I am a cannonballer


Are you a cannonballer or a toe dipper?
I was thinking to myself about a previous blog we recently posted and how I mentioned that we are excited to leap into 2014 with so many new projects underway.  Well, I can’t recall a time that I have really gracefully entered any situation; I am one of those “cannonball” types.  As we all know, there are two different types of people, some call it type “A” or “B” personalities.  When reflecting on these two diverse types of personalities, I prefer to consider the images of someone dangling their toes into the pool or gingerly feeling the ocean water on their feet…OR the cannonball type (creating the biggest splash ever!). I am most definitely the cannonball type.  When I am ready, I totally jump in and rarely look back.
As we have cannonballed into 2014 we are very excited, optimistic and SUPER inspired about the fun projects we are pouring ourselves into. 
We are working on a few specification properties in Newport Beach, which is totally my cup of tea (or coffee because I just love coffee), I must say, thanks to my experiences at Greystone, Shea and K. Hovnanian homes.  Having worked with these home builders I learned so much about new construction, the building process and I have met some incredible people along the way.  I have incorporated this knowledge and experience into my new role as Design Principal of my own interior design boutique creating a harmonious, full service boutique for all types of design possibilities. 
Currently, we are not only specifying finishes for investment properties but we are also working on several one-room renovations or as I love to refer to as up-do’s. Next week we are meeting with one of our favorite clients to discuss stylizing her new back yard.  We get to help her select stone and tiles to renovate her pool and landscape. This client had us do a complete interior renovation last spring in Rossmoor Village, Los Alamitos and we just love her style and energy!
We are off to a fun start this year and can’t wait to share some photographs of our journeys.
Happy Designing!

Color Theory

Continuing on our blog topic from last week on picking the perfect paint colors, this week we are going to discuss color theory. 

The Color Wheel:
To understand color theory you must first understand the structure of the color wheel. The color wheel is comprised of three basic color categories; primary colors, secondary colors and tertiary colors.

The three primary colors (red, yellow and blue) cannot be mixed by any combination of other colors and all other colors are derived from these 3 hues. 

Secondary colors (green, orange and purple) are each created by mixing two of the primary colors.
Tertiary Colors (Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green) are each made by mixing a primary and a secondary color together.

Color Harmony:
The definition of harmony is the pleasing quality achieved by different elements of composition interacting to form a whole. As in anything in life, harmony is key, whether it is a musical arrangement or the design color scheme in your home. Harmony means that something is not under stimulated (boring) and not over stimulated (chaotic). 

A few main harmonious color schemes:
- Analogous color scheme: Colors that are closely related in hue and usually adjacent to each other on the color wheel (ex: blue, blue-green & green)
- Complementary color scheme: Two colors directly across from each other on the color wheel (ex: red & green)
-Split Complementary color scheme: A color and the two colors on either side of its complement (ex: green, red-violet & red-orange)
- Triadic color scheme- Using colors evenly spaced on the color wheel (ex: orange, purple & green)
- Color scheme based on nature: As mentioned last week, nature is a wonderful guide to color. If you see something in nature with a color scheme you are particularly drawn to, don’t be afraid to re-create it in your home.

Color is a powerful design element.  It can make a big impact on a space and can set the mood of a room.

Happy Designing!


defining your perfect palette - what inspires you?

We do a lot of remodels and renovations which we refer to as “up-dos”. We find that most of our clients really struggle with the process of paint color selection. Picking the perfect hue can be overwhelming and for some it creates a high level of panic. We thought we would share some tips and ideas with you to inspire you to add that fresh coat of paint in your home in the New Year to come.
Tip one: Find inspiration. What turns your light on? Is it nature, a favorite piece of art, your favorite food or flower? Surrounding yourself with color that makes you feel great is essential.
Tip two: Identity what tone you lean towards; yellow tones, grey tones etc. For example, I love blue and I recommend blue to a lot of our clients, however, I personally could not live with blue walls. So, dig deep and really try to see yourself living day to day in your new painted sanctuary.
Tip three: Once you identify your style and inspiration and you have eliminated your piles of paint samples, go mix a few pint size colors at the local paint store that really speak to you. Sample these colors on different walls (which is really therapeutic) in your home so you can get a feel for the intensity of each color in different lights at different times of the day. Trust us; it is worth the little extra money.
Tip four: If you love the colors you selected but you are feeling a bit fraidy about the intensity, try cutting the value 25% or even 50%. Doing this gives you the same color but not as saturated.
Tip five: If you are still confused and maybe a little scared, call us. We love paint!
Stay tuned to the blog next week for more on defining your perfect palette and color theory.
Happy designing!
image credits: Stylyze & Pinterest
create a color board using your own inspiration images at Stylyze.com

