A “Boho Minimal” Rental in Santa Barbara

updated Apr 30, 2019

A “Boho Minimal” Rental in Santa Barbara

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Sadie and Dana Solomon, and their cat Emma and rabbit Buns
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years, renting

Though Sadie and Dana have been living in their 1940s Santa Barbara home for seven years, the couple never stops letting the home evolve and grow in style and design. Sadie, an artist and the woman behind EmmieBean Custom Portraits, admits that she and her husband (a content strategist at a local tech startup) have already gone through four different paint colors in every room along with multiple DIYs and projects…all which make the home truly their own. The two, who originally started dating in high school, share the bright and airy space with their cat, Emma, and bunny, Buns.

The home originally belonged to a friend, and Sadie and Dana always used t joke that one day they would snatch it up. Lucky for them the friend ended up moving out and giving the couple the opportunity to turn this gem of a place into any creative’s dream. The combination of Boho-California with a minimalist’s touch has elevated the look in every room into something effortlessly stylish. Sadie makes sure to fill nooks with crafts and art pieces she has picked up at different fairs over the years — and Dana loves the “good vibes” it brings the space.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: If this is such a thing, it’d probably be called something like “California-boho-minimalism”? 🙂

Inspiration: The California landscape, Santa Barbara’s beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, the desert, Scandinavian design, Minimalism, Australian design (especially in love with brands Pop & Scott and Pampa!), traditional cultural textiles and ceramics, Frank Lloyd Wright, Japanese design, the handmade movement, the relaxed style of the 1970s, Apartment Therapy, Domino, Hunker, and Lonny Magazine.

Favorite Element: Anything handmade with a story behind it.

Biggest Challenge: Definitely the quirks of living in an old apartment built in the 1940s. Our kitchen cabinets are all original, so getting all of the doors to close properly and trying to keep things looking fresh in there has been a challenge. We covered up the old linoleum with flooring we found on sale from Home Depot, and painted the cabinets and added gold hardware to try and distract from some of the imperfections, and that really helped.

What Friends Say: Our place is always changing and evolving. And it’s so true. I love having a fun DIY home project on the weekend, so I’m usually coming up with something new to make or figuring out what I can update in our space. Dana is always so patient with helping me move a piece of furniture from here to there, or helping me build the projects I sketch out. Our most recent build is that funny radiator cover with the cacti on top.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our messy closets! 🙂 Also that all of our curtains have tiny holes in the bottom of them from our rabbit, Buns. She’s trouble.

Proudest DIY: We’ve built a lot of our furniture, so that’s always a big source of pride because we know how much time and effort went into creating each piece. I’m also pretty proud of my Frankenstein-ed pop-out desk, which I built by flipping a friend’s old shelving system on its side, and adding doors and a fold-out secretary style desk inside. It lets me mentally “close up shop” at the end of each work day, which is nice since my studio is in my home.

Biggest Indulgence: I like to buy something handmade at every craft fair I work, or do trades with other vendor friends. Dana and I both feel like it creates good vibes in our home when we surround ourselves with pieces created by other artists and makers we admire, so we try to do that as much as possible.

Best Advice: Curate and design your home slowly over time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and don’t forget to have fun. Adopt the occasional trend, without losing sight of your own unique style.

Dream Sources: General Store, Australian brands Pop & Scott and Pampa, The Citizenry


Benjamin Moore — Simply White
Benjamin Moore — Pink accents around house were hand-mixed from a combination of different pinks and ivory paints that I had on hand

Decorative Wall Mirror and Shelf – Project 62 — Target
Tiny face planter — Friend Assembly– love these little “faceplant” friends!
Stoneware Bottle — H&M
ferm LIVING Wood Bead Taper Holder — Urban Outfitters
Tall Stoneware Vase — H&M
Stoneware Serving Dish — H&M
Mudcloth — Field Trip. A great little store in Portland!
Basket — Ikea
Mortar and Pestle — found on a trip to Austin, TX
Rug — Rugs USA
Terra Cotta bowl — Vintage
Bowl and Pipe — Stonedware Company
Humble Ceramics Cork Canister — General Store
Sheepskin pillows — Ikea
Kilim pillows — Vintage
Child Field Fellows Coral Blanket — Hillery Sproatt

Media console — handmade by friends. It houses our beloved record collection, which we’ve been collecting since we were both 15 years old, scouring old record stores in Ventura and Los Angeles, trying to find Fleetwood Mac or Led Zeppelin albums in good condition. As you can tell from the framed photos of some of our music icons like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, music is something that we really nerd out on, especially classic rock, and something we spend a lot of time talking about.

Ceramic Snakes — Joyride Ceramics. Every time we see Sarah and Kristian’s little handmade snakes we laugh, they’re just so great! I’m actually a little afraid of snakes, but I do think having these around has helped me feel a little more affectionate towards them.

Gold frame — all of our gold frames around the house belonged to my artist grandfather, so they make our artwork feel extra special.

Macramé wall hanging — Establish, one of my favorite shops in San Francisco! Whenever I travel to SF for a long craft fair weekend I like to buy myself a little treat-yo-self plant or item from this great store in Outer Sunset, and this was one of them. It’s become a fun little tradition, so I’ve definitely amassed quite an assortment of things in the 5+ years I’ve been running EmmieBean.

Rain stick — Vintage. This brings me right back to my childhood in the 1990s, where there seemed to be a rainstick in every classroom and at every friend’s house. Not sure if that was just a California thing? Haha. But when I saw this on Etsy I knew we needed it in our house! 🙂 It’s soothing but our cat is a little terrified of it!

Bowl — Harmony Glassworks discovered in this tiny town a couple hours north of Santa Barbara called Harmony, with a population of 18 people! It feels like a bit of a ghost town, but has a beautiful collection of pottery, and even a little wine tasting room.

