Caroline Diani was born in Nairobi, Kenya, grew up in Northumberland, England and graduated from Kingston University with a BA Honors in Fashion Design. After taking a design internship at Patagonia, she discovered Santa Barbara, and made it her full time home and opened her first store, DIANI in 2002. Though she has moved away from her diverse geographical upbringing, she has carried her varied eclectic taste with her which informs her buying and design choices, whether in her clothing, shoe or home and wellness boutiques. Her curation is guided by quality, sustainability and trying as much as possible to celebrate and support small designers and craftspeople who value her philosophy for creating beauty while honoring and protecting the environment. Caroline and her husband, Jeffrey split their time between Santa Barbara and Upstate New York where they are renovating a 1750s stone farmhouse whilst sourcing for her clothing and home boutiques.
“For as long as I can remember, my passion has been exploring the why behind that feeling you get when you’re surrounded by things that move you and make your soul sing. I find so much joy in bringing to life this idea through clothing and home decor. It’s the DNA of my company: inspiration, community, experience. We are all inspired by art and design, we share the desire to feel connected, and the DIANI experience offers that.”
Caroline Diani opened DIANI in 2002 after realizing that there was an opportunity for her Fashion degree background and retail experience to collide. Having traveled extensively and lived in three countries growing up, she draws on her exposure to many designers and craftspeople to expertly curate a variety of domestic and international brands including Isabel Marant Étoile, Raquel Allegra, Smythe, Herno, Citizens of Humanity, R13, Vanessa Bruno, Jesse Kamm, Soeur, Mr Mittens, Lauren Manoogian and more. Caroline has a passion for discovering emerging designers and was one of the first specialty boutiques to introduce Isabel Marant to the USA over 16 years ago.
Caroline Diani opened DIANI Shoes in 2007 a few doors down from sister boutique, DIANI after she found styling clients head-to-toe limiting without access to the best designers in the shoes and accessories category. Designers she currently carries include Aquazzura, Anya Hindmarch, Golden Goose, Castaner, Pedro Garcia, Jerome Dreyfuss, Loeffler Randall, n.d.c Made by Hand, Ancient Greek Sandals, Isabel Marant Etoile, Oliver Peoples, Veja and more.
DIANI Living opened in 2014 a year after Caroline married her husband, Jeffrey Doornbos, an actor and writer. They had wanted to collaborate on a creative endeavor together, and home décor was the perfect fit for their mutual passion for interior design. The boutique offers everyday home and lifestyle items that embody beauty, functionality and sustainability. From proprietary furniture, pillows, linens, candles and more to flatware, bedding, bath, one-of-kind vintage items and books, Caroline and Jeffrey curate what they would like to see in either of the homes they share in Santa Barbara and Upstate NY.
DIANI Design Studio
It wasn’t long after opening DIANI Living in 2014 that clients were asking Caroline to design and furnish spaces in their homes and assist in full scope remodel projects. Thus her official title of Interior Designer was added to her resume. Her most beloved ongoing project is her and her husband’s restoration of their 1700’s farmhouse in the Hudson Valley, NY which has enabled them to have a bi-coastal life. Being bi-coastal not only provides endless inspiration, but allows Caroline to have her ear to the ground for what’s happening in the design world and to source vintage furniture and other one-of-a-kind items for clients and the boutique.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, and raised in Northern England, Caroline has developed an avant garde style that blends indoor/outdoor living, tribal family connections, and historical architectural lineages. As a result, she honors the history of a home, regardless of time period, while still creating livable up-to-date communal spaces.
Caroline is passionate about collaborating with home owners who want to bring authenticity to their home. She approaches each project with a blank palette, and starts by getting to know not only the client, but their spaces. While incorporating elements that are personal to the client, Caroline also likes to spend time alone in a client’s home, so that she can, “listen to the house” and start on an organic journey that leads to the authentic character traits of the home being enhanced or restored, while at the same time incorporating modern day functionalities. This results in a personal and authentic design that is a marriage of home and owner and has become her trademark aesthetic.
Caroline’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Remodelista, Rip + Tan and most recently in the design book, Travel Home where she sits alongside over 20 notable designers including Nate Berkus, Vicente Wolf, Carolina Irving and Erica Tanov.