Design

A Topanga Family Home Filled With California Light

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Serena Mitnik-Miller, co-owner of General Store and author of the beautiful book Abode, lives with her husband Mason St. Peter and two children in Topanga, California. “The cabin is almost 100 years old,” she says. “We see coyotes, deer, bobcats, snakes, lizards and hawks.” Now that the family has welcomed their second child, we are excited to share a tour around…

LIVING ROOM
Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Coffee table: vintage Paul McCobb, similar. Chairs: vintage Bror Boije for Dux. Quilted pillow: Matt Katsaros. Knot pillows: Electric Feathers.

On living in Topanga: Topanga is a little oasis, you can get lost here. Working at General Store is so full-on that it’s nice to live in a quiet place. We’re half a block from the Topanga State Park. We don’t have much garden at our house, but you can be in the middle of nature in five seconds.

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

White sofa: vintage Hans Wegner from Craigslist. Wall hanging: Heather Levine. Pendant lamp: Noguchi.

On a family record player: Mason is a music buff. He often plays The Smiths. I’m a little younger so that era missed me. I’m more interested in something I haven’t heard quite so much. I don’t not like it, but it’s kind of like Seinfeld — it’s good, but you’ve seen it so much that you’re like oh-kay. Alone Again Or, I never have to hear that one again.

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Sheepskin: Shepherdess.

On a cozy sheepskin: We have a really old dog, so we move the sheepskin around to accommodate her. We lie on it, too; it’s everyone’s cozy spot. Wild also rides his scooter and runs around here since it’s the biggest open space in our place. To be honest, all surfaces are usually covered in trucks until the evening when we put them back in his room — and we start over the next day!

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On nautical touches: The skylights were made with glass from boats — they were there when we moved in. An interesting Englishman named Timothy owned the house before us, and he did a few things that were really lovely. We kept all of his contributions.

KITCHEN
Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On a ceramics collection: At General Store, we work with many ceramicists making beautiful things. It’s hard to be like, I’ll just have one small set! We’ve developed this crazy mug collection — it’s always evolving. Our main set is Heath, and I have a special place in my heart for Julie Cloutier. My other faves: Humble Ceramics, Victoria Morris makes wonderful lamps, and Michelle Blade does hand-painted blue-and-white pieces with characters.

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On snacks: I’m a big snacker and always have nuts and dried fruits around. When I was pregnant with Una, I was hypoglycemic and became a person who always needs to be eating something.

DINING AREA
Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Dining table: Blu Dot.

On choosing family names: My husband Mason is Native American, and our son’s name is Wild Hawk Moon — hawks are Mason’s spirit animal. We also created a new last name for both of our children: Moon. We’re going to change our last names, too. For work, we’ll keep our names for consistency, but on everything else we’ll be the Moons.

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On differing tastes: My husband and I mostly agree on home decor, but not everything. I’ll find chairs for $5 that won’t be his favorite. I always push the limits with chairs and eventually they end up in the garage. Right now, we have the Shaker-looking chair — it’s tall and white. He’ll give little nudges, like he’ll randomly say, ‘If we could get rid of a chair, it would be that one!’

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On going from one to two kids: I’m not going to lie, it’s very overwhelming. With a second, at least you’re less freaked out because you’ve done it before. You’re like, I got this, I got this… but it’s A LOT. I was always like, with two, you won’t be outnumbered, but you are still! You can be outnumbered! We are so aware that we are done with two.

MASTER BEDROOM
Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Pendant lamp: Noguchi.

On a family bed: If I want to relax, I go to our bedroom. I’m usually taking care of Una these days or reading to Wild. My husband brings me coffee and toast every morning, so I get to spend a minute longer in bed. Una is always with me, we definitely haven’t separated yet.

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Bassinet: vintage from Etsy, similar.

On the color brown: We do have a lot of brown at home! At the store, I’m looking at objects all day; so for our home, we wanted to simplify with color. It becomes the lack of color that I love. There’s a brown tone that I look for — not too bright, not too yellow, not too dark. And I love the natural element of wood and baskets.

