East Meets West With Designer Dede Wood in the Santa Ynez Valley

Here, as promised, is the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley home of designer and friend Dede Wood appearing in this fall’s edition of Santa Barbara Magazine, photos by Jeremy Samuelson. Dede and her husband Steve live just a few miles down the road from us out here in the wilds of Santa Barbara County, so we consider them neighbors.

Dede and Steve Wood's house in the Santa Ynez Valley
Dede and Steve Wood's house in the Santa Ynez Valley. The barn houses her studio and his workshop. How divine is that. Some people dream of villas in the South of France; I dream of studios and workshops.

I first met Dede a couple of years ago when I interviewed her for House Beautiful. I happened to be visiting His Grace (my sweetheart, for new readers) at the time so I was able to go there and interview her in person, which I don’t always get to do. I don’t know which I liked more – the designer or her work. Fortunately I didn’t have to choose.

Dede Wood Entrance Hall
Dede Wood entrance hall and dining room. The pagoda chandelier is fab, as are the floors in herringbone parquet.

My last post covered the genius of entrance hall as dining room.

Joan Tapper’s excellent article in SB mag reveals that Dede and her husband Steve designed the house from the ground up to take full advantage of its setting and the panoramic views.

Dede Wood living room
The perfectly proportioned living room with its pair of yummy Dennis & Leen velvet settees and highish coffee table, a signature preference of Dede's.

Tapper goes on to describe Dede’s East-West aesthetic, combining Chinese and Asian pieces with elements of ranch rusticity that is both unexpected and harmonious. She also discusses in some detail how the house is completely “off the grid.” In other words they have no utility bills, period. There hadn’t been a house on the property before and all the hook-ups would have been expensive. So they went solar everything. And it works remarkably well, although entre nous Dede tells me the Internet can be a tad slow at times.

Dede Wood bedroom
Part of the beauty of Dede's work is that it is intentionally un-decorated. She considers the house a shell to be filled with the things she loves, and that is what ties it all together.
Dede Wood blue and white porcelain
Dede's collection of blue and white porcelain is cleverly displayed on brackets, that, if memory serves, were built by Steve.
Dede Wood bath
If I lived here I might not ever get out of the bath. The pink chair is a girly, pretty touch.
Dede Wood Kitchen
Do you love the whole sink/cabinet/painting/lighting thing? Wow.

Steve was captain of the Manhattan Beach lifeguards, which is a you-have-no-idea-unless-you-live-there huge job. The man is basically part fish and part hunk, if you don’t mind my saying, and the 55-foot lap pool was imperative.

Steve Wood and pool
Dede's Baywatch-dude husband Steve Wood and his pool.

Talent runs in the family. Dede’s daughter Megan Yager is an interior designer in her own right, gracing this blog a few days ago via Chinoiserie Chic. Second daughter Mindy Rice Davidson is ridiculously creative, which you can see for yourself at Mindy Rice Floral and Event Design.

For the life of me I cannot find the House Beautiful feature on Dede’s house on their website, but Elizabeth Aley’s charming blog A House Mouse  ran the photos a while back. Elizabeth is also a friend of Dede’s, and it was fun to discover her blog in the writing of this. Pop over when you have a chance.

Also be sure to read the full feature in Santa Barbara magazine. And here they are on Facebook and Twitter.

Hope you’re off to a great week. I can’t even believe it is September 10, can you?


  1. Between your posts from the ranch, Hollye’s blog and this article, I am definitely homesick for Santa Barbara and those mountains. Really, really miss those mountains. Planning a trip back “home” after the holidays and first thing I am doing (after renting a car) is driving to Santa Barbara.

    1. I agree, Nancy. The rooms are friendly and inviting, not at all contrived, but you know the designer knows what she likes. It’s actually kind of liberating because it gives us “permission” to do the same, right?

  2. Thank goodness Sister Molly turned me on to your blog…am loving it though computer time seriously compromised now as too busy “editing”. 🙂

    Subscribed to SBM (10 issues)…Thank you for the joy and beauty.

    1. Ellen how good to hear from you, thank you for this nice comment. And BRAVA on the editing! Keep us posted. xo Frances

  3. Steve and Dede are DEAR friends, so am very pleased to see their wonderfully comfy home as a feature spread…AGAIN! Everything Dede does is like platinum:simply perfect! And, YES! Her daughters are as creative as Mom. Go GIRLS!!

  4. I agree with you on the sliders. I get tired of everything in the same spot and I found these for a couple of years and love them. You really are the best. Thanks for all of your tips.

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