It’s no secret, I am a huge Serena & Lily fan. The Marin California-based company launched in 2004 with 14 bedding sets, 30 original fabric patterns and a look for the nursery that we were all craving. Just a few months earlier, Serena Dugan, a textile designer and artist, met Lily Kanter, a corporate refugee turned baby boutique owner and found they both shared aesthetic and vision of the baby’s room reinvented. Today, Serena & Lily offer much much more than nursery room bedding and décor. Their collection now includes a line of upholstered furniture, VOC paints and breath-taking fabrics to name a few.
Simplified Bee: Initially, your business offered chic nursery bedding parents were craving. Since then the collection has evolved into other areas of the home. This spring you debuted a new upholstered sofa line. Tell us why and what you love.
Serena & Lily: Having been successful with occasional chairs, we decided to expand into the larger furniture area with two brand new sofa collections, each with matching occasional char. Each represents what we feel is the “best” choice for two different design styles – the Miramar is more casual/relaxed and the Spruce Street is more formal/structured. We designed every detail from the just-right seat depth to the leg colors and distance between nailheads. They are both available in a gorgeous range of 40+ fabrics, including some of our signature prints. We like to think we did all of the legwork so that your search for the perfect sofa is finally over!
SB: What’s one of your favorite pieces from the current spring catalog?
S&L: We fell in love with the Canyon Chair the minute we discovered a seasoned artisan meticulously tacking each nailhead by hand at our North Carolina manufacturer’s factory. It is truly a work of art! Covered in gorgeous cowhide, it compliments any decor, and feels completely unique.
SB: Your Bazaar Online Sale has been a huge hit. Tell us how it came about.
S&L: We receive so many calls about the props used in our catalogs, because our customers want to decorate their homes with the same unique, statement pieces. By offering this rotating collection of items in our online Bazaar, we’re giving our customers the thrill of the hunt we experience on our travels without leaving the comfort of their own homes. We believe that these unique objects are what make a home special.
SB: I am a huge fan of Serena & Lily’s stylish and unexpected storage options. Any tips on how you keep your homes organized without scarifying beauty?
S&L: We definitely believe that you can conquer clutter in style. Instead of relying on traditional shelving to stow toys and other odds-and-ends, we try to get creative with boxes, bins, baskets—even re-purposing and old suitcase can work. We like to think of storage as a another design element in the room. We love our Senegalese storage baskets because they add a pop of color to the room and add functionality in such an artful way.
SB: Your textiles are gorgeous. I love that many are available by the yard. What inspires the designs and color palettes?
Serena: Before Lily & I met, I was a decorative painter and textile designer. It has always been my nature to find visual interest in the things around me—whether it be the façade of an old building, or a color combination I see on a walk along the water. I notice these things and they start to click together and become inspiration for designs. I try to pay attention and observe—I believe that you truly can find inspiration in everyday life.
SB: How has motherhood shaped your designs?
Lily: Serena & I have always shared a certain vision for the baby’s room—one that is fresh and style-driven and not shy of color and pattern. It blends simplicity with sophistication. As mothers, we wanted to reinvent this look for our children’s rooms, which of course eventually evolved into a more comprehensive approach to the whole home.
SB: I am thrilled you offer a low-VOC paint collection. How else are you embracing “green” design?
S&L: We try to make healthy, environmentally-responsible choices whenever possible. We love the low-VOC paint collection for that reason. We also work with an excellent furniture partner that uses all sustainable materials & processes for all of our upholstered furniture. We have an organic crib mattress that is an absolute must-have for the nursery. Several of our best baby gifts are made from 100 organic cotton, which makes them gifts we all feel good about giving.
SB: What is your advice on selecting a paint color?
S&L: Color sets the mood in a room. A more vivid shade creates energy while a softer palette sets a soothing tone. But people react to color on a very personal level. Our best advice is to select a color that makes your heart sing and then build a room around it.
SB: Serena & Lily can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Has social media been a good marketing tool for you?
S&L: Yes, we’ve loved connecting with our customers who are our fans. We love when they share pictures of rooms in their homes so we can see how they’ve used our products in their own personal way.
SB: Fill in the blank. No room is complete without…
S&L: a comfy throw blanket.
SB: What’s next for Serena & Lily?
S&L: Very soon you will see new products for summer in a beautiful, fresh new palette. New options for storage and playroom, enhanced “mix & match” bedding options – including a fabulous online design tool – and more rugs, decor and seating options for all rooms in the house. We are also expanding Bazaar, both in scope & frequency. So check back soon to see it all – it launches May 5th!!!