I am thrilled to share that we are starting a new interview series all about “home” and the meaning of the word. Anastasia and I will be talking to our favorite creatives and professionals who work in various industries on the subject of home. For the first one, we sat down with Serena Mitnik-Miller as she shares a peek into her new home she is turning into a dream space.
Anastasia: I can’t visit California without a trip to General Store. The cool Cali, eccentric boutique filled with treasures of vintage clothing, jewelry, and gifts. You might recognize Serena Mitnik-Miller as one of the founders and shop owners. She is, and so much more! She is a mother, artist, author, and designer living and working in California. She splits her time between San Francisco and Los Angeles, combining her days painting, designing, collecting, and collaborating with her local artisan community.
Sarah: Our home in LA was within walking distance of the General Store. There was never a birthday, anniversary, baby shower, etc, that went by where I didn’t pop in for the perfect gift. And, chances are you probably fell in love with Serena’s first house. She shared the renovations over Instagram under #ourtopangahome , which went on to fuel much of an equally covetable book cowrote by, and you guessed it, Serena, called Abode, where they share their tips and tricks on thoughtful living with less. So when it came time to make a list of people we want to hear their philosophies on home, Serena was at the top of it. I hope you enjoy!
What does home mean to you?
To me, home is a place you never want to leave, a place you feel safe and at peace, a place you always look forward to returning to at the end of a day or long travels—a place you can enjoy and share with friends and family.
Your home should be… WARM
What advice can you share for someone who wanted to make their home more warm?
Lots of light, warm whites, and natural wood and fibers is my go-to.
What was your favorite home you’ve lived in and why?
I love where I am now so much, but it’s a huge project and will take years to complete, so I would have to say my last home in Topanga. It was a perfect little 1920’s hunting cabin.
What is the best part of being at home?
My bath, I have always wanted a tub in my bedroom, and I have never enjoyed a bath more until now.
How has your idea of home evolved over the years?
We should always be evolving. I have always been drawn to small and simple spaces but having kids really changed everything for me. My approach to this new home is so much more utilitarian. There is a lot more space to work with but living with less gives the children room to play and make a mess. Everything in my life is a work in progress, so who knows what tomorrow will bring. Once my children grow, I look forward to evolving and refining the space. Home is a lifelong process.
I love cleaning day. Saturday morning, I organize the house, put everything away for the cleaners, and then come back in the afternoon, and the kids destroy it within hours!
Suppose you could have a second home anywhere. Where would it be?
I daydream about this question often. I have always loved the desert, but in reality, I never like to be too far from the sea, so I am constantly looking at places all over from Joshua Tree to Amangansette to Hawaii, but the real dream would be Australia or Portugal. The list goes on and on.
Describe your ideal day at home.
Waking up to my kids, crawling into bed with me, breakfast outside on the deck, and then a full day of outdoor activities and a bath in my favorite tub to wind down at the end of the day.
How do you approach decorating your own home?
Every home has been different, but my approach is to play off the bones and history of the home, emphasizing the elements that speak to me and letting those shapes and materials dictate the path forward. I love open space and removing anything unnecessary, balancing functional with minimal.
Thank you, Serena!shop general store here and visit Serena’s website here and shop her book here.
portrait by Justin Chung
I love this concept for a blog series and look forward to following along. I am a HUGE fan of both your work and Serena’s. I have her book and love it. Thank you for this!