Master Bedroom Interior Design Renovation

In this Master Bedroom Interior Design Renovation, the main request from my client was to bring some life, color, and texture to their bedroom. They felt the room was too flat and lacked some energy and character.

Check out how the room used to look in these two photos. The walls were plain white, the space lacked dimension and scale, and there were no main features other than a piece of art floating on one wall.

The Transformation

I started by adding some color to the walls. I chose a light beige on most of the walls to make the room feel warm and cozy and a deep green accent wall to add some depth and dimension to the space.

The client also requested a lounge area in the bedroom. He is an avid reader and wanted a comfortable space to enjoy a book and maybe have a chat with his wife before going to bed.

For this purpose, we made a custom sofa deep enough for him to sit comfortably. The simple, yet impactful patterned Sunbrella fabric adds texture and extra colors to the room. I used the same color as the accent wall for the wall shelving unit to create depth and proportion without overcrowding the space.

I bought the accessories specifically for the client, with the purpose of elevating his mood and state of mind every day. Whenever I design spaces, I want to help improve my client’s life somehow. For me, this is the whole purpose of my work.

A Custom Touch

On the other side of the bedroom, I designed a new custom made 100% imported leather headboard for the bed. It looks amazing, the photo does not do justice to how beautiful it turned out. The high contrast between the deep green wall and the camel leather brings the entire space to life and definitively adds a lot of character.

The details on the leather tufted headboard make all the difference. We brought the leather from the UK specially to build this amazing feature for this room. To build the geometry of the headboard we neatly aligned the nails and perfectly placed the leather buttons on the tufting.

An important note is that I always visit the shops before delivering any custom-made furniture to any of my projects to make sure everything is the right quality for my clients.

Here are a couple of extra images of the accessories installed in this project. I strongly believe accessories are a very important part that completes the design. This is why I always go the extra mile to get the right accessories for my projects.

Photo credits to

If you liked the ideas you see here, don’t hesitate to check out more of my work like Kitchen Renovation Residencial Alhambra

So you want to move to paradise? Welcome to Costa Rica!

your home by the beach in Costa Rica

This little country packs a lot within its borders. With 12 climatic zones, mountains, beaches, jungles, and a bustling metropolitan area in the Central Valley, there is literally something for everyone. 

Read on for great tips on moving to Costa Rica!


While learning Spanish is an excellent idea, you won’t have to speak fluently from Day 1. Particularly in touristy areas, many people speak English. Furthermore, the culture is so warm and welcoming there will nearly always be someone nearby to help.

Best Beach Towns

Drone shot of Langosta beach in Guanacaste

The beaches in Costa Rica are to DIE for! The world-famous Manuel Antonio beach with the national park of the same name is a great place to start. You can literally create a private jungle escape just minutes from the beach. 

Jacó is another popular area and there is more in the way of shopping as well as it offers easier access to the city. To really get away from it all, head down to Dominical. The tiny town is right on the beach, which is a favorite with surfers, and you can live nestled safely in the jungle.

Health Care

Costa Rica has a socialized health care system that you can sign up for and most larger towns have a hospital. There are also numerous private clinics with English-speaking doctors in most towns. You may have to go to San José for specialized care. 

Social health care insurance in Costa Rica

Starting a New Business

There’s a lot of paperwork involved, but, in general, Costa Rica is friendly to foreign business owners. Just make sure to hire a trustworthy lawyer and follow the rules. For example, you can own a business before you get your residency, but you can’t work in it. You must hire local workers for that. 

Buying a Car

Cars are expensive in Costa Rica and the driving is different than you might expect. If you’re going to be going anywhere remote (pretty much everywhere except San Jose) you might want 4-wheel-drive. Take great care with the dealerships and a private sale is usually a better option. Definitely have it inspected by a reputable mechanic first.

Thinking about importing your car from home? Don’t even bother, import taxes in Costa Rica can be quite high, so you’ll end up paying maybe even more than if you were buying your car in the country. So safe yourself a lot of trouble and just take a trip to San Jose and get your car there, always find someone you trust to help you make the deal.


There are bilingual schools in many towns in Costa Rica, but they are usually private and can be expensive. Homeschooling is not legally recognized in Costa Rica, but it is not illegal. Sometimes you can join together with other expat families to help each other out.

Making Your House and Home

Looking for design advice for your new Costa Rican home? Don’t hesitate to reach out, I’m happy to help you customize your own little piece of paradise!

luxury beach villa view

Continue reading Contemporary Tropical Architecture in Costa Rica

Architectural Design Can Help Keep People Safe

The appearance of COVID-19 has been devastating. The disease has prompted many governments the world over to require citizens to wear protective gear like masks or face shields to help limit the spread.

While these methods can help, how we design our spaces can also be hugely beneficial — and allow people to interact more normally. Check out how architectural design in Costa Rica can help keep people safer in closed environments.

Social Spaces for Distance, Not Isolation

The droplets that can spread COVID-19 fall to the ground quite readily. Generally, they don’t make it past 6 feet, which is the basis for the 6-foot social distancing guideline.

Thus, spaces can be designed to allow for this distance, but we don’t have to isolate people from another.

Where large groups of people need to congregate, consider creating an outdoor space. Have separate “clean” and “dirty” entrances and supply safe areas where people can put on and take off PPE.


Traditionally, we have used nonporous materials such as stainless steel in kitchens and hospitals where a high degree of cleanliness is required. These are easy to disinfect and keep pathogens at bay.

However, while COVID-19 can live only about 24 hours on porous materials like wood, it can live up to 7 days on stainless steel or plastic. Thus, more frequent cleaning is required.

Choosing the right construction materials can help limit the virus’s viability.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends daily cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces including doorknobs, light switches and more with a disinfection spray and disposable wipes. (iStock)

Air Flow

Though the droplets are typically big enough to fall quickly, it is possible for small amounts of the virus to remain suspended in the air. This is more of a risk in areas with a lot of contamination.

Providing more airflow will help clear the air of potential pathogens. Architectural design in Costa Rica usually has a lot of open windows, allowing in fresh air which is a simple solution. Of course, the weather won’t often allow for this so air filters and UV air disinfecting units are other great strategies.

Combine Comfortable Spaces with Pathogen Protection

Remember, it’s important to keep the human social connection in mind when designing spaces. Proper social distancing can help, but shutting people off from one another completely is not sustainable.

Thankfully, with a new set of design principles in mind, we can create spaces where people can congregate and enjoy being with one another while offering protections from pathogens at the same time.

We can help create a new normal that is a little bit more like our old one and keep people safe at the same time.

If you found this information useful, please follow the link to learn more! Why Residential Interior Design Is Important

Contemporary Tropical Architecture in Costa Rica

I find the fact that every architect creates and has their own signature design style to be so exciting and challenging. As an architect in Costa Rica, I am working on creating my own signature contemporary tropical architecture style.

Why? Well, first of all, contemporary design is my all-time favorite style. Plus, I work in the tropics, so my designs must respond to their surroundings and it all has to make sense together.

Tropical architecture is a branch of architecture that studies the climate and surroundings of a house in a tropical place. Additionally, the building’s mass can have a significant impact or influence on the environment in tropical surroundings and must be taken into consideration.

The Featured Property

This residential project is located in Manuel Antonio, Quepos. It was designed for a foreigner who likes to come and spend time in Costa Rica with her daughters. What better way to spend that time than by the beach?

