“Friends would ask me, ‘Do you know a place around here with nice furniture that’s not super expensive?'” says interior designer Birgit Klein, who goes by Bee. Her answer being no, she would offer to help them in L.A., where her business is based, but many didn’t want to make the trek. So she started wondering about opening a satellite office here. It sounded appealing for personal reasons, too: “I’ve been commuting weekly to L.A. for five years and traveling all the time to Paris, the Hamptons, wherever. It’s great, except I have two small kids, and I wanted to be around them more.”
Klein looked for a space for a year, “but of course interior designers are picky.” Even when she found the right one, the former Julianne clothing boutique in Montecito’s San Ysidro Village, she made changes—removing cabinets and lightening the room. And she invited Una Malan, who has two L.A. design showrooms, to partner with her. “When moved to L.A. in 2009, I became friends with Una. She represents brands I really like, especially fabrics.”
The goal of the shop/showroom, open weekdays, is to offer one-stop shopping. While you can buy anything right off the floor, the emphasis is on custom design, whether it’s furniture, accessories like pillows and throws, light fixtures, rugs, or wallpaper. “We can do anything,” says Klein. “People think custom furniture is more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. And all our furniture is made locally in Southern California, so we can watch it, test it, make sure it’s comfortable.”
Perhaps best of all, whether you’re shopping the floor or commissioning something custom, design assistance is always available.