Bohemian Break

My fossilized century-old home I fondly refer to as Golden Gate has wet feet. Apparently, no one knew how to address drainage in the 1920’s on a steep and rangy, oak-dotted hillside at the top of a runty island in the San Francisco Bay.

To say Golden Gate does not appear at her best these days is an understatement as she braves beaucoup repairs to her marshy, moldy, waterlogged footing.  For now, the aged centenarian is decidedly indisposed and must adjourn from public view at least for a while.

Bohemian Great Room

Before image of great room

But what better way to take a break from Golden Gate chaos than to focus on Bohemian beauty? Afterall, Bohemian Style is in vogue, and I think this home I’m walking you through with 14 images embodies the genre superbly.

During her travels to Guatemala, India, Peru, Spain and Italy, my client eventually landed in Sonoma County where she walked past a sunny, white stucco, hillside property every day envisioning herself living there.

After image of great room

In fall of 2018, I stepped inside the Mediterranean dwelling my client ultimately purchased. I was struck by the collection of foreign, divergent and unconventional objects including antiques, old rugs, contemporary furniture, provocative artwork, vibrant ceramics, spiritual sculptures, and a bounty of unexpected pillows, textiles and fabrics.

View from dining room

This mishmash of neutrals allied with dynamically deep shades of color invoked a mystical and exotic quality that didn’t merge well with milky-white walls. So, we selected a paint color to warm up the rooms then I brought in decorative painter, Shawn Roland, to glaze the painted walls that produced a radiant glow.

Window Treatments

Before image of window treatment
Before image of window treatment

The previous window treatments had a narrow panel hanging from one side of four expansive arched windows in the great room. The drapery rod was installed several feet below the top of each arched window that divided the lanky windows into two sections.

New window treatments

The voluminous new window treatments were hung on small rods above the arched windows to raise the eye to the ceiling. This served to make the room look loftier and the window treatments appear grander and more elegant.



We moved the traditional sofa from the great room into the sunroom where it harmonized with an abstract painting attached above. Then we unrolled a vintage brown and orange Turkish Kilim rug on the floor over softly colored terra cotta tiles.

Cabinet with Santos
Cabinet with Santos

The narrow room was anchored at the far end with a richly embellished cabinet and lavish gold mirror that reflected light around a hand-carved Mexican Santos that my client purchased in Santa Fe.

Family Room

Before image of family room

The family room had a warm wood-paneled ceiling, but the chalky-white walls created a drab and prosaic feeling in the space. The antique blue chairs had saggy seat cushions and the television looked out of place in the corner.

After image of family room

Painting and glazing walls a warm apricot color with an extra layer of glaze on the cloverleaf window ornamentation forged a luminous backdrop for the now refreshed electric-blue chairs.  The ornamental black and gray screen balanced the room with a built-in cabinet on the opposite side of the den.

Family room makeover

We placed a contemporary silver console against a wall and topped it with the television backed with four European line drawings. An armless velvet navy chair and decorative wooden armchair sat on either side with woven baskets beneath for storage. The console reflected the pewter color of a Turkish tasseled ottoman that resided in front of the restuffed blue chairs with orange and pistachio-colored shaggy pillows.



Multi-patterned textiles with floral and geometric themes from different parts of the world mingled together in the master bedroom. A composition of neutral brown, black and beige tones combined with dusty apricot hues, sapphire blues and varying shades of terra cotta, bedecked the pillows and coverlet at the end of the bed.

Fanciful Sculpture

Indian Wedding Statue

With daylight illuminating her golden handmade four-foot-tall wooden figure encrusted with birds, glittery leaves and shiny pearlescent balls, this Indian Wedding Statue beckons guests to reflect upon the sacredness of beauty.

Mysterious Artwork

Mysterious artwork

All I know about this painting is that according to ancient mythology, birds are spiritual messengers. This piece of mysterious artwork is painted by artist Denise Carletta and hung in the sunroom close to the Indian Wedding Statue. Both provocative pieces with mythical birds can be viewed from the entry giving those who enter a hint of what’s to come.

True Bohemian Style

I told my client her home was the closest I had come to witnessing an authentic Bohemian design style. She agreed with my description but added, “The style is diverse, unexpected and out of the box. It depicts beauty that doesn’t conform to any formula and yet is coherent to the soul. The rich, deep colors give a sense of depth and living through many life experiences.”


For the love of true Bohemian Style,


Linda Applewhite's signature
Showing 14 comments
  • Kathy Higgs

    Sending loving regards to the golden gate beauty while she naps.

  • Joan

    I LOVE this revitalization! It’s clear that this home wants to come out and PLAY!!

  • Alex

    Wow Linda, what beautiful images and captivating writing!!! I can read it over and over!!! Very excited to see Golden Gate when she’s not indisposed and ready for the public:)

  • Yvonne Danelle Carpenter



  • Joan

    I’m sorry to read about the Golden Gate home, I so look forward to seeing the progress your making on it and can’t wait for the finishing touches, But, in the meantime, thankyou for sharing your other projects!

  • Marla Patterson

    Gorgeous! The colors the art the Santos what a revitalization of windows rooms colors textures etc.! It’s an absolute celebration for the eye!

    Linda I’m so sorry about the Golden Gate trials. I’m not sure I realized you were on an island inside the bay. A challenge for sure but I know it will come out beautifully. Love this post, thank you for the post.

  • Kirby

    Linda, No matter what the tastes of your client, you give them an exciting, diversified and first-class design! I am once again amazed at your talent!

  • Kay Criley

    Ah, Linda, the wonders of your marvelous eye!! I want to curl up with a book in the sunroom – and wish for dry feet for Golden Gate Lady . No wonder you suffered from mold allergies!! As Annie sang: “ The sun’ll come out tomorrow…”

  • Liz Nichols

    Linda! You did surprise and delight me. I had a smile on for every photo. For those who think what’s currently called the Boho style being white walls and a cacophony of colors shouting for equal attention, and ultimately look like a lot of collected items at various flea markets put into a single room without editing – your photos are a learning tool for the correct style. This new so-called Boho style really needs a different name to be accurate. The Bohemian lifestyle is the springboard for this interior design style. It’s a drilling down into the soul, not a surface design of wild patterning; it’s rich in color, fabrics, collecting, and springs from the artistic soul – but you know that. Good on you. Still smiling!

  • Norma

    I hope the Golden Gate Lady will get her new slippers repaired and be able to shine with all of her history..

    Love, love the beautiful color of the walls and textile in this lovely home.

    It feels like a big hug to welcome you in each room.

  • Pebbie Comer

    What a surprising and fun break from Golden Gate, although I can’t hardly wait to get back to her. This room with its beams and ceilings is so warm and inviting now. You truly turned it into a “come in and sit for a spell, and enjoy its eclectic feeling”! Lots to look at and soak in as you look around. What fun travels! And you pulled it all together with the perfect tones and colors. I enjoyed this break!

  • Miichele


  • Ellen

    Please, please invite me when more of your project is finished! I know it will be sensational.

  • Kellianne Land

    I love how you treated the original painted floor border.

Leave a Comment

Rusted Gate with Pumpkins