering October 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
By Brooke Madden
Have you ever dreamed about escaping to the mountains? Grabbing your little ones, curating the perfect playlist, and venturing out on a cross-country road trip? While the feasibility of that kind of spontaneity may seem like it only exists in a distant dream, there’s a way to embrace the Canadian West without even leaving your living room. HGTV Canada’s newest show allows viewers to live vicariously through Sarah Richardson and her family. This time, she’s headed to the mountains!
In “Sarah’s Mountain Escape,” Sarah and her husband Alexander Younger travel out west to Whistler, B.C., in hopes of transforming a rundown B&B into a fully operational, profitable, four-season luxury resort. A journey full of delightful design, tactical triumphs, and a titular appropriate sense of escapism, Sarah is sure to satisfy your Canadian Rockies fantasies. Watch as Sarah and Alexander create a temporary home away from home for Canadian and international adventurers alike.
But what does the HGTV Canada legend have to say for herself about her family’s latest conquest? I had the opportunity to talk with Sarah about the show, and what we can expect from HGTV Canada’s newest series.
“Our initial vision was to do a fairly straightforward cosmetic renovation and work with some of the original structure,” says Richardson. Since the pair had always been interested in investing in Whistler, this B&B caught their eye. Interestingly, Whistler has incredibly tight restrictions on rental properties. Finding a “funky building with lots of space in an incredible location, within walking distance to the village, and with great light and mountain views… we instantly felt an attraction and knew it could be an interesting project,” explains Sarah.
While their initial vision for the space was a bit of a simpler, cosmetic renovation, it certainly didn’t stay that way. “As soon as we started the demo, we ended up tackling a full-gut renovation that was back to the studs, and way more extensive than we originally planned. It took a lot longer, but now the house is all new,” Richardson notes. Let’s be honest – the best HGTV Canada shows never go fully according to plan. And it’s always impressive to watch the vision for a space transform, and to witness talented designers adapt to unexpected changes that may need to be implemented.
We all love a good HGTV Canada reveal, and finally getting to see how those aforementioned unexpected changes really impact the space. Sarah isn’t giving too much away, however. She described the style of this project as “Contemporary Alpine Luxury, or Modern Mountain Luxe.”
Sarah and Alexander’s goal was to make the interior of the old B&B a little more elevated, while simultaneously keeping the space light, airy, and using thoughtful design choices to really emphasize the mountain views outdoors. After all, that’s one of the main reasons we venture to the mountains, isn’t it? Unparalleled views of the Canadian West.
“I worked to infuse natural materials and local inspiration into each space, and create an environment that would provide the ultimate launch pad to exploring the mountains and everything that Whistler has to offer,” Richardson explains. Keeping nature at the forefront allows guests to experience some genuine, outdoor family time in their not-so-little home away from home.
Speaking of family time, “Sarah’s Mountain Escape” isn’t all about renovation and design. It’s also a peek into a year in the life for her and her family. Balancing work and home life, especially when your family is provinces away, isn’t always easy. But Sarah and Alexander see it as an opportunity to help make their family stronger, and set a positive example for their children.
“We spent a lot of time on planes and became regulars on the red-eye flight home, so we could work during the week in Whistler, and then spend the weekend with our kids at our farm. Whether you’re working close to home or far away, there’s always a juggle in balancing work and life – and it’s not a perfect science, since you can easily (and often) feel like you’re in the wrong place! But showing your kids a strong commitment and work ethic (and having the bonus of working with your partner) is a great career choice in my view,” Sarah explains.
That’s not to say that the kids were not also part of the adventure. Alexander and Sarah loved getting their children involved and incorporating them in any way possible – because when the whole family is together, everything is a little more fun. For example, the couple spends a great deal of time driving up and back down the Sea-to-Sky Highway (also known as the BC 99). Richardson insists the route becomes increasingly beautiful each time she drives it. However, gridlock is not uncommon on this highway. With two teenagers in tow, as any parent knows, the experience can go one of two ways. But with a positive attitude, a sense of exploration and some awesome kids, a would-be traffic nightmare can turn into a memory that lasts a lifetime. “We had snacks and endless playlists, which turned into a car dance party while we sat parked on the highway for hours. Never underestimate the importance of snacks, an unlimited playlist, and a sense of adventure!”
Overall, this project was incredibly special for Sarah and Alexander, and will bring to light a new side of Sarah’s extensive HGTV Canada story. “This presented an opportunity to create a home that anyone, from Canada or internationally, can experience. Renovating a four-season vacation rental as a home away from home for people you’ve never met is definitely an interesting approach to design,” admits Richardson, “and I hope guests will enjoy our vision of how to live life in the mountains and create memories with friends and family.” Sarah encourages future guests of the vacation home to “get out and explore all of the amazing adventures the area has to offer,” gather and share experiences, and enjoy your own ultimate home away from home.