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Inside Kendall Conrad’s Easy, Elegant Santa Barbara Home

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L.A. designer Kendall Conrad, known for her line of timeless, buttery-soft leather and suede bags, shoes, and accessories, had a vision when she first saw the 1942 Mediterranean property she now calls home. It was 1998, and after a lengthy real estate hunt in Los Angeles with husband/photographer David Cameron, the couple headed north to visit some properties in Montecito, close to where Kendall grew up.

“I thought, ‘Oh God, I’m not moving back to Santa Barbara,’” laughs Kendall. “But we ended up looking and after seeing 10 houses or so, I walked in and that was it.”

“It” was an image she saw while touring the home and its gardens. “This was the house I wanted to raise my children in,” reminisces Kendall, who was eight months pregnant at the time and now has two daughters, Luisa and Fernanda. “The space… it just moved me.” After a heartfelt letter to the owners, it was theirs. “My kids had the childhood I dreamed for them.”

With open, well-appointed rooms, seven cozy fireplaces, and sunshine streaming through every window and door, it’s dreamy indeed. “It has a very bohemian vibe and is in tune with the nature around it,” Kendall says. Bordered by abundant gardens and a winding creek, the home is just minutes to the area’s scenic beaches. “I’ve lived in New York, Paris, and London, but my husband and I are both from California, and we wanted this life.”

Combining finds from travels with family heirlooms, classical and clean-lined furniture, eclectic art, and lots of texture, the home is not unlike her eponymous accessories collection: neutral, sophisticated, and relaxed with a dash of worldly glamour. Tour the Shangri-la that Kendall shares with her family (including wirehaired dachshunds Ollie and Georgie) and discover her insider guide to Santa Barbara.

“This entry introduces you to the house, so you get the vibe right off the bat,” says Kendall. The airy, edited space has a Colombian credenza, woven leather stools, and iron candlesticks from a shop on Portobello Road in London. A Kendall Conrad L’Aventura bag rests on the stone floor.

“This entry introduces you to the house, so you get the vibe right off the bat,” says Kendall. The airy, edited space has a Colombian credenza, woven leather stools, and iron candlesticks from a shop on Portobello Road in London. A Kendall Conrad L’Aventura bag rests on the stone floor.

When I saw the house and garden I thought, ‘This is magical. I want little children running around playing with frogs by the creek and running around the fruit trees.’

— Kendall Conrad
In the office, a wall of personal artwork surrounds an Indian sofa. “There’s a portrait of my grandmother, a colorful monkey my friend painted,, and I did the blue tiger when I was 12,” Kendall says. The Moroccan rug is from a favorite local shop, Upstairs at Pierre Lafond.

In the office, a wall of personal artwork surrounds an Indian sofa. “There’s a portrait of my grandmother, a colorful monkey my friend painted,, and I did the blue tiger when I was 12,” Kendall says. The Moroccan rug is from a favorite local shop, Upstairs at Pierre Lafond.

Really, we should be in a white box with five modern pieces, because we both gravitate toward that. But this home fits a cozy family life. Maybe we’ll do the white box one day.

— Kendall Conrad
In her office, which she describes as “the most ‘me’ room in the house,” Kendall sits with one of her wirehaired dachshunds, Ollie. Her jewelry and sandals are from her chic accessories line. The portrait in the background is by daughter Luisa.

In her office, which she describes as “the most ‘me’ room in the house,” Kendall sits with one of her wirehaired dachshunds, Ollie. Her jewelry and sandals are from her chic accessories line. The portrait in the background is by daughter Luisa.

“I love my office because of the fireplace and all of my children’s art.” A leather-wrapped chair sits with a Portuguese desk. On top, Kendall has personal photos and some of her cherished bull collection. “I’m a Taurus, and my father was a bullfighter in Spain,” she says. “So they’re symbolic to me.”

“I love my office because of the fireplace and all of my children’s art.” A leather-wrapped chair sits with a Portuguese desk. On top, Kendall has personal photos and some of her cherished bull collection. “I’m a Taurus, and my father was a bullfighter in Spain,” she says. “So they’re symbolic to me.”

Kendall and David painted many of the dark exposed beams white to lighten things up. A George Smith sofa and two vintage armchairs suit the long rectangular room. The large leather ottoman? “It’s a Kendall Conrad original,” she says.

Kendall and David painted many of the dark exposed beams white to lighten things up. A George Smith sofa and two vintage armchairs suit the long rectangular room. The large leather ottoman? “It’s a Kendall Conrad original,” she says.

Kendall’s father, an artist, sketched the portrait of a matador. Shells from family trips spill out of a silver tray. “Some are from the Maldives, Hawaii, Majorca—we always bring some back,” Kendall says. The chest is Spanish and conceals the television.

Kendall’s father, an artist, sketched the portrait of a matador. Shells from family trips spill out of a silver tray. “Some are from the Maldives, Hawaii, Majorca—we always bring some back,” Kendall says. The chest is Spanish and conceals the television.

Inspiration? Everything you look at gets in. We have these rocks on our beach that are cognac, black, and white. I call them calico rocks. They inspired my recent collection.

— Kendall Conrad
“This is the family table,” says Kendall. “We have dinner, the girls do their homework.” It was reimagined from an antique Spanish door. The rattan chairs add airy space. A vase by potter Miri Mara sits near striped cups by a local artisan.

“This is the family table,” says Kendall. “We have dinner, the girls do their homework.” It was reimagined from an antique Spanish door. The rattan chairs add airy space. A vase by potter Miri Mara sits near striped cups by a local artisan.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s modern or traditional, it just has to have the best lines,” says Kendall of her criterion when choosing furnishings. In the library, George Smith armchairs mix with a Moroccan rug and a mesmerizing mobile by Ken Korten.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s modern or traditional, it just has to have the best lines,” says Kendall of her criterion when choosing furnishings. In the library, George Smith armchairs mix with a Moroccan rug and a mesmerizing mobile by Ken Korten.

