House Trends in Design, Whats Next?

New Mid Century Modern , Modern Craftsman, Modern Beach House, Modern Farmhouse… these are just a few home trends that have popped up over recent years and are modern takes on older styles. Recently you must have heard about “Modern Cottage”, unless you aren’t an avid follower of Chis Loves Julia; which if you aren’t, their blog and gram are worth checking out.

Chris Loves Julia published a post about their new home that they are renovating, The renovation has been exhilarating to follow. The house is quite large, and they are making some big statement changes. They have been defining the new style of their home as “Modern Cottage” which, much like Modern Farmhouse, is a bit of a nod to an older style, pulling in many elements, while modernizing it. Basically, it doesn’t have to be an authentic cottage- because how many of us live in the English countryside?

On my route to my sons preschool, there are about 5 large Modern Farmhouses being built/renovated in a 2 block radius- no, I’m not in the country, I’m in Silicon Valley. I think many of us credit the boom in this style to Joanna and Chip of “Fixer Upper” and Magnolia fame. Interiors and exteriors were white and crisp, with high contrast features; such as matte black hardware (which I will never stop loving), exposed brick, shaker cabinets, farmhouse apron sinks, shiplap everything, rustic wood floors, and country lighting fixtures- much to love.

Lately, we are seeing moodier vibes, stone exteriors and fireplaces, more vintage or vintage “look” items, European designs (like these ranges, absolutely gorgeous), white oak and light wood stained cabinets or darker painted cabinets, and matte black seems to be taking a back seat to brass, usually unfinished brass that will patina. With all of these features; its cozy, layered, and personal. I think Modern cottage is definitely a pretty trend and hope to see more of it.

So whats next, I guess thats the title of this post. Obviously no one can predict the next trend (though some designers might dictate it!), but I’ll tell you what I’m seeing popping up, and the vibe I’m digging the most right now…….wait for it…..

Modern Spanish Revival.

I know, its been done before, those early 2000’s home developments- but I’m not talking about those ticky tacky boxes on the hillside. I’m talking about this:

And this:

When Amber Interiors (my, and probably many others, design idol) revealed her “Whats The Story Spanish Glory” I was in awe. It was very different then a lot of her previous work, but so good. It really solidified my love for this style. Just take a look at these images of the inside!

I lived in a truly magnificent real Spanish Revival till about age 8. It was a special home with all the iconic features, terra-cotta  roof, arched doorways, spiral staircase, arched window in the living room. It was a work of art and I credit my love of architecture and interior design in part to that home. It was also in dire need of restorations so we had contractors there almost daily, something I’m sure my kids will remember from their childhoods too! So maybe, the style is a bit nostalgic for me.

And in full disclosure- I recently moved. My new house is much like many homes built around the 70’s in the Silicon Valley; soulless, sorta a ranch but not really, with hints of some styles, but ultimately not staking claim to any of them. Obviously it wont stay that way, I can’t live in a home without the desire to beautify it. So I began looking at what features were already there, and how I could maximize the style without completely knocking down my home and starting all over. Jenny Komenda of Juniper Home also talks about this; when you go to add, renovate, or simply decorate your home, unless you are doing a total rebuild, make it work with whats there- Stay true to your homes style. For example, if you have a mid century modern home, adding modern cottage is probably going to feel really off.

After studying my home for a while, and getting a little discouraged, I realized its got more Spanish Revival elements than any other style, so I began working from there. My home is stucco, I have arches across the front porch, I have beams in a cathedral living room, and while I don’t have a clay roof, many in the neighborhood do (its definitely the style will we will go with when it needs replacing).

Since then I have been researching and pinning all the modern Spanish and original Spanish revival homes. The crisp white stucco exterior mixed with darker windows (black or espresso or bronze), and a terra-cotta roof, just totally does it for me! I fell in love and so this is my style story or house genre (such great phrases from CLJ)

I’ve also noticed that some of the Modern Cottage features that are so popular right now, don’t even read Modern Cottage to me- they actually read Modern Spanish. For example, arches everywhere (doorways, windows), concrete and Mexican tiles, dark trim and windows, moody vibes. I guess that goes to show how many styles and trends share similar elements and borrow from each-other to create entirely new looks. If you want to see the ultimate marriage between Spanish and cottage, look no further than Patina Farms, an absolutely beautiful Modern Mediterranean home.

So while I’ll let everyone label their own designs, you heard it hear first, Modern Spanish is coming, even if only in my home, but I think it will be glorious.

What do you think will be the next trend? Or whats your homes style?

Bathroom Budget and Sources


I really liked participating in the One Room Challenge. There was definitely a feeling of “we are in this together”. Lots of supportive people working on complex and fun spaces.

Before I get into the sources for the bathroom, lets talk budget.

I could NOT find any accurate info on costs before we did our large remodel a few years ago. And part of that is because “it all depends” on sooo many factors. But the more designers and consumers openly share, the more others can get a clear picture of how this works.

