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Sarah 101: After The Show

by - Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Wow, looks like most of you love Geeta & Jerry's dining room! But what do Geeta and Jerry really think of it? And was appearing on Sarah 101 the dream experience we all think it to be? Let's find out...

How did you get on the show?

After finding that they were having a casting call on your site (thanks Jennifer!!), I filled out the application and submitted the required photos. The questions were pretty simple about my husband, Jerry, and me (what we do, our age, etc.) and where we live (city, detached/semi/condo, etc.", "what do you like/dislike about the room?", "what's your design style?", "how will you be using the room and what's your desired style, colour palette, and wish list?", "what would you splurge on?", "what makes this room an interesting episode?", "what's your budget?", "what are the dimensions of the room and what's its exposure?". 

We filled out the application at the end of October 2009 (I think ?), and the Producer and Lindsay (the Design Inc. intern!) came to our house in mid-November. Funny enough, we put in the application for our living room (our entire house was a mess as we had only taken possession of it for a couple of months then, so really any room being done by Sarah would have been a blessing!) but as we gave them a tour of the house they asked us if we were willing to have our dining room instead of the living room as they received a bunch of other applications for living rooms and wanted to do something different, and our answer was "of course!!". In December 2009 they said we were one of the 12 rooms to be chosen but we would have to do an on-screen interview with mostly the same questions from the application/house tour to make sure we don't freeze on camera, and as long as we didn't freeze, we would be in the much pressure...poor Jerry was super nervous, especially since he had to wear make-up for the first time too - LOL! :)

How much input did you have into the design?

Not much. Other than what we said our style was like in the application and when we meet with the Producer in December and November, we didn't really know what was going on. In the middle of them taping the show, they showed us the wallpaper (which I LOVED) and the china (which I said was okay, but looked kind of granny-ish...Sarah wrote back and said she agreed and it was just going to be a prop)

Were you happy with the finished product? Did you keep everything as is, or did you change some things?

I am THRILLED with the it looks now, but maybe not as much then. I love, love, LOVE the wainscotting, paint colours, floor treatment, dining table, and LOVE the sideboard table. I wasn't very happy with all the floral fabric on the chairs and the floral artwork, but those were easy to change. In fact, we gave back all the props (china, glassware, cutlery, etc.) and gave back the art and chairs too, and Sarah personally helped us find chairs from her own line (specifically, the Cole dining chair which you can see on her website,, helped us pick fabrics that both parties liked and thought would go well with the room, and lowered the price so we could get it in our budget. She was AMAZING! We also just bought a painting from etsy to go in the room (it should arrive in a day or two), that I'm hoping will work really well in the room ( Now when I walk by/in the room I always have a smile on my face since I love it (& I'm hoping that love will grow more once I get this painting on the wall!)..I'll take a pic of the room when it's up so you can see the finished result!

Did you have to pay for any of the design?

They put in 10K and we put in 3K. After doing some of the ground work (wall and floor treatments) and buying the dining table and sideboard, they said they pretty much used up the budget and asked if we could contribute more. We said we would be willing to put in another 3K, if what they bought was good value for that money and if we liked it. As we didn't like the dining chairs, which they said were almost the entire 3K budget, we returned those, and instead bought Sarah's Cole chairs with a fabric we liked instead later on.

What are Sarah & Tommy really like?
We never met Sarah once!!! It was my biggest regret since they always came to the house in the middle of a work day, and I was going to stay behind one day to meet her, but the producer said that there would be plenty of times that I would meet her, but it never happened :( However, Sarah and I emailed many times this year and I found her to be very helpful and charming! Tommy, I only met once when we were being taped about what we thought of the finished room, but it was very brief, just a simple handshake and a "it's so nice to meet you!" I really wish I could have spent more time with them, but I know how busy they are and just really appreciated the interaction that they had with us and what they did for us in the dining room.

Thanks again for telling us all about the casting call...I'm stilling pinching myself over having a Sarah dining room!! :)



Thanks for filling us in on the back story Geeta! How wonderful that you ended up with a room you love. We should all be so lucky to have a Sarah dining room! And if any of you have any more questions, just ask in the comments and I'm sure Geeta will chime in.

