As an entrepreneur, I must consistently keep up with the paperwork.
Combining beauty and functionality can be a difficult task, but that is just what Paula Paine has mastered. Paula is an Interior Designer in Houston, Texas with an innate sense of balance and what works well together. It’s Paula’s layers of décor that make her work so interesting and complex. She grew up studying design magazines, but did not imagine that it would become her profession. However, for the last 20 years Paula has worked on projects both large and small – such as a new home construction, several residential renovations, designing a country church, a beach house, a Montana retreat, and finishing out commercial office spaces. Paula understands that a well-designed room needs a focal point, a good floor plan, and furnishings with the proper scale to suit the space. She focuses first on getting the structure architecturally sound, because without the proper backdrop, the design impact is diminished.
Paula Paine is also aware that decorating has evolved along with the Internet and that most everything is now accessible to the public online. The beauty of this convenience is that global influences allow us to be connected and inspired by one another. But without a trained eye, such as Paula’s, costly mistakes can happen.
Paula Paine graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelors Degree. She is married to Jeff Paine, and they have three children.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea for Paula Paine Interiors was born when my husband and I had just purchased a new home that needed extensive renovations and design help, but did not have the budget to hire anyone. I tackled the project by thoroughly educating myself on materials, décor styles, mistakes that others had made, and what buyers look for in a home. We bought the house on the block that needed the most work, but in a very established neighborhood. We sold it seven years later for a 40% profit.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day begins with some form of exercise, whether it be a spin class, meeting friends for a run, or a cross-fit class. I use that time to organize my thoughts and plan what needs to get accomplished.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by collaborating with the contractors that can execute my vision. I have an excellent group of upholsterers, painters, furniture restorers, etc. that are true craftsman and deliver with each project.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The trend that really excites me is the concept of “decluttering”. As a society, we spend a great deal of time consuming and collecting, and for us to stop and be grateful for the present abundance is liberating.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit of mine that makes me productive is my ever-present “To Do List.” Reviewing it helps shape my day, and I enjoy checking items off.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The hardest job that I ever had was helping my mom decorate her new apartment after my step-father died. So many memories were entwined with the pieces and she understandably was unwilling to part with much.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start again, I would photograph everything! So many projects have not been documented and I regret that tremendously.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, I must consistently keep up with the paperwork. It can become overwhelming if not addressed regularly. Designing is fun, but the other aspects can be less so.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
One strategy that has helped me grow my business is assisting pleased clients with future projects.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I had as an entrepreneur was mixing personal and professional contacts. I recommended an architect for a job to a client that was a friend, however the project was above her level of skill and expertise.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea that I think will continue to grow is working with multiple designers by collaborating on projects, providing support, and exchanging ideas. A large think tank of creativity, but with independent entrepreneurs.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent recently was on a ticket to see “The Lion King” with my daughter. The time I spent with her was priceless.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
The software that I use is Revit, but it is highly technical in nature. The web sites that I refer to often are 1st Dibs, Viyet, Pinterest and Veranda. There is no shortage of inspiration online.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book that our community should read is “All The Light We Cannot See,” which chronicles the plight of a blind girl during WWII. As a designer, visuals are critical to me, so I appreciated how the protagonist felt a connection to people, nature and objects without the benefit of seeing them.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
The people that have influenced me greatly are John Staub, a gifted architect, and leading designers Mario Buatta and Charles Faudree.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.