A Organic Bohemian House Was Renovated from Across the Country

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Organic Bohemian House Was Renovated from Across the Country

updated Apr 30, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Square feet
Sq ft
House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Name: Jillian Gould Allstadt and John Allstadt, kids Mia and Bodhi, and dogs Bella and Milo
Location: Mission Canyon — Santa Barbara, California
Size: 1,650 square feet on a 10,000 square foot lot
Years lived in: 8 months (bought gutted and designed from NYC); owned

Jill and her husband John are New Yorkers who left Brooklyn behind for a West Coast dream. When they first started house hunting in California, they weren’t looking for a major renovation project per se — after all they were still living on the East Coast at the time. That changed once Jill caught sight of the seventies era split-level fixer upper intended to be a broker’s flip for their agent. Set high above the street, the contemporary architecture offered huge windows perfect for taking in the treetop views of the oaks and surrounding Mission Canyon neighborhood of Santa Barbara. Jill knew managing a renovation from across the country was not going to be easy, but she also knew it would be worth it.

Jill’s a designer, so envisioning the space was not going to be a problem. She grew up in a house with a lot of fine antiques and things you were not allowed to touch. She wanted the opposite for her spirited family…a highly livable home where nothing is too precious and everything is to be enjoyed. Jill’s husband John is a personal fitness trainer, and another house goal they shared was a commitment to designing a home that stimulates wellness in all ways — from a steam shower in the bath to using carefully considered materials that live well. The natural fiber rugs and pebble stone shower floors were selected for aesthetics as much as for the feel. “It’s like a little everyday reflexology built in to our lives,” Jill explained, “these are materials that feel good to be barefoot around on.”

Inside, there’s a bohemian modern feel grounded within the contemporary foundation and set aglow with modern and experimental lighting. Jill definitely knows where to IKEA and where to splurge, and how to bring a space to life without any high-minded dictates necessary. And she’ll tell you that’s intentional — her own home is a nod to the kind of creative, functional and accessible design she brings to her work with clients at Gale Design Studio.

Out back, the yard is terraced into the hillside offering views and an expansive feeling. The family has begun transforming the yard into a sustainable garden with native plants and edibles. “There’s going to be a hot tub over there eventually,” Jill, shared, gesturing towards the platform she created out of crates that is currently functioning as a rather righteous yoga space. “Life is hard enough as it is,” Jill continued, “your home should feel like a retreat; it should help you be the person you want to be.”

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern, organic, eclectic, bohemian, surfer, laid-back, urban influence

Inspiration: Tree house/ Surfer Cabin / NYC Loft

Favorite Element: The light and architecture of the home itself. The kitchen design is probably my favorite element that I implemented if I had to choose just one.

Biggest Challenge: Designing a house from across the country. I am used to using clients’ funds, needs, and inspirations — doing a job this personal was absolutely more stressful and was absolutely the largest challenge. With that said I continually reminded myself how grateful I was to be designing a home for myself and my family in this little paradise called Santa Barbara.

What Friends Say: They say it’s welcoming, and relaxing and they feel like they are in a type of resort. This is amazing to hear since one of the things we love the most is spending time with our family and friends and it was intentionally designed to provide this. We always want a home that welcomes and shares!

Biggest Embarrassment: I tried to cut a few corners to save on expenses by not using a contractor for some elements. The outcome is definitely not work I would ever approve for a client! Lessons to learn and knowledge to share with clients.

Proudest DIY: The Garden. I took the top level of my garden, which was a hill, and created an urban fruit and vegetable garden, deck and pathway. The goal is to produce as much of our own produce as possible and to share the extra with others. We are only in the preliminary phases of this and it will be an amazing project to watch grow and come to life throughout the years. We have started exploring principles of permaculture and are looking to collaborate with a gardener to create a beautiful, functional, sustainable garden.

Also the kitchen design — we knocked down the dividing wall and created a completely custom kitchen with my partner on this project, Chepe Beltranena. Without his support designing my own house would have not been possible. I love collaborating with other designers, carpenters, and artists!

Biggest Indulgence: This whole thing was an indulgence. Working on my dream house, every choice was indulged and thought out and I will continue to indulge and create more and more within this house. It will be an evolving space just like life. If you want a more specific answer I would say the steam shower. My husband is a personal trainer and trigger point specialist. He is constantly training and working on mobility – the steam is a way to do this and avoid leaving the water running at full pressure for long periods at a time.

Best Advice: Don’t forget to enjoy the privilege of what you are doing. It’s just stuff – its about life and the people in it that matters most. That may sound unconventional since I am a designer — but I still remind my clients of this. You can design a home on all types of budgets; its about being creative!

Dream Sources: The world! Places like Morocco, Thailand, Mexico, Bali…flea markets. The Rose Bowl, Brimfield. I love vintage pieces and things made locally. Etsy, Chairish. The Blue Door, The Mill, Porch. Liberty at Porch is a great resource!


House — Benjamin Moore Ocean Floor, and I did a custom color for this house that I named Mia’s Castle. It is a very pure white with a tiny bit of green and blue.
Deck — The deck is also a custom color called Bye Bye Brooklyn. Grey with a slight pinch of green.

Sconces — Lightexture– vegetable steamer – I adore this designer based in upstate NY- every piece they make sprays the most beautiful light- you can tell they truly understand and love light.

Sofa — Dekalb
Mid-Century Ply Craft Modern Vintage Chair — Chairish
Artwork —Local Sunday art market in Santa Barbara
Photography — Laura Grier
Pillows — Lynne Sutherland at Mission Canyon Collective, a new friend and SB local who was also on AT!
Dog Bed Pouf — The Blooming Loom
Chair Macramé — Tricia Fix who is mostly focusing on clothing now – met her at the Rosebowl Flea! Love her pillows and chairs (and her clothes).

All vintage items sourced in flea markets…but the sheepskin rug like the others in my house are all from Costco or Overstock. I would love to source ones closer to the “farm” but for a good sheepskin rug at a reasonable price – Costco.

Bed — West Elm
Lamps — Target
Closets —All IKEA doors
Interior Systems ELFA from the Container Store

Painting and Vanity —Found this trippy painting locally at The Blue Door off of State Street The owner personally delivered the vanity and as we set it up she told me the story about the previous owner and how the vanity had traveled here with her from Europe. I love knowing the history of pieces!

Bed — Oeuf Bunkbed
Table — Shawn Boyd Made This based in Santa Ynez.


IKEA — Gotta love the modern clean lines and low price!

Tile — Buena Tile in Santa Barbara. I worked with Blue and he was fantastic!

Florist — Emma Lauter
Interior Styling — Genevieve Badone Assili
SB Stone
MAINZ Construction: I worked with a lot of contractors- Morgan was not afraid to take on our insane driveway retaining wall. I bid this with at least 6 contractors in SB. He was outstanding to work with!

Thanks, Jill and John!

Share Your Style:

See More:
⇒ Recent House Tours
House Tours on Pinterest