Labor for this project, which included; demo, tiling, installing new vanity and toilet (remember I kept the same tub), updating shower valve, replace wall plumbing pieces, dry wall replacement and texture (where the old tile covered the wall surrounding the toilet), adding light above the tub, changing to two sconces instead of one overhead light above the mirror, and replacing outlets and switches. All this labor costed about $6000. I live in one of the highest cost of living areas in all of the US, don’t even think of owning a home under $1M kind of area. That means labor here is often higher than other areas.

But even so, what I paid was a STEAL. I attribute that to working with great professionals who I have used in the past and have rapport with, as well as acting as my own General Contractor. I hired my teams separately and managed what needed to happen and when. If I had hired a GC, they would have hired all the sub workers and then tacked on 20%, sometimes more. GC are absolutely invaluable when you get into big projects, or if you don’t know anything about remodeling and don’t have any good contacts for hiring the right team. I’m not knocking the mark up of a GC, its well worth it often time. But if you can (and be real with yourself, not everyone can), you will save a lot by acting as your own GC.

Also- know the scope of work, and get the quotes ahead of time. A change order is what happens when you decide to do something different or add something last minute during a project. Most of the time its going cost you more that way, then if you had a detailed contract outlining the work. It can also delay the project, which in turn costs time and money.

So labor was $6000 and items I purchased ended up coming to about $1800. So this was a $7800 bathroom remodel. Not too bad for one of the most expensive places to live in the US. And if you’re someone who always thinks of the return on investment, I would imagine this remodel would have great return if/when we decide to sell.


48” Vanity

Rug (vintage find)








Shower and Bath Faucet



Small canvas paintings (made by me)



Wall tile

Floor tile


Art on wall next to toilet

Toilet Paper Holder



Hand Towel

Candle (made by me)

ORC- Hall Bathroom Week 3



One Room Challenge week 3! We have made so much progress.  Tile and rough electrical are DONE. The vanity is in, the faucets are in. We have working plumbing. Such a beautiful sight! This clean slate is going to be so fun to style.

So, you may notice that there drywall isn’t textured or mudded. Thats because I have to carve out the time to do this..eek! But we really needed the second toilet in. Over the last week we had several instances where three people needed to go, 2 of them being kids unable to hold it. There may or may not have been some peeing in the bushes in the backyard….So yeah, we will either cover the toilet well or remove the tank part to get around it. Thats the plan.

Whats left is really all up to us. Here’s what we still need to do: mud and texture over the new drywall, paint the walls and baseboard, hang the mirror, decorate and style! The electrician will come back to add the finishing pieces, but not till we get the walls all done. The kids are super excited about the bathroom. All in all its been a fairly smooth experience for our family of five sharing one bathroom. Definitely helps that our kids are young enough to not mind too much, and our toddler isn’t potty trained, but oh that’s planned to start when this bathroom is done.

Here’s some crappy iphone photos to enjoy!


About the sconce placement (that sconce on the counter is an old one, new ones showing up soon), the pics only make it look uneven, its level in real life. But I am a little worried about the height. Last minute I changed the height to be a couple inches lower, wanting the flexibility to lower the mirror and also knowing that the sconce attached lower than the bulb. But, I may have made the wrong choice, so we may go in and raise it….if it drives me crazy. And yes, our door hardware is pretty bad, something on the list to update, along with the actual doors. This house was made with hardwood floors that were covered with carpet for years, so all the doors are cut to accomodate carpet, which we don’t have any more.


Guys, this toilet is awesome. Its a TOTO, its skirted, so cleaning is easier, and it works with the unifit so it allows for 3 different rough in distances.

So there you have it, lots done, still lots to do. Check out what others are doing here.


ORC- Hall Bathroom Week 2


We’re back! Week 2 of the One Room Challenge. In Week 1 I laid out the basic plan, and it’s really happening guys, the demo is DONE. All the old blue tile is gone, and get this, all the NEW tile is in! The rough plumbing is mostly done, we decided to change the shower valve. We had a 3 handle set up, which is an older or more traditional style. Because most shower/tub faucets are one handle, we weren’t finding any in our price range in matte black. It was an easy fix for our contractor. We choose to hire out for the demo, tiling, and plumbing. We are going to do a few DIY things, like paint, and texture the walls. We decided to hire for the small elecrtical changes.


Demo was messy! Fortunately our guys covered the house pretty well.


But look at where we are now? (please excuse the crappy iphone photos, I wont break out the real camera till we are done styling)


So much of the big stuff is done! I LOVE the grid layout. There is nothing wrong with staggered subway tile, used it for several other spaces. But grid, whether horizontal or vertical, is more modern and clean looking.