thankfulness & tradition

Well, it is that time of year when we really start to reflect on the gifts that we are thankful for throughout the year. And subconsciously many of us start preparing ourselves for New Year’s resolutions. Thoughts of, “what am I thankful for?”, “what is my purpose?”, and “what do I want to change about myself and my circumstances?” come to mind. As the holiday season is among us, we also reflect on traditions. We all love reminiscing on family traditions and long to create new traditions as our lives beautifully evolve.

One of my favorite traditions is cooking new and unique meals for guests in my home. I am smitten over preparing dinner parties all year long and the way to my heart truly is allowing me to prepare meals for those I love. I have a hard time relaxing or sitting, so, to know me is to know how I LOVE to entertain and cook. This is relaxing to me. With all of the excitement going on for me this year (planning my wedding, running my design business, being a fiancée, mother, sister and daughter to a large family) I always find time to agonize over the perfect menu and the details of how to set a lovely table for my guests. As far as menus go, Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. This is where I am a non-traditional. My family is more traditional in the sense that they love an “all American Thanksgiving”.

Another secret about me is that I rarely make the same dish twice and if I do it is always reconstructed a bit differently (similar to my design style, *wink*). I reflect on my childhood and I can vividly smell and taste the same classic meals my mother cooked over and over again. Although I loved her cooking, I realized at a young age that I loved new things and new tastes and I always wanted to explore new ways of doing things in all aspects of my life.

This year will probably be the most exciting Thanksgiving yet and I have a new appreciation for this day because for the first time in three months my daughter, Haley, will be home from college. I am thankful for so much and I always express my gratitude to mother earth but if I had to narrow down what I am most thankful for in my life to five expressions of gratitude, I would say this:

1. I am thankful for being Haley’s mom for she has made me the person I am today. This is a whole blog post in itself.
2. I am thankful for George, my Fiancé, who loves me on my best days and my “off” days. He is my biggest support and loyal fan. George has shown me unconditional love and for this I am so blessed.
3. I am thankful for my health and my crazy energy God has blessed me with.
4. I am thankful for the girls at Sérendipté for their dedication, passion and loyalty to me.
5. I am thankful for color, and the fact that I can see color in a way that most cannot.

I encourage you to take a moment and write down the five things you are most thankful for in your life and ponder your favorite family traditions (including the new and evolving traditions).

Happy Designing!

Photo credits: plushpumpkins

Beach Bungalow Finale

As promised, the final professional photographs of one of my most recent projects, the lovely Beach Bungalow, are complete.  This Newport Beach town-home started as a diamond in the rough but with LOTS of tender loving care and months of hard work she is now a stunning beauty!  It was all worth the wait.

A special thanks to my clients, Robin & Steve, for being a joy to work with, Shoreline Developers for their beautiful execution and attention to detail and for the artistic skills of Christina House in capturing the spirit of this home in her gorgeous photographs.

Happy Designing!




