Home Again
Interior designer and Jet-Setter Birgit Klein blends European sensibilities with Santa Barbara style

By Jennifer Blaise Kramer
Photography by Megan Sorel

Birgit Klein knows a thing or two about jet-setting. Born in Germany, she’s lived in London, New York, and LA, with a celebrity client roster that spans Italy, Paris, and Miami. Though she’s used to frequently bouncing between the Hamptons and Beverly Hills, Klein relishes the moments she spends at home in Montecito with her children, family, and friends. There she gives her passport a rest, opting for casual, elegant get-togethers in the garden—that’s fittingly set in the slice of California known as the American Riviera.

"The house reminds me of a French Provincial farmhouse that you could find somewhere in the countryside in South of France and I was immediately drawn to it," Klein says. It has this easy relaxed style but with a timeless aesthetic of a European style farmhouse.

Working with the home’s architectural lines, abundance of light, and manicured gardens, Klein combined the best of California living with European details. Her first goal was to create an oasis from her international schedule. Inside, this meant subtle shades and soft materials to create a restful retreat.

"My life is so busy and my mind is so overstimulated with colors and textures every day that my home needs to be calm and soothing, quiet and relaxing, comfortable and welcoming," she says. "To blend in with its surroundings I kept the palette to off-whites and layered it with rust, olive and blues and combined it with darker and metal pieces and many different textures such as cashmere, wool, linen, silk, fur, hides, leather."

Outside, pale blue Dutch doors and a Parisian-style bistro table are in one corner while poolside loungers and a hammock beckon a good book in the Santa Barbara sun. Woven chairs are plush with patterned pillows for friends to sink into at cocktail hour and nearby a leafy, covered outdoor table is Klein’s go-to spot for intimate dinner parties. When it comes to entertaining, she insists on keeping glasses full of good wine and setting a beautifully decorated table. Belgian linens, striped napkins, and fresh flowers are a must, which all cue her signature, elegant, global style.

"I love to travel and I tend to pick up pieces from all over the place and ship them back," she says. "The house is full of artwork and accessories I collected during my trips whether for work or pleasure. To me this is what makes a house a home, it's the collection of items and the meaning or memories that come with them."