Finding the perfect home is almost magical. Whether it’s your first mortgage or a rental, you instinctively know the minute you step foot in the door, or in Johanna Vente and Carl Anderson’s case, when you spy on the listing on Zillow. The founders of the artisanal housewares store Saffron + Poe immediately fell in love with the 1,400-square-foot mid-century beauty in California’s Mill Valley. From the A-frame architecture to the double high ceilings, the original Malm fireplace from the 60s, and the breathtaking views of Mill Valley and Mount Tamalpais, it’s safe to say that this 1960s home has it’s charm and had character they could dream of. So you can imagine our excitement when they asked us to reveal this stunning Saffron + Poe home tour.
The decorating approach of this stylish couple is very similar to our own design MO: A home should always remind of the personal style, but also tell the story of the people who live there.
When they began the decorating process, it was important to Vente and Anderson that they appreciate classic mid-century California architecture while maximizing the home’s natural abundance of light. “I love a house that already has a certain charm and character that I can use as design inspiration,” notes Vente. Ahead of us we share the stunning home tour with details of their design journey and links to buy the look.
1 of 8
Let your travels guide you …
Vente’s main source of inspiration for this room was her travels – something we’ve all missed since the quarantine. “I was fortunate to have traveled a lot in my life and that was very motivating for me to start our global sourcing and design business,” she explains. “We love to take home the magic of these places where it can be enjoyed in everyday life.” Pro tip: Scatter decorative items – seashells, rugs, throws, art – that you bought in your home while on vacation to bring emotion and soul into your room. “I’m a nature and travel lover, so I always try to bring the outdoors in and collect treasures that tell a story,” she continues.
Their favorite piece is the Saffron + Poe leather armchair in the living room, which they found on their first sourcing trip to Bali. “It’s a nice little sentimental reminder of that incredible adventure all those years ago in the middle of our living space,” she recalls.
2 of 8
Overlay your neutrals …
Regardless of the room, Vente is a “neutral palette” for life. “The color scheme for me will always be soft-tinted textiles, light natural wood and clay-white walls,” she explains. If this sounds like you too, but you’re concerned it might look dull or boring, follow Vente’s advice and add natural pops of color via art or pillows by incorporating plants into your design.
3 of 8
Find creative solutions to architectural problems …
While the airy and light atmosphere of the house corresponded to the style of Vente, the classic A-frame from the 60s with sloping walls turned out to be a unique challenge in the design of the room. But that lies in the beauty of the design and the ability to think outside the box. With no ability to hang art or wall decorations, Vente was forced to get creative to add visual interest to the space. This looks like statement chairs in empty corners with stools that are used as end tables with decorative items and accents. Now the master bedroom in her “absolute favorite part of our house”. She adds, “The towering triangular windows above our bed offer a magnificent view of the tree-lined hills of Mill Valley and Mount Tamalpais. It’s honestly the dreamiest place to wake up every morning. “We couldn’t agree more.
4 of 8
Make it stylish but livable …
While we don’t pay attention to design rules at Camille Styles headquarters, there is one that Vente agrees on: living spaces must be livable. “Look for pieces that have form and function, style and comfort,” she explains. “No loss of beauty – except for your skinny jeans and the best heels.”
5 of 8
Mix high and low …
One of our favorite things about this room is its nuanced, neutral approach. But how do you keep a balance between timeless and trendy? By mixing found treasures, vintage and antiques with contemporary pieces, you keep things always current, yet timeless.
6 of 8
Don’t stop decorating …
While the basics like color and important pieces of furniture come together quickly, Vente says: “A designer’s home is never finished!” – and we can no longer agree. “I always rethink every detail and find new treasures that have to find their way into my design,” she emphasizes. “Given the constraints of the cozy size and specific architecture of an A-frame, I’m not (yet!) Making any major changes to the room, but I’m changing the art, lighting, carpets, etc.” So take your time, decorate slowly, and see your space as an evolution – there really is no end date. Pro tip: Use the “one-in-one-out rule” to keep your balance and avoid clutter. “I always edit when I add, and I keep the balance every now and then compared to a big edit,” she says. “When I add something new, another item can be hidden or given to a friend.”
7 of 8
The devil is in the details…
If there is one thing that Vente emphasized to us during our interview, it is the power of textiles to create a home that is minimal and modern, yet warm and inviting. Think of pillows, throws, and rugs to add warmth and texture to a room while keeping things minimal and chic. Always pay attention to these smaller details as they will make a huge difference to the overall mood and energy of your space.
8 of 8
Mix practically with pretty …
Spending so much time at home made us all a little bit crazy, but it only made Vente more grateful for the space she has. “I really love this house, which is a really amazing feeling when you spend all your time there,” she says. That said, they had to get creative to make sure their home was a functional, yet aesthetically pleasing, workspace since their husband also worked from home. “We just added a slim console that we use as a laptop desk in our guest room in front of a sunny window to provide a more private work space for meetings,” she says. “I never intended to turn this room into an office and guest area as we have other office corners in the house, but it made our work-from-home dynamic more flexible and really only works for the room.”
What’s your favorite thing about this house? Let us know below along with your top design tips.