Sarah Richardson builds her forever home in Off the Grid

I’ve been covering Canadian renovation programming for a long time. How do I know this? Because the folks I’ve interviewed in the past are creating forever homes for themselves and their families.

HGTV Canada’s Sarah Richardson is the latest to follow the trend. Like the network did with Bryan Baeumler and Scott McGillivray, Sarah and her husband, Alex, do the same with Sarah Off the Grid—debuting Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada—as cameras capture the couple’s attempt to construct an abode off the grid for themselves and their children. I’m not much of a handyman and have a horrible eye for design, but you don’t have to be either to watch someone like Sarah. Yes, she oozes skill but she’s also funny as hell as well as relatable. Sarah Off the Grid really showcases her personality and what her family life is like, something fans of longtime hosts like Sarah are hungry for.

Husband Alex and daughters Robin and Fiona jump in with both feet alongside Sarah and collaborator Tommy Smythe in Sunday’s debut, laying the groundwork for a 5,000 square-foot home in Creemore, Ont., to be built from scratch and employing off the grid necessities like solar power, wood burning fireplaces and energy efficient materials. The catch? Sarah and Alex will be their own general contractors; a tall task, especially within the eight-month window Sarah has set. Things begin at a fast clip—the location is chosen, permits are procured and clearing the last commences—and before you know it the concrete foundation is being poured into styrofoam forms that help cut down costs and make hanging drywall easier.

Fellow HGTV Canada superstar Mike Holmes makes the trek out to the site in Episode 1, and he’s got opinions. Mike questions Alex and Sarah’s decision to do be the bosses, building a large home off the power grid, stresses the need for a backup sump pump and perhaps most important of all: advises more solar panels. This, of course, throws the couple for a loop and has them rethinking their plans.

Like her series before, Sarah Off the Grid is educational and entertaining. She’s charming and Tommy is hilarious. The secret weapon in Off the Grid is Alex, who is a natural in front of the camera. Sarah’s husband is charming, knows what he’s talking about and—above all—is positive the job will get done despite the challenges they come across. His upbeat personality is infectious; you just know they’ll be successful in their quest.

Sarah Off the Grid airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus.

 

 

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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8 thoughts on “Sarah Richardson builds her forever home in Off the Grid”

    1. They probably do, but were unwilling to downsize their dream home to actually be off-grid. Very disappointing development. Was really looking forward to see how they did it. Oh, well; another over-hyped show. :(

    2. For sure. Off the grid is a catch phase to get ratings. There a bunch of homes below hooked to power. Just another house of excess.

  1. I have watched all of the episodes so far and do not see any heating vents or electric registers in any of the rooms.My wife and I built are own home north of Winnipeg over thirty years ago to R2000 standards,which is super insulated with hrv airexchanger,and passive sloar heat gain,and forced air natural gas furnace.My question is our you using solar electric with propane backup with radiant heat in the floors and ceilings.

  2. WOW! I live in and have raised two children in an 1100 square foot home…wood heat etc. Am amazed at the expense and extravagance of this home of Sarah’s. I feel sorry for all of the young folk out there that aspire to this lifestyle. We need more shows about living more simply and more environmentally sensitively. Beautiful home, Sarah…wouldn’t want to have to clean it or keep it up.

  3. Sarah not surprised critics, Contractor in our world a man..walks like it. You did awesome job and designertoo. Fabulous indeed a forever, family, company home, so happy for you Both. Sure nice to have handy loving hubby. l have been a fan since doing cottages and watch your tv shows. You just grew and grew. Inspector should report the work of HVC what a terrible job and it shows. Mike Holmes should see it. Alex had a great idea charge them for costs to make it right. Cannot be left like that as communication, more respect. Trust have security. . If I may your lawn should not been seeded, weather, time frame. Contact Miracle Grow Starter, such large quantity of Quick Start, grass in 30 days. No weeds. Also every spring put first Starter fertilizer that feeds from top to bottom of grass evenly. Eventually not have put a lot down. Thank you for sharing your tips, ideas especially your Home Sarah. Always appreciate show how each room came together your ideas priceless. Gods blessings.

  4. I too expected to see a real “off the grid” home.
    I expected an environmental, green project. Not.
    Plus, the wood stoves.

    Connected to the grid and must have propane for cooking, etc.

    It all is lovely and nice design but 5000 square ft. A bit over the top.

    Makes good tv but over the top.

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