The Cuban-American mom and star of HGTV and TLC’s Trading Spaces reveals the secrets to her spotless home

By Leslie Corona
April 09, 2019
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Credit: Leslie Corona

Did you always want to be a designer?

Growing up, I was constantly redecorating and organizing my room. Plus, my mom is a designer, and my dad was in television production, so, at the same time, I get to do what they both did.

How does your culture figure into your work?

I always infuse color, and I believe that’s my Latin background. We tend to be very vibrant and full of life. Everything I design has personality. In my home, I have pottery and art I picked up from Cuba. A space should show a person’s history and what she loves.

As a designer, do you ever feel pressure to have a pristine house?

Nobody cares except for me. I’m a clean freak. I’ll vacuum and go over the counters with sanitizing wipes daily. I even clean before I sit down to work, otherwise I just can’t relax. I get it from my grandmother, who used to clean in the morning and then again later because she believed dust settled on the areas she’d already cleaned.

Does your toddler help or hinder?

Olivia, 3, is now drawing on walls, and she once put washable marker all over my fireplace. I don’t know how she did so much damage so quickly. Kids are so fast!

How do you avoid clutter as a mom?

Lots of baskets, just throw everything in them. Every month, we go through it all and take out what Olivia doesn’t use anymore. I also believe in making kids clean up when they’re done playing. If you don’t, they’ll get accustomed, and then you’ll be stuck doing it forever and ever and ever.

Any tips for making cleaning less of a chore?

I always play music. It makes it way more fun! The other day I was listening to Marc Anthony, so sometimes it’s salsa or it’s ’70s classic rock like Hall & Oates. It just depends on my mood. My grandmother used to listen to opera when she cleaned!

Parents Latina Magazine

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