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On creating a comfy bed: Linen sheets are our go-to. We’ve tried a bunch, but Coyuchi is our favorite. They’re a little thicker so they take a bit to break in, but then they get really good. And they don’t disintegrate like other linen sheets. We also have tons down pillows, which smush easily. Three is the magic number.

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On bedtime laughter: With the current political climate, the news is so heavy and it’s hard to digest, so I mostly listen to podcasts while driving; I can handle it in that form because it’s less repetitive, versus the news when it’s circling through over and over. We also watch shows after the kids are in bed — usually Kimmel or Fallon and I’ll be asleep in 10 minutes. It’s nice to spend a few minutes listening to people making jokes. If I can laugh before going to bed, I feel like that’s the best thing you can ask for.

SON’S ROOM
Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Crib: Crate & Barrel. Mobile: Adam Connelly.

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On beloved toys: Trucks are big with our son — garbage trucks, the construction trucks… I like the ones from the shop Merci Milo, and a lot of the stuff we get is from flea markets. I’m trying to not consume too much new stuff, but it’s kind of fun for you, as the parent, to get new things to play with, too!

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

On bedtime stories: Before bed, we read his favorite truck books — Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Steam Train, Dream Train. He even sleeps with a truck, sometimes a big one!

BATHROOM
Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Towels: Lena Corwin.

On being a visual person: Everybody has their form of communication. I’m not a writer, I’m not a public speaker — instead, I communicate visually, whether it’s through paintings or my home. To me, it’s the only way I feel like I can, you know, express myself…I can’t even find the words right now, haha!

Serena Mitnik Miller Topanga home tour

Thank you so much, Serena!

P.S. More home tours, including a Brooklyn apartment where three kids share a room and a downsized family house with a black living room.

(Photos by Lauren Ross for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Leslie says...

    Serena’s ceramics are lovely! Any tips for taking care of beautiful pieces like this? I have been picking up ceramics here and there, but find that it can be hard to avoid staining/smudges (from forks and the like). Although maybe that’s part of the appeal and I need to learn to love the imperfections that come with use.

  2. Matty says...

    Thank you for showing kids a room as kids rooms actually looks- cluttered, messy, loved. It’s ok to style them out in neat arrangements for a shoot, but praise for not editing out to some absurd representation of a caveman ie toddler, who we all know have hoarding tendencies.

  3. Eva Rohan says...

    I love this home (see it all over Instagram constantly!) but the number one thing I’m always curious about: Where is the fridge? Do they have a mini one hidden in the cabinetry in the kitchen, or is it in some other nook somewhere?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask! xo

  4. Claire says...

    I am sort of fascinated with the skylights and the idea of borrowing from boat design. I am also curious about the open ceiling and bare walls because in the photos it looks like (in true cabin fashion, I guess) there isn’t much between the outside and the inside, just the wall without any insulation. So wondering about durability and climate control and inclement weather and all that. If anybody is still reading and has input.

  5. Anna says...

    I’m a huge fan of Serena ❤️❤️❤️ Her artwork is stunning. I read Abode twice over immediately. I check out what the General Store is curating online often. Loved seeing her here. Thanks Cup of Jo!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes her artwork is so beautiful!

  6. Michelle says...

    Oh! That bed looks delicious. What a lovely home and lovely family. I also love the idea of creating a new name for the family – your family your rules! It’s people like this that make me want to move to Cali.

  7. Sarah says...

    “We are so aware that we are done with two.”

    Would so love that clarity about family size!

  8. Elizabeth = says...

    oh oh oh…so many questions about the new family last name? can we hear more? how did the families of origin react? is it complicated with their son’s school? how did they land on moon?

  9. SB says...

    I’ve been really jonesing to try linen sheets – happy to have a recommendation for ethically made ones! But I can’t tell my parents, haha – they bought me a $200 cotton set and were basically like, “good for you but we buy our sheets at TJ Maxx.” We all have our splurges!

  10. Mia says...

    Dreamyyyyyyy. Love the color palette, collections, and details. So much beauty everywhere.

  11. Lauren says...

    Beautiful home, lovely family, and I’m absolutely obsessed with General Store SF! Thank you, Moon family, for sharing a slice of your life.

