sbmidmod brings mid-century style to Santa Barbara



COLLECT FOREVER: Tracey Strobel is a self-proclaimed research freak with a degree in ancient history. | Photo credit: Erick Madrid

An appealing selection of furnishings and artful objects – with modern motifs from the middle of the century with clear lines, bright colors, organic and geometric shapes, bold patterns, mixed textures and contrasting materials – are available at sbmidmod, a new addition to the Funkzone. Located on Anacapa Street next to the popular Mexican restaurant Mony’s, this eclectic retail space shows the timeless appeal of the design style.

Owner Tracey Strobel is a self-proclaimed research freak with an ancient history degree and has spent nearly two decades collecting, studying, restoring, and selling pieces from the mid-century. She started looking for furnishings for her own home. “Then it got to a situation where I had a piece or two too many and thought I might be able to sell them … and after that a business developed pretty quickly … and 18 years later, ta-da,” she laughed.

Kitty Corner, a tribute to cats in art form. | Photo credit: Erick Madrid

Strobel started selling in the early days of eBay. “I did the grunt work,” she said. “I’ve worked in real estate sales, I’ve had rooms in antique malls – including a recent space in Antique Center Mall – and I was incredibly grateful for the experience because you learn a lot from the people around you. One of the things I love most about this job is that you keep learning. “

She can find her inventory anywhere from online searches to property sales to tips from her network of antique dealers. What inspires her about mid-century modern aesthetics, Strobel said: “I love the minimal lines. I love the simplicity and frankly I consider all of these pieces to be functional art. It’s a lamp, yes, it gives off light, but it’s beautiful to look at and it triggers an emotional response in me. I can’t explain it any better. “

The research freak she is, Strobel added: “There’s also the component of knowing the designers and having the opportunity to research and learn something new.”

The other allure of the era is the craftsmanship. “It’s done so well,” she said. “If you take care of these pieces, they will last for generations. It is also important to me – although it is pretty simple and pretty obvious – that antiques and buying vintage / used furniture help the planet. “

A Richard Schulman print by actor Anthony Hopkins. | Photo credit: Erick Madrid

Regarding the risk of opening new retail space in the uncertain days of a pandemic, Strobel said it was really about tripping over a building that spoke to her. She was out on a bike ride in February when she saw the “For Lease” sign in the window of a gutted building. “All I could see was the bricks and the bolts,” she said. She quickly made an appointment for a tour. “It just landed on me,” she said.

Two weeks later, Strobel signed a lease.

The timing was good. “I was really ready to have a place where people can come by and shop, but also where I can research and do my job,” she said. “This is essentially my office that people can come in and shop.”

“It’s definitely an obsession,” she laughed. “You have to have a passion for it so that it lasts a long time. It’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. ”

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