I spent all but the last few years of my life living on the East Coast. My last home that I shared with my husband and daughter was a traditional cottage that looked like it had been plucked straight from the English country side. It was stone and stucco with a cedar roof, complete with ivy strewn walls. In fact, we named it “Ivy Cottage”. I had always been drawn to older homes with charm and character. Of course, older homes come with their own set of problems that would take up too much of this post to go into!
When the decision was made to buy a house in Santa Barbara, I began by looking at traditional Spanish style homes with tile roofs, thick stucco walls, and of course charm. The last sort of home I imagined us living in was a modern one. But after a 9 month search, that is exactly what we ended up buying. Originally a 1950’s ranch, it had been gutted and transformed into a midcentury modern home. It may have been the soaring ceilings in the main room, or the the fact that there was a peak of the ocean on one side and mountain views in the back that drew us in. But most likely it was the indoor-outdoor feel when all of the doors were open….very different than the way we had lived in CT. It was just the way I had imagined living in CA would be!
We downsized to a townhouse on the East Coast and kept our traditional furniture there. This would be a clean slate. I wanted a completely different feel in our California home…. something more modern but still warm and comfortable. I wanted the inside of the house to relate to the outside so that there was a seamless transition between the spaces. Because the sellers were renting the house back from us while they were negotiating their new home, it gave me time to figure out how to accomplish that.
One of the very first stores I visited was a home and garden store called p o r c h in Carpinteria. I had seen their add in a local magazine and was intrigued. It said “where shelter and nature converge”. The moment I stepped through the doors, I had my AHA moment. This was the way I wanted our new home to feel. It was modern, organic, and comfortable, a mixture of indoors and out all in one. I wanted to move right in! So began my love affair with a store and an enduring friendship with the two delightful owners, Christy Boyd and Diana Dolan. I collected garden pots, furniture, and all manner of objects over the past few years. I even worked there for a time! But my favorite thing to do is pop in to say hi to the girls and immerse myself in the world that they have created. The only drawback is, I rarely leave empty handed!