Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

The world of interior design is abuzz about Sonora designer Shiree Segerstrom.

Segerstrom was featured recently on the influential blog of best-selling author and designer Diane Dorrans Saeks and will soon be featured in C magazine, a publication that celebrates California's unique style.

Segerstrom, 52, formerly operated a design store, S.S. Home, in downtown Sonora but in recent years went to the Web for her base as the economy declined. She has done most of her work in the Sonora and Sacramento areas with the occasional venture into San Francisco or Los Angeles.

"I've had a real visual talent since I was a little girl," Segerstrom

said. "I was always decorating when I was little. We moved around a

lot. Decorating became a way for me to put down roots."

Nevertheless, she did not become a professional designer until the age of 35.

She caught on quickly with a style that won over clients like

Leonora and Randall Harris, of San Francisco, who purchased a weekend

home in Sonora five years ago.

"I never really would have thought to choose the furniture she chose," Leonora Harris said. "It ended up working so well."

In a home Harris described as having both a Southwestern and

Mediterranean feel in its architecture, Segerstrom placed two rattan

high-back chairs near a large living room window with a matching lamp

table. She added a sofa and chair that matched the grayish-blue tinted

pine cabinets as well.

"That brings that together without going crazy with the color,"

Harris said. "Her taste, the choices she made ... we immediately agreed

with her vision of what she saw. I think she's very talented, very

creative and very flexible to work with."

Segerstrom gives a simple explanation for her designs' success.

"It's the way that I like to blend styles. It tends to create an

interior that evolves very well," she said. "My designs are something

that you'll like for a long time. With a client, I use their taste,

their style. I'm frequently using things they already have as a

starting spot and it evolves into something completely different with

each client."

An example of a timeless Segerstrom design can be found in the

formal living room of her own Spanish-style home on Hillcrest Drive.

She created it at about the time she moved in with her late husband,

James Segerstrom, 11 years ago.

"My house is the one (design) that best represents me," she said.

While her own home may be her greatest passion, Segerstrom counts

her greatest design challenge as a quick turnaround of a showcase space

at a Modesto event.

"I was given an attic space that was completely unfinished," she said.

She turned it into a "women's retreat" with high-end furniture and

French antiques, she said, and features the end result on her website,

Segerstrom showed innovation in creating a "Design in a Box"

do-it-yourself package available at the site that brings "a completely

original design package ... shipped to your door" for $495.

"That makes it more accessible for a lot of people to engage the services of interior design," Harris said.

Contact Sean Janssen at or 588-4531.