A DESIGN STORE WHERE YOU CAN STAY THE NIGHT
By Alicia Brunker
“Can you hear the chickens clucking?” asks Scotti Sitz about the flock of silkies that roam the outdoor patio of Garde Summerland, the second outpost of her Los Angeles home-design store Garde. Located a few miles south of Montecito, California, Sitz’s latest project is a store-cum-apartment that occupies a white clapboard farmhouse set above a cliff overlooking Summerland Beach on the central California coast.
Inside, the store embodies Sitz’s distinct brand of craft-focused California minimalism: Arranged around the airy white-walled space — which is flooded with light from the barn’s original multi-pane windows — are geometric marble containers by the Belgian industrial designer Michaël Verheyden and life-size sheep stools by the German designer Hanns-Peter Krafft. In the center of the room, a chandelier with 18 lithe brass arms by the New York design studio Materia hangs above a wood-burning fireplace flanked by a white aluminum and tan leather Christophe de la Fontaine chaise. In a corner, a whitewashed oak table by Arno Declercq is decorated with the Belgian designer’s matching candelabra and ceramic bowls handmade in Italy.
Sitz, a native Angeleno, spent over 20 years working in retail development at fashion brands including Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani in New York City before branching into design. “In the ’90s, their clothes were steeped in earth tones without a lot of ornamentation. The proportions and shapes — the soft curve of an Armani jacket or Calvin’s drapey pants — were also very influential and created a foundation for my interior taste,” she says. In 2000, she moved back to the West Coast and began designing the interiors of Spanish-style houses in the Hollywood Hills. She soon realized there was a gap in the market for thoughtful, understated furnishings that fit her point of view and so, in 2012, she opened her own store.
On Beverly Boulevard, in Los Angeles’s Fairfax neighborhood, Sitz showcases her restrained aesthetic in the form of sculptural fiberglass chairs by Faye Toogood and utilitarian Vincent Van Duysen ceramics — all housed within a 1,000-square-foot former electronics store that Sitz has refinished with slate gray painted walls and cement floors. The compact size of the space soon motivated Sitz to expand with a larger second location. This story originally appeared on the NYTimes.com.