As we bid farewell to another remarkable year, it’s time to reflect on our journey over the last twelve months. For Laura U Design Collective, this year has been one of creativity, community, and unwavering commitment to excellence in interior design. From embracing the year’s most captivating trends to completing projects that resonate with our firm’s ethos while reflecting our clients’ personalities, we have navigated the year with grace and enthusiasm. (And who can forget when our firm went viral for this reel about the invisible light switches and gorgeous textured wall covering featured in our University Place project!) In this ‘Year in Review’, we invite you to join us as we look back on a wonderful year, reflecting on memorable moments, celebrating our accomplishments, cherishing our client relationships, and setting the stage for an exciting, challenging, and fulfilling 2024.
Notable Design Trends from 2023
This year was a celebration of bold individuality, thoughtful innovation, and a little bit of kitsch. Clients and designers across the nation embraced a kaleidoscope of styles, from the playful exuberance of the Barbie trend to the serene, healthful harmony of biophilic interiors. Each trend encapsulates a unique narrative, demonstrating our renewed appreciation for sustainable practices, diverse cultural influences, and personal expression within our living spaces.
Let’s look back on the design trends that not only defined the aesthetics of 2023 but also reflected our evolving relationship with the spaces we inhabit. As you read through, let us know which trends you are ready to leave behind in 2023, and which you look forward to trying in 2024!
The Barbie Trend
This trend drew inspiration from the iconic Barbie movie, characterized by its bold use of pink hues, playful and glamorous elements, and a touch of retro chic. Spaces that drew from the Barbie trend during 2023 featured vibrantly painted or lacquered built-ins, statement furniture, pop-art decor, and unusual textures, creating a fun, youthful atmosphere.
Continuing its rise in popularity, biophilic design focused on integrating nature into indoor spaces. This included the use of natural materials, indoor plants, green walls, and maximizing natural light. The goal was to create a harmonious and health-boosting environment. Our Hedwig Village project is a beautiful example of how nature-inspired spaces can create a serene atmosphere in which one can create lasting memories with their family and friends.
Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Interiors
Sustainability remained a key focus, with a push towards using eco-friendly materials, upcycled furniture, and designs that minimize environmental impact. This trend also saw the use of local artisanal crafts and materials, supporting both sustainability and local communities.
A blend of Japanese minimalism and Scandinavian functionality, Japandi style continued to gain traction. This trend is characterized by clean lines, neutral color palettes, and a focus on comfort and functionality, creating serene, uncluttered spaces.
In contrast to minimalism, maximalism celebrated bold patterns, rich colors, and eclectic mixes of textures and styles. This trend allowed for personal expression and storytelling through interior design, with an emphasis on art, collectibles, and bespoke pieces.
Despite a push for the “return to work” movement from certain corporate employers, remote work was still quite popular in 2023. As such, the demand for multifunctional spaces increased. Designs focused on creating versatile areas that could easily transition between home office, living space, and relaxation zones. Consider this “Zoom background” our team created for a fashion-forward client who wanted a set of stunning built-ins. The magenta paint color and a gorgeous tweed-inspired wall covering between shelves ensure each person who peeps her home’s interior during virtual meetings will not soon forget!
Textured Wall Finishes
Textured walls, such as plaster finishes, fluted details, and 3D wall panels, added depth and interest to interior spaces. This trend was about adding tactile elements to create a more dynamic and sensory environment. Consider the woven wood wall in the primary bedroom of our River Oaks Modern project! Of course, we hopped on the textured wall trend years ago, as evidenced by the grasscloth wallpaper that graces many LUDC projects including University Place.
Vintage and Antique Elements
There was a resurgence of vintage and antique pieces, driven by a desire for unique, story-filled items and a nod to nostalgia. Mixing old with new, these elements added character and timelessness to modern interiors.
Standout Projects from 2023
Highland Village Contemporary
We recently wrapped our Highland Village Contemporary project. Inspired by the homeowner’s love for travel, fashion, and art, the space boasts a colorful and playful yet sophisticated and intriguing interior. Our design team focused on creating a stylish and contemporary setting that supports both professional and personal interests.
From a show-stopping design moment in the family room with an iconic Mah Jong Missoni upholstered sofa to dynamic patterned wallpapers in each room, the vibrant colors and bold prints in this home truly set it apart. We especially love the contemporary art installed throughout the home, including a painting by Irish artist Fionnuala Duffin in the minimalistic primary bedroom.
