PaperCity Magazine

July 2015 - Dallas

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BY REBECCA SHERMAN. ART DIRECTION MICHELLE AVIÑA. PHOTOGRAPHY SHAYNA FONTANA. HAIR AND MAKEUP CARMEN WILLIAMSON. F or former fashion retail consultant Paula Minnis, a passion for handmade textiles and a love for travel are not only evident at home, they're a way of life. As founder of Gaia — Greek for "goddess of the Earth" — Paula puts the many textiles she's collected from trips abroad and local flea markets to charitable use. Her 6-year-old social enterprise helps refugee women from other countries rebuild their lives in Dallas by paying them a living wage to create pillows, napkins, tablecloths, purses and other items from vintage fabrics. Stores such as Neiman Marcus, Forty Five Ten and Madison have all supported the cause by selling the beautifully crafted goods, which can also be purchased online at Paula and her husband, Todd Minnis (a commercial real estate investor and partner in Coyote Drive-In Theaters), purchased their rambling house in North Dallas last year. It's also home to the couple's 3-year-old twins, Gabriella and Charlie, and part-time home to Todd's teenage children, Will and Genevieve, from his previous marriage to Caroline Summers, who brokered their house. "Our 1940s ranch has evolved into a little bungalow with the flavor of Colonial Mexico," says Paula, referring to a large addition to the back of the house done by the previous owners, with its textured plaster walls, stone and concrete floors, colorful tile accents and arches. They plan to renovate the kitchen and dining areas, which feel more mid-century, with a similar, convivial South of the Border flair. "I've always been drawn to more natural materials and found objects, and color," she says. "It's more in line with my aesthetic with Gaia, and even how I dress." It took Paula a few tries before she found her design footing. Soon after they married, the couple lived in a 1975 ultra-contemporary house in Preston Hollow, which "wasn't the warmest feel," she says. Then they moved to the "polar opposite": a four-level 1920s house on Swiss Avenue, where they enlisted help from tastemaker Jon Tutolo, who is now photo art director for The Book and media at Neiman Marcus. "Jon gave it a totally different feel than what we had before," she says. He warmed things up with Oushak rugs, among other pieces sourced from his now-shuttered store Haven, and had their furniture recovered and repainted. Their new abode was much more comfortable than their previous hard- edged space, but with so many rooms on multiple levels, it was unwieldy. "We felt disconnected from each other," Paula says. "We were still learning about what our family wants out of a home." Two and a half years later, when Paula learned she was pregnant with twins, they took a smaller mid- century ranch house in Bluffview that was almost perfect. Its IN A BUNGALOW BURSTING WITH COLOR, TEXTURE AND VINTAGE TEXTILES, PAULA MINNIS WEAVES A TALE OF GIVING BACK. Threads The That Bind A screened-in porch off the master bedroom opens onto the backyard and is one of Paula Minnis' favorite places to relax and watch the children play.

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