Our New House: The Entryway

Paloma Contreras Design Entry

Thank you for all of the kind words after last Friday’s tour of our new house! As promised, I will chronicle the design process here from inception through the final reveal. I thought it only natural to begin in the entry. Pictured above, is the direction I am planning on for the space. As I shared in this post about the design inspiration for our new house, I want everything to be done in a cool, high contrast palette of black and white with a few carefully-selected touches of color and unexpected pattern throughout. While I want it to feel more modern than our last house, the core of the house will still be traditional– after all, this will be such a pure reflection of my personal style rather than designing for a client.


The photo above shows the foyer before we moved in with the former owner’s rug. Their color choices skewed much warmer than mine. Right now, it feels like more of a pass-through rather than a proper room. It has doors on every side along with the staircase, so I plan to define the space with a dramatic wall treatment, a great light fixture, and new tile. The walls in the stairwell will be painted white, the banister will be painted black, and I just had a new stair runner installed.


This was the door at our old house. I had it lacquered with Fine Paints of Europe, but it started to bubble up with the hot Houston heat, so my painter took it back and had it lacquered with black automotive paint. I added beautiful, polished nickel hardware to complete the look. It was one of my favorite things about our old place. I wish I had done it sooner because I didn’t get to enjoy it for as long as I would have liked. I am planning to do the same with the brown door shown in the previous photo at our new house. I’d also like to change out the brushed nickel hardware for polished nickel again.

Paloma Contreras Entryway

{The Two Wallpapers for the Entry Shown with Black and White Marble Tile and a Brass and Quartz Finial Standing in for the Flush Mount Shown on the New Wool Sisal Runner I just had Installed on the Stairs}

The black door will look so much better with what I am planning for the entryway. I fell in love with Martyn Lawrence Bullard‘s Romeo wallpaper for Schumacher which was inspired by the work of the legendary Renzo Mongiardino and emulates the centuries-old art of Venetian marbled paper. I was originally planning to pair this paper with the Graphite Manila Hemp from Phillip Jeffries in my powder room, but my wallpaper installer and I discovered that the wallpaper I intended to use in the entryway, Nuvolette by Cole & Son, wouldn’t be a good choice for this space.

As I mentioned, there are doors on all four walls and we would lose so much of the beautiful repeat. It would be a waste of paper and a waste of money to do it in the entry. I racked my brain for other wallpapers that I love, but wouldn’t compete with the leopard carpet I am thinking of putting in my adjacent office. Finally, it came to me! I should just swap the wallpapers in the entry and powder room. So now, the entry will have the beautiful Graphite Manila Hemp on the walls and the Romeo marbled paper on the ceiling, while my entire powder room with all of its glorious wall space will be swathed in the gorgeous Nuvolette cloud paper!


I have selected the pretty Randolph Flush Mount by Alexa Hampton for Visual Comfort for the entry. It adds a bit of glamour and will refract the light beautifully in the space.


Now, onto the floors. I have always loved a classic, marble checkerboard floor. Here it is looking gorgeous in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Windsor Smith-designed foyer.


It looks a little darker in this photo. I think Gwyneth’s tile is gray and white. I would want a true black and white tile, so I am considering Ann Sacks’ Nero Marquina and Carrara marble tiles. I want the entry to be classic, but striking.

the mark

I also love the idea of potentially going bold since the entry is pretty small and the only other pattern will be the marbled paper on the ceiling. Everything is in a palette of black, white, and gray. How amazing would it be to do the same two marble tiles cut and laid in stripes like at the fabulous Mark Hotel in New York?

kelly wearstler tile

The last tile option is probably the one I am least likely to use. This is the Mulholland tile by Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks. I love it, but am worried that it might be way too much look for the space and that it will read too modern for the rest of the house. I also don’t want the flooring to compete with the wallpaper. The other part of me thinks it could be fabulous and unexpected. The space is small anyway, so why not have some fun? But– is it classic enough? It is definitely 100 times harder designing for oneself than for a client!

Paloma Contreras Design Entry

Here is everything again, shown all together. Which tile option would you go for? Be sure to follow along on Instagram as I post glimpses into the remodeling and decorating of our new house. I’ll be sure to share updates along the way, here as well!

Paloma Signature


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Tell Me What You Think! leave a comment...

  1. #3 makes the marbled paper pop, in my very humble non-designer opinion – a balance with the repeat rhythm of the marble within that tile pattern, but as a geometric pattern which characterizes your style. I fear #2 option of black is too narrowing since the ceiling here is one-story, not higher, plus I feel the stripes need more perspective to be appreciated as a whole (as in a broader space.) #1 blends well but is not as wow. I think you seem like wow – and the wow of #3 is a pleasant “Wow, here we are at Paloma’s.” I always retain a pleasant wow reading your posts and seeing your work. Never overwhelmed. Remember you have neutrals here; and texture seems limited to the sisal and the ribbing in the flush mount so far. The hemp wallpaper reads minimal texture. So you can get away with the texture of #3. I hope I’ve made my case plainly. None of these seems like a wrong choice! It’s what you prefer!

  2. I just bought a house as well. It’s an older home in a small gated community in San Antonio. Like you, I’m thinking of black and white. I just bought an Albert Watson, life-sized black and white photograph of Keith Richards you’ll see on a far wall in the living room, soon after entering my small foyer. Also found an interesting Madeline Weinrib black & white fabric I may use to cover a French settee along one side of a rustic dining table I’m hoping to find at Marburger Farms this fall. BTW, I’m enjoying your blogs. Brenda Coffee

  3. can you share who makes the sisal carpeting, and the color? Does this withstand high traffic?

    beautiful choices, combination!


  4. I love following your work. I love everything but the stripes for the flooring would need a much larger space to create the drama you are looking for. I would go with the gray and white option you showed in the paltro photos. The Kelly tile is beautiful too but it might compete with the ceiling paper pattern. Whatever you chose will be stunning and I love the front door. Can’t wait to see more. ?

  5. I prefer tile option #3 as well. I don’t see how you could go wrong with Kelly Wearstler as it is timeless. I follow your blog all the time and wish you much happiness with your new home.

  6. The the Kelly werstler! If you want to make it a real room, it is cozy yet super striking! Not too modern. The stripes read more modern to me. Plus, it will go awesome with leopard carpet in your office! Everything else is a bit understated, so it will be your one thing that really pops!

  7. I totally agree, designing for oneself is way much harder but I love all your choices, Paloma! The black and white checker floor à la Gwyneth is stunning, but so are the black and white stripes…

  8. I’m so excited to watch your new home come to life with your incredible design talent. I love that you want your home to speak of your soul…as it should.
    I personally love choice #1. I think the marble checkered floor will be a great vision to offset all the horizontal that you see as you glance into the entry with the front door open. It will be a great compliment/contrast to the line of stairs which get eccentuated with the sisal stair runner.
    Your wallpaper choices are fabulous and the entry light I plan on ordering.
    In any case, thank you for letting us have fun sharing our thoughts.

  9. Some great choices! The black and white dramatic tiled floors would not be a mainstream choice for resale (sometimes the pattern is dizzying)…
    I will enjoy reading about how you put your new home together!