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Linda Applewhite is an accomplished artist and acclaimed architectural designer with 30 years of experience in the design world. The Los Angeles Times called her book, Architectural Interiors: Transforming your Home with Decorative Structural Elements, “an eye-opener.” Her design and writing have been featured in numerous national and international publications, as well as in books including, Casa Bohemia, Extraordinary Homes California, and French Country at Home. She has appeared on television programs such as Food Network’s Ultimate Kitchens and HGTV’s Curb Appeal. California Home + Design named her “one of the most influential designers in the Bay Area.”

Frustrated by the unsustainable cycle of design trends that need constant updating, Linda has created a greener approach that not only minimizes waste, but also follows nature’s example. Her design, writing and teaching have empowered thousands of people to ignore whatever is in vogue on design blogs, and to instead open their eyes to where they find beauty, to follow their truth, not the trends. Linda believes that when there is harmony in the home, there is peace in the world, a much-needed antidote for these uncertain times.

Originally from Texas, Linda currently divides her time between her home in the San Francisco Bay Area and her 1930’s adobe in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Casa Golden Gate

owners: Linda Applewhite and Marshall Miller
architectural designer: Linda Applewhite & Associates
photographer: Claudio Santini

Casa Golden Gate was built at the end of and on the top of an island in San Francisco Bay. A bold, single woman named Mary Monahans was the original owner of the house. She traveled to Spain to study architecture and returned to the island to build her ideal home in the Bay. Views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Sausalito, and Mount Tamalpais, day or night, offer one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world.

Linda and her husband, Marshall, purchased the house in 2000 with plans to restore its structure and update its inner workings. The interior of Casa Golden Gate takes its cue from the eponymous bridge captured in the view from the property, which is painted a beautiful rusty reddish orange. Linda changed the once white walls of the interiors to oranges and apricots, believed to be healing colors. Central California’s near-Mediterranean climate and the colors from that region are favorites of Linda, who has traveled there extensively. She has filled her Golden Gate home with warm golds, reds, pinks, and salmons, punctuated with subtle greens and blues.

Linda is a design enthusiast who respects the existing architecture of a place and who relishes caring for a project’s site. The relationship between the structure and its site is important. Her practice is to connect indoors and outdoors in a transition that works seamlessly whenever possible. Other design professionals such as architects, landscape architects, and contractors help her to create the major structural changes in interior and exterior spaces that will reflect her goals of unity and harmony. Her emphasis is on the use of color for its enhancement of life.

Casa Golden Gate glows warmly with a palette of reds, oranges, and golds selected by owner and designer Linda Applewhite. European artwork and antiques were collected while traveling.

The original beams in the living room and dining room had been covered when the ceiling was lowered to accommodate recessed lighting. Linda made plans to expose the beams and return them to their former pristine condition. The lintel in the entry way provides a strong and definite welcome into the house. A brick wall with an unusual arch containing a niche is a reminder of Spain and the protective function of niches to guard precious objects. The house is furnished in an eclectic manner, with many colors and touches of whimsy to elicit smiles from her guests. Linda believes that a room should glow, and the combination of colors she uses on walls, fabrics, rugs, and lampshades achieves a subtle glistening effect.

The Mason & Hamlin piano dates from 1932.
The corbels, lintel, and medallion in the entry hall were carved from a local redwood in the 1920s.
A brick archway from the dining room frames the entrance to the cozy family room. The wall features paintings from Spain, France, and Napa Valley.
In the dining room the chairs at either end of the rustic Mexican table are covered in hand-painted Fortuny fabric. French chairs in slipcovers sit beside English chairs in blue leather. The brilliantly colored rug is an antique Oushak from Turkey.

The furnishings in the home include antique Turkish Oushak rugs, antique French buffet and armoire, and an eighteenth-century French hand-carved and hand-painted bar that runs next to the dining table. A rustic Mexican table that seats fourteen is made of mesquite wood and painted many times over, giving it a playful and soulful patina. This table is a bit of a surprise as its presence among more formal European antiques could be considered out of place. However, Linda’s design sensibility keeps the room from taking itself too seriously. The chairs round the table are antiques from England, Italy, and France. Carved wooden angels that flank either side of the armoire at the end of the dining table are from a seventeenth-century church in France. The chandelier over the table is Venetian. Other furnishings include a seventeenth-century French table pictured behind the vintage red sofa. The baby grand piano, circa 1932, is played by Linda’s husband and occasional professionals who entertain during parties.

The original artwork includes paintings and sculpture from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, and the United States. There is a collection of antique Buddhas from Burma, Laos, and Tibet. There is also a sixteenth-century terra-cotta “farmer” figure from China standing at the end of the bar in the dining room. The terrace is filled with vintage tables and chairs with a few pieces of antique wicker. A pair of bronze statues of a woman holding a vessel that spills geraniums are from France, one each end of the terrace. At a recent party, Linda presented a collection of 150 glowing candles to guests as a welcome to her home, the Golden Gate. They all stayed well after midnight, a compliment to the house and the hosts as the foghorns in the bay sounded their sleepy messages.

A vintage candelabra from Venice provides candlelight that shimmers over the silk sari that covers the dining room table. An antique French armoire conveys a robust spirit to the room and is flanked by angels originally carved for a chapel in France. Adjacent to the table is a c. 1892 bar imported from the south of France. The long bar glows with a warm Mediterranean color palette.

Casa Golden Gate’s colorful interior is echoed on the terrace, where red geraniums spill from a bronze statue. San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge are the backdrop for this treasured setting.

Click the image for the full-size version.

Linda is a born teacher who has enchanted interior design students, professionals, and aficionados with her unique approach at venues such as the San Francisco Design Center, UC Berkeley, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Land Trust of Napa County, and Sonoma Country Antiques. She gives presentations to organizations, universities, professional associations, and private groups.

Sample speaking topics include:

•  The Artful Home: Follow Your Truth, Not the Trends
•  An Eye for Beauty: A Spiritual Approach to Creating Spaces that Nourish and Inspire
•  Seven Classic Principles of Art: Become a Design Rebel
•  The Power of Color
•  Rooms That Make You Smile
•  Rooms That Break the Rules
•  Rooms That Blend Indoors and Outdoors
•  Rooms with Good Bones
•  Timeless Design for Today
•  A New Paradigm for Interior Design
•  Earth-Friendly Interior Design

For media and speaking inquiries please email.