Have you ever walked into a shop and thought you would like to make it your home? Caroline Rowland takes us behind the scenes in her book, The Shopkeeper’s Home, showing us how more than 30 of the most stylish independent lifestyle retailers have interpreted their unique interior styles in both their shops and homes. Filled with lots of wonderful decorating advice and details, we are thrilled to share one of Caroline’s featured shops, and one of our favorites, Summer Camp. This shop in Ojai, California, is a perfect example of how to repurpose a building. The mix of mid-century design and handmade artisan products makes for an interesting browse, while gathering plenty of decorating ideas inspired by the great outdoors.
When Rachel and Mike Graves spotted a ‘for lease’ sign outside an old gas station in Ojai, California, they knew it was the perfect location for the shop that they’d dreamed of having for years. The mid-century architecture and the light-filled space fitted their dream in every respect.
The Summer Camp name is a cute, nostalgic nod to Rachel’s childhood days as a girl scout, while capturing the outdoors feel they’ve created inside the shop. An abundance of potted plants, a full-size canoe and chunky logs used as display tables all help to achieve this look. Much of their product range also offers the dream of the perfect camping weekend – vintage flasks, cosy blankets, gas lamps and binoculars are all stylishly displayed and would encourage even the most reluctant camper to pack up their tent and don their walking boots.
The couple love to support small businesses and craftspeople, and say much of the store’s furniture is made locally, while the plant life comes from a nearby farm. They carry lots of products by local Ojai makers, as well as others from across the US and are meticulous in selecting a cohesive collection of new and vintage items.
Styling is one of the most important aspects of their store. ‘We want the shop to feel familiar and cosy, like you have been there before and don’t want to leave.’ They regularly update their displays and move things around, to keep the space looking fresh.
The ‘Summer Camp’ home is a small redwood cabin-style bungalow in Ventura, California. Despite the small proportions of the house – it is only about 46.5 square metres (500 square feet) – they fell in love with its charm and the beautiful outside space it had to offer. The interior wood panelling gives the cabin a warm and cosy feeling, but numerous windows mean it doesn’t feel dark or enclosed. In such a small space, possessions need to be edited and chosen carefully, and the couple have decorated with lots of plants and a few favourite items. Even the kitchen is simple and uncluttered. Open shelving displays a simple set of plates, mugs and glassware with a few pops of copper, while a vintage food mixer adds a subtle dash of colour.
In the living room, bohemian chic mixes with mid-century design. A vintage Danish desk, bar cart and slat-bench coffee table combine with kilim pillows and a vintage Turkish rug for a simplistic but effortlessly cool aesthetic. In the bedroom, traditional textiles such as a striped blanket by time-honoured American brand Pendelton work perfectly next to the clean design of mid-century pieces.
Running Summer Camp has definitely influenced how Rachel and Mike approach their home decor. It has given them a more critical eye for selecting objects and how to put them together. They often frequent flea markets and thrift shops to discover talented makers – it means that their home inevitably ends up with some of their best finds, showcasing mid century with a rustic twist.
1020 West Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA
Photography: Janis Nicolay
The Shopkeeper’s Home by Caroline Rowland is published by Jacqui Small LLP. Caroline is also the founder and editor of 91 Magazine, an independent interiors & lifestyle magazine, and interior & lifestyle blog Patchwork Harmony. Follow Caroline on Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter.