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At Home With MJ Wittman

The theater room, with an adjoining pool table and bar, is a favorite spot to watch movies or work out
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MJ Wittman is all dressed up with some place to go: home for the holidays. The philanthropist, community volunteer, floral designer, party planner, and single mother of three spent a week decorating her Santaluz home to share with Ranch & Coast readers. Last year, the home was featured in a holiday home tour to benefit the Poway Chapter of the National Charity League. This year, Wittman went all out yet again to create a magical place for family and friends, using decorations she has lovingly collected over the years.

At home with MJ Wittman in Santaluz
At home with MJ Wittman in Santaluz

It is a winter wonderland, SoCal style, in a shim-mering silver and white palette mixed with frosted greenery. Wittman decorated 12 trees for Christmas, festooned with white faux poinsettias, glittery ornaments embellished with sequins and “jewels,” sprays of pearls and icy beads, and metallic netting twisted among the branches. She topped the trees with yards of hand-tied tulle and ribbons. Each child’s room has its own tree: faux antlers, pinecones, and berries trim son Hunter’s tree, while daughter Venice’s tree sparkles in silver, turquoise, and seafoam green.

In the great room above a crackling fireplace, Wittman hung a row of snowy white stockings along the mantel. Comfortable sofas, plush pillows, and cozy throws invite relaxation while watching holiday movies on the big screen television. Dining tables, crowned with glittering chandeliers, are set with beaded placemats, metallic chargers, and napkins for a sophisticated touch. She designed all of the centerpieces, combining poinsettias, pearls, and more frosted greenery.

The great room, all decked out for the holidays, is a magical place to relax and enjoy holiday movies
The great room, all decked out for the holidays, is a magical place to relax and enjoy holiday movies

Wittman chose custom, high-end furnishings from Restoration Hardware for the 6,400-square-foot home. But she added budget-friendly buys: chairs and accessories in her glamorous office and posters in the home movie theatre are from Home Goods, stockings from Pier One Imports, artwork from Z Gallerie, decorations from Shinoda Design Center. There are many personal touches, including her “memory wall,” a dramatic display of dozens of black and white photos of the Wittman family. She scoured Home Goods to find coordinating silver frames and hung them all herself.

Wittman’s “memory wall” displays dozens of family photos in silvery frames
Wittman’s “memory wall” displays dozens of family photos in silvery frames

Over the years, Wittman has generously donated her time and talents to create florals and decorations for charity luncheons, school fundraisers, and galas. Recently, she founded Fleuressence, devoted to designing floral arrangements, both real and artificial, and planning small events. She is also redesigning Ageless and Beautiful Medical Spa in Hillcrest, owned by good friends Dr. Sean and Marjan Daneshmand, founders of Miracle Babies.

Wittman designed all the floral arrangements in her home
Wittman designed all the floral arrangements in her home

A nonprofit which provides support and services for premature babies and their families, Miracle Babies is very close to Wittman’s heart. She has been heavily involved in the organization for the past six years as a member of its Miracle Circle, made up of goodwill ambassadors who support Miracle Babies’ work through fundraising, outreach, and advocacy. She also volunteers for Miracle Hours, gatherings of parents whose babies are in neo-natal intensive care units. Wittman co-chaired the nonprofit’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” fundraiser and “A Night in Venice” gala, both in 2019. Miracle Babies honored her as “Volunteer of the Year” for her efforts.

The dining room table is decorated for a holiday feast with a runner of greenery, gleaming table settings, and a centerpiece of poinsettias and pearls
The dining room table is decorated for a holiday feast with a runner of greenery, gleaming table settings, and a centerpiece of poinsettias and pearls

Wittman is encouraging donations to the nonprofit during the holiday season. Thanks to the generosity of The Joan T. Waitt Family Fund, Miracle Babies will be able to double contributions up to $100,000. 858.633.8540, miraclebabies.org | 858.333.2303, fleureessencesd.com

Featured Photo The theater room, with an adjoining pool table and bar, is a favorite spot to watch movies or work out
Image Credits Photography by Vincent Knakal

One Comment

  • Andrea Naversen

    Reply

    Thanks, MJ for a wonderful holiday story!
    Andrea Naversen, Editor-at-Large

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