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Effortless Boho Style Transforms a 90s Cookie-Cutter Home

by Sofia Tuovinen

Effortless Boho Style Transforms a 90s Cookie Cutter Home in Orange County | Design*Sponge
When Anita Yokota and her family decided to move from Los Angeles to Orange County to lead a more family-friendly lifestyle, they didn’t expect the process of finding a home to be so challenging. The family’s own townhouse sold in three days but when trying to buy a new home, Anita and her husband Travis kept being outbid — it got to the point where they even considered moving to Seattle, WA, Anita’s hometown. Luckily, after nine months of living in a tiny rental apartment, the family’s luck turned. Their offer on a four-bedroom home, built in the 90s, was accepted. “It came as an unexpected surprise,” Anita recalls the sudden turn of events.

For the first seven years in their Orange County, CA home, the family didn’t change much. The mustard colored walls, chosen by the previous owners, stayed untouched, as did the dark granite countertops in the kitchen. “I was a commitment [phobe],” Anita explains. When the exterior of the house eventually needed painting and the family received an offer that included painting the interior, the transformation of the Yokotas’ home began. “I got brave and started nailing things on the wall,” Anita says, “but what really marked my true style was when we got rid of our 13-year-old dated green microfiber oversized sofas.”

What started with a new coat of paint and some new furniture has taken Anita on an exciting adventure into the world of decorating and design. She has realized just how much she loves layering textures and colors and giving rooms plenty of depth. “For years [our home] was stale and stuck in the 90s. My main decorating goal was to bring [it] up to date,” Anita explains.

The family’s home now embraces all aspects of boho style — patterned rugs, tassel poufs, tropical plants and indigo details are repeated throughout the home for an effortless, vintage-meets-modern vibe. “I am very proud that I turned a cookie-cutter home into something extremely unique [that] I can call my own style,” Anita shares. In fact, bringing out the best in her home has inspired Anita in ways she couldn’t have imagined before. After 20 years as a marriage and family therapist, she recently decided to pursue her passion for design and photography full-time — what started out as a personal project and a creative outlet on Instagram has now turned into a budding design business!

In terms of her own home, the biggest satisfaction for Anita has been DIY updates that don’t break the bank. The most significant budget transformation has been the kitchen countertop — by covering it with faux marble contact paper, Anita was able to give the space a bright and modern feel. The traces of dated 90s decor have withered with each update in the family’s home — Anita’s cool and casual boho style, on the other hand, is in full blossom. —Sofia

Photography by Anita Yokota / @anitayokota

Image above: Getting rid of their dated, green microfiber sofas and replacing them with this mid-century inspired one from West Elm started the design transformation of the Yokotas’ home. Anita loves playing with pattern and texture, and chose to mix pillows in various shapes and sizes for a casual and eclectic look. Opting for a pouf instead of a coffee table has minimized the risk of little ones running into sharp edges.

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Anita loves layering, and rugs are no exception. Adding a bench by the window where a sofa used to be was another design challenge and win. “For years a large oversized couch overtook that space but it did not look modern or clean. Now we have extra seating but with a minimal feel,” Anita explains.

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Anita chose to mix and match chairs and benches around a dining table that has sentimental value for her and Travis. Instead of a traditional runner, a small textured rug brings visual interest. The large mobile pendant by West Elm adds a modern touch to this bohemian space.

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Anita and Travis in the living room with their daughters Natalie, Rachel and Emily.

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“For years we had a brown wooden table and wooden chairs. It blended into the hardwood floors and it was just so uninspiring,” Anita says. To create a modern and practical dinette, she chose a tulip style table from IKEA and indoor-outdoor chairs from Article. “[They] are modern, lightweight and so easy to clean. It is a busy mom’s dream.”

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“My biggest sense of accomplishment for this space is that I was able to transform a dark, drab space into something so light, bright and modern,” Anita shares. By covering the dark granite countertops with faux marble contact paper and by replacing the kitchen hardware and faucet, the family created a functioning space that is more in line with their aesthetic.

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In the family room, Anita was inspired by California vibes and wanted to bring the outside in. She filled the space with cacti, succulents and several lush plants.

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For an instant update, the practical but old sectional was covered with textured throw blankets. 

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“The hanging swing by far has been the most fun family [addition] to our home,” Anita says. “The girls love to twirl, swing, read and relax in it.” The round jute rug serves as the perfect landing area.

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The 1960s Broyhill Brasilia credenza is one of Anita’s most prized finds on a budget.

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“A house is made of walls and beams. Our home is built with love and dreams.” — Anita

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In the master bedroom, Anita chose to create a bold accent wall with removable wallpaper. The wicker bench at the foot of the bed was a gift from a friend, and is one of Anita’s favorite pieces.

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Anita wanted to keep the bedroom feeling fun and vibrant — artworks in the same color scheme as the wallpaper add interest above the vintage cherry dresser.

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Emily and Natalie, the family’s youngest daughters, enjoy a pink boho room filled with whimsy. For a unique and colorful touch, Anita updated a wicker ceiling lamp from IKEA with tassels and pom poms. Vintage kantha quilts add warmth and character to the colorful decor.

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“With the girls growing, I wanted to design the room with accents that could grow with them,” Anita explains. The open shelf above the beds displays items that reflect the girls’ current interests.

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After a family weekend getaway to Palm Desert, CA, Anita was inspired to create a desert-style space at home. The guest room, which is often occupied by visiting family members, was the perfect space to transform.

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With vintage kilim pillows, baskets, plants, complementary art and a modern spindle bed from West Elm, the guest room was transformed into a relaxing, zen space with desert vibes.

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Floor plan of the family’s 2,100-square-foot home.

SOURCE LIST

Living Room
Paint color: Dunn Edwards Ash Gray
Sofa: West Elm Antwerp (platinum weave)
Lumbar pillow: Anthropologie
Round pillows: Pampa
Pouf: HomeGoods
Shaggy rug: HomeGoods
Jute rug: Loloi
Moroccan pouf: Socco Designs

Dining Area
Paint color: Dunn Edwards Ash Gray
Mobile pendant: West Elm
Dining chairs: Article Malou chair

Kitchen
Paint color: Benjamin Moore Super White
Marble contact paper: Amazon
Pendant light: Studio Mcgee Eugene pendant
Tulip-style table: IKEA Docksta
Chairs: Article Dot chairs

Family Room
Hanging chair: Serena and Lily hanging rattan chair
Round jute rug: Serena and Lily
Side table: West Elm Martini side table
Credenza: Vintage Broyhill Brasilia credenza
Macrame planters: custom-made by The Forest Fern
Vintage rug by credenza: Rebecca And Genevieve
Letter board: Letter Folk

Master Bedroom
Paint color: Dunn Edwards Ashwood
Art gallery: Minted, Juniper Briggs
Wicker bench: vintage
Nighstands: Target
Sconces: Rejuvenation Cypress sconce (brass)

Kids’ Room
Pendant light: IKEA Sinnerlig with Land of Nod festival garland
Vintage Kantha quilts: Habitation Boheme 
Nightstand: Pottery Barn Kids Gemma campaign

Guest Room
Bed: West Elm Stella bed

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