Laura U Looks back on 2019


As 2019 comes to a close, we celebrate the year that was. Over the past 12 months, our team has accomplished so many great things. From attending High Point for the first time to the install of our largest project to date, it has been a year of successes. Today, we are looking back on our favorite moments of 2019.

The Publication of On Style

In September, we were ecstatic to announce the release of On Style: Inspiration and Advice from the Next Generation of Interior Design. Edited by best-selling Interior Design Master Class author Carl Dellatore and published by Rizzoli, the book features 50 of the top up-and-coming designers in the US, with Laura as one of these talented few. Each designer profile delves into the inspirations and approach of this exceptional cast, including never-before-seen photos of an unpublished project. The launch party in New York kicked off the book tour with speaking engagements and signings for Laura at fall’s High Point Market. 

Keeping this secret under wraps for over a year meant we had been holding the photos of Laura’s Boulevard Oaks home – but we are finally ready for a full release. Next month, we will take a room-by-room tour of the final reveal. Stay tuned!

The NYC launch party of On Style, featuring Laura Umansky

At the NYC launch party for the publication of On Style – look at all those designers!

Taking the Design Team to High Point Market

While Laura attends the world’s largest furnishings market each year, it’s not often that the entire design team is able to go. We made an exception this year, with the senior and lead designers heading to High Point for the first time together. The sprawling North Carolina town comes alive during market, with every showroom opening its doors to designers, buyers, and bloggers – everyone eager to explore the newest additions.

We found handsome furnishings at Baker, Century, and Vanguard – our mainstays. We spent time exploring the newest fixtures at Hudson Valley Lighting, and even stopped to congratulate Martyn Lawrence Bullard on his latest collection. Probably best of all was simply enjoying it as a team. We also celebrated senior designer, Blair’s birthday at the lovely Print Works Bistro at the Proximity Hotel.

The Laura U team attends High Point Market

The team takes on High Point! From left to right: Lexie, Shannon, Blair, Laura, Letecia, Shenay, and Melissa.

Laura Umansky signs books with Shenay Keyes and meets with MArtyn Lawrence Bullard

Laura signs books with fellow On Style designers and Shenay picks up her copy. We couldn’t end market without taking a snap with Martyn Lawrence Bullard, whose Corbett Lighting collection was magnificent this fall.

Blair Usnick and Lexie Terry try out the upholstery at Baker, while Letecia assess the sit of the chair

Blair, Lexie, and Letecia assess the comfort and feel of the furnishings at Baker

Landing the Cover of Luxe Interiors + Design

It seems like we waited for months for the November 5 release of Houston’s edition of Luxe Interiors + Design. Seeing our River Oaks project land the cover made the wait well worth it! Written by Mindy Pantiel, the piece was a lovely testament to this project, featuring nearly every room in the home. This fabulous pied-à-terre was a breath of fresh air for our design team, who exercised their mastery of color and pattern to assemble an interior like none other. 

The clients had been inspired by their overseas travel to decorate their home in a way that would transport their guests to another place. As soon as you step foot in the home, you feel the kaleidoscopic energy. 

The Houston edition of Luxe, with a Laura U project on the cover

Our vibrant River Oaks project lands the cover of Luxe!

The vibrant interior of the pied a terre at The River Oaks, featured in Luxe

The vibrant interior of our River Oaks project, featured on the cover of Luxe

The opposite view of the living room at River Oaks

Another look into The River Oaks, with a peek of the dining room that made the cover

Partnering with Our Favorite Vendors

This year, Laura became a brand ambassador for Hudson Valley Lighting. What a treat to explore their collection and select fantastic pieces to install in projects and vignettes throughout the year. One of the pieces, the Carayes from Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s collection for Corbett Lighting, was featured in Rue Magazine last summer. 

