Michelle Beamer’s Retail Showroom Is a Beautiful New Space for Inspiration
Being in the right place at the right time is often the key to success.
As the principal designer at MB Interiors and a faculty member of the interior design department at Santa Barbara City College, Michelle Beamer had long toyed with the idea of opening a retail showroom. Lonetree (lonetreesb.com), her stunning new space stocked with upscale yet comfortable home furnishings, lighting, art, and accessories, comes on the scene just as the downtown Arts District is seeing a renaissance in home design shops and services.
Cleverly merchandised as a series of vignettes and “rooms” combined with a spacious, courtyard-facing design studio, Lonetree is actually based on Beamer’s master’s thesis at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington, D.C. The plan included having ever-changing curated vignettes where clients could sit on furniture and touch fabrics and envision what it would be like to live with them. Check. She also envisioned storytelling design opportunities such as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art–inspired Van Gogh desk display now on view. Check. And she wanted to be able to provide a space for community engagement such as 1st Thursday parties — featuring a recent raffle to benefit CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) — and collaborations with community groups like Jane Chapman’s Communal Table gatherings (communaltablesb.com). Check.
Not to mention, a beautiful space for her to create, work with her team, and meet clients. Checkmate.
A Nebraska native, Beamer says the name Lonetree is a nod to her hometown. “When I was doing research, I found out about traders in the 1800s traveling by boat along the Missouri River to bring their goods to market,” she said. “The trader was told that once he glimpsed the lone tree on the hill — there weren’t a lot of trees in Nebraska — he knew they were close to the right place to sell their goods.”