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2Profile: Sarah Richardson & Alexander YoungerShe’s an interior design guru and the host of four hit TV shows on HGTV, including Sarah’s Cottage, Room Service, Design Inc. and Sarah’s House. He’s the owner of Design Lab , a boutique interactive agency. Not only are they each other’s sounding boards, but they’ve also collaborated on a number of projects, including Richardson’s highly interactive website, sarahrichardsondesign.com. 2 sat down with the power couple to chat about their inspiring relationship.

Photograph of Sarah and Alexander.

On how they met:
Alexander says: “I’ve known Sarah’s older brother since kindergarten and I’ve always had a bit of a crush on her. Over the years, we stayed in touch and would go on Victorian-style dates. We’d go roller-blading forever, but somehow we’d never end up going for drinks afterwards…so it was just a lot of exercise.”
Sarah says: “In 1998, we bumped into each other at this horrendous Christmas party at a nightclub.”
Alexander says: “My buddies and I had decided to get out of there when I bumped into Sarah in the middle of the dance floor. It felt like a scene out of a movie.”

On their courtship:
Sarah says: “He invited me to lunch after that [meeting at the nightclub], but we were both so busy running our own businesses that we only saw each other once in a while.”
Alexander says: “It was always a refreshing break from the grind to go out with her. We had a lot in common, including our love of adventure.”

On their first travel adventure:
Sarah says: “This was the ‘acid test’ of our relationship. We had only been together for eight months and we decided to fly to Vancouver, rent a car and drive down the coast to San Francisco and then to Napa for a wedding. We would be spending 10 days in the car.”
Alexander says: “The trip was definitely not your average road trip. We ran into some pretty hilarious situations and disastrous accommodations that made us realize we were totally on the same page.”
Sarah says: “You know how people ask, ‘Was there a moment you knew he was the one?’ Well, I would have gotten married on that trip.”

On their design sensibilities:
Sarah says: “He’s a Leo and I’m a Libra, so he likes fiery colours and I like everything watery and white. Now we’ve established a terrific balance, and I’ve learned from him to use and enjoy more colour.”
Alexander says: “Sarah will try something that at first I am almost positive I will not like, but in the end I always love it. Designers are there to create the ultimate experience for you, and if you’re not letting them do that then you’re shortchanging yourself on a great opportunity.”

On their green office building in Toronto, where Sarah’s crew occupies the main floor and Alexander’s firm resides upstairs:
Alexander says: “I’m a bit of a green freak, and we wanted to make a statement about sustainability. This building is solar powered, and Sarah has renovated it so that it’s incredibly energy efficient.”
Sarah says: “We designed both offices to reflect the different work environments—theirs has a cool, media agency feel, and ours has a softer, homier style [their photo at left was taken in Sarah’s office]. We have an intercom between our two offices and we run up and down the stairs to share ideas and opinions.”
Alexander says: “We’re lucky to have our own little entrepreneurial brainstorm group.”

On being parents to three-year-old Robin and one-year-old Fiona:
Alexander says: “I’m thrilled with how much I absolutely love it. I live to get home to the kids, and Sarah is a big part of that—she makes the house happy and gives the kids tons of confidence and love.”
Sarah says: “Balance is something I learned when we were dating. I was running myself ragged with too many clients. I decided then that I would never book another client meeting in the evening or on a weekend. When I’m at work, I’m at work. I don’t talk to friends on the phone and I never schedule lunches. And then, when I’m with the kids, I’m really with the kids.”

On how they keep the spark alive despite their busy schedules:
Alexander says: “I think it’s our adventures. We’re very lucky that we have this tiny place up in Georgian Bay [the site of the TV series, Sarah’s Cottage], which is off the grid. There, we can get away from computers and just hang out with the kids, and enjoy a sunset or listen to rain on the roof.”
Sarah says: “We’re not one of those couples that has set date nights, but we’re lucky because of the lives we lead, we have the opportunity to go to fun events and have exciting adventures. There is always something unexpected lurking around the corner.”


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