We also partnered with Monogram Appliances this year. Laura’s own kitchen has a full Monogram appliance package and so it only makes sense we would work together! This year was Monogram’s first appearance at High Point Market and we made sure to support our friends at their glass pop up – a panel session on luxury entertaining ending in a book signing for On Style, as well as an invite-only dinner Laura co-hosted. For the holidays, we invited Monogram to Laura’s home. With the help of the super talented Kelli Bunch from KB Table, we pulled together a simple, sophisticated party that came together quickly. We love sharing practical ways to enjoy great design. It is important that our clients not only love the way their kitchens look, but feel comfortable cooking in them. We had such a blast and hope to partner again in the new year.

Elise from Monogram Appliances helps us throw a party at Lauras home

Elise from Monogram Appliances helps us throw a party at Lauras home

Laura Umanskys kitchen in Boulevard Oaks, featuring Monogram Appliances

A peek into Laura’s kitchen, complete with Monogram Appliances

Launching Our New Website

2019 felt like the right time to revamp the Laura U website. We reconsidered the structure and thematic interpretation of our content to develop a site that was high contrast, clean, and easier to navigate. Most of all, our new website feels like us and our interiors. 

We have expanded our portfolio, added a press page, and have included a nearly endless scroll with our Journal, allowing readers to explore our perspective on design today. With the addition of a new service line, residential building design, in 2020, be on the lookout for even more changes. All exciting!

Pebble Beach, Santa Fe, and Nigeria

We have always spread our design wings outside of Houston (New York, Aspen, and Miami to name a few). But in 2019, we began work in cities we hadn’t yet visited, including Abuja, Nigeria! Early in the year, we installed our biggest project to date in Pebble Beach for repeat clients – their 6th home we have designed. Later in the spring, we completed a home in Santa Fe – the 3rd home we’ve designed for the couple. And coming up in a couple of months, we will be rea

Lead Designer, Lexie, having some fun at our Pebble Beach install

Lead Designer, Lexie, having some fun at our Pebble Beach install

A view of the estate at Viscaino, with a peek of the ocean

The ocean view of our Pebble Beach project

Laura Umansky and LEtecia Ellis Haywood in Abuja

Laura and Letecia at the Abuja project site walk

dy to install in Abuja, Nigeria. Letecia and Laura traveled to the capital last summer for the first time. We are looking forward to all the locations we’ll be working in 2020.

Our Donation Drive with the Furniture Bank

We do what we do for the love of home. From building something new to restoring a historic building to seeing the happiness our clients experience as we reveal their new interior, the love of home is at the center of everything we do. For us, a home is comfort, security, and the ultimate expression of what you care about most. Having a warm bed to call your own at the end of the night is crucial to that feeling of safety.

Sadly, there are thousands of children in Houston that do not have beds to sleep in at night. The Furniture Bank is committed to eradicating this problem. This year, we joined their mission by collecting soft goods donations to support their No Kids on the Floor campaign. The Furniture Bank provides mattresses for children in need, with a goal of 100 beds provided each month. Last week, they delivered 89 beds to children throughout the Houston area! We are so proud to partner with them, to bring comfort to every child needing their own bed to sleep on. Laura is joining the advisory board in 2020 as we strengthen our own commitment to the love of home for everyone.

Gina Brown, Letecia Ellis Haywood, Laura Umansky, and Melissa Grove of Laura U

We are thrilled to bring Gina Brown, Director of Residential Design, to Laura U in 2020

Taking it to the Next Level

With all of the success we felt in 2019, we are thrilled to ring in the new year with even more energy and enthusiasm. We spent time this year upgrading our technology and fine-tuning our business process with the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). For more information on how we’ve upgraded our firm this year, you must listen to Laura’s recent spot on LuAnn Nigara’s podcast, A Well Designed Business. One of the biggest takeaways is that according to Laura, nothing happens accidentally and you must be prepared to be lucky. 

We consider ourselves supremely lucky to end the year on such high notes. We are in an even better position to start 2020. We are expanding our services to include residential building design with the fabulous Gina Brown. And we have amazing projects on the horizon. We cannot wait to share them with you! 

From all of us here at Laura U, have a happy new year!