A Direct ReflectionAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Jennifer Miller Studio infuses a Montecito vacation home with classic, coastal style
“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.”
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.”
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 “Careful to retain the original charm, we removed outdated items and details and streamlined the architecture, bringing a modern California feel to the space,” says Miller.
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.”
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.”