deKor & Co. is the kind of place you never knew Ojai fervently needed until it arrived in late 2014. The loft-like space stocks an inventory reflective of the co-owners’ worldly styles, and proves to be the perfect incarnation of their individual strengths. Isabelle is an interior designer and Ojai resident by way of Sweden, and Rachel is a longtime beauty writer for publications such as Vogue and W, and hails from the UK. The result is an antique-Scandinavian daydream complete with tea bar, makeup sampling station and a floor-to-ceiling wooden swing for good measure. We caught up with the discerning duo to talk Ojai favorites, Bohemian objets and the irresistible pull of an antique Hermes riding saddle.
When it comes to setting up shop, choose wisely.
ID: I always wanted to live in Ojai. Coming from Sweden to LA and then up to Ojai, this place had something special. Rachel and I talked about doing something together and when I walked by and saw this great space one day, we spur-of-the-moment realized we had to take it. We didn’t sit down and pencil anything – it was all gut feeling. Both the locals and visitors are very relaxed – there’s an energy here. Everyone is happy which makes for great customers.
Hello, I live here.
RM: We use a pretty simple formula in selecting pieces for the store: “If you had a house in Ojai, what would you want it to feel like?” We started making our daybed specifically for the Ojai style of living.
ID: Creating your environment isn’t about being material. If you wake up in a space where you feel good and inspired, that affects your mood. You are a nicer person when you go out into the world. By extension, the store feels like Ojai. We wanted a space where you could feel comfortable hanging out, where you could come in and have a tea, have your makeup done or just browse around. People come in and say that they want to move in!
Sometimes a girl just needs an equestrian antique.
RM: I found this vintage Hermes riding saddle in Paris and thought it would be perfect window dressing for the store. I made my parents fly it over here in a suitcase! I thought it would be with us forever as a display piece but a customer came in soon after and bought up all of our equestrian-inspired merchandise. It was hard to let it go!
Natural beauty is the prettiest kind.
RM: The idea of sustainability runs through everything in Ojai. The focus on organic and natural extends to the skincare lines we carry.
When it comes to face time, play favorites.
RM: I’ve been writing on healthy and beauty for about 18 years so these products are really a collection of everyone I’ve met and loved over time. I met my husband at a FACE Stockholm party! Now, we are the only store that carries their products on the west coast. It’s a makeup artist’s brand so this array is actually a tiny fraction of their total product line; we did an “Ojai edit” tailoring the selection to the things we thought would work best for customers here. People love to come in on the weekends, experiment with different colors and get their makeup done.
Girl power and pretty caftans.
RM: It just so happened that almost every product we’ve brought in comes from an independent brand owned by a woman. We carry favorites from Local Rose, KINDri and Jouer and I went to school with the girls from Tallulah & Hope so we carry their beautiful Italian silkscreened kimonos and caftans. We’re going to do a foraging walk around Ojai with (Mei Ling Lee of) Spiritual Kindling so people can create their own bundles and give them as gifts or keep them for themselves.
Tea time, swing time and too many rugs.
RM: This bar was here when we took over the space and we decided not to get into the whole cappuccino scene. I didn’t want to field complaints about how I improperly steamed the milk! So we decided to get together with Art of Tea and have them create a special blood orange rooibos tea for us. We’ve developed our other signature products from there like our coconut wax candle which you can use as a body oil and lavender and orange wax tablets. Isabelle’s wooden swings are another signature – she makes a point to have one in every room and people love them. There are the rugs…
ID: Rachel thinks I have too many rugs!
RM: It looks like a bazaar!
ID: I LOVE rugs! They change a room!
Inside scoops and tortilla heaven.
RM: We love being next door to Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room – we go all the time. Tipple & Ramble and Chief’s Peak are also great places to grab a drink.
ID: The Sisar Road hike in upper Ojai is beautiful. Bamboo Creek is a massage favorite among locals.
RM: Isabelle’s husband (Los Angeles chef Brandon Boudet of two of our favorite restaurants) is opening an Italian place similar to Little Dom’s in Ojai next year. And Ojai Tortilla House is a delicious spot for tacos from a family that has been in the area forever – they hand make their corn tortillas.
Life in the key of Ojai.
ID: Well you move here and immediately put in a pool, a wheelbarrow sauna, an eating area and a giant teepee for guests. You’re outdoors and relaxed in all the open space. You’re more inspired to cook and enjoy the produce. You’re very connected to the markets, very inspired to pick up things you’ve never seen or heard of before and cook with them.
The Pink Moment happens all day long.
RM: My favorite time of day is a toss-up between the early morning and the sunset. When there is mist on the Topa Topa mountains and the orange and lemon groves are starting to light up, there’s something incredible about that. But you definitely take the view in several times a day. And of course at noon here, it’s wine time – people aren’t necessarily waiting for sunset to have their pink moment! It’s a thousand miles away from anywhere else.