Chrissy Macdonald's Insta-Famous Living Room Gets a Chic Update

You've probably seen Chrissy Macdonald's home on Instagram - it's hard to miss and easy to double tap. Her lifestyle blog, Harlowe James, has quickly grown in the past year and for good reason. Chrissy's laid-back, cozy California style shines through each vignette she shares, pulling us through the screen and into her living room with her. We chatted with Chrissy about her home, how she balances Harlowe James, and her favorite thing about where she lives.


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Tell us a little about Harlowe James and how you got here.

Harlowe James is a lifestyle blog and website that offers readers a look inside my world and everything I love from interior design to recipes. It really grew out of a need for more creativity in my life and wanting to share my passions with other people. Durning my first interior design job out of college, I felt like I was missing something so I thought it would be fun to start my blog as an outlet from work. Over the past two and a half years it has grown into a space I really cherish.

In addition to running your site, you also work as an interior designer for a local firm. How does that balance look?

I definitely think balancing both has taught me a lot about time management. My life looks very different than it did three years ago, as I always feel busy, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I am not good at sitting still and am constantly on the go, but it keeps things interesting. I have learned how to prioritize my time a bit better and understand there are days not everything on my list will get done.

Describe a day in the life for you.

I am naturally a very early riser so I get up at 5:30am almost every day. When the weather is nice I love to go on a walk in the morning and take in the air. When I am busier I make my coffee, check my email, go through Instagram, get some work done before getting ready for work and heading to the office at 8:30. After work Daniel and I have dinner and I usually get back on my computer to finish up some work. I only work in the office three days a week now so I have a lot more flexibility during the remaining days to make my own schedule and get outside more.

Tell us about your home. What is your favorite thing about your space?

We live in a very small apartment in Sausalito, California. It was built in the early 1940’s and not a lot of updates have been made. I absolutely love the character of the apartment. The detail on the ceiling in the living room, the built ins, the bay window. They are all aspects you don’t find in a lot of newer apartments. There is so much charm that comes with an older home and it is a great base to build off of.

Tell us about where you live! What do you love most about California?

I live in Sausalito which is just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. It honestly is a dream location and sometimes I have to pinch myself that I live here. I was born and raised in Marin County and California truly means the world to me. I have toyed with the idea of moving out of state, but I really feel that this state is just part of who I am. I have said this before, but what I love most is the landscape and the diversity. There is no shortage of inspiration here and I draw so much of my design style from my surroundings.

If you had to give advice to someone just starting on designing their home what would it be?

I would say make a list of what you need in order of priority and start there. Designing a whole home or one room can be overwhelming and it can be easy to get swept up in pieces you might not actually need. I find it helps when you focus on large items first like sofas, rugs, etc. and then layer in additional pieces. Designing a home is an investment so you want to be sure you love what you are buying and not just getting something to fill your house quickly.

What's one decor faux-pas you see all to often?

Rugs that are way too small! I surprisingly see it all the time and it drives me crazy. You really want your rug to be an anchor to the room and if it is too small it cuts the whole space and makes it looks smaller than it actually is.

What's next for Harlowe James?

I am really excited to continue to grow my website and the Harlowe James brand. There are so many endeavors I want to get into and I feel as through I am only just beginning!

Describe your style in 3 words.

Easy, Comfortable, Californian

Favorite account to follow on instagram?


Velvet or Linen?


Gallery Wall or Oversized Statement Art?

I really love both!

Where are you dying to travel to?

New Zealand

Designing a home is an investment so you want to be sure you love what you are buying and not just getting something to fill your house quickly.

Photos by Torrey Fox