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Two Timeless Terra Cotta Tile Bathrooms in the Hollywood Hills

I have a small announcement to make! I started this New build series on Instagram and Tik Tok and they went completely viral. I had 45,000 followers on Instagram a week ago and now I’m over 125,000!! Why is this a big deal? Because it seems like everyone seems to care so much about ‘how many Instagram followers we all have’. 

Terreeia and I are staying in the Hollywood Hills this week, we rented a house to meet with our team at the last minute once I saw a REAL PHOTO of the suite we had rented to have the meeting (in a hotel). There are waaaaaay too many black and grey hotels in this world and in the end it worked out so much better because everyone still had their own room and it was way prettier.

I always love staying in homes because I’m constantly fascinated by how people decorate and renovate.

The house we are in, is like a small Spanish Villa and it’s authentic to the style and architecture of the home which makes this bathroom totally timeless (except for the paint colour which can be changed anytime).

This bathroom has two recessed lights (which are not good for applying makeup) which is why you can’t see any here.

In this case I even like the way they installed the accent strip (THAT is rare).  It’s perfect because it relates to the timeless Saltillo tile installed throughout in the other bathrooms and entry.

The sink is even tiled in perfectly and the faucet is perfect (not just perfectly nice).

I don’t actually understand the obsession that so many people have with making their shower ‘interesting’ but this is only because I have seen so much ugly in this space that it takes a lot to impress me.

In this case, I like this shower, very well done.

I also like the contrast grout on the white tile. Notice that the grout on the floor is black. If it was white it would immediately be too busy because we’d have two patterns in this bathroom instead of just the wall tile.



Notice this bathroom in the same house which looks like the vanity was replaced because it looks so out of place. 

Which one do you like better? 

It almost seems like a more rustic, countrified Spanish style house should have tiled countertops, they just look so good in the first bathroom. Because if you installed black countertops in this bathroom instead, now there’s way too much black and orange turning it into halloween. Somehow the corners seem too sharp and of course the 4″ matching kick is not good either compared to the other bathrooms.

Hmm, still not convinced? Here’s another bathroom in the same house. 

We have an accent tile strip around the tiled countertop and because it relates to nicely to the floors and vanity, it works too.

Now this bathroom might seem dated in a house that doesn’t match but in this case they do work with this home.

Over to you my lovelies? Which bathroom do you prefer?

PS. My fall Virtual Specify Colour with Confidence dates are up!

Here are what people are saying from the May virtual workshop:

“Learning to read undertones as well as having her debunk the myth about which way your room faces…I always thought that was the starting point for picking color.”

“I’m very excited to apply what I’ve learned! A really great two days…well worth the time and investment!”

This course was an incredibly informative experience. Maria’s passion for color, her deep insights on the topic, and her no nonsense approach to teaching the system, opened my eyes to a new way of understanding the world of color.”  Shannon Larson

“I found the workshop a little long -I was very tired by the end. The amount of information is almost overwhelming. But I couldn’t think of what to cut out.” Maggie Seller

“How to think through the process of what stays and what goes and what to do next and why. I now have a process to follow – rather than just use my instincts about what will look right. You packed in much more content than I was expecting to receive. Loved that!” Diane Thurman

“I really enjoyed my time attending this workshop and found Maria entertaining as well as knowledgeable. I think the whole team did a great job! With some practice I feel I will do well with creating flow in my home as I now understand how to accomplish that. I also can recognize undertones which will help immensely” . Thanks Patti Stanford

Register here.

Related posts:

The Best Way to Work with Saltillo Flagstone

Are Terra Cotta Floors like Jeans?

Terra Cotta is Back! But is it Timeless?


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  • Janice says:

    Maria, I surprised you don’t have MORE followers! You’re fantastic! I have learned so much from you about color, undertone, and the classics in the last few years. Hope you and T. enjoy the summer!

  • Mike says:

    Welcome to LA!

  • Hope you’re enjoying your stay down here! I agree that the tile looks great with the style of house. The one thing I’d say about the bathroom with the replaced vanity and top is that we don’t know what happened and when. Given supply chain problems and Covid, this may have been the best that could have been done given the circumstances, like if there’s was a water leak and no available tile installers. Especially if it’s a rental and they were trying to not disrupt tenants or guests. Believe me, contractors here in Southern California have been running a marathon at 100 yard dash speeds. Only since the war in Ukraine and interest rates increasing has it slowed down. Hope you can see the Hollywood Bowl fireworks from where you are staying! Love to you!

