In the Spotlight - Paola Santos-De Soto

Kandice Korte
Morgante Wilson Architects

Nov 4, 2021 - 5 min read


In the Spotlight - Paola Santos-De Soto

In the Spotlight: Paola Santos-De Soto

At MWA, we sometimes love our interns so much we end up hiring them full time! Such was the case with Paola Santos-De Soto, who joined our Interior Architecture team after her graduation from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Read on to learn more about Paola – including the reasons she’s obsessed with artwork and hinges.

You’re a real MWA success story!

I started with the firm in 2016 as an interior architecture intern while at school. I fell in love with the firm and am now a full time Junior Designer on the interior architecture team.

What do you love about working at MWA?

I love my coworkers – and the volunteer opportunities we have. There really is a sense of family here. Everyone’s willing to help each other and we truly enjoy spending time with one another.

What have you learned about design while working for the firm?

Everything! I’ve learned how to put palettes together with the proper materials. I’ve learned the different stages of a project. And I’ve learned how to run a project.

What’s one thing you’ve learned every house needs?

I’d say art. It’s a conversation starter, and a mood changer. Having art that you love all around your house just makes a space homier. My house is filled with art, and really makes the space when walking into a room.

On the flip side, what’s one thing we’d NEVER find in your home?

I know it’s popular right now, but I’d have to say wallpaper. Our house was filled to the brim with old-fashioned wallpaper when we first moved in, and it took weeks to get it all off. Just the thought of it brings back bad memories.

Speaking of your home, what’s on your coffee table right now?

A vintage wooden scoop, an arrangement of decorative balls, and of course my Gaudi, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Calatrava architecture books.

What’s the most recent thing you purchased for your house?

New door levers and hinges. Since starting my job at MWA I’ve become more aware of small details in my house such as the hinges not matching the rest of the finishes, and it forces me to change things constantly.

And the most meaningful thing in your house?

Hmmm....that’s like asking someone which is their favorite child. It’s hard to say just one thing. I’d have to go with our childhood videos, our photo albums, and my mom’s paintings. The videos and albums are priceless and could never be replaced. My mom’s paintings are special because I know she’s happiest when she’s painting, and her art really reflects that. Not to mention, her work is gorgeous!

Besides your mom, who or what inspires your work?

I’m really inspired by my Architectural Interiors team. We bounce ideas off each other in a big way, especially in the beginning when we’re creating palettes for our clients. I also find other designers on Pinterest and Instagram really inspiring.

And after work? What are some of your passions when you’re not at the office?

I love to travel and to cook. I'm always inspired by other cultures, and I love finding ways to recreate my favorite meals. I’m also an outdoorsy person, especially in the fall, and love to hike and camp with friends.

If you weren’t in the architecture field, what might you be doing instead?

For a while I thought about being a chef. Or an accountant. Or some sort of chemist. I’ve always loved technical work and numbers. But in an ideal world, I’d be traveling and doing nonprofit work all over the globe.

Kandice Korte

Morgante Wilson Architects