Tour a Stunning Home Makeover with Around-the-World Style

Two globe-trotting owners, ten designers, and one outdated ranch come together in a Sonoma County renovation showcase

Chantal Lamers
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A Surprising Find

Boquete Entryway, designed by Kim Betzina (Kim Betzina Interiors) & Mughannam (Fletcher Rhodes Interior Design)

Rusti Porter and Martin Geraghty were prepared to be disappointed when they made the 50-mile trek from Alameda to Sonoma, California, to tour a midcentury ranch as a second home. “The house had been on the market for six months,” says Porter, whose first impression of the online photos was that the brick-veneer home possessed the characteristics of a prison. “We almost didn’t go look at it.”

Once inside the 4,600-square-foot U- shaped home, the two split off to take the tour. By the time they met in the middle, they shared their surprising feedback. “We’d fallen in love with the house and knew we had to buy it,” says Porter. For all that drew them to the 5 1/2-acre property, the couple’s relentless careers in sales and marketing kept them from tackling a list of improvement projects. “It became frustrating to know what I wanted this house to be, yet unable to make any progress,” she says.

Then a visit to a Napa design showcase inspired Porter to pursue a similar idea for their home—that is, to assemble a whole group of designers to work on the rooms. Within months, a team of 10 descended upon the ranch, bringing to life the narrative-rich spaces the couple envisioned based on their travels.

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Global Textiles

Kruger Bedroom, designed by Emily Mughannam (Fletcher Rhodes Interior Design)

Named for the South African national park, this hideaway channels the couple’s adventures through tone-on-tone contrasts. The printed grasscloth wallpaper sets the mood for the space, creating a backdrop for the gauze-sheathed canopy bed anchored on each side by accordion pendant lights.

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Glam Lounge

Grosvenor Bedroom, designed by Ann Wilhelm (Omhome Design)

This British-style posh-meets-spice suite was inspired by a charity-auction trip the couple took to London with the San Francisco 49ers. To emulate a cosmopolitan hotel, the designer softened the space by draping a brick wall and its windows, then painting the exposed sand- hued brick white.

A set of statement-making swank vintage velvet-and-brass chairs takes center stage, while a cowhide rug provides earthy juxtaposition.

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Retro Patterns

Palm Springs Pool Bar, designed by Julia Katrine (Julia Katrine Designs)

The generously sized bar and courtyard pool often lure guests outdoors. Pops of bright orange against black-and-gray encaustic tiles reflect the owners’ fondness for SoCal’s classic desert colony.

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Coastal Boho

Sayulita Bedroom, designed by Kim Betzina (Kim Betzina Interiors)

This retreat taps into a seductive south-of-the-border vibe with a nap-ready daybed and ombré mural. The poured-concrete floors are softened by crochet-hemmed curtains and macramé hanging planters.

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Open-Air Retreat

Denali Barn, designed by Rusti Porter (Owner)

Industrial meets idyllic in a pair of affixed shipping containers set behind the main house and surrounded by wild grass and a herd of grazing sheep. The structure’s good bones—from the wood beams to the rough concrete floors and original graphics—evoke an eclectic country atmosphere and help emphasize the indoor-outdoor connection, particularly when the clear glass door is left open.

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Stylish Welcome

From the industrial studded console to the soft cowhide stools, the juxtaposed elements in the main entryway into the house were inspired by Boquete, Panama. Curator Hide Stool-Table, $249; cb2.com. Stacked Horn Table Lamp, $850, themine.com.
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Statement Kitchen

The island cabinets were the originals but painting them with a glossy olive green modernized them to where they would complement the new, sleeker cabinetry. The oversized pendants are there for a little bit of drama. O&G Contrapesso Globe pendant, $1,999; rejuvenation.com

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Vibrant Palette

While most of the kitchen was dark and outdated, the original island countertop had the right retro vibe to stay on in the new design, says Natasha Maarie Stocker (inspiredspacesdesign.com). “Rusti had her eye on the Viking cobalt range and hood, so it was a natural starting place for color, which we complemented with subtle grey-stained wood cabinetry from Ultracraft, Neolith porcelain countertops and a bold encaustic high-contrast tile that pulls the look together and takes center stage.”

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Elevated Style

Leading to the wing of guest bedrooms the hallway got a surprising shakeup via wallpapered ceilings. The far end features a wall of hooks, perfect for those coming or going to pool just beyond the door.

