Interiorssneak peeks

A Santa Barbara Dream Home

by Amy Azzarito

Moving to Southern California after years living in London, Caroline Diani was looking for a place to spread out, close to nature. When she saw the canyon views that this 1950 ranch-style Santa Barbara home offered, she knew this was where she wanted to be. The house needed a bit of work, but Caroline was confident that she could turn it into her dream home and she’s spent the past sixteen years doing just that. Then, last year, the home underwent even more changes when Caroline married Jeffrey Doornbos, actor, writer and former member of Blue Man Group. The couple held the wedding at the house so in the month leading up to the big day, there was a flurry of renovation activity, which included installing a new dining room floor. They realized that the dining room needed the foundation replaced. The workers had to come up with a way to cure the concrete in a short time so the house could be put back together before the guests arrived. They had humidifiers going 24/7 and tried every trick and gadget they could think of to get that foundation to dry. Everything came back together just in time for 100 guests to dance at their wedding in their Santa Barbara home. When she’s not working on a house project, Caroline spends her time making sure the ladies of Santa Barbara are well-dressed. She owns two boutiques in the city, an online shop and is set to open a home store in the fall! Luckily, she has the perfect place to relax at the end of the day. –Amy

Photography by Leela Cyd

Image above: “The dining room is a bright, airy room with a large communal table dominating the space,” Caroline says. “A great place for dinner parties and intimate dinners alike. The table is Victorian era and inherited from my parents, and the print on the wall is made by my dear friend, Gail Bryson. The rug was brought back from Marrakech on our honeymoon to Morocco.”

Image above: “My husband and I love to cook together in this room. For my husband, it has been a place to explore his budding passion for cooking all things from scratch. I think he likes the challenge and the adventure of trying new things. The kitchen holds bits and pieces of cookware from his life and my life, combined. The dish towel, from Goop, was a gift from one of my childhood friends to us after we got married. A lot of the dinnerware is Juliska and cookware, Le Creuset. I designed each cabinet in the kitchen and worked with a carpenter to realize the design. I wanted each piece to feel unique and like furniture. The hardware was sourced from Liz’s Antique Hardware in LA.”

Image above: “This photograph was taken by my husband (who’s other work can be seen here). Notebooks are a central part of our daily lives. I use them for design ideas, and he uses them for his writing. I’m a spiral notebook gal, and he’s a Moleskine guy. The antler sheds are a part of the concept for the new DIANI Living store he and I are creating. The Home Store/Marketplace is opening this fall.”

See more of this Santa Barbara home after the jump!

Image above: “This room creates an indoor/outdoor living space for us. It welcomes the canyon environment into the home. I found a walnut tree root on the beach, brought it home and turned it into a coffee table. It’s become a great focal point to sit around and chill with friends.”

Image above: “The fireplace creates such warmth in this room on chilly canyon nights. The photograph on the wall was shot by my husband on the beaches of Kenya, and is a part of a series he did called “On Location: Kenya.” I was born in Kenya and this place has influenced my design aesthetic. The driftwood mirror is also designed and made by me. The Hugo slingback chair brings a modern touch to the cozy nest.”


Image above: “The chalkboard drink menu was created by a close friend and used at our wedding reception. The mirror is from Morocco.”

Image above: “The photo is by Santa Barbara local, Jeff Clark. The dessert wine was a gift from our friends at Demetria Winery in Santa Ynez.”

Image above: “A corner of the dining room. It’s a great place to read and cozy up by the stove for a little after-dinner cocktail. The chairs are 17th-century Flemish with original horse hair cushioning, which I had re-upholstered. The antlers on the wall were found in Kenya by my parents whilst living there. The wood burning stove is surrounded by objects that my husband and I have collected on our travels.”

Image above: “This is our “cloud” bed. The window at the top of the wall lets in light from the pool area outside. We love this room… it’s electronics-free and has a very private feel. The photo above the bed is by my husband and is a part of his series “On Location: Kenya.” It reminds us that we are on this incredible journey together.”

Image above: “This corner of our bedroom is a great place to sit and enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea and look out at the canyon. The chair was found at a local nursery. The photographs on the wall were taken by my late father when I was little. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and spent my early childhood there. The top photo is my sister and me walking down our favorite beach, and the one below is of me being held by my nanny.”

