A Design Expert on Renovations, Color and More Designer: Go Neutral in Bedroom

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 17, 2016 | Go to article overview

A Design Expert on Renovations, Color and More Designer: Go Neutral in Bedroom


Byline: Jura Koncius The Washington Post

Paloma Contreras, an interior design blogger based in Houston, joined The Washington Post staff writer Jura Koncius recently on the newspaper's Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

Q. Do you think it's better to have all-white or color towels in a bathroom?

A. I prefer white towels in bathrooms. They look more crisp and classic than any other color. There also seems to be an element of luxury. If the upkeep of white towels is not appealing to you, I would recommend you stick with a neutral color, such as a gray or tan. Generally, lighter colors look better. To be honest, I don't like the look of dark, bold, colored towels at all.

Q. I'm considering a minor update of a small main-floor bath. It has white ceramic floor tile. I'd really like to add a white vanity, but would that be too much?

A. You can't go wrong with all white! It is crisp, classic and timeless. I would just make sure your wall color provides some contrast.

Q. How does living in Houston influence your design?

A. I was born and raised in Houston, and there are so many things that I love about our city. It is at once an international, cosmopolitan city and a gracious Southern one. I love some of our old neighborhoods, such as River Oaks, Shadyside and Boulevard Oaks, with their grand lawns, traditional architecture and beautiful oak trees. My design aesthetic is rooted in traditional design but executed in a modern, fresh way. It's the new traditional, if you will. I love things that have meaning (very Southern) and enjoy mixing classic and modern, masculine and feminine, and tempering clean lines with hard edges. For me, a successfully designed room is one that is not only beautiful but also functional and comfortable. I strive to create spaces that will look as beautiful today as they would have 10 years ago or will 10 years from now.

Q. We did quite a bit of remodeling this year and used warm grays on walls, countertops, tiles, etc. A little late to be asking, but is gray going to look dated in the near future?

A. I know that gray has been a very trendy color for the past few years. Although I prefer to shy away from trends because they look dated so soon and don't have a personal element, I do think gray is the exception. Although it is popular now, it is also a classic, neutral color that will never go out of style, in my humble opinion.

Q. We just moved back into our four-bedroom Colonial home after renting it for two years. We were planning to update our kitchen when we moved back in, but now we need to replace all the carpets and redo the two full bathrooms. We are considering wood for the bedrooms and upstairs hallway. We plan to stay in our home for at least 10 years. We are thinking about choosing a gunstock finish for the pre-finished 3 1/4-inch wood floors. Do you think this will still be in fashion in 10 years?

A. That size and style are classic and completely appropriate for a Colonial home. If you were doing 5 inch wide, heavily hand-scraped wood, I would say that would definitely look dated in 10 years, because it is trendy now. Basically, anything you see repeatedly done in new construction should generally be avoided because it will become dated rather quickly. Worry not! Your choice is completely classic and will stand the test of time.

Q. We have a traditional, red brick, white-mantel, wood-burning fireplace in our living room. We've recently had it cleaned and re-pointed and want to purchase a new fire screen, but I've been told polished brass is old-school. What do you think?

A. Brass is certainly a classic material, but polished brass has become dated. My suggestion is that you have the brass refinished to go from polished and lacquered to more of an aged finish with some patina and less shine. First, be sure to check that the surround is actually made from solid brass. …

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