The requirements given by the client were very simple. She wanted to have two comfortable bedrooms and two bathrooms — a small holiday house for a small budget. As an architect, it is always important to keep in mind the client’s needs, and never forget the main purpose is to serve and meet the client’s requirements.

contemporary tropical architecture in costa rica

The architecture of the house is a mix of contemporary and tropical designs, which makes it so unique and beautiful. Every architect creates their own style, and no two architects will design a project the same way. We each have our own unique vision of the world and this comes out in our work.

contemporary tropical architecture contemplates its lush surroundings in costa rica

Very clean lines and high ceilings are the main features of this design. Also, the oversized deck on the front of the house gives character to the main facade.

as an architect in costa rica it is very important to me to take the design to a next level in regards to climate

This house was designed to be built as a light construction. This means that its structure will be built as a steel frame, enclosed with fiber cement paneling on the outside and gypsum on the inside.

All the finishes will follow the contemporary architecture of the house. It will use gray porcelanato as flooring, white kitchen cabinets, light gray wall color, with a little blue grayish accent wall. These colors and accents together create a clean and fresh mood for the house.

Architects in Costa Rica

Overall, I strongly believe that architects here in Costa Rica are doing great work in adapting the new architectural trends to our tropical conditions.

If you found this information useful, please follow the link to learn more about my work Barefoot Luxury Design in Costa Rica

Kitchen Renovation Residencial Alhambra

final results for the kitchen renovation in this home

I did this kitchen renovation for a lovely, cozy home located in Ciudad Colón. The previous kitchen was 20 plus years old and because the family had grown over the years, it was no longer working for them. Also, they wanted to have something more modern and simple at the same time.

this kitchen was totally renovated with new wall color and cabinets

Their main issue was the counter they had for eating was too small, the whole family didn’t fit. So we added this beautiful rounded counter at table height. This allows for more seating and also makes the new interior design look warmer and more modern — exactly what they wanted.

We also added cabinets made of high quality compressed wood with natural granite top. We extended the upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling to add more cabinet space and to make the kitchen look more modern. Lastly, we changed the wall color to a light gray, to make the space feel bigger and brighter.

Above are some images of how the kitchen used to look before the renovation.

To see more exciting renovations, feel free to check out some of my other posts! just follow the link

Villa Bella Vista, Modern Interior Design

modern interior design for beach home

The beautifully modern interior designed Villa Bella Vista is located in the heart of gorgeous Manuel Antonio in the Puntarenas province. It was designed and built to take advantage of its privileged location. With its breathtaking views and modern interior architecture design, this house truly makes you feel like you are living in paradise.

The architecture of this 5-story, 9-bedroom villa is very clean and modern. I had the opportunity to work on the interior design along with the owners. They were very easy to work with, tons of fun, and we made a splendid work team.

Come along with me and check out how it turned out!

modern interior designed villa in manuel antonio

Architectural Features

I’m going to start with the villa’s most impressive architectural feature. Way up on the 4th level, there is a delightful “floating” infinity pool. As you might guess, it offers an outstanding ocean view that will make you just want to hang out by the pool all day to enjoy it.

modern designed main entrance

Of course, you don’t have to go too far into the house to see some pretty amazing stuff. The main entrance is quite outstanding in its own right and I was honored to have a hand in its creation. Various warm natural textures, like wood and cane, expertly contrast with the cold, exposed concrete on the wall. Potted plants also play a very important role in this scene, adding some organic and soft shapes to complete the look.

The Kitchen and Dining Areas

The kitchen located on the fourth level and the bar area on the top level were both designed with very straight clean lines that play along with the symphony of the villa’s architecture. Again, we added some warm and organic textures to the spaces, to perfectly balance the simplicity of the modern interior design.

An inside dining area merges with an outside one when the glass doors are pulled to one side of the room. This makes the entire space feel big and open and you almost feel like you’re right on the beach. It’s even better though because you have the full view of the ocean and can enjoy the soft sea breeze that comes off the water.

The Color Scheme

We chose light grays for the walls in this house. You can appreciate the look in these dining room photos. It helps make the space feel bigger and lighter, and makes you feel like you’re in the clouds.

