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Creating a Relaxing Escape

April/May 2011 Volume 1 | Issue 4 APPRIL/MAY 2011


Visit Our Houston Showroom at 5002 –B Westheimer Rd

River Oaks Residence, (Houston, TX))

Publisher’s Note April - May 2011

“Reuse and Renewal”

Laura Umansky President & Creative Director

April is 2011’s most exciting month yet at Laura U! We unveil the Laura U Collection and Design Studio expansion, welcome TJ Morgan and Audio Video Designs Houston (our favorite AV partner) to our studio, focus our design eyes on vintage furnishings, and celebrate our 4th Annual Lilith’s Spring art event! With all of these happenings, the focus of the Laura U | Mag seems apropos: reuse and renewal. The Laura U expansion is coming to a quick close and, as usual, it seems it will be a race to the finish. But we wouldn’t have it any other way! If I say so myself, we make some pretty great design decisions under pressure at Laura U. Our new retail studio will definitely reflect that! Starting April 28th you will find a new space housing Audio Video Designs Houston within the Laura U retail studio. We are joining forces to offer even better service to our interior design clients and retail customers. With Laura U Design Studio and AV Designs sharing the same location, we form a one-stop-shop for your home design! Along with the design team at Laura U, I have discovered a passion for seeking out and restoring vintage furnishings to their fabulous potential. These items will take center stage in the Laura U Collection, some subtle and true to their origin, some over-the-top takes in vibrant finishes. Look for our unique and renewed vintage finds at the Lilith’s Spring opening night, April 28th! So that makes 3 shout outs to Lilith’s Spring in this letter alone! The 4th Annual art exhibit promises to be a special event! Please join us to celebrate three talented Houston-based female artists. HYPA (Houston Young People for the Arts) is a fantastic local organization to which we are thrilled to donate a portion of all proceeds. Please join us along with our amazing roster of sponsors in support of Houston’s vibrant art scene! I am excited for you to enjoy the following pages dedicated to reuse and renewal! See you April 28th at the new and improved Laura U!

Laura 4 | LauraU

contents 52

“in every issue”


Laura’s Note Letter From The Editor


Design | Special


Meet Julie Thigpen

Behind The Scenes


The Top 5


Community | SPOTLIGHT


62 24 18

5 | LauraU

Hey, I’ve found something

@LauraUInc absolutely Twitterrrific...

editorial features 76

30 Enjoying the Outdoors In Spring Style

36 Confessions of a Young, Flirty Girl

40 Want This Look? Christopher Guy

52 Reuse and Renew 68

60 Designing with a View

33 102

75 9 | LauraU



shopping Bright & Bold Poppies


April Showers


Into The Wild


Let’s Be Green


All Season Essentials


Mother’s Day Gift Guide


Editor’s | Picks


Laura’s | Picks


51 58


features cont.

40 The Up-Cycled Garden


Art | TALK


Get the Look


An Architectural Masterpiece


Vendor | Profile



How To: Create A Relaxing Escape

102 48


Vintage Shopping

Creating a Welcoming Sanctuary

10884 112




A letter from the EDITOR April-May 2011


Spring has sprung and I am loving every moment of it! Spring is the proverbial season of growth and renewal and these two words have been buzzing quite a bit lately. It’s no wonder that while you read this issue, you will be inundated with the frequency of the buzz words beginning with “R”: reuse, repurpose, renew, recycle, reupholster, revamp, revive, renovate, restore, refinish and rejuvenate - wow!! Perhaps it’s the glorious weather here in Houston that is stimulating this reconstructive aura, or perhaps it’s the mighty Laura U expansion. Whatever it is, I am certainly not complaining.

This issue we did so many exciting, new things. We started out on a journey to create an issue that is filled with people, designs, fashion, art and all the things that make us love what we do everyday. But what we ended up with was even bigger that we could have imagined. We did our first ever photo shoot, we met and interviewed great designers and lovers of art, fashion and life, and we strengthened our ties with our local partners. While embarking on this journey, it was challenging but it was fun! I was very encouraged by one of Pablo Picasso’s famous quotes: “every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” This quote fueled our desire to create an issue that was new in its own right. But most importantly, it allowed me to understand that all creations involve a process and the agility needed to endure the process is often overlooked, but it is the end result that always reminds us why we make the effort to create and recreate in the first place. In this issue - our GREEN issue, we focused on all things green. Not just eco-friendly but green in purpose, green in color, green in living and green in design. I am very proud to unveil this issue - an issue that I was more involved with than any other! In this issue, you will find original images of great work, great design features, great DIY projects, local features and a plethora of fun stuff! Enjoy and please don’t forget to join us on the 28th for Lilith’s Spring!

