The Apartment
Episode Three –The Multi-Purpose Room

As I sit at my desk this morning in my favorite cat pajamas sipping steamy cappuccino, the sound of fog horns and a nearby owl softly fills my ears. The smallest room in our funky 70s apartment looks out on an ugly duckling building through one window, but the tiny space where I write redeems itself with a view of the San Francisco Bay through its sliding glass doors.

Image for The orange shade filters light while covering the unpleasant view.
The orange shade filters light while covering the unpleasant view.

When we moved in, I quickly hid the unsightly apartment building and parking lot next door behind a cheerful orange linen window shade. Now we spend hours in this room surrounded by light and beauty – reading the paper, doing crossword puzzles, eating, hosting Zoom meetings, writing blogs, discussing our remodel and working on projects while Toby snoozes in the sun.

Transforming a Small Space

The image that is for The 6-foot wide by 7-foot tall armoire makes the tiny space feel substantial.
The 6-foot wide by 7-foot tall armoire makes the tiny space feel substantial.

When possible, I like appointing small spaces with fewer but larger pieces of furniture such as this oversized French armoire. While seemingly counterintuitive, the substantial piece makes the room feel grander, and installing window treatments as high as you can visually, elevates a low ceiling.


Image describing the Stacking artwork on the walls pulls the eye upward.
Stacking artwork on the walls pulls the eye upward

A corner of the compact room creates a vignette to hang favorite paintings by stacking squares and rectangles in layers on the wall. Arranging artwork in this way guides the eye upward, creating a feeling of spaciousness.


Images describing where Linda placed some of her revered objects in the opposite corner
We placed some of our revered objects in the opposite corner.

Across from the paintings, we filled a niche with more revered objects – cherished books, an old painted cabinet from New Mexico, a treasured piece of folk art, an antique mirror, a special cross and a Russian icon. I think of this tiny but beloved collection in the corner as an altar.

Image of Our Lady of the Harvest stands beside a Milagro cross from Mexico.
Our Lady of the Harvest stands beside a Milagro cross from Mexico.

Our Lady of the Harvest was purchased from a noted wood carver at the Santa Fe Spanish market in 2012. Beside the sculpture, a Mexican cross is adorned with hundreds of milagros, meaning miracles in Spanish. The tiny amulets are used as offerings in Latin America, Spain and other parts of Europe. An antique Russian icon is painted on a piece of wood and partially covered with hand-tooled and engraved burnished silverplate.


Image of the wide opening into the living room that makes the compact room feel large.
The wide opening into the living room makes the compact room feel large.

The wide opening that connects this diminutive room to the living room makes the small space feel larger and more accommodating.

Image of The chamber that easily serves as a gathering place for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The chamber easily serves as a gathering place for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The chamber easily adapts as a dining room when needed for the two of us to share a meal, snack or cocktail.

Office Niche

Some of Linda's favorite things that fill her workspace.
Some of my favorite things fill my workspace.

My office consists of an uplift desk, my computer, a favorite wicker chair, an ever-blooming orchid from a friend, my Book of Symbols, a vintage chest of drawers and a spacious antique armoire for storing files and office supplies. I savor a few favorite paintings on the wall in front of me, and a spectacular view day and night beside me.

Image of an altar
An altar does not need to be religious.

A traditional lamp base with a contemporary shade lights the other altar in the room. An altar need not be religious, but should include items that are meaningful in some way. It can be a collection of gifts, objects from your travels, or memorabilia that evokes a person or time that was special in your life.

Green Hills

View of historic St. Hilary's Church on the Tiburon peninsula.
View of historic St. Hilary's Church on the Tiburon peninsula.

Standing at the corner of the deck outside my office, I look north to one of my favorite views of the Tiburon Peninsula with historic St. Hilary’s Church. The hills are green now from the winter rains, which we hope will continue through spring. I cross my fingers and say a prayer there will be no destructive wildfires this year to scar our lush and beautiful state.

Enjoy Spring

Thanks for checking out Episode Three of The Apartment. Our multi-purpose room was a challenging one to capture due to its many different aspects – several mini artwork displays, two altars, a workstation, various storage units, an entrance to the deck, a table that serves multiple purposes, and a soft carpet for napping in the sun.

Paining of Linda Applewhite's dog, Toby
I enjoy my favorite painting of Toby on my desktop.

I hope your home contains a light and beauty filled room that connects to the outdoors and accommodates your daily needs, whims and interactions, and holds some of the treasured articles that reflect your life.

Happy Spring! When your weather clears, go for a stroll outdoors with your doggie and walk in wonder and awe in the astounding beauty of nature’s springtime artistry and grace. You will be well rewarded.

For the love of multi-purpose rooms,

Linda Applewhite's signature
Showing 12 comments
  • Joan von Weien

    Happy Spring, indeed!
    This year above all others, at least in recent memory I am savoring each blessed event, and celebration. Your rooms are each celebratory and sacred, perfect for this season.

    Love your vibrant colors, attention to detail, and your cheerful outlook on what is to come…we all need it.

    • Rolanda Smith

      Everything is so beautiful! Hope you write every season!💕

  • Kay Criley

    Linda, I LOVE your black & white chairs with the red trim at the round table! What can possibly give you more satisfaction than bringing this neglected seedling to full, luscious flower?! It is a joy to behold: a creative burst of your wonderful use of color, pattern and artwork. A real gem❤️❤️ K

  • Deborah Ann Healy

    Beautiful, welcoming, and with such great art!!! Truly a haven!!! Thank you Linda.

  • Marla Patterson

    All I can say is ditto to the above comments. Every detail and color and angle, altar etc is just perfection in the most vibrant and fun way!! While reading this latest entry there is birdsong outside my open door!! The ideal soundtrack for your glorious photos !HAPPY SPRING exactly!

  • Sandy Hopper

    Lovely, as usual, Linda. Remembering my Dominican University freshman Botany 101 field trip . . . we studied rare wildflowers that grow out of the serpentine rock adjacent to St. Hillary Church. More about The John Thomas Howell Wildflower Preserve here: landmark

  • Danelle Carpenter


  • Courtney Eskridge

    Linda- Once again, charm and beauty awaits us all as we are invited to your lovely home. Thanking you in advance for more treats to come in visiting your lovely home.

  • Carol Davis

    Thank you Linda for the look into your apartment. You have made it warm and inviting. I love your style 😍😍😍

  • Pauline Ward

    Still raining on Puget Sound; your bright colors and orange shades and blinds have given me some ideas which might help me forget the gray. Thank you!

  • Diane Arroyo

    Linda, I love everything about this space and can visualize my future dining/office space looking similar. I will send pics when I complete. (It’ll be a while) I am looking forward to more inspirations from you ❣️ I love the feeling of unpacking my boxes currently in storage and seeing them as potential treasures for my new space. Thank you for inspiring me and I’m sure many of us that need it to get to the next step in our dream spaces ❣️

  • Lynn

    I just came in from a walk with Angel to find your post waiting for me – such a glorious celebration of color and layers, Linda! You have a fabulous gift for combining patterns and colors and textures, my eye is always entranced looking at your work. And of course, the painting of Toby is pure delight 🙂

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Linda Applewhite's Blog The Apartment Episode Two color and Light lead imagePainting by Kirby Kendrick