Tio's: update

Remember when I mentioned working on this project? Well it's so close to opening I can practically taste the tacos.

I've been sharing updates periodically on twitter (#tioseastvale) but when it came to the blog, I just bailed on you guys. I made note of it and never opened up the discussion again.

I like instant gratification and am a huge fan of straight forward before and afters. Some people, I realize, prefer to be taken through the journey and like knowing the thought process of the project. I'm more like, just show me the pretty pictures.

Today I'm extra terrible because I don't exactly have pretty pictures for you. Just a bunch of iphone pictures depicting how far it's come. It's always a little bittersweet. At first you're excited and you think you can't wait until it's finished, you see the progress and before you know it, it's complete. And it makes you a little sad because you get attached.

But good thing it's family cause I could stop in anytime.

One the left here you see the space was an office of some sort, and to the right it was a Hawaiian fast food joint. The shared wall was opened up to create one space. The left is now the casual dining area and the right is still the ordering area, modified to Tio's specifications.


Then it was this big construction zone.


And day by day things progressed. I just noticed the before place also had a half-painted wall. Appropriately enough, ours is Sherwin Williams Jalapeño.



and progressed.


The ladies bathroom


art was hung.


And now it's almost open!


Imagine if all projects moved along as fast as my narration.

Hopefully I won't disappoint in sharing professional photos.

Happy Thursday!

Mid Century Modern

I've been meaning to share pictures of this project for two weeks now but every time I think I have time to sit down and right a proper post about it, there are other things on my to do list that take precedence. How do you do it, mothers? How do you do it? And I still only have one!
Not the point. That's for a whole other post.

Today the focus is on this project I've been working on for a young couple who bought their first house a little less than a year ago. They both work crazy long hours so we've been working on it piece by piece. There are a few more things to be done to the master bedroom and office but today I'm sharing the living room, guestroom and sunroom.

There were budget constraints but I went a la Tim Gunn and made it work. We pretty much started from scratch, getting rid of most of their furniture keeping their big black bookcase and a few accessories.

They wanted something clean and fresh with a mid century modern feel and color moments.

Here's the living room before when it was staged for selling.


nothing offensive just baaaahring. Joe and Jane could live here and you'd be like cool. Joe and Jane have no personality. No offense to anyone named Joe or Jane.

Let's bring in some life though.


A little big more color, some pattern and now we're talking.


Here it is on the day I went in to check on the paint job, showing some of their existing furniture. They needed a place to sit while we waited for new stuff. Say hi to Mochee, their dog.


Another before shot from a different angle.


I thought the red door was cool and bold so we decided to keep it that color.



niche before

Here it is on the day I went through all of their accessories to style this big bookcase, which was originally on this wall but felt it protruded out too much and kind of blocked that left turn into the hallway. I thought it would make more sense taking up that large wall in the living room where it now is.



guest bedroom before



Client had these wooden pieces you see on the left and I figured they'd make cool art, giving the room this worldly effect. They also echo the nightstand sides.

Adding an ethnic throw at the foot of the bed really gave the room that pattern and color it was asking for.


Sunroom before


aka the party room.

This space was meant to just be a fun room to chill out in and hang with friends. There is complete privacy out back so it didn't require any window treatments and because so much natural light comes in, it allowed to go bold with color.




It's like summer all year round in this room.

And that's it for the tour. Master and office coming soon.

Happy Tuesday!

photography: Bethany Nauert


My family's in the restaurant business. If you guess Mexican food, you've been paying attention.

My uncle had the genius idea of opening in a developing city where there was essentially zero competition. Business boomed and customers practically demanded a second location. In came my dad, followed by my other uncle and two more locations. Now Tio's (means uncle in Spanish) is on to their fifth location and expanding no.4. And since we're keeping things in the family, I've been brought on to create a design concept and make materials/decor selections.

I want it to have color moments in thought out places. I don't want people to walk in an have it be arriba arriba all up in your face as most Mexican restaurants are known for. No cliche wall murals here.

Here's a look into what my brain is thinking.


I want a neutral base with half painted walls in that rich green color to add depth and dimension. An easy way to bring in a bold hue without going overboard. Brighter colors and texture will be brought in through decorative items, art and selective zarape upholstery.

My first commercial space. Exciting times.

What's New What's Next

WNWN large logo

I was recently asked to participate as a Blogger Ambassador in the fifth annual, "What's New What's Next" event hosted by The New York Design Center on September 19th. The focus of the event is on new products from the New York Design Center showrooms.

This year's blogger participation is a bit different from years past. The target this year is to have a strong product presence on Pinterest.

 I was asked to create a collage, inspired by one new product to be introduced at this year's event and on the day of the event, my board will be on display amongst the other participants. But until then, boards will be pinned and repinned for promotion.

With some big name media sponsors like Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Architectural Digest and discussions with some of my favorite designers like Thom Filicia, Vicente Wolf and Bunny Williams, I was eager to jump at the opportunity to participate. And although I physically won't be able to attend the event, knowing that a board that represents my stile will be in attendance (and hopefully viewed by many) feels like a bit of an honor.

The board I created is titled, California Luxe, inspired by the new Charlotte Batik Wool Rug.

I then selected the rest of my products available through the New York Design Center site here and on Dering Hall's storefront here.

It felt great putting a board together without a budget to worry about. I was like a kid in a fancy candy store.


I wanted my board to have that California beachy feel balanced with the glamour felt within LA, mixed in with color and pattern of the designstiles aesthetic.

Let the Pinterest promotion begin.

Ready, set, pin!

Kitchen Makeover

I just finished up this kitchen makeover. We wanted to update the look of these builder-grade cabinets while not completely replacing them to keep costs down. By replacing cabinet doors, countertops, adding hardware, staining, painting, purchasing some new appliances, accessories, table and chairs, we were able to achieve a look that feels freshly updated while still remaining slightly conservative to represent the clients' needs.




