Renovating the Caribe Playa Beach Resort: Blanche Garcia Reinvents the Puerto Rican Resort

Filed Under: Puerto Rico
Anthony and Blanche talk about their plans for the new front desk.
How to Achieve the Guestroom Built in Furniture Finish
The headboard and accent wall behind the TV in the guestroom were achieved with a treatment called liming or whitewashing. It’s a great and inexpensive way to add a casual appeal to bare wood. The application works best when using light-colored paint or white paint. Remove any wax or residue from the wood first and remember to wear gloves. Then use a wire brush or light sander to open up the grain in order to receive the paint better.

Always sand in the direction of the grain. Next, mix your paint with water using 3 quarters paint and 1 quarter water, and apply with a trim brush to keep in control. Use a rag as you paint to wipe off as much as you’d like to get the look you’d like. Remember that it dries fast, so once you have the look you want, seal the wood with a low sheen varnish.

How to Achieve the Shell Design in the Guestroom Headboard
You can use shells or stones, whatever you like. I used shells because the hotel was on an island, and I used crystals with healing energy that promoted relation and prosperity. The owners were very much interested in feng shui, so I used this to fit with the culture they wanted to promote. I used shells and crystals purchased online and used clear craft glue to attach them to a flat board.

Lay out the larger ones first to get an overall feel for the design and then fill the gaps in with the smaller pieces. Remember it’s not supposed to be perfect; you are going for more of a sea encrustation look.

How to Achieve Flying Furniture
We custom made the floating benches seen in the library of this hotel. But the same look can be achieved at home by simply sawing off the legs of a bench or chair that you want to give a new look to. Drill holes in the top 4 corners of the bench as well as in the ceiling where you plan to hang the piece from. Use chain or rope with heavy-duty anchors to attach to the furniture as well as the ceiling.

Make sure to find out the weight of the furniture and add a few hundred pounds to the number when buying the attachment material. Also you want to predrill the holes and try to find a ceiling stud, but if that’s not possible then use metal anchors. If you really want to freshen up your piece of furniture, then add a new, fresh color of paint.

About the Author

Blanche Garcia’s passion for construction and design was sparked while volunteering to build churches with her mother across the country at the age of 12. Blanche turned that spark into a degree and license in interior design, and became a LEED specialist through the US Green Building Council. With more than 17 years’ experience in high-end residential and commercial design, Blanche currently runs B. Garcia Designs in Montclair, NJ, as well as appears on Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible.

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