The California missions spawned a revival movement in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. I think it’s time for a new one. Cacti and succulents are in vogue and current “it” design firm Commune (Ace Hotel Palm Springs) has done a lot to advance an earthy, slightly ethnic palette that emphasizes textiles, ceramics and woodwork. Add the fact that soulful, handmade objects are also enjoying a renaissance and suddenly, many elements of the missions feel completely contemporary. I think these properties deserve a renewed look. They’re great design inspiration: a mix of California, Spain and Morocco. And the mature gardens and cemeteries that they hide are truly captivating.
Not every mission is a stunner. But Mission Santa Barbara is a highlight on the mission trail. Here’s a few pics featuring some of the things I found alluring: