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In Living Color

A Solana Beach couple says buh-bye to blah and beige

By Kimberly Cunningham | Photography by Found Creative Studio and Preview First

In Living Color

Colorful Library


Welcome to the bright and colorful world of Shannon Lerach and Todd Murphy. The young Solana Beach couple was inspired by photos of an old library and coral reefs with bright blues and greens. This space, complete with his and her chairs, serves as the main entry. Before the remodel, it was a formal dining room. “I knew that we didn’t need a formal dining room,” Lerach says. “But I love to read and knew I wanted a library or office.” She credits Murphy, an artist and DJ by trade, with the bold color choices. “I knew I’d want to wake up every day to something that made me happy and inspired me,” explains Murphy, who’s been drawing and painting since he was a kid. Together, the couple worked with Sol Quintana Wagoner of Jackson Design & Remodeling to realize their vision. Here, books become the art. A welder created the shelving system, with reclaimed wood and long threaded poles. The low-voltage pendant is by LBL Lighting, and the blue desktop is made of Silestone.

The rendition of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss by Stacy Vosberg was meant to be an actual surfboard, but instead, the couple decided to hang it in their stairwell.


The couple got rid of the white-picket and painted-yellow exterior. They chose a seaside blue-gray for the overall color, and added a natural stacked stone wall, customizing its height to accommodate their three dogs. The landscaping is laden with plants that thrive in a beach environment, and the design was kept simple for easy maintenance.

“People always say to us, ‘Are you going to like that color in five years?’” says homeowner Todd Murphy. “And I always think, ‘It’s no big deal. We’ll just repaint!’”


Murphy painted these colorful pop- art portraits of the couple’s three dogs (from left to right): Chloe (a white boxer), Francis (a red Boston terrier), and Pig (a French bulldog). Inspired by graffiti street art and the works of Andy Warhol, Murphy says, “Having a house reflects your creativity.” This converted garage is his favorite spot to hang out. The designers added engineered vinyl flooring to make it feel more like an art studio. Murphy stores his paint supplies and DJ equipment in there—plus the couple’s wide assortment of bikes, surfboards, wetsuits, and tools. “I love that all my hobbies and interests can live in one room,” he says. “I like to open the garage doors and let the ocean breeze in.”


Yep, they have that many pairs of running shoes—and they’re all just as colorful as the house itself. “We aren’t 18 shades of beige. We like bright colors,” says Lerach, who jokes that Lululemon is her stylist and REI is her Mecca. It’s worth noting that the closet, along with the rest of the home, is always this organized. The self- proclaimed Container Store junkie adds, “I love to organize, alphabetize, and label!”


The couple was thrilled when they discovered NYC- based wallpaper company Flavor Paper. Now almost every room in their house has a state- ment wall with a different pattern on it. “We didn’t just want to cover our walls with stuff,” Lerach says. “The wallpaper gives character to the rooms.” The upstairs hallway mural is called Undertow, designed by Steve Ellis.


Rustic barn doors serve as the entry to the upstairs master suite and a downstairs guest room. The wood adds warmth to the space, and complements the new stair railings. “It was a very collaborative project, with lots of custom details,” says designer Sol Quintana Wagoner.


Cozy and quiet, the master suite is Lerach’s favorite room in the house. “I love the bright colors in the rest of the house,” she admits. “But there’s nothing like taking a big exhale in here at the end of the day. You just fall into the room.” The wintery wallpaper mural behind the bed is called Soft Silence, designed by Boone Speed (available at Flavor Paper).

Check out the house before it was remodeled here!

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