I have had the pleasure to meet Christina Murphy, a gorgeous and talented interior designer in Manhattan Beach. We were both seated at the same table of a mutual friends wedding and quickly realized we share a passion for all things creative.
This time of year, we are all gearing up for the holidays, and decorating your home and living space is not an easy task. I teamed up with Christina to get some fun tips and advice for keeping things jolly this season!
You are a part of an amazing design and interior team in Manhattan Beach, California, tell me a little about it?
I most definitely am. I love my job! Waterleaf Interiors is a full service Interior Design firm started by the talented Jill Johnson and Suzanne Ascher. The style can be described as clean, timeless, and classic with a hint of the unexpected, which is also reflected in the store. Waterleaf blends a unique mix of vintage pieces, along with a coastal modern mix of furniture. Jill and Suzanne inspire me everyday as this business is a lifestyle. These two ladies have built an awesome foundation which has allowed me to grow my palette. There is nothing better than walking into work every morning and feeling motivated by your environment. The tongue and groove paneling throughout the store, the soothing windy sky painted walls, the herringbone pattern calcutta marble floors, and the grasscloth lining the shelves makes Waterleaf a utopia for the senses, and that is what we try to mimic in a unique way for each client. We are lifestyle architects!
How did you get your start in interior design?
While working in advertising, I started a design blog, LA Glossy, which was a lot like a diary, in fact I’m pretty sure i’m the only one who read it everyday…maybe my mom, too. This blog was a place for me to pen my ideas, whether it was on my lunch hour, before bed, or traveling. I’ve always had a passion for design but it was ignited evermore by the idea that everything and everyone was looking for a way to standout and I wanted nothing more than for people to preserve classic and smart design. It was then that I enrolled in classes at UCLA’s Interior Architecture program. After a few successful quarters in school, I realized where my focus should be and I applied for a Design Assistant position at Waterleaf Interiors. After I settled into my role, I never looked back!
What type of projects do you usually work on, and what is your favorite thus far?
All projects are residential and located in the Southbay of Los Angeles, including a the Palisades and Palos Verdes. Waterleafs reputation proceeds itself and people have come to know and expect a certain standard that is Waterleaf. People typically know it and love it. My favorite project thus far has been working with an elderly man, planning the comforts of his forever home, which just so happens to be right on the Manhattan Beach Strand. After meeting with him, I was reminded that the oldest people we know are the best people we know. He values tradition and see’s the big picture because he’s lived life. While I’m grateful for all my clients and experiences, this one is truly special!
The holidays are here, and most people get in a frenzy to decorate. Do you have any tips for people out there?
My best advice for decorating throughout the holidays is ‘less is more.’ Stay away from unnecessary sparkle that you’ll just toss after Santa blows through. Pick a few statement pieces and place them in your high traffic areas, like at the bar, next to the eggnog! 😉 I try to mix in some memories of my childhood when decorating. For example, my mom always had a jar full of red and green peanut m&m’s – simple but festive, and who doesn’t love the peanut m&m?! My favorite holiday item right now is the oversized three-wick ‘smokey amber’ scented candle from Pottery Barn. The right candle hits both senses; not only does it smell amazing but its also great on the eyes! And of course, you have to have some kind of festive flower arrangement – whether its Amaryllis, Holly, Rosemary, or a classic Poinsettia. Et voila!
What type of holiday interiors are on trend right now?
This season we are trying to evoke a feeling rather than a theme. Your home should tell your story. Silver bells, lots of gold, and pops of red are in every storefront but your home should truly tell your story because that is always on trend! But don’t think for a second that I don’t love to get on my sleigh and go shopping for new fun holiday decor like a subtle new throw for the living room or a furry pouf for my office. In fact, I’m LOVING the Nate Berkus collection at Target. Its full of pretty little things that can transform any space!
I know that people cannot always spend a lot of money on holiday decor, what is a good way to mix and match pieces?
There’s no better place than home for the holidays. I love a founded holiday home with already existing pieces and pieces handed down from grandparents or parents. Whether it’s your hand knit stocking from grandma, the tree topping angel from your mom, or that unforgettable 1992 holiday card in a festive frame. A good photo can steal the show and is always a great conversation piece.
You always looked polished and put together, what is your personal style?
Thank you! My personal style is truly a reflection of my design style – clean, practical and functional, mixed with statement and vintage accessories. My clients often find me in Monroe neutrals, a Rag & Bone cashmere sweater, Maguire “Newton” Skinny jeans, and my classic vans. For me, style and comfort is key when running between job sites and the office.
When you have some down time, where do you like to shop and get a cocktail at the end of the day?
This time of year, I love to shop in San Francisco’s Union Square area with all the pretty lights, sounds of the season, and central ice rink. I always end the day with a martini at the cozy and romantic, Campton Place bar! When I’m in LA, its a one stop wonder for me…Barney’s New York, Beverly Hills!
Check out more of her current holiday work below!