An all-white bungalow house—with multiple outdoor rooms, vibrant green accents, and modern, heirloom décor—stands out among the neighboring mansions for its understated perfection.
When Orange County interior designer Amanda Chappelle received a call from her sister about a ranch house she and her husband had purchased in Santa Barbara, Chappelle knew she was about to have some fun.
Despite financial constraints, says Chapple, who was ecstatic to get the go-ahead to rethink this classic farmhouse in the hills with “peekaboo views.” The budget was limited, but there were no limits to her creativity. “Most of the people I work with let me sneak in a few cargo pieces here and there, but they mostly focus on new things trying to look old.”
When you think of Montecito, the famous neighborhood in Santa Barbara that Oprah and a certain former prince call home, “deal” isn’t the first word that comes to mind. It’s one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, studded with 50 million homes. So when an antique three-bedroom farmhouse is sold like this one, neighbors come to expect the demolition crew to roll in and start building another fake Tuscan villa.
“They bought it from the original owners, and the interiors have been untouched since the 1970s,” Chapel says. “I love a classic farmhouse, so it was a fun challenge for me to update and furnish it in minimal quantities, using as much old and used produce as possible.”
Chappell’s goal was to unify the interior space, create more flow between rooms by perforating one of the walls, remodel the bathrooms, and start with a clean rag of Simply White paint by Benjamin Moore.
The biggest cost was adding a full third bathroom, replacing the fixtures with Signature Hardware faucets and shower heads, and investing in Clé Zellige tiles in ocean-inspired shades of blue and blue.
“We used one slab of black marble in two bathrooms,” explains Chappelle. “Then we used a slab of white marble in the kitchen, took the leftovers and put them in that extra bathroom.”
The furniture is a jumble of vintage and spare—paintings, bed frames, chairs, tables, and rugs—sought to steal from local consignment stores in Newport, Chapelle’s hometown, and nearby Summerland.
In the bedrooms, a mix of West Elm linens is lifted by a few select Blue Springs Home throw pillows and blankets, and a handful of antique Ralph Lauren throw pillows.
But it’s the outdoor space that stops the show. There is one long veranda at the back of the house that connects the basic bedroom to the main living area, and three floors and small patios are furnished with deck chairs, dining areas, and conversation circles.
“We bought eight Adirondack chairs from Home Depot, these are composite materials that are supposed to look like wood,” Chappelle says. “It is very low maintenance and well made. The rest of the exterior pieces are of the material.”
Chappelle advises anyone fascinated by cargo shopping to trust their gut. If you like something, buy it. Then figure out how to make it work later.
“If you surround yourself with things you love, you’ll be happier,” Chapel says. “If everything in the house is brand new, it is flat and boring. Lifeless.”
With continued shipping delays and limited availability of new items, Chappelle says, it’s getting harder to find deals at second-hand and antiques stores. But this should not deter you.
“Blending a classic in your home can bring out the beauty of vintage, blending texture and color in unexpected ways,” she says. “This house is special to me because it is the one and only project that I have been able to do exactly the way I want it. It is a simple house in a great place and full of fun things.”
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