This is a very good example of how I used color psychology to enhance the spaces and reinforce the intention of modern interior design and architecture throughout the house. Light tones of cold colors used in warm climates always give a soothing effect, inevitably leaving you feeling relaxed and cool.

The Furniture

Furniture design is always a very fun part of my job. I really enjoy picking finishes, fabrics, colors, and textures that will work together in a space. It’s like putting together a puzzle that I have already made in my head. When it becomes real and works so nicely like in this lounge area, it all makes sense and my feeling of satisfaction is immense.

In this case, I designed the furniture and the owners of the villa sourced it with a local furniture shop who had this spectacular teak sofa made in Bali. The fabric is Sunbrella, which they brought from the US. The coffee table is also from Bali and it adds so much fun to the space with its organic shapes, I just love it!

modern designed outdoor furniture that suits the modern concept of the house

The outdoor furniture was sourced with Aurea Designs. These brilliant powder-coated aluminum sun loungers couldn’t be any more perfect for this wood deck.

Putting it All Together

Also, it important to note, how we reinforce a style with every piece of furniture we pick for a house. In this case, all the outdoor furniture is very modern and sleek, and the finishes were carefully chosen to go along with the house. We left nothing to chance, everything was well thought out and I believe the results show all the work and love we put into the design.

Finally, it is important to note how careful we must be when using color and textures. Everything has to be very well balanced in order for a space to not only look, but also be, comfortable.

Comfort is not simply a matter of spending a lot of money on super high-end things. Its more a matter of carefully creating a very subtle balance between architecture and interior design, and between color and texture. And also creating everything with love.

Excited by what you’ve seen here? Check out more of my favorite interior designs!

TV Room Renovation in Villas de San Antonio, Escazú

tv room renovation results

This beautiful home located in the foothills of San Antonio de Escazú had a TV room that needed some renovation. The owner of the home called me in to help her brighten up the space. She said she just didn’t know where to start. When it comes to interior design, I love the challenge of bringing a space to life.

As you can see in these photos above, the room lacked color and warmth. Also, the furniture was not appropriate for neither its function nor the proportion of the room.

I also noticed we needed to filter the light coming in from the window with a translucent fabric. How you handle the light in the room is absolutely crucial for successful interior design or home renovation.

we added a new custom made sofa to the new tv room renovation
the wood shelf on the wall add a nice accent to the tv room renovation

Don’t Be Afraid of a Little Color

On our first meeting about renovating this area, we talked about adding some color accents. The client was afraid of color, she likes everything to be neutral. But in order to bring the tv room to life I felt it was necessary to add some color, and she finally accepted my proposal.

The installation only took two days to complete. Once finished, the owner was very pleased with the results of her tv room renovation. She loved the effect of the colors I chose and thanked me for helping her add some color without making her feel uncomfortable.

The Furnishings

So, what did we do? We added a very light green on the walls. We chose a custom made sofa with a neutral fabric to meet their needs. The mustard-colored velvet ottoman was also custom made to intentionally add a pop of color — which the client loves.

The rug is a super soft, almost velvety fabric, with various neutral colors to bring everything together. We also added the small custom made side table and the natural wood shelf on the wall that goes so well with the table. These natural wood items add a lot of warmth and elegance to the space. Small details like this make a big difference!

If you love seeing the transformation of these spaces, feel free to check out more of my posts! Please follow the link to see a kitchen renovation

Barefoot Luxury Design in Costa Rica

Are a true eco-vacation and luxurious, resort-like surroundings mutually exclusive?

Not in the world of barefoot luxury design.

barefoot luxury in costa rica
Arenas del Mar, Manuel Antonio, Quepos

We are incorporating simple, yet elegant elements to create luxury accommodations with a down to earth feel, stepping away from the over-the-top opulence found in many big-name luxury resorts and instead focusing on simplicity and comfort and that is what barefoot luxury design is all about.

What’s the Deal With Barefoot Luxury?

Barefoot luxury is a new trend surfacing among luxury travelers. These travelers are looking for a simple experience in comfortable surroundings. In other words, an eco-vacation without sharing their bunk with the bugs. 