Karee… 14| LauraU

meet our contributors Shannon Ables Shannon Ables is the creator and editor of The Simply Luxurious Life blog, as well as a freelance writer and high school English teacher. Now living in a rural town after moving from the metropolitan life in Portland, she has discovered that a simply luxurious life is something that everyone can attain if indeed one is seeking quality rather than quantity, decadence rather than frivolity, personal style instead of trendy fashions and a truly fulfilling life instead of being led around by the nose. So whether it be found in food, fashion, or home decor, contentment, pleasure and a stylishly fulfilling life can be cultivated.

Tonia Bozeman Since she was introduced to thrifting by her late Grandmother and Aunt, Tonia has developed a fascination for all things vintage. This passion led her to dabble in interior design, decorating and writing. A self proclaimed professional thrifter and stylist, there is no singular title that encompasses all she knows, can do, has done or aim to do. She sets her own trends and styles without question. Because of this passion, she created Chic Modern Vintage, an online place that connects her to everything she enjoys. She loves rare vintage treasures, creative people, good vodka, great food, beautiful clothes, Prince, and old movies.

Shannon Fitzpatrick Shannon is a wife, mom to a two-year old son, and an aspiring interior designer. She is constantly thinking about ways to redecorate and spends hours creating mood boards for friends’ and families' homes. To fulfill her design urges, she started her blog, What's Up Whimsy in April 2010. It’s filled with home décor ideas and inspiration, DIY projects and artist spotlights in a "contemporary whimsy with a hint of vintage" style. During the day, Shannon splits her time between a management consulting firm and a downtown floral boutique. If you have any questions, you can contact her at

16 | LauraU


Verdanta Cres Bowl, Anthropologie

BRIGHT Poppy Dinner Plate, Anthropologie

Cancan Floor Lamp, Lights Up Poetic License Floral Bouquet Flats, Irregular Choice

Lusaka Cush Antwerp Chair in Bloom, Anthropologie

Poppy Red Cuff, Yves Saint Laurent

Aeonium Karoo Cushion, Missoni

Frill Chelsea Bandeau Bikini, Zimmerman



POPPIES Poppy Print Hobo, Ted Baker

Floral Overlay Fedora, Tarnish

Patterned Tray , Dabney Lee Home

hion, Missoni

Murfee Cashmere Silk Scarf, Lilly Pulitzer

April Showers

Canary Candlehold

Smythe Les Vestes Swing Rain Jacket, Je Ne Sais

Decadent Swanky Ring Moonstone, Nashelle Large Y-Mail Tote in Black Patent, Yves Saint Laurent

Hemani Mirror, Horchow

Lace E Boo

Bliss Pillow and El Sol Michele Varian

Battenburg Lace Parasol,

Glass Tube Chandelier, Venini

der, CB2 Home

Rain Earrings

Effect Wellington ots, Valentino

Pillow, n

Patent Leather Cube, Brocade Home

Devin Luxe

Damask Foil Wallpaper, Brocade Home

Safari Bangle Set, Amrita Singh

Alice and Oliv Net-a Zebra Cowhide Rug, West Elm Leathered Elephant, Jonathan Adler

Animal Print Aviator Sunglasses Dolce and Gabbana Black and White Clutch, Marc by Marc Jacobs

Capiz Shell Floral Pendant Light Zebra Pillar Candles, Z Gallerie

Cheetah Platform Pumps, Giuseppe Zanotti

via Trench Coat, a-Porter

Into the Wild Lowie Painted Edge Double Belt, ASOS

Madeline Weinrib Atelier Assorted Pillows

Angola Mountain Zebra Ottoman, Hollis and Knight



1. Tinge Plate Green

2. Faceted Bracelet Set - G


3. 5100 Series G

4. Bukhara Pillo

5. Bottega Veneta Printed S 6.

6. Green Onyx and Peridot Lon

7. Billfold Leather Wallet -

8. Small Peridot Vase

9. Inna in Green

10. Pintuck Velvet Pillo 8.

11. 'Tellus' Large Crysta 12. Table NO 4 -

13. Hour-15 Minut

14. Succulent Greens-Decora




let’s be 10.


n - Crate and Barrel

Green by Sequin Sequins

Green Block Set

ow - Z Gallerie 4.

Silk Asymmetric Tunic Dress

ng Earrings - Charm and Chain

- Marc by Marc Jacobs

e - Crate and Barrel

n - Simply Soles

ow - Urban Outfitters

al Bowl - Kosta Boda


Dust Furniture

te Glasses, CB2

ative Accents, Tracy Porter



all season essentia The best investments for any woman's closet and home season after season!

12. 2.


1. Crate & Barrel, Dubois Mirrors 2. Marc Jacobs, Black Pebbled Leather ‘Camille’ Satchel 3. Uttermost, Fascination 3-Light Chandelier 4. Zales, 1/4 CT. T.W. Diamond Solitaire Stud Earrings 5. Christian Louboutin, Nude Mary Jane Pumps 6. Z Gallerie, Slant glasses set of 4 7. West Elm, Foxed Mirror Nightstand 8. Gucci, One shouldered dress 9. Z Gallerie, Benny Sofa and Arm Chair 10. Alice by Temperley Camille Cropped Jacket 11. Citizens, Women Palido Diamond Watch 12. Maison Martin Margiela Wool-blend Tuxedo Jacket



3. 10.

