If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live the coastal glam lifestyle, this is IT honey!

The Client

This gorgeous cottage style residence is located in the hillside of Laguna Beach. Close enough to Laguna that you can see the ocean from their second floor windows, but far enough from the coastline so you’re hidden from the traffic and tourists. The clients wanted a high-style space that reflects their love for the sea but low maintenance to support the daily activities of a house with toddlers and big dogs.

The Concept

The concept for the space is casual, yet glamorous, high-style, yet durable, beautiful but still livable and cozy. I wanted the home to reflect comfortable seaside living, like a fabulous 5-star bed and breakfast designed with a sense of place in mind.

Materials and Finishes

The color palette reflects the same hues you’d find in the sea.  Sandy earth tones with a hint of aqua and a pop of sunset to break up blues. One-of-a-kind, custom reclaimed wood paneling peppers the back of the great room bar and is echoed again in the timber beams overhead.  A raw driftwood dining table anchors the space with a gleaming glass chandelier overhead.

Anytime you design a space with all neutral tones, it’s a good rule of thumb to add an analogous color for variety. In this case, the client’s horse triptych becomes the focal point of the entire dining room with its prominent cognac pigment. Set against a luminous backdrop, the great room gleams and comes alive with a mix of raw and refined interior elements.

Furniture and Accessories

I kept a portion of the client’s old furniture like their leather recliners and dining chairs and upgraded the rest of the space with a linen chesterfield sofa, layered rugs, and raw driftwood dining table and bar stools.  Keeping with the coastal glam theme, accessories included using beachy lanterns and shell motifs for the dining table, nautical rope elements in the trays and wall art, and metallic linen-weave wallpaper in the great room.

Designer’s Tip:

I love showcasing client’s collectibles like original photography (totally scored on these oceanic landscape images), piles of John Grisham books, and signed pro baseballs.  The only way to make a house feel like a home is through personalization.  The more you personalize the space by displaying curated mementos, the more the space will feel lived in and loved. There’s nothing worse than stepping into a home that looks exactly like a décor catalog.

Although filled, it still feels empty. Although striking, it still lacks soul.

Don’t be that catalog home!!!  Stop what you’re doing and look around you? Does your home scream (ZGallerie/ Ikea/ Pottery Barn/ West Elm/etc… yikes!) You’re better than that babe! Your creativity, originality, life story should be displayed to inspire all.

The most beautiful homes are the ones which truly reflect the people living in them.

Closing thoughts

Anyone can design a beautiful home, but how many can make it truly look and feel like their own personal stories come alive? The more you’re willing to share of yourself, your likes, your hobbies, your past adventures, your future endeavors, the closer you are to realizing the full potential of your home, and ultimately your sanctuary.


Dining chairs | Dining tableBar stools | Living Room Sofa | Wall Art | Entry Console | Area Rug

What design elements help you to personalize your own home?




    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Thanks for the visit Atsuna! Your feedback means the world babe!

    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Aw thanks so much lovies! I can’t imagine doing anything else!!

  1. This must be a dream – I have never seen my personal sense of style so perfectly showcased in one place (coastal glam!). I am just starting to venture out into the world of Interior Design, and I am so glad I happened upon your blog. I am OBSESSED. Kudos, lady!

    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Thanks so much for stopping by Allison! This space was a dream to design- all my favorite elements in one room… a little raw, a little refined, but overall completely livable but glamorous! You totally get me 😉

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