Hannah Vainstein and Nathan Hayden are both artists with their own separate practices who occasionally collaborate. Hannah runs an artist salon and boutique called The Lower Lodge, which is an outlet of seasonal making with the emphasis in an integrated sustainable lifestyle. Nathan makes drawings, sculptures and installations, and currently teaches drawing and design at the University of California Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College. The couple lives in the “Carriage House” (former servants quarters and garage) for two large mansions on the hill. Their home and studio are nestled between the Old Mission and Natural History Museum in Santa Barbara, CA, surrounded by old stone walls covered in wisteria. One of the oldest stone arch bridges in California is nearby and a creek runs past their house, down the canyon. The couple lives with two housemates, so while they often take the aesthetic lead, there are also moments of collaboration in the space. The kitchen reflects an agrarian lifestyle, while their living room is inspired by Bedouin hospitality, with their teapot sitting on their coffee table, ready at any moment. They want their friends to come in, have a cup of tea and go an a journey, relaxing, chatting and dancing. Many thanks to photographer Leela Cyd for the tip on this great home and for the beautiful photos! –Anne
Image above: The hanging sculptures are from an installation Nathan did called “go innocent into the forest my children.” When the door is open their tales move in the breeze. The plant is a split leaf philodendron, our favorite modernist plant, though we wouldn’t say that in front of the fiddle leaf fig. Together they make a great vertical motion that helps give the room an almost jungle-like atmosphere. The room also draws from 1960s psychedelia/tropicalia, modernism, and incorporates precious nature bits that we collect on our walks.
Image above: This beautiful Grundig is a vintage record player and tape recorder and now it’s a nature altar. I like to burn sage or incense when I clean the house. I love Nathan’s felt piece on the wall. He made the paints using different pigments, including clay from the Cotswolds in England and red bridal pigment from India.
Click for more inside Hannah and Nathan’s home and studio after the jump!
Image above: Our record player and small – but growing – record collection sits below a Berber Rug from Morocco on loan from our friend Gilda Hariri. The centennial plant completes the color scheme and was a gift from our farmer friend Mike Sullivan.
Image above: Because of the house’s old California roots, we were enchanted by the California gold rush, both in terms of its historical reference and as a metaphor for the bounty of California. Santa Barbara’s temperate climate allows us to grow fruits and vegetables all year round, we have a beautiful vegetable garden and we have planted avocado trees. Our kitchen reflects this agrarian lifestyle, English countryside in a Mediterranean climate.
Image above: We like to collect seeds and pods. I wash pumpkin seeds and roast them. The eucalyptus pods were given to me by a friend, the scent is medicinal, it’s so strong. The little calendar is from Otherwild in Los Angles. Otherwild is great because they sell works by both designers and artists.
Image above: I have always loved throwing tea parties and when I was seventeen I spent some time with Bedouins in the Sinai desert, where tea is a very important part of their daily ritual. Since then serving tea has been part of my art practice. To signify our engagement, Nathan gave me this beautiful hand thrown vintage teapot. It looks a little like a magic lamp, if you rub it a genie just might come out. He got it from one of our favorite shops, Gravel and Gold in San Francisco.
Image above: I found this beautiful desk on Craigslist. I believe it’s designed by Mummenthaler and Meier. The desk folds out and then it folds back up into a cabinet. It’s great for small spaces. My sister, Sarah, made the little wood stool when she was in high school for a green woodworking class. The painting is one of my recent watercolors.
Image above: Nathan and I have a habit of collecting precious nature bits. The curio cabinet was my grandmother’s, it houses many of the odd things we have found over the years. The pampas grasses were my Valentine’s Day bouquet.
Image above: Our porch is just delightful, we often drink tea out there and watch the sunset and during the rainy season, we can still sit outside. Our porch overlooks our backyard and down Mission Canyon. We are lucky to have so much outdoor space including a hammock in the oak tree. And then, of course, there’s our beautiful studio, which is really what drew us to living here.
Image above: Our studio space, the actual carriage house, is very special. Built in the 1920s to house the cars, the walls and ceiling are lined with Douglas fir and large windows easily go up and face the creek. We put rugs on the concrete floor to create a warm space. In the winter we can hear the peepers croaking from the studio. We even have an owl that sits out there and hoots in the late night hours.
Image above: Some of Nathan’s ceramic pieces.
Image above: Featuring carefully curated vintage wears and handmade items, The Lower Lodge Boutique is open by appointment and online. In the autumn and winter I make beeswax candles and hold workshops. In the spring, I focus on textiles, sewing, and fiber arts such as carting wool, spinning, felting and weaving. In the summer, ceramics and painting. I also sell a curated collection of vintage clothes and accessories, as well as items for the home.