When you first enter Paola Mathé's home in Austin, Texas, I'm going to bet the last word that'll enter your mind is "boring." She tells me her eclectic, maximalist style is heavily influenced by her Haitian heritage, and I'll also add that her taste in fashion is just as fun as her taste in décor.
Every inch of her home is informed by her taste in art and her heritage, so I was excited to see how she'd take on the challenge of redecorating her narrow (and awkward, as she describes it) entryway using pieces from Pottery Barn's new apartment collection, which was specifically designed for those who are challenged with space. The result, in my opinion, is inviting and functional—but I'll let you decide for yourself…
How would you describe your home's aesthetic?
My home is warm, welcoming, and colorful. It whispers, "Love lives here."
What's the first thing people see when they enter your home?
The first thing people notice is my love for plants, art, and color. I also like to mix family portraits and art featuring African women on my walls. Often, I notice people stop to stare at all the images. It's important to make people feel welcomed and relaxed.
What do you draw inspiration from?
I like for my home to feel lived-in and comfortable. I draw a lot of inspiration from the way I dress—comfy, bold, and fun. I also like to purchase art from black women artists. They inspire me in so many ways. I'm always mixing prints and textures, always adding and removing, always trying to keep things fresh. There's nothing classic or traditional about the way I choose to design. I just want to live in a functional space with a playful atmosphere full of culture and color.
What's one thing you love about your current home?
My home is a work in progress. I create "happy corners" in almost every room as a way to keep my creative juices flowing. These happy corners help me with my personal life and work, and they inspire me to be a better person. I believe in surrounding yourself with the things you love. For me, those things are plants, fresh flowers, original art, candles, color, and texture. Kudos to Pottery Barn for bringing my entryway more happy corners.
How did you maximize your space using PB Apartment collection pieces?
Our entryway is somewhat small and awkward, with three doors and one window. Why do we have three doors just a few inches from each other?! I used the Mateo entryway set to find a home for our keys, unopened mail, catalogs, shoes, stroller accessories (for our baby girl, Zuli), hats, and gloves. I chose the Blacksmith umbrella stand for obvious reasons: We always have guests, and it's rainy season in Austin!
What's your favorite furniture piece from the collection?
The bench! I love that it's multifunctional. We can use it to sit and wait for the Uber on date night, remove our shoes, store things, and hold packages.
What's one small-space problem you solved in this room?
Being a no-shoe home means we needed a space for people (particularly me) to remove and store their shoes.
Why'd you choose this mirror for the wall?
I love that it adds texture and style; it makes the long, narrow hallway look bigger and less awkward. It's always a good idea to have a mirror by the entryway. That way I can spot spit-up on my blouse before I step out, and I can wink to myself, and say "YOU GOT THIS, GIRL!"
What's one random thing in your home?
We somehow have a bunch of random little animals my husband decided would make great plant accessories. The time I finally spotted the first one (a miniature walrus) in my schefflera plant, I almost jumped 10 feet back.
SHOP PAOLA'S ENTRYWAY: