One Room Challenge- A Modern Spanish Bathroom Week 1

orc week 1art-balloons-birthday-1193600 (1)

Drum-roll, please! Today is a monumental moment in my career.  For this is the day I leap  into the world of blogging. I have had my WordPress domain for over a year, but too busy, too distracted, too untech savvy, too insecure. You name it, I found an excuse. So, why today? October 5, 2018, you ask?  Well, ironically because I chose to take another exhilarating, but vulnerable career step forward and expose share with my fellow designers in a collaboration sponsored by Better Homes & Garden and others, called the One Room Challenge.   One of the criteria when I applied was “Do you have a blog?” Of course, I replied “Uhh, suuuree…” click enter. Fast forward to my inbox where an invitation to the One Room Challenge sat which now meant that I had not only taken one challenge but I had really taken on 2 challenges, to design a room in 6 weeks and start a blog. BAAAAHH! Challenge 1 to tear down walls, move plumbing, select materials and implement an amazing design all in 6 weeks, no problem! Challenge 2 learn WordPress, pick the perfect template, widgets, catchy blog name…did I say I would rather do a 2 room challenge in 4 weeks?  😒 Well, here I am and now that I have ripped the proverbial band aid off the But seriously I hope that I am able to peak your interest, provide you with helpful tips and  you enjoy  my tongue & cheek  humor along the way.


So let’s get this party started!  I am so excited to be a guest designer in the One Room Challenge sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens, Fabricut, Lamps Plus and many more.  This amazing platform was created by Linda Weinstein in 2011, out of her own need to design and complete one room in her own home.  She decided to take her challenge to her fellow friends in the industry online and it quickly became a viral hit. And now today it has become a bi-annual event where designers come together to support and inspire one another to complete one room in 6 weeks with amazing sponsorship’s and opportunities for designers to shine. I urge you to check out the past  years featured designers amazing rooms at . Maybe you will take the challenge in April for the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge.

The goal for my first One Room Challenge  is to turn my tired, builder grade bathroom located in beautiful sunny San Diego, California into  an updated hip young adult boys/ guest bathroom in 6 weeks.  This particular bathroom is off the hallway upstairs which my 19 year old son  primarily  uses then throughout the year our east coast extended family visits a couple times a year to stay in our older daughter’s old bedroom/guest bedroom thus sharing this bathroom with him.

In San Diego, our communities are riddled with new and older track housing that are primarily Spanish influenced with stucco finishes.  So in updating my track house I want its interiors to reflect the architectural style of the exterior of the home.  Plus, I  love Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, with its landscape and architecture.   Quite honestly I  love giving a nod to our cities rich cultural heritage when appropriate for the homes aesthetic.   As the bathroom takes shape  you will recognize the  Spanish Colonial Revival  vanity and the age old en-caustic cement floors.  Although the foundation of my designs are consistently influenced by history somewhere in all my designs there is my need for  symmetry, clean lines and balance between timeless looks and  progressive modern trends. So the bathroom will have a modern vibe with 12 x 24 polished white tile, angular sharp fixtures and layered with geometric shapes.

For my readers who have not visited San Diego and had the opportunity Balboa Park. Here is Balboa Park on a sunny day in San Diego, California. How beautiful is this? I cannot wait for you to see the materials I found for this project.

ca_tower_from_alcazar_lighterBalboa Park, San Diego, CA




This is my builder grade, track house bathroom that for 16 years I said “Some day…”           Well, today is the day…


In the next 6 weeks these selections will transform this mediocre hallway bathroom into my Modern Spanish Retreat!

Modern Spanish Powerpoint

There are so many other details as you can imagine. I am pumped to share with ya’ all next week old walls  torn down, new walls  framed and bridges built to probably get over some unexpected hurdles. Cuz we all know whose Uncle always shows up uninvited… Murphy. That’s right! Murphy’s law is the first law of design and construction.  “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”-Murphy’s Law

Until next week…

If your head’s not in the clouds I hope your toes are in the sand,



One Room Challenge- A Modern Spanish Bathroom Week 6 “The Big Reveal”


Hallelujah, the big reveal is here!  There were days I thought I might have bit off more than I can chew.  But let’s be honest if I had not had a deadline and One Room Challenge to hold me accountable this would have been the 6 month challenge.  I am so pleased with the outcome. I was able to transform what was  a bland hallway bathroom with a fiberglass tub enclosure  into a beautiful bathroom with a walk-in shower that my 19 year old son claims bragging rights to his friends now.  Enough with the talking, I am going to let my photos  talk for themselves…


