Project Reveal: A Glamorous Before and After


I was incredibly fortunate that right after I started my firm, Paloma Contreras Design a little over a year ago, I met a client who hired me to take on her very large design project. She liked my style and hired me before she actually purchased her home. We have had a wonderful client/designer relationship with her trusting me enough to step out of her own comfort zone a few times because I knew the end result would be worth it. She ended up purchasing a large home just over 6,000 square feet in size. It is a solid house and while everything was in good shape, it just felt very dated and was neither her style nor mine. She came to me after being divorced for a short time, knowing that she wanted this home to represent a fresh start for her and her two children. She wanted the palette to be serene and she also wanted the house to be unabashedly feminine and glamorous. I blogged about my inspiration for the project here last summer. It was so rewarding to work on this project, not only because I love my client, but because it was a major overhaul. We essentially kept what she originally liked about the house and changed everything else. It’s kind of crazy to see the before and after photos side by side! Because this is a rather large house and so many rooms were involved in the project, I will split up the reveal into two or three posts so that it is more digestible, but I am so excited to share these images with you!

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{Before: An Aerial View of the Family Room, Breakfast Room, and Kitchen}


{After: The Same View of the Same Room with New Paint, Flooring, Lighting, Furniture, Countertops, and Fixtures}

dodd before breakfast room

{Before: The Breakfast Room– You’ll notice this room and the entire area had less than attractive ceramic tile floors and pickled wood cabinetry, moulding, and trim literally everywhere. If you’re not familiar with pickled wood, it is essentially peach in color. Yep, peach.}


{After: We painted all of the walls a soft gray hue and added steel-colored silk dupioni curtains which really helped to frame and soften the tall windows looking over an enormous backyard. We added a rug, and child friendly furniture including a custom, tufted banquette in a great indoor/outdoor fabric and I had the Louis XVI style dining chairs upholstered in faux shagreen vinyl of all things. It looks fantastic and she can just wipe the seats off anytime the kids make a mess.}


{After: The Vestry Chandelier by AERIN is truly the showpiece and jewelry of the room. This particular client completely understood the importance of beautiful, quality lighting, so you’ll see that we used some gorgeous pieces throughout the house. We splurged on the chandelier, but balanced it out by using a table from Ballard Designs since this is such a high-traffic room. }


{After: Looking Towards the Family Room from the Breakfast Room}

dodd before kitchen

{Before: While my client didn’t want to gut the kitchen since the house is only ten years old and the high-end appliances were in like-new condition, we knew this room would be in for a drastic overhaul changing it as much as possible while avoiding the use of a sledgehammer! Notice all of the pickled wood cabinetry which matches the ceramic tile almost exactly. The lighting, dated black and tan granite countertops, and backsplash would also have to go.}

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{Before: As you can see the kitchen, breakfast room, and family room are part of one very large, very open space. My goal was to create a cohesive, glamorous environment that was still conducive to a young family and that softened the vastness and harsher elements of the space.}

dodd before kitchen2

{Before: I’m not sure if you can see them all that well, but the backsplash had bronze rabbit inlays. Through the archway, you can see a peek of the old dining room, which I will share with you in another post.}


{After: Beautiful Honed Carrara Marble Countertops and a Fresh Coat of White Paint}


{After: We continued the ebony stained wood floors in the kitchen, added an undermount sink, Rohl Bridge Faucet (I wish you could see the one before– oh my!), and new polished nickel cabinet hardware. The island was painted in a nice, dark gray hue.}


{After: The new faucet, sink, and countertops look so much better! Isn’t this a pretty view for doing the dishes?}


{After: As I mentioned before, my client was very easy-going and only had a few requests. She had just discovered the AERIN collection of lighting right before we met and she wanted to incorporate several of the chandeliers because she felt they epitomized glamour. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have put these Sanger pendants over a kitchen island, but my client said they made her smile every time she looked at them and she would be spending a lot of time in this part of the house. Luckily, she doesn’t cook very often, so she doesn’t have to worry about having the crystals cleaned as often as an avid cook would!}


{After: Another View of the Pretty Pendants and Marble Countertops and Backsplash}

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of this “Before and After” project reveal. Next time, I will share photos of the formal living room, dining room, and the powder bathrooms, all of which received a pretty dramatic makeover as well. While my own style is a little more masculine and modern that what we did in this house, the goal with each project is to create an environment that the client truly loves and feels at home in. Each of the projects I’m currently working on is completely different in look and feel from the next, but they all have a little bit of my own style in them and are rooted in the “modern meets traditional” style that I love. I feel so blessed to get to do what I love each day and to work with such amazing clients.  It is so rewarding to create beautiful environments for people and to bring them joy in this small way. Thank you for letting me share this with you!


