“So, what’s your story?”

Don’t you hate this question?

I wish I could be one of those people with the perfect elevator pitch for who they are, but my answer is all over the place. It really depends on who’s asking. Sometimes, I talk about being a designer, being a mom, being in love with my next vacation, anything! It’s never just one thing.

Residential Interior designer Laura Umansky"s home in Houston, TX

But when I invite people into my home, I find that this question never comes up. My home was a showhouse last year and there were dozens of folks roaming the rooms and getting to know me on a different kind of level. I instead got:

“Where did you get this art piece?”

“I love this! It’s so you!”

“This looks perfect right here!”

There is really nothing more satisfying than when someone tells you “this beautiful piece of art/furniture/fabric doesn’t look right anywhere but here.” As a designer, this is my dream feedback.

It’s such a cliche, but really great interior design tells your story. Your home, when designed right, should look like you, feel like you, and represent you perfectly.

Telling a Story with Interior Design

What makes a truly great interior design project? I’d say, when everything runs smoothly ranks right up there! But that never happens, so…it’s got to be when the end result = an ecstatically happy client.

One in particular comes to mind. We were prepping for the final install and my lead designer picked out some accessories she just knew the client would love. Turns out, that when the client saw them in her home, she came to us and said, “I was just about to buy those! How did you know?!”

Your home is more than a collection of things. It’s a reflection of you, your lifestyle, and your personality.

Over the years, we’ve had some pretty interesting clients, and seeing their faces at the final reveals has been priceless. Getting to live in a space that is so reflective of who they are is really the ultimate goal in residential interior design. So today, on the Journal, I want to share some of our best design stories.

Chapter 1: Telling a Story with Collections

A large console table with glass lamps and the homeowner"s art pieces.

Home to a travel-loving young couple, this Indo-Asian-inspired space was influenced by our clients’ wanderlust. Splitting their time between Houston and Europe (with plenty of time to globetrot in between!), our clients needed a space that was a sanctuary, an homage to their most beloved trips and art pieces.

In the picture above, you get a small peek into their lives. Burgeoning art collectors, the couple love having their favorite pieces on display along with artisinal ceramics and a Chinese tea set they grabbed on one of their trips abroad.

Yes, there is a mixture of styles here. And it works! We kept the color palette desert-like: terra cotta, sienna, rust, and sand. This earthy backdrop grounds the mingling of styles into one cohesive design that not only works visually, but makes our clients happy to come home.

Showcasing your collections is a unique way to add personality to your interiors. Whether you collect vintage barware, antique mirrors or tea sets, don’t be afraid to display something you’re passionate about.

Chapter 2: Telling a Story with Your Family History

A living room inspired by the homeowner"s Indian background.

We love learning about our clients. It’s absolutely essential to have a good relationship because our projects can take years to complete. We get to know each other pretty well over time!

Take the image above. Our client’s Indian background inspired this gorgeous, worldly space. We chose a neutral color palette layered with luxe textures and pops of bright color. The ornate cocktail table and footstools are representative of the traditional architecture found in India. It’s a subtle and timeless nod to the client’s culture, while remaining modern.

I love to blend traditional with contemporary, old with new. Display your family heirlooms, or if you don’t have any yet, make sure to make memories with art or accessories that commemorate a specific time in your life. For Michael and I, we celebrate our anniversaries with a new art piece every year!

Chapter 3: Telling a Story with Your Interests

Does your home look like you?!

The key to designing timeless interiors is to blend form and function. How you use a space is just as important as how it looks.

In this client’s California retreat, we created a laid back, airy sitting space on the landing of their second floor. We’ve detailed the Encino retreat several times and it was featured in Rue Magazine last year. One of our favorite spots in their home is a wine tasting room that we converted in a meditation space. The homeowner’s mindfulness practice was a huge influence on the entire design.

It’s a little boho, a little glam, and oh-so-chic. The white walls are atmospheric and calm, allowing the contrast of the black rattan to really pop. The woven fan chairs and lush plant bring the outdoors in and add natural texture. The chairs create beautiful symmetry and the gold mirrors add a luxe touch. The client’s beloved portrait of Gandhi adds the perfect personal finishing touch. It’s a relaxing space that invites you in.

If you practice yoga, set aside a place for your routine so you can indulge regularly and happily. If you love to read and write, turn your den into a library. If you love to cook, create the kitchen of your dreams!

This is Your Home – Make It Livable, Luxurious, and Yours

Interior design, as we practice it, is truly a luxury. Human hands touch every corner. Human minds plan out the formation of objects, the colors of rooms. We create, design, and build custom pieces that are uniquely scaled to our clients’ homes. It is a highly personal experience that results in a highly personal space.

It doesn’t matter whether your style is eclectic, contemporary, traditional, bohemian or anything in between. We believe in intentionally designing a home that’s tailored to you. Check out some of our other favorite projects that really spoke to our clients’ unique tastes and personalities.

This Union Jack flag refrigerator from S M E G was the perfect piece for the kitchen!

Our English-born client brought a little of her homeland into her new home.


Gold ornate vintage mirrors in transitional dining room - Laura U Interior Design

Our client loved showcasing these antique mirrors, which are family heirlooms.


This kids playroom puts art and conversation at the center.

Our clients are now professional grandparents, and created a kid-friendly home.

So, What’s Your Interior Design Story?

Turn what you love, what matters to you into a beautiful story you can tell throughout every room of your home. We’ve had interior design clients come in from all over the world, with a variety of interests and from many different backgrounds. This is why each one of our projects looks so unique!

Check out our Instagram for more pics and get inspired to write your story through design.


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