Kerry’s “Soulful Jungle” Style in Santa Barbara

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Name: Kerry Clarkson, and daughter Azure
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 1 year, 8 months

It’s been well over a year now since Kerry left Lima, Peru, deciding to stay in Santa Barbara after a visit. That meant leaving a lot behind and starting over with very little in the way of material items and furniture. But she had everything meaningful to her in tow (namely her 6-year old daughter Azure) and a vision for a handcrafted shoe line she had been dreaming about for years. Fast forward two years, and she has launched TAKA Footwear and a fashion consulting business, as well as crafted a home filled with comfort and decor that reflects both her Peruvian (mother) and British (father) heritage. It’s a mix that is ever changing and evolving—just as her life has been.

(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

“I feel like by the time you’re in your 30s you usually have the core house items, like a bed and a sofa,” Kerry expressed. Moving here, and setting up house and shop without much more than “a deck of cards,” as Kerry put it, has presented both challenges and opportunities. With time, some great local finds, and her grandmother’s help (who brings her some of the small but cherished items she left behind, whenever she visits Kerry from Lima) she has pieced it all back together. During our visit with Kerry, it was clear that almost all roads lead to the local Goodwill. The key to the great finds there, she advised us, is consistency; make your visits, “as regular as your coffee habit,” she explained.

(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

Reflecting on her style, Kerry said, “I think you absorb your surroundings to some extent,” and her style has taken on this light, airy vibe that exists in Santa Barbara. Still, traces of her background and time spent living in London and Peru can be found everywhere you look. The bold graphic and pop-colored art in the hallway reminds her of the British pop art she was attracted to while living in London as a teen, while the plants everywhere evoke the jungles of Lima, which she lived near while in Peru. Looking closely, you’ll see the Antique llama bells and framed pressed flowers that are just some of the personal treasures her grandmother brings from Peru when she visits. They are little gifts from her past that come by the hands of a loved one, gracing her life here, anew.

(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Soulful jungle mercado

Inspiration: Abstract elements from nature, tribal art, repeating patterns and dreams

Favorite Element: Our collection of crystals and collected treasures

Biggest Challenge: I moved back to the U.S. 2 years ago after spending five in Peru, and I had to leave almost everything behind. Most things take time to love and become a part of you, so it’s like starting over.

What Friends Say: “Every time I come here it looks different.”

Biggest Embarrassment: The hundreds of tiny nail holes in the walls from moving art around.

Proudest DIY: Finding and framing random prints from a college art teaching toolkit from the 70s

Biggest Indulgence: Abstract expressionist lithographs —Chagall, Stella, Adami and Picasso. And, tribal rugs.

Best Advice: That I could live (happily) without any of this

Dream Sources: A carpenter, a 70s Bungalow in Topanga with an open floor plan and Luis Barragan and Joseph Campbell over for brainstorming



  • Vintage Art Books & Prints: Bank of Books in Ventura
  • Goodwill in Santa Barbara at Bath & Carrillo; consistency is key!
  • Textiles: Etsy -Deadstock Fabrics
  • Lighting: Ikea
  • La Cacchia Flea Market in Lima
  • Craigslist Mid-Century in SLO
  • El Barratillo in Cuzco
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Tiled mid-century coffee table: From refinisher in Orcutt
  • Art-Woman Reclining: Thrifted in San Luis Obispo
  • Crystal and Prayer Artifacts: Cuzco
  • Stoneware Mirror: Goodwill
  • Plants: Farmer’s Market
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Sofa: Ikea
  • Vintage Peruvian Rug Sofa Cover: Cuzco Flea Market
  • Alpaca Pillows (in all rooms): Cuzco
  • Tri-Diamond Rug: Atlas Weavers
  • Robert Graham Lithograph Print: Ebay
  • Show Shine Boxes: Ebay
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Mid-Century Dining Table: Thrift Store in Goleta
  • Lamp: Ikea
  • Grandfather’s Bookcase: Goodwill Treasures
  • Adami Print
  • Framed Pressed Flowers: La Cachina
  • Slotted Expandable Bench: Goodwill
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Bowls: Thrifted and from Grandmother
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Mid-Century Chest of Drawers: Craigslist dealer in Santa Maria
  • Side Table: Peru Market
  • Pink Lamp: Base from Goodwill and rust lampshade thrifted
  • Art Print: Bank of Books
  • Linen Sheet on Bed: Restoration Hardware -easy way to change colors
  • Brass Shell Bookends and Box: The Blue Door in Santa Barbara
  • Chagall “Bible” Print of Unicorn Man: Ebay
  • Sunburst Mirror: Artesano Insiam Market, Lima, Peru
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Vintage hand mirrors: Silver Lake Flea
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Ikea Chaise Lounge with Sheet: Goodwill
  • Tree and Man Nomad Wandering Photographs: Goodwill
  • Women Dancing by Candlelight Print by Emil Nolde: Goodwill
  • Frank Stella Print: Ebay
  • Learning Resource Art Prints: Bank of Books
  • Antique Llama Bells: El Baratillo, Cuzco, Peru
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A sunny front porch leads into Kerry’s Craftsman cottage (Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

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Thanks, Kerry!