5. 7. 11. 8. 4.



Hayworth Chair, Vanguard Furniture Coming Soon to Laura U Collection

Enjoying the Outdoors in Spring Style

The season of spring tends to be waited for with breath bated as everyone bides time watchfully wondering when the first excuse to leave their winter coats in the closet will be. Many of us anxiously wait to put on beautiful spring attire as going outside becomes an event and getting lost in spring outdoor pastimes seems long overdue. Nonetheless, no matter what outdoor venture, looking stylish and being comfortable is always a possibility. Here are a few favorite spring occasions that call for taking in the bounty that spring has to offer, as well as an opportunity to look your best.

30 | LauraU

Writte Art Directio

en by Shannon Ables; on/Editing by Laura U Editor

ENJOYING A STROLL Spring weather can be temperamental with clear skies and nothing but sunshine one moment, or raindrops tickling the roads without warning the next, so whenever a chance to take a stroll presents itself, be able to weather both scenarios. If the sun is smiling, wear the trend of the season – ankle pants with a pair of flats and a classic boat neck top. Now, if a cloud should burst, grab a trusted umbrella, swap your shoes for Wellingtons, layer with a time-honored trench and you are set. While a black umbrella will do, nothing gathers more smiles while you’re walking than a touch of color or personality, so don’t shy away from a red, polka dot or your signature choice of umbrella.

Products Appliquéd striped cotton top – DAY Birger et Mikkelsen – Net-a-Porter - $130 Cropped skinny jeans – Current/Elliott – Net-a-Porter -$200 Sterling Silver Hoop earrings - Bottega Venetta - $360 Python ballerina flats – Alexandre Birman - Net-a-Porter - $495 Short cotton twill trench coat – Burberry - $1095 The Classic Umbrella – true red, bamboo handle - $45 Hunter Tall – original rain boot (women’s) – Nordstrom’s - $125


Wine Tasting

Products: Bracelet – Lee Angel - $100 Acrobat Bold Stripe Top – Shop Ambience –—$105 Straight-leg jeans – Levi’s Made & Crafted – Net-a-Porter - $190 Zaya round framed acetate sunglasses – Oliver Peoples – Net-a-Porter -$375 Crocodile effect leather bag – DKNY – Net-a-Porter - $265 Patent leather ballerina flats – Lanvin – Net-a-Porter -$495 Vanitas perfume – Versace

One of the most anticipated annual events of the spring is the local wineries’ spring release. People come from all over to enjoy in this special occasion. It is a wonderful excuse to dress well, but always keep in mind comfort as quite a bit of walking and visiting different wineries is in store. A classic wardrobe that will fit both requirements: ballet flats, a gorgeous blouse, dark denim or white straight leg jeans, oversized sunglasses and a shoulder strap or hobo purse so that you can hold a glass of wine in one hand while introducing yourself with the other.

Springtime and Paris. Two ideas that go so very well together. Nothing seems more Parisian or purely spring than packing a straw tote with a baguette picked up at a local boulangerie, along with a slice of brie, and some fruit before heading out with a lovely companion to a park or le jardin to soak in the colors of spring in full bloom. But what to wear? How about - a pair of linen shorts, a gorgeous tunic, sandals, aviator glasses, and be sure to pack a book. Pure comfort and absolute style.

Products Double Hand crocheted earrings – Taylor Kenney Jewelry - $126

afternoon Picnic

Tunic - Roberto Cavalli – Net –a- Porter -$695 linen shorts – Michael Kors – Net-a-Porter -$495 metallic leather flat sandals – Alexander McQueen – Net-a-Porter -$545 Classic aviator metal sunglasses – Ray-Ban – Net-a-Porter -$139 Large Bamboo straw tote – Land’s End -$49.50 Chloe perfume - available at department stores Book - Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

trip to the country

Living in a bustling city and tackling a busy work week can leave anyone in need of a respite by the time the weekend arrives. So why not pack your weekend bag and plan a trip to the country? Nothing is as restorative to the soul than slowing down, taking the time to soak in the outdoors and finding the balance of professional and personal time. With that said, looking fabulous is something that doesn’t need to be forgotten, so be sure to pack a cashmere boyfriend cardigan or sweater, your favorite flattering jeans and a pair of boots, and of course luxurious pajamas for those deep nights of slum-


Striped cashmere sweater – Splendid – Net-a-Porter -$295 Boyfriend fit jeans – Citizens of Humanity – Net-a-Porter -$190 Piccadilly leather weekend bag - Mulberry – Net-a-Porter -$1595 Over the knee boot – Charles David – Nordstrom - $219 Pajama Set – Tory Burch - $125 Ballon Bleu unisex watch – Cartier - $5100 No 19 perfume – Chanel


