Sarah Keenleyside is recognized for creating unique and creative environments tailored to the individuality of her clients. Her travels abroad have influenced her eclectic sensibility and have fueled her desire to design in a style that is uniquely Canadian. Read on to find out more about the co-host of Backyard Builds.
Watch the new season of Backyard Builds on Thursdays at 9/9:30PM e/p on HGTV Canada and watch full episodes here on HGTV.ca. An earlier version of this story was published on March 16, 2017.
Sarah’s a Mom!
Sarah is a mom! Sarah and singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge are the proud parents of Jack. Sarah posted the great news on her Instagram account: “Jack Ellis Anthony Rutledge was born in the evening of July 11th at a whopping 9 pounds 4 ounces. A huge thank you to our amazing midwife team from Kensington Midwives and all the phenomenal staff at St. Joe’s Birthing Centre. Little buddy, you were worth the wait! We are so in love.”
Baby on the Set!
Just seven weeks after giving birth, Sarah and son were on set shooting HGTV Canada’s Backyard Builds. “He was a crew favourite and I think that’s what in turn has made him such an easy going and friendly baby,” says Sarah.
How Did You Meet Your Husband Singer-Songwriter Justin Rutledge?
I hate to admit it, but I was actually kind of a fan before we met, so that’s great. We were following each other on Instagram and he asked me out on Instagram and, I swear, I was like an hour away from doing the same. We’d followed each other for months and never even interacted with each other. It was just this weird kind of magical timing.
See pictures from Sarah’s dreamy, rustic wedding.
What’s Your Favourite Justin Rutledge Song?
Oh, that’s a tough one… “Out of the Woods”. To be honest, I was a huge fan of this song every time it came on the radio and I would always turn it up and I didn’t really know who sang it. It turns out that that was my future husband! It’s a beautiful song. He’s a singer-songwriter, so he’s a poet first and the lyrics are so beautiful.
Why Do You and Brian Get Along So Well?
We both really respect each other’s work. As the person most in charge of the design on our projects, I still bring them to Bryan and want his opinion because he’s an excellent designer as well. I’m also like to get my hands dirty. So we really, from the get-go, we wanted to work together as a team as opposed to that sort of quintessential relationship in our industry, the opposing forces of the designer versus the contractor.
How Did Your Style Sensibilities Influence Your Wedding?
Well, we started with the wedding venue, which was a friend’s [place], the Hayloft, which is a beautiful barn that’s been converted into a music venue. So that took all of the design work out of it because it brought so much personality to the space. To be honest, my frugalness kicked in because it turns out weddings are expensive! So it was white tablecloths and vintage plates that were all mixed and matched. It just gave it a lot of great personality. I sourced a lot of it myself.
What Is the Most Underrated Colour?
Ooh, that’s tough because colours change with the trends so quickly now. I would say I’m on a bit of a terra cotta kick right now, especially for outdoors. There’s a sort of resurgence of the 1980s palettes. Also, muted reds and oranges are very fresh and give a bit of a Santa Fe vibe, which I’m really digging right now.
See how the Backyard Builds team created a pencil crayon wall that is the stuff of childhood dreams.
What Was Your First Job?
A very enthusiastic camp counselor.
What’s Your Dream Vacation?
A little hut on a secret beach in Costa Rica with sand, sun and surfing.
Do You Have Siblings?
Yes. An older sister and younger brother. Middle kids rule!
What’s Your Favourite ‘90s Band or Artist?
How Did You Feel During the First Day of Shooting the Show?
Like the joke had gone too far! Seriously guys, is this really happening? It took me about 10 minutes to remember how to talk and walk like a normal person once the cameras started rolling. YIKES!
If You Could Have Any Career, What Would It Be?
What I’m doing now, a designer… but even better if budgets and timelines were magically no longer a factor. This would allow me to invent new and experimental interiors that have never been done before. That, or be a photographer for National Geographic.
What’s Your Favourite Holiday?
CHRISTMAS!!! I love the time spent with friends and family. It’s also the perfect opportunity to unplug and get all cozy during the winter months.
What’s Your Favourite Season?
Summer. I love being outdoors all season long. I’m also a fan of the long days of sunlight. As Canadians, we sort of all agree that we should take advantage of the nice weather, and everyone seems a bit more chill and joyful.
What’s Your Favourite Way to Relax?
Going to Prince Edward County. It feels like any stress just washes away the moment you cross over the bridge into the County.
Favourite Room Reno/Design You’ve Ever Done?
The first big job I did for my own company. It was a townhouse that I was given 100 per cent carte blanche on, and it had a great budget. The clients were my old bosses and wanted everything custom: An indoor garden, an 800-square-foot washroom and a slate wall that travelled from the first floor all the way up to the third. I’m very thankful they believed in me so much and gave me that opportunity.
Next Big Trend?
= A modern revisiting of Art Deco style. We’re going to see a return of overly decorative elements like lighting and furnishings, but paired with more stark and clean interiors.
DESIGN TREND = The home office. As more and more people work from home, there will be a bigger focus on this space. But the most important factor is for the office to still be separate from your home life. This can be achieved through style choices or even by taking it outside to create a “stand alone” home office in the backyard.
Favourite Holiday Tradition?
Six hour dinners; when dinner turns into hours and hours of great conversation and you come to realize you never even left the table.
Who’s Your HGTV Celebrity Crush?
. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting this magical creature, she leaves good vibes even after she’s left the room. 100 per cent LADY CRUSH!
What’s Your Signature Dish or Entertaining Trick for Parties?
My partner and I built a traditional wood-burning pizza oven last summer. It’s the go-to now for entertaining. There’s little to no food prep involved, and we get to spend evenings with friends making personal pizzas and experimenting with toppings. Surprise, they ALL taste good!
What’s the Hardest Part About Days on Set?
Makeup! Wow, you need a lot more makeup on camera than you do in real life! Also, cruising by the craft table and not having a 7th cookie.
See how the Backyard Builds team created a magical backyard hideaway in the middle of the city.