I'd been wanting to try this new look of different color lower and upper cabinets and was happy when client was on board. I think it adds the right amount of contrast.  We also built-in the microwave above the stovestop to clear up more counterspace. I decided to take the new subway tile up to the bottom of the upper cabinets rather than leaving the backsplash at about 1/4 of the way up the way it was before. I think it feels more complete this way.



New table chairs, refrigerator, a roman shade to bring in color and pattern and opted for two glass doors to flank the window to add some dimension. Some crown moulding was also added.


Much more fresh looking.

Happy Tuesday!


I can't express enough how much I love accessorizing and styling. It's the final touch that really pulls the room and makes it look complete.

Without these final touches, a room is just pretty fabric or furniture without any real life.

And I especially love it when my designer friend, Ever, calls me to help him out on installation day. And actually on accessories shopping day. We make a fine team.

You may remember last year when I helped him stile and accessorize this project. This year the client decided to work on the downstairs portion of the house.

Again working with a limited budget, Ever decided to work with existing furniture, mostly rearranging items and painting to give the living room, sunroom and family room a fresh, updated look, while keeping the client's traditional style in mind.

Here's the living room before.


Kept the existing sofas and rearranged them so they faced each other, moved wingbacks to sunroom, added chandelier, painted, purchased new rug, installed drapes and restiled the heck out of it.


Client already owned lamps and coffee table was brought in from family room.

I only snapped this one angle because the left side of the room wasn't complete yet. I think (hope) you get the idea.

Same with family room. I only snapped one angle.

Kept sectional and just painted, rearranged some things, added drapes, new ottoman and accessories.



My favorite was the sunroom. I mean, what a difference. Amazing what some paint and rearranging will do to a room. Client pretty much already had all the furniture pieces. It was really just a matter of decorating it.

Before sunroombefore



These were the wingbacks that were in living room





Room already had the wall to wall sisal as well. It adds such great texture and feels perfect for a sunroom.


Room now feels like a sunroom; bright and, well, sunny. Great little room to sit and chat. And drink.

Happy Tuesday!

Accessorizing and Styling

I just finished accessorizing and styling a family room for a young couple. The spare room used to function as their home office, but they decided to repurpose this extra room and now utilize it as a place to sit and watch some television. I suggested they remove the doors so it feels less like the bedroom it once was. I also recommended a sectional so they have ample seating in the small space.

A few items were already owned (the yellow tv stand was scored for $30!), and most of the rest of the items we shopped for together. All on a budget to create a cozy, comfortable room that now feels more homey.

A few before shots





A small, round coffee table was ideal for the space since the room was small and it balances off the rectangular shape of the sofa. It also picks up the circles of the area rug, ottoman and mirrors, creating movement. The pattern of the ottoman and area rug are also a nice play on scale. The area rug also brings in some color and pattern to the otherwise neutral room.

That's what I call affordable decorating.

Happy Thursday!

A Friend's Place

When my friend Dee moved into her place a few years ago, she asked me for help. I pretend I'm a good friend so I said yes.

We had her dad's old furniture to work with, an IKEA budget and an afternoon to get as much done as we could. One budget decorista coming right up.

Fast forward two years later and now she's moving. We never really finished and now I'm bummed I wasn't a better friend and pushed her to do so.

Before any packing started, I suggested we take some photos so we'll never forget that one summer afternoon we jam-packed her compact car with apartment purchases. But mostly I want evidence shall I ever need her to return the favor. I'm teasing.

Lots o' color.

Happy Tuesday!

Patio Decorating

My friend/mentor, Ever from ES Designs, asked me to come on board an outdoor patio decorating job he was starting on. I love working with him! Even though his years of experience surpass mine, he always values my input and let's me do my thing when it comes to accessorizing and styling, my absolute favorite part of the job. We feed off each each other and simply just work well together.

This project needed to be completed in three weeks and we were on a budget.

This patio hadn't been touched in years and was mostly used as a place to store extra stuff. Stuff that needed to be taken out.

Ever is also a drapery expert and always sees an opportunity to hang some fabric. It cracks me up. So with this patio he wanted to get a little Viceroy with it and make it into some type of cabana and outdoor living area.

Can you tell which one is the before and after?

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8163/7203667970_53b76ba215.jpg  https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8163/7205813360_30f1cb2f35.jpg

This before and after are opposite views, but you get the point.




Brick columns were painted white to brighten up the space and outdoor sconces were painted black for drama and contrast.

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This wall was painted green to bring in color and create a focal point.


This bench already belonged to the clients, but wasn't being showcased. It now fits in this nook perfectly.



There was also this area off to the other side that Ever wanted to convert into another small pool cabana.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7094/7203667758_fa080f943e.jpg  https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7092/7205835126_79d927072c.jpg


Pots were moved, pool was cleaned, things were styled and now it's all ready for summer.

Happy Tuesday!

Showing More

I forgot I never showed you the rest of this project.

Today I share the living room, dining room and a part of the entry.

Here's the before of the dining room.


Not a whole lot going on.


Now we have a little more going on.

Like awesome glare.

Three rooms on a budget. Stretching those dollars.

Living Room before.


I spy my umbrella.





We still need to put some artwork going up those stairs.


I coincidentally found this console at Home Goods when I had to drive back for a second time because they wouldn't hold something for me. I was so annoyed that I had to go back out of my way, but luckily I did because I didn't spot this on my first visit. I think someone was trying to hide it since I found it covered up by other pieces.

Paid a little over $500 for it. zinc door sells the same piece for $1353, plus shipping!

I love you zinc door, but I win this round.

Happy Tuesday!