  12. Nicole says...

    How can you hear “Alone Again Or” and not want to hear it again?

    • Jill says...

      Wearing my Brooks Boswell hat from the SF general store right now. :)

      Quick question: what brand is the record player? Xo

  13. Jenny says...

    Mason, thanks for educating! I’m Little Shell Chippewa from Montana, and I grew up on the beautiful Salish and Kootenai Reservation in Montana. As a person of mixed heritage (which is a pretty predictable part of rape, genocide, and forced migration), I sometimes don’t talk about my roots. I dread people thinking I’m one of those “my great great grandmother was a Navajo princess ” people, or having to do a kind of proving to people (who are standing on Indian Country even as they ask me to prove my heritage). I really appreciate Mason having the generosity to educate about his heritage, and to show that Native Americans (also some prefer the term American Indians because it’s related to legal status and rights conferred in treaties, and many Canadian affiliated tribes prefer First Nations, Native American is also cool and references history, I try to echo the language used by the individual) are very much alive and part of all of our communities.

    • Sasha L says...

      Hi Jenny, thank you for sharing this. (Waving from south west Montana)

      And thank you Mason for sharing about your heritage. Very generous indeed to share about your home and life and who you and your family are.

    • Cait says...

      Jenny thank you so much for sharing! It would be lovely to see a post (or a few) about Native American women, or a beauty diary of a Native American woman (I don’t think there has been one?)

    • Sasha L says...

      Cait, I would love to see more representation of native women here! Great ideas.

      TaNeel Filesteel would be an awesome person to start with – she’s amazing and beautiful.

  14. Aili says...

    The fact that at the end of the night this lovely home is covered in toys as my own is really give me a sense of “mom peace”. Thank you for sharing your home with us Moon Family!

  15. Emma says...

    Haha little Wild sounds so cute. My two year old has been know to sleep with very big trucks too :)

  16. ML says...

    swear this house was used in Lucifer TV series first season. I love it

  17. lili says...

    When I grow up I want to live in a house like this holy moly

  18. Kim says...

    Wow, I’m surprised at so many questioning Mason’s heritage! This seems so incredibly unbelievable that in this day and age AND political climate you wouldn’t rethink your comment before you click post. Jeeez!

    I came to see if anyone had asked about the incredible built in custom bookshelf. Regardless, I loved this post. The house is like a deep calming breath. I can absolutely understand wanting a more muted palette when you work with color all day. Your eyes need a break.

    • I am really surprised also!

      Anyway, what a lovely family and what a gorgeous home. Maybe my favorite home tour – although I feel like I say that so often :)
      Definitely inspired to pare down at home, we’re “more is more” people, but don’t always mean to be.
      Thanks for sharing your home and family, Serena and Mason!

    • MB says...

      Agree. I am a mixed race person (half Asian) who is “white passing” and dealing with these sorts of questions is so insensitive and invasive.

      This is an amazing inspiring home! I truly enjoyed all the photos and reading about its creation and curation. It is so gracious of this family to allow us this glimpse into their sacred space, their home. Thank you to them!!

    • Kelsi says...

      I think Mike Beavers built it; he’s a Topanga woodworker and fun to follow on IG. He and his wife built a little handmade house that’s the stuff of my 70s Shelter Pub dreams.

    • Clara says...

      Kim,
      I’d respectfully disagree with your thoughts on questions/dialogue in this political climate. With Elizabeth Warren’s long overdue apology and Dior’s recent “Sauvage” campaign to mention a couple examples, it may in fact be the right time to ask questions about the intersections of design culture, power, and heritage. But I agree with you that I should have reconsidered my language before submitting the comment. I failed to ask my question with sensitivity and specificity, and I apologize for contributing to the perception that invasive and selfish curiosity is okay. It is not, and I’m sorry for not being thoughtful about my language. At the same time, as a woman of asian-descent without the privilege of white-passing, I believe there is a place for asking, “Who benefits from this conversation about spirit animals? Who holds the power of this narrative?” I should have held that question to Serena and Joanna instead of effectively asking Mason to prove his authenticity, which I’m ashamed of doing. I’m sorry for the harm I caused in failing to take the time to ask what I was on my heart, the sacred and often appropriated spiritual practices that were federally criminalized until 1978. Thank you to all who held me to account for the impact of my words and who shared their own proximity to trauma and genocide as free education. Again, I’m sorry. I hope this necessary conversation can be constructive towards honoring indigenous sovereignty and resilience rather than destructive, in spite my mistake.