Modern Spanish After 2

I am so happy with the balance of the geometric lines of the cement floor contrasting against the rustic Spanish vanity with the modern vessel sinks.  I felt the walls needed color.  I found Sherwin-Williams Glacial Stream was the perfect supporting role  to the colors in the cement tiles with its warm undertones.  In addition, the navy metal sconces with aged brass finish is a great pop of color on the walls. And by repeating the range of blues throughout the bathroom from blue-greens in the towels to the baby blues in cement floors I love how it is not flat and one dimensional.  I also consciously mixed my metals by choosing oil rubbed bronze fixtures and aged brass in the lighting and mirrors.

vanity front view

 My son loved this art that I found so much he requested  it on his side of the vanity.

  This 5 foot walk in shower is the jewel in the crown.  I am really glad I took the risk and did a stationary glass panel with no door.   I had to have the plumber come back to change the shower arm to a gooseneck arm so that the water sprays downward similar to a rainhead, but once that was corrected it functions perfectly.

Modern Spanish After 1

Here are some different views of the details that make my 💙 sing when I see my Modern Spanish shower.


The ledge is functional and fun. It is able to hold all your amenities plus stylish decor.



This concludes my first One Room Challenge.  It definitely was a challenge for many reasons. But it was rewarding in the end to have a beautiful bathroom that my family and guests will enjoy for years to come.   My business partner will be taking over ‘Linen & Palm Trees’ for the Spring One Room Challenge. She is very talented and I can’t wait for you to see her room choice and design selections.  She has such an eclectic, unique eye for design. I am always so inspired when she executes her vision.  I can’t wait for you to join her in the spring for her One Room Challenge.

Thank you to One Room Challenge from such an amazing platform. I have had the honor of joining the ranks of many talented designers. I have learned so many valuable tools for my business, but also introduced to a  community of designers whom the camaraderie is refreshing to be a part of and I look forward to following their blogs and Instagrams in the future. @betterhomesandgarden #bhgorc @homelovenetwork

Till we meet again…


One Room Challenge- A Modern Spanish Bathroom Week 5

ORC Week 5

So I am not going to lie I have been sweatin’ this week from the day I ordered my big, solid mesquite wood 90″ vanity four weeks ago.  I knew I was pushing the envelope by choosing the 90″ cabinet over the 72″ cabinet. However, waking up in a cold sweat several nights a week are not because of my concerns over tight dimensions in the bathroom, but  from the narrow staircase return that this behemoth vanity has to clear.  Well, the delivery truck dropped off the vanity while I was out and I received a panicked phone call from my husband,  “Uhh, how are you going to get this thing upstairs? It is at least 600 lbs!” Wait! What? He is exaggerating. OMG, what if he is right? I did not account for weight.  Things at that moment racing thru my head like an 80’s Apple computer :


  • the staircase can only fit 2 people, so more hands not an option
  • rent a small crane and hoist it over our balcony in the family room=$$$$$
  • deny my husband is right and repeat the mantra “OMMM!”

Of course, I arrive at home and go directly to the vanity.  I grab the edge of the cabinet and try to lift it. O.M.G. WHHHYYY? It is 100% Mesquite wood! I believe I mentioned this several times in my description in the last 5 weeks. What I failed to correlate was how heavy this big, bad a@%* cabinet would be, not like the pressed particle board, veneered cabinets typically I use in my designs. I tell myself “Don’t panic! When there is a problem you only find a solution. Gurl, you got this!”  So I went inside had a carb fest and proceeded to sleep on it.

Nothing like a belly full of carbs and a night of sleep to solve your problems.  It came to me in the middle of the night. I belong to a Crossfit gym and today was the day it was going to pay off! They teach us that with proper form you can lift heavier.  It is not what you think, I am not an Olympian weightlifter by any means. But I happen to workout with a few.



Meet Chris and his brother, Matt, they are my coaches.  I was able to entice them to come over after the gym and move this whopping vanity upstairs.  I told my anxious husband to go golfing.  He was so nervous that someone was going to get hurt or the vanity was going to come crashing over the banister.  So with Nervous Nellie out of the house and “Hans & Frans” (SNL reference😁) here,   let me tell you it was AMAZING! They  lifted with their legs and used a lil engineering to maneuver it up those stairs.  Brains and brawn at its finest! My brains their brawn, haha…

Now with the vanity in place my plumber arrived the next morning and installed the vessel sinks, the toilet and the fixtures for the lavatories and the shower.

week 5 vanity

Week 6 is upon me and I have come along way since the picture above in week 5.  Mirrors are hung, drywall is patched and frameless glass is installed.  I took a break from all the construction and went shopping for the fun stuff,  like towels, decor and art.  It has been a nice distraction.  I gave you a little teaser of  what is to come next week in my powerpoint image for week 5.  The big reveal is in 5 days! Thank you again to the OneRoomChallenge and to sponsors like Better Homes And Garden #bhgorc  #oneroomchallenge

If you are just finding my blog and would like to catch up on the previous weeks click on the links below.

