Samantha, her darling contractor and her talented design team work their magic on dated cottages that have seen better days. The end results are spaces that are casual, inviting and family friendly.
Whether you own a cottage or not, you will be sure to learn from Samantha’s fresh and simple design tips.
In the premiere episode, Sam and her team tackle a Muskoka cottage that has become too small for the family who have owned it for over 13 years. This is the Before of the cottage:
(Photo credit: John Queenan)
And this is the After:
Photo Credit: Virginia MacDonald
Paint, new flooring and lighting, slipcovered furniture and a stone fireplace transform the dark and dated space. Moving the wall in the living area back into the bedroom makes the small space feel large. This is classic Samantha – fresh, not fussy, simple and pretty!
For those of you who don’t know Samantha, she is a decorator, stylist, former host of Pure Design, former contributing design editor for Style at Home, a columnist for the National Post, a regular guest expert on CityLine and Chatelaine’s new design expert. She can also be seen on the HGTV.ca web series The Switch and the Mix. Phew, that’s quite the schedule!
Sam did manage to fit in some time to answer these questions.
1) Tell us a bit about your background and education. When/how did you begin your career in design and/or TV?
I have an English Specialist degree from UofT (I considered being an Eng. Prof.) I worked as a location scout for music videos and commercials while taking magazine journalism at Ryerson, but I was hired at Style at Home magazine and didn’t finish at Ryerson. I was originally on the writing side of Style at Home, but the design department was so lean that within a day I had been transferred. I loved it and stayed. My training ground was really at Style at Home for 8 years. Probably during my second year, a CityLine producer asked me to come on the show with Marilyn Denis (I think she is the most amazing woman in broadcasting) and from there my television career began.
2) Who has been your greatest mentor in your career and what did you learn from them?
There are so many. David Overholt is my design mentor. He taught me how to design a space from scratch. In fact, one of his columns in Style at Home was called From Scratch. Margot Austin formerly the senior design editor at Style at Home taught me how to pull together a story. Gail Johnston Habs my editor in chief at Style at Home taught me to keep a cool head about work even when you feel passionately about something and you want to explode. And of course my parents, my dad is a real motivator – everything is achievable in his eyes- and my mom puts her heart into everything she does.
3) Name one thing about yourself that readers may be surprised to learn?
Behind the scenes, I don’t have an edit button. People know what I am thinking. You don’t ever have to guess. Mostly, it’s a good thing because I’m a happy person.
4) How would you describe your decorating style?
My personal style is fresh, bright, and feminine. But when I’m working for others I really channel their style.
5) What is the most common mistake people make when decorating?
People don’t follow their heart. They don’t look at their inspiration pictures closely enough to see the recurring themes. And sometimes when they do, they don’t execute what makes them happy because they are worried it will make too much of a statement.
6) What does every room need?
To make a statement. The statement can be I love stripes, or colour, or I like to keep everything beige and cream, but it’s still a statement.
7) What are three simple changes someone can make to their home right now for maximum impact?
Paint the walls or paint the furniture to unify colour and finishes.
8) What are your favourite shops/markets for unique decorating finds?
Teatro Verde, South Hill Home, Elegant Garage Sale and Boj Décor
9) Having watched the premier of Summer Home, it looks like you were having the time of your life filming and that there were definite benefits! What were some of the challenges of working on the series? Will you be doing another season?
I would love to do another season. It was so much fun and the fun you see on camera is real. The only challenge is that I’m a family girl and I only get 48 hours in the city every week and 16 of those are supposed to be spent sleeping!
10) What are you currently working on? What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my column for the National Post, stories for Chatelaine magazine, appearances on CityLine and a loft and a kitchen.
Thanks Sam and congrats on your new role as a design expert with Chatelaine!
Be sure to tune in to HGTV Canada Monday nights at 8 pm EST for two episodes of Summer Home. If you have a cottage that needs an update, Summer home is looking for homes to decorate/renovate this summer. Read all the details here.
What did you think? Did you watch?