Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

How to dress up your patio

Monday, June 22nd, 2009
A custom tent with side draperies and scalloped details creates a secluded, breezy patio retreat

A custom tent with side draperies and scalloped details creates a secluded, breezy patio retreat

Interior designer Deborah Campbell knows how to turn an ordinary patio into a place you’ll want to visit often — and perhaps never leave. Use her design ingredients to create a private respite where you can rejuvenate and collect your thoughts.

The Santa Barbara-based principal of Deborah Campbell Interior Design transformed two private patio spaces into outdoor rooms at Casa Robles, the design showcase that benefits CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation, a Santa Barbara nonprofit organization whose mission is to end child abuse).

On location: Gary Moss, photographer (kneeling), as he perfects his shot in the family room. His assistant Pam is to his left; 805 Living editor Lynne Andujar is at right

On location: Gary Moss, photographer (kneeling), as he perfects his shot in the family room. His assistant Pam is to his left; 805 Living editor Lynne Andujar is at right

As part of the 805 Living Magazine team that created the CALM Showcase program, I wanted to see the finished project in person before the public tours close this coming Sunday, June 28th (see details below). 805 Living is the presenting sponsor of the event, and editor Lynne Andujar asked me to write a feature story about the home and interiors for our November 2009 issue. This morning I drove to Santa Barbara to see and tour the project. Lynne was there with photographer Gary Moss, shooting the interior and exterior spaces for my story. They captured some gorgeous, evocative shots! Can’t wait to see them in print.

I also met several of the designers involved in creating the new house, including Annette Flower (who created the family room off of the kitchen), Gillian Amery of The Kitchen Company, and Deborah Campbell. The other key persons on the creative team include Christy Martin of Studio Encanto, the primary interior designer; Harrison Design Associates, the architecture firm; Lindsay Adams Construction, the contractor; and Katie O’Reilly Rogers, ASLA, landscape architect (who created the patio’s proportions and selected the beautiful Ashlar-laid stone).  

Create an outdoor room with a Sunbrella fabric tent lined with sheer panels and Morrocan print fabric on ceiling

Create an outdoor room with a Sunbrella fabric tent lined with sheer panels and Morrocan print fabric on ceiling

Deborah Campbell’s design for the living room patio is completely enchanting. In studying and photographing it, I realized that her design, which she calls “Soft Summer Breezes,” offers a perfect recipe for decorating any patio.

Of course, it would be tres bien to turn your own patio into an open-air Kasbah with a custom-made canvas tent lined with sheer fabric and Moroccan toile draped across the ceiling.

But if you can’t do that, try creating an overhead fabric ceiling from yardage, sheets or tablecloths that suit your fancy.

Remember when you were a kid and you clipped two sheets to a clothesline and then pulled them out at the bottom to anchor as the “sides” of your makeshift tent? Ingenuity like that is priceless – we all need to remember our childhood shelter-making ideas and re-purpose them as adults.

Here’s a quote from Deborah:

“I am inspired by the Mediterranean architecture and Santa Barbara’s mild, year-round climate. I wanted to create outdoor rooms to capture that casual lifestyle. My personal style is always loose, relaxed, and eclectic. Nothing is perfectly arranged . . . because I wanted to give a sense of our California casualness.”


Try these patio design elements to decorate your outdoor room, straight from Deborah’s drafting table:

Rugs:  A vintage Moroccan area rug is layered over a jute outdoor rug. The rug is protected from sunlight and rain. If you don’t have a covered area, look for one of the new, cool weatherproof rugs, such as Pier 1 imports’ selections. The Moroccan rug is from Upstairs at Pierre LaFond, Santa Barbara. Also shown here is the rattan “Poof” floor cushion, from Porch in Carpinteria. It echoes texture from the wicker chairs and invites you to perch, curl up your legs, and rest your drink on the coffee table.

seating-textilesSeating: Deborah selected wicker occasional chairs and piled them high with eclectic textile pillows and basic driftwood-colored linen cushions. The chairs evoke life at the beach, from Porch in Carpinteria.

more-textilesTextiles: Pillows galore lend one-of-a-kind interest and beautiful textures. They tell a narrative of an owner who has traveled widely and who loves to pair old with new; worn with polished; rustic with refined. Pillows from Upstairs at Pierre LaFond and Rooms & Gardens, both in Santa Barbara.

coffeetableTables: Weathered and worn, the plank-topped coffee table is large enough to do double-duty as an al fresco dining table. It is by Brick Maker, available at Porch.


The “Scroll” console table is perfect for displaying objects or setting up a picnic buffet on a cool summer evening.

wine-stave-chandelierLantern: Okay, the over-sized lantern is a gorgeous thing to behold. I love, love, love that Deborah went BIG in scale in selecting this element of her design. It is called a “Wine Stave” chandelier, made from old wine barrels. You can kind of see the influence in the wood rings. I wish I could have photographed it while lit, but if you squint, you’ll get the idea. This lamp-chandelier makes the design sing! It’s from Porch.



Objects: Decorative orbs (right) are made from burl root and lend another distressed texture to the space. Spanish hand-blown glass bottles look like beach glass (left). All of these items are from Porch.

killer-agavePlants: Drama is key. Each plant needs to have presence in the space, almost as sculpture. The mature Agave, potted in a cast concrete urn, is one example. (Above): The cast-concrete bowl, planted with Euphorbia ‘Sticks of Fire’ is another.