1848 Westheimer Rd. Houston, TX 77098




www. Coquette-Boutique-Bistro

Major Lines

Sass & Bide YFB Parker Michelle Mason Strong & Dickerson Lauren Elizabeth Camilla


Aries Milan

Confessions of a Young, Flirty Girl


t only takes one time, when you meet the petite, former model she is completely charming. Her store is an extension of her fashion style and never disappoints. Whether you are looking for that LBD or something for a night out with your girlfriends, you’ll have quite a choice at this Houston boutique. Owner Aries Milan opens up her door to share with us a few of her favorite places to find the goods and what makes her store and the treasures you’ll find behind that inviting red door, a must see... 36 | LauraU

Why the name Coquette Boutique? A coquette is a young, flirty girl and I think at some point everyone wants to be one of those. It’s fun...

Why do you shop online? The only reason I would shop online is if there is something I have to have and I just can’t get it in Houston.

Why did you start a boutique clothing store? I found I just wasn’t shopping in Houston anymore, and as much as I love traveling to New York and LA, I thought it would be nice to be able to find things I like at home as well.

Who is your favorite designer? This really changes from season to season (except for Sass and Bide – that’s a constant love of mine). Right now, I am particularly fond of another Australian line called Camilla – they make these beautiful silk kaftans that are simply amazing!

What are your favorite things to shop for? Believe it or not, I love shopping for produce. I love the farmers’ markets. I think growing up in Hawaii allows me to feel a real connection to nature, and to crave really fresh fruits and vegetables.

What are the pieces that make up your personal collection? Staples of my personal collection are blazers from Sass and Bide and Mason, T’s from Wildfox and Whitney Kros, and a great pair of jeans.

“Honestly, I don’t shop online much. I really like to touch &feel something before I buy it. But… here are my

Absolute faves if I had to choose..” .. 38 | LauraU

Aries’ Top 5 Websit


I just can’t


For all the current fashion abs


A model archive – lo


This is a store based out of ami, etc. We carry a lot o seem to have something I w if I rea


This one is for amazing sho plac

Visit us at :

www. Faceb

tes for shopping online...


t live without music

n shows, blogs and parties - it’s an solute MUST!!

ots of Kate. I just love this site!

New York, but they’re also in LA, Miof the same brands, but they always want. Plus they have a store in Dallas ally need to go!

oes – plus it’s just one of my favorite ces on earth.

39 | LauraU

WANT THIS LOOK? Christopher Guy Harrison is the head designer and founder of the international, luxury furnishings brand, Christopher Guy. Born in Britain, raised in Spain and France, and now residing in Singapore, Christopher's international background enables him to draw inspiration from everything he admires which is represented into his designs.

Well-known for fusing classicism with modernism, Christopher Guy's style can be described as "contemporary with classical values". Elegance is deeply rooted in the design philosophy of Christopher Guy. A singular vision with an uncompromising sense of style coupled with the pursuit for elegance has driven Christopher to continually redefine the aesthetics of design. The result is a brand at the forefront of the world's luxury furnishings market. Pricing and availability for pieces shown here are available through your local Christopher Guy dealer. 40 | LauraU

41 | LauraU

Christopher Guy S

42 | LauraU

Spring 2011 Collection

43 | LauraU

“where preci

Available through your local Christopher Guy Dealer

ision meets creativit�

1848 Westheimer Rd. Houston TX | 713.527.7377



3. 1. Chevron Pendant, Tom Dixon, $375 2. Frances Palmer, Pearl Collection Tableware, $27-$175 3. Stylish Stationery, John Derian, $60 for a set of 10 4. Masai and Sumba Pillow, Hammock and Tea, $90 5. Multi Chain Necklace, Janis by Janis Savitt, $900 6. Nautical Hammer, Alice Supply Hammer, $26 7. Chevron Vase, Jill Rosenwald, $84 8. Cypress Gold Demi Diffuser, Anthousa, $ 72 9. Fortune Cookie Coin Purse, Diana Eng, $65 10. Ceramic Canisters, Giftware by Wade, Price Upon Request 11. Design Your Own Series, Jonathan Adler, $110 and Up.



48 | LauraU









7. 8.


49 | LauraU

f{ÉâÄw DA


6. 2.