The built-ins of the library hold many of the things that inspire Kendall and her designs. “Everything gets in,” she says. “Photography, fashion, sculpture, nature.” The woven pedestal table is from William Laman. Also tucked in the shelves are her father’s matador’s hat, an Egyptian Coptic cross, and a leather box made by Kendall.

The built-ins of the library hold many of the things that inspire Kendall and her designs. “Everything gets in,” she says. “Photography, fashion, sculpture, nature.” The woven pedestal table is from William Laman. Also tucked in the shelves are her father’s matador’s hat, an Egyptian Coptic cross, and a leather box made by Kendall.

People feel really cozy and at home here. The house appears small at first, but it keeps opening up to you all the way down to the creek. It never feels vast or lonely.

— Kendall Conrad
This kitchen is not just for show. “That stove is constantly in use,” says Kendall. “And our table is always full of fresh produce from our garden.” A silver ice bucket corrals wooden spoons beneath iron and copper pots. A painting by Kendall’s sister, Cayetana hangs above a traditional tagine.

This kitchen is not just for show. “That stove is constantly in use,” says Kendall. “And our table is always full of fresh produce from our garden.” A silver ice bucket corrals wooden spoons beneath iron and copper pots. A painting by Kendall’s sister, Cayetana hangs above a traditional tagine.

Shelving in the kitchen shows off Kendall’s love of global earthenware. “The pieces are from all over,” says Kendall. “Plates from Mexico, a pre-Columbian pot, trays from Fiji. The rosemary and lemon are from our garden. I eat a lot of pineapple, but I also love the way they look on a counter.”

Shelving in the kitchen shows off Kendall’s love of global earthenware. “The pieces are from all over,” says Kendall. “Plates from Mexico, a pre-Columbian pot, trays from Fiji. The rosemary and lemon are from our garden. I eat a lot of pineapple, but I also love the way they look on a counter.”

In one of the gardens, a bistro set stands ready for an idyllic rendezvous. “That’s David and my little spot,” says Kendall. “We like to sit there in the evening and have some wine.” A leopardwood bowl holds blood oranges from one of the citrus trees.

In one of the gardens, a bistro set stands ready for an idyllic rendezvous. “That’s David and my little spot,” says Kendall. “We like to sit there in the evening and have some wine.” A leopardwood bowl holds blood oranges from one of the citrus trees.

The master suite is a serene, breezy retreat. The centerpiece is a striking wood-and-wicker bed and set of nightstands “They’re custom by Brenda Antin and a future heirloom for our daughters,” Kendall says. Nightstand essentials? “Books, lip balm, and hand cream.” The bedding is Matteo.

The master suite is a serene, breezy retreat. The centerpiece is a striking wood-and-wicker bed and set of nightstands “They’re custom by Brenda Antin and a future heirloom for our daughters,” Kendall says. Nightstand essentials? “Books, lip balm, and hand cream.” The bedding is Matteo.

It doesn’t matter if it’s modern or traditional; it just has to be right for the space and mix well. I think good lines work together regardless of when they were made.

— Kendall Conrad
“I spend a lot of time in this tub,” says Kendall. “To me, the ultimate luxury is a hot bath with salts and essential oils.” The designer logs a lot of reading time here thanks to the natural light streaming from the window and skylight. The tub and fixtures are by Waterworks. Another vintage Moroccan rug covers the floor.

“I spend a lot of time in this tub,” says Kendall. “To me, the ultimate luxury is a hot bath with salts and essential oils.” The designer logs a lot of reading time here thanks to the natural light streaming from the window and skylight. The tub and fixtures are by Waterworks. Another vintage Moroccan rug covers the floor.

An array of textures tops the Indian inlaid bureau in the master bath. “The little snakeskin box and a tigerwood set of drawers hold my jewelry,” says Kendall. “The photo is by my friend Charles Fine, an L.A. artist. His pictures of nature really inspire me.”

An array of textures tops the Indian inlaid bureau in the master bath. “The little snakeskin box and a tigerwood set of drawers hold my jewelry,” says Kendall. “The photo is by my friend Charles Fine, an L.A. artist. His pictures of nature really inspire me.”

Discover Kendall’s Santa Barbara

We asked the designer a few local hangouts, and she wowed us with an insider guide she creates for friends and family. “There’s an abundance of amazing things to do and to see,” says Kendall. From farm-to-table eating to vintage rugs, old-fashioned ice cream to surf breaks, here are the spots not to be missed.

Plow & Angel at San Ysidro Ranch
Offering California cuisine in a stunning location, this is a year-round fave. “It’s supercozy inside by the fire on a cold night, or go on a warm night and sit outside under the loquat trees.”

The Lark
“A boisterous, good farm-to-table” joint, the restaurant was named after the Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad. “They have a great roast chicken,” Kendall says.

Upstairs at Pierre Lafond
Finds from this home store can be spotted all over Kendall’s home. “They just always have something exotic and appealing there. Definitely check out the Moroccan rugs.”

Lotusland
Situated on the estate of Madame Ganna Walska, this unique collection of exotic plants is a must-visit, says Kendall. “The most spectacular gardens and story.”

Kendall Conrad
(Okay, we made her include this.) Stop by to browse Kendall’s supple leather bags, summery sandals, sculptural jewelry, and accessories at the Montecito Country Mart.

Related: See Kendall’s Full Insider Travel Guide to Santa Barbara →

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