It's back on trend for 2023! How dark wood became the star of the show in this modern rustic retreat

This stunning Spanish Colonial home has been transformed into a 'healing sanctuary' by top designer Joshua Smith...

Neutral living room in Spanish Colonial
(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

Interior designer Joshua Smith and his husband, David Gerbitz, revamped this 1930s Spanish Colonial Revival into a restorative retreat in the Hollywood Hills. 

Inside and out, rustic patinated doors lend an old-world charm to this Spanish Colonial-style house. There is beauty in working with wood. Old or new, pale or dark, the warm and tactile nature of timber ensures it enhances any home. Timeless and naturally beautiful, wood has always been a mainstay in a country home, but now we are seeing it crop up more and more in modern design, and to beautiful effect. 

Exterior of Spanish Colonial home

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

In his design practice, Joshua Smith, Inc. Joshua believes in the power of creating a healing home – balancing the inner world of body, mind, and spirit with interiors. With that in mind, the couple chose a calming palette with warm, welcoming textures to evoke an overall lightness throughout the house. The timeless elegance and charm of working with natural materials in interior design remain ever-popular, with timber offering a durable and long-lasting design for contemporary homes. 

Joshua says: 'Our homes are our sanctuaries, where we have more control over the events and energy that occur within them, so it is important to think about the materials that we use to construct them.'

Rustic hallway in Spanish colonial home

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

Throughout the home, Joshua showcases his talent for blending different styles; some highlights include antique furniture juxtaposed with modern art and decorative plaster ceilings alongside natural wood elements.

In recent years, there have been a number of new and interesting techniques which have reinvigorated timber and made this old staple a modern favorite. If wood furniture ideas are high on your list, here are the key ways that Joshua has used the material in fresh ways throughout this home. 

Take a tour below:

Living room

Neutral living room in Spanish Colonial

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

The natural light filling the living room makes the space brighter and works to leave occupants feeling enlightened, thanks to a picture window and French doors. 

The seating is upholstered in light and airy textures for classic California living. The room is accented with vintage furniture pieces, such as a 1960s brass table and a Swedish table. 


white kitchen with marble countertops

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

In keeping with the fresh interiors, the oak cabinet kitchen is kept light and bright with soft white cabinetry and marble kitchen countertops. Pale and interesting best describe this dreamy scheme. A combination of textured timber and modern marble details form this original look.

Dining room

Dining room with dark wood dining table

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

The stunning dining room is expertly appointed with a dining table and gilded mirror from the 1860s. 

The coffered ceiling reveals the beauty of the structure and architecture of the room and creates an interesting counterpoint to the calm space below, which balances dark wood with subtle neutral soft furnishings for a cool, calm and contemporary aesthetic. 

Primary bedroom

white bedroom by Joshua Smith Inc

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

Natural woven textures take over the primary bedroom for an added level of comfort, while the addition of dark wood, which runs throughout the home, makes a subtle appearance in the main bedroom

Primary bathroom

white bathroom by Joshua Smith Inc

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

The bathroom is the only room in which wood doesn't appear, but certain elements point to the natural world, such as seagrass, rattan and plant life. A traditional console sink adds an air of romance to the primary bathroom. 


Sunloungers and pool in Spanish Colonial

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

Finally, a beautiful pool with terracotta brick and chic sun loungers provides a stylish place to relax outdoors; you almost feel like you're in the Mediterranean. 

Contributing Editor

Ruth Doherty is an experienced digital writer and editor specializing in interiors, travel and lifestyle. With 20 years of writing for national sites under her belt, she’s worked for the likes of, Standard, Ideal Home, Stylist and Marie Claire as well as Homes & Gardens.