    • Jaime says...

      In the interest of candor and straightforwardness, Clara, I think it’s also important to point out that one of the issues here is that non-Native people make judgments all the time about who “looks” Native or Native “enough.” This wasn’t just a matter of being attuned to others’ language: you also assumed that, for whatever reason, Mason couldn’t be Native—nor his lovely kid.

    • Clara says...

      Jaime, that’s true, although my assumption had nothing to do with Mason’s appearance. In my community, people follow protocol and caution talking about traditional spiritual practices/ceremony because of its current social capital. I was honestly surprised, critical, and concerned, i.e. super charming. But you’re right; as a non-native person, it’s definitely not my job to be the identity police.

  19. Kiana says...

    So cozy and warm. I love how everything looks spontaneous and not too serious. Lovely family as well!

  20. Ooh I love this house. It touches my California soul. :)

    And that bed is a DREAM.

  21. Kristin says...

    This could not be more California if they tried. :) I love it all; the handmade ceramics, the white and the neutrals, the records, the kid’s names…it’s such an incredibly specific, curated CA vibe. Very beautiful. For those of us living in the Midwest, wearing our Ann Taylor pants to work, sipping coffee out of our Target mugs and going home to yank our 12 year old off the x-box and the IKEA sofa to get outside before it starts snowing next month…it feels like a different world.

    • Jamie says...

      Haha! I’m in Minnesota! I hear ya!

    • Adrienne says...

      Oh, wow, do I relate to this comment. Love, love, love the “curated CA vibe” and try to create slices of it in my current, lovely but Midwest, existence.

    • izzy says...

      You literally could not have said this more perfectly.

    • M says...

      Haha. Minnesota MN here, but travel to CA often to visit my sister and this is so true and so funny. Lol

    • Kim says...

      Ha ha, I’m literally sitting here at my desk in Michigan wearing an Ann Taylor suit and sipping tea from a Target mug which you will pry from my cold dead hands.

  22. Hello! This is Mason. For all of you who are curious about my heritage, I’m 1/2 native California Indian on my mothers side. We’re Wailaki, Nomolaki, Concow and Wintun. I’m a direct descendant of Sally Bell, survivor of the Needle Rock massacre. I was not born on, nor did I grow up on my reservation in Covelo but If you’d like to visit, you should try walking there on the Nome Cult trail, the way my ancestors were forced to, it’s my people’s trial of tears.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for sharing, mason xo

    • Wow, thank you for sharing more of your story!

    • Sarah says...

      I grew up about five miles from Sally Bell’s grave, which the Wailaki were able to buy a few years ago from the rancher family that had “owned” the tribal land. Sally Bell, lone survivor of a massacre, married in to this ranching family. We visited her grave on a school field trip, and learned about the terrible genocide of native people in the 1880’s. It is called, I believe, the “humboldt Indian wars” but it was not much of a war. Everyone should know about the “Californian Genocide”

    • SB says...

      Thanks so much for sharing – I know a bit about my state NC’s native peoples, but very little about the hundreds of other tribes that populated this continent. Will have to do some research and reading!

  23. Kim B. says...

    Gorgeous! Can you please tell me where the pillows in the “sheepskin rug” image are from? My grandmother (quintessential California girl) had similar pillows when I was young and I would love to find some for my family room now! Thank you.

    • Shannon Nacey says...

      Hi Kim- a seller on Etsy has some in their shop right now. OliveQuinnVintage and the listing is “Vintage Decorative Pillow with Tassel, Fringe Decorative Pillow, India Made Decorative Pillow, BOHO”. If those are gone, I suggest searching different combos of those words. I see them all the time, sometimes people sell them in groupings, too. Good Luck!
      -Shannon

    • Kim B. says...