One Room Challenge Week 1

One Room Challenge Week 2

One Room Challenge Week 3

One Room Challenge Week 4


One Room Challenge- A Modern Spanish Bathroom Week 4

This has to be the most exciting part of the One Room Challenge so far.  Casa Vita Bella encaustic cement tile is everything I hoped it would be!  It makes a bold statement. These handmade cement tiles are not only beautiful to look at, but under foot they are exquisite too.  They are soft, smooth  luxurious feel on your bare feet in a bathroom.   I find my clients are reluctant at first to put them in there home because they think they are fragile and trendy.  On the contrary, cement tiles have been around for hundreds of years in Europe. And you will find them in some of the oldest mosques and restaurants in the world. I always find it necessary to follow my endorsement of cement tiles with a “How to properly install…” because skipping one step or using the wrong sealer can be the difference between loving your cement tile floors or hating them.

orc week 4

First, you want an experienced installer or a designer, who have a history of installing cement tiles.  There are very specific steps that should not be skipped to ensure a proper installation.

Here are some tips for a quality install:

  • wear latex/rubber gloves when handling tiles
  • either soak tiles in water or wipe down with wet sponge before installing so mortar does not bleed to the top of the tile
  • seal 1 coat of Drytreat and let dry for 24 hours
  • install (do not use grout release products)
  • grout and clean
  • Drytreat 1 coat
  • for extra stain and water repellent apply Drytreat again 24 hours later

Secondly, cement tiles can show wear, however, they are repairable. So if there is a stain or scratch you can get a fine grit sand paper, lightly sand the imperfection, then seal the area.

In addition, for longevity use a neutral Ph cleaner which can be picked up at any big box hardware store. And you will want to deep clean it and seal it once a year if it is a high traffic area.

Lastly, cement tile and their patterns have been historically woven throughout Europe for centuries. They are newer to the states and re surging over seas with  contemporary colors which makes them fresh and new to us.   Yes, they are a trend right now. Trends run anywhere from 10-15 years. Most homeowners update their kitchens and bathrooms every 10-20 years.  So I explain to my clients I feel that if you love this “trend” then let me implement it the right way so that is on trend for the next decade in a half and not just trendy. Maybe we do a small representation or maybe you are not afraid to embrace it and will love it 15 years from now. Then let’s go for it! I did and I can’t wait for you to see my Modern Spanish bathroom in 2 weeks!

Anywhoo, I digress and will step off my designer soapbox.  We  now return you to your scheduled  program… look at how GAUWGEOUS this shower looks against this vibrant floor.

I love it when a plan comes together! HEHEHE!!!!  Since it is an 8×8 tile they  are able to pitch the tiles to the shower pan too.

Modern Spanish Shower pan

Look at this drain I used. Whaaat? Where is it?     Follow the arrows…



Enough about my floor. Let’s talk about this glistening white shower. It is shining like the top of the  Chrysler Building. And I wish you could see the back of the ledge where the Onyx chevron tile is placed,  it is all about the subtle texture.


There are only 2 weeks left. I am not going to deny that I am feeling the of pressure right about now. My vanity is in transit from Texas and is to arrive October 25th.

Next week’s things to do  are as follows:

  1. Modern Spanish Wall Color Paint walls and ceiling Sherwin Williams Glacial Stream
  2. Modern Spanish Vanityinstall Foxden Decor 90″ reclaimed mesquite wood vanity
  3. Modern Spanish Sinksinstall the vessel sinks and toilet
  4. 5.25″  baseboards

It doesn’t look like a long list, but 3 different trades need to be coordinated through the eye of a needle this week.🤞

If I am lucky I can get my glass company to install the frameless glass panel too!

