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Designer Erica Islas has long been a friend of HGTV.com. She is always willing to share her design secrets and has one of the most extensive resumes on HGTV’s Designers’ Portfolio. She can transform a large, stark space into a personalized and comfortable home or turn a tiny, non-functioning room into the best spot in the house. This month, Erica takes us on a tour of a restored 1920s Spanish bungalow that was in dire need of a makeover because of a previous owner’s complete disregard for what defines this style of house. Erica’s clients reached out to her after they bought it, because they knew they needed a designer who would bring the home into the 21st century while also restoring the integrity and charm of the original design.

Erica Islas Spanish BungalowAll photos by David Young-Wolff.

Erica says: As with any old home, construction codes today will be different from when the house was built. In this renovation, the changes in codes presented us with challenges like making doorways bigger in a house where there wasn’t enough room to begin with!

Space planning in this small home (one of our specialties) was important. Bringing back the 1920’s Spanish bungalow charm did not always mean using original tile or authentic period fixtures. Instead, I carefully acquired tile and fixtures suggestive of the period. Also, we used eco-friendly products wherever possible.

Erica Islas Spanish Bungalow

My two goals in the kitchen were to make sure the space functioned properly for the family and to ensure that the kitchen was an appealing mix of modern mixed with 1920′s charm. I consider it a triumph that the space is fresh and contemporary while still being in sync with its roots. The vintage one-of-a-kind pendant over the breakfast table is the perfect compliment to this kitchen and was an incredible find at a local vintage lighting shop. By removing a wall that had been located at the end of the counter, I opened up the kitchen. Now sunlight from the large windows fills the space, and the family can eat in the inviting breakfast nook. The seat cushions for the built-in eating area were tailored for a detailed finish featuring a mattress edge and stitching.

Erica Islas Spanish Bungalow

In a Spanish home, it’s important to incorporate pieces that look regal. In this living room, the first thing you see as you enter is the grand, yet understated mirror hanging over a simple plaster fireplace. There’s a delicate pattern detail on the Hinson & Company linen drapes, which you can see faintly in the mirror’s reflection. I love this room because of its restrained sophistication.

Erica Islas Spanish Bungalow

The dining room, situated between the kitchen and the living room, has a decidedly Old World feel. It’s a true statement room. The leather work on the chairs is intricate and indicative of Spanish design. I love the juxtaposition of the oh-so-serious chairs and the fun decoration hanging from the chandelier. Never take your home too seriously!

Erica Islas Spanish Bungalow

My clients found me through a bathroom remodel I posted on HGTV’s Designers’ Portfolio. They loved that design so much that it inspired the direction for their own master bath. The traditional cobalt blue tile and decorative talavera bring definitive Spanish charm to this space.

Erica Islas Spanish Bungalow

The transition from the master bathroom to the master bedroom is achieved through the repeat of the blue, now a more navy tone, in the chair and curtains. I typically like to have colors flow through the house like a thread of color, subtly changing with the movement from room to room. I introduced a pale yellow on the walls in the master bedroom to compliment the navy blue.

Erica Islas Spanish Bungalow

The girls’ bathroom was a complete renovation. We borrowed space from the laundry room so the two teenage girls would have their own sinks in this shared space. I fell in love with the hexagon floor tiles — my main inspiration! I knew immediately that pairing these green clay tiles with traditional white subway tile on the wall would give me the nostalgic look I was going for. We scored a yellow custom-designed vanity with bun feet and paired it with used glass knobs for the “bling” in this vintage look. An exposed chrome fixture and glass doors in the shower keep the bathroom fresh.

Erica Islas Spanish Bungalow

Soft pale pink sets the scene for this sophisticated preteen’s room. The animal print bedding and custom-designed wardrobe closet with mirrored doors add a touch of glam. Rather than flashy posters and neon pink, this tweenager wanted something grown-up and soothing — with just a pinch of spunk.

Erica Islas Spanish Bungalow

This bedroom allowed me to fulfill a childhood fantasy, as this design is what I wanted when I was a teenager! The aubergine headboard is the flirty pop of color in an otherwise monochromatic room. Hanging striped pendant lights over night stands compliments the flower wallpaper. The wall-to-wall cabinetry paired with a built-in desk fills up an entire side of the room. Notice the wardrobe closet has drawers below; it’s reminiscent of the way these built-ins were designed in the 1920s.

25 Responses

  1. Shelli-Anne says:

    Where can we see the BEFORE photos??

  2. kelly says:

    this is my dream house. quaint, full of light and well put together. Overall a beautiful job. I know who is turning my first house into a dream home!!!

  3. Fleur says:

    This is such a beautiful work! I am lucky to have been one of your clients with one, then two, then many projects! Your sense of style and budget savviness is a treasure for us homeowners…

    • Erica says:

      Hey you ! Guess what ?
      It was your guest bathroom that i designed for you that inspired this project :)
      My client saw your bathroom online :) now you like hers ! It's a full circle :)
      Love it ! Thanks for your sweet comments ! You've been a dream client too with 5 baths !

  4. Candy says:

    The project is perfection. Great job, Erica!

  5. Tamara says:

    Felicidades Erica eres super talentosa!! Gracias ademas por compartir tus logros,
    ya muero por ver tus siguientes proyectos!!

  6. Great job, Erica! Congratulations.

  7. malisa says:

    Beautiful Home. Its great to see that the new owners wanted to keep that 20's traditional spanish look. the indoors matches its exterior beyond words. You are truly an amazing and talented Designer turning everything you touch into magic. I love to see your work.. A Fan

  8. laurie says:

    what is the paint color you used in the room woth the fireplace. i am trying to complete a spanosh style remodel and are having a hard time finding this color. would you also share a picture of your fireplace. it looks like what i am trying to create. beautiful work. you are very talented.

  9. […] Monthly design tour: erica islas’ 1920s spanish bungalow […]

  10. RNM says:

    this is beyond gorgeous. i love the pale yellow with the turquoise and the cobalt tile around the bathtub

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