A Direct Reflection


Jennifer Miller Studio infuses a Montecito vacation home with classic, coastal style

The kitchen features a dramatic waterfall stone island, a Bertazzoni range and a playful backsplash tile by Pratt and Larson. Photos by Michael Clifford.

“With a deep appreciation for the influence our surroundings have on our lives, I integrate beautiful, thoughtful design into the everyday,” says Jennifer Miller, founder of Jennifer Miller Studio. “My art background and deep attunement to people’s unique needs and lifestyles inform my approach to interior design.” When she and her firm embarked on transforming a 5,000-square-foot Montecito home, they turned to the surrounding landscape to guide the color palette and design accents that would honor the coastal setting. “Our team focused on creating a clean, updated design, while staying true to the classic beach house style found in the area,” she recalls. “We achieved this by maintaining the original layout and infusing the space with modern elements as well as more timeless finishes found in Montecito architecture.”

A set of dining chairs by Crate and Barrel and William Lamen surround a custom dining table, the designer created the pendant. Photos by Michael Clifford.
This moody powder room features Miller House wallpaper, a mirror by Gio Ponti found at Garde and a custom stone sink. Photos by Michael Clifford.

Nestled atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the home had survived years of abuse from the salt air and was in need of repair. “It had a great deal of wood rot, water and plumbing issues and no insulation,” says Miller. “While we didn’t want to demo the entire home, we did have to strip it down to the studs, replacing and rebuilding almost everything.” Serving as the couples’ L.A. getaway, they wanted the home to feel classic and elegant yet casual. “We chose a tranquil color palette, and brought in vintage surf prints and water-themed artworks to nod at the house’s location, while also focusing on soft-toned materials,” she says. “Windows facing the ocean were framed in black steel to seamlessly transport the eye to the outdoors, opening up the space to the surrounding landscape.”

“Ruby Beets” by Mary Ellen Bartley hangs above a fireplace surrounded by Modul Marble in the primary bedroom.
Photos by Michael Clifford.
In the primary bedroom, the walls are covered in jungle blue wallpaper by These Walls, the sconces are from Urban Electric Co. and the faucet is from Watermark. Photos by Michael Clifford.
The shower walls are covered in a slate blue tile from Ann Sacks, the floor tile was found at West Side Tile. Photos by Michael Clifford.

They started by tearing the structure down to the original wood framing. This allowed the main spaces to expand, creating a more modern flow. “Careful to retain the original charm, we removed outdated items and details and streamlined the architecture, bringing a modern California feel to the space,” says Miller.

A lower level kitchenette features a dark stone found at Modul Marble, the cabinetry hardware was found at Ashley Norton. Photos by Michael Clifford.
An outdoor dining table from Teak Warehouse is surrounded by chairs from Palecek. Photos by Michael Clifford.

Now, the living room has a beautifully vaulted ceiling and expansive steel windows that allow for more natural light to flood in. “The choice of materials, organic shapes and colors was centered around softness and comfort,” she notes. “The Bardiglio Nuvolato Dark leathered stone with beautiful textured blue hues, used for the kitchen island, is a nod to the property’s proximity to the ocean. Additionally, the landscaping and outdoor spaces designed by Dan Zelen were envisioned to allow the architecture to seamlessly blend into the natural environment.”

The Kuba lounge chairs are from Teak Warehouse the Revival Garden stool acts as a table. Photos by Michael Clifford.

As longstanding clients, Miller and her team had a deep knowledge of how they lived their lives and were able to deliver their dream vacation home. “They felt their vision of a cozy, inviting and sophisticated space was perfectly achieved,” she recalls. “This home is a true California beach house that embraces its surroundings.”