After 25 years, San Luis Obispo–based Habitat Home & Garden has finally branched out to Santa Barbara. The huge new store at the corner of State and Gutierrez is 5,000 square feet, with another 2,500 square feet of warehouse directly behind it. (Big as that is, it pales in comparison to the company’s 30,000-square-foot warehouse in Arroyo Grande, open by appointment.)
“Everything we sell, we either make ourselves or import,” says creative director Tony Schaar, whose job it is to travel the world sourcing merchandise. That includes not just furniture but also rugs, throws, pillows, art, books, candles—even the plants are for sale. Shipments of one-of-a-kind pieces recently came in from India and Denmark, while artisans in Europe and Asia create new pieces using traditional methods, with sustainable and upcycled materials. Schaar says the aesthetic is “boho chic, with elements of organic modernism but more eclectic. It’s not all beige.” Pricing is similar to or lower than Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, and at Habitat, you get something unique.
The space—formerly Territory Ahead, and before that Big Dog Sportswear—has been gutted, with the dropped ceiling removed to expose wooden beams and better show off the goods. When you stop by, ask to wander around the warehouse. It used to be a tow-truck garage—and it even has the antique tow truck as proof.
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