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The New Traditionalist

Houston’s Paloma Contreras has a mass-followed blog, design projects across the country and a brand-new must-have book—and she’s just getting started.


"Writing a book feels like a very natural progression from how I began my career in design,” says Paloma Contreras. Said design career started as a creative outlet with La Dolce Vita (a design blog before design blogs were cool), which launched in 2007 and honed the Houston native’s classic-meets-modern perspective while simultaneously garnering her a mass following. She founded Paloma Contreras Design six years later, and in September she debuted her first book, Dream Design Live ($35, Abrams). “The book is meant to inspire, yet it also offers a wealth of valuable takeaways and tangible design advice,” says the ever-savvy creative. Inspire it does. The coffee-table tome catalogs 14 of Contreras’ residential projects over three sections: Dream focuses on finding inspiration in your own creative life; Design is chock-full of tried-and-true tidbits to guide a reader’s future projects; and Live is Entertaining 101, La Dolce Vita-style. Though the pages are marked by such traditional design elements as foo dog bookends, Louis XVI chairs and curly monograms, there’s a decidedly contemporary touch to everything Contreras does. “I gravitate toward classic silhouettes and timeless pieces paired with a touch of glamour,” says the decorator, who teases her first licensed product collection and a store concept in the works. “While everything I design is certainly executed through my personal lens, I don’t have just one signature look,” she says. “In the end, my goal is for each house to tell the story of the people who live in it rather than for it to be a reflection of me.”