home sweet dorm

For many of you, you may recall that this was the big week, or should I say, send-off for my sweet daughter, Haley, who is flying the nest. Haley is off to college so visions of creating an adorable and personal feel for Haley’s new dorm room are heavy on my mind.  I wanted to help Haley create a space where she would feel inspired, cozy and not-so-far from home. 
The trick for me was staying focused on what Haley wanted. Haley is the kind of girl that keeps things simple (not discounting her larger than life personality). She is much more laid-back, practical and not too interested in fluff. With that said, growing up with a mother that never cooks the same meal twice and pushes furniture from one side of the home to the other almost weekly, must have created chaos for my sweet girl as a child. Haley lets me be eccentric and seems to love my bold and wacky ideas, however, this week she gently reminded me that this dorm room was her new space and that I should let her make the final decisions.
We did not know what to expect as far as dorm size, arrangement or location.  What was the chi of this place, I pondered?  How can we create positive energy? What did the windows look like? I began to worry. As it turns out, Haley is in a co-ed dorm and it is really new, so we got lucky! Haley and her roommate discussed bedding ideas via text and among whatever social media sites these darlings refer to and arrived at the concept of coordinating bedding - not matching. They decided that they wanted each of their unique personalities to set the vibe for their individual bed and side of the room while still harmonizing with the other roommate’s side of the room. 
After moving the beds, “lofting” them at all levels and rearranging the desk placements a generous nine or so times, the final placement was set and the girls could begin to unpack into the private quarters of their 12’x14’ space. We were provided a check-list from the school which was helpful, however there was SO much more to consider.  Luckily Haley really kept things in perspective for me or I would have really gone a bit over board… no, me over the top?  Knowing I had to really make this space special for my darling and knowing that this was the topic of our blog this week, my imagination ran wild! Yet again, Haley reminded me that she loved what we created and to not worry too much about the small details. 
We’ve decided to share a few must haves for what we believe makes the biggest design splash in a dorm room and the final “ta da” of Haley’s tight quarters. We would love to see your dorm room ideas, style and creativity. Please share your tips with us!
Happy designing!



 Summer afternoon, summer afternoon;

to me those have always been the two most 

beautiful words in the English language.
Henry James
Happy Tuesday! We hope this quote inspires you to enjoy your summer afternoons.







a recipe for summer entertaining

We are so lucky to live in Southern California, a place where it is beautiful year round and rainy days are few and far between. Now that summer is well upon us, we encourage you to invite a few close friends over for a summer gathering and take advantage of those extra, balmy hours of daylight.
What can you dream up for your outdoor space? Be creative, set a beautiful table scape on your patio for your guests. Set the mood with outdoor lighting like paper lanterns, French market lights and candles. Use fresh cut flowers, potted herbs and fruit as a natural centerpiece. Bring indoor tablecloths and pillows outside for the evening to add comfort. Enjoy and relish your summer!
Happy Designing!
For this delicious lemon basil shrimp recipe visit JennySteffens.blogspot.com

beach cottage inspiration

Master Bedroom Inspiration
Back on May 28th we posted the “Town-home Remodel” blog and introduced you to our clients Robin and Steve who bought a beautiful town-home situated in a picturesque beach community. To update the look of the home and make it fit with the seaside style they love, contractors have been busily remodeling for the past 3 months.  Today the custom, kitchen cabinets are being installed and soon the remodel will be nearing an end.

With that being said, last week was the perfect time to presented Robin with my overall vision for the furnishings and textiles in her home. This is the fun part and I am excited to be working with Robin and Steve on this design journey all the way through so they can really put their creative stamp on their beautiful new home and make it everything they have dreamed and more!

Happy Designing!

Living Room Inspiration
Dining Room Inspiration

I am a traveler


I am a traveler. One of my many passions is seeing new places, experiencing different cultures and ways of living, and of course trying exotic food. I often pretend to be on vacation during a work day. It is not uncommon for me to sit in my French inspired garden eating a “farmer’s market” lunch, enjoying a (small) glass of wine and listening to world music while I savor the moment. I guess you can say I am a dreamer, however, I have learned with the hectic schedule I keep that I need to escape every once in a while. C’est la vie!

Lately, I have been dreaming about the next trip that I so want to take, however, I have lots to do around the house, in our design boutique and lots of planning to send Haley away for college and my wedding! Therefore, my thoughts turn to; what can I do in my home to create a getaway feel or even a vacation retreat? I have a few dreams and ideas of the type of vacation I would love to take. I am curious what your favorite vacation is and how can we create that feeling in your sanctuary…all year long?
Happy Designing…& Happy Dreaming!

the results are in

After much anticipation, planning, dreaming and coordination Sérendipité is the proud and humble winner of the first-ever "White Box" Challenge! This event was hosted by ASID Orange County, Stonemill Design Center and Rivera magazine.
A Big THANK YOU to our sponsors and hardworking, super talented craftsmen that artfully brought our Jacqueline Kennedy inspired room to life!

