Where We Cook: Hannah & Nathan's Carriage House Kitchen

Kitchen Tour

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Who cooks and eats here: Hannah Vainstein and Nathan Hayden
Where: Santa Barbara, California
Rent or Own? Rent

Hannah and Nathan are two of the most creative, fun, and unique super duos I know, and their kitchen is as stylish, natural and upbeat as they are. Nestled behind the Santa Barbara mission, this kitchen gets a ton of bright, natural light and is the location of many a dance and tea party. Join me as we tour this wonderful space!

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Hannah and Nathan's Kitchen Story

This kitchen is a part of a very magical home, a carriage house attached to the Santa Barbara mission. It was built in the 1890s and is very well preserved, especially for the West Coast which has many 1950s new development-type homes everywhere. The kitchen is about 200 square feet and is the heart of the home, the most trafficked zone and with great reason: it receives great natural light and these two eat a lot of home cooked food!

The owner of the carriage house renovated the kitchen in recent years, putting in the maroon cabinets and updating the counters with granite. He left the original armoire (used to store tea cups, little plates and precious curio) in the dining area and it's a beautiful piece, likely built during the time the home was created. It's so nice to see a living, breathing, functioning historic place come to life with a mix of new, old and everything in between.

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Hannah and Nathan's Cooking Story

Hannah and Nathan both grew up in very active cooking families. Nathan was raised in a cabin without electricity, on a farm in Kentucky until the age of 9. His mother was a wizard with pies. They lived simply and were very in tune with the seasonality of the place, and this informs much of his cooking style today.

Hannah's mother was one of five sisters, and growing up she was surrounded by cousins and all of the aunties contributing to family gatherings, rich with traditional foods. Hannah also spent formative years in England where she learned about seasonal fare with her host family and many friends there. This experience really shaped the way she approaches food today.

Now Hannah and Nathan try to cook as seasonally as possible, with an emphasis on healthy whole grains, local produce, humanely raised meats and bread. They aren't afraid to use yummy fats, a lot of different oils, and organic butters. Their typical day starts with a fried egg on toast with avocado and greens, moves to fresh, lemony tabbouleh with labneh for lunch, then an afternoon tea break, and ends with a dinner of roast chicken, more salad and rice. (Please adopt me Hannah and Nathan!). Their healthy cooking is balanced by a myriad of fun cocktails (Hannah makes some mean greyhounds served in the prettiest of glasses!) and delightful tea cakes, cookies and tarts.

Hannah's Artist Salon & Boutique → The Lower Lodge

Nathan's Work → Nathan Hayden

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Resources of Note:

  • Pots and pans: "A trusty ol' cast iron that we do most of our stove top cooking in. We also have a few special Le Creuset items, I just love their colors! We have a goose pot, I think it's called, that we make our soups in and a two in one pan/pot that completes all our other stove top cooking needs."
  • Dishes: "Most plates and bowls are mostly hand me downs from my parents."
  • Glassware: "The blue drinking glasses are one of my greatest thrift stores finds, 20 handblown glass cups, ten tall ones and ten short ones. I got them for a song."
  • Teapot: "The white teapot was from Jesse Keenen at Cominichi's in Santa Barbara."
  • Other: "We have a few Heath cast offs, a beautiful Peter Shire mug that I like to drink my coffee out of and oh, a few of the teacups I got as gifts from artist and ceramicist Lisa Howard. One is a very special Limoges tea cup that had belonged to her Granny. I only use that for very special occasions. All the other mugs I thrifted: I have a couple sets of Mikasa, the needlepoint which are awesome because they look like pixelated flowers and the yellow mugs which just have such a vintage 70's feel."
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Thank you so much for letting us peek into your kitchen!
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More posts in this series

Kitchen Tour: Hannah & Nathan's Carriage House Kitchen

(Image credits: Leela Cyd)

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