Home + Design

Longtime Arrive Marin friend and uber talented designer, Serena Armstrong, has just opened up a fabulous boutique called FarmHouseUrban. Located in Mill Valley’s super chic shopping district known as The Lumber Yard, FarmHouseUrban is filled with goodies we are pining for. We sat down with Serena to get the inside story…

Tell us about you.

Some of my favorite things (besides my kids, which of course, are #1):

  1. I like getting up early.
  2. My vice / addiction is dark chocolate, especially in the form of a cake with lots of frosting. 
  3. Layered beds. I just discovered how cozy it feels to have a stack of blankets vs. a heavy duvet. 
  4. The smell of the air in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest after it rains. 
  5. Did I say chocolate already?
  6. Sitting around a table of delicious food with people I love. 
  7. I like the Container Store a lot. And my labeler. Is that oversharing? 
  8. Chef’s Table on Netfilx is a recent find. Such a treat for the eyes. 
  9. The color pink. 
  10. Lists.

Tell us all about FarmHouseUrban.

FarmHouseUrban is a place to find inspiration and special pieces for creating a beautiful, comfortable, luxurious home. Our customer cherishes their home life and appreciates the small details that go into creating a sacred living space. I source pieces from all over the world. It is important to me that the pieces in my store are high quality, made humanely by conscious minded folks and are beautiful.  I’ve had six pop-ups prior to this, but the last one at the Lumber Yard made the decision to open a permanent store very easy. It’s a blessing to go to work there every day.

Why did you open FarmHouseUrban in Mill Valley?

It wasn’t a decision, but more serendipity. It found me. The vibe is great in Mill Valley! It’s an incredibly creative, alive and happening place. I’m constantly amazed by the backgrounds and stories our customers share. The Lumber Yard is a newly renovated 100+ year old lumber mill – what Mill Valley was named after – that has been exquisitely restored into a small-town square. There are shops, a café, artist studios and a soon-to-open restaurant.

Describe your dream home.

I feel like the one I have is pretty close, even when it was falling apart and ugly. That said, if one day I have the chance to build my dream home, it would be part Hampton’s shingled traditional and part Santa Monica bungalow.

We love that you are a major foodie. What’s your favorite Marin restaurant?

Oh, that’s hard, but for consistency in great food, ambiance and service I have to say Picco or the new to Marin – Guesthouse. At Picco I like the hamachi crudo which I usually get with a side of fries. The gnocchi is outrageously good too. And for dessert the chocolate pudding. That’s pretty much a perfect meal right there.

What is the last book you read?

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I loved it! Every single thing is so vividly described. For me, historical fiction is like a time machine, fully transporting you into another time and place. This book did that beautifully.

129 Miller Avenue
The Lumber Yard, Suite 804
Mill Valley, California

Kate + Mary
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The highly-anticipated San Francisco Decorator Showcase features the work of the region’s top interior and landscape designers. Tickets for this year’s event, beginning on April 28, are on sale now! A time-honored Bay Area tradition for the last 41 years, the Decorator Showcase benefits the San Francisco University High School financial aid program. UHS is committed to building a community that reflects and embraces diversity with almost 25% of students receiving financial aid.

We are particularly excited this year because of the fabulous house that has been selected. While this event is typically hosted at a home in the hilly parts of prestigious Pacific Heights, this year’s recipient is a gorgeous home directly across the street from the Marina Green. With sweeping views of The Bay this stunning 6 bedroom and more than 5,000 square foot home is not to be missed. And, the list of designers is phenomenal so get your tickets now!


Location: 465 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco
Dates: April 28 – May 28, 2018
Tickets: $40 (general admission), $35 (seniors and students), Purchase HERE.

Kate + Mary
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There’s a gorgeous new home and design boutique in downtown Ross that has us super excited! London + Wood is a welcome addition to this charming town and is filled with stunning and original pieces for the home including luxurious textiles and beautiful tabletop pieces. We sat down with l+w owner Jennifer Lynn to hear all about her fabulous store, what she’s looking for in her dream home and what she’ll read once this busy mom + entrepreneur can find a bit of free time!

Tell us about you.

I am a born and raised Midwest girl. Lover of nature and all things design-related.  Devoted wife and mother of 2 wonderful kids. Our family moved to California in 2015 and we haven’t looked back!  Absolutely loving it here in Marin County.

Tell us about London + Wood.

l+w is a small shop showcasing specialty objects, textiles and kitchenwares.  I sourced out local California artists/creators as well as finding goods across the country & abroad. New York, Denmark, Australia, Morocco, & London…just to name a few vendor origins.  London+Wood has a relaxed, clean California/Scandinavian vibe. Continually finding and bringing in new wares and lines.

Why did you decide to open London + Wood in Ross?

Our oldest child headed off to college last Autumn, freeing up a bit of my time.  My family and I agreed it was time to create something for myself.  And that something was l+w.  I thought this idyllic town of Ross could use an idyllic shop.  Creating London+Wood has been a great project for me.  In the few short months since opening, I have met so many kind and wonderful people.

Describe your dream home (we have to ask, we’re in real estate, after all!)

How fun!  That’s an easy one.  I would love to restore a big old beautiful farmhouse-style home.   Envision incredibly tall ceilings, large paned windows to the floor, letting in all that CA sunshine.  Crisp white walls & ornate trim, old washed oak floors.  A charming blank canvas with history and character.  Filled with lux, comfortable finds and art that speaks to me.  Loads of trees and vegetation.  Oh and don’t forget to throw in a pool for my little dude!

What’s your favorite spot in Marin?

I really couldn’t say!   There is so much to see and do.  I am thankful daily for the aesthetic beauty of this area.  And the weather….let’s not forget the weather!  Phoenix Lake, Ring Mountain, Fort Baker, Marin Headlands…..all places we love to hike/visit regularly as a family.  All bring me such peace and happiness.  🙂

What is the last book you read?

Total honesty here, the only thing I’ve been reading over the last 12 months is line sheets.  Prepping and sourcing vendors for London+Wood.  I am certainly due for a good book!   Real American by Julie Lythcott-Haims is in my bedside drawer patiently waiting for me.

London + Wood
20 Ross Commons
Ross, California

Kate + Mary
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