Garde, the design gallery and home goods store that’s been on Beverly Boulevard since 2012, is expanding its reach in a couple of significant ways.
“We’ve always wanted to be in a resort town that’s beautiful,” says founder and co-owner Scotti Sitz. “But the timing was never right” for Sitz and partner John Davidson to open another shop in Southern California that offers their sophisticated yet understated selection of domestic and imported furniture, lighting, accessories and jewelry.
They eventually followed through, however, and the second iteration of Garde recently opened in Summerland, Calif., just south of Santa Barbara and Montecito.
This move came about during a visit last summer, when Sitz and Davidson made a serendipitous stop while on their usual rounds. The owner of a longtime Summerland antiques barn had died, and the “historically delightful” 1921 structure — complete with gambrel roof and grounds with potential — was available. A few weeks later, Sitz and Davidson signed a lease.
The area’s subsequent fires and mudslides “raised some questions” as to the prudence of the venture, Sitz recalls. But “it suddenly hit me that I wanted to be part of the revitalization,” and she and Davidson began renovating the structure, revealing hidden gems, like previously boarded up windows.
They also took on another enterprise. “I really wanted to test the model in terms of the combination of lifestyle, retail and hospitality,” Sitz says.
Garde House, the 1,000-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment on the barn’s second floor, is envisioned as a short-term vacation rental. Sitz designed the unit, collaborating with specialists Ryan Silverman of Studio E&R on custom woodwork and Belgian architectural hardware craftsman Peter van Cronenburg and carefully selecting other guest amenities. It’s an exercise in the increasingly fluid, hybrid nature of travel and shopping experiences; if visitors fall in love with something, they can walk downstairs and buy or order it.
Sitz and Davidson are taking advantage of the “opportunity to show more lighting and furniture,” she says of the spacious ground floor, which functions as a gallery for designers and makers that Garde champions, including Materia Designs, DIM Atelier and Ben Storms. Some pieces are exclusive to Garde Summerland, which also features an outdoor patio area with Silkie chickens that add to the rustic charm. “Knowing how many interior designers are up there is a huge plus,” she notes. In addition, the Summerland location stocks textiles, tabletop wares, custom scented candles and other accessories that draw customers to the original store, but now in a completely different environment.
“People are so in awe of it now, because it’s this bright, wonderful space,” Sitz says of the revitalized setting.
Where: 2280 Lillie Ave., Summerland, Calif.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Info: (805) 845-8384, gardeshop.com