Image above: “The hallway leads toward the guest bedroom, guest bathroom, linen closet and master bedroom. The metal sculptures were found on a recent trip to Kenya.”

Image above: “The guest bedroom is actually one of the coziest rooms in the house. The walls are lined with photos of family and painted with muted stripes in alternating matte and gloss paint. It adds character to a small room.”

Image above: “This is Plum (black lab), and Raisin (mutt). They are the guardians of the couch. From this perch, they warn us of the activities of the coyotes across the canyon, and they make the perfect late-night snuggle buddies.”

Image above: “This is the guest bathroom. The perfect place for a long, hot soak. The mirror was created by my husband using an antique Indian window frame we found and a metal Moroccan lamp that we brought back from our souk foraging in Marrakech. The sink counter was made from a salvaged park bench. The photograph on the wall is by my husband and from a series he did called “On Location: Kenya.

Image above: “This is our sanctuary. The centerpiece of our indoor/outdoor life. The canyon and the mountains beyond offer a stunning backdrop to our life out here, whether we’re dining or just laying around. We love to eat out here and watch nature at its finest. We have so many birds that visit out water feature.”

Image above: “That’s our very productive orange tree, from which my husband makes killer fresh-squeezed orange juice. The pool is his favorite place to exercise with our lab, Plum.”

Image above: “I planted these palms and Mexican weeping bamboo when I moved here 16 years ago, and now they provide a lush backdrop to our sanctuary. A place to breathe and enjoy the ever changing patterns of light. The little seated Buddha sets the tone and reminds us to stop and smell the roses that surround the pool. “

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  • Amazing home! It’s screaming California, I love it and the African influences are a wonderful addition. One question about the framed photos on a ledge in the guest room above the bed, how are they anchored? Living in earthquake country, placing anything above the bed is a constant worry. I’d love to place framed pictures above my bed, but I’m afraid of waking up with one falling on my head!

  • this home, inside and out, is just jaw dropping. those gnarled pieces of furniture (coffee table and chair) are seriously awe inspiring. love love love

  • Lovely home, but the kitchen appliances on top of the upper cabinet look REALLY dangerous in our earthquake prone California. Plus how do you lift them safely down?

  • Everything is so fresh and light and inspiring. I love a home that really showcases its inhabitants and this one manages to do that in every minute detail. Beautiful!!

  • We are so honored to have our home featured on such an incredible site. Thank you so much! You captured us perfectly, Amy and the photographer, Leela Cyd is an out-of-this-world talent. We’re on cloud nine thanks to you. xoxo

    • Hi Caroline!

      Could you tell me which link is broken? When I cut and paste your URL directly from your site there is no “www” in the front (which isn’t required in most urls these days). I can add one if you like, but the links are all working for me.


  • Hi Grace!

    Thanks for getting back to me…it was just my name, CAROLINE DIANI, below my first comment that the hyperlink wasn’t properly linked. When I clicked on it, it went to page not found cause there was a period missing between www and dianiliving.com. You’re a gem for even having my name in my comment link to my site. So nice! Your site is so amazing, by the way! Congratulations on all your success!

  • Adore everything. Im looking into buying a Jeff Clark print, as you read. However, i just dont understand the kitchen machines on the top, so out of reach.

  • Caroline, I just discovered this featured article. Congratulations….beautiful photos and beautifully written! I continue to learn more about your and Jeffrey’s home and it’s furnishings!

  • I just now discovered this featured article which is so beautifully written and photographed! Congratulations! I continue to learn more about the special furnishings in your home!

  • what can I say that hasn’t already been said? absolutely beautiful….peaceful just to look at….cozy and personal….a real home…not just a staged showpiece….you are so lucky to have what sounds like an interesting and exciting life…born in an exotic place, world travels, and love (husband who shares your journey, family photos, & those pups!)….the pool and the wood burning stove are my favorite! Savor every day! You are blessed!

  • Is the link from the home page for a different Sneek Peek? I don’t see the image with the hat rack anywhere in this one! I was trying to find the Sneek Peek with the hat rack, but I can’t seem to locate it.