Guides

A Santa Barbara Weekend with the Kids

April 9th, 2019

Santa Barbara took a beating last year. The county suffered catastrophic mudslides after one of California’s worst wildfires burned protective brush and vegetation from its hillsides. Houses were destroyed, bridges collapsed, and entire communities were brought to their knees.

But in the past year, Santa Barbara, a community known for its preternatural beauty, has shown that it is also a beacon of resilience. New hotels are springing up, and old ones are being renovated. Our favorite taco joints are as popular as ever. And the stretch of sand that runs from Carpinteria to Goleta is thriving—with surfers and seals alike. In other words, for anyone within striking distance—and especially anyone with kids—Santa Barbara is the perfect weekend escape.

STAY

ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH

There’s no way to sound cool about it: The opening of the Rosewood Miramar Beach has made us giddy. And it’s not just because we have a new store in the hotel—although to be honest, that’s a pretty big part of it. The new goop Sundries shop offers clean, nontoxic beauty products (the Ursa Major sunscreen and goop Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub shampoo are staff favorites) as well as towels, candles, swimsuits, cover-ups, beach bags, workout clothes, sunglasses, all-stars like GOOPGLOW, goop chews, and really anything you need to make a trip to the beach extra special, like crystal sprays or sex toys (depending on where the weekend takes you).

The hotel itself is stunning—a bright, airy refresh of a property that dates back to 1876. There’s history here (it was formerly the storied Miramar by the Sea), and so much beauty and comfort you won’t want to leave the property. Guest rooms are done up in easy-on-the-eyes shades of cream and blue, and each has a private terrace with comfy deck chairs made for lounging and ocean-gazing. If you’re coming with kids, go for a bungalow suite—the sunny-striped interiors are warm and inviting. Two pools and a beach concierge make staying put with a book and a cocktail all too easy. Once you’ve had your fun at the goop Sundries shop, there’s a thorough roster of activities, like whale watching, and a secret local surf spot to make use of the hotel’s second greatest asset: the ocean.

FOUR SEASONS RESORT THE BILTMORE SANTA BARBARA

As soon as you set foot in the lobby and look at the ceiling, it’s obvious: No one makes hotels like this anymore. The property was built in 1927—and with its Spanish-tiled everything, vaulted ceilings, and massive windows that look out on to the lapping waves of the Pacific, this is a resort that feels more like a historic palace in Mexico. It’s one of the few hotels we know of that’s as attractive to families as it is to couples as it is to old Hollywood stalwarts. And here’s a theory why: It may be big, there may be hundreds of people here at any given time, but it’s incredibly private. There grounds are vast and jungly and dotted with private villas and the pool and hot tubs (plural) do not in any way disappoint, especially when you order a glass of wine, freshly squeezed OJ for the kids, and poolside snacks. But what will really win over the children: pint-size bathrobes and pool robes in the room.

EAT

LA SUPERICA TAQUERIA

It’s a rare restaurant that can bring its A game reliably—for decades. But La Superica Taqueria is exactly that place. It’s as low-key as it gets—it’s an order-at-the-window, paper plates kind of place. But no one comes here to stand on ceremony. They come for the tacos. And the homemade corn tortillas, tamales, salsas—everything on the menu is fantastic and fresh. La Superica Taqueria is easily one of the best taquerias north of the border. Just arrive as early as possible and don’t be in a rush: Lines can get long.

DO

CARPINTERIA STATE BEACH

Before you head to the beach, drop by a nondescript bodega on Linden Avenue, a few blocks down from Carpinteria Avenue, called Beach Liquor. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you think you’re in the wrong place. Walk straight to the back—this is where you’ll see a few chefs chopping, dicing, mixing, and depending on how many jalapeños are in today’s order, your eyes may or may not start to tear up. Order a breakfast burrito—however they recommend—and be patient. You can’t rush culinary arts like this, no matter how impatient the kids are. When it’s ready, take your breakfast to go and head the few blocks over to the beach. Your burrito will be so perfectly salty and spicy and delicious, you may briefly consider grabbing another before you decide instead to return tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Carpinteria State Beach is called the country’s safest beach for a couple of reasons: It’s wide, the waves are adorable, and the riptide is almost nonexistent. You could stay all day and still the kids would want to stay longer. Rest assured, you’re leaving the beach, but you’re heading to another one.

