Inspired by Spain

Barbra Hubbell worked with local architect Victor Raymos to give her ranch-style home a Spanish flair inspired by her collection of vintage furnishings from Spain.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Barbra Hubbell said she was looking for inspiration while renovating her northwest Gainesville home and found it in her vast collection of vintage furnishings from Spain.


Hubbell home renovation


Where: 4700 NW 19th Place

Project: Expanding front porch and renovating bathrooms

Costs: Porch $15,000; roof $20,000; bathrooms $50,000

Working with local architect Victor Raymos, the two transformed this typical ranch-style home into a Mediterranean villa.

The renovation included the front porch, roof and garage doors. But that was just the beginning. Three years and several smaller projects later, Hubbell also updated her home's bathrooms.

"The bathrooms were the most painful. (They were) under construction for 13 months," said Hubbell.

Beginning with the porch, four support columns were built along the length of the slab with arches at both ends. Stucco was applied to the entire home exterior then painted in a creamy yellow with contrasting terra-cotta tile laid on the porch slab. Hubbell chose a glass-inserted, double front door and black, barrel-shaped aluminum railing to accentuate the new look. The addition of a hand-painted tile table and wrought iron chairs along with a small fountain completed the transformation.

The porch color scheme contrasts the deep red of the galvanized-steel roof. Made to resemble Spanish barrel tiles, the roof material comes in large metal sheets and was laid directly atop the existing shingle roof. The layering helps keep the house insulated, said Hubbell. The electric bill for November was $60, said Hubbell.

The faux carriage doors of the home's two-car garage were designed by Gainesville-based Lester's Garage Doors. Consisting of a plastic material designed to look like wood, Hubbell had to paint the doors three times before achieving a sustainable finish.

"My neighbor came out and said 'It must be spring, Barbra's painting her doors again,' " said Hubbell.

After experimenting with several mixes she settled upon an acrylic paint in layers of yellow, red and brown using a drag-and-twist motion for texture. Hubbell outlined the doors and columns in small tiles of robin's-egg blue and added iron handles and hinges to the doors for accent.

Next, Hubbell turned her attention to the bathrooms. Referring to the decor as " '70s ugly," Hubbell said desperation was her motivating factor.

Working with Raymos, they redesigned her master bath and dressing room into one large bath suite. They also re-configured the full and half baths into one large guest bathroom.

But problems arose almost immediately.

"The original (plumbing) was just disintegrated. It was $1,500 to re-plumb the whole house," said Hubbell.

Knocking down the wall that separated the two rooms and enlarging the doorway opened the area and gave Hubbell the future wheelchair accessibility she wanted. She had the existing hot water heater replaced with a tank-less unit, which allowed for a larger shower area, and replaced the shower doors with a wall of frosted acrylic blocks.

Oak cabinetry, dark granite counter tops, and double glass basins in seafoam-green along with contemporary tower-like faucets replace the original fixtures. A vintage cabinet adjacent to the toilet holds candles and accessories. The floors and shower are finished in gray marble and the walls are treated to a chair rail effect, using marble for the lower half and sky-blue paint for the upper sections.

The floors, shower and lower one-half of the walls are finished in grey marble with painted sky-blue upper walls.

In her master bathroom, Hubbell opened up the area by removing the wall between her dressing area and the bathroom, installing a sunken jetted tub with surrounding shelf to hold her bath salts and candles.

"My granddaughters love to play in the tub," said Hubbell.

Two additional walls of frosted acrylic blocks shield the shower and toilet areas. The bath, shower and floor are finished in a mottled-gray tumbled marble while the oak vanity and toilet area feature a countertop and lower walls of polished black marble. The arched entryway includes stairway balustrades stacked to form pillars on both sides, with three-by-three marble floor tiles laid to mirror the entry arch.

Completing the project just six months ago, Hubbell gathered with friends to celebrate the renovations.

"I promised we'd have champagne in the bathrooms. Well, that didn't happen - we had margaritas in the living room instead," said Hubbell.

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