When Bernardo and I searched for a new home in the lush, historical area of Santa Barbara's Upper East neighborhood, we knew we were in luck when we came upon a 1931 Mediterranean, designed by Carlton Winslow (Carlton Theater, Los Angeles; Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara; Casa Dorinda, Montecito) which was in much need of repair. We immediately enlisted the help of our good friend Alessandra Branca, a genius at modernizing classics, who exudes the sort of joie de vivre with which everyone would like to be infused.
The design part was fantastically fun but living though the remodel was an arduous task. With three small children in a new school, a husband who traveled the world over, dwindling funds, and a house full of ram board, noise, dust and workmen, I was about to lose my mind, and I needed among other things, to adhere to a budget. So the million dollar question was: "Where do I streamline expenses now that we are in the detail phase?" I wasn't about to abandon the fruit trees or rose garden, nor would I sacrifice the quality of the furniture or fabrics, so I drew the line at the hand-painted stairs I had just designed.
Hours of brainstorming later, I came across two sources of sheer magic: Dezign with a Z, and Wall Written, both online sources of custom artwork which gave our staircase and door leading to the garage the kiss of modern I sought without breaking the bank. The result is an infusion of playfulness which accentuates who we are and what we espouse.