Friday Favorites 11.17.17

Thank you to everyone who has reached out in the past week to ask about Tate. I am so grateful to report that his condition is improving quite a bit and it looks like we won’t have to do surgery right now. His vet has him on strict crate rest for another week and then less strict crate rest for two more weeks after that. It will be a challenging month because as he has started to feel better, he has been pretty vocal about his displeasure with being in the crate. It will all be worth it if our sweet boy is healthier at the end of it! In other news, I took the plunge and changed my Instagram handle from @ladolcevitablog to @palomacontrerasdesign this week. I’ll continue to post the same great content just as frequently. The only difference is that the new handle is more in line with the direction of my business with my upcoming book and other ventures that are in the works. Don’t worry, though! The blog will continue as it always has. Have a wonderful weekend!

Design: In just the past couple of weeks, several design showhouses have opened across the country from the Southern Style Now Showhouse in Savannah and the new Kips Bay Palm Beach Showhouse to Rooms with a View in Southport, CT and the Holiday House in New York. Several friends have designed noteworthy rooms including Kevin Walsh, Jared Hughes, Alyssa Kapito, Mallory Mathison, Clary Bosbyshell, and Grace Rosenstein. Click on their names to see their rooms.

Style: I recently heard about Hello Noemie, a jewelry industry disruptor whose mission is to create handcrafted, fine jewelry with timeless, enduring style, yet without the hassles or mark-ups associated with middle men. The result? Chic, effortless, conflict-free diamond jewelry at unbelievably reasonable prices. Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Forbes have all raved about Hello Noemie and I’ve since added a few pieces to my Christmas wishlist. Fabian, are you reading this? Click here to get $50 off your first purchase.

Watch: Season two of The Crown starts on December 8th and I cannot wait! This preview of the new season will have to do for now!

Eat: One of my favorite food bloggers, Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking? She just posted The Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu along with a prep schedule that will guide you through what you should do each day before Thanksgiving in order to save you time on the big day. The recipes all look amazing! I have a tried and true turkey recipe that my entire family loves, but I am looking forward to trying some of her beautiful sides. 

Events: Houston’s Theta Design Weekend is coming up on December 1st through 3rd. You will not want to miss the Houston Design Center Complimentary Design Panel Sunday, December 3rd where I will be speaking along with my fellow experts, trendsetters, and influencers Lindsey Herod, Ben Johnston, and Hallie Henley Sims. Moderates by Sarah Eilers. Head over to Theta Design Weekend for more info. For a 20% discount on tickets, use the code Contreras20 at checkout.

Shop: The 2017 LDV Holiday Gift Guides are trickling in! Last week, I shared my favorite hostess gifts and this week, I shared my top picks for the decor-obsessed. This chic, AERIN Scalloped Gallery Frame, David Hicks Scrapbook, and Ciré Trudon’s Odeur Royales Trio are among the gifts I’ve pulled together that are sure to delight the design lover in your life.


2017 LDV Gift Guide: For the Decor Obsessed

Whether you have friends who are interior designers, know someone who recently bought a house, or you have a baby on the way and are in nesting mode, chances are if you read this blog, you love decor and know plenty of people who do as well! As an interior decorator and design blogger, I always have an eye out for chic home accents for clients and every so often, for myself. Naturally, I want every last item in today’s gift guide for the decor-obsessed! You’ll find classic, timeless pieces for more traditional tastes as well as some on-trend items for those with slightly edgier taste along with some must-have books for any design lovers library. Enjoy!

{1. David Hicks Scrapbook | 2. Buly 1803 Campagne d’Italie Scented Candle in Gray Marble Vessel | 3. Kayce Hughes “Black Story” Painting | 4. AERIN Gold Scalloped Frame | 5. Anna by RabLabs Bookends | 6. Set of 4 Cocktail Napkins with Tassels | 7. Vogue Living: Country, City, Coast | 8. 11″ Sydney Mod Candelabra Brass | 9. Crystal Block Vase | 10. 20″ Mara Jewelry Box | 11. AERIN Set of 2 Tortoise Votive Holders |12. Josh Young x Paloma Contreras “Paloma” Portrait | 13. Chinoiserie Floral Printed Box | 14. Scalamandré Tiger Lumbar Pillow Cover | 15. Antica Farmacista Prosecco Reed Diffuser | 16. Haute Bohemians by Miguel Flores Vianna | 17. 10″ Large Preserved Boxwood Topiary | 18. Blue Vase Luxe Slab Notepad | 19. Ciré Trudon Odeurs Royales Boxed 3 Candle Set | 20. Hot Pink Abstract by Anna Ullman}

Holiday Entertaining with CeCe Barfield Thompson

With the holidays just around the corner– I was shocked to find out that Thanksgiving is just one week away– you have likely had holiday entertaining on your mind, especially if you are hosting a gathering at your home. I recently spoke with CeCe Barfield Thompson, a talented interior designer based in New York who happens to have a penchant for parties. An avid entertainer, CeCe is known for creating elegant table settings and events that marry her Southern roots with a sense of New York sophistication. Today, CeCe is sharing her top five tips for hosting a beautiful and memorable holiday event.

1. Getting a cocktail should be easy and accessible for your guests — no one likes to ask for a refill!  Have a bar set up in the room where you are entertaining so that guests can help themselves, or make sure your servers are mindful of keeping everyone’s glasses full.

2. Select music ahead of time that sets a mood conducive to a good time.  Cheerful and upbeat music is perfect for cocktails, followed by more eclectic and international tunes at a lower volume during dinner.  For after-dinner drinks, I always switch to a playlist of disco, Motown and pop that people can sing along to. I like to turn up the volume and keep the party going!

3. Lighting is important as it sets the tone and has the potential to make your guests feel beautiful.  It is important to create even light throughout the room — soft pink bulbs on a dimmer mixed with candlelight are ideal for a dinner party because together they create a subtle glow that makes everyone look their best…particularly when the cameras come out!

4. If you’re in need of an ice-breaker, dinner games are a fabulous way to get the conversation started and engage your guests.  Cards Against Humanity is always a crowd-pleaser, though it may not be the best choice when entertaining your in-laws!  


5. Layer your table.  A good table-scape should be so much more than just linens, china, crystal, and flowers. I love to layer in little silver candy dishes, unexpected objects, colored votives and creative place cards that my guests can take home as little presents.  At Christmas, a vintage ornament tied with beautiful ribbon can hold a card with the guest’s name.  Both Chairish and Etsy are great sources for 1950’s glass ornaments.  

For more of CeCe’s signature entertaining style, be sure to follow her on Instagram.

{Photography Courtesy of CeCe Barfield Thompson}

French Country Chic: Le Mas de Poiriers

Last week, I shared my idea of the perfect English country house in a post titled “Country Chic” featuring a stunning property designed by Veere Grenney in Norfolk, England. Over the weekend, I stumbled on Le Mas de Poiriers on Instagram and found my ideal French country house. The stunning 18th century farmhouse near the town of Avignon in the Provence region of France was restored lovingly by an American family. The estate is situated on 65 acres which feature a working orchard, the main house, guest house, tennis courts, and swimming pool. Inspired by the iconic Le Mirande, the 9 bedrooms on the property were decorated by Susan Bednar Long exclusively using Pierre Frey fabrics. Esteemed local architect Alexandre Lafourcade spearheaded the architectural renovation of the historic property while Dominique Lafourcade designed the gardens.

Le Mas de Poiriers is a dream-worthy property with interiors that feel appropriate for the provenance of the house, yet there are all the comforts that modern living requires, such as wi-fi and beautifully-outfitted, renovated bathrooms. I’ve mentioned that my recent trips to Paris have really made me fall in love with France. I cannot wait to go back and seeing this beautiful property is encouraging me to spend some time in Provence as well. Wouldn’t it be amazing to stay at this incredible property? I’m thinking a 40th birthday celebration with some of my closest friends in a few years would be pretty fabulous! 

For more on Le Mas de Poiriers, check out this great interview between Andrea of The Glam Pad and the owner of the property, Shauna Varvel from earlier this year.

{Photography via Le Mas de Poiriers}

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

On my most recent trip to Paris at the beginning of October, I had an experience I have not been able to stop thinking about. I didn’t really make any plans for the free time I would have during the antiques shopping trip I was a part of, with the exception of buying tickets to the Dior: Couturier du Reve exhibit at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. When Fabian and I were in Paris this summer, we visited the museum just as they were putting the finishing touches on the exhibit, days before it opened. When I knew that I would be visiting Paris again, seeing the exhibit went to the top of my list. I could not have predicted just how incredible it would be.

The Dior exhibit is a magical, transformative experience. Not only isn’t breathtaking to see these couture works of art in person, but the way in which the beautiful clothes are displayed is just as amazing. The exhibit is a chronology of sorts, following the trajectory of Christian Dior’s life and career, as well as the course of his namesake fashion house since his death through the modern period. It was especially wonderful to see Raf Simons exquisite designs in person.

Modern Designs

The first part of the exhibit is a retrospective of the couturiers who succeeded Christian Dior: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Muslin Models

One of the most impressive spaces was this room, stacked high with the muslin models which correspond to many of the couture pieces displayed throughout the exhibit. Each was originally created to exact specifications prior to delving into the full couture piece. Seeing them all displayed this way was incredibly impactful and inspiring.

Cultural Influences

This gallery displayed various gowns according to their respective cultural influences, be they French, Egyptian, Spanish, or Asian.

Miniature Colorama

One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was the colorama of miniatures. Organized by color, these displays featured miniature versions of couture gowns, along with sketches and accessories. It is so fascinating! I only wish the exhibit hadn’t been so crowded with people so that I could have taken in every last detail.

Gowns and their Stars

I am not sure what this particular part of the exhibit was called, but it was all about gowns worn on the red carpet. The room itself was absolutely gorgeous. After all, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs is part of the Louvre.  There was also a lighting installation that corresponded to music and was just magical. At times, it was as if stars were raining down on the room. Sheer magic!

Garden Party

After the last part of the exhibit, I didn’t think things could get any better, but the last part was like the most beautiful garden party ever with a canopy of handmade flowers, leaves, and vines above the most exquisite gowns from the 1940s and 50s.

If you have plans to be in Paris between now and January 7th, I highly encourage you to make time to see this breathtaking exhibit. It is one of the most moving and beautiful experiences I have ever had in a museum. If you’re on the fence about going to Paris soon, this exhibit alone is worth the trip and you know what they say, Paris is always a good idea!

If your plans don’t include being in Paris before the exhibit closes, you can see all of the stunning gowns in the corresponding book, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams.

{Photography by Paloma Contreras exclusively for La Dolce Vita}