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Paloma Contreras Creates a Stylish Home for a Growing Family

Paloma Contreras Creates a Stylish Home for a Growing Family
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When a young couple decided on a house with good bones but a dated look, they called on designer Paloma Contreras to help them transform it into a stylish place for their growing family. Georgian in style, the 1930s-era property in Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood had classic character they loved (crown molding, coffered ceilings, paned windows) but an imposing design scheme. “They’re a very young and vibrant family,” says Paloma. “They have two small children, so though they wanted to honor the beautiful original architecture of the home, they also wanted a space suited to family living in line with their personal style, which is just more modern.”

See how Paloma achieved just that with a look through the light, bright, and airy spaces below—and pick up Paloma’s new brand-book, Dream Design Live, right here

The large-scale European landscape painting in the living room served as a jumping-off point for the entire design scheme. A sisal rug lends a casual feeling to the space, contrasting the more-glamorous touches such as the Lucite coffee table and velvet accent chairs.

The large-scale European landscape painting in the living room served as a jumping-off point for the entire design scheme. A sisal rug lends a casual feeling to the space, contrasting the more-glamorous touches such as the Lucite coffee table and velvet accent chairs.

Define Your Course

When asked her advice for anyone about to embark on an interior design project, Paloma speaks to where it all starts: inspiration. “Go through your inspiration and feel what resonates with you most,” she says. “Then pick a lane and stick with it.” In other words, a clearly defined point of inspiration can help guide you through the times when you feel overwhelmed by so many style-related choices. For this project, Paloma looked to a large-scale European landscape painting—an heirloom piece already owned by her clients—to inform the overall feel of the house. “I was really drawn to the soft, romantic quality of the painting,” says Paloma, who brought this sense of romance to every room with shades of dusty blue and pale green and touches of gold for Old World flair.

Flanked by a pair of brass lamps, a black-and-white abstract painting speaks to the homeowners’ contemporary taste.

Flanked by a pair of brass lamps, a black-and-white abstract painting speaks to the homeowners’ contemporary taste.

A stone pillar complements the home’s classic architecture.

A stone pillar complements the home’s classic architecture.

Coolly Classic

“If this house illustrates anything, it’s that modern and traditional can play really well together,” Paloma says. “You just need a classic foundation that you can layer things on top of.” With crown molding, white walls, and paned windows that close flush to hardwood floors, the living room is a fine example of a space with classic bones hosting a contemporary conversation. (The sleek acrylic coffee table, brass-armed accent chairs, and abstract paintings nod not to King George but to a young couple with happening taste.) And, as Paloma points out, even if your home doesn’t have such architectural details, you can achieve a classic base with the addition of something as simple as an oversize natural-fiber rug.

Lacquered in a dreamy blue hue, the home’s cozy library features a round leather ottoman in lieu of a coffee table, artfully arranged shelves, and a gray velvet sofa.

Lacquered in a dreamy blue hue, the home’s cozy library features a round leather ottoman in lieu of a coffee table, artfully arranged shelves, and a gray velvet sofa.

Practical, Not Precious

Even though much of the house is dressed in white, it’s still kid- and pet-friendly thanks to a thoughtful choice of materials. “We used a lot of indoor/outdoor fabrics that really hold up to day-to-day life,” Paloma says. She also made sure to have every piece of upholstery sealed and employed beautiful yet durable natural-fiber rugs throughout the home. “Sea grass and sisal in particular are very forgiving,” notes the designer, while their casual feel can help visually ground each space and temper the more-glamorous elements.

Paloma completely reworked the kitchen’s layout during the renovation process. Moving the stove from the island to the wall freed up space for a central worktop and pair of oversize pendants.

Paloma completely reworked the kitchen’s layout during the renovation process. Moving the stove from the island to the wall freed up space for a central worktop and pair of oversize pendants.

A canopy of floral fabric frames a trundle bed in a kid’s bedroom. All of the upholstery was sealed for enhanced durability.

canopy of floral fabric frames a trundle bed in a kid’s bedroom. All of the upholstery was sealed for enhanced durability.

In the nursery, all-white furniture picks up on the light and airy feel found throughout the rest of the home.

In the nursery, all-white furniture picks up on the light and airy feel found throughout the rest of the home.

Wallpaper in a gray-and-white pastoral pattern adorns an accent wall in the dressing room.

Wallpaper in a gray-and-white pastoral pattern adorns an accent wall in the dressing room.

Painted gray for a touch of contrast, a glass-front cabinet in the master closet puts shoes and handbags on display.

Painted gray for a touch of contrast, a glass-front cabinet in the master closet puts shoes and handbags on display.

A porthole mirror crowns the upholstered headboard in the master bedroom, repeating the gilded finish found on the quartz lamps.

A porthole mirror crowns the upholstered headboard in the master bedroom, repeating the gilded finish found on the quartz lamps.

A pair of custom-upholstered armchairs and velvet throw pillows lend a pop of color to the otherwise-neutral master bedroom.

A pair of custom-upholstered armchairs and velvet throw pillows lend a pop of color to the otherwise-neutral master bedroom.

Go through your inspiration and feel what resonates with you most, then pick a lane and stick with it.

— Paloma Contreras

Shop Paloma’s new book →

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