Creating Success By Design

A Valuable Resource and Story That Inspires

Montana Ave. , Santa Monica, CA is a small street in the northwest part of Santa Monica filled with great little shops that reflect that relaxed chic vibe that is quintessentially California.   

I and my assistants have shopped Montana for years whenever we needed items that were unique.  The resources that we had on Montana all but went away with the plummeting economy back in 2010 but one has held fast and continues to be a Go-To for my most valuable clients.  Montana has come back alive in recent years and this one is my favorite.


Owned and operated since 1993 by Eric and Jami Voulgaris along with co-owner Actress Mary Steemburgen, Rooms and Gardens has established a successful business that creates custom products for distinguished clients as well as boutique hotels and hospitality.  They also have another location which is just as fabulous in Santa Barbara on State Street named Room At The Beach.

They have succeeded in a clear and consistent brand.  It is an experience as soon as you walk through the door.  You are transported to a home that is elegant yet approachable, you will immediately want everything in the store...From the custom furnishings that are of the highest quality to the bedding and textiles, accessories and even the art all locally sourced.

I had an opportunity to speak with Eric about how they got their start, what were the strongest factors in their success, did they start out as a design studio and more.  

How They Got Their Start

Eric was involved in commercial real estate and his wife Jami,  with some design knowledge started a small store front.   They had a clear idea of the style and brand they wanted to represent and that was key to developing a strong business.

They realized that custom furnishings was the avenue they most desired. With the store's growth, Eric transitioned into the business. He spent a lot of time in the workrooms and factories,  hands-on and learned a tremendous amount about quality and design.  That is where he developed the companies policy for a commitment to upscale custom designed pieces and quality service.

From there they stayed true to their brand and continued to develop a client base seeking the style and look they so elegantly achieved.   The business grew and they opened a second store.  They are busier now more than ever and do not plan to have an internet store because they do not feel they could achieve the quality of service in product as they do now.

Eric and Jami are very happy with the business and where it is going.  They credit Mary Steemburgen for helping them along with her vision for the "experience" that is none other than Rooms & Gardens.

A Great Business Model and Experience

As mentioned - Rooms & Gardens is an experience.  You want to live in that store and the sales staff are clearly talented, sophisticated and well suited for the brand.

Visit the website: Rooms and Gardens and visit the store when you are in SoCal.  You will not be disappointed.

As a business model, for designers to create a clear brand and provide products that reflect the brand well is something that takes time and patience.  Stay focused and committed to the brand, start small and make sure you deliver quality and a consistency across the board.

Elizabeth Ribons, ASID, CID

Elizabeth Ribons is a professional designer and creative entrepreneur. She has owned and operated her own design firm for over 20 years.  Inspiring others into the world of design and the business of creating it is a committment she is passionate about.

Better by Design Academy endeavors to provide guidance and expertise for entrepreneurs launching into their own creative/design businesses.   Stay connected and gain access:

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