1. Love Charm Bangles, Alex and Ani,

2. Lovely Organic Sheet Set, Marshmallow

3. Limited-Edition Empire Blue Tote, Bottega 4. Rose Mirror, Made Goods, $800


5. Streak Pillow, CB2, $29.95

6. Red Toile with Bird Screen Pillow, Lacefie 7. Halina Pillow 23”, CB2, $29.95 8. Volcanic Round Casserole, Le Creuset, 9. Nova Throws, Z Gallerie, $69.95

10. Monogrammed Glass Domed Cake Pla

11. 50 | LauraU

11. Jewelry Tree, Louise Christ, $62 12. Jewelry Tree, Lunares, $96 13. Body Lotion Trio, Molton Brown, $84

w ux xäxÜç






9. 8.

w Bed Linen, CB2, $19.95-$199.00

a Veneta, $2650


eld, $152



ate-Punch Bowl, William-Sonoma, $40

51| LauraU

Reuse and Renew Written by Laura Umansky Art Direction/ Editing by Laura U Editor

52 | LauraU


or me, shopping for antiques and vintage pieces is truly exciting! Happily, I am in the absolute perfect industry to support my newfound addiction to vintage finds! Whether for a client, for Laura U Collection, or even the occasional splurge for myself, the search for that special piece-withhidden-potential is a thrill. As fun as scouting can be, breathing new life into each piece through refinishing and reupholstering is even better! Emboldened by an expertly applied, high-gloss finish and a sassy, designer fabric over a down wrapped cushion, you can reuse and renew your favorite family chair, a headboard or the pillows you’ve had laying around for some while. And if you invest in a well made vintage frame or a furniture manufacturer known for years of high quality production, you cannot go wrong! Here are a few of my favorite pieces that I have seen recently on two of our oft-used sources (aside from Laura U of course!). At Laura U, we frequently travel in search of unique pieces. But seeking your own treasure can be as simple as perusing one of these sites! 53| LauraU

“If you i

From the ever awesome source This set of four, fun, vintage chairs is from a seller named {GreyMaggy} completely stripped the chairs, primed, painted, and sealed with a protective coating. They are a very bright blue that matches the blue in this Thomas Paul fabric. IMHO these are a steal at $379/pair!!

made vint furniture known fo quality p cannot

1stDib centu desk “Soph cate

Pleas LOVE

54 | LauraU

invest in a well tage frame or a e manufacturer or years of high production, you go wrong!” Also available on Etsy through seller {Zinniacottage} is a refreshed Vintage caned back arm chair. I love the ribbon tie detail on the slipcover! An almost unbelievable deal with a $295 price tag! is a treasure trove of amazing design from around the world. We love midury pieces from USA manufacturers such as Tomlinson, Thomasville, and Drexel. The above is offered via 1st Dibs through seller Antiques du Monde. Per the seller this histicated Writing Desk/Bookcase in White Lacquer is from the Tomlinson Sophistiline (USA 1950’s)”. Nicely priced for such an interesting piece at $4200.

se send images of your favorite vintage revivals to I would E to see your creations and feature you on our daily blog!

55 | LauraU

I ♥ THESE! “Editor’s


Picks ”



4 5

1 Destination Boxes, Set of 4 Z Gallerie $119.80

58 | LauraU

2 Dandelion Console Iannone Design $1975-$2895

3 Lauren Elizabeth Bangles $$ Available Upon Request Coquette Boutique & Bistro

4 Women's Running Shorts Old Navy $15

5 Viso A Strisice Candle Fornasetti $450



6 7

4 9 10

6 Striped Blouse Diane Von Furstenberg $510

7 Barbados Table Lamp Currey and Co. $395

8 Tonal Ombre Square Scarf Bajra $265

9 Ikat Pillows Madeline Weinrib

10 Lucite Tray CB2 $124

59 | LauraU

DESIGNING WITH A VIEW Abbe Fenimore Photographer: Melanie Johnson Photography

60 | LauraU


“I feel instantly drawn to texture. I think it


the simplest space

feel comfortable



ou’re immediately drawn into her space with a warm, inviting smile. Her interiors give you an insight into her design style and her love for color. Abbe Fenimore is an interior designer who brings her talents not just to her online boutique but also to her clients’ interiors. We chatted with Abbe about design, her store and life as a young entrepreneur. What are your design must-haves? I am instantly drawn to texture. I think it makes the simplest space feel comfortable and inviting. Textures keep your eye moving and pull you into the space. Graphic patterns in fabrics, rugs and wallpaper. I believe bringing in bold or subtle patterns give a room personality. You can start with basics but as you build the layers of a room, adding graphics and patterns complete the overall look. 61 | LauraU

a dream realized….

What prompted you to start designing? My husband. After we moved into our first house together, we struggled to agree on a style for our new home. We both wanted comfortable pieces, but I was pushing for more glamour and he wanted our home to feel like a lodge. After months of going back and forth, we hired a designer to help us “agree” on a direction. It turned out that most of the ideas we ended up going with came from me. My husband was extremely frustrated because not only did I have an Interior Design degree, but I had 10 years of experience in the field. We stopped using the designer and I began the two-year task of finishing our home. There were always short conversations here and there about me going out on my own. But I just didn’t feel that my commercial design background or experience selling interior finish products would eventually lead me to Studio Ten 25. After months of persuasion from my husband and talking what ifs, I agreed to “look into it”. He got tired of waiting and came home one day with a DBA and told me to start pulling my business plans together because it was a reality now.