{“After” Photos by Max Burkhalter}

Boxwood Interiors

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Last week, my friend Jeni came to visit from California and I took her to some of my favorite places in Houston that I knew she’d love. Among them, was Boxwood Interiors, a charming store featuring an amazing selection of pillows, furniture, lighting, decorative accessories, and paints and wallcoverings by Farrow and Ball. I’ll let you in on a little secret, we sourced a few items from Boxwoods for a High Gloss photo shoot that we can’t wait to share with you! But more on that later. First, I’d like to share a visual tour of this amazing shop. Boxwood recently underwent a major makeover. The store nearly doubled in size and they added a ton of fabulous new vignettes, brightened the space, and added some show-stopping details.
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{It was quite appropriate that we visited Boxwood on the same day that we heard Miles Redd speak. This amazing octagonal partition is painted in Miles’ favorite color, Hague Blue in Full Gloss finish by Farrow and Ball. It is such a gorgeous shade and this image doesn’t even begin to do the amazing partition justice.}

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{Boxwood mixes styles so well. There are plenty of things that appeal to the French and Belgian loving set as well as a great assortment of pieces that appeal to those who love a more modern dose of color.}

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{Pillows, Glorious Pillows!}

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{So Many Lovely Details}

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{I love the mercury glass lamp, subdued color palette, and Donghia suzani pillows in this vignette.}

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{How gorgeous is that mirror?}

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{I love the framed abstract paintings here. Sally Wheat has some similar ones in her home. Sally, if you’re reading this, what is the artist’s name?}

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{This console is bananas! The photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice. It is covered in what looked and felt like seagrass and studded with nailheads.}

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{I loved the gilded wheat sheaf table and these neat stools.}

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{These Kobo candles smell so nice and feature such lovely packaging.}

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{Gorgeous Mercury Glass Lamps atop a Beautiful Console Table}

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{There is literally eye candy in every corner of this store. I am crazy about this fabulous end table with Greek key detail.}

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{A Pretty Table Setting and Chandelier in front of Gorgeous, Hand-Painted Wallpaper by Farrow and Ball.}

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{I love the simple lines of this furniture. It would be great in an outdoor area.}

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{Another Beautiful Vignette}

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{More Mercury Glass Lamps – Love!}

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{A Fabulous Assortment of Farrow and Ball}

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{A Nod to the 1950s via a Wheat Sheaf Table and Cute Poodle Lamp}

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{Yet another lamp I was dying over! I wasn’t kidding when I said I was a total lamp tramp!}

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{I wish I’d gotten a better picture of their gorgeous cash wrap /check-out counter. You can see it up close in the previous picture. It features carrera marble and antiqued mirrors. I doubt there is a prettier one in existence.}

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{So, the gorgeous Hague Blue octagonal partition from the beginning of this post separates the retail part of the space from the offices in the back. Boxwood also provides interior design services.}
Thank you, Mimi and Jenna for being such gracious hostesses and treating us like old friends during our visit!
{All Images by Paloma Contreras – Please Do Not Use Without Consent}

Sally Wheat’s Chic Christmas Decorations

CHRISTMAS  2009 119[1] {Sally’s Amazing Christmas Lights – I was dying over the cool chandelier! It is from Ikea, but unfortunately she bought it last year and it is no longer available.}
This past Saturday night, Fabian and I attended Sally Wheat’s fabulous Christmas soiree. If her name sounds familiar, you most likely know her from her many mentions in the blogosphere, including La Dolce Vita and of course, Cote de Texas’ “Stalking the Wheats” blog post. I was excited to attend my friend’s party, but I was equally excited for Fabian to see Sally’s home in person! It is such an inspiring space and I knew that Sally would do something amazing for her Christmas decorations.
CHRISTMAS  2009 093[1] In the time that I have been doing this blogging gig, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many designers/decorators and Sally sits at the top of my list. She is fiercely talented and possesses a style that is so unique, especially for Houston. She can take a traditional French or Swedish look and turn it on its head by infusing it with her eclectic and slightly subversive touch. In addition to her talent, I love Sally for being so sweet and down-to-earth. Like me, she is a former school teacher which makes me feel like we are kindred spirits. One can hope!
Anyhow, Sally encouraged me to take some pictures of the house if I wanted to (of course I did). I think Fabian was a little embarrassed that I took her up on her offer, but alas, I am a blogger. It’s what I do and quite frankly, I’ve taken pictures of more inappropriate places to share with my lovely readers. Remember the bathroom in London I photographed for you? I tried to be discreet and not bother the other partygoers, so I kept the flash off. I apologize if some of the pictures are a little dark, but I am sure that you will still be able to enjoy them.

