serena mitnik-miller on Home

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!


The Dutch House discussion

Ok, are you ready? It’s our first sss book club discussion! I am excited to chat with you about The Dutch House. I hope you enjoyed the read. Before we chat, naturally I wanted to dive into the aesthetics. As such a visual person, where would I be if I didn’t share what I was envisioning while turning the pages.

The photo above is a bit more of a modern version than exactly what I hand in mind, but all that talk of all the glass, and couldn’t you just see Andrea lounging by this pool? (or more preferably me). House by Claxton + Marsh

And from the pea gravel to the red coat, the portraits, and an actual glass house… here is the world I was living in while reading the Dutch House…




OK NOW LETS TALK! Here’s what I am thinking: I will post questions below in the comments to start the discussion and you can reply to the question in the comments so we keep a thread under each question.  Feel free to add or start your own questions too. :)


Discussion Questions

  1. Do you have a “Dutch House”? Where do you secretly want to revisit again and again? Is it the place or the nostalgia?
  2. Is Andrea just another wicked stepmother? Did you ever sympathize with her?
  3. What features of the dutch house (the house itself) stuck out to you the most?
  4. Several of the characters here struggle to let go of something that weighs them down or hurts them. What do you think it is about human nature that makes people cling to things they know are no longer good for them?
  5. Danny asks Maeve, ‘do you think it’s possible ever to see the past as it actually was?’  Are memories re-shaped by what we understand as adults?
  6. Remember how Maeve receives a box of matches and instructions for how to light a fire from her mother on her eighth birthday? What do you think is the significance of this?
  7. I loved Maeve and Dann’s relationship. What do you think explains the longevity and power of their support and love for one another? Do you have this bond with a sibling?
  8. What are your thoughts on their mother leaving? her inability to stay in the house and her returning much later in their life?
  9. Did the book end the way you thought it might end when Danny’s daughter May buys the Dutch House?


All of my books are filled with pencil marks and highlights marking my quotes. I know a book is a favorite when I walk around days after finishing, and one of those lines randomly pops in my mind. I would love to hear what line(s) stayed with you after finishing the book.

“But we overlay the present onto the past. We look back through the lens of what we know now, so we’re not seeing it as the people we were, we’re seeing it as the people we are, and that means the past has been radically altered.”

“We were all so young, you know. We were still our best selves.”

“I had a mother who left when I was a child. I didn’t miss her. Maeve was there, with her red coat and her black hair, standing at the bottom of the stairs, the white marble floor with the little black squares, the snow coming down in glittering sheets in the windows behind her, the windows as wide as a movie screen, the ship in the waves of the grandfather clock rocking the minutes away.”

“I leaned over and kissed them both on the forehead, one and then the other. It cost me nothing.”



backyard summer soiree

summer entertaining I don’t know why it took me so long this year to get into summer mode but after getting back from Michigan, our first real family vacation in what feels like an eternity, I am vowing to slow things down again and take full advantage of the rest of the long, warm summer days.

You may remember, last month I went to new york to celebrate Zac Posen’s latest collaboration with Ecco Domani. He designed a limited edition label for their Pinot Grigio and the bottle is beautiful… mixed metallics, blush, green with black and white dots. Take a glimpse into my home or studio and you will notice it is basically my ideal palette. So when I invited some friends over for an intimate backyard summer soiree with Ecco Domani, I didn’t have to look far for tablescape inspiration. Hopefully I did Mr. Posen proud.