Erickson Wood Works designed and masterfully created a parlor for us with the beautiful coffered ceiling, wainscoting and applied moldings. Don is truly an artist and his ideas always blow me away.

Victor, of California Stone and his team cut slabs of Silestone into 16”x24” bricks and installed them on the back wall.
Chef Lorenzo did an amazing job and made our room extra special with his pastry confections. He filled the "grout" on the Silestone bricks with ribbon frosting and made handmade gold sugar spun towers to adorn each candle on the chandelier to give the room a glowing ambiance. His team did a wonderful job with the bite size chocolate cake topped with habanero caviar and miniature edible roses for the guest to enjoy.   
The vintage chaise lounge from 1910 was a flea market find and beautifully re-upholstered by Superb Chair in an exquisite Vervain fabric.
Noreen runs a custom art and frame boutique and graciously sponsored our 48” x 48” beaded mirror.
Richard Marshall Fine Flooring, my favorite hardwood flooring EVER designed a fabulous chevron pattern, dark wood floor that really created a beautiful foundation for our space.
The understated and ever so lovely heirloom, hand-woven rug was loaned to us by Stark Rugs. 

Precision Wallcovering did an amazing job applying subtle wallpaper from Harlequin. Can I just say; I love wall covering! This simple accent transforms a space magically.

Again, this experience was certainly challenging however it was so much fun and the end result was much more fabulous than we expected. We met so many wonderful and talented designers and the shared camaraderie throughout the day was delightful.

Happy Designing!

Ready Set Go!

 Challenge day is finally here! The White Box Challenge began today and that means we are installing our white box (8' x 10' room) at Stonemill Design Center. It started at 9am today (Monday) and we must be finished with the room design by 9 am tomorrow. That gives us exactly 24 hours hours to complete a finished room with contractors scheduled back to back throughout the day, night and into the wee hours of the morning.
There's eight designers in total competing in the challenge, each with their very own 8' x 10' room that is a blank canvas. Each designer has their own set of contractors and worker bees yet the challenge is, only 2 people are allowed in each room at a time. There are make-shift work areas set up in the parking lot and the atmosphere is exhilarating and exciting!!
Come see our room design! We invite you all to the premier event this Thursday, June 6th from 6-8 pm at Stonemill Design Center in Costa Mesa where you can view all eight rooms and VOTE for your favorite design. Champagne and desserts will be served. Please RSVP to RivieraRSVP@modernluxury.com
Hope to see you there and happy designing!


frosting surprise!


Our wonderful stone installers and the "before" space                 


skipping town

  wine and brie  wine country 

This past weekend, my fiancé and I headed out-of-town to take a little break from the hustle and bustle and to celebrate a little “us” time. George and I love wine and we thought it would be fun to have a little wine tasting getaway in Temecula. I also had a bright idea to use this escape as an opportunity to explore new textures, color and subjects to draw inspiration from, as I so often do when I venture to new places. What can I say, even when I am not working and so far away from the office, design is always a part of my world. 

  grape vines  barn




I believe in pink...and gray

    romantic bathroom     
        pink and gray room
"I believe in manicures.  I believe in overdressing.  I believe in priming at leisure and wearing lipstick.  I believe in pink.  I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls.  I believe that tomorrow is another day, and...I believe in miracles."
-Audrey Hepburn

Who doesn’t love a little pink, gray and romance?!


“his and hers” offices

This past week has been a lot of fun at Jim and Karen’s new home. Jim and Karen each wanted separate office spaces to spread out and get work done. For the last few days much of the focus has been on installing both of their custom built offices by Erickson Woodworks and it is coming along beautifully!
Jim’s office occupies a large spare bedroom upstairs. It is both functional and handsome with custom wall-to-wall cabinetry. Jim’s freestanding Rhapsody desk from Hooker Furniture with matching chair was delivered and Don, the owner of Erickson Woodworks, was able to masterfully blend a stain matching the Rhapsody desk to the custom wall unit so they blend wonderfully. I found a fabulous heirloom hand-knotted area rug at Stark Rugs to soften the room. Custom stained shutters are expected this week to complement the cabinetry and desk. With a few accessories, Jim’s office will then be complete and I know he cannot wait to get settled in.
Another successful installation was Karen’s “little” office. For Karen, we thought, what’s a better place for a small office than the large walk-in closet underneath the stairs, right off the kitchen. It is the perfect place for Karen to call her own and customize with a glamorous touch. Our vision was to create a space for Karen to read emails, wrap gifts and have a creative space for her to escape in between cooking, activities and running around for everyone.
Don built a darling desk with a functional framed corkboard and upper cabinet for storage. We adorned this creation with fabulous crystal knobs. We could not resist a petite, crystal chandelier with a modern vibe, as it was the perfect complement to the knobs. They are too cute, and we just love how it turned out! Next week we are hanging a feminine, preppy wallpaper to personalize the space. Then, all we need is the perfect chair to top it all off!
We have so much to share about the progress, as new additions are being installed and delivered every day. A lot of thoughtful time has been put into selecting lighting from chandeliers to wall sconces, and we will have many of these pieces hung this week. We are excited to share the progress with you all next week!
Happy designing!


