Known for its white stucco buildings, terracotta-clad roofs, and Mediterranean and Spanish Revival-style architecture, Santa Barbara has long been a favorite of interior design enthusiasts and architecture aficionados. We’ve hand-picked the best home boutiques to add to the itinerary, along with a newly opened hotel that feels like a secret coastal hideaway.
Originally launched 11 years ago in San Francisco by cofounders Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton, the home goods company has now expanded to ten stores around the country, including in New York, Atlanta, and Palo Alto. Combining backgrounds in product design and development for the likes of Williams-Sonoma and Gap Inc., the design duo has outfitted their Santa Barbara store in the Montecito Country Mart with tabletop wares, linens, candles, entertaining, and hostess gifts. You’ll also find an assortment of everyday necessities like mixing bowls; serving trays; bar accessories; design tomes; cutting boards; garden pruning shears; watering cans; and gourmet hand-pressed olive oil.
In Summerland, six miles south of Santa Barbara, make a stop at this design trove stocked with a selection of furniture and accessories. Choose from a slew of curated offerings such as framed landscape photography prints, five-wick candles, faux-leather tissue boxes, alpaca throws, porcelain bud vases, and kimono-style robes. The store also features modern outdoor goods including lounge chairs, lightweight concrete fire pits by Dekko, planters by Blinde Design, jute doormats, and outdoor heat lamps by Belgian company Heatsail. Looking to overhaul the primary bedroom or your entire home? Seek help from the in-house design team.
Conceived by interior designer Michelle Beamer, founder of MB Interiors, this shop is located downtown along bustling State Street and features hand-selected wares spanning lighting, textiles, side chairs, fiber wall art, and vintage Turkish rugs. For holiday gift ideas, comb an artful assortment of small goods such as animal-printed accent pillows, hexagon-shaped mirrors, and abstract glass bulb vases and bubble-shaped candlesticks made from recycled glass.
Located two minutes from Lonetree, DIANI Living is the vision of husband-and-wife team Caroline Diani and Jeffrey Doornbos, who opened the lifestyle shop in 2014 alongside sister stores DIANI Shoes and DIANI boutique. The well-edited space, appointed with white brick walls and rustic wooden bookshelves, offers extensive array of woven baskets, apothecary goods, custom succulent arrangements, vintage Elmwood stools, and ceramic vessels by Farmhouse Pottery. This holiday, pick up original gifts from glass paperweights and playing cards to handmade beeswax candles and French country culinary tomes.
Santa Barbara’s new boutique hotel, The Steward, is set on 4.7 acres of lush gardens of the Sexton House, a historic landmark which dates to the 1860s when horticulturist Joseph Sexton acquired the land for his own family estate and nursery. The 87-room hotel is comprised of one-bedroom suites thoughtfully revamped by El Segundo–based design firm SANDdesign (of Solvang’s Hotel Corque) with winks to its roots such as watercolor artwork of Sexton House. The hotel is also replete with an onsite restaurant, an outdoor pool and wellness area, and a fleet of bikes available for complimentary guest use. “There is a certain mystique to this place,” says general manager Antonio Morales. “One where every corner you’ll find stories that surprise and inspire. We are a secret hideaway rooted in horticulture—offering experiences to nourish the soul. From our sustainable, zero waste initiatives throughout the property to our elegant curated menu from Terra. The hotel is a secret that is rooted in its past and has embraced its future as Stewards of the land.”