It’s rare enough to find a shop where you fall in love with just about everything in it, but it’s icing on the cake when the owners turn out to be just as fun and wonderful as the space they have created. One of those shops, which has added immeasurably to our Santa Barbara home, is Mate Gallery. The mates are Ron Brand and Matt Albiani, who bring a nostalgic East Coast vibe to their West Coast store. Being from New England originally, I fell hard for just about everything in their exquisite shop. They scour tag sales and antique shops on the East Coast and bring their finds back to their small but packed-to-the-rafters space in Montecito, California. It is chock full of wonderful art, gifts, home furnishings, and is bursting with the humor and personality of its owners. Matt is also an accomplished photographer and many of his works adorn the walls next to vintage oil paintings of the sea and a portrait or two.
I had shopped at Mate Gallery a few times and always found something to bring home with me but had yet to meet the owners. One day my daughter forwarded an e-mail announcing that Mate Gallery was having a Flea Market. My sister and daughter were in town that weekend and we thought it would be fun to check it out. We arrived soon after they opened to get first crack at the sale. Because of the size constraints, it was held in the courtyard just outside the shop. There was so much to see and sort through! My sister found a small painting and a model boat to bring back to Florida. I found a large basket and a nautical flag, while my daughter found a vintage trunk that she wanted to use as a coffee table in her studio apartment. Then she spied an old orangey-red surfboard leaning against the wall. Never mind that she had a tiny studio apartment and that the surfboard had a hole in it, the price was right and so we added it to our pile.
After settling up, it dawned on me that there was no way all of our loot was going to fit in my Prius! Sheepishly I asked Ron if we could make a few trips to bring our treasures home, but still wasn’t sure how to get that surfboard in the car…..tie it to the roof? Ron and Matt graciously offered to bring everything to our home at the end of the day at no charge. I told them that they had to at least join us for margaritas! And that is how I came to know two of the nicest guys in town.
The basket ended up on our gallery wall along with some of my other Mate Gallery finds.
However, our daughter didn’t think she had room for the surfboard and how would she get it to Santa Monica anyway? She suggested that I keep it. For one thing, I don’t like the color orange and for another, none of us has or ever had anything to do with surfing! What was I going to do with it? Our daughter suggested we put it outside somewhere. My husband looked dubious at best figuring it would end up taking up space in our garage. When everyone left, I lugged that surfboard all over the property trying to find a spot for it. I moved some potted plants around and made room for it leaning up against the house in our backyard. That funny surfboard has now become the focal point of our yard, my blog, and a lot of my Instagram pics! You could even say it is a part of the family and The Little Glass House.
Now that a dear friend of mine is working at Mate Gallery, it is just one more reason to pay a visit….not that I’ve ever needed an excuse to shop or to see the mates!
1024 Coast Village Road, Montecito CA 93108