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Upon walking in, we were greeted by these fabulous pom poms. I love the palette that Sally chose and that they aren’t typical Christmas colors (though my own decorations are red and green). The pom poms add such a fun, festive touch!CHRISTMAS  2009 101[1]
Sally’s formal living room looks a little different than it did when it was published in Houston House and Home earlier this year. The trellis chairs are still there, but everything else is new. Her Christmas tree is decorated with silver and fuchsia ornaments. I love her peace sign tree topper! The ornament wreath over the gilded mirror is great, too.

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Lovely Details
CHRISTMAS  2009 103[1] This little table in the foyer was new to me. I love the way Sally has styled it. I remember when she bought the coral rose at the Urban Market in May. She came over to my booth and told me she had just gotten it for a steal! After visiting Erin Martin’s showroom in St. Helena, I know that Sally definitely got a great deal.

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It’s a little difficult to tell in this picture, but the dining table has a few small flower arrangements and votives on it. Notice the disco ball ornaments hanging from the antique French chandelier.

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I love this vignette! It is one of my favorite things in Sally’s home. The table has been cleared of its usual accoutrements which have been replaced with reindeer and Christmas trees.

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Sally’s Beautiful Mantle

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Sally had the most beautiful mercury glass and plain glass candle holders everywhere. They lent such a lovely warmth to the party. The coffee table features a few of those candle holders along with cerulean roses and peppermint bark.

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The patio was all aglow.

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The Wheats had the most wonderful Motown A Capella group sing Christmas carols for their guests. We all joined in and had so much fun! “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was an all out sing-along and Fabian and I were asked to sing the part of “Two Turtledoves”. It was a blast!
From the décor to the entertainment to the food (catering from one of my favorite restaurants, Shade), the Wheats know how to throw a great party! Thanks for a lovely time, Sally!

Browsing at Memorial Antiques & Interiors

The other day, I had some extra time before my first appointment, so I decided to pop into Memorial Antiques & Interiors, one of my favorite places to browse antiques and find inspiration here in Houston. The selection changes every few months, so I like to visit every so often and see what is new.

As you will see here, the majority of the items at MAI appeal very much to Houston’s general design aesthetic, which mostly falls into the French/Swedish/Belgian category. While I can certainly appreciate the beauty of that type of design, it isn’t really my taste, so I like to imagine fresh ways of incorporating a typical French piece and making it feel more modern and eclectic. This French library, for example (also pictured in the first image) would look fantastic in a living room with different styles of furniture, or even in a dining room re-purposed as a china cabinet.
I have to admit that I don’t know who all of the booths at MAI belong to. Some have business cards, like Two Lucys, whose booth is pictured above and in the following images. Others, like Liz Spralding, are frequently present in their booths to ask questions and share the history of her beautiful antiques. I just loved this little daybed in Two Lucys’ booth. It’s rather small, so it would probably work best for a child. I have also been noticing a lot of antique horse heads lately like the one pictured here between the botanical prints.
Lamps, Sconces, Gate Doors, and Grills at Two Lucys

I love how authentic their booth feels!

More from Two Lucys
They actually have three booths at MAI now.

I loved this display of vintage lamps. There is something for everyone!

I thought these bottle lamps were gorgeous!

Isn’t the color of the glass pretty?

I liked the big angel wings on the back wall of this booth as well as the old doors.

This bistro table looks cute from afar…

but it becomes really special once you see that the top is made from an old, mirrored clock face.

I thought this booth had some very chic offerings, from the charcoal sketches, to the lovely settee, and classic mirror.

This booth is fairly new as it was my first time to see it. They had mostly new items like candles, pillows, and John Derian items.

I thought this old limestone table was spectacular! I think the look would be too cold in an actual dining room, but it would look phenomenal in an outdoor area.

This mirror is gorgeous! I love the size, the colors, and the typeface.

Several beautiful mirrors, like this one, caught my eye that day.

This starburst is gorgeous, but pricey!

I thought these mirrors were very cool. They look like they are made from old warehouse windows. I would love to buy the frames and have the mirrors added myself. I bet it would be so much cheaper to do it that way.

A More Ornate Option

This little marble-topped table is great and could be used in several applications.

A Cool French Milk Poster

Lovely Bones

It’s been a little while since this lovely French-inspired home came on the market here in Houston. I’ve been meaning to post about it for a while, but it recently went into “option pending”, so I’ll leave out the details on the property. After all, my intention was to show it to you as a blank canvas, so that you could imagine the beautiful possibilities of decorating this grand home.

The 7,500 square foot home was designed by Kurt Aichler, a prominent Houston architect and builder. It features five bedrooms, five baths, media room, basement wine cellar, outdoor kitchen, and quarters.

The Foyer

Formal Living Room
Dining Room

Family Room
I love all of the windows/doors!


Library (the shelves have not been installed in this picture)

Master Bath

Master Bedroom

Make sure to tune in this week! I will be featuring what is far and away one of the most beautiful homes I have set foot in to date.