Anna & Jon's Santa Barbara Craftsman Home

Anna & Jon's Santa Barbara Craftsman Home

Bethany Nauert
Sep 28, 2011

Name: Jon and Anna Taylor + Jake the dog and Harrow the kitty
Location:Santa Barbara ,California
Size: 900 sq ft (2 Bedrooms + 1 Bath)
Years lived in: 2 months — Rent

Anna and Jon have the cutest craftsman house on a residential east side Santa Barbara street. They have a really warm eclectic mix of decor and style that brings out a little history of their lives together and shows off Anna's crafty style.

When I showed up to the house, Anna and Jon were in the kitchen chopping up vegetables and putting together our afternoon treats. I thought they were props for the photos but immediately Anna clarified "If you're going to have people in your home, you're supposed to feed them." This nurturing hospitality comes easy to both of them, as they both love to throw dinner parties and cooking is their favorite past time. Noting the kitchen as the most essential part of their home (despite that it's a rental and they can't remodel) they are working with what they have. "The kitchen and eating area should be a place that accommodates great cooking with ease and a multitude of people. Whenever we have a party, everyone ends up in the kitchen - all crowded in together. There should be ease between the cooking area, the eating area, and the outdoor area (in Santa Barbara, anyway). We spend so much time grilling and entertainment centering around food, that I think we could probably do without a living room as long as we had a good kitchen and dining room. Not saying I want to get rid of the living room, just saying our cooking and dining area is more important to us. "

This house does have a great dining room (carrying great history and style) and outdoor patio for summer soirees perfect for any gathering. They have two awesome mid century modern sitting chairs, which they happened to get for a steal from Jon's work. They've built a cool bookshelf of wood shelving and bricks, which disguises their tv pretty well. Anna explained that living in Santa Barbara was a nice mix of indoor/outdoor culture. "The weather is so good most of the year, that livable outside spaces really can expand a house. We've turned our front porch into the perfect two-person happy hour spot and our back patio into an extension of our dining room and kitchen." Also, due to the fact that rent is steep in Santa Barbara, they feel they should use the space wisely and not waste valuable square footage. "Turning the outside areas into livable spaces has helped with that, but we also opted for a guest room over a laundry room (world's smallest guest room) so that we can accommodate visitors. Santa Barbara is just such an ideal place to visit, that a guest room is important to us. Can you tell we like to entertain?"

In the bathroom Anna had hung bird houses over her bathtub, which currently goes un-used, because it's the only suitable place for their litter box. However the shower curtain that hangs along the tub is made of pieces of gorgeous fabrics that were a part of a major project they endured earlier this year. Their dog Jake had cancer and the only way they were able to afford the vet bills and treatments was to raise the money themselves. She made lovely aprons from various printed fabrics and sold them online, raising enough money to bring her dog back to full health. There is one apron that remains, which Anna keeps in her craft room/ office as a reminder.

As newlyweds I really felt the sense of warmth and love that this couple have for their new home. Not only is there a great mix of masculine and feminine styles but their hospitality is what is so inviting.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Anna Style?

Inspiration: My grandmother (Anna's grandmother) who was the most resourceful and creative person I've ever known. (not to mention just flat out amazing)

Favorite Element: The silver-blue heirloom dining table that was passed down to me (Anna) from my great grandmother. No, I did not paint it blue - she did, in the 20s. No one in my family wanted it because it's such a statement piece. It took me awhile to embrace its dominance and "blueness", but it has grown on me.

Biggest Challenge: 1). Let's just say that having a blue dining table in a small space really challenges your colors schemes - especially around the holidays. We've had a few "blue and red" Christmases. 2). No money, honey. We are on a tight budget and so we do most of our projects out of things we already have or we can find on craigslist. I have repurposed so many things in this house, sometimes I forget what the original purpose was. I bought the telephone table for $10 and painted it white and re-covered it in suiting fabric I had left over from a design school project. We needed a bedside table for Jon's side of the bed, but nothing would fit in that small space, so I found this table lamp ($5) and painted it an awesome green. Now its more a statement piece. I didn't love the ugly book covers on full display, so I took some of them and covered them in brown paper bags to give the shelves a more uniform look.

