Debra Prinzing

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Stylish Chicken Coop in Santa Barbara

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
A tiny chicken coop with loads of style

A tiny chicken coop with loads of style

Last week’s visit to Santa Barbara included a stop at “Rooms & Gardens,” a wonderful home furnishings, antiques, accessories and interior design emporium on State Street.

I needed to check out the store’s new backyard chicken coop and garden.

Owners Eric and Jami Voulgaris recently created the sweet coop and romantic garden, where four Buff Orpington hens reside.

When I met Eric a few weeks ago, at the Santa Monica “Rooms & Gardens” store (they own this location with a partner, actress Mary Steenbergen), he told me about the chicken coop project.

The little building measures about 6-by-6 feet in size, with a charming shingled roof, board-and-batten siding, a country-style screen door and shutters. Stained that dreamy grey-blue shade, it looks both elegant and timeless.

A curved cobblestone path leads from the store’s back door out into the postage-stamp-sized garden. Picket fencing contains the four gals in their little yard.

The Voulgaris children named the Buff Orpington chicks, born on Easter morning: “Henny Penny,” “Rosy,” “Cornflake,” and “Scramble.”

The 800-square-foot garden’s renovation came about because it had to be ripped up when the neighboring Apple store was moving in. When that construction came to an end, Eric and Jami saw it as a chance to dress up the space, which really hadn’t changed much since Rooms & Gardens opened 16 years ago.

Happy chickens living in a happy garden

Happy chickens living in a happy garden

Pretty and inviting, a corner garden

Pretty and inviting, a corner garden

Fully organic, the Martha’s Vineyard-inspired garden is landscaped with espaliered apple trees, Meyer lemon trees, ‘Iceburg’ roses and clumps of lavender. One corner holds a display of potted hydrangeas and an iron chair.

The garden and hens complement the carefree lifestyle settings inside Rooms & Gardens. Eric describes the store’s look and feel as “a fusion of British Colonial, ethnic accents, Chinoiserie and a relaxed coastal theme.”

I love the happy vibe that you feel upon entering. It’s a store where sink-into furniture is paired with uncommon accessories, all of which suggests well-loved and well-lived-in environments.

The garden is open to visitors during store hours. If you want to taste the yummy brown eggs produced here, check with the staff. Eric mentioned that a plan is in the works to supply Tuttini’s, a cafe around the corner, with their daily source of eggs!