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  1. Ha ha, love all the spelling and grammar errors I wrote...oh, well, this is what happens after working 10 hours and being super nervous about seeing the show...hopefully you can excuse all the mistakes! And yes, I'd be happy to answer any question or clarify any comment!

  2. Jen,
    So interesting to hear about the behind the scenes info! I personally thought the chairs were one of my favourite parts of the room but I do have to agree with Geeta about the artwork.

    Great seeing you at IDS11 and thought you did a great job on the Nate show.


  3. Thanks Jennifer and Geeta! Loved hearing about how it really works behind the scenes. We don't get this show yet in the states as you well know by all the complaining. I have to catch up on 101 here.

    I was shocked to see the chair fabric and tableware as well as the artwork but glad to read you were able to change it out for something more in line with your taste.

    Thank you for sharing!
    Your Texas Fan

  4. I love hearing about the behind the scenes process and the follow up from the home owner. I always wonder how a particular show works with the home owners. I got to tour a Extreme Home Makeover and was shocked to find out the designers just come to do the tapings and are rarely involved in the design.

  5. great story!! too bad you didn't get to meet sarah and tommy Geeta during the filming.

    I did property virgin with Sandra and I have to say my interaction with her was also very limited as well. didn't get to ask her much advice on buying the place either.. as the real estate part is done by her other people.

    sorry off topic.. i love those chairs and the fabric ... of course the SR chairs are to die for as well. so you got 6 SR chairs for $3K? That's a great deal!

    i have to say i'm not too sure about that art work either.. . but love everything else in the room.

    glad to hear they work with you on what you would like to keep and what you would return to them ... as many of the other show pretty much just say, oh if you want them, it's costing you $$$. and if you don't pay that, we will just take it all away.

    Did you meet Sarah and Tommy at IDS Geeta?

  6. What a great sneak peak at the behind the scenes of the show! I loved this interview. Shame about not meeting Sarah, though.

  7. So interesting to read this! I loved what they did to the dining chairs but the Cole ones are beautiful too. Happy to hear that they were so willing to work with you after to ensure you were happy with everything. I wouldn't expect anything less from though! Look forward to seeing a photo with the new art and dining chairs.

    Geeta - Didn't notice your spelling and grammar mistakes - thought this was very well-written!

  8. Very interesting story Geeta! Honestly, I learned a lot from how it is really works in a design show! Good to know that you both are finally happy with the final result. I've always wondering if people were truly so brave and embraced totally the bold choices of Sarah and Tommy in there shows.
    Congrat! Mélanie

  9. So, so interesting to hear what Geeta had to say! My husband and I were wondering how much input the homeowners had on the designs. It's nice to see Sarah work with you to make it work after the show too.

    I'd love to see a before, after, and after-after photo!

    Thanks so much for the deets Geeta and Jennifer!

  10. This was so fascinating. I am always so curious about how it all works. Very interesting. Too bad they weren't able to spend more time with them.

  11. Geeta ... thanks for the interview. I am glad you were able to make changes and are happy with the final outcome. I thought the chairs/artwork were a little bold for my taste too. Look forward to seeing your 'after/after' pictures.

  12. Geeta1:54 PM

    Hey Tim, no, I wasn't able to go to IDS and meet Sarah...I've been living vicariously through Jennifer's encounters with S&T instead! :)

    As for them working with us to find something we liked in the end, they were great, but it took a few months for that to happen. When the room was finished in May we sent the chairs, art, and china back and didn't pay the additional 3K. In October, I noticed that we still had a box full of the china that was forgotten when the pick-up occurred. I contacted Sarah's assistant designer and asked how we could get that to her and then said how everyone loves the room, although our dinky kitchenette chairs aren't doing the room justice but we haven't had a chance to get proper dining chairs yet. That was what snowballed the whole thing of us getting the Cole chairs. If I had given the additional 3K to them up front or hadn't emailed them about the forgotten china, i think I would have been left with their dining chairs or would be having our crappy kitchenette chairs in that room still :) But Sarah was absolutely awesome and got one of her assistants to come to our house that night to show us fabric samples, and the next day, after I picked out my top favourites, she gave her opinion, which I liked too. So all was great in the end!

