What you see isn't always what you get watching HGTV. Nearly every episode of Fixer Upper, with its inevitable broken-pipe-behind-the-wall plot twist, serves to remind us of that fact. But so do real-life dramas like the December 2016 breakup of Flip or Flop stars, Tarek and Christina El Moussa.
At her house in the Yorba Linda neighborhood of Orange County, California, Christina seems to be finally, surrounded by her two children — daughter, Taylor, and son, Brayden — a crew of girlfriends and a new-ish , and all the creature comforts you could ask for in suburban L.A.
Despite what we've learned from her recent residency in the tabloids, however, there's more to Christina El Moussa than meets the eye.
The 6,000-square-foot, Spanish-style house she and Tarek purchased together three years ago, for instance, belies the HGTV star's on-screen approach to design. Here, a palette of neutral colors like black, white and gray are the only commonality to her Flip or Flop homes. (Well, that and the fact that Christina says she "wanted to change everything" upon walking into the house.) The rest is best described as a mashup of natural furnishings and glitzy finishing touches that she refers to as "rustic glam".
"I like a very clean look," Christina says, pointing to the hallway's pearlescent wallpaper as the inspiration point for the rest of the home. "I designed everything around this silvery, shimmery look, but I wanted to still maintain the masculine elements, which is why I kept the wrought iron details," she adds.
Also on par with the decor's more rustic side: a beamed ceiling in the family room, made of wood reclaimed from one of Christina and Tarek's Flip or Flop houses.
But the home's most prominent motif — a classic trellis pattern — truly underscores the rustic glam vibe she was going after. From the bedroom to the powder room and home theater downstairs, there's no shortage of the graphic design element throughout the house.
Growing up in nearby Anaheim Hills, Christina found herself surrounded by more Asian-inspired decor and an excess of tchotchkes, which no doubt helped shape her minimalist style. "[My mom and I] are polar opposites in that sense...it gives me anxiety if there's too much stuff out," she says, explaining the brilliant stash spots she's carved out of a one-time library and the family room's media console.
Balancing the home's Spanish-style roots with her inclination toward glamour (not to be mistaken for superficiality, as she tells ), Christina added statement chandeliers and punctuated them with crystal accessories, a look best encapsulated in the formal dining room.
Christina admits, though, this show-stopping moment is really just that: for show. "I never really get to use [it], so I'm able to leave the table set," she says, contemplating whether or not 2017 will be the year a holiday dinner tradition takes off.
Not much has changed design-wise since Tarek moved out, Christina says. That is, with the exception of a spanking new backyard that she had remodeled at the end of last year.
There, she finds refuge among the hum of pool waterfalls and a mini putting green, and the positive energy she tells GoodHousekeeping.com she's determined to maintain. "Tarek and I are still filming Flip or Flop, and #1 we have the kids, so at the end of the day I just want to be positive and not think about anything else."
Check out more of Christina's rustic-glam home in the video above.