It's no secret I harbor a love for Spanish-style architecture. Barrel tile roofs, ochre walls, arched doorways, ornate wrought iron accents - I love it all. We're lucky to have stunning examples of Mediterranean architecture here in Dallas. Drive through a pretty neighborhood and prepare to oooh and ahhh against your own will at the glory of these stunning stucco structures.
I went into my deep dive read of Casa Bohemia expecting to see beautiful examples of the elements mentioned above. It did not disappoint, page upon page of exquisite examples of ornate tiled floors and fanciful fountains. What surprised me, however, were the gorgeous homes that broke from my preconceived idea of the style. Modern creations with clean-lined furniture and sleek kitchens that still gave a nod to their Spanish design influence. The tie that binds these often diverse dwellings together is their inviting nature and almost palpable warmth. Perhaps it's a brick hearth or a stone interior wall, there is an inviting vibe and a relaxed feel achieved with the choice of materials, finish and design that unifies all of the homes featured in this beautiful book.
Casa Bohemia: The Spanish-Style House is a cool book filled with even cooler casas. It would be difficult to choose a favorite, but if pressed I'd reveal that Casa Nequette (p. 73) was gorgeous. This was one of the homes that revealed a surprisingly modern interior hidden beneath a white stucco facade that reminded me of the Alamo. Once within it was a pleasant surprise to see rooms so cleanly designed Jeff Lewis would be proud.
Don't get me wrong - there are many examples of ornate interiors filled with spectacular examples of what would traditionally be seen as Spanish-style (think: hanging tapestries, ornately carved poster beds in dark woods and elaborate iron candelabras), but Linda Leigh Paul makes a great case for broadening the definition of the quintessential bohemian casa.
Frankly, it felt like a vacation packed in a glossy book. Spectacular pools, cool tile floors, palm trees, scenic vistas and meandering bougainvillea transported me visually to enchanting houses all around the globe. If the real estate gods are good to me (and I trust they will be!) I'll one day have a bohemian casa of my own overlooking the water. In the meantime I'll keep dreaming of the romantic balustrades and arched french doors that only a Spanish-style home can offer.