62 | LauraU

How would you describe your personal style? A comfortable space that has an eclectic mix of vibrant color, rich textural materials and touches of glamour.

63| LauraU

How important is color in the design of a space? And why? When a client comes to me with a room they are not happy with, they usually have a harsh paint color or accessories that stick out poorly in that space. Changing paint in a room can make a huge impact to the overall feel of the room. Changing a few accessories, pillow or even a rug can transform the feel of a space instantly. The ultimate goal is to design a space they love and feel comfortable living in.

Abbe’s tips for bringing things you


If your pieces are well made, have a g right, have them recovered or painted. It look of your roo


Bring in a new rug, drapes, change out work. You can create a big impact with your budget under

Add Colo

When we redid our bedroom, the paint c win Williams Rain washed sounded like a

Customize I

My mother and I made upholstered hea over the existing wood piece. I had mirro stands and changed the drawer ha

Add A Final

I brought in affordable bedding that wou dog, but I splurged a bit on designer fab pillows.

64 | LauraU

u love into your space…...

great shape, and the scale is t’s an easy way to change the om.


pillows and bring in new arth small changes while keeping control.


color was my first change. Shera spa to me so I went with it.


adboards so that it would sit ors cut for the top of the night ardware to acrylic knobs.


uld be durable enough for the brics for our bench and a few

Who or what inspired you to open your own boutique?

Was it difficult starting your own design firm and boutique?

I knew I wanted to expand my business and start to build my brand. Studio Ten 25 was growing and I was able to finally work with clients and projects that had me excited to be doing my own thing. Adding the shop was initially created to be a resource for my current clients. A place where they could look for pieces in more detail and as they had time. I started with local vendors that I used on my design projects and it took off from there. The first site was a small template that had quite a few hick-ups. So, as the shop began to grow, I made the investment in a true e-commerce site. I placed adds on blogs and offered discounts to my online design clients (Home Away From Home) if they purchased pieces from the shop.

I don’t remember the beginning being difficult because I was so ready for that next step in my life and career. I am the kind of person who jumps in 100% and once I decide that I am going to do something, I don’t hold back. The most challenging aspects are the parts and pieces that are outside of the day-to-day client project. I finally hired an accountant to keep things in order and that has been my lifesaver. Don’t get me wrong, every now and then a project or a shop order will push my buttons. The word “backorder” is like nails on a chalkboard to me, but you have to push through those challenges and find something positive about them all.

What is your favorite furnishing from the store? The Ava night stand from Worlds Away. I would love to have the white lacquer pieces in my master but we are limited on space. I used the dark espresso lacquer nightstands in a recent project and they looked amazing! They are the perfect mix of masculine and feminine. You can’t go wrong with lacquer and mirrored accents in one piece.

What are your top 5 must-haves, those things you cannot live without (in general)? 1. My husband keeps me grounded and always makes me laugh. 2. Our dogs keep us active and the unconditional love they give keeps the spirit in our home on the up and up. 3. Coffee… I could probably live without it but why would I want to do that? 4. My Laptop and pretty much any part of technology like my iPhone, Twitter, Facebook and the E! News App. 5. A Texas Margarita

65 | LauraU

The Up-Cylcled Garde

Written by Shannon Fitzpatrick Art Direction and Editing by Laura U Editor

Once spring has sprung, one of the first thought on everyone’s mind is, it’s gardening time! What do I do? But what if you don’t have adequate outdoor space or enough money to makeover your entire flower beds? Here are a few tips to use with what you already have in your home to create a cute, green, upcycled garden.


67| LauraU

MultiMulti-Use Chairs Have an old chair lying around? Chairs are a great surface to place your flower pots and they add some visual interest to your garden. If you’re using an upholstered chair, like this one, make sure the fabric is made for outdoor use.

Bringing the Indoors Out Bring your garden stools outside - where they are supposed to be. Garden stools have been showing up in the insides of people’s homes for the past few years, but come spring time, why not place a pot or two on top of the stool.

Spray Paint = Fun!! Do you have plain, old flower pots in your garage that need a boost? Spray paint your pots in any color you want. I decided to go with a chalkboard spray paint, so I could write the names of the flowers on the outside, as well as instructions on the best way to care for the plant. You can even use great garden messages like the ones from Viva Terra. They had an extra punch.

Think Outside the Box (or Pot!) If you have too many flowers and not enough pots, try thinking outside the box. I had these vintage tins lying around and thought they would be perfect to hold flowers. You could really use any type of container – just use your imagination!

Tea Cup Transformations Tea cups make excellent vessels for small flowers, such as succulents, like I used here. In order to make them more stable, I glued the saucer to the teacup using super glue. Just make sure they aren’t valuable, like your grandma’s vintage china! I also added some deer cupcake toppers for fun!

