Design Crush: Jill Johnson

I have always thought I was born on the wrong coast- a true beach bum at heart, I absolutely HATE winter/snow/cold/hideous layers of clothes/runny noses/frozen toes.  So I always thought I’d leave the frosty shores of New England and finally go “home” to California. Cut to me at 30, still living in Boston and still bitching about the cold, yet totally unable to leave.  A true New Englander, I complain a lot about the weather, yet I love this place endlessly for some reason.  Even after a long weekend in LA, I craved the aggressive driving and chip on the shoulder attitude we Bostonian do so well.  I figure I am where I’m meant to be…  and then I saw  the home of California gal Jill Johnson from Waterleaf Interiors in Coastal Living. She embodies that California girl I have always wanted to be perfectly. Adorable home in Manhattan Beach? Check. Thriving design business with best pal? Check. Home store? Check. Adorable hubby and kids all of whom probably surf and then go out for an organic vegan brunch? Check. Check. Check. Kill me now.

Let’s start with her own home- I love the beachy feel, light colors, open kitchen shelving and ample amounts of upholstered seating- specifically in the kitchen.

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johnson-kitchen-l johnson-kitchen-detail-l

johnson-kitchen-couch-l johnson-dining-room-l

johnson-bedroom-l johnson-kids-room-l

Here are some other images from Jill’s portfolio:

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And here’s her adorable shop:

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Maybe I wouldn’t miss Boston all that much…


  1. I can see why you have a crush. Fresh, clean colors and fabulous style! I’m not sure I can pick a fave, but I believe my pulse quickened a little at the sight of what looks to be a kitchen nook! Adore.

  2. I love this, first of all. And second of all this makes me laugh thinking about the post you did last week I think about how you just don’t do cute? This is like that to me. I don’t do your fabulous Chic style. I would like to, I have several items in my wardrobe that attest to my admiration for such style. But for me, cute is what works. But that won’t stop me from longing for a more sexy grown up look. Nor will living and loving my fast paced life in Chicago stop me from longing for a more laid back beach dream in California

  3. I hear EVERYTHING you are saying. Born in Marblehead, lived in Boston…onto New York City with aspirations of LA. Fast forward to present day…Denver, CO. Its like my car ran out of gas, but it didn’t…here we are. Can adults runaway to California and do you think she could foster me. I could be night security for her store. Love, love…EVERYTHING. Thank you for keeping me inspired….at this point Boston or LA looks great!


  4. That’s why I love Delaware! East coast sensibility with warm, laid-back beaches (in summer!) This is a beautiful post and great beach house inspiration!

    Thanks again for your post yesterday. I had quite a few (thousand!) visits from your blog. ;-)

  5. I totally died over this spread and Erika’s in Coastal Living. Such a great issue! Jill’s interiors are so gorgeous and laid back. I would also love to live in California, but I don’t know if it will ever happen. Our roots are planted pretty deeply here. One can dream!

  6. Jill’s a great girl, on top of it all! She also, had a very successful clothing line for several years prior to getting into the I.D. world.
    Glad to see this spread, I had heard that it was being shot but hadn’t seen it.

  7. I really like her use of accent colors. Thanks for sharing. As for me, I’d like to visit SoCal, but not live there. I like the Northeast personality, if we could just get through winter I’ll be happy again.

  8. Gorgeous! I love all the bamboo!

    Only one thing – is it just me or are the shelves in the kitchen with all that beautiful pottery not level? Freaking me out!

  9. so glad you love california! you should move here. we need more style influence like you here. add a little bit of posh hippie to this grunge hippie city. :)

    great post. her home is beautiful!

  10. When you get a design crush it’s a really good one! I really enjoyed seeing the work of Jill Johnson. Thank you so much for once again opening my eyes to a very talented designer to inspire me! That chartruese is brilliant against the soft grey banquette in the kitchen eating area. I wouldn’t have considered that color combo before and now I have to find a way to use it on one of my own clients!

  11. I don’t know…I think it’s a little over-designed for me, and not breezy enough to be truly beachy. That said, I just wanted to add that I LOVE your blog and think you’re taste is impeccable. So maybe it’s just I’ve been holding this New York grudge for too long!

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