“Too good to be true.” That’s exactly what Jamie and Nico Mizrahi thought when they came across what would eventually become their family’s picture-perfect getaway in Montecito, California. Not surprising given that the six-bedroom, light-filled Tudor-style house features outdoor space off every room, a lush and hospitable pool area, and an upper lawn.
A top-tier stylist, Jamie works with celebrities so famous they are practically mononymous: Adele, Ariana, Suki. You get the idea. So when she’s at home in Los Angeles, she’s likely on call. That’s why Montecito—less than 90 minutes away—felt like just the right spot to look for a weekend retreat. “That was the real draw,” Jamie says. “We thought about Palm Springs, but that’s too far to go for a night. With Montecito, it’s a really nice way for us to escape LA, and I can say, ‘I’m not available to do anything,’ but we can still drive in if something comes up.”
The family had fallen in love with the area slowly over the past few years while visiting friends who lived in the vicinity, beginning to entertain the idea of buying a place of their own. “When COVID hit, we were like, it’s such a bummer we haven’t found anything yet,” Jamie recalls. “But then, two months into the pandemic, a real estate agent sent me this house.” It just happened to be on one of their favorite streets. “Then we went to see it, and it turned out the family who owned it were very similar to our family. Their setup and where they were from. We wrote them a letter and we got it!”
That early attraction was powerful. “Initially, we weren’t going to do much to it,” Jamie says, citing the location as reason enough to be completely satisfied. “We just loved the property. It’s on a flat acre with beautiful mountain views. The neighborhood feels intimate and cozy. We are able to ride our bikes and walk the dogs and walk down to get breakfast. We live in a canyon in LA, so we can’t do any of that.”
Still, there were zhuzhes to zhuzh and alterations to be made. And while the preliminary ambition was modest—some tweaks here, some furniture there—it soon turned into more of a full-on renovation. “First, when you walked into the house and went upstairs, there was a balcony overlooking the family room,” Jamie notes. “We were like, well, that’s got to go. We have kids and they could jump over. And then there was this beam in the center of the kitchen, and we were like, we have to remove this…. And like with so many things, we just kind of kept adding as we went along.”
Jamie had tried to go it alone but soon realized she would enjoy the process and the results even more if she had a creative partner. “Even when I’m styling, I work with designers to collaborate on a dress,” she says. “I just love having the conversation.” So she turned to interior designer Mike Moser to help in getting things just right.
Still, that did not preclude her from having a very clear vision of what this house needed. “Jamie has got an insanely wicked sense of taste,” Moser says. “She’s so creative and spontaneous and not afraid to try new things, not afraid to take a risk.” He describes her vision for the haven as “cozy but elevated. She wanted layers. She wanted colors. She wanted patterns.”