The Good Life

Posted online: July 2017

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By Jennifer Blaise Kramer Photographs Megan Sorel 

Food and wine are air and water for Doug and Marni Margerum. Doug, whose eponymous Margerum wines have been hailed by Wine Spectator and sipped at the White House, is also co-owner of the Wine Cask and loves to cook. Watching the pair entertain in their breezy Upper Eastside Spanish colonial is a peek into the best of Santa Barbara living.

When they moved from Montecito two years ago, the couple was quick to renovate their new kitchen, knowing they’d be logging countless hours in it. Marni, a designer, spent months Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 12.31.01 PMplanning a true “cook’s kitchen” that would operate like a professional prep space with ample room for dinner parties. They stuck to classic materials such as white subway tile, floating wood shelves, Calcutta marble, Saltillo floor tiles, Spanish-inspired lighting, and a show-stopping sink shipped from France. “Most important to me was that the kitchen looked like it belonged,” says Marni. “The house was built in 1929, and I did not want it not blending with the rest of the home.”

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Avid travelers, the duo is constantly jet-setting to exotic locales, and their home reflects that. Silk drapery is from India, hanging copper pots hail from France, and a collection of Brian Hodges photographs are from Mexico. Marni is constantly collecting and curating, selling many of her finds on her website,

It’s hard not to feel instantly at home with the Margerums, who are quick to pour a glass of chilled rosé and move guests through their home—from appetizers in the lush courtyard to a dining room set with global textiles and loads of wineglasses. With doors flung open and candles ablaze, it’s easy to sink into a chair for the night, but the real action remains in the kitchen, where the effortless hosts dance around each other—Marni perfecting the art of paleo cooking with local fresh halibut and addictive fried leeks, Doug whipping up his “top secret” salad dressing.

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Doug, a host at heart, shows off homegrown purple basil, tells stories behind each wine as he pours, and lets everyone in on the magic of his famed dressing—Edmond Fallot mustard. “It’s the only producer still making Dijon in Dijon,” he says, adding that they used to import jars of it, and, with a wink, “Now you can buy it at Cost Plus World Market.”

As dinner winds down with glasses of port, their crisp white, vintage living room glows with firelight and friends. Says Marni: “My decorating style is to blend the architecture with my passion for antiques, textiles, art, and travel and make it not only visually pleasing but cozy for us and the dogs—a place to curl up and have a glass of wine!”

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