    I have to say, after seeing the show and seeing the photos, the chairs look better than how they did in real life...they look more modern and "fresh" but when we first saw them and took photos with our camera to show our family & friends, we all agreed they were too granny-ish. Oh well, to each their own! :)

  13. love this inside scoop - i posted a link to this post from my Sarah 101 recap post today!

  14. Thanks for the behind the scenes. I love the wallpaper and lighting and mirror. I'm on the fence about the chairs so am looking forward to seeing what you put in Geeta, and seeing your new art in place.

  15. Hi Geeta, thanks for sharing your story. I have to say that I am so glad that you kept the dining table and the sideboard - they were truly stunning! Would you consider posting a picture with your new chairs once you receive your new painting?

    Take care,


  16. This was so fun to read- I've always wondered how it all works. I'm totally in the minority but I loved the artwork- would love to get my hands on it:) Looking forward to seeing the new after and thanks for giving us the scoop!

  17. oh Geeta I thought your husband looks a little familar on TV ... and I've always thought of this room as "Geeta's dining room".

    did your husband went to Waterloo for Accounting? I think the guy I went to school with years ago also named Jerry.

  18. wow. ... excuse me for my bad grammar.. . was too excited to ask you the question Geeta!

  19. How awesome is it to get a real behind scenes looks at what really goes on with these shows. I am surprised and shocked at some of the information that the homeowners. Most times I assume the designer does a lot just for television, but it was quite an eye opener to know that the homeowners didnt like everything.

    Thanks so much for posting this.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  20. Geeta9:27 PM

    @ Tim, that's so funny that you know Jerry!! Yes, he went to Waterloo and I guess he studied Accounting with you...that's such a coincidence!

    To all who asked, we just got the painting today...I'll try hanging it up tomorrow and give Jen a photo so you can all see what the room looks like...even if it won't be staged :)

  21. I love the behind the scenes take - thanks for sharing Geeta! Just yesterday I posted my likes/dislikes about the room and overall I thought it was just too much at one time. So interesting that you were able to pick and choose what you wanted to keep. Happy to hear that Sarah and "her people" were helpful with the chair situation when you followed up.

    Would love to see a photo of the "real" version of the room compared to the TV made-up version!

  22. Anonymous7:37 AM

    Very interesting - thanks for the inside scoop!

  23. Thanks for a behind the scenes look and for your honesty! I'm glad to know that Sarah was accommodating and assisted you in finding things that you love.

    Make me love her even more. Congratulations on your new space!

  24. Dear Geeta and Jen,

    Thanks to both of you for this great article! I've cross-referenced you over at
    because I thought my readers would enjoy coming over here to have a look at your thoughts!
    Looking forward to seeing the final final reveal!

    Best, C.A.

  25. I love this inside scoop on the true workings of a design show! Thanks Jen and Geeta for sharing!!

  26. Wendy, C.A. Kelly @ JAX design - thanks for the blog link!

    Geeta - so great to hear your story ended happily. Can't wait to post a pic of the After After and see what the room looks like today!

  27. Loved reading Geets'a recap of the Sarah 101 experience :-) I wasn't 100% sold on the chairs either - love the idea of using two different fabrics, but wasn't loving the flowers and the yellow.

    It's great that Sarah and her team worked with you after the fact to make the changes that you wanted :-) I'm looking forward to seeing the room with the new chairs & artwork.

    Thanks Geeta & Jen for the great inside scoop post!

  28. it was funny... still couldn't believe it was Jerry on TV! congrats for this wonderful experience. I would love to have S+T to come for any makeover!

    Please share the after after picture with us soon!

  29. Thanks for the inside scoop! I'm so bummed you didn't get to meet Sarah though!

  30. Wow, a behind the scenes at Sarah 101! Thank you for sharing, it was absolutely fascinating. I'm so surprised by your information, especially that you missed out on meeting Sarah!


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