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Design for Every Home

Laguna Beach’s Michael Fullen provides design ideas for every home. –By Somer Flaherty | Photos by Jody Tiongco

“A good plan is the foundation,” says Laguna Beach designer Michael Fullen. Some design professionals would have been daunted by the recent projects Michael and the team at M2 Interior Design have recently taken on—extensive renovations and interiors that combine classical architectural elements with modern design touches and (literally) edgy homes with seemingly random geometrical construction. But the projects didn’t deter Michael, as his work is consistent, informed and deliberate. With this ethos, he advises those who want to make a change in the design of their own home’s interior to really take the time to evaluate how you live and what your needs are. “The results will be much more satisfying,” he comments.

Like most designers in Laguna, Michael says he’d be lying if he said the views here didn’t play a large role in his work. Capturing the views through Bluebird Canyon to the ocean beyond in a recent hillside project was a deliberate design choice. “We intentionally left the windows uncovered to bring the view in day and night. It is the finest piece of art available,” he says. The project also made use of open-air entertaining rooms that flow effortlessly into outdoor surroundings. “The great room allows for everyone to be engaged while entertaining, and the space flows outside to a grand deck with an outdoor living room,” he explains.

For an easy update, take a page from the Laguna historic Mediterranean that Michael worked on. The 1920s home was updated with a fresh color palette and a mix of classic and contemporary furnishings. Another Laguna cottage just needed some new lighting and refreshed furnishings, like the curved silhouette of a winged dining chair and seashell encrusted pottery and coral accents. Michael says rejuvenating an interior can also just be done with modern art and accessories, which can be added to the current furniture of a home for a practical design change.


Laguna Beach Magazine: Give us another design change that can refresh a home.

Michael Fullen: Rearrange everything! Things become very stagnant and we stop noticing our surroundings. Just pull all your accessories from where they are and start over. You’ll be surprised at the difference. Department stores and showrooms re-merchandise regularly to make us see things differently. You can do the same.

LBM: Almost everyone could use a little design inspiration in his or her workspace at home, any ideas?

MF: Organize and control it. I think home offices tend to be like runaway trains. Before you realize it, it has taken over the house. If it’s designed for the purpose and everything has its place, everyone will be happier.

LBM: Color choices are sometimes very personal. Any tips for helping us decide which to use in our own homes?

MF: Open your closet and pull out all your favorite outfits. You have the perfect palette—it’s what you love and feel comfortable in.

Smart and Utilitarian

The latest workspace furniture expertly combines form and function. –By Somer Flaherty
Die-hard aesthetes will appreciate that form and function is now widely available at work. An office space is a necessary means for most—even those working for the weekend. But there’s no reason your office life can’t co-mingle with your design aesthetic. After all, most people spend the bulk of their non-sleeping hours tethered to the desk, which probably makes it as important an investment as your mattress. Here, we’ve chosen some of the top work-life design possibilities on the market. LBM

Richards trunk desk, available at Restoration Hardware (Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Dr.; 949-760-9232; Box desk, available at Martela (384 Forest Ave., Ste. 14; 866-627-8352;
Laptop case, available at Kate Spade (819 Newport Center Dr.; 949-219-0785; Desk light
by Cerno, available at Cerno (2139 1/2  Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-715-1534,


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