    • MAK says:

      Or that you’re actually going to the Hollywood Bowl for the 4th!

      Love the tile countertops. But I always think people are too quick to remove them from historic homes. They particularly suit this Spanish style.

  • Laura says:

    Hi Maria, When I saw you rented a home the first question that came to mind was “Did you bring lamps?”!

    • Maria Killam says:

      This house most definitely needed lamps but sadly they did not fit in my suitcase 🙂 Maria

  • Hi Maria, Congrats on all the new followers on Instagram and Tic Tok! I love the second bathroom because it seems more suited to the Spanish design of the house you are renting. Looks like a fabulous place to rewind and have some fun and sun. Enjoy your time there!

  • Benesse says:

    Well there’s no comparison IMO. The original bathrooms look way better because they are authentic and contextually right. The updated version fell short, I think because “they” might have been too apprehensive and undisciplined about sticking to the original look. People cannot help themselves when it comes to “updating”.

  • Violet says:

    I definitely like the bathroom with the tiled counter better. Unless something has been destroyed, I don’t believe in updating EVER, as long as what is in place matches the style and architecture of the house. If it stills works, I say leave it. That said, the best update is the timeless update.

  • Sharie B says:

    The first bath is the star of the show. However, there don’t appear to be lights at the vanity, which is odd even with the lovely frosted windows right there.

    Congratulations on your Instagram success. That new series is fabulous!

    • Maria Killam says:

      There were two recessed lights which are NOT good for applying makeup! Thanks for your comment, Maria

  • Amber says:

    Tiled counters are not my favorite because of cleaning them, but this house illustrates the most important point of timeless design imho, which is that you have to honor the architecture of your house. Tiled counters make sense in a Spanish home. (Please do not install tiles counters with a painted ivy motif, like I convinced my mother to do when I was a teenager in the 1990s.)

    • Maria Killam says:

      What makes these tiled countertops work is the dark grout! And yes you make a great point, honour the architecture! Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • Diana says:

    Maria, I’m so glad you were able to stay in a Spanish style house this weekend. Many of us in So Cal live in the red-roofed/stucco cookie cutter developments. 20 yrs ago, Tuscan interiors inside perfectly fit the look on the outside. Today, it’s a challenge to meld Farmhouse or MCM or the B/W trend with our exteriors. But Tuscan is out. Any chance this weekend’s house could inspire a new Modern Mediterranean post?

  • Christian P. says:

    I love this post because no one is talking anymore about designing bathrooms/kitchens to fit with the architectural style of the home. There are too many real estate listings for craftsman, Spanish-Mediterranean, mid-century modern, Southwestern, or Tudor-revival style homes with modern farmhouse or Parisian grey bathrooms and kitchens. Same goes for lake house, classic beach house, and ski cabin vacation homes. Timeless most definitely applies to the architecture and location, too.

  • Anne-Marie says:

    Another vote for the bathrooms with tiled countertops, except that I don’t like the cross-handled faucets. To me those fit with a Victorian or Edwardian look. I would have chosen something in a dark toned bronze.

  • Tamara says:

    Maria, is there an alternative countertop to the tiles that could also work in this situation? Maybe a leathered or matte surface of some sort? I ask because I’ve had tile counters before and they get so dirty and just feel a bit unhygienic to me, as the grout lines are impossible to fully clean.

    • That absolutely is the issue with tile countertops. I had dark grout on the home I bought and pre redoing it, I tried gel staining the cabinets in a dark stain so it didn’t look so stupid, but it was going so the interim step and was like an experiment. My neighbor with the same model had light grout and has painted her cabinets white with her cream tile countertop and didn’t spend the money that I did to get rid of the discontinued “fancier” tile. We just got off the phone after 2 hours of catching up on what she’s doing to update her home. Still has the original vanities and countertops and tile in the shower and bath too, but my place had the fancy tile and dark grouting everywhere. LOL so glad it’s gone.

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