      Thank you so much, Shannon! I found them. :)

  24. Colleen says...

    Hi Jo! I’m obsessed with what Serena is wearing in these photos – do you know what brand this is?

    • Erin says...

      Agreed, please tell us!

    • K says...

      Agreed! Love the soft flowy beige-ness

    • cm says...

      I’m pretty sure its an outfit from babaà (babaa.es)…

  25. Samantha says...

    Love this house (it’s so different from my own) and Serena seems very natural and fun. What a sweet family.

    I was nodding along reading that she was very aware she and her husband are done after two kids, because my husband and I feel the same way, and then the pictures of her darling baby girl’s round cheeks made me want to forget all that!

  26. Amy says...

    Beautiful. I especially enjoyed The Family Bed paragraph. What a sweet little love-filled family you sound like 💕

  27. Kattia says...

    The house is so lovely & open! But being too young for The Smiths!!!! Oh dear! No, no, no!!! You’re never too young!!!!

  28. Love this, Joanna! Such beautiful light and I love the plants and touches of vintage..

    Podcasts are also my favorite getaway from the news.

    Dee ~ Vanilla Papers

  29. Virginia says...

    If I brought home a $45 incense dish from their store, I am pretty sure the other half would file…and yes, more on Mason’s Native American tribal background. Always interested in those details when folks mention it.

    • anon says...

      I was struck by the description about the lifestyle book that was written, about how one can have an aesthetic even on a budget. I get it, go to the flea market and search search search. But still, when the sage is listed at upwards of $11 (or was that $18…) the items are lovely, the artisans are talented, but the price point is not for your averagely paid teacher. I guess the cool-hip-California-post-mid-century-modern look is only for those making a nice salary.

    • Cait says...

      I have to say I’m starting to get sort of disheartened by the critical comments about how much things cost on various COJ posts. I noticed it on the True Botanicals post recently as well. Of course people are free to make comments, but many on this site also advocate for liveable wages, employment benefits, etc…and then become kind of bitter when items cost more than they are used to seeing. Most of the time, there is going to be an extra cost associated with something that was handmade, or with a company that pays higher salaries/provides more benefits to its employees. I can’t afford all of the things that CoJ highlights, but I’m still grateful for ideas and peaks into lovely homes. I think Jo and co. do a great job of not only focusing on expensive things just because they are expensive, unlike some other blogs out there.

    • Cynthia says...

      I sew and craft, and this is why I don’t sell my things but give them as gifts, because people want things to be inexpensive if you’re working out of your home. They don’t understand that you may have expensive equipment to make your goods, and they don’t understand the cost of supplies. I’m a retired teacher, and it is hard when you really want something you can’t afford.

    • Emily says...

      I agree with Cait here, that filling a home with expensive handmade items is not an attainable goal for everyone, but I am so grateful that there are people who can afford those items and are making the conscious choice to support craftspeople in their work instead of only buying from large corporations. Artisans who have the vision and skill to create something beautiful and functional are keeping alive such an important part of history, and I would be so sad if all that knowledge was lost because everyone was satisfied buying the cheap and disposable version at IKEA. These big box stores are wonderful in the sense that they have made design affordable for many people, this does not take away the value of a handmade and masterfully crafted object. I can’t always afford those items, but it makes me appreciate them even more to occasionally splurge on something special, whether it be a piece of pottery, handmade clothing, or jewelry that has been beautifully designed and crafted.

    • emily says...

      Seriously? Everything comes at a price, it’s just a question of who is paying it. Cheap products from Walmart probably aren’t made with ethically sourced materials or by people making a living wage, and the people working in the stores certainly aren’t being compensated fairly or provided with benefits, paid medical and family leave, etc. At the same time, higher cost is not always an indicator of fair wages or labor practices. Unfortunately it falls to us as consumers to vote with our dollars and to do the research ourselves. That looks different for everyone depending on their priorities and resources, so there’s really no point in being judgmental just because it’s not something you personally would spend money on.

  30. Maren says...

    I’m obsessed with this house and everything on General Store! Did she say where the rug in the bedroom is from?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’ll ask!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      she said it’s a vintage moroccan rug. thank you!

