Inspired by Design: Joel Contreras Padilla

Balancing clean, simple and straightforward silhouettes with bold graphic patterns and color.

Every month, we highlight distinctive designers who inspire us to find beauty in the details and embrace our home’s authentic style. Here’s January’s pick.

Julie O

All photos provided by Julie O’Brien Design Group

Pella: As an interior designer, what inspires you and where do you find inspiration?
Joel Contreras Padilla: I find inspiration every day, even in something as simple as a piece of art. Because I'm a visual person, visual art often gives me the blueprint for my designs. I visit art museums, pop-up art exhibitions, and galleries in order to catch an interesting piece and see what draws my eye. I like to break down the art piece, identifying how elements pull it together, and to decode the artist’s process. I try to reinterpret the process for interior spaces by using today’s materials in a timeless, elegant way. And when I need more inspiration, I flip through some favorite magazines and websites – Elle Décor, Architectural Digest, Architect Newswire – to catch today’s trends.

Describe your design style.
My sense of style is always changing and evolving but there are several fundamental pillars that remain constant: clean, simple, straightforward silhouettes; organic shapes of the Mid-Century Modern; the sleekness of polished metals; bold geometric patterns of Art Deco; and the nobility of the traditional craftsman from the Arts and Crafts movement. I tend to gravitate towards masculine spaces that are unexpected in their uses and mixtures of textures, bold graphic patterns, pops of color, materials and architectural features.

Julie Obrien design group modern minimalist kitchen interior design

What are two ways homeowners can enhance their home’s style?
Two simple ways homeowners can enhance their home’s style are to 1) have a master plan and 2) create a retreat where they can escape the stresses of their world.

Many homeowners go into renovations and redesigning spaces without a plan. Starting a project without a plan can quickly become a burden and stressful. I suggest that homeowners sit down and really think about the process of design – you don’t have to be an interior designer to achieve this, as long as you’re logical and straightforward with what you’re looking to achieve. Sometimes redesigning a whole room is unnecessary when you could simply invest in a statement piece to change the space.

Homeowners can create an oasis at home where they can escape the stress of the world and technology by using natural green to create a cocooning effect. Bringing colors, textures, and a variety of indoor plants into a home is a great way to keep the flow between indoors and outdoors going, and it's a great way to incorporate the good vibes the natural world has to offer.

Julie Obrien design group modern kitchen interior design grey cabinets

What does a day on the job look like for you?
No two days at Julie O’Brien Design Group look the same! Each day has its own tasks and hurdles to overcome. Most of the time, I’m juggling multiple projects at once. As a “one-stop” shop, we undertake projects of all sizes and complexity, from comprehensive interior design and interior architectural planning to simple updates or consulting on color schemes for your home or business.

One day I might spend most of the day working on space planning for a renovation project or new build, while the next day I could be detailing and specifying a kitchen/bathroom design, architectural feature, millwork/shop drawings and window treatment designs. Sometimes I’m knee-deep mapping out flooring, finish and lighting schedules, or selecting furniture, fabrics and finishes. The excitement of having this job early in my career is that I get to do just about anything and everything. One-stop is a luxury in itself. I work closely with a group of talented professionals that often has to deal with not just the clients but vendors, manufactures, fabricators, and general contractors. There’s no comparison to the satisfying feeling of watching one’s drawings come to fruition. Nothing is more rewarding than taking a client’s wants and needs through the design process and turning them into a reality.

Julie Obrien design group modern interior design wainscoting

Tell us about your dream home. What does it look, feel and smell like?
My dream home is a space that screams my personality; when friends and family visit, they immediately know I live there. It will be a mixture of design styles that I appreciate: a hybrid of textures and bold graphic patterns; high contrasts with heavy woods and simple clean lines; architectural features, art and of course have a lot of plants. There will be great attention paid to each room. I would like my dream home to be sustainable and LEED accredited. It’s important to me that my home doesn’t burden the Earth; in light of the world’s current challenges, I want it to be a net zero home.







This article was written by

A self-proclaimed Social Media Geek and DIY aficionado, Nicolle is a member of the Pella Marketing team, focused on content creation and curation. In her free time she can be found pillaging thrift shops for furniture projects, attempting to rationalize with her 4 year old daughter, and editing her husband’s honey-do list.