And those offering accommodations all around the world are more than happy to accommodate.

High-end resorts and hotels are incorporating design elements like reclaimed wood, stone, linen fabrics, and simple, earthy designs into their decor. Many of these hotels place a strong emphasis on sustainability and this eco-friendly feel is reflected in the decor.

Nature is a strong theme. Large windows or even open walls are common. Don’t be surprised if you find the jungle invading your bathroom in the form of a bathroom garden with a shower that makes you feel like you’re bathing in a waterfall.

barefoot luxury designed bathroom
Aguas Claras, Puerto Viejo

Perhaps the epitome of barefoot luxury design would be a rustic-chic treehouse. But not the type that you’d find in somebody’s backyard. This is a luxury accommodation designed to create a simple harmonious blend of opulent comfort with nature.

As a welcome divergence from the norm, Luxury travelers are eating it up.

the luxury of natural wood texture
Nayara Springs, Arenal, San Carlos

Why Costa Rica?

If you’ll excuse the pun, Costa Rica is a shoe-in for barefoot luxury. Though the country represents a mere 0.03% of the world’s landmass, it is home to a whopping 6% of the world’s biodiversity. 

Millions of visitors flock to Costa Rica each year to experience its beautiful beaches, fascinating jungles, imposing volcanoes, and take a selfie with a sloth. (I don’t recommend that last one as it can stress out the poor sloth. Please enjoy them from afar.) 

Costa Rica is also one of the safest destinations in Latin America. The government works hard to ensure the safety of tourists in the country and visitors don’t have to worry about unpleasant diseases like malaria or yellow fever.

All this makes Costa Rica a great location for a barefoot luxury vacation. And travelers certainly have plenty of options here.

From exclusive, boutique hotels on the beach, to luxurious treehouses in the jungle, to spacious villas in the mountains with views for days, Costa Rica has something to offer every type of traveler. 

barefoot luxury design hotel in the volcano area
Nayara Springs, Arenal, San Carlos

Creating Your Own Barefoot Luxury Experience

People come to Costa Rica to get in touch with nature. But they still like their creature comforts. Barefoot luxury perfectly blends the two worlds to give visitors a relaxed, comfortable eco-experience. 

Looking to draw the barefoot luxury crowd to your hotel or rental house? Not quite sure how to make it happen? I can help you craft a barefoot luxury experience that will be drawing visitors back year after year. Let’s make it happen!

canopy bed in luxurious beach hotel
Latitude 10, Santa Teresa, Guanacaste

Meta Description:

Barefoot luxury is a refreshing trend among the luxury travel crowd. Learn what it is and what makes Costa Rica the perfect place for this type of experience.

If you enjoyed learning about Barefoot Luxury design on this post, you can learn more about my recent modern beach villa design in Manuel Antonio, just follow the link

Why Residential Interior Design Is Important

Believe it or not, how you decorate your home has an effect on how harmonious you feel in your own space. This is just one reason that residential interior design is important.  

People the world over are so stressed that the World Health Organization has classified stress as the health epidemic of the 21st century. Does this resonate with you? Do you feel stressed out and overwhelmed? 

Does coming home at the end of the day put you at ease? Does your home feel like a bastion of peace and harmony? Or does the clutter and clashing decor put you even more on edge?

Let’s take a look.

beach residence interior design and terrace
Residential Design Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Costa Rica

Residential Design and The Effect of Your Environment

What you experience in the world around you each day has a profound effect on you and your health.  Even something as simple as viewing certain colors can affect your mental health and change your mood. 

The phenomenon is so strong that cities around the world are looking for ways to incorporate ‘green spaces’ and ‘blue spaces’ in their architecture to help improve the mental health of their populations. There is a certain element of being in nature that also contributes to the phenomenon, but the colors themselves also have a profound effect.