Casa Robles is an exquisite, historic property originally designed by Chester Carjola in 1948. The modest California ranch, situated on a oak-studded hillside with views of the famed Santa Barbara Mission, has been completely transformed and reimagined to capture the essence of a California Spanish Colonial estate. Most of the rooms open onto an interior courtyard, outdoor patios and second floor terraces. Enlarged to 4,500-square-feet, the home is situated on a two-acre garden.

In addition to the generous homeowners, volunteer architects, interior designers, landscape architects, contractors, craftspersons and artists have come together to create, furnish and landscape a beautiful showcase home. It is open to the public through June 28th to benefit CALM. Tickets are $30. Click here for more information.

Deborah Campbell Interior Design: 805-969-9657.

Finally, CB2 comes to Los Angeles!

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009


CB2's first Los Angeles outlet opens on April 30th

CB2's first Los Angeles outlet opens on April 30th

I remember all those years when I lived in Seattle and eagerly anticipated my occasional trips to Chicago, New York and Boston – because that’s where I could finally shop at Crate & Barrel. It was always a challenge to see how many throw pillows, dessert plates and flatware I could cram into my suitcase when time came to fly home.

For me and countless other Seattleites, those retail pilgrimages to Crate & Barrel’s Midwest and East Coast outposts whetted our appetites for the time when the innovative home furnishings-and-accessories merchant finally came to Seattle about five years ago.

Inside the new CB2 store, opening in LA on April 30th

Inside the new CB2 store, opening in LA on April 30th

You could say the same scenario is playing out here – again – as fans of Crate & Barrel’s younger, modern-focused sister store, CB2, have been keen for a real, brick-and-mortar version to arrive on the West Coast (catalog and online shopping is cool – but nothing beats touching, feeling, sitting in and sizing up the actual product).

By the way, the first CB2 store in Los Angeles isn’t just brick-and-mortar construction. The smart, modern and affordable retail environment conforms to LEED requirements by incorporating eco-friendly bamboo floors, low VOC-paints and the re-use of existing materials.

Situated on the corner of Sunset and Laurel in Hollywood, the store’s façade is ornamented with gun-metal gray grates. Its large windows display CB2’s iconic vignettes. This is CB2’s third West Coast store – in the past six months, San Francisco and Berkeley addresses have also opened (and there are also two original stores in Chicago and one in NYC’s SOHO neighborhood).

There are definitely echoes of Crate & Barrel’s aesthetic at CB2. Althought, with its own streamlined, uncomplicated and playful vibe, CB2 targets apartment, loft and home dwellers with a modern attitude.

According to a 2008 article in the Chicago Tribune, CB2 is Crate & Barrel’s “less expensive furniture concept aimed at younger shoppers who frequent Target and Ikea.” I kept asking myself why that Tribune statement bugged me. I finally realized that it’s because CB2’s shopping environment is way more sophisticated than the two stores to which it’s compared. CB2 is everything about design, but in a specialty store setting rather than a big-box one. Unlike Target and Ikea (which are great, don’t get me wrong), you don’t have that anxious, gotta-grab-what-I-need-and-get-outta-here feeling at CB2. You want to stay. And chill out.

I predict a huge success for CB2 in LA, starting tomorrow morning, when its 8, 500-square-foot outlet opens on Sunset Strip. I visited CB2 to see and shop there during this morning’s press preview.

I'm sharing a seat on CB2's "resort" sectional with brand director Marta-Maria Calle

I'm sharing a seat on CB2's "resort" sectional with brand director Marta-Maria Calle

Greeted by Marta-Maria Calle, CB2’s brand director, I enjoyed the chance to sit down with her for a quick interview. Hey, I really like this woman, not only because she was wearing the same chambray-blue linen Eileen Fisher tunic that I wore for the taping of “Peace by Design.”

Marta-Maria shared the background of CB2’s genesis – from a seed of a modern design idea to a full-fledged retail destination – and she graciously answered some of my questions: 

When did CB2 first emerge as a Crate & Barrel concept?

The first store opened in Chicago in 2000. Gordon Segal (C&B’s co-founder and Chairman) and Barbara Turf (longtime Crate & Barrel president, appointed CEO last year) wanted to test the brand’s modern attitude. They asked a few Crate & Barrel buyers to buy for CB2. I was one of them.  Now, we’re a company of 16 people and we are moving away from the “mother ship” to our own office location in six weeks. [Marta-Maria told me that after about five years of juggling buying duties for both retail concepts, she persuaded Barbara to spin off CB2 as a separate retail venture with its own, fully-dedicated creative staff.]

Why has it taken 10 years for CB2 to begin expanding more aggressively?

The signs say it all

The signs say it all

We don’t do anything until we’re ready. We wanted to give this brand a reason to be. It’s all about value. Our emphasis is “Simply Modern and Simply Affordable.”

What is your retail philosophy?

We believe we’ll build the CB2 brand one customer at a time. We are one-hundred percent customer-service powered.

Tell me how you develop your product selection:

We work with designers and manufacturers to create CB2 products. Ninety percent of our products are exclusive to CB2. We want to allow people to bring their ideas to us (rather than only developing products internally). We always ask: how much would our customer pay for this? If we can’t meet that price, we won’t carry the product. Also, our design priority is to balance mass-produced with the “hand touch” aspect of design.