What Friends Say: An eclectic blend of antiques and re-purposed craigslist finds combine to make of a peaceful California bungalow retreat on the quirky side of Santa Barbara.

Biggest Embarrassment: The TV. Neither of us have ever liked rooms that are centered around a TV, and after not owning one for years and then receiving one as a gift, it's been an adjustment to have to trouble shoot where to put it. In the small space, it stands out as a large item no matter what you do, so we've incorporated it into our makeshift bookshelf where its size can be partially hidden among other things.

Proudest DIY: : 1). The bookshelf, although, I can't really claim it. My grandmother, who lived in a wealthy community in Los Angeles (and could have most likely afforded a proper bookshelf), came up with the idea of stacking old bricks with plywood around their fireplace. Unconventional and rudimentary, but it's adjustable, flexible, and cheap! We wanted a way to keep the TV from being too noticeable - besides, we love books - so we stole her idea. 2). The shower curtain. It was made from leftover fabric (read: free) from my apron campaign*. The turquoise bathroom is a real design challenge for us since that is not in the color scheme for the rest of the house. So coming up with the idea to combine fabrics to create an intentional collaborations of blue/greens/blacks/other colors make the bathroom less offensive.

*The Apron Campaign, as we called it, was to help me raise money to pay for my dog's cancer surgery last summer. I made hundreds of vintage-inspired aprons and sold them through a blog. I used all sorts of vintage fabric scraps and this was the left over bits.

Biggest Indulgence: The BBQ - although we got it for a steal in an off-season sale. But we use it on an almost daily basis, so I think it's worked for its keep.

Best Advice: Be resourceful first. There are so many ways to re-use, alter, edit and fix at things you already own, buying new things should be the last option. The projects we've done out of stuff we already had have been our favorite items.

Dream Sources: Books on French and Italian country houses, small space design books, any home magazine - I'm guilty of ripping them apart as I tear out pages that inspire me. Pinterest (yes, I admit it).

Resources of Note:


    • Ace Hardware brand paints: all paints custom colors


    • Gold Mirror: my father's mother
    • dry bar: my dad's office when he moved out


    • wood crates: my parents tack room
    • large basket under bench: garage sale in napa valley
    • leather bench: it used to sit outside the barn. Used to be velvet
    • wood side table: found on the side of the road, just needed a good oiling
    • bookshelf: bricks and board from the local hardware store
    • curtains: purchased for a house years ago. Not sure from where.
    • lamps: my mother's mother
    • window: a friend's remodel on their house


    • table: heirloom from great grandmother
    • rug: world market
    • paintings: cousin (
    • horse: my grandmother made it in plaster class back in the 70's
    • topiary tree: garage sale


    • chopping block: Ikea (perfect for tiny spaces 20" x 24")
    • glass canisters: Save-on-crafts
    • wine box: winery friends in Santa Ynez Valley
    • Spice board: magnetic board from ikea, spice jars from world market
    • crock: thrift store
    • pot rack: piping pieces from hardware store


    • armoire: 1920s find from craigslist
    • dresser: Jon's grandmother
    • desk: piece my parents were getting rid of - I painted it and changed the knobs
    • mirror: my father's mother - I gilted it gold
    • painting: my mother's mother
    • table/lamp: $5 craigslist find - I painted it green and added a new shade
    • bird pillow: Anthropologie
    • grain sack pillow: I made it from a French grain sack


    • curtain: hand sewn from left over fabric scraps
    • paintings: Cousin -
    • Birdcages:
    • blue ball jars: garage sale
    • owl toothbrush holders: urban outfitters


    • Telephone table: $10 craigslist find
    • rug: my parents' tack room - boy did it smell for awhile
    • wood crate: parent's garage - used to be full of pipe pieces
    • lamp: Ikea
    • Wood Beringer sign: garage sale in Napa Valley
    • Morrocan window: gift from my sister and brother-in-law
    • grain sack pillow: I made it from a grain sack from France - the other half is in the bedroom
    • brass candlesticks: my mother's mother
    • Painting: //

Thanks, Anna and Jon!

Images: Bethany Nauert

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