Does this mean that you should paint your home green and blue? Probably not, that might be a little strong. But it does mean that using these colors as accents or tasteful elements in your design can help to create a pleasing and relaxing environment.

That sounds like something you want to come home to, doesn’t it?

beach house terrace design
Residential Design Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Costa Rica

All the Senses

Of course, what you see isn’t the only way that your environment affects you. All five of your senses interact with the world around you and have an effect on your mental health.

When it comes to residential interior design every element is important. Lighting, especially natural lighting, is paramount to how your space looks, and how it can make you feel. Proper lighting can make a small space feel cozy and big windows with lots of natural light can help make it feel more expansive. Bad lighting can make it feel cramped and perhaps even dingy.  

Use textiles to affect your senses of touch and sound. Curtains and carpeting help to mute street noise, making the interior of your home more peaceful. It also feels cozier when you don’t hear sounds echoing back at you after bouncing off of bare walls.

The fabric you choose for furniture, pillows, and the like affects your sense of touch. Comfort is key to creating a relaxing environment. Choose fabrics that feel pleasant to touch as well as pieces of furniture that offer adequate back support and are comfortable to sit on. 

You can even affect the sense of smell by adding a bright bouquet of fragrant flowers or lighting your favorite scented candle when you walk in the door. Filling the air with an enjoyable scent will make you naturally want to breath deeper, which also helps to relax the body and let the tension fall away. 

residential interior design accessories
Kelly Hoppen Design

Beauty and Harmony in Residential Interior Design

A good designer knows how to incorporate elements to positively affect the senses. A great designer knows how to choose the right elements for you. 

Everyone has their own style. Decor that is beautiful to you may be downright ugly in someone else’s opinion. But when it comes to your home, the person you’re aiming to please is YOU! 

Residential interior design is all about creating an environment that is beautiful and harmonious to you. Your home is your oasis. It is your escape from the world. It is the place you should be able to go to feel calm and safe.

A great interior designer knows that and will focus on creating that relaxing oasis for you.

residential living room design in santa ana
Residential Design Santa Ana, San Jose, Costa Rica

Your Harmonious Home

Here at Aurea Designs, my primary goal in residential interior design is to create a space that makes you feel cozy and comfortable. Your space should be beautiful and harmonious and positively affect all your senses. 

Your home should be a place where the stressors of the day fall away when you walk through the door. You deserve to feel peaceful and calm in your own home. You’d be amazed how applying a few simple design principles can have such an impact on your mental health and well-being.

Don’t know where to get started? Feel free to browse my blog for tips or contact me for a consultation!

Marina Pez Vela Employee Area Design

This project was for the Marina Pez Vela employee area design. They asked me to help them design the seating area, cafeteria, lounge and game areas.

My direct client was the general manager of the Marina. With whom I really enjoyed working. Our communication was very clear and easy, which I think was key to the success of the project. The manager thought it was necessary to make the employee area a happy and colorful one. So they would feel happier at work.

employee seating area design

On the other hand, because it is a space for people to relax and feel happy. I used high contrast colors on the walls and ceiling to add some positive energy to the seating area. The curves on the ceiling emulate the ocean waves, which makes the room more dynamic.

employee niche seating area design

Design tip: The natural wood finish I used on the furniture adds warmth to the space, making it more cozy.

colorful pergola design for employee area

Adding scale

I also added a colorful “pergola”, with the same color palette used throughout the project. This designed with the purpose of bringing scale to the seating area where the kitchen cabinets are. Because its always important to give the right scale to a space in order for the furniture and all other items to fit in the space correctly instead of having them “floating” in the area.

Custom made furniture

All of the indoor and outdoor furniture was custom designed and manufactured for the project. Very modern and colorful, with clean lines and the best quality, everything was very well thought and installed to make sense together.

The client was very pleased with the results for this project, and so are the user who now have a lovely space to share their lunch of coffee time with coworkers and friends.

If you found this post useful, please follow this link to learn more of my work