Misprint Garden Messages Viva Terra,

41 | LauraU



This issue, I wanted to share with you a few

A Pair of Vi

A Great Lattice Lamp

Vintage Ebonized Century Baker Credenza

A 19th Century Louis Arm Chair 72 | LauraU


w of my favorite pieces that are great DIY projects!

intage Nightstands

A Vintage Faux Bamboo Chair

An Antique French Demilune Table

73| LauraU

In-Store @ Laura U Collection 1.


2. 8.

6. 74 | LauraU

1. Homart Mustache Brigade Matches, $4 2. Roost Safari Chain Necklace, $16 3. 18 Karat Icevine Wide Vase, $165


4. Vagabond Vintage Silhouette Tote Bag, $21 5. World’s Away David G Basket Weave Side table, $420 6. World’s Away Colbert Hexagonal Lamp, $429 7. Vanguard Furniture Studded White Desk , $716 8. Fringe Studio Fleurs Small Glass Dome, $36 9. World’s Away White Lacquer Oval Carved Mirror $570



9. 7.

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design| SPECIAL

Meet Julie Thigpen

Founder & Creative Director, modern chic home

What’s the story behind “Modern Chic Home”? I spent a while brainstorming names for my online boutique. I wanted the name to represent the overall look and feel of the shop and the things I’d be selling, which are essentially “modern” and “chic”. Both words also represent my design style, so I added the word “home” and voila, Modern Chic Home was born! Which designer inspires you the most? That’s a tough one – there are so many designers who have inspired and influenced me! But I’d have to say Kelly Wearstler has been one of my favorites. I admire her fearless approach to design. She’s constantly changing and reinventing her design style – every project has a unique look of its own, which is refreshing. She’s a woman who designs and creates outside the box; she doesn’t hold back and isn’t afraid to try new things. I strive to have the same approach to my own projects, which can sometimes be difficult. Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in the same routine of design and thought process.

How were you inspired to open your own boutique? The inspiration for launching an online boutique stems from my boundless passion for interior design and the desire to bring incredible resources to the marketplace for all to enjoy. About 2 years ago, I became so tired of seeing the same home décor products being sold in every retail store, that I decided it was time to open a shop that offered something new and exciting to the consumer. As a designer, I have access to so many fresh, unique and quality products. I love being able to offer my customers the opportunity to purchase these items for their own home. Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My mother. She’s beautiful, creative, and deeply caring and understanding. She’s been a solid and consistent role model throughout my life and is a constant reminder of the woman I strive to be.

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How do you settle on a vision for each project you take on? Do your clients come to you with an idea? Do they give you full freedom? I always ask my clients to gather tear sheets from magazines and catalogs of interiors they love, which gives me great insight on how to approach their project. I also look at the architecture and existing elements in the home, which contribute to the overall vision of the project. Every client is different when it comes to how much freedom they’re willing to give me. It’s important to establish a solid trust with each client from the beginning. I try to be as honest and transparent as possible throughout the process, so there are no “surprises.” What would you consider your greatest strength or area of expertise? I’d say color is one of my greatest strengths. I

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feel that I have a great eye for creating color palettes that are cohesive and fresh.

What is your biggest design tip that you would like to share with our readers? Speaking of color, don’t be afraid to use it! I have come to realize how many people are afraid of color so they settle with boring white or beige. Its incredible how even just a little bit of paint can change your world! Start out by painting one accent wall in your bedroom or dining room and you’ll be amazed at what a difference it will make. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously when it comes to decorating your home. Have fun with it, experiment and keep on trying until you you’re happy and comfortable with the way your home looks.

What’s my favorite color? definitely, Green...

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A few of J

From M

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Julie’s favorite things

Modern Chic Home

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How do you balance it all?

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Who/what are your favorite manufacturers and product designers Manufacturers: Worlds Away, Global Views, Lazy Susan, Left Bank Art, Bungalow 5, Jamie Young, Ann Sacks…just to name a few! Product designers: Jonathan Adler, Philippe Starke, Laura Kirar, Trina Turk. Where do you see design heading in the future? The green / eco-friendly trend continues to evolve and has become more and more important to many consumers and manufacturers. There’s also been a growing emphasis on re-using and re-furbishing old furniture, materials, buildings, etc. There’s just something about making something old new again, that people love. I definitely think these are directions design is headed in the future. What are your favorite pieces in your boutique? I adore every piece we carry from Sugarboo Designs, which are mostly inspiring art prints made from recycled vintage wood. I also have an obsession for pillows and am especially in love with our Trina Turk Residential pillow collection. Where is your favorite place to shop? I love Anthropologie & Etsy for unique finds, along with thrift shops & flea markets, and occasionally Home Goods (if you have the patience to search, you can find some incredible things!). How would you describe your design style? Fresh, stylish and refined. I strive to create environments that are both beautiful and livable, reflecting the taste and style of each individual client. What is the worst fashion trend you loved? As a teen in the 90’s I loved some pretty awful fashion trends, but I’d have to say over-sized denim overalls were among the worst. That’s one look that is straight-out unflattering on any girl, I don’t care who you are!

