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Interior Designer, Licensed Therapist & SoCal mama of three. Welcome to the blog!  I hope it brings you inspiration to create a life (and home) you really love.


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Desert Bathroom Dreaming

October 6, 2020

We’ve always loved the desert, but our recent trip to The JTH Posada in Arizona provided so much inspiration for our in-progress bathroom redesign. Plus, spending time together as a family totally reminded me why we’re doing this reno in the first place.  

Anita looks out over a desert scene in Arizona at JTH Posada

We are about a month into renovating our Desert Bathroom, and so far, we’ve tackled demolition, plumbing, and reconstruction. That means we’re starting to get to my favorite part of the process: decor! Our recent trip to Arizona provided so much inspiration, and reminded me why we’re doing this reno in the first place.  

Being stuck inside this year has been tough on the whole family, but in late summer it became clear that our teen was nearing the end of her rope. All three of our girls share a bathroom, and as Rachel gets older, it’s only natural for her to need a little space! Of course, in 2020, “space” has been in pretty short supply. 


So, we decided to co-opt the Desert Den’s en-suite bathroom for her to decompress. After all, I know firsthand how a morning routine sets the tone for the entire day—I wrote a whole blog about it! And seeing our girls enjoying their space on vacation last month benefited the entire family ecosystem. I’ll take more of that, please! 

Let There Be Light!

A little background: our family’s mental health isn’t the only reason I’m glad we upgraded the timeframe for this fixer-upper. The demo revealed our pipes were not likely to make it another year! Which meant our timeline pushed out, and the budget pushed UP. I’ll admit, at first it was a tough pill to swallow… but it was also an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. 

Anita in the demo'd bathroom, under the new skylight!

I talk a big game about staying balanced during at-home renovations, which OBVIOUSLY is easier said than done. 😂  But at the end of the day, it was best that we caught an issue like this early, before it created additional damage in our home. Plus, we were able to talk through our priorities as a family, which makes everyone feel involved and important in the decision-making process. 

One of the must-haves we definitely weren’t willing to sacrifice was natural light. In order for the renovation to be truly successful, this space needed to be brighter! Light is a key component to making a room feel welcoming, and is basically a requirement for any desert-themed space. The skylight we put in has made a world of difference! It’s like this is a totally new bathroom—and a totally new roof!

Anita on her actual roof!

Natural light also has proven psychological benefits we didn’t want to miss out on. Beyond reducing stress, sunlight makes for a more positive outlook, higher energy levels, and better cognitive abilities. These are perks everyone can benefit from, but are especially favorable in introverted teenagers. 

To Trend Or Not To Trend?

Now that the hole in our ceiling has a window, and the sink and shower have running water, I can breathe easy and start thinking about sinks. They have been on my mind a lot lately as I ponder: are vessel sinks still cool? They were overwhelmingly popular in the late 2000’s, but a decade is a lot to ask of a design trend. I’ve noticed this one has been steadily losing steam. 

White Vessel sink rising out of pale blue fireclay tile counter

Image Credit: The Joshua Tree House

As with any design decision, the answer comes back to WHY! Intention is the core of my Anita Yokota Method, and our choices should reflect our criteria. In this bathroom, I want to create a restorative, desert-inspired oasis for my family to retreat to, and our guests to enjoy when they stay with us. (The Desert Den is, after all, home to our Murphy Bed). My main intention isn’t to keep up with cutting-edge design trends—but I certainly don’t want my home to feel dated! 


Good news: our family trip to the JTH Posada completely re-sold me on the vessel sink. Even if it feels a bit like a fad in a residential setting, there’s just something about the presence of a vessel in the desert that is beautifully symbolic. I especially love when they’re made of natural or earthen materials for an immersive desert experience. And I know a vessel sink will bring this same quality to our bathroom!  

Earthen vessel sink set below a round wooden mirror with black matte faucet and fixtures

Image Credit: The Joshua Tree House

I feel good about incorporating this trend in our home, since we’re doing it in a way that won’t feel stale in another 10 years. And I’m confident in my decision knowing WHO will use the bathroom! I wouldn’t feel comfortable making the leap in the girls’ shared bathroom where my 6 year-old is still regularly making messes. But in the right application, I think it’ll hit the perfect note.   

Setting the Scene 

While I’ve been waffling on that decision, we’ve been laying tile! Of course I chose the fireclay. I’ve loved pairing this beautiful texture with the blue and green paint colors in my clients’ kitchens and bathrooms. I even used a patterned tile on a fireplace! I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to bring fireclay into my own home, and this is IT! 

This time, I’m going for something more muted: a soft grey-brown called Cardamom. We’ll be using the color on both the walls and floor, but with differently shaped tile to create visual interest. The desert is all about neutral textures, which mirror the naked landscape. Fitting for a bathroom, no? 

Natural earthen counter set atop wooden vanity with large round mirror backed by white fireclay tile

Image Credit: Jason Frank Rothenberg via Pinterest

I’m also brainstorming other ways to bring that earthen quality to the bathroom… and I have a fun DIY in mind that will really elevate the desert experience. I know Travis is excited 😉 Stay tuned!  



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