Design Dilemma: Family Friendly Kitchen


When Serena Dugan—co-founder of Serena & Lily, an on-line and catalog home furnishings emporium—decided to give a fresh look to the banquette in her Sausalito kitchen, she created a lively space that’s stylish and family friendly.

Recently, she shared the project on the company’s website and in the catalog, but we went behind-the-scenes for her design tips. (Bonus: We also got an exclusive preview of artwork that will be for sale later this week.)

Before the makeover, Dugan described the eating area as dead space. Now it’s a intimate family gathering spot. She started by slipcovering the banquette cushions. In addition to running her company, she is raising two small children (Fisher and Remy). Although a banquette is a great choice for a family, cushions that can’t be cleaned are a problem. Slipcovers allow the fabric to be laundered on an as-needed basis.

Serena & Lily is known for an eclectic use of color and pattern and, in this case, Dugan brought her work home with her. She made the vibrant and varied pillows work together by limiting the color and pattern palette. She uses the rule of four: No more than four shades in the same tonal range and no more than four patterns.

A lot of do-it-yourself designers tend to use off-the-shelf options. Dugan suggests opening up to the idea of custom pillows. She advises that, if you can’t find the cushion you want, you should locate a local tailor who can make one in the fabric of your choice.

To make the space come alive, Dugan decorated with one-of-a-kind accessories, such as the ikat runner she discovered in her travels and the artwork that includes family heirlooms and flea-market finds.

Speaking of Dugan’s finds, if you haven’t heard about the Serena & Lily Bazaar, check it out on February 25. So many customers wanted the props they use in the catalog photo shoots, the owners started offering them up during periodic on-line sales. The next one will be this Friday and features 90 artworks. The sale lasts six days and prices range from $125 to $3,200. Here’s a sneak peek at some pieces that would work beautifully in a nursery or kid’s room:




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