Laurel’s Cheerfully Chic Cottage

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Laurel Harrington
Location: Mill Valley — California
Size: 1,800 square foot cottage with guest barn
Years lived in: 10 — owned

From the first day Laurel Harrington moved into her hillside Mill Valley cottage, she had her mind set on one thing: creating a space that was cheerfully chic. Laurel, an interior designer by trade, started her company, Harrington Design, in 2002 and has been creating lovely interior spaces every since.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In her own home, she likes to mix high end custom designed pieces with local flea market finds, which results in a casual chicness that feels laid back and happy. Inspired by the local beaches she takes her two dogs — Dudley and Honey — to every week, she wanted to incorporate a beachy vibe into her home. Not shy about color, Laurel painted some of her walls bright green and turquoise and followed up with accessories in sunny yellow and hot pink. The bright color palette spotlights her crisp white accent pieces and gives her home an island tropical air.

Laurel also made sure to take advantage of the amazing views out her windows, with built-in benches and outward facing dining spaces. She loves to entertain and opened up some of the existing walls to create a more open fluid space. The old growth fir floors are original and lend themselves nicely to her relaxed aesthetic.

While owning an older home has its own challenges, Laurel has decided that it’s all worth it. She briefly thought of selling her home a few years back, but couldn’t bare to part with her labor of love. Laurel believes “your home should give you a hug” and in her case you leave with a hug and sunny kiss on the cheek!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Cozy, chic and comfortable. I love mixing antiques and great paintings with inexpensive finds. It’s like getting dressed and pairing Levis with a Birkin bag.

Inspiration: Looking at what makes sense for the house. I think it’s great to live in a house awhile to get a sense of where you spend most of your time and understand how you live in the space.

Favorite Element: The views, the great light and the old growth fur floors.

Biggest Challenge: It can be a battle to keep up an old house.

What Friends Say: “Love the colors”, “cozy” and “great view”. It’s a great hang house — I’ve had lots of barbeques, dinner parties and even big parties at the house. It has a great vibe.

Biggest Embarrassment: I am a terrible gardener! I need to spend some time finishing the yard.

Proudest DIY: When I bought the house, it needed a lot of work. My ex-boyfriend was a musician/carpenter. We literally sat on floor with a bottle of wine and planned the entire renovation. We knocked out walls, changed the entire floor plan and really opened up the house.

Biggest Indulgence: Buying great design books and magazines for inspiration. Having people over, oh and chocolate!

Best Advice: Your house should give you a hug

Dream Sources: I would love to go on a buying trip all around Europe.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Sherwin Williams, Festival Green



    • Sofa: Pottery Barn
    • Artwork: Nancy Spoelhof and vintage sailboat paintings
    • White Fish Vase: Sweet Things of Tiburon
    • Vintage Lamps: Beach House Style with custom shades


    • Dining Table: Beach House Style
    • Dining Chairs: Antique repainted white and recovered in apple green fabric from Cloth
    • Toss Pillows: Mix of custom Johnathan Adler and pillows made with fabric from San Francisco Design Center


    • Tile: Ann Sacks Apple Green Tile
    • Sink: IKEA


    • Green & White Duvet: Z Gallerie
    • Artwork: Estate Sale
    • Pillows: Custom



    • Lime Bamboo Vintage Lamp: Beach House Style
    • Vintage Print: Flea Market
    • White/Yellow Armchair: Maine Cottage with Desousa Hughes fabric


    • Orange Bisto Set: Craigslist
    • Green Adirondack: Beach House Style

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Laurel!

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