Santa Barbara Style

Somewhere between San Francisco and LA, is the design lover paradise of Santa Barbara and the little village of Montecito. On a recent family trip I got such a taste of slow living and “getting away” that was truly magical.

Without traveling far from Chicago, I was transported into a design and food landscape with lots of Mediterranean, Indian, and Mexican influences.

In design, this was a place where form and function came together. A fantastic juxtaposition of worldly goods and lush gardens, leathers mixed with metals, folkloric fabrics and weathered woods. Wonderful wrought iron crafted hardware on doors and windows were amazing to discover.   Loved the organic influences of stone walls, atmospheric accessories, and exuberant patterns even painted on steps!

As for amazing, the amazing variety of succulents was really something to behold. Texture and a range of living green colors bring so much variety to the landscape and become an ideal low maintenance alternative in this low water area of Santa Barbara.

What we found at the Farmer’s Markets of Montecito and Santa Barbara inspired frequent family gatherings around the table for meals, snacks and cocktail hours.

Crunchy spicy grapes, all manners of squash, avocado (who knew there were so many varieties), stalks of ginger (aromatic and fresh) and juicy sweet heirloom tomatoes inspired us to pull up recipes on our phones and hit the grill!

Usually steakhouse lovers, we ate nary a bite of meat and existed happily for a week on what we found in this mecca of freshness. My father, at 84, had his first guacamole (just saying) and my step-mother grilled her first assortment of lovely local vegetables.

Here’s a wonderfully quirky place~ Art from Scrap on 302 E. Cota Street, Santa Barbara.

This place is chock a block with donated “scraps” of tile, paper, ephemera, props. Pretty much everything you and I need for so many art projects has all been donated by local businesses.

Originally started as a way to support the environment through teaching the ethics of reduce, reuse and recycle, Art from Scrap is heaven on earth for a crafter. All I know is that I filled up a bag of treasures, went back to the house, and immediately started in on some snail mail projects. Hello Slow Living and if there’s anyone else out there interested in being a snail mail pal, you are welcome to contact me!

Of course we had to do some shopping as well as local wine sipping. Afternoons we were found  doing vintage shopping in the so-called Funk Zone. A favorite “must see” is the Blue Door at 4E Yanonali.

Here we discovered three floors of  Midcentury, Vintage and  Antique goodies which had us hankering for a bigger suitcase or even better, a van that we could drive back. Speaking of driving, we also enjoyed a lovely trip out to Santa Ynez Valley, about 40 minutes away, which is a sleepy wonderful nexus of wine, great food, and shopping that reminded me of Napa and Sonoma of so many years ago.

Santa Barbara inspiration list! Succulents! We’ll be adding a range of containers. Watch for sneak peeks here! Also considering how to create more gatherings around our table and share them with you. Cheers!