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It’s clear from her Youtube videos that Sarah Glynn has a knack for effortless, livable design. Even her lovable British Blue cat Ashlee is right at home in Sarah’s Coral TV web series, Suite Living. Despite her busy schedule redesigning residential spaces all over Toronto, Sarah still has time to share fun DIY ideas on her website, cruise the flower market and of course, snuggles with Ashlee. Get to know Sarah and find out where she gets the inspiration to do it all!
Q: What neighborhood in Toronto do you call home? What about it makes it special?
A: I live in Mimico, a neighborhood in the west end of Toronto. Being a relatively new neighborhood, Mimico admittedly lacks the rich history of many other areas in Toronto. However, what it lacks in history, it more than makes up for in location. Situated right on the shores of Lake Ontario, there are scenic beaches and enjoyable trails right at my doorstep.
Q: There seems to be many creative outlets in your city, what are you drawn to?
A: As a young girl growing up in a small town northeast of Toronto, my parents took me to the ‘big city’ to see countless musicals and plays. It was always a special treat that I thoroughly enjoyed. Years later, I still get very excited about going to the theatre. The music. The set design. The costumes. The atmosphere. I can’t get enough of it. I also really enjoy photography – while only a hobby, I find that snapping some pictures on a stroll down by the water is a really satisfying creative outlet.
I’m drawn to objects or furnishings that have special meaning to me; I have a number of family heirlooms in my condo. Nostalgia pieces give me a sense of closeness to my family, both past and present.
Q: What DIY project are you most proud of?
A: I’m drawn to objects or furnishings that have special meaning to me; I have a number of family heirlooms in my condo. Nostalgia pieces give me a sense of closeness to my family, both past and present. When I first began my career, my art budget was rather limited. So I decided to create my own art—art that would have meaning for me. I printed off four different maps representing the regions from which each of my four grandparents had emigrated; Scotland, Ireland, England and Pennsylvania. I traced out the regions of each map on watercolor paper and then filled in each county with one of five shades of blue watercolor paint. It’s essentially a tracing and paint by numbers project, but everyone who visits my home has been intrigued by the concept.
Q: You have five minutes to assemble your DIY toolbox, what do you grab for?
A: That’s a tough one—I do such a variety of DIYs that require a wide range of tools and materials. I would definitely throw in my rechargeable drill/screwdriver, hammer and laser level – the usual stuff. However, I’ve found that lately there are a few things that I reach for more times than I can count!
But even before the DIY begins, it’s my Moleskine notebook and black fineliners that start the whole process. I keep them in my purse so if I get inspired when I’m out and about, I can record the idea quickly!
Q: What are three favorite things in your home?
A: Whoa, that’s like having to choose your favorite child! But my top picks are probably:
1) ‘Canadian’ sign. I bought an incredible sign from a vintage salvage yard two years ago. The brass letters (now mounted on a 1’ x 6’ piece of barn board) were part of the original signage on the ‘Canadian Pacific Air Lines’ headquarters in Vancouver. The sign now hangs against my living room wall, suspending from the ceiling.
2) Dining chairs. When I’m working from home, my dining table becomes my desk. Therefore, I needed dining chairs that were beautiful, yet comfortable and durable. As soon as I saw these Restoration Hardware gems, I just had to have them.
3) Fresh flowers. For me, fresh flowers make a space feel welcoming and relaxing. They’re a little luxury in which I indulge no matter what the time of year. Off-white peonies and sprigs of dusty miller is one of my favorite combos. Yes, I love fresh flowers so much that they’re often the subject of my weekly Suite Living webisodes on Coral TV.
Q: What are your decorating dilemmas?
A: With few exceptions, every bedroom project has the same problem—moving the box spring! They’re always tricky to move, whether it be into the elevator of a condo building or the stairway to the upper floor of a house. If only air mattresses were more popular!
Q: Where do you turn for design inspiration?
A: Inspiration can truly come from anywhere at anytime. If you aren’t open to that idea, you’ll miss it! However, there are some tried and true places that get me excited for a project. Fabric showrooms are an amazing resource beyond just the purchasing of textiles. A single textile—a particular motif, color or texture—can inspire an entire project. Flower markets can act as a cheat sheet for seasonal trends. Springtime? The market is filled with peonies and tulips in every vibrant color. Autumn? Rich, burgundy dahlias and burnt orange mums abound. I also find myself noting trends in fashion and photography from Instagram. True, I enjoy seeing captivating images of gorgeous interiors (I mean, who doesn’t like flipping through décor magazines with a glass of wine in the evening?!) but it’s also fun to interpret trends from other art forms and incorporate them into my own work.
You can also find Sarah on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.