Vintage Santa Barbara books — these belonged to my grandparents, who moved to Santa Barbara in the ’70s and really fostered Dana’s and my love for this town. We spent a lot of warm nights hanging out in their backyard under their huge Japanese maple tree, some of my favorite memories we’ve had here.

Black & White Photo of Big Sur — Handmade. The frame was made using craft wood and twine, and the photo was printed as an Engineering Print for $4 at Staples. It’s a fun way to print artwork inexpensively if it’s a piece where the quality isn’t hugely important. This was just an iPhone photo so it was perfect for the job.

Coffee Table — handmade with wood sourced from the guys at Woodshop in San Francisco, with metal hairpin legs found on Etsy.

Custom Sofa — U Design It Sofa Company. We worked with a mom and pop company in the Valley to create this piece. We literally just drew a tiny sketch on the back of a receipt, told them the fabric and materials we wanted, and John created exactly what we had imagined. In the end I think it was more affordable than some of the other options out there, and it’s definitely better made so it should stand up to a reupholstering or two.

Catarina Lumbar pillow — Local + Lejos. They work with artisans around the world to create beautiful handmade pieces, and pay their artisans a fair livable wage.

Lerhamn Table — IKEA
Chairs — Amazon
Succulent photo — Mariah Tiffany
Radiator cover — Handmade by us
Tripod Floor Lamp — Target
Shibori table runner — Handmade by me
Textured Organic Vase — West Elm
Round Mirror — Target

RCF tour poster screen print by Mat Daly — Renegade Craft Fair. My favorite craft fair, you’ll find me traveling around the U.S. a half a dozen times a year for my business, EmmieBean Custom Portraits. Come visit me and say hi!

Mobile Chandelier — West Elm
Live edge wood “desk” — Made from wood sourced from a local Santa Barbarian on Craigslist, and cut to fit the space.
White storage cabinets — IKEA
Paintings — Painted Mary
Large Wooden Tray — H&M
Tall Stoneware Vase — H&M
Small Stoneware Vase — H&M
Connected Stripe Rag Rug — Urban Outfitters
Oaxacan Jarrito Basket — Territory Design
Succulents Poster and Hello card — Small Adventure
Desk — handmade
Easel frame — handmade and sold on my website
Agate Double Bowl — CB2
Potted plants — Establish
Small Storage Baskets — H&M

Vintage Macrame book- a gift from my Aunt Lynn who got into macrame when she was my age. She was pretty amused to find out the trend had resurfaced over the last couple years.

Living on the Earth book — General Store. I love that this entire book is hand-drawn and handwritten. You don’t see that very often!

Malawi Wicker Chair — World Market. A really special piece I’m sure we’ll have for many years.

Vintage Pillow — Maven Collective. Another great Portland store! We alway stop in here anytime we’re in town.

Horse Hair Necklace — Faye Kendall. She make these beautiful necklaces from cruelty-free horsehair. They’re so unique and beautiful that I like to use them as both necklaces and wall-art. Probably a hold-over from my jewelry merchandising days.

Gold Wall Hanging — Nate Berkus for Target. There are also some really talented independent makers out there creating similar gold wall hangings. One I love is Natalie Joy. It’s like jewelry for your walls!

2 little dog paintings — Mad Good Dog. Dana and I love Madelon’s eye for all the adorable details about these good boys. We’re planning to commission some more paintings and little sculptures of Emma and Buns soon!

Illustration — Laura Berger
2 cutting boards on wall — Black Bird Books in Outer Sunset
Terra Cotta wall hanging — Faye Kendall
Totem wall hanging — Attalie Dexter
Hex Knob Brushed Brass — CB2
Hex Handle 5″ Brushed Brass — CB2
Pitch Black Dinner Plate — CB2
Pitch Black Soup Bowl — CB2
Dip Black & White Canisters — CB2
Celia Vase White — CB2
Metal Plant Pots — H&M
Wooden Ladles — H&M
Karla Hand Towel Cement — CB2
Universal Expert Utensils — West Elm
Marble Kitchen Utensil Holder — West Elm
Marble Pastry Slab — West Elm
Wire Kitchen Foldable Dish rack, Copper — West Elm
FEED Oven Mitt — West Elm
Marble Paper Towel Holder — West Elm
Marble Mortar + Pestle — West Elm

Abrigo Bed Blanket — The Citizenry
Nightstand — handmade
Large Wooden Tray — H&M
Small Glass Vase — H&M
Nile Glass Vase — CB2
Tarva 6-drawer chest — IKEA
Melrose Gold Serving Bowl — CB2
Metal Candlestick — H&M
Modern Vase Medium – Project 62 — Target
Modern Vase Large – Project 62 — Target
Rug — Urban Outfitters
Lamp — Urban Outfitters
Globe Pendant Light — West Elm
California Deadstock Poster — Establish
Palm Hat — West Perro
Faye Textured Linen Pillows on bed — Pottery Barn

Horizontal Black & White Photo — Handmade. The frame was made using craft wood and twine, and Dana took the photo, which was printed as an Engineering Print for $4 at Staples.

Lunar Ivory Vase — CB2
Wreath — Black Bird Books in Outer Sunset

Karla Shower Curtain Copper — CB2
Amber & Moss candle — PF Candle Co.
Vega Bath 1 Bulb Brass Sconce — CB2
Brass Toilet Paper Holder — CB2
Round Glass Vase — H&M
Carter Triangle Bracket Wall Shelves — Urban Outfitters
Daughter of the Land face & body oil — Daughter of the Land
Fir Needle Body Soap — Solace Apothecary
Linen cloth in Salmon — Beam & Anchor
Connected Stripe Rag Rug — Urban Outfitters

Thanks, Sadie and Dana!

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