Erickson Woodworks

Meet Karen and Jim

I remember the day I met Karen and Jim (in August 2012) like it was yesterday because I loved them from the moment we were introduced. Karen and Jim have raised their beautiful family in the Northwood area and have lived in the same home for 30+ years. Talk about roots, memories and being grounded! Although they love their home in Northwood including their neighbors and the environment that surrounds them, they decided they needed a change; a new home. After many years of searching and searching for their dream home from Irvine to Ladera Ranch they have patiently waited for the perfect home. 
Karen and Jim finally found the dream home they had waited for for many years in a development of new homes in Lambert Ranch. While searching for an Interior Designer, they heard through a friend that my background is in new construction (I have worked for the builder design centers for over 16 years); and thought I would be a good fit for the job. I had the honor to attend all of the design appointments at the New Home Design Center. We had so much fun selecting each layer, every fine detail with a lot of planning and research. 
Being that the exterior of their new home is an Italian inspired design and my clients have Italian heritage, Karen and Jim’s goal was to create a warm, inviting, Tuscan style sanctuary with a common design threaded throughout the home. They had a vision and they wanted every detail to be thoughtful, practical and lovely so they could really enjoy their family and host special events and holidays. When the design process is all finished, their home will be reminiscent of a beautiful Tuscan villa.
Great Room & Master Retreat sneak peak
The moment we have been waiting for has finally arrived after an 8 month construction process. Jim and Karen closed escrow on their brand new home this past week. Let the fun begin! There are lots of finishing touches that we were unable to do during construction that will be taken care of this month like the installation of brick walls, wall covering, custom mill work and cabinetry, lighting, custom draperies, the delivery of new furnishings and re-upholstered items and of course the Sérendipité final reveal which includes the final staging touches and details.
Last week was busy and exciting! Brick was installed on 3 interior walls to bring a warm, rustic vibe into the kitchen, butler and dining area. The exterior of their home has used brick as well so we thought it would be fun to create a thread connecting the interior with the exterior. We love it and the rooms instantly feel warmer, very hip and it adds so much character.
Custom cabinetry has begun to be installed this past week, including a handsome custom master closet. Wait until you see the fine creations and details from Don Erickson at Erickson Woodworks. This week we are also having custom chandeliers, pendants and wall sconces hung and we are expecting some furniture deliveries as well.
Our Journey together has been a huge blessing as I have learned so much from Jim and Karen on so many levels. We look forward to sharing the progress and some fun stories about Jim and Karen getting settled into their dream home. Continue to check back weekly for more progress updates and photos of Karen and Jim’s home as it comes together. This is going to be a stunning Tuscan gem when it is all finished. 
Happy designing!

modern comforts

modern dining room

It is not often that I get the opportunity to design contemporary spaces.  Anyone who knows me knows my personal design style is classic, romantic and feminine while I hold a special place in my heart for vintage pieces.  Although, I have always had an appreciation for all design styles and whenever I am provided the opportunity I like to take on new clients with diverse design styles to broaden my horizons and scope of work.
As an interior designer it is so important to listen to my clients and carry through with a beautiful design that suits their needs and implements the style they love.  My goal in design is to turn every house into a comfy home that my clients will fall in love with all over again every time they walk through the front door. 
Over the course of the last 4 months I have been working on this contemporary home and it was rewarding to see months of hard work come together beautifully in just two days of install.  It was tremendously gratifying working on this project and really being able to stretch my boundaries to design a home with a style I have never attempted before.  I had so much fun shopping with the client who is very creative and knew exactly what he wanted.  This home was a joy to work on with its fun, playful and bold design…the result- modern comfort!
Happy Designing!
modern dining room  modern antler chair

