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Publication Date: 2014-10-30


Paloma Contreras' Design Essentials

La Dolce Vita — that's the name of the Houston-based designer's blog, and it captures her layered and livable approach to decorating.


Contreras at one of her favorite Houston housewares shops, Area.

A Grand Place to Gather

The design for this relaxed, glamorous Houston dining room started with the wallpaper. "The damask pattern speaks to the client's love of tradition," Contreras says, "but in a crisp, modern way." The room's huge scale meant each piece needed to hold its own. Oversize Visual Comfort lamps anchor the sideboard, and a Ralph Lauren Home chandelier grounds the space. Plenty of velvet-covered chairs embrace a rustic, low-maintenance table: "The client loves to entertain." Farrow & Ball's Silvergate wallpaper adds a feminine touch and complements the house's elegant woodwork. The vintage Venetian-style mirror is more than six feet tall!

Some of Her Favorite Things

1. Waylande Gregory Tray

"The perfect accessory to sprinkle into a room. A great '70s vibe and an instant conversation piece."

2. Mary McDonald's Abaca Rugs

"Simply gorgeous. They're structured and graphic but still have an organic quality."

3. Suzanne Kasler's Signature 13OZ Linens

"Well made and affordable. You can't beat them."

4. Revere Pewter and Hale Navy

"My go-to neutrals — they always look good. And for impact, a deep, saturated blue is timeless."

5. London Sofa

"The silhouette is rooted in a classic form, and it lends itself wonderfully to having other things layered around it in a room."

6. Vintage Gabriella Crespi Desk"

Quite possibly the chicest desk ever made. This is my dream piece. It's major. I don't know if it gets any better than this."

7. Dover Floor Lamp

"The lines of this lamp are so sculptural and stylish. It goes well in just about any room, with any kind of decorating."

Arhaus Picks

We sent Paloma to shop Arhaus. Here's what she found:

1. "I'd use the Adele Velvet Dining Chair not just at a table, but in a foyer or a bedroom. It's extremely versatile." $249.

2. "Accessories are so critical to a space. The Adele Horn Ice Bucket would give a room a nice masculine edge." $84.

3."The clean-lined Isla Mirrored Bookcase has a pretty sparkle from the antiqued-mirror details." $2,099.


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