Houston, Texas based, NKBA K+B Insider Paloma Contreras dipped her toes in the design world when she launched her widely successful blog, La Dolce Vita, back in 2007. Her keen sense of design led to the start of her interior design business where she showcases her perspective on blending modern and traditional styles. Her work has been featured in various publications, like House Beautiful, Domino, ELLE Decor, The New York Times, LUXE, Traditional Home, Southern Living, The Washington Post, and more. While based in Houston, Contreras has completed projects throughout the U.S. in The Hamptons, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Chicago, and Dallas. In this week’s Friday Five, the award-winning designer shares a mix of some of her favorite things.
1. Napa Valley
I love the Napa Valley because it is as equally laid-back and sophisticated as it is old school. It is pared down, yet completely luxurious. There is a great balance of the two worlds unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else. Most places either have small town charm and an old time sensibility or they are chic and cutting edge. Napa marries both. While I am not a country girl, I would gladly be a wine country girl in a heartbeat.
2. Great Lighting
Lighting is my favorite decorative element. It is arguably the most critical component to creating the mood of a space and serves as the jewelry of a home. You can have the most beautiful furnishings in the world, but cheap or misplaced lighting can ruin the entire room. Along with quality seating, it is one of the most important elements in a home.
3. Good Music
From Fleetwood Mac and Carly Simon to Tame Impala, Hozier, and Bruno Mars, I love music and find that my mood is deeply affected by what I am listening to. In the office, we usually have something a little more mellow and less distracting playing throughout the day, but I like to start my mornings with fun, energetic music. It spurs my creativity.
4. Georgian Revival Architecture
Growing up (and currently living) in Houston, Texas, I’ve always admired and loved the beautiful homes of the South. My favorite style of architecture is Georgian Revival, a style characterized by proportion, balance and quality craftsmanship. Most Georgian Revival style homes mix elements that allude to the past but are more modern in function. My dream house: A Georgian Revival painted white with black shutters and columns, of course, with century-old live oak trees and a wide lawn. Thankfully, we have a lot of gracious, black and white houses in Houston so I have the opportunity to be inspired by their beauty while out visiting clients until the day I get to call one my own.
5. Pablo Picasso
Art is such a personal, wonderful thing. While I generally gravitate to abstract art, Pablo Picasso is one of my favorite artists. I would love to be a fly on the wall and hear about his inspiration, his great loves, and his vibrant life. While his cubist paintings such as Guernica are what make him one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, it is the simple line drawings of his lover, Francoise Gilot that I find incredibly inspiring. In addition to loving Picasso’s work, his eponymous museum in Paris’s Marais District is one of my favorite museums in the world. I love the juxtaposition of the art, the grand architecture, and the organic quality of the Giacometti chandeliers.