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The Blue Door Opens New Opportunity for Shoppers — and Browsers — in Funk Zone

Santa Barbara’s ‘eclectic collective’ reflects the spirit of its neighborhood, and the vision of owners Carolyn Petersen and Brian Garwood

The Blue Door, at 4 E. Yanonali St. in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, features the collective wares of 25 different dealers from throughout the Central Coast and as far away as San Francisco and Las Vegas. Click to view larger
The Blue Door, at 4 E. Yanonali St. in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, features the collective wares of 25 different dealers from throughout the Central Coast and as far away as San Francisco and Las Vegas. (Hilary Doubleday / Noozhawk photo)

[Click for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

A new door has opened in Santa Barbara’s ever-evolving Funk Zone, and for anyone interested in home décor and design, it is a door that must be walked through.

Located at 4 E. Yanonali St., co-owner Brian Garwood describes The Blue Door as “an eclectic collective of vintage and modern home furnishings.”

Garwood and fellow owner Carolyn Petersen joined forces to open the Blue Door in December. By the time of the store’s grand opening in mid-January, they had assembled 25 different dealers — from all around the Central Coast and as far away as San Francisco and Las Vegas. These vendors now have spaces throughout the former warehouse’s meandering three stories.

Each vendor’s space has a different focus and feeling. 

“It’s a mix,” explained Garwood, who brings his business expertise to the enterprise, “There’s a lot of midcentury pieces and also a lot of repurposed items.”

In describing the philosophy behind the store and what they sell, he continued, “We want what’s in the store to be vintage or locally handmade.”

There are surfboard-shaped cutting boards made by Santa Barbara Cutting Board Co. from locally harvested wood. Nearby is a gorgeous gold-leaf Theodore Muller lotus table designed by Kittinger and Elizabeth Barringer from the 1950s. A one-of-a-kind seaweed root ball chandelier hangs just 50 feet away.

Petersen, who has a background in design and specializes in giving old pieces of furniture new lives, has her own line of paints in a space on the second floor. The paints are nontoxic and do not require sanding or priming. In the next few weeks, she will be offering several classes at the store on how to use the paint.

Petersen and Garwood describe their store as “constantly changing and rotating.” Indeed, it already has been discovered by many local designers who make a point of coming several times a week to see if something new has arrived.

Located just a block from the Santa Barbara train station and next door to Raoul Textiles, the store attracts tourists as well as locals from all over Santa Barbara. It’s yet another reason to spend some time in the Funk Zone.

To transform the former maze of small rooms and walls into a larger, cohesive space, Petersen and Garwood did a lot of the demolition work themselves. The store reflects that roll-up-their-sleeves spirit. 

“We struggled with a name for the store, but eventually we decided to name the store after the big blue door that the building had when we found the space,” Petersen explained.

“Since then, we have painted it an even brighter blue.” 

With unique finds in almost every price category, it’s hard to walk back out the store’s front door without finding something that intrigues the imagination. It makes you wonder if perhaps your own home could benefit from the addition of something a bit more funky and downtown.

The Blue Door is located at 4 E. Yanonali St. Click here for more information, or call 805.364.5144.

Noozhawk contributing writer Hilary Doubleday can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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