Picture a soccer mom in sequined mules. A woman with couture tastes who loves getting her hands dirty. That's Hélène Aumont-a down-to-earth chic former model, current designer of furniture and interiors, co-owner with husband Patrick of an upscale antiques and art shop, equestrienne, and mother of teens Anouk, 13, and Arthur, 15.
"It's so nice to live in the country," says the Paris-born designer, who despite her hectic schedule radiates tranquility. "The atmosphere is conducive to creativity. I unwind here."
"Here" is Pepperhill Farm, an oasis of country living in the heart of Santa Barbara's famed wine country. The 10-acre compound-set in a broad, flat valley ringed by mountain ridges-includes the Aumonts' main residence, a cozy 1950s farmhouse nestled among the property's other amenities.
Photographs by Michael Skott
Text by Leslie A. Westbrook
Produced by Jenny Bradley
Tucked into a corner at the end of the verdant green lawn sits an Italian canvas tent fringed playfully with green tassels and decorated with Hélène's usual panache. Rattan furnishings have been covered in a lively mix of fabrics and patterns in blues and oranges that add energy to the otherwise peaceful space.
Starfish and seashells collected on family outings fill a 19th-century cabinet from the family business, Europa Antiques. The cabinet, painted by Helene's son, Arthur, adds unexpected elegance to the casual outdoor space.
On a wisteria-covered deck off of the home's master bedroom, Helene added delicately patterned pillows, Moroccan lanterns, and neutral draperies to create a rose garden-inspired outdoor room.
Felix, the Aumonts' corgy, enjoys the shade along the path from the rose garden to Helene's tent.
A favorite lunch spot, this table under weeping willows provides a hypnotic, calm-inducing view of a stable down the hill where Helene's beloved Friesian horses, Floris and Romeo, graze lazily.
Helene and daughter, Anouk, in their backyard hammock.