Legends LCDQ Recap


Every May, the La Cienega Design Quarter hosts LEGENDS, a 3-day event celebrating the interior design industry in Los Angeles. With special keynotes, informative lectures, and book signings with living design legends, the LCDQ is a must-see. Even those outside of the industry will greatly appreciate the showroom windows, designer-inspired vignettes gracing the storefronts along La Cienega and Melrose.

This year, I had the pleasure of attending the event for the first time as a window designer. Today, I’m excited to share all the details!

The theme of Legends was eponymous this time around, with window participants choosing one legendary icon to guide their designs. Windows honored Tony Duquette, Dorothy Draper, Rose Cumming, Sister Parish, Mario Buatta, and dozens more. Each one was a glimpse into the icon’s story, their inspirations and their talents. True to the legendary theme, the LCDQ also hosted living legends Bunny Williams and Suzanne Rheinstein, who graciously hosted luncheons and lectures of their own.

Where was my Legends LCDQ window? The Janet Yonaty showroom.

Working with Janet Yonaty and her team was an absolute joy. I had allotted a few days for the installation and honestly, didn’t need that much time because everyone we worked with was such a professional.

Janet Yonaty founded her Melrose shop in 2002, and her selection of fabrics, trims, and textiles is really outstanding. The showroom’s classic stone facade and blooming windows are a perfect reflection of the elegance within. My vignette appeared in the window on the left.

Laura Umansky at the Janet Yonaty showroom LCDQ

My Design Icon: Kalef Alaton

For my legend, I chose Kalef Alaton. He was a California-based designer with a prescient interpretation of collected interior design. Without a doubt, he was ahead of his time, using crisp drapery with collected pieces and antiques in a very modern way. The result: quiet, worldly interiors with an elegant masculinity.

I might combine an old piece with something very modern, but I won’t know how it will look until the pieces are placed together. The concept of combining styles is similar to acquiring friends. It’s nice to have young friends and old friends, each unique.” – Kalef Alaton

Laura Umansky"s concept board for LEGENDS LCDQ

My Window Inspiration

Turkish-born Alaton spoke 5 languages and loved traveling. So it comes as no surprise that his interiors mixed different styles. What is surprising is that not much of his work was professionally photographed. Luckily, I was able to find images of his own home, the Hotel Bel-Air, and Park Royal Hotel in Australia. Here’s what I saw: fine Turkish fabrics, Old World antiques, animal prints, homages to Orientalism, and collected mountains of books, marble boxes, and Grecian urns.

I knew that to honor Alaton, I would need a neutral palette of warm, earthy tones and a layering of antiques. Very luxurious contrasts of crisp drapery and softly curved busts and rounded collectibles.


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The Big Reveal…My Window!

Without further ado, my window. The goal was to celebrate Alaton’s trendsetting genius. In the end, I really felt this was a room I could have in the Laura U portfolio!

To properly frame my vignette, I needed to start with a good, crisp fabric. The drapery I used is the Zion from Revolution Fabrics, which I paired with a neutral Tufenkian rug. A huge thank you to my friends at Revolution AND my new friend Carlton Teabout at Tufenkian.

Janet Yonaty provided so many key pieces, all from Hendrix Allardyce:

  1. The Chambord Console Table, finished in antiqued paint with 22kt gold
  2. The Serant Cocktail Table, finished in gold with a breccia du bonneau marble top
  3. The Thebes Double Arm Caned Chaise, finished with oxidized ebony and wheat cane, uphostered with soft button tufting
  4. The Secessionist Column Table, finished in antique ivory with a lacquer sheen

Take a closer look at these gorgeous carved details…

She also provided that striking pendant light (Aqua Creations), which you cannot miss. Funny story about that! When we first discussed the logistics of my window, she expressed concern that the pendant could not be moved. So we had to work around it. Now, looking at how everything turned out, I can’t imagine my window without this fixture!

According to Aqua, their inspirations for the Liana S. pendants were natural shapes and modern architecture. Very Alaton, if you ask me!

Hudson Valley Lighting provided the pair of textured lamps I selected for the console table. These Calabria lamps, in a soft rust, give the room that earthy, Old World feeling I was hoping for.

I found the collection of objects and books surrounding the console table at Mecox and Dragonette Ltd. The beautiful marble inlay box and 18th Century Verdue pillow came from Cache Collection. Everyone at the showrooms was generous and happy to provide. If all sourcing and installs were this easy!

The pieces that really tie it all together are the lovely divider from Gracie and the one-of-a-kind art piece designed by the talented Josh Young. This piece centers the entire room with its contrasting strokes and apt memoralization of my design icon, Kalef Alaton.

Others Windows I Loved

I had so much fun designing my window and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one! There were so many great design icon interpretations. Here’s a look at some of my favorites:

Catherine M. Austin"s colorful window design at LEGENDS LCDQ

Catherine M. Austin won the best Legends window by attendee vote. She was also in the Janet Yonaty showroom. A big congratulations to her!

Phillip Nimmos"s sophisticated window design at LEGENDS LCDQ

Phillip Nimmos‘ window design at Mansour Modern honored Tony Duquette with hand-painted plastic bottles!


Bright and bold window design by Kevin Isbell at LEGENDS LCDQ

Kevin Isbell’s window at Gracie perfectly captured the moving process of design


The Giannetti window design at LEGENDS LCDQ with a neutral color palette

Steve Giannetti’s (of Giannetti Home) window honored Bunny Mellon

Kickoffs, Keynotes, and Cocktails

Held at Fig & Olive, shoulder to shoulder crowds greeted us at the kickoff party. It was a who’s who of the interior design world and so much fun to catch up with old friends. I wish I’d taken a photo of the drink list. In honor of the theme, the signature cocktails were based on legendary designers. So fun!

Letecia from Laura U Interior Design at the Kickoff Party for LEGENDS LCDQ

My stylish principal designer, Letecia poses with our design legends!

Legendary Art and the Designers Who Love It

This discussion on using art in design and decoration (moderated by Jacqueline Terrebonne, Editor in Chief of Galerie magazine) was our favorite! While a 9am start after the kickoff was a bit rough, we grabbed some coffee and hit the Marc Phillips showroom. The discussion centered around different ways to incorporate art into interior design. Many of our clients pride themselves in their art collection and that pride is well-deserved! However, it can be challenging whenever we need to design around a piece or bring in new works to space. Striking that balance between what’s desired, what’s in budget, and what’s available can be tricky.


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David Netto was a hilarious panelist, and we found it humbling that he wasn’t afraid to use less expensive prints. He even admitted to finding books, cutting out the art, and framing them! Check out this man’s portfolio now!

Steve Giannetti discussed a home reveal and it was gorgeous! (Be sure to check out Gallerie Mag this summer for their full reveal as I cannot do it justice here). Now their approach was much more laser-focused. They would design entire bare walls for art!

A publication discussion with our new friend, Jeffry Weisman.

I also sat in on a panel of distinguished designers/authors, who discussed the challenges and rewards of writing a book. Despite all the hurdles, our new friend Jeffry Weisman said that in a heartbeat, he’d do it again. While I didn’t get to speak to all the panelists personally, I think they would all say the same. There’s a certain sparkle when someone holds onto the book they wrote and I could see that on each one of them!

All in all, I loved having the opportunity to be a window designer at this year’s Legends LCDQ event. I’m so grateful to the showrooms and vendors that helped bring my window design to life! A special thanks to Tamar Mashigian. And before I begin to sound like an Academy Award acceptee, a thank you to Kalef Alaton for his inspiring career.

I had tons of fun and whether I’m able to attend or not, I can’t wait for next year’s windows!