  31. shopgirl says...

    Looks lovely, more like a vacation home, very airy.
    About snacks; I, too, was a fan of such snacks, but then I found out how many calories nuts and dry fruits have. And since usually one nut isn’t enough for me, I don’t touch them anymore. Now I prefer a homemade sandwich. For me more comforting, tastier and for half the calories.

    • tina crisas says...

      Exactly how I feel about the dried fruit snacks. I ALWAYS eye them at the supermarket and think, BUT it’s fruit! But nope.

    • emily says...

      Nuts are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals and are super portable. Some are also fairly low carb, and they tend to keep you full for much longer than a carb-heavy snack. Not sure what sort of sandwiches we’re talking about here but calories aren’t the only indicator of nutrition, and we certainly shouldn’t be writing off foods we “won’t touch” because they are more calorie dense.

  32. Alison says...

    Sometimes I think the California cool hipster minimalistic neutral design seems beautiful but unlivable, but this home is so cozy and light-filled that I want to be in there right now! I love how the double-sided bookshelf makes the controversial turned-around books trend make sense, instead of an impractical style choice, because you can read the spines from the other side.

    • Lisa says...

      Agreed! Really lovely.

  33. jeannie says...

    This house has such a lovely vibe! I love the all the browns – so low key and peaceful, but beautiful together. And what a gorgeous family! ps What is it about little boys and trucks?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I know! Trucks are such a hit :)

  34. Rachel says...

    How do we find out where they got those low shelving units in Wild’s room?? I love them and have been looking for them everywhere!

    • Amy Cohen says...

      Rachel, ours definitely aren’t as fancy but we use the tall cabinet from Target (the one that you can put 12×12 cloth bins in) turned on its side!

    • Hilary says...

      Sprout Kids makes Montessori-style furniture and they have lots of low shelves (and low everything like tables and chairs!). I have a few of their items and they are well made, super simple to put together (like literally 2 minutes, not an afternoon like Ikea furniture!), and affordable considering you can use them for so long!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Serena said the shelf is Wild’s room was custom built by Michael Beavers.
      https://www.mbeavers.com

  35. Laura C. says...

    What a lovely and beautiful home tour! I love the bathroom and look at the hairbrushes holders?! So cute!

  36. Kate says...

    I am really feeling the floor pillows! Where are they from?

    Also, in the first house we owned, I went insane with jewel tones. I’m in a temporary place now but have fantasies of really soothing neutral tones in a future home. This house is so inspirational!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for your note! the floor pillows are from Matteo LA and Matt Katsaros. xoxo

  37. Anna says...

    Love this! What a beautiful house and family! I really love how natural and real their house is – it feels like a home.

  38. Clara says...

    I’m also curious about MSP’s tribal-nation affiliation. Big fan of the aesthetic, but talking spirit animals in a house tour interview raises some red flags for me.

    • Amy says...

      You’re asking him to prove it? I think when people talk about their own cultures, backgrounds, histories, and ethnicities, we should appreciate what they say without contesting it or requesting explanation.

    • Sasha L says...

      Clara, maybe you can elaborate about red flags?

      I’m wondering if folks are curious because I’ve most often heard native folks describe themselves by their tribal affiliation – “I’m Assiniboine – or Blackfoot or Little Shell Chippewa” but that’s maybe more common where I live than other places because my state (Montana) has many native peoples and tribal ties are important. It’s a small place too (although large geographically) so you know if you meet a native person from Hardin, they are Crow probably. For other native folks, living in largely white and urban areas maybe it makes more sense to them to self describe simply as native. For me, it wouldn’t be polite to ask more questions about heritage unless the person was clearly wanting to share. (In Montana, when a person identifies as Crow for example, you immediately ask if they are related to the other ten people you know who are Crow – because it’s small here, and it’s a point of reference, and they will be related and now you’ve established common people.)

    • Kelsi says...

      Hmm. Yikes to that skeptical, rude comment. I live in Hawaii and it’s not uncommon at all for Native Hawaiians to freely identify their ‘amakua (family ancestral animal) that protects them. I don’t know anyone that scoffs at kanaka here for those beliefs. :/

    • Clara says...