EAT

TYDES AT CORAL CASINO

Much has been made about the indoor-outdoor lifestyle enjoyed by Californians, but truly, eating a superb meal on a beachy, ocean-view deck is one of life’s great pleasures. Tydes is a part of the private Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, a property built in 1937. (Guests of the Biltmore have access to the property, pool, and restaurant.) Start with a platter of briny Pacific oysters and stick with a pescatarian theme. The Chilean sea bass served with leeks, clams, and pearls of salmon roe is just so good, helped only by heaping sides of za’atar-spiced carrots and buttery squash. Don’t rush through dinner and don’t leave without a bracing digestif—you want to soak up the cool night air drifting over the Pacific as long as possible.

 

DO

MOXI, THE WOLF MUSEUM OF EXPLORATION + INNOVATION

Block a few hours. Or a day. The kids will ask you to stay longer no matter how much longer you stay here. This museum, located on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, is less a museum and more like a multifloor, hands-on, interactive kids’ museum in which everything spins or beeps or lights up. It’s like the world’s coolest science class. Our advice: Start on the roof, where the kids can learn how solar power works by testing it on musical instruments. As you make your way down, floor by floor, there are games of velocity, speed, abstract thinking, math, perspective, and way too many more to list. Most parents, even the ones who start off sitting on a bench looking at their phones, join their kids by the end.

THE RITZ-CARLTON BACARA

The drive north to Goleta is gorgeous—green Santa Barbara hills on one side, rolling blue Pacific on the other. This is the site of the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, arguably the most beautiful stretch of real estate in Southern California. Sign the kids up for a program called Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment. For a solid afternoon, they will be utterly captivated by what is essentially a marine biology day camp: They’ll hike along the coast, learn how to test ocean water, study the differences between seals and sea lions, and very likely see both. It may be chilly, they may get cold and sandy, and without fail, when it’s time to go home, they’ll beg to stay longer.

EAT

CAVA

Whenever we make it up to Montecito, we make a point of stopping by Cava. Within minutes of our sitting down, the friendly staff has brought over the spectacular homemade chips and salsa. The kids will be thrilled with the Mexican-leaning menu (may we suggest the tacos? And a lot of them?), and their parents will be thrilled with the fresh margaritas. Last time we were there, we had the blood orange version. And we would like to tell you we had only one.

 

These Are the 9 Minimal Décor Brands you need to Shop

April 4th, 2019

Even though maximalist designs have been making headlines recently, we’ll always have a soft spot in our hearts for chic, clean, simple, minimalist interior designspaces. The seemingly cold and sterile style can actually feel incredibly comfortable and lived in if you know how to balance textures and materials to create a warmer, more welcoming effect.

When it comes to decorating your home with a minimalist sensibility, it helps to know just where to shop. Thanks to minimalism’s popularity and serious following, there’s a myriad of design stores to source perfectly simple products from. Ahead, discover 10 of the best minimal décor brands. Each houses furniture and décor that are streamlined and sophisticated.

After you’ve read this list, you’ll never want to shop anywhere else.

AYTM

AYTM offers luxury home décor based in Nordic traditions. Their products are sophisticated and sleek, yet completely eye-catching. The designs are created with an emphasis on contrasting materials and surfaces in neutral colors. For modern, minimalist Danish design, this is the place to shop. Find larger pieces of furniture as well as smaller details like lamps, mirrors, and pillows.

IKEA

No list of simple, minimal décor brands would be complete without a mention of IKEA, the Scandinavian home goods outlet with a reputation for it’s streamlined, affordable products. It offers furniture and smaller décor details for every room in the house, from the living room to the kitchen. Just don’t let its association with first apartments and dorm rooms scare you off. There’s a treasure trove of timeless designs found at this retailer.

Menu

With a mission to make the world less complicated, it’s no surprise that Menu is one of the best minimal décor brands. The retailer features high-quality pieces with an unmistakable Scandinavian look. They focus on modern décor meant for everyday use that also happens to be visually stunning. Shop here for furniture, lighting, and home accessories.

MUJI

MUJI is a veritable one-stop-shop of minimal products. You can shop everything from furniture and décor to travel essentials and clothing at the Japanese retailer. Of course, we’re partial to their home décor products, which are decidedly minimal and often made with recyclable materials. The brand takes minimalism to the next level by avoiding waste when it comes to production and packaging. And, to the delight of staunch minimalists everywhere, they also have a no brand and no logo policy.

Ferm Living

At Ferm Living, you’ll find contemporary designs featuring luxe textures and rich colors. While some of the products are a bit more avant-garde, the retailer earns a spot on our list of minimal décor brands because of its Scandinavian tradition. Based in Copenhagen, the pieces are created from global artisans and maintain a sleek, modern look.

