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}

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{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?

Visual Comfort Lighting Warehouse Sale

If you’ve been lusting after any Visual Comfort pieces (Thomas O’Brien, Barbara Barry, Suzanne Kasler, Alexa Hampton, Eric Cohler, Michael S. Smith…the list of designers goes on), then mark your calendar! This Saturday, December 6th, the Visual Comfort Warehouse will be opening its doors to the public from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and will be offering discounts of up to 75% off retail prices on an amazing selection of lighting fixtures. Designers, shop one day early. Members of the trade get first dibs on Friday, December 5th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Bring your cash, credit cards, and holiday shopping list!

Brown: Houston Style Haven

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Several beautiful pieces greet customers as they walk into Brown

This past Saturday, Fabian and I paid a visit to Brown, one of our favorite stores in Houston. It is a veritable treasure trove of antique lighting, furniture, vintage teaching charts, mirrors, and decorative architectural and industrial pieces. Owner Jill Brown is a very gracious host and was sweet enough to chat with me for a little while.

Jill frequently travels to Europe to find new pieces for her store, most of which come from France and Austria, where she used to live. In the store, you’ll find pieces to suit almost anyone’s design aesthetic…traditional, French, Swedish, industrial, all of which have a huge fan base. However, Jill stressed the fact that she shies away from anything that could be considered trendy. When I mentioned that I felt her shop was filled with heirloom quality pieces, I struck a chord. Jill says she has aimed to create a space filled with unique pieces that transcend the current trends and make for an edited, layered look. The result is collected and chic.

Clients frequently come in feeling unsure about exactly what it is that they want. Sometimes people feel they should go with a certain fixture or overall style because it is currently popular or because a friend suggested it. Jill urges them to go with their gut instincts, which I feel is very sage advice. The process of choosing lighting, furniture, and accessories for one’s home can certainly be overwhelming, but in a sense, it is actually quite visceral if we choose to listen to our instincts instead of other’s opinions. Though, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, it certainly helps to get the opinion of someone whose taste you admire or is similar to yours.

Whatever your taste, Brown is sure to have something to make your heart skip a beat.

Brown is located at 2940 Ferndale at W.Alabama, Houston, TX 77098.

FYI: Blogger is making my pictures look skewed again despite the fact that I wrote this post in LiveWriter and that they looked perfect in the preview. Please click on the pictures if you wish to enlarge them. Rest assured, I am able to take a centered picture, though you wouldn’t know it from the way they look here.

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The shop by Brown is housed in an unassuming bungalow on a residential street near Houston’s Upper Kirby District

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Fabian and I both loved these huge glass lanterns.

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The shop is filled with vintage instructional charts. The majority are scientific, but this cursive chart caught my eye. There is a teacher left in me yet!

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Brown is like a candy store for lighting and design lovers. There is something for everyone.

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Jill always has an assortment of gorgeous mirrors available. My favorites are the black and gold leaf rimmed one on the top right and the more ornate white mirror on the left.

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An array of beautiful French copper pots

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Unlikely Neighbors: A couple of industrial pieces coexist quite nicely with antique sconces. I love the juxtaposition of the ornate lighting fixtures against the raw, salvaged wood.

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A bounty of industrial and architectural treasures waiting to be repurposed

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I love this globe ceiling fixture. It looks like it was originally meant to go outdoors, but I love the idea of putting it somewhere unexpected, like in a foyer or a breakfast room.

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How amazing is this cabinet?

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These choices are a bit more subdued and lend themselves beautifully to Swedish design. The tree trunk lamps would look so great in a beach house with a subdued palette.

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An array of unique chandeliers. I think the three piece, billiard-style fixture in the center would look fabulous in a kitchen with black cabinetry.

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Beautiful, vibrant antique maps hang out under a fantastic wall-mounted lighting fixture.

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These vintage charts would be so great in a foreign language classroom! I’m guessing they were intended for speaking activities where the students made up an original story to go with the pictures.

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Antique French Periodic Table of Elements

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Fabian especially loved the outdoor fixtures.

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I’ve noticed that mushrooms have started popping up everywhere, which is really funny to me. I must have seen them in three stores that day.

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Gorgeous, vintage French bottles in various shades of green

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I love these column lamps! They would be so gorgeous in a grey room. How lovely are the canisters behind the lamps? The one on the left is filled with typesetting letters and numbers.

Circa Eye Candy

An array of Circa chandeliers

Last weekend, I paid a visit to Circa Lighting. Each time I set foot in the store, I fall more and more in love with my old favorites and discover new loves as well. I’ve compiled several pieces that are new this season and a few older pieces that I just love.

The classic Manhattan chandelier would be right at home in an equally grand space.

Barbara Barry’s new Carousel lamp in soft silver. I’ve been eyeing this one for my formal living room.

The white lamps are Lotus lamps also by Barbara Barry. I love that they are both feminine and funky. The Carousel lamp is seen in the bronze finish here.

The Simple Scallop design is available in several incarnations and is wildly popular with designers and bloggers alike.

The Simple Scallop sconce in soft silver

The Chandler chandelier is seen without shades here. It is absolutely gorgeous in person and pictures really don’t do the finish justice. It is burnished silver leaf with polished silver accents.

These industrial-inspired designs are super popular right now, but I honestly think it is a style that will withstand the test of time. Here, we have the Small Country Industrial Stage Light on the left (it might as well be a custom piece as it is available in 18 possible finishes/shade combinations) and the Noho torchere in brushed steel on the right.

The Ziyi chandelier looks equally fabulous without shades as it does with them.

We just purchased this Cornice ceiling fixture for our home office. The picture truly does not do this art deco inspired piece justice. It is larger than you would imagine and makes quite a statement.

A bevy of beautiful table lamps in varying styles by designers such as Thomas O’Brien and Alexa Hampton

The Westmeath Obelisk lamp- Its lines remind me of The Empire State Building.

Various small table and desk lamps {If you’d like to know the name of a particular lamp, just let me know.}

Just as in life, one pretty lady always steals the show. In this case, it is the stunning Crescent table lamp by Michael Smith made of quartz on antique gold leaf (far left).