Lynne’s Sunny Santa Barbara Sanctuary

updated Feb 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

Name: Lynne Sutherland, kids Ava and Wyatt, cats Felix and Fiona, and dogs Charlotte and Tuesday
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Size: 2,000 square feet
Years lived in: 9 years; Owned

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Lynne’s home is oriented to the sun—in more ways than one. On the day of our visit, we found the house flooded with the most glorious mid-morning light. The energy of the household was light, too, and that’s intentional. Lynne is a yoga teacher whose conscious cultivation of joy and sanctity in her sunny cottage is at the heart of what makes her house a home. A California bohemian chic look permeates, with plenty of airiness to add a calm, Zen-like feel to the cottage. It is comfortable and beautiful, with nothing so precious that it can’t be enjoyed. After all, Lynn’s cottage is also home to her two children, two dogs, and two cats.

(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

Graced with good bones, the space itself is well-laid-out and wonderfully inspiring with its warm honey pine floors, great light, and built-in shelving and storage. The family room opens to a peaceful backyard, a patio off the kitchen makes outdoor dining easy, and with enough room for a trampoline out front, it checks every box for this spirited, pet-loving family.

Lynne has outfitted her home with an eclectic mix of new and vintage furnishings, mixing materials and textures masterfully. Colorful textiles punctuate the mostly warm, neutral background of natural fibers and tones of her furniture. Vivid paintings, handmade crafts, and other artful pieces collected from friends, family, and travels grace the cottage, along with lots of unique Etsy finds and plenty of thrift store- and flea market-sourced gems. The Rose Bowl Flea Market in particular has been exceptionally good to Lynne, who tells us she has made the trek there in the family Westy van on more than one occasion and always returns with a treasure trove. Her haul has included antique turned-spool twin bed frames, loads of African mud cloth fabric, and other enviable finds that now have a place in her home.

(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

Textiles of all sorts are layered everywhere, and for Lynne, using them serves both form and function. “I love white, and I used to have even more of it, but it’s not very practical with kids and pets,” Lynne shares. “I took to draping scarves and tapestries over the sofa and beds to protect them… I love patterns and pops of color against white,” Lynn continues, “and it serves a purpose anyway.” It’s a look that suits her bohemian ways and her laid-back lifestyle.

It feels as though Lynne’s home gives off a vibration as much as a look, resonating with light, warmth, and peace. It’s inviting and personal, with a story behind much of what you find, from the the treasures her grandparents brought back from their exotic travels to the the cherished paintings made by a dear artist friend and the tree stump her son Wyatt sanded down for use as a side table after a friend dropped a huge load of stumps in their yard. When reflecting on her home, Lynne reveals her yogic mindset, remarking, “ It’s not perfect… it’s really about embracing the imperfection.”

(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic, bohemian meets vintage Zen retreat

Inspiration: I am highly inspired by all things patterned and bright, airy light. I believe a home should feel like a sanctuary and everything you see you should love.

Favorite Element: The light in the front room and the high beamed ceilings.

Biggest Challenge: The fence that keeps breaking & my dogs escaping!

What Friends Say: This home is so “you.”

Biggest Embarrassment: The couch in the family room. My mom gave it to me, and I have yet to replace it. Soon…I’m saving up.

Proudest DIY: Wyatt’s tree stump turned side table… he sanded it down and finished it off beautifully for use in our living room.

Biggest Indulgence: The beautiful paintings in my house by my dear friend Blakeney Sanford. They make me happy every day.

Best Advice: Create a space that feels sacred and that you want to spend a lot of time in. Surround yourself with things you love and don’t be afraid to break design rules.

Dream Sources: Long Beach and Rose Bowl flea markets, my favorite “secret” thrift store down on Milpas St. (I score a lot of amazing ceramic pieces there), Etsy, West Elm, going to Europe and Morocco and finding unique treasures!


(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Couch: IKEA
  • Coffee table: antique
  • Schoolmaster’s desk: 19th-century antique
  • Armoire: 19th-century European antique
  • Rug: antique Kilim via Rose Bowl Flea Market
  • Leather pouf: MindaHome on Etsy
  • Stick chair: Kentucky Stick Chairs on Etsy
  • African Juju hat: Oldworldshoppe on Etsy
  • Textiles: African mud cloths via Rose Bowl Flea Market
  • Stump side table: sanded down and finished by Wyatt
  • Coasters: Table Top Made
  • Painting: Blakeney Sanford
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Table: West Elm
  • Chairs: Pottery Barn
  • Sheepskins on chairs: IKEA
  • Vase on table: antique from Lynne’s grandmother
  • Bar tray table: Marshalls
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Rug: thrift store
  • Pottery: thrift stores (all of it!)
  • Wooden bowls: thrift stores, Etsy
  • Tea towels: Out Gathering Fruit (a friend’s company)
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Bed: Pottery Barn
  • Peacock chair: the side of the road—best find ever!
  • Dresser: IKEA
  • Woven wall art: Sunwoven on Etsy
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Bed: Land of Nod
  • Unicorn head: Pottery Barn Kids
  • Dresser: IKEA
  • Pouf: Serena & Lily
  • Weaving above bed: Etsy
  • Side table: Ross
  • Small flower painting: painted by grandmother
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Twin bed frames: Rose Bowl Flea Market
  • Lamps: World Market
  • Blankets on beds: Pendleton
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Turkish bath towels: Etsy, World Market
  • Bath mats: World Market
  • Paintings: thrift stores
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Rug: Etsy
  • Leather chair: World Market
  • Desk: Pottery Barn
  • Woven vintage wall hanging: Etsy
(Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)


  • Rug: IKEA
  • Coffee table: Craigslist
  • Trunk side table: passed down from a friend
  • Mirror: from a friend
  • Leather chair: from a friend
  • Dresser: antique from Lynn’s grandmother
  • Vintage flag: Etsy
  • Woven wall hanging: vintage via Etsy
  • Surfboard: carved by Bennett Williams
  • Textiles and throws: Mexican blankets, Moroccan wedding blanket
  • Small blue painting on shelf: painted for Lynne by a yoga student
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The front door opens into the living room. (Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

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Thanks, Lynne!