See you on the backside of this crazy challenge, thanks to @oneroomchallenge @betterhomesandgarden ! and @homelovenetwork 

#oneroomchallenge #bghorc #hln



One Room Challenge – A Modern Spanish Bathroom Week 3


Week 3 of the @oneroomchallenge!  We are on the homestretch and the words “temporarily closed due to construction” have new meaning for my family right now. For my son, it means the inconvenience of coming downstairs for all his bathroom amenities and bathroom runs.  For my husband, it is the disruption of people in his home. For me, it is sweet, sweet music to my ears to hear the progress of our bathroom transformation.   under constructionThe excitement I get just driving between my client’s projects  and my own is like showing up to my  birthday party every single time.

In the past week, those beautiful @Emsertile Choice White Gloss 12 x 24 porcelain tiles have been installed in a horizontal, soldiered pattern with a 1/8″ grout joint.  I want the shower to have  modern, clean lines. And this pure white polished tile just gleams in the corner of the room now where there once was a door hiding an ugly fiberglass shower/tub enclosure.  I wanted the shower to be a focal point of this bathroom. Mission accomplished! Can you be in love with a shower?

I💙 My Shower!

Modern Spanish Shower Wall Install

 In order to keep in line with the sharp, angular look of the shower I used Schluter’s bright white Jollys  to finish the dam and sides of the shower walls.  In the gaping hole which will be a ledge, the white ceramic chevron decorative tiles are being installed right now. So stay tuned for that gorgeous tone on tone look, only to be defined by the texture of the chevron pattern. Things this week are humming along and the vanity is going buh-bye next week… Bye Felicia 🙋‍♀️

Coming up next week this lovely golden oak cabinet we all grew to despise in the early 2000’s will be gone. The entire bathroom floor will be prepped for the gorgeous cement floors. For week 4, installation of the floors, the chevron decorative in the ledge and the shower pan are on the short list for the installers. It is a an aggressive agenda, but as we speak the shower is being grouted and cement tiles are being prepped.

modern Spanish Before

Next week  we will talk encaustic cement tiles. How they are all the rage. How you shouldn’t be scared of them. And how amazing they are to any home.  Thanks again to @BetterHomesandGarden for sponsoring this amazing collaboration!

Modern Spanish Cement Floor


One Room Challenge- A Modern Spanish Bathroom Week 2

Modern Spanish Tile Collage

Week 1 of the One Room Challenge is behind me and I am staring down week 2 feeling confidant!  All tile was in stock (Hallelujah!) , delivered, and walls torn down.   I am in love with these tiles I selected. I wish the camera could show the depth and beauty of the polished pure white 12 x 24 Emser’s tile called Choice in White Gloss.  Then I chose this extra large chevron white 2 x 6 by Onyx for a 12″ x 60″ ledge with a depth of 6″ running the full length of the longest shower wall.  I want something more dramatic than just a niche. So I had my contractor confirm  the depth of the wall to make sure  the ledge depth would work. Luckily it so happens that this  wall is backed up to the hallway where the builders had framed another foot in a half further into the hallway. Probably to cut down on sound from the shower into the hallway. Whatever the reason I will take it. 🎶🎵CUZ ITS ALL ABOUT THE LEDGE, ABOUT THE LEDGE🎵🎶

Modern Spanish Cement Floor

Of course, the ⭐ of the show is this stunning encaustic cement tile.  Cement tile has made a come back in the last couple years. Oh boy, has it revived what  I considered  drab and boring choices in the flooring world for a good 5-10 years. The patterns are ornate and vibrant or sharp and contrasting.  People shied away at first from this look thinking it was trendy, but encaustic cement tile has been around for  hundreds of years. I am excited to set the stage of my modern Spanish bathroom with this pattern  in electric, baby blues, soft grays, and outlined  in  black all  against a creamy white background from Casa Vita Bella called Neo II.  And I embrace putting this  in my home for the next 10 to 15 years. In fact, between you and me I have another pattern picked out for my fireplace fascia when this bathroom is done. Shhh, don’t tell my husband.

Okay, I have distracted you with the baubles and shiny things. Now for  my reality right now.

Modern Spanish Walls Torndown

My son officially has no shower for the next 5 weeks. He is not a happy camper.  But I told him, ” But look at it this way.  A family that showers together stays together.” He doesn’t find the humor in it. Wait till Week 4  when he finds out he has no sink..hehe. Guess what, son? I promise it will all be worth it in the end.

Fixtures have been ordered and are in transit.  My biggest purchase for the bathroom is the vanity. It is  being custom made and takes 4 weeks. Plus, it is coming from Texas.  I did, however, order it the week before the challenge. I pray that it comes in on time or else this will be the One Room Failure instead of the One Room Challenge.

Stay tune till next week…