Marin Meets Hawaii in Home Brand Averylily

Photo by Jenn Ellenburg

It is very easy to focus on all the negatives associated with the pandemic. But we should also remember to acknowledge the positives that came out of that very difficult time. For longtime Marin local Lily Kanter and Honolulu-based Avery Solmssen, the pandemic was an event that brought them together and ultimately sparked the creation of their new company, Averylily, a true partnership in name and in spirit of the two regions in which they reside.

Interior designer Solmssen explains, “Lily had left Marin during the pandemic to shelter from the storm on the Big Island. Luckily for me she fell in love with a home that I had previously designed for another family and she purchased it. Over the years of getting to know Lily, she became a trusted adviser and mentor,” she says. “We added some personal touches to her Hawaiian home, exploring art galleries, visiting lumberyards, meeting woodworkers. I showed her the ropes and the ins and outs of doing projects on an island. When I had finally made my mind up to make a change in my career she suggested, to my utter delight and surprise, a partnership.”

You may recognize Kanter’s first name in the wildly popular company Serena & Lily, which she co-founded. So to say she has some background in the industry would be an understatement. This experience, along with Solmssen’s interior design career and contacts as a Hawaii local, set the duo up for a unique opportunity to develop a design studio in tandem with a bedding and bath line inspired by the islands.

When asked about what sets Averylily apart from Serena & Lily, Kanter says, “Averylily is very different, very much an interior design studio servicing the islands with a distinct flavor of bedding, bath and beach. This company is more of an homage to Hawaii in terms of its design aesthetic, while Serena & Lily very much has a California coastal aesthetic.” Kanter adds that the pair found that many Averylily clients were asking for bedding, bath and beach, so they wanted to start a company with those items, and also as a way to feature local artists.

Highlighting locally island-made and -sourced products is a paramount goal for the company, as the partners see a big void for that in the design sphere. “Averylily is super focused on local, using as many local artisans as we can. Avery is so connected to artisans on the island and she tries to infuse a lot of Hawaii’s cultural aspects into the design style,” Kanter says. “We see that a lot of interior design clients tend to use mainland resources that don’t have the same connection.”


a Hawaii sunset
Photo by Nicole Franzen


Solmssen adds that what makes Averylily different from a typical design studio is that “we have the opportunity to design custom products for our projects that are reflective of the beautiful intricacies found in Hawaii. With Lily’s guidance and support she provides the tools to develop a design that is unique to our firm … designs that visually tell our story of Hawaii to our clients, both here and abroad.” She says that everything they do is with the mission to create deeply memorable, soulful environments. And Kanter’s style in particular is evocative of these intricacies, especially in the bed and bath Home Collection they created.

“The patterns and colors are a visual representation of influences we have every day living on an island. Inspiration from the island’s natural hues, deep greens, volcanic blacks and oceanic blues,” says Solmssen. “We imbued these hues into our bedding line, creating a unique representation of Hawaii’s rich and varied scenery.”

Sourcing and design style are not the only methods Averylily prioritizes in its commitment to being local. The business has a mission of being values-driven, and both women define a central component of that as community.

“Averylily is very holistically and community driven. Whether that means engaging with Habitat for Humanity or Make-A-Wish, just giving back to the community as well as nurturing the local artisans, all of that is extremely near and dear to our hearts,” says Kanter. The company donates 10 percent of the profits made from the Home Collection to local organizations that provide shelter and aid for those in need.

The two have brought something else to the island community: good jobs. “It means supporting our local community through hiring practices, creating an equitable and generous work environment, and giving back to the people of the islands from which we draw inspiration,” says Solmssen. “We want to foster design talent and create more professional opportunities in the design industry for young talent on the islands.”

Those of us who reside in the Bay Area can certainly appreciate the Marin-Hawaii connection, not only because our area is home to the highest number of Hawaii-bound travelers in the entire state of California, but also because of an alignment of values we hold dear here as well: environmental stewardship, reverence for nature, creativity and deep community engagement.

If you happen to be in Hawaii soon, stop by the retail locations for the Averylily Home Collection at ISLAND-BOY on Oahu and HUE Home & Design on Maui. In the meantime, keep an eye on the website, where a gallery featuring local artists is coming online soon under the “art” tab. And discussions have begun for an Averylily pop-up in Marin. Stay tuned!


Avery Solmssen and Lily Kanter
Avery Solmssen and Lily Kanter (Photo by Kenna Reed)