From colorful local art to lush indoor greenery, it’s impossible not to perk up the minute you enter the home of Elena and Gerald Flores. You may know Elena as the powerhouse behind Sew Bonita, and Gerald from Taco Gear. This power couple is also the humor force behind one of the Coastal Bend’s favorite podcasts, “Sew Taco.”
By: Jacqueline Gonzalez Photos By: Jason Page
Three years ago, Elena and Gerald were searching for the right home – one with four bedrooms to offer ample space for home offices. Elena recalls how the stars aligned for them when they stumbled across their 4-bedroom, 2-bath home in the Brighton Village subdivision. Not only did the home have the space they were looking for, but the interior was completely fresh and new, giving them a neutral color palette from which to add a splash of color. As a bonus, the cul de sac neighborhood is peaceful and quiet, aside from all the joyous family festivities throughout the year.
The Flores’ passions for culture, color, and community are evident through their home décor choices. Guests are treated to an eclectic mix of artwork from various South Texas artists, many from local artists Mayra Zamora, Gilbert Cantu, and Posh and Posy. They also have a variety of cultural pieces from Mexico that add a vibrant and cultural mix to the aesthetic.
“My favorite piece is the trio of framed Lotería cards sitting in the formal dining area. These cards were used in lieu of a guestbook at the wedding, then framed to adorn the walls of their home,” Elena said. Also, in the dining area stands a colorful gallery wall with random pieces of art collected over the years. The vibrant display is created by mixing designs such as the painting of a barbacoa taco and a Big Red soda can displayed next to paintings of digitized photos of their pets, Chalupa, Houdini, and Chicle. Additional pieces including the Lord’s Prayer, the Virgen de Guadalupe, roses, animals, and other colorful cultural pieces adorn the wall, creating an eye-catching burst of color.
A well-lit kitchen provides a sunny space for cooking, as well as spending time. This worked out well for Elena, since her goal was for her kitchen space to be a place to “cook, hang out, and chismear.” Prior to achieving this sunny space, Elena had to make a few changes for the kitchen to be just right. The dark gray shade of the cabinets wasn’t working for her, nor was the open space above the kitchen, but painting the cabinets a fresh shade of white and installing wooden shelves to fill the gap were the perfect finishing touches. The shelves gave Elena an ideal space to display her cookbooks, small plants, and other decorative trinkets to add color to the room.
Elena and Gerald love to cook and bake, so the large butcher block island gives plenty of space to create some of their favorite dishes, and its position in front of the windows offers a view of natural sunlight and their growing outdoor garden. Elena took advantage of the bright, open space of the kitchen and added a small breakfast nook with a melon-colored bistro table and two jade wooden chairs, providing a welcoming spot for early morning cafecito before starting the day.
Adding plants throughout the home is a great way to incorporate a bit of the outdoors into a cool space, especially in South Texas, and this Plant Magic Woman has several! “We have plants everywhere in the house, including the fiddle leaf fig, hoya, snake plant, burro’s tail, Chinese money plant, bonsai trees, and so many more” says Elena. The space around the breakfast nook was the perfect spot for a mini indoor garden to showcase her growing collection of plants in Talavera pots and other unique, colorful finds from Ross and H-E-B. She also has plants in other areas in the home, such as the shower, living room, entryway, and of course, the front and back yards.
The home offices are where the magic happens, and their choice of décor not only reflects their personalities, but also creates an ideal ambience to inspire creativity. The Sew Bonita headquarters takes place in a well-lit corner bedroom, with white walls acting as a backdrop for the vibrant display of cultural artwork, including one of Elena’s favorite paintings of Selena. Below the wall sit large cube shelves holding many accoutrements, including rows of colorful fabrics, sewing tools, and many spools of thread used to create her gorgeous hand-sewn designs. The butcher block table in the center of the room is large enough to hold her sewing machine and cutting mat, and leave plenty of room for a workspace.
Down the hall is the room where “Sew Taco” and Taco Gear come to life. This room has an equally eclectic vibe, but the style of art is different. A wide array of vibrant multi-color neon signs, in iconic symbols like roses, pizza, and the word “Tacos” (naturally), illuminate the dark wall, adding dazzling light at nighttime and a softer retro vibe during broad daylight. Gerald also has a butcher block table that holds the recording equipment for the “Sew Taco” podcast, making this a perfect workspace.
The eclectic mix of this home and the friendly personalities of Elena and Gerald are a true testament to the wonderful work they do for our community.