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Stately Seating Area

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Welcoming Warmth

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Fit for Royalty

In the Grosvenor bedroom, Ann Wilhelm transformed a built-in dresser adjacent to the sitting area into statement making bar with a deep blue, high gloss coat of paint and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth.
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Chic Home Office

A shipping container behind the bar serves as the couple’s shared office space but felt dark and uninspiring. To add some much-need light, designer Kati Kelly (k. kelly Interior Design, kkellydesigns.com) painted the walls white and inserted a sliding glass door at south end facing the open field where the sheep graze. Then she designed an asymmetrical deck to wrap around the backside of the container, tacking on an additional 145 square feet of space. Inside, Kelly stuck with the character of the container including the beam-like roof panels, metal hangers, and un-sanded floor boards. Noting Martin’s love of John Wayne, Kelly added some rural touches to offset the industrial nature of the container and its furnishings with neutral colors as well as brass finishes, cowhide chair, and geometric wallpaper.

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Attention to Detail

Lisa Arrowood commissioned local artist Jennifer LaPierre Gigi to stencil the new wood stairs to echo the graphic wallpaper and geometric tiles used by the other designers across the property.

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Modern Repose

Across from the king-size bed in the Grosvenor bedroom, a brass and charcoal gray bench paired with a faux fur pillow and brass mirror make for a chic little respite.
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Texture Play

In the Kruger bedroom, the mixture of wood, acrylic, brass and rattan put make for a modern twist on a classic safari outing. Safavieh couture gerrad acrylic end table, $645; themine.com
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Swoon-Worthy Ombré

Picking up on the colors in the Sayulita bedroom, the entry was treated to a stunning ombré mural in deep blues to soft grays and a sunset-esque pink.
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It's a Jungle in Here

“I wanted to keep a soulful color story going into this room and chose to paint the entire room a jewel-colored green,” says Ann Wilhem of the Grosvenor bathroom. Then to break up the green and add contrast along the vanity wall she chose a bird and nature-infused wallpaper.
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Divine Neutrals

“I love to use a variety of textures and materials in similar tones,” says Betzina of the Sayulita bedroom. “Whether it be from the intricate crocheted hem of the curtains, to the faux fur pillows, to the heavy linen bedcovers to the nubby boiled wool of the pillows, by using a very neutral palette, it is still soothing while being interesting and layered.”
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Glam Master

To make better use of this elongated space, Lisa Arrowood (arrowooddesign.com) reduced the length by creating a wall for the television closer to the bed, making room for a second walk-in closet and a larger master bathroom.  To offset the busy nature of the first floor, she chose a neutral, natural scheme for the couple’s retreat. Custom artwork by Jennifer LaPierre Gigi; jenniferlapierre.com. Ivory faux flokati gunner chair, $288; worldmarket.com. Giza teardrop pendant, $229; cb2.com. Resin coffee table, $1600; livejuniper.com.
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Homages to Africa

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Custom Closet

Due to an existing window and attic access, there’s only one full height wall in Porter’s new closet, says California Closets designer Katie Milton (californiaclosets.com). “I chose to go all the way to the ceiling to maximize the vertical space,” she says. “Then I created built-ins at different heights that create movement but still allow for flexible storage.  The built-ins under the widow also provide an area to display special items that make the space feel more like a dressing room rather than a closet.”
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Global Flair

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Tasteful Tile

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Powerful Pattern

Playing off the casual vibe, the Sayulita bathroom features a modern on a traditional Mexican-style bathroom, a white wood carved vanity paired with an intricately design wood mirror.
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Pops of Color

The Buckeye Room pays homage to Porter’s alma mater, which featured concrete floors and in preparation had already been painted “Buckeye gray” by Porter. Working with the all-things Ohio State Buckeye parameters, Kelly played up the door room vibe. “I decided to keep the colors in the room very soft, all whites, creams and light grays, and added pops of Buckeye Red in the décor and accessories.”
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Exterior Landscaping

Evergreen olive trees provide year-round interest, while an underplanting of lavender bursts with aroma and purple flowers come summer. Both are low-water and no-fuss. Landscape design by Robert Hewitt Giralsole Sonoma (GirasoleSonoma.com)
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Al Fresco Dining

The pool, the bar and the weather often bring the party outside. That’s why a roomy farmhouse table is a regular fixture outside, fitted with a candle-lit iron chandelier and plenty of globes lights so the night never has to end.

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Outdoor Lounge

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The pops of orange are consistent throughout the courtyard lap pool, bar and dining area. Lounge chairs and extra seating in the same bright hue tie the spaces together
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Design Team