Before and after – see how Bobby Berk transformed this Spanish-style vacation rental in California

The Queer Eye star's Palm Desert property has gone from fixer upper to fabulous. Take the tour of this inspiring space

exterior of bobby berk's casa tierra property
(Image credit: Sara Ligorria Tramp)

When interior designer Bobby Berk took a weekend break to California's Palm Desert, little did the Queer Eye star know he was about to stumble across his next big design project. 

The property, a 1950s Spanish-style house, had a large lot with multiple buildings and an amazing amount of outdoor space. It also needed a lot of work. 

Yet, with the original wood beam ceilings and terracotta floors, Bobby could see the potential of the space. After securing the property, he teamed up with local designer Paula Oblen to design and project manage the renovation of the space. 

The result? A beautifully rustic yet modern home christened Casa Tierra that Bobby is now offering as a vacation rental via Airbnb (opens in new tab)

Check out this amazing transformation below. 

Before

While these photographs were taken mid-renovation, you can see that Casa Tierra originally had all the hallmarks of a classic Spanish-style property - dark-stained wood features, terracotta floors, textured walls et al. 

The challenge for Paula and Bobby was retaining as many of the desirable original features as possible, while giving the home a modern twist. 

Here's how they did it. 

Kitchen

The kitchen is as good a place to start as any to showcase the approach the designers took to modernizing this rustic Spanish-style property. First up, the color palette. Warm tones of wood, terracotta and linen have been used throughout the house in contrast with a minimal black and white palette. Those beautiful wood beam ceilings are now painted black throughout, transforming the feel of the space completely. 

In the kitchen, the stained glass window, roof tile range canopy and terracotta tiles have been retained, while the ornate wood cabinetry has been replaced with sleek black-stained timber and concrete countertops for a modern kitchen twist. 

A stylish and comfortable breakfast nook makes for the perfect spot for casual dining. 

Dining room

a rustic style dining room

(Image credit: Sara Ligorria Tramp. Design: Bobby Berk)

The kitchen leads down to the more formal dining room, defined by a large rustic wood table. With the original wall texture retained, a built-in that echoes both the organic nature of the space and the arched doorways and windows typical of this style of property. Bobby and Paula filled this niche with beautiful ceramics sourced from around the world. 

Living spaces

Past the dining space is the main living room, the first space you walk into when entering the house. Previously, this space had a staircase and balcony leading to a guest bedroom, but this was removed to streamline the look of the space and allow the feature ceiling to steal the show. 

Large grass pendants give the wow-factor when first entering the property, while the living room seating has been created as one large built-in banquette, complemented by beautifully rustic furniture and accessories. 

Bedrooms

From the primary bedroom to the guest spaces, the black, white and tan color palette permeates throughout the house. 

In the main bedroom, black-stained floors give the room a modern outlook, while beautifully original features like the stucco fireplace have been retained. An ornate carved headboard contrasts with a modern side table to encapsulate the spirit of the whole project in a small vignette. 

Bathrooms

The color palette extends to the property's bathrooms too. In the primary ensuite, a swivel mounted mirror sits in the original arched window recess

In another bathroom, an atmospheric, moody space has been created with rustic black wall tiles bridging the contemporary black vanity and the terracotta style floor, while in this shower room, Bobby has spelled out Casa Tierra in mosaic tiles. 

Outdoor spaces

The property is 2.3 acres, with two casitas and a swimming pool, so plenty of outdoor space to play with. The entirety of the exterior of the property was given a white-paint facelift, while two new decks were also created to increase the amount of outdoor space for socializing. 

You can book Casa Tierra now via Airbnb (opens in new tab)

Hugh Metcalf
Hugh Metcalf

Hugh is the Deputy Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2022.