By now you’ve heard that Sarah Richardson’s new show, Real Potential, is premiering tonight. And if you haven’t? Now you know. TGIT is the new TGIF! We have been eagerly anticipating watching Sarah in this new series; a departure from her previous shows, Real Potential is focused more on her real estate passion and reno know-how. In anticipation, we caught up with Sarah Richardson to chat about Real Potential. (Stay tuned for future posts, where she shares some house hunting and real estate advice.)
Question: This is a new show, with a new twist! What are we going to see from you that we haven’t seen before?
Sarah Richardson: I think it’s being able to express my passion for real estate and house hunting. To be able to put the focus more on the nuts and bolts of construction and renovation. I think that everything I’ve done in the past always ends up that the overarching theme is about the design, that it’s about the beauty of it, that it’s about the final reveal, the “wow” moment. But you don’t get to that moment unless you’ve actually built it correctly to start with. You know, hopefully, people will be reminded of, or understand, that I love seeing the potential. What excites me about design is the before and after.
Over the years people have often said to me, “Oh yeah, my wife makes me watch your show.” I’m looking forward to breaking out of that, because it’s not just about the fluff and pretty. I love demolition. I love being able to take something that doesn’t work and make it work. I look at renovations as being a puzzle. How can we actually change this space from dysfunctional to the best it could possibly be? And when it works, it’s a big achievement, and it’s definitely a fun adventure. So that’s the aspect that I’ve loved being able to embrace in this series. And it’s what we do every day, it’s just when making a show, it takes so many hours of footage to get to that 22-minute end product. In past years we’ve offered more about the decorating, and instead we always left that gritty renovation footage lying on the cutting room floor. And [with this show] we decided we wanted to focus more on the investment side of it, the financial side of it, and the renovation side of it.
Q: This show is all about showing home buyers how to uncover the hidden potential in a home. What have you observed to be a common pitfall home owners run into when looking at a home?
SR: I think that everybody knows that the best value is in buying a house that needs some love, needs some TLC, and needs to be revamped. But that is, without a doubt, the hardest thing for everybody to see past. And seeing past the ugly, they’re like, “I just see ugly, I am out. I don’t see myself sleeping in this bedroom, I don’t want to cook in that kitchen. This does not feel like me.” It’s only natural, it’s your biggest financial investment that you’ll ever make, and so you should make it thoughtfully, with a lot of consideration, and you should make a prudent financial investment. However, at the same time, it’s an emotional decision. And in making an emotional decision, we tend to be more swayed to something that looks appealing. Most people don’t fall in love with a kitchen where the hinges are falling off the doors… Without a doubt, the through line is, it’s always hardest to see past what you know you should be able to see past. Because as an average homeowner, that’s not their job, that’s my job.
Q: What was your favourite part about filming this new show?
SR: What I can say is, this is my fifth series, and, until now, I have never stood in the room with clients seeing the room done. And I am not a fan of the self congratulatory reveal. It makes me very uncomfortable, because I feel like, in the past you would see somebody seeing the room and the designer saying “Isn’t that great? Isn’t that great?” And that’s not my style… I want them to experience it. In the past I always felt that I wanted them to experience it and I didn’t want them to feel compelled that they had to tell me they loved it if they didn’t. So I would say [being there for the reveal] actually turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. And the couples had not seen it since it had been demolished. It literally went from zero to 60 before their eyes.
It’s huge trust, they’ve made a financial contribution, and stretched as far as they could stretch. And stakes were pretty high. And that’s something I don’t take lightly.I know what my home does for me, and how it makes me feel at the end of the day. It’s where I go to spend private experiences with my family, it’s where I have happy times with friends, it’s my oasis, my getaway, it’s my private space. So I take that really seriously in everything we do, whether in private client design or for the show. Every day, I want you to open the door and go “Ah, this is my home.”
Real Potential Fun Facts:
Would you believe that Sarah renovated 29 rooms in 99 days? Here’s some other fun facts about the production efforts behind this exciting new series:
Number of Shoot Days: 99 days
Number of Clients: 14 couples
Number of Homes Seen: 42
Number of Rooms Renovated: 29
Number of Staff Involved: 28
Tune-in to back-to-back episodes of Real Potential, Thursdays at 9 & 9:30pm ET|PT.