Oh, and I have never had a niche, and we finally do! I think the kids are going to enjoy using the new landscape for playing with their toys. We went with a white metal schluter around the subway tile, and I am so happy we did. initially we were going to use matte black to match the faucet. It would have been ok, and I’ve seen some bathrooms that it looked great in, but for this space, the white was the right choice. And lets just give a quick praise to schluter for letting us have simple modern tiling without beveled edges! Sometimes you don’t want a bevel.

Also this week, picked out my lights (will be sharing them soon), and I’m playing around with some decor. Looking pretty!



Still to do; complete plumbing, electrical, new drywall, patch and texture, paint, install toilet, install faucets, install lights, hang mirror, decorate/style! Whew, that’s quite a bit.

Well that’s all for this week, hopefully we continue with this momentum, and if you get a chance, pop in and check out what others are doign for their One Room Challenge.

ORC – Hall Bathroom Week 1


Here we go! Its my first time participating in the One Room Challenge, but I’ve been following and enjoying this challenge for a while. Some of my favorite designs and transformations were featured on ORC. I mean, look at this Master Bedroom, or this Office, or this Bathroom.  Here’s some more info on the ORC. Basically you will get to watch me make a space in 6 weeks! Yes, only 6 weeks. Obviously I’ve been mentally remodeling the space for much longer than that, but the work and finishing touches are happening fast.  The ORC is great because it allows you to see the full process designers use to create a space, planing, mood boards, selecting finishes, budgeting, etc.

The Plan

Our Hall bathroom is one of the most used spaces in our home, it’s the guest bathroom and the kid’s bathroom. During our large remodel of our common space (kitchen, living/dining room) we even used this bathroom as a make shift kitchen sink, coffee station. Maybe I’m due for a post about surving while living in the remodel. Since its one of the few spaces that has remained untouched, we decided its time to tackle it. Noticing mold in the grout and an uncleanable ring around the base of toilet and tub was also a big motivator. The mirror is builder grade and heavily distorted, I mean I love looking wider and all, not, but its time to go. The Bathtub faucet is an anomaly, the edge of it is sharp and worn away from I’m guessing years of hard water build up? I don’t know, but its freaks me out every time the kids take a bath, if they hit it, they would defnietly get a cut. I know they make cute covers, but my kids just pull them off, so no point. The current tile is very much not to my liking, and the vanity is also cheaply made and due to the finish wont take a coat of paint. Its at the point where it never looks or feels clean despite deep cleaning.

Heres what we are working with…


The pictures don’t do it justice, I swear. Also, don’t ask about those randomly placed ikea hooks/knobs on the wall. We’ve lived with this for almost 5 years! Amazing that I didn’t just start breaking tiles after 1 year.

So this is a bathroom, one that is used by three children and guests, it needs to be durable, forgiving, and budget friendly. About 4 years ago we remodeled our master bath- it was rushed and low budget due to a pipe burst and some damage. I really wanted matte black faucets and hardware. Unfortunately 4 years ago, matte black was just starting to catch on, the only options were soo expensive and special order- either we didn’t have the time to wait and see if we liked them or we didn’t have the budget. I settled on brass/gold (I’ll show it on the blog soon). We like it, but I never got over matte black, so when it came time for this hall bathroom, I knew matte black was a big starting point.

I’m hoping to have a clean, modern, relaxing space, but with my usual love of high contrast. I find most of my rooms have a hint of drama and high contrast- they aren’t washed out, even with all the white and neutral elements.

So far I’m still teasing out the accessories and decor so this is the hardscape mood board, I can be very picky about art, and finishing touches. But without further ado here’s where we are going…

Untitled design-2

mirror  | vanity | shower faucet | sink faucet | hexagon tile | subway tile | toilet

We found this very budget friendly white vanity, it came with a sink and countertop. It had the option of marble or quartz. Marble is beautiful, but this is a heavy use bathroom with kids, so we went with durability. For the floors, I’m loving hexagon tiles, and so are a lot of others. This tile is affordable, easily picked up at lowes, is neutral while still being interesting. The bathtub is staying, its in ok shape, a few nicks. The tub is cast iron, its crazy heavy and its white- so it stays. The walls are going to be a classic and modern 3×12 subway tile. But instead of the typical layout, we are going horizontal grid.

Then of course, vanity hardware will be changed out to matte black pulls and knobs. Faucets, matte black. The mirror was a nice find, look at that price! Its not the highest quality mirror, but its not distorted to make everything wider, and its pretty. Its got a rustic vintage feminin vibe, which is welcomes in this otherwise modern clean lined space.

The toilet is gong to be a toto, vespen II, it allows for adjusting the distance from the wall, because it offers the toto unifit adapter which gives the perfect fit for a 10, 12, or 14” rough in. Moving plumbing isn’t alwasy an option, so unifit comes to the rescue.

Well there you have it! The hard finishes are planned and we can break ground! See you next week for week 2. If you want to see what other designers and bloggers are cooking up, head over to ORC.