modern dining room  butterfly shadow box

Johnathan Adler pillow  snowboard shelf

modern fruit bowl

modern living room

modern family room  modern homes

modern home

modern home

modern master bedroom  vintage record player


*Photos courtesy of Melissa Brandman Photographs

The Final Reveal


The day is finally here folks! The re-style for our fabulous clients Brannon and Allison is complete. We have been following their re-style ever since they received the Sérendipité design inspired living style box back in December. We had a few delivery delays but sometimes the wait is well worth it and we are thrilled with how beautiful this restyle turned out. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!

A special thanks to Brannon, Allison and their adorable pup Buddha for welcoming us into their home and being such a delightful couple to work with! We truly enjoyed getting to know you and hope you enjoy your new space for years to come.
(If you need a reminder of what the rooms looked like before the re-style, visit  Sérendipité's "Meet Brannon & Allison blog from January)
Happy Designing!


The Great Room







The Master Retreat

gorgeous bedding 





I love San Francisco!

San Francisco Trolley
I would have to say San Francisco is one of my favorite places to visit in California! Similar to the energy and my love affair I have with Laguna Beach, San Francisco is right there with the magic I feel in Laguna!

I have traveled to San Francisco many times, say, 20 or so times in my short 39 years. Each time I visit I find a new place I love or become somewhat obsessed with!

This trip was a combination of birthday celebrations, travel for business (for George, my lovely fiancé), a college visit (with my angel daughter), and a craving for inspiration as I have some exciting new clients that I want to clear my palate for.

Our first stop on our trip was the Fairmont Hotel on "atop nob hill". Did you know that this was the first ever built Fairmont Hotel, ever!?!? Construction of this fabulous hotel started in 1902 and was completed in 1906. This beautiful structure survived the great earthquake and fire of 1906. The Fairmont was one of the only structures still standing after this devastation that hit San Francisco. There is so much history about this wonderful hotel amongst it classic and luxurious design. I was really enchanted by the aura of this hotel as I walked through the front doors of this lobby.

I learned a lot from a friendly Kashmir salesperson at a lovely store called Charisma (another one of my favorite words) at the Fairmont! They import Kashmir pashminas made from the Kashmir goat. The shawl is traditionally given from the groom to his bride as an endowment in a beautiful hand painted box. The price tag on a real Kashmir shawl is $1,000 to $100,0000.  The sales gentleman said the pashmina finds its owner. Being the romantic that I am, I loved this and asked him to have a pashmina find me! What do you think of the pashmina that found me?

I finally found the design inspiration I had been looking for! Who would have thought it would be at the fabulous Ferry Building located at the embarcadero?! Oh how I love this place!  We enjoyed oysters at Hog Island Oyster Bar, admired the cheese at the Cowgirl Creamery (a cheese bar for the fromage lover), tasted gourmet dark chocolates, and I found inspiration for color hues and textures I love at the Far West Fungi Mushroom store. 
In design, layering monochrome and texture is a style I am craving. It represents luxury and stillness for me, and I love the combination of emotions this style evokes. The oyster (below) stirs images of warmth with saturated taupes, creams, and opalescence; while the texture and subtle hues of the mushrooms create a calm and richness. The earthiness of the sunchoke also represents a soft and subtle organic tonal texture that I really love. I am now enthused to go home and do some designing!
Next on my travel through San Fran was a trip to Ghirardelli Square. I'm not so much a chocolate lover but I do appreciate the art of creating these delightful treasures. I was told I must try an Irish coffee at the Buena Vista. Naturally, I cannot pass up a recommendation from a local. The Buena Vista has created a recipe for their signature Irish coffee that originated in 1952.
Buena Vista   
This trip has been filled with history, inspiration, lovely people, fantastic service and special moments with my fiancé and beautiful daughter.  I hope that Haley falls in love with Academy of Art University so I have more reason to visit my dear San Francisco!

Happy designing!