Domecíl Is Where
House Becomes Home
Victoria Court Shop Strikes Balance
Between Beauty and Utility
By Tyler Hayden | Photos by Ingrid Bostrom
May 25, 2023
Read more of our Home & Garden 2023 stories here.
Domecíl is one of those shops you visit when you’re trying to turn your living space from a box with a bed and microwave into an actual home. It’s where you go to find everyday objects that, beyond their utility, look and feel especially good and lend some soul to the room.
Stephanie Payne-Campbell, a born and bred Santa Barbaran, opened Domecíl in 2021 in Victoria Court after a handful of years of wholesaling and pop-ups. It was a full-circle moment: The location had been her favorite as a kid, a store called Dani “where everything was hearts and rainbows,” she remembered. Payne-Campbell’s palette may have evolved since then, but the goal remains the same. “Everything we carry is meant to bring joy,” she said.
Spread throughout the light-filled, high-ceilinged sales floor is a curated array of ceramics, textiles, and woodwork as well as books, art, and jewelry. It’s all handmade with natural materials by a deep roster of local and international artisans. Walking through the front door, you hear the gentle “ting-ting” of a Japanese wind bell and notice the dramatic vetiver baskets that came from Chile, where Payne-Campbell has been traveling for nearly three decades and makes it a point to support its traditional craftspeople.
On a nearby table are inlaid rolling pins created by Montecito woodworker Robert Good and a set of soup bowls fired by Bernscott Pottery in Ojai. Payne-Campbell regularly seeks out and collaborates with regional artists, she said, viewing herself as broker between their work and a customer base just waiting to discover it. She also sells her own original line of small-batch, bespoke clothing. The emphasis is quality and originality, Payne-Campbell explained. “I want to avoid sameness,” she said. “A lot of stores carry the same stuff.”
Outside her own shop and as a new member of Downtown Santa Barbara’s Board of Directors, Payne-Campbell is a champion of State Street retail. She’s bullish about its future. “Things are getting better,” she said. One bright spot is the newly formed Arts District Home and Design Collective, she said — six similarly focused businesses, including Domecíl, within walking distance of each other. “We’re encouraging community over competition,” she said of their cooperative marketing effort. “Restaurants have worked together for their survival. Retail needs to also.”
Payne-Campbell wants to see downtown return to its roots of independent merchants who cater to locals and bring something unique to the table. And she emphasized it’s their individual responsibility to make State Street worth coming to. “The onus is on the shopkeeper to make it special and experiential,” she said. In that vein, Domecíl is hosting semi-regular makers’ markets and artist workshops. The next workshop is scheduled for June, where floral designer Margie McAleer will teach attendees how to create pressed herb and flower mandalas.
See domecil.com. Follow on Instagram @domecil.
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