Santa Barbara’s Design District

Most of the time, when I find myself in this industrial Santa Barbara neighborhood – roughly the area between Haley and Gutierrez and fanning out from Olive street to Quarantina and the street with my favorite name, Salsipuedes ( which means “Get out if you can”) – is to have my aging Volvo serviced. In the past I’d walk to the now-defunct Muddy Waters with my laptop for a cup of coffee, and wait for either an oil change or news of what repairs needed to be done. There really hadn’t been much else to do in the hood.

That’s all changed.

These days, there are more and more reasons to roam in what’s been dubbed Santa Barbara’s Design District. You can still grab breakfast at the 80-year-old institution Rose Cafe or a healthy smoothie or fresh pressed organic juice at Ah Juice, Both on Haley Street, pre-retail store opening hours. There’s even millworks’s “Welcome Coffee Cart” for java and parties in the courtyard that’s becoming a happening neighborhood hangout.

Now you can also shop for snazzy light fixtures, glamorous dressing tables and custom sofas. There are high-end bathroom fixtures, glossy kitchen cabinets and uber chic textiles and re-sale furnishings and antiques. There’s always a cornucopia of items at the Home Improvement Center for your home projects and more, all within walking distance of one another.

Santa Barbara Design District, the industrial mixed use area between Haley and Gutierrez Streets spread from the epicenter that Michael Kourosh of Santa Barbara Design Center had the vision and imagination to move to five years ago from his long-established oriental rug and design showroom on state street. the trailblazer cleverly had the foresight to develop his 25,000 square foot showroom on Olive street across from home improvement center with his own customer parking in the mixed-use industrial area.

“When we moved here no one was even thinking about this area as a design district!” notes Michael Kourosh, ” It’s great that others are coming.” Santa Barbara Design Center is the largest showroom and is known for rugs, upholstery and sofas they manufacturer. Numerous furniture and lighting lines, including Hooker and Artistica, and the new stunning new Cynthia Rowley line are thoughtfully arranged. The outdoor patio furniture section that faces Haley street has fake grass flooring (yes, you can order this here) and a nice array of outdoor fabric from Sunbrella, Ralph Lauren and other well known manufactures.


By: Leslie A. Westbrook