Background: Santa Barbara–raised Maison K owner Kimberly Hayes grew up in what she described as a stew of architecture and art. Raised by her architect father and S.B. Museum of Art docent mother, the Hayes home was embedded in an appreciation for the decorative arts, architecture, and fashion. “I always thought I’d be an artist when I was younger, but at the same time, when we were little, my brother and I would play store. I loved the idea of selling things, so it’s all kind of stirred up to be who I am and what I do now,” she said.
Hayes’s first job was under Wendy Foster, who instilled in her a love for worldly elegance, and she went on to study art history at UCSB. In 2002, after working for national retailers and major wineries in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, Hayes moved back to Santa Barbara and founded her boutique, Maison K.
What she sells: With an ambience of “Elegant Living,” Hayes offers a unique assortment of artful and one-of-a-kind treasures collected from her travels, with items ranging from Morocco to France and from Turkey to Italy. “What I’m looking for are really special things that I haven’t seen before, that have a handed heritage, different places of origin, and that you can’t get anywhere else,” she said.
Hayes organizes her worldly wares by her signature neutrals and naturals palette, with goods of stone, silver, gold, marble, wood, and reed arranged by a pattern of earthy blacks, grays, whites, beiges, crèmes, and browns. It’s a soothing, elegant, and refreshing environment, an international bazaar with Venetian mirrors and Himalayan wedding chests, made over with the posh Santa Barbara style.
Favorite items: Maison K is one of the few purveyors of Astier de Villatte’s renowned and highly in-demand ceramics from Paris. “I am very, very fond of this line,” Hayes excitedly explains of the handmade pieces, textured with a bit of underclay.
Hayes’s current favorite product is a line of baroque pearl jewelry made by a couple in Italy. “It’s all strung on linen and silk, and they use crystals and these beautiful, beautiful pearls, and there’s just something very approachable about it,” she said. A line of Kenyan soapstone hearts, also crafted by husband/wife couples, help raise school funds for the artisans’ children.
Hayes’s all-time favorite product, though, is her set of one-of-a-kind vintage Moroccan wedding blankets. Each small, woolen blanket has small silver sequins sewn on by women belonging to the Berber tribe in Morocco, who wear the blankets as a part of their traditional marriage ceremonies; here, they’re popular draped over a sofa, bed, or wall.
Maison K is loacted at 1253 Coast Village Road. Call 969-167 or visit www.maisonkstyle.com.