Robert & Michelena's Modern-Bohemian Fusion

Robert & Michelena's Modern-Bohemian Fusion

Micki Howl
Oct 7, 2010

Name: Robert & Michelena
Location: Dallas, Texas
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years lived in: 5 months — Owned

Coastal transplants, Robert and Michelena recently settled in Dallas and had, some said, an almost unattainable list of requirements when it came to buying their first home: "We wanted a home close to downtown and within walking distance to a fresh local market, yet in a cozy neighborhood with early 1900's character." This remodeled 1940's French-Normandy Cottage just east of downtown fit every wish and desire they had…

When they entered their new home, a handwritten note awaited them from the Parisian who had rebuilt this early 40's cottage. It explained where he had found inspiration for this architectural endeavor: his mother grew up in Normandy and his father in Paris. This home was a tribute to his upbringing. "We wanted to show our style and who we were, but didn't want to distract from the great architectural elements." It helped that they had purchased many items during their trips to Paris that fit within the home perfectly. The décor is a fusion of Rob's modern and masculine style, with Michelena's casual bohemian flair; minimal to an extent but cluttered when necessary, their home is subtlely divine.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Masculine Bohemian. It's funny because Robert had a traditional masculine style and I was a little more bohemian. Over the last eight years we have spent together, I have become more modern and he has become the expert flea market/craigslist/vintage bohemian decorator!

Inspiration: Living in Tokyo, on both US coasts, and our travels in Europe.

Favorite Element: The reclaimed industrial steel bed custom-built by a great artist in Portland, Oregon: Chris of Delia Furniture. And again, Robert gets all the credit for the fabulous Craigslist finds: the settee in the guest room (which everyone asks about), the steamer trunks, the spice rack drawers, and our dining room table and chairs!

Biggest Challenge: Too much or not enough? When you have been living in teeny one-bedroom apartments for the significant part of a decade, having a larger space made us question if we had enough "stuff" for each room. Turns out, it was a blessing in disguise.

What Friends Say: They want to grab a book and have a cup of coffee in the library nook.

Biggest Embarrassment: Figuring out what should permanently live above the fireplaces. They are so grand in scale we just haven't been able to find the right proportion of art or decor that works well on the mantles.

Proudest DIY: Robert's Rothko impression in the dining room! Also, the pine dresser in our bedroom: we had that in college, sanded it down and painted it with a crackle effect, then switched out the hardware.

Biggest Indulgence: The bed and the mattress. The mattress is an 85% organic Latex "Sultan" series mattress from Ikea. We found all other organic options to be astronomical in price.

Best Advice: We are very visual people. I can't come up with something in my head, I looked at design books like Domino with great pictures and flipped through quite a few magazines, no shame in that!

Dream Sources: Salvador Dali, Anne of Green Gables, Anthropologie catalogues, Parisian bookstores on the Ile Saint Louis.

Resources of Note:


    • Watercolor painting: Dallas artist Anne Beletic
    • Small steamer trunk: Craigslist
    • Birdcage key holder: Urban Outfitters


    • Black Leather sofas: Ikea
    • Steamer trunk: Craigslist
    • Swedish Rug: Ikea
    • Showcase Coffee Table: Passed down from parents


    • Shabby Chic-esque dining room table and chairs: Craiglist
    • Globe pendant with Edison bulb: West Elm Globe Pendant
    • Paris watercolors: local Parisian artist purchased along the River Seine.


    • China cabinets: passed down from parents
    • 'Friends' Cookie Jar: Ebay
    • Spice Rack drawers: Estate Sale


    • Bookcases: Ikea (Billy series)
    • Bed: Ikea
    • Sette: Craigslist
    • Industrial reading spotlight: Etsy


    • Industrial Steel Bed: Delia Furniture
    • Cowhide patchwork rug: local shop in Telluride, Colorado
    • Steamer trunk: Craigslist
    • Dresser: DIY project


    • Patio furniture: Craigslist, then spraypainted
    • String lights: World Market

Thanks, and Rob and Michelena!

Images: Micki Howl

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