      Amy, I see where you’re coming from and would 100% agree if it were Mason representing himself.

      Sasha L, you described it exactly. Where I’m from native people identify by their nations or as indian. In my community a white person talking about an indigenous person’s spirit animal would be unusual, if not taboo. I didn’t intend to be impolite but can see that I was.

      Mason, I apologize for using this forum to ask a question more appropriate for private and nuanced conversation. I’m sorry for any harm I caused by using language that undermined your family’s choices and forced functional statement of proof. I made assumptions based on my experiences with white people and spirituality, abuses that can and have been discussed better elsewhere. I am grateful for correction and generosity and will walk the Nome Cult trail when I have the opportunity to visit.

    • Sasha L says...

      Clara, I’m not native, and I know your apology (and your reply comment above) was centered toward Mason and other native peoples who may have felt offended, not me, but can I just say I appreciate that you clarified, apologized for not speaking more clearly, and treated others’ criticism of your comment with respect. This kind of dialogue, where there is underlying respect and humility, is so lacking on the internet and in the world in general. I agree with you 100% about the appropriation of native cultures (although that wasn’t what was happening here – I can see where you’re coming from).

  39. Jodi says...

    I follow Serena on instagram & have always loved peeks of their calming neutral home. Not gonna lie though, it’s crossed my mind that if I knew her irl I’d be tempted to sneak some bright red object into their home!

  40. SR says...

    This house tour is the one i enjoyed the most in a long time, the other one being the house with a kitchen that had a farmhouse sink overlooking a garden (i know, i know.. so vague!)

    Also, How handsome is the husband!

  41. Such a lovely, lovely space and read. Thank you for sharing your home, Serena!

  42. Leni says...

    Loved the house! I so relate to the truck obsessed toddler thing. Our baby #2 is due in three weeks. I’m nervous! One other thing because I have to say something- did that bassinet freak anyone else out? Looked like a very photogenic very stylish….massive SIDS risk. I shuddered at all those loose blankets by her face!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh I wouldn’t worry! It was just a nap with the mother sitting right there. She was holding her most of the time.

    • Jamie says...

      I agree with this! Beautiful home and family, but that photo made me clutch my pediatrician heart in fear! I’m glad that she was supervised!

    • Carolyn says...

      I had the exact same thought. I support Serena’s choice to do whatever she’s comfortable with for her kids. Her baby, her way. But I think it’s also important to normalize/visualize safe sleep practices – back to sleep and no blankets or loose bedding in the crib are the two biggest ones which prevent infant sleeping deaths (even within a family bed). I think we have a social responsibility to show safe sleep. That being said, our pediatrician had my second child sleep on her side for the first two months for medical reasons- there can be different medical situations.

  43. alison says...

    Yowza. This house feels so “right” – just the perfect mix of organic and modern and just authentically California. Not to ignore the fact Serena is serving 2019-meets-Joni Mitchell realness… Swooning over all of it !

    • Anna says...

      Young Joni Mitchell was the first thing I thought when I saw her face!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I thought the same!

  44. Claire says...

    Oh, what a lovely home! Their design aesthetic is so homey, soft, and beautiful. :)

  45. I love the tied together messiness of it all. Feels very real and enjoyable. I often feel annoyed at house tours with perfectly made beds and nicely aligned books in the shelves (or matching dining chairs for that matter) because I know my home won’t ever look like that, it’s not me… it’s the messy more interesting version.

  46. El says...

    I’d love to hear more about Mason’s Native heritage! What tribal connections does he have?

  47. Chris says...

    Their house is bright and what a house with children should look like. I especially love the casual mussed up bed!! It’s what every bed really looks like.

  48. Jess says...

    Possibly my favourite home tour yet! Love the simplicity and neutral palette.

  49. Amy says...

    I love their aesthetic! I love that cute baby too. Now we just need a dog shot.

    • Karina says...

      There is one! In the third picture. Must have looked at these house pictures for the third time this week. Such a beautiful home and family. Thanks so much for sharing!