While absolutely unique, this project is perfectly at home in Highland Village. With its tree-lined streets, modern architecture, and proximity to a variety of restaurants, retailers, boutiques, and upscale shops, Highland Village combines the charm of a quiet residential area with the convenience of urban living.
For full details and photos of Highland Village Contemporary, please feel free to explore the project in detail here.
River Oaks Modern
Another significant project from 2023 is River Oaks Modern, designed for businesswoman and author Jacky Fischer. This Bauhaus Expressionist masterpiece was originally designed by local architect Charles Tapley. Our renovation preserved the home’s unique style while updating it for modern living and infusing each space with Jacky’s personal style.
The interior features a blend of mid-century materials, dynamic sculptural forms, and natural elements, creating a warm and open space. Key areas include a bar with Art Deco influences, a media room with custom-built bookshelves, a family room with a striking black-and-white palette, and a kitchen with light wood tones and retro elements. The home also boasts a gym that doubles as a shelter-in-place space, a pool pavilion, and guest rooms, all seamlessly integrating the original architecture with new additions.
Diane Cowen celebrated our River Oaks Modern project and our client Jacky in an article for The Houston Chronicle. Learn more about Jacky’s goals for the renovation, her stellar career, and our approach to this unique home in Cowen’s piece, or read through our post on the Journal here.
Community Engagement and Initiatives
Our firm demonstrates a profound commitment to supporting the community and honoring its historic spaces as exemplified by our work on projects like River Oaks Modern. This commitment extends to our active participation in the broader interior design community.
LUDC enhances industry knowledge and fosters collaboration by hosting tours at High Point Market, and by attending important industry events like GATHER 2023, the National Conference by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). These activities reflect our dedication to both local heritage and the advancement of our meaningful profession.
Beyond these events, our firm also does its best to give back. During the winter holidays, Laura U Design Collective chose to support BEAR Houston, a remarkable organization dedicated to aiding children under the care of Child Protective Services (CPS), through a toy drive at our studio.
BEAR Houston plays a vital role in providing at-risk children with essential resources and a sense of normalcy in times of upheaval. In partnering with BEAR Houston, we hope to continue making a positive impact, during this festive season and all year round. We also hope to inspire others to join in the spirit of giving, spreading joy to those who may need it most. Learn more about the organization and its initiatives here.
In addition to supporting BEAR Houston, our firm also supported Dress for Success and attended The La Petite Maison Gala in October. The latter was a festive evening centered around a collection of eight one-of-a-kind dollhouses created by a lineup of distinguished builders, architects, and designers. This year’s event featured a Barbie or Ken inspired dress code, cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, and live music. Guests had the opportunity to bid on these designer dollhouses, along with other silent auction items and raffle prizes. The proceeds from the gala benefited A Shelter for Cancer Families, which provides private residences and support services for families receiving cancer care in the Texas Medical Center.
In January, Patricia Shannon interviewed LUDC founder and CEO Laura Umansky about transitional interior design for an article published in Better Homes & Gardens. Lending her expertise,Laura described transitional design as a harmonious blend of traditional and modern elements, resulting in a timeless aesthetic. This design approach favors softer, more neutral palettes compared to traditional styles and offers a more layered look than contemporary minimalism. That balance creates an effortlessly elegant space that merges the best aspects of different design eras.
Another LUDC project was featured in Kathryn O’Shea-Evans’ article about the keys to creating a well-designed home office space. Interviewing Laura and other prominent interior designers for The Wall Street Journal, O’Shea Evans explained how the design and layout of a home office can impact productivity. Her article offered insights into common layout mistakes and inefficiencies in home office setups, outlining strategies for creating a more productive and comfortable workspace.
Perhaps most notably, our River Oaks Modern project was honored by the Houston Chronicle in their “Houston’s Most Beautiful Homes of 2023” roundup. Explore our project and others celebrated by Diane Cowen here.
Looking Ahead to 2024
As we look ahead, we cannot wait to embark upon, complete, and reveal the projects that will define 2024 for our firm. At Laura U Design Collective, we will continue to be a multi-disciplinary, full-service interior design firm that meticulously curates spaces with exceptional care, celebrating the unique ways our clients love to live. Our vision for the future is anchored in this philosophy, as we aim to continuously push the boundaries of design, blending innovation with tradition, and nurturing a deep connection with our community and the evolving landscape of interior design.
Ready to begin an interior design project of your own? Reach out to our team for more information about our process, philosophy, and approach to creating spaces that truly resonate with our clients.