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}

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{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.}

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{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}

You’re a Good Man, Goodman.

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{Image via Barbara Waltman Design}

When it comes to kitchen lighting, the possibilities are endless. I don’t have an island in my kitchen, so I made due by hanging an Extra Large Hicks Pendant by Thomas O’Brien over my breakfast table and I love it. Naturally, I often think about what I would do in my dream home and I always come back to the Goodman Hanging Lamp by Thomas O’Brien (available through Circa Lighting) and it seems that plenty of interior designers have done the same. The Goodman has become a favorite in the design world and has appeared in countless publications over the years including House Beautiful, Cottage Living, and Lonny. Could it be the perfect kitchen pendant? Its clean lines make for a bold piece that lends itself perfectly to all styles from traditional to modern and everything in between as seen in these beautiful kitchen images. The Goodman is available in three sizes and several finishes with the option of a metal or natural paper shade. I personally love this piece because it can read classic or modern and is a refreshing change from anything that is too traditional or industrial (yawn!). My favorite finish combination—Hand-Rubbed Antique Brass with Antique White Shade, (shown in the first few images) adds a touch of modern glamour thanks to the warm glow of the brass-lined shade. Pinned Image

{Design by Barbara Waltman |Image via the Visual Comfort Blog}

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{Coastal Living Showhouse |  Image via The Painted House}

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{Image via Rawlins Calderone Design}

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{Image via Woodlands Lifestyles and Homes}

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{Image via Christina Murphy Interiors}

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{Image via Melanie Turner Interiors}


{A Pair of Goodmans in Hand-Rubbed Antique Brass | Kitchen by Alecia Stevens}

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{Goodmans in Hand-Rubbed Antique Brass |Image via Christina Murphy Interiors}

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{Kitchen by Lake Country Builders, Image via Houzz}


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{A Trio of Goodmans in Bronze |Image via Pinterest |Original Source Unknown}


{Goodmans in Antique Nickel |Image via Benco Construction}

Could you see yourself using the Goodman Hanging Light in your kitchen? If so, would you opt for a metal or paper shade? Which of these delicious kitchens is your favorite?

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}

Fabulous Room Friday 07.16.10

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{Left: The striking statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace looks as if she has just flown into the room. Can you think of a more dramatic piece to add to a room? Right: Dhong swathed the elegant room in beautiful array of blues and greys.}

This week’s Fabulous Room comes to us from interior designer, Benjamin Dhong. The tower attic was designed by Dhong for this year’s San Francisco Decorators Showcase house and was greatly inspired by Parisian style. Dhong wanted to maximize the views of the Golden Gate Bridge and aimed to make the room feel like a “sexy and escape”. I’d say he definitely accomplished his goal. The room has a very elegant aura and the shades of grey and blue are very reminiscent of Paris. The cool tones and luxurious textures within the room would be perfectly at home in a chic Parisian apartment or a grand hotel in the City of Lights.

ben dhong3 {How is this for ingenious? Dhong took an Arne Jacobson Egg Chair and had it reupholstered in a Manuel Canovas cut velvet fabric, which he paired with a Fortuny pillow. Dhong added the zebra rug because “the room was too ‘polite’ and needed a bit of edge”.}

ben dhong4 {A Silver Giacommeti Lamp topped with a French Blue Silk Shade rests atop a table skirted in a Sumptuous Velvet with Greek Key Trim}


All Images Courtesy of Benjamin Dhong

10 Things I Can’t Live Without: Julie of Shelter

The lovely and talented Julie Richard of the blog, Shelter will be sharing her fabulous “10 Things List” today. She is due to give birth to her second child literally any minute, so I am incredibly thankful that she agreed to participate in this series. I have long admired Julie’s style and am still in love with her son’s nursery which she shared with us in my “Personal Style, Defined” series. I was so pleased to see how much we had in common when I read her list. Blogs really do bring like-minded people together! I hope that you’ll enjoy the gorgeous images that Julie has put together for us!

ONE. Accessories. They the heart of a room and the finishing touch to an outfit! I love, love, love to layer and mix!

TWO. Pellegrino – I drink this all day long. I actually crave the refreshing crisp flavor.. {now even more then ever while preggers}

THREE. Beautifully and well lit spaces. It’s the first thing I notice when I walk into a room in the evening! I’m always striving to light my home and my client’s designed spaces better.

FOUR. Design Magazines, Books, Blogs + Music. They are my guilty pleasure and an amazing source of inspiration!

FIVE. My Day Planner, Office + Computer. I couldn’t function without them! I still prefer to write things down and sketch-I guess it’s the creative side in me! I love my career and am so happy I took a risk and started my own business!

SIX. DCT Lip Balm + Face Cream with sun block. A part of my daily ritual.

SEVEN. A sweet treat. Because what’s life without an indulgence now and then?

EIGHT. The Beach. I feel so fortunate to have grown up near the water. I don’t think I will ever leave the coast. I am truly at peace sitting in my beach chair looking out at the water on a warm summer day. It doesn’t get much better than that for me! {okay maybe add a chilled, salted margarita to the scene – perfection}

NINE. Comfy slippers. These are what I am currently wearing. After hugging my son, it’s the second thing I do when I walk in the door to my home.

TEN. Most importantly My family + friends. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing group of warm, loving, supportive + humorous people. We are beyond excited to meet our newest addition this week!!!
Thanks for including me in your series Paloma!!