Designer Crush: Dee Murphy


1. When did you know you wanted to be a designer and what prompted the decision?

I was always designing for myself, and for my friends, for as long as I can remember (dating back to my college dorm days!), but I have to credit one of my best friends, Rebecca Marshall, for pushing me to take the leap professionally. She had just moved into a gorgeous new home in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, had interviewed a few designers, and then said, “Dee… I want you to do my home.” I will always be grateful to her for giving me that opportunity. She allowed me to use her house as “design school,” and to learn, grow, and even make a few mistakes (yes, we make them)… and the project became a beautiful two-year collaboration between the two of us.

2. How does California style inspire your design aesthetic?

Living in California, you can’t help but to absorb the surroundings, the people, the laid-back vibe, into your being, your every-day attitude, and ultimately your aesthetic. Even the fanciest of places in Los Angeles somehow remain “un-fussy” and relaxed. I bring a little bit of this “casualness” with me into every space I design… even when working with the priciest of pieces!

3. You say you love to “style with a pop” – what does that mean to you and how do you apply that special treatment to each client?

Even if a client is asking for a neutral space, I will find a way to add an unexpected pop of color or pattern, but in a way that speaks to the client in a personal way. In my New York E-Deesign project, it meant leopard covered dining chairs (she knew she wanted leopard somewhere!), while the rest of the space remained mostly white. More recently, in Palm Springs, Kelly Lee (of Kelly GoLightly) wanted a serene bathroom in her Modernism Week show house, and was even asking for a solid, grass cloth wallpaper, but I was determined to find a pattern that would make us both happy. I found the most beautiful white and powder blue flamingo wallpaper from Cole & Son, and we knew the moment I presented it…  that it was “the one” (not pink, not kitchy… but sophisticated and soothing).

4. Who’s your dream celebrity client and why?

Carolyn Murphy, because she has that perfect mix of girl-next door California vibe with a classic, cool New York aesthetic… which is basically what I aspire to create in my interiors!

5. What’s your go-to source of inspiration when you’re feeling creatively blocked?

If I’m short on time, it’s Pinterest. If I have a day to wander, then I’ll get in my car and head to a “walkable” neighborhood where I know there are design shops, galleries, and great food to be had.

6. If you could switch places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

Jenna Lyons, because I’d die to go back in time and live in her infamously iconic Park Slope townhome. I’d also love to round up all of that creative energy, business savvy and any secrets she has for “doing it all” and take it back with me!

7. Describe your idea of a perfect Sunday.

Sleep until 8 am, followed by a full family snuggle (hubby, both kids and the dog) for an extra twenty minutes. Make pancakes and listen to music. Everyone heads to the beach for play time, including a surf session for me! Stop off at Belcampo Meat Co. on the way home for the best organic burgers in town. Prepare for the week ahead and make my lists (I am an avid list maker), with a glass of wine in the evening at home. Get the kids to bed and score some rare one-on-one time with my husband who works six full days a week!

Lightning round!

8. Pancakes or waffles?

See above ☺

9. Britney or Beyonce?

Bey all the way!

10. Polka dots or stripes?


11. Bold and bright or soft and subtle?

I will always veer towards bold and bright…I can’t help myself!

12. New or vintage?

The perfect marriage of both!


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