Where I Cook: Leather Craftsman Steven Soria's Rental Kitchen

Kitchen Tour

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Who cooks and eats here: Steven Soria of Make Smith
Where: Santa Barbara, CA
Rent or Own? Rent

When I realized my favorite local leather designer Steven Soria was also an amazing cook and lived a block away from me, I had to see where this magic alchemy took place. I've long admired his beautiful handmade wallets, bags and keychains, and I now admire his humble, cozy California sunshine kitchen which is as functional as it is pretty —great design translates to all aspects of Steven's life!

Step into this bright, happy space and find out why Steven loves to cook for friends and loved ones.

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Steven's Kitchen Story

Steven has lived in his downtown Santa Barbara, CA home for six years. It's a bright and cozy space with an average rental kitchen — but that didn't stop this renter from making it his own with a few low-key changes.

First line of business: give the space a fresh coat of white paint and remove an overabundance of cabinetry. Steven swapped in a few open shelves to the left of the stove to give the kitchen a more open and airy feeling and installed an old-school pegboard for his most used tools and pans. I've never seen a pegboard look so modern and cool! The results of these pretty changes show what you can do with a little elbow grease and a limited budget. It creates a dramatic impact and personalized touch.

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Steven's Cooking Story

This home cook is most inspired by cooking for others. Steven grew up in a family devoted to home cooking as a group endeavor, a task they always shared during everyday life as well as holidays. Steven sweetly sums it up, "In my home cooking was synonymous with taking care of someone. I feel I get a lot out of that sharing experience."

Now Steven and his girlfriend Weslie Ching share a lot of the food responsibilities, perfectly balancing each others tastes and proclivities. Steven loves a hearty breakfast and is known for embarking upon ridiculous spreads of pancakes (more to come on this soon!), eggs and artisan bacon, complete with coffee and fresh juice. His best bit of cooking advice he ever received was to not be afraid of adding more fat! Weslie is a dancer and tends to cook on the lighter side, as to be ready for rehearsal moments later. She's great with veggies, whole grains and simple proteins. Their cooking styles compliment one another.

Both Steven and Weslie are obsessed with Brussels sprouts, spinning meals around a hot pan of golden crisped brassica. They share their adoration for the previously-hated vegetable with wistful looks in their eyes and a lot of loaded sighs. I loved talking food with this couple!

Visit Steven's Leather goods Company → Make Smith

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Resources of Note:

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More posts in this series

Kitchen Tour: Steven Soria's Stylish Rental Kitchen

(Image credits: Leela Cyd)