Mill Valley Magic

Beautiful homes are published every month yet some of them remain in our minds forever. Not just because of their beauty but because they make us feel a certain way. This home is like that. Everywhere you look, there’s an inviting nook and happy colors that make you feel comfortably at home, there are pretty views and a strong connection to the outdoors. Nothing feels too precious, despite the home’s impressive value.

My fascination with the Mill Valley home of Blythe Harris is nothing new. Between the 2016 Elle Decor spread that started it all and Gil Schafer’s latest book A Place to Call Home, which gives us a detailed tour, I’ve analyzed this home and dissected its charming rooms on many occasions, a handful of them here on the blog.

And as we’re kicking off a new year of design stories, I thought the best way to begin is to write about something I absolutely love (and judging by your reactions on social media, I know that many of you love it too!). I gathered everything I could possibly find about the house and its surrounding gardens, and compiled the pictures into one gigantic post.

Front Door

If you remember from the Elle Decor story, the place used to be a YMCA camp that sat abandoned for years. Despite its inhabitable state, it was love at first for the clients who saw through it and imagined its true potential. To realize their vision, they enlisted the help of New York architect Gil Schafer, assisted by the local firm Chambers + Chambers. Limited by the building’s century old structures and the size of the lot, ingenious solutions had to be found – like excavating the ground under the house and expanding the footprint vertically. As for the interiors, British decorator Rita König began collecting pieces that could bring old stories and new life into this quirky house. The gardens too were limited in size, the plot was quite shady to begin with but Berkeley-based landscape architect Franziska Moller created a brilliant plan. Climbing roses and ivy as well as artificial grass between the different buildings keep things manageable despite the shade. The beautiful photography is by Erick Piasecki.


entry bench

Window seat

living room





Breakfast Nook

Cafe Design | Rita Konig




Cafe Design | Rita Konig Daybed


rita 1

Bedroom 1-2


bedroom fireplace












kids room

window box

Front door

Harris family



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  1. January 10, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    Thank you for these beautiful views. So welcome to see beauty after the harrowing images of the last 24 hours.

    • Eva Contreras
      January 10, 2018 / 12:16 pm

      I hope you are safe, Elizabeth! I’ve been reading about the terrifying situation near Santa Barbara, such an unfortunate couple of months… 🙁

  2. January 10, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    I am so happy that you posted this Eva! I have always loved this home and am now happy to have your post with all the wonderful photos of the home in its entirety pinned to my Pinterest board. It is one of the coziest, warmest, and most inviting homes that I have seen. Its beauty is that it doesn’t look professionally decorated–to me, that is the highest compliment one can give.

    • Eva Contreras
      January 10, 2018 / 7:18 pm

      Thank you, Elizabeth!

  3. Kate Robinson
    January 10, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    Love it all!
    Do you know where to source the print above the tub?
    Thanks very much.

    • Eva Contreras
      January 10, 2018 / 7:19 pm

      Thank you, Kate! I don’t know the exact source for it, sorry

      • Mary
        January 11, 2018 / 7:05 am

        I don’t know where to find it but the artist is Hugo Guinnes

        • Eva Contreras
          January 11, 2018 / 10:24 am

          Thanks, Mary! Much appreciated

  4. January 10, 2018 / 7:16 pm

    Thank you for posting! I am completely in love with this home inside and out and have not stopped thinking about it since it was first published. There is something so warm, homey, charming but eccentric about it. I feel it belongs in a Wes Anderson movie. Thanks again, I’m going to go order that book!

    • Eva Contreras
      January 10, 2018 / 7:20 pm

      Thank you, Jeannie! Glad you like it!

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