Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Houston?
I am originally from Seguin, Texas (central Texas). I moved to Sugarland in middle school and was there through high school. After attending UT Austin, I returned to Houston with my – then future – husband. We’ve been here since 2001!
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
I have twin girls, Liv and Ryan, 7 years old.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Couldn’t think of one! I’m a fairly open book.
Favorite local activities to do in Houston?
My girls attend school right next door to the Glassell, and we love taking classes there. We go to the MFAH a lot. They have a great selection of family friendly programs that coincide with their exhibits. They’re a really fun and interactive way to make fine art approachable and understandable for little kiddos.
Do you have a favorite family-friendly restaurant in the area?
We love going to Hungry’s in the village. And we order in from them a lot as well. The girls enjoy Kata Robata too. We hit up Kata for an early dinner at least once a month!
What local places do you go to for pampering and/or mom’s night out?
For pampering, I head to Persona Medical Spa. Their Essential Facial is amazing! Beautique is perfect for having my makeup done for a special event – they always exceed expectations. Mom’s night out right now is usually at River Oaks District: MAD, Le Colonial, or even iPic for champagne and a movie!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share! (Feel free to elaborate here, this is your time to shine!! Please hyperlink anything of importance)
I am the Founder and Creative Director of Laura U Design Collective, an interior and residential building design firm based here in Houston. Design has always been a part of my life. From a young age, I was deeply influenced by my environment, constantly finding ways to arrange my own room – and pretty much every room in the house! I watched as my father built our childhood home in Seguin, TX and that was the starting point – I knew right there what I was going to do for the rest of my life. To see that he could do that, design something from his imagination and then actually execute on building our home, sparked my own drive to create. I went on to study art at the University of Texas and, when we returned to Houston, I earned my Masters in Architecture from the University of Houston.
In 2006, I founded Laura U Interior Design. Interior design, the way we practice it, is a true luxury. Every part of what we do is crafted by human hands. My team takes great care to find out what matters to our clients most, and then to articulate those passions through great design. Our goal in every home is to create a space that authentically reflects how our clients love to live.
My own design style spans all modes because I never want to be without something I enjoy! This is how I want our clients to feel, surrounded by what they love every time they come home.
This year, we have added Residential Building Design to our firm’s offerings and have changed our name to the Laura U Design Collective. Our talented team comes from a variety of backgrounds – architecture, interior design, graphic design, the fine arts – and we bring that diversity of perspective to every aspect of the home design process.
When I am not creating at Laura U, I am involved with The Girls Empowerment Network (GEN). This year, with GEN, I am chairing the We Are Girls Conference, which is designed especially for thousands of 3rd – 8th grade girls and the adults who care about them. Girls get to be totally in charge of their day and they walk away from the conference inspired by what’s possible and with a new belief in their personal power. I am also proud to be on the Advisory Board for the Houston Furniture Bank and to support their No Kids on the Floor efforts in 2019 and beyond.
Beyond my career and community endeavors, I spend my time with my husband, Michael, my twin daughters, Liv and Ryan, and our Black Lab pup, Archie!
How has the Houston community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Our clients live in tight-knit Houston neighborhoods, West U being one of them. And when our clients have a good experience, they tend to tell everyone they know about it. Thankfully, we have had the honor of working with wonderful families who value design. That appreciation is essential to our growth here in Houston. I will also say that the design community here puts cooperation over competition. Houston is simply a supportive place.
What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?
Know when to ask for help. I think as mothers and entrepreneurs we try so hard to have it all, so we try to do it all. That just doesn’t work. It only leads to burnout and frustration. I’m very lucky in the fact that my husband balances out the parenting duties with me. And because he runs his own business, he provides that entrepreneurial perspective. We’ve learned what to prioritize, and our top priority is keeping our family healthy, safe, and having fun. If that means we have delivery for dinner 3 nights one week, that is just fine! And it’s okay to delegate more often at the office too.
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
Just wait. It gets even better. It’s going to be HARD and your life is going to be completely different! But it will be so worth it. Nothing is more important than taking the best care of these little humans.
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?
Sleepovers. Because if you host one, that means the other parents have to host one, and that means date night (which EVERYONE needs!).