At This Montecito Ranch House, a Garage Door Gives New Meaning to the Term “Open Kitchen”
Easy, breezy, and oh so beautiful.
Published Apr 20, 2022 12:54 AM
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It’s not that Brian and Jessie De Lowe don’t like sidling up to a romantic natural wine bar or trying a tasting-menu spot on date night. It’s just that when your home provides one of the most stylish bars in town and there’s always a guaranteed seat with your name on it, why travel?
“We like to joke that our favorite place to go on a date is our own house,” says Brian, cofounder and president of Proper Hospitality. He’s only partly joking. The pair, who have two children, will sometimes hire a babysitter only to say goodbye to their kids, step out the front door, and sneak around to the back, where a terracotta wall and onyx stone bar marks the spot for the best cocktails in town.
Seeing how dreamy the whole setup is, it’s ironic that the couple never saw themselves settling down in Montecito, California, long-term. Before the pandemic, they were living in Los Angeles, but as COVID cases started to rise, they booked it up north along the coast and rented a home for a change of pace. Then by the fall of 2020, they had bought and started renovating their current single-level, four-bedroom, four-bathroom house to have a textural, uncluttered Majorcan feel, thanks to House of Honey.
It’s not just the built-in bar that makes them never want to leave: Every room (except for their kids’ spaces) opens up to the outside, starting with the bright and airy kitchen, which has two modes of access to the great outdoors. First, there’s a massive garage-door window that opens up to bar seating, and then there’s a sliding glass door (both are by Architectural Ironworks) that leads to a patio and then the backyard, where their daughters pick lemons, oranges, and avocados off the trees. “Nine days out of 10, we have both open the entire day, and it immediately makes you feel like you’re on vacation,” says Brian.
And yet the home is also an ideal WFH spot, with plenty of seating to choose from (the family usually eats at the kitchen island or in the dusty blue–walled breakfast nook), though the formal dining table is the most popular place for a laptop session as opposed to taking meals because, as Jessie puts it, “We have a beautiful Armadillo rug, and I don’t trust my children just yet not to spill.”
It’s also no surprise that the calming wood-paneled space, filled with vintage treasures from a trip to the Round Top Antiques Fair, acts as a home base for Jessie’s manifestation workshops and retreats, The Dream Catcher. But the real zen comes in the couple’s main bathroom, where what Jessie calls a “womb-shaped” Concrete Nation pink tub and matching sink basins set a serene scene. “If I come home from work and I don’t know where everyone is, I just go straight to the bathroom and inevitably the three of them are in there,” says Brian.
In the adjoining main bedroom, the Portola Roman Clay paint that starts in the bathroom continues, then transitions into a wood-paneled wall that pops against the Cultiver bedding and Anthropologie headboard. There’s also a Kelly Wearstler light fixture, a nod to Brian’s lead designer at the Proper. (A credenza by Wearstler lives in the dining room, too.)
And then outside their bedroom door is another reason to ditch the kids and walk around the back of the house: A hot tub and steam sauna await on the patio. Or as Jessie puts it: “It’s just our own little sanctuary.”