Marcy Carsey (left) and Susan Baerwald show off their prized finds.
Art and antiques fill the store.
Photograph by Karyn R. Millet

What happens when two legendary women from the television industry realize they both have a passion for American folk art? They go into business together. The result is Just Folk, a charming destination for antiques collectors and high-end interior designers in the town of Summerland, just south of Santa Barbara. Owned by the alliteratively monikered Marcy Carsey (The Cosby Show, Roseanne, and That '70s Show) and Susan Baerwald, a vice president at NBC for nine years, the gallery-style retail experience was built from reclaimed and recycled materials.

Both East Coast natives who now split their time between LA and the Santa Barbara area, the duo first met through Carsey's business partner, Tom Werner, and later developed a friendship, which has spanned more than a decade. We caught up with Carsey and Baerwald to chat about folk art, running a shop, and prized pieces.

LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: What led you to open Just Folk in Summerland as opposed to Los Angeles?
MARCY CARSEY: Summerland hadn't completely matured or overdeveloped and has kept its sweet nature. Now it's very much a shopping destination.
SUSAN BAERWALD: We looked around LA, but Melrose was too high-end, Montana was too trendy, and Abbot Kinney wasn't upscale enough. Marcy had a house in Montecito and my husband and I had always spent weekends in that area.

LAC: What's been the biggest reward of running Just Folk?
Building the shop with amazing partners, like the architect Brian Cearnal, and seeing the plans come to life. I love the Just Folk teamKathleen, Misty, and Fernando. It's become a place filled with objects and people I love.
SB: It was great fun to imagine a place and watch it happen just as we'd imagined it. Building the store fulfilled a great fantasy, and it's so much fun to shop for our inventory.

LAC: What are some prized finds that you own personally?
A Garden of Eden quilt from the 1800s. Also, a hooked rug that says APPROPRIATE GAMES FOR BOYS AND GIRLS with boys playing with bikes and blocks and the girls playing with tea parties and dolls. Being a girl who always rode a bike and never played with a doll, I find it humorous.
SB: One-of-a-kind African-American quilts, and I'm very fond of whimsical pieces like old handmade toys and animals. My most treasured are those created by artists with developmental disabilities. They're so expressive and moving.

LAC: Where do you find your pieces?
MC: Mostly up and down the East Coast, from Maine to Georgia.
SB: We buy everywhere from auctions, big-time and obscure, classy antiques shows, dealers, galleries, and collectors. We shop the Internet as well.

LAC: You both made your names in the TV world. Do you plan to do the same in the antiques market?
MC: I just want to enjoy the process and surround ourselves with the best art possible.
SB: I wasn't interested in making a big name in TV. I was interested in being good at what I did and having a good time. Ditto for the folk-art world.

            Just Folk                                                                                                                                                      805.969.7118 tel
    2346 Lillie Avenue                                                          Store Hours:                                                       800.969.7118 toll free
         P.O. Box 578                                                      Wed - Sat: 10 AM - 5 PM                                                805.969.1042 fax
Summerland, CA 93067                                                  Sun: 11 AM - 5 PM