When a family of four – a mother and her three children, two in high school and one in college – found their perfect home, it didn’t quite reflect their personality. At least not yet. Located on a peaceful piece of property on a charming Santa Monica street, the home was a blank canvas, lacking architectural charm. After seeing a colorful project of hers in the LA Times, the homeowner contacted Dee Murphy of Murphy Deesign to bring her quirky eclectic style to her new space.

“The mom works really hard, but she also leads a beautiful life that has included traveling the world – and even attending festivals like Burning Man – something I loved learning about her,” Dee said. “She wanted her home to reflect the places that meant a lot to her family, such as Hawaii, southern and northern California, amongst others.” Dee worked with her client’s appreciation for colorful and happy spaces and even encouraged her to take a few risks. “The homeowner was hesitant about painting the kitchen cabinets blue, in fear of darkening that corner of the house,” Dee shared, “but the outcome was a happy, calming space for her. This was actually the first design decision we made and you will find that ‘blue’ weaving itself throughout the entire home.”

The designer also knew how to balance bold and subdued – in the rooms, such as the sitting room that were painted in a bold blue limewash from Portola Paints, she knew to keep the furniture simple and neutral. In the family room, however, white walls serve as a backdrop for lively boho printed armchairs and a chartreuse velvet sofa. “We really wanted it to be unique and collected, and sometimes that meant sourcing piece by piece, slowly,” she said. “I want to make sure each client’s home looks different than anyone else’s… and this takes more time and thought, versus a ‘fast food design’ scheme, as I like to call it.”

Dee selected unusual finishes for the home such as hexagonal tiles from Clé for the kitchen backsplash and bold printed wallpaper from Walnut Wallpaper for the entirely redesigned powder room. For a more boho vibe, she layered in vintage rugs from both CoCo Carpets and Woven Abode. “I stretched them with colors and ideas they hadn’t thought of,” Dee explained, “and they have turned out to be the best parts of the house. The family tells me that everywhere they look, there’s a scene, a piece of art or just a feeling that makes them smile and, most importantly, feel firmly at home.”