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Paloma Contreras Interior Designer and Founder, Paloma & Co
Faced with an hour to yourself (perhaps a problem you don’t often have), what do you do with free time?
Running two businesses, my design firm Paloma Contreras Design and my store, Paloma & Co doesn’t leave me with much free time. I realize it will be an even greater rarity once my daughter is born. For now, if I find myself with a little downtime, I’ll go for a long walk with my husband and our dog; I’ll arrange fresh flowers; or I’ll read a book, catch up on shelter magazines, or watch a documentary. I just watched “Hitsville” about the history of Motown and loved it!
What is the thing you bought in the last three months that you have most enjoyed?
That’s a hard one! It’s probably a tie between all of the sweet clothes we’ve been buying for our baby or the maternity leggings I finally caved in and bought. They’re a lifesaver now that I’m seven months pregnant.
What’s the last song you listened to?
“Stir it Up” by Bob Marley and the Wailers—I love all types of music. Listening to reggae is my sure-fire trick for setting my mind at ease whenever I am feeling stressed or anxious.
Did you learn anything new in the last 12 months that has surprised you?
I’ve learned that we are all much more resilient than we imagined. I took my restlessness at the beginning of the pandemic and started a podcast, The Style Files: Conversations with Creatives in which I feature inspiring conversations with the top talents in the interior design industry. We all learned that we are capable of doing so much more remotely than we had ever imagined we could. Most importantly, I learned what truly matters to me and what I am willing to make time for in the future.
What is a parenting quality you admire in one of your parents, friends of siblings that you’d like to emulate as a mother?
Well, I won’t officially be a mother for a few more months, but I’ve been reading books about motherhood and soaking up any pearls of wisdom people are willing to share in order to prepare. One thing that has really stuck with me is the idea that balance is a myth. As a mother and an entrepreneur, I am sure to experience guilt for being at work when I want to be with my baby or when I am with my baby and am needed at work. A very wise woman said that rather than driving myself crazy trying to balance it all, a better approach is to strive to truly be in the moment and find joy in what I am doing at that time.2020 has dealt us all with lots of challenges - what was a low moment in 2020 and how did you overcome or face it?
It has been a challenging year for everyone. We’ve been incredibly lucky to remain healthy and busy with work, but we’ve made so many adjustments. Pre-pandemic, I traveled at least 2-3 times per month, we would go out to restaurants, and see friends and family often. Having to stay put at home and maintaining our distance from our loved ones has certainly been the most challenging aspect of this time. We found out I was pregnant in October, which was certainly the silver lining of our quarantine, but it’s also been difficult being pregnant at this time. My husband hasn’t been allowed to go to my doctor appointments with me and I rarely leave my home except to go to my studio out of an abundance of caution.
What are you most looking forward to in a post-vaccine world? What bar, restaurant, or place are you most eager to visit?
My hope is for my daughter to come into a world that feels more “normal” and that we can comfortably venture into the world to experience the wonder of her discovering it all. I also miss travel terribly! We are dying to get back to Round Hill in Jamaica for a relaxing vacation and to go back to Paris which is our favorite city. We miss all of our favorite haunts there!
Do you believe in setting personal goals? If so, how do you hold yourself accountable to them?
Yes! I am a very goal-oriented person. I spend a lot of time at the end of each year reflecting on the achievements, goals, and disappointments of the previous year and setting professional and personal intentions for the upcoming year. I am a very disciplined person and am driven by growth and achievement, which means that these goals or intentions are always at the forefront of my mind.
How important is community to you, and how do you go about building and nurturing it for your family?
Community is incredibly important. I must admit, I have been very career-driven up to this point in my life. I have been able to build a wonderful network of friends, mentors, and peers in the design industry. I use my platform to encourage, inspire, and help others however I can. We are lucky that both my husband and I have our parents here in Houston, where we live, which will be so helpful and important once our daughter is born.