H&M Home

Don’t be skeptical of H&M Home‘s décor just because it’s cheap. The brand has proven to be a high-quality resource for home essentials. You can find simplistic bedding, sleek kitchenwares, and affordable pillow covers primed to stand the test of time. Although some of their pieces err on the side of trendy, many are steadfastly minimal. New collections seem to drop all of the time, so you’ll never be without new interior design inspiration.

Blu Dot

Based in Minneapolis, Blu Dot was founded by two architects and a sculptor in 1997. Since then, the brand has made a name for itself as a modern design retailer brimming with unique pieces (all designed and made in house) that won’t cost you your life savings. Their products are sleek, elegant, and simple enough to work in just about any space.

Umbra

Toronto-based Umbra creates modern designs that often fuse function and form. The brand prides itself on being original, modern, functional, and casual. You can shop for furniture as well as sophisticated accessories for every room. Products include everything from tables to trash cans, allowing you to source sleek pieces for every nook and cranny of your space.

Apparatus Studio

Founded by Gabriel Hendifar and Jeremy Anderson, Apparatus Studio features stunningly sleek lighting in elegantly pared down designs. Although the brand is based in New York, they recently unveiled a Los Angeles design showroom where their striking pieces are on full display. The products are more like works of art than ordinary home décor, yet they maintain a simplistic quality that would fit into a minimal space.

6 Bedroom Style Trends to Watch For In 2019

March 29th, 2019

With 2019 well underway, we are seeing bedroom style trends that draw on influences from a number of different eras ranging from the 1980s1970s and even Art Deco styles. Bedrooms are following these trends but are also becoming more warm, inviting and sanctuary-like overall. Your bedroom is a room that is receiving special treatment to make it ultra relaxing. This theme runs through all the elements of bedroom furniture, fabrics, lighting and wall treatments.  

bedroom style trends

FOUR-POST AND CANOPY BEDS

Let’s start with the largest furniture item in the room. This year we’re seeing more interest in bedrooms becoming more of a sanctuary, an oasis where you can relax as though you live in a luxury resort. Four post beds set the scene for an ultrarelaxed experience, cuddling you in thinner and thicker designs to suit your taste. Add canopies for an ultrainviting home to sleep.  

Pinspiration: Brighten Up Your Apartment Decor For Summer

GET COZY UNDER THE COVERS

With a new year of home trends come new fabrics, and bedrooms are taking full advantage of it. With a full range of bold and soft colors, bedrooms are becoming more a place to comfortably relax, and the textures reflect it. We’re seeing more interest in thick wools, velvets, silks, and other luxurious materials that are designed to wrap you and put you in a dream state. We’re seeing more fabrics on headboards and footboards for an ultrasoft feel.  

a modern boho master bedroom with dark teal, copper and white colors.

HANDCRAFTED CHIC DESIGNS

The new trend toward BoHo design is creating an appreciation for more natural beauty and handcrafted designs. And in this style, the whole range is present. From antique styles to more rustic, simple styleswe’re seeing an emphasis on pieces that are more individual and special, even telling a special story in its design and use of materials. Finish the look with art pieces, lighting, and artwork.  

Broken Lines Removable Wallpaper Wallpaper is 100% removable- it means it can be removed or repositioned when needed without damaging the surface beneath

EYE-CATCHING WALLPAPER

Wallpaper continues to excel in creating atmosphere, and a bedroom is an ideal place for it.  The new styles range from colored florals to bolder solids and geometric designs to suit your taste. New technology is providing more 3-dimensional textures, coating your room in padded luxury. The trend in gold, metal and other natural elements are easily added in your bedroom through wallpaper’s leafed treatments, adding rich texture.   

MIXED METALS 

Combine nightstands in silver handles with lamps of gold, and add in more metal accessories to the mix. We are now seeing a bolder mix of metals. Not everything is matching, making pieces stand out more to be appreciated individually 

The focal points are very central and linear. First the painting above the bed, then to the hanging lights, then to the pillow.

BLEND BEDROOM COLORS

In some cases, the past trends in neutrals made bedroomappear a bit matchy, but the new trend is to make each piece unique, and color is an excellent way to do it. Like mixing metals, colors are now brought together for visual interest and to slow the eye down, bringing more appreciation to your room and each piece in it. And what is a more comfortable place to appreciate the designs in your home than in the relaxed setting of your bedroom?