In the Hippie Stronghold of Ojai, California, a New Design Store for Modern Bohemians
If there’s a single object that symbolizes the state of things in Ojai, California, it may be the handcrafted, eco-sensitive children’s tepee for sale at In the Field, a new boutique which opened this past weekend. In this picturesque city of 8,000, mindfulness is a long-standing way of life, not a fresh buzzword. But with a growing stream of full- and part-time denizens migrating 90 miles northward from Los Angeles, Ojai’s cultural atmosphere is also becoming more design-conscious. The latest signal of this shift is the self-described “lifestyle” store that the actor and interior designer Channon Roe and his wife, the former Ford model and actress Bianca, opened this past Saturday.
Like many newer Angeleno arrivals, Channon, who grew up along the Orange County coast, and Bianca, a Melbourne native, first bought a fixer-upper weekend property in town two years ago; soon after, they began to spend more time there than they did in L.A. “Ojai revealed so many more things for us than we ever imagined,” Channon says.
In the Field allowed them to further invest in the city while creating a showcase for home and fashion accessories, clothing, furnishings and other goods that strike their wide-ranging fancies. It’s also a base for Channon’s design services and “a chance to put some roots down,” he says.
As Channon waves incense around the low-slung 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival-style building, the couple, wearing head-to-toe denim from the store (Channon’s jeans are from Mister Freedom; Bianca’s, Imogene + Willie) look every bit the modern bohemians. “We’re pulling from our friends, our history and our travels, and seeing what we can bring,” Bianca says. Rachel Craven table linens and Matteo bedding are two examples of the L.A.-made goods displayed on artfully installed plywood shelving and vintage tables. The selection of women’s clothing includes items from Pas de Calais, Mes Demoiselles, Ten Undies lingerie and other labels previously unlikely to appear in this neck of the woods. In the men’s section, surfboards resting against custom-built racks reflect another one of Channon’s lifelong passions. And in keeping with the hospitality habits of the community, the Roes designed an area in the center of the store where customers can linger for beverages and conversation in comfortable earth-toned seating (which is also available for sale).
“It’s quiet and quaint on the surface, but the beauty of Ojai is you have to let it unveil,” Bianca explains. “There are some great, interesting minds here. They love this place for the reasons we do. It’s about having faith.”
730 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, Calif., inthefieldojai.com.