Joan & Jim’s Lovely, Artful Home

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Joan and Jim Tanner
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Size: ample
Years lived in: 45

Joan and Jim live in one of the most artful, layered homes I’ve ever come across. It is at once cozy, enchanting, exuberant, chic and family-centered. Their space is truly a reflection of what full, vibrant lives Joan and Jim have led as an artist and a doctor. Join me in the hills of Santa Barbara for a unique glimpse into a remarkable home.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This is a spectacular house with a lifetime of family history. Structurally, it has a Mexican Adobe hacienda style, single story with multi-tiered gardens and patios. The ceilings are tall and many of the walls a matte plaster finish. The simple architecture makes for the perfect backdrop for Joan and Jim’s extensive contemporary art collection. Joan, a celebrated sculptor and painter, is an avid collector of swell objects and fine art from all ends of the spectrum. A Marcel Dzama illustration (purchased when he first began showing in the US years ago) hangs alongside a collection of tiny Porcelain pagoda figures purchased in a flea market in Bejing China. This is a home where more really is more. Every surface is covered with a new and interesting piece of art, done by either a student or a master. The low and the high brow get equal bidding in this home, and the results are whimsical and beautiful.

Joan and Jim are very green in the sense that they make purchases carefully and keep things forever, investing in quality pieces and just having repairs done as needed. In fact, Joan’s entire cookery appliance collection is about forty-five years old and everything still works like a charm. They garden voraciously and live life to the fullest, especially when the much-adored grandchildren come to play, whereupon Joan has been known to make entire doll collections (with exquisite wardrobes) from scraps of material found hanging around her studio or whip up her mother’s recipe for scalded milk cake with cream cheese frosting at a drop of a hat, always teaching and including the children on every aspect of the experience. Joan and Jim’s passion for life and their enthusiastic friendships keep their house full of laughter, handmade furniture and sublime art.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Re-Nest Survey:

Our style: Contemporary/eclectic/old stuff from the 30s – 50s / regressive and handmade

Inspiration: Interiors that reflect the above

Favorite Element: Untreated, redwood beams in ceiling of living room

Biggest Challenge: Avoiding pretense

What Friends Say: “Don’t change it.”

Proudest DIY: A deep, table-cupboard (with hinged lid). I lined the interior with copper to convert it into a ‘bar’ for our first apartment while living in Cambridge MA.

Biggest Indulgence: Continuing to live here

Best Advice: Invent a way to collect interesting and affordable furnishings instead of going into debt buying overpriced items with absurd markups.

Green Elements/Initiatives: Restored furniture and contemporary pieces made out of recycled materials

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Appliances: Sears

Hardware: Came with the house

Furniture: Furniture designer friend, inherited, secondhand stores, family castoffs, randomly found items, Modernist furniture Fair in LA

Rugs and Carpets: Inherited, secondhand stores

Tiles and Stone: Santa Barbara Tile

Window Treatments: Santa Barbara Screen & Shade

Beds: Macy’s

Artwork: Collection purchased over many years from artists and galleries

Paint: Nothing of note.

Flooring: Original mahogany floor

(Thanks, Joan and Jim!)
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(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)