‘HOME WITH A TOUCH OF THE EXOTIC’

Nicole and P.J. Williams opened the doors to Bungalow 319 on April 1. This was no April fools joke. The husband and wife duo already had decades of experience in retail and East Asia merchandise; they’ve owned Spirit’s Path on State Street since 1995.

Once the location at 319 Anacapa Street became available the couple immediately threw their collective hat into the home décor market with an ever-changing collection of furniture chosen for the “way we live” in Santa Barbara.

The 5,000-square-foot space is located off the beaten path, but in a commercial district that’s gaining a reputation for its furniture enterprises – Cabana Home and Neuvie are among those businesses. Sandwich board signs on the corner of Gutierrez and Anacapa Streets direct the eye to the Williams’ Shangri-La secret hideaway, 5,000 square feet of warehouse space with 30-foot-ceilings that once housed the store World of Magic. “We’ve done magic with the old World of Magic,” Nicole jokes.

Put together, Bungalow 319 comprises multiple pieces of the world, its merchandise imported from the far reaches of Asia – Bali, Thailand, India, Viet Nam and China – parts of Africa, and even from the good old USA. The Williams have created an atmosphere of casual elegance and a peaceful haven where you feel at home in their store and can visualize pieces in your own abode. They say they want their store to represent quality, originality and affordability.

The husband and wife partners both work in the store and share the responsibilities of buying, number-crunching, merchandising, delivery and design. “We are completely hands on and feet in,” Nicole says.

P.J. focuses his talents on room design and furniture placement for custom service clients while Nicole takes care of day to day operations. P.J. is originally from Ohio and Nicole is from Southern California. They met and worked together in a cowboy boot store in Santa Monica for three years before moving up to Montecito in 1995.

They have three daughters, all of whom go to Montecito Union School. Their oldest, Noa, is entering fourth grade; Eden is in third; and Reece is starting kindergarten this fall. Getting into the business too, the daughters helped create the “kids area” in Bungalow 319, where parents can let their children play while they are shopping.

While several elements of the operation fell comfortably into place, Nicole says she struggled when it came to christening the business. ”The name Bungalow 319 came from countless tries at finding the right word or phrase that symbolized ‘home with a touch of the exotic,’” she says. “We wanted to find something special, unique and ‘catchy.’ We looked through plant, flower and vacation books to get ideas and finally one of us said ‘bungalow and that was it.”

Bungalow 319 (730-1640) is located at 319 Anacapa Street. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. For more info e-mail bungalow319@hotmail.com.

Inside Bungalow 319

Mini bubble glasses: $6

Bamboo cocktail table with removable tray: $25

Mermaid-shaped door handles: $40

Outdoor teak lounges: $250-$400

Old temple door coffee table: 1,500

Teak outdoor bench made from antique door and panels: $1,599

Tutti-Frutti chandelier: $1,799

Large pebble-covered wall fountain: $2,899

Honey colored freeform teak coffee table: $4,800

Carved Indian wedding bed: $6,000

Antique wood Quan Yin: $6,900