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Mix Master

A design star breaks the rules in north county.

Designer Betsy Ginn in her newly remodeled living room


“Things need to be more playful and unexpected. That heavy Mediterranean look gets old,” says design consultant Betsy Ginn of her interiors philosophy. There’s nothing old about this wisp of a 5-foot-8-inch blonde, splashing onto the S.D. design scene with her surprising boho-glam aesthetic. She’s been tapped for a bevy of projects, including the new man-chic heritage boutique, Lone Flag, at Flower Hill Promenade.

“My personal look is exciting and glamorous but rock ‘n’ roll. It's like Audrey Hepburn with a few tattoos,” says Ginn, decked out in her uniform: handpicked vintage and Manolos, of course. Her whimsical Leucadia lair, which she shares with her Australian husband, two children and two dogs, is a living, breathing catalog of her new design brand, Smid ( She launched Smid (her nickname) with a who’s-who house party, of course, which guests left with vintage coasters as parting gifts.

For the new Del Mar men’s store, she enlisted galvanized plumbing for clothing racks, an antique egg crate for shelves and mixed black-stained tufted chairs with reupholstered vintage furniture in green velvet. “It’s tough, but it’s chic,” says Ginn of the look. It’s also precisely what the North County shopping center needs as the SoCal bro set continues to grow more stylish. So where does this forager score her finds? The Pink House in Cardiff and the Builders Trading Company in Leucadia (in Ginn speak, “the candy store” because “it’s all eye candy"). And you’d better believe you can always spot Ginn in her signature high heels.

“I put them on to fuel my creativity. It helps me write better, design better and be more creative,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll even paint in them.” No North County flip-flops here.