THE MAGIC TOUCH
Interior designer Jennifer Van Galder ups the aesthetics at the tranquil Rancho Valencia.
“I’ve always thought it was a magical place,” says Van Galder Design’s Jennifer Van Galder of Rancho Valencia, which was recently named one of the world’s best hotels by Travel + Leisure. “It’s like you’re in another world.” So, when Van Galder was tapped to upgrade the luxury resort’s villas—a dozen 3,500-square-foot casitas that come complete with private terraces, hot tubs, and indoor and outdoor fireplaces—she knew the stakes were high. Inspired by recent trips to Portugal and Spain, the 25-year design veteran (previously the owner of Maudlin in La Jolla) dove right in, replacing the carpets with French limestone pavers and oak floors; brightening the rooms with hints of blue and orange; hanging one-of-a-kind Paul Ferrante chandeliers from the vaulted ceilings; and upgrading the furnishings with sumptuous fabrics, custom-made wood pieces and antique trunks from Europe. “You need that old piece that has lived so many lives,” she says. “It’s like having a dear friend in the room.” Jeff Jacobs, whose family owns the resort and hired her for more work at Rancho Valencia, approves: “Jennifer achieved a timeless and elegant design while also inspiring a sense of intrigue and surprise,” he says. In short, she has, with a few charms of her own, made a magical place simply dazzle. Rancho Valencia, 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, 858.756.1123