Website: Blog: 83 | LauraU

art | TALK

Artistically Adorable... Artist: Kim Hartz

There is one thing about me that EVERYONE MUST KNOW,, I absolutely love PHOTOGRAPHY.

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Kim Hartz began photographing everything and anything at a very early age. She opened her boutique photography studio in February 2010 in West University on Sunset Boulevard. In Houston, Texas. Her studio specializes in creating fine art portraiture of pets and their people. Kim made the switch to exclusively photographing pets when she and her husband brought Abby, their golden retriever, home. She is the studio’s mascot and keeps Kim company at the studio during the week. Working with pets, both dogs and cats, is such a rewarding experience. They are always in good spirits and happy to see you, which is why Kim loves to photograph them. Her goal is to capture your pet’s unique personality in each photograph she takes, while also creating images that will you will continue to cherish for years to come. Kim’s work at her studio consists of working with proud pet parents and their furry children to create wonderful art pieces of their pet for their home. She also creates art series of dogs in addition to her work with her clients.

Kim loves anything pet related and strives to help pets in need by working with a non-profit called HeARTS Speak. Through this organization she photographs dogs in need of adoption at rescue shelters because a great image can really help get a dog in need get noticed. Working with pets is a wonderful and rewarding experience that Kim gets to live everyday. Stay updated with her work and happenings at the studio by becoming a fan at

even more adorable pooches... 88 | LauraU


You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn't waste either.


- Galen Rowell


be inspired!! 2


3 9


5 7 8





Toile Florissante Begonia This paper shows the wild blooming of assorted flowers at the height of summer – complete with scattered butterflies and bees. Its large scale makes this subtly luscious classic pattern fresh and almost modern.

Japanese Floral—Aqua All Florence Broadhurst collections are from the 1960's to 1970's archive. Its designs have since been reinterpreted for the new turn of the century.

Pellaro Sand $84, Schumacher

4 5

Elizabeth Love Seat With its classic French shape and sumptuous velvet upholstery, the "Elizabeth" is an elegant love seat designed to add style to the bedroom or a focal point around house.

Arabesque Pendant Brass A minaret like fretwork frame in brushed nickel or antique brass metal floats and surrounds a white linen inner shade.


Gold Bamboo Hurricane Lantern


Fiore Pillow


Zig Floral Cushion


Ruffles Pillow - Sand

This antique brass and glass lantern has a traditional Asian look. $525, Arteriors.

The sensational Fiore pillow is an extravaganza of handmade blossoms in varying tones of white and cream. The flowers are formed of finely pleated polyester. $49.95, Z Gallerie. The Zig Floral cushion is designed for your home, and perfectly complements your individual style. Made of silk with a contrasting print in gold. With cotton lining and zipper closure. $36.99, Zara Home.

The Ruffle Pillow adds texture and interest to a sofa or bed. Toss one wherever you need oomph. Assorted colors.


Regence Carved Ottoman


Cannes Bed

This delightful Regence carved ottoman has split hooved feet, serpentine cross bar and a shell motif.

This Louis XV inspired bed has a scalloped and upholstered head and foot board. $11,085-$12,525, Ralph Lauren.

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Behind the Scenes


ith a design mix between over the top and conservative, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s Italian villa is a little bit of heaven on earth. Their sanctuary is surrounded by olive trees and lush gardens. The bedroom on the top floor is covered in 18 karat gold tiles, gold chains for curtains, and a vintage gold palm tree lamp. The guest room features hand painted zebra prints that blanket the walls, floors, and ceiling, all complimented with zebra patterned furnishings. Dolce and Gabbana use other design motifs, like ruby red and flowers, to fill the rest of their villa.

i d Stu

k l a oT

Photo credits: Zimbio, Frank Fuzzy Paris, and Scalamandre 92 | LauraU

Designer’s Choice


outiques are the perfect spot to find oneof-a-kind home accents and apparel. Check out our favorite boutiques that have recently opened below.

Located in New York City, Adeline Adeline is the perfect place to rediscover your love for bicycles.

On the lookout... T

his fun and vibrant umbrella made by Scalmandre is the perfect gift or accessory this month. This umbrella features a unique zebra printed pattern with a perfect mix of cupid’s arrows.

Top Picks


ur top pick for this month is Frank Fuzzy’s wall art. Break away from the traditional picture frame and apply wall decals to any interior for texture.

Find a mix of vintage necklaces and furniture at this stunning boutique in Idaho called Brass Razoo.

What may look like any Southern home in New Orleans, is Fair Folks & A Goat, which sells anything from jewelry to designer lamps.

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The Crock

designed by PB Elem

kett Residence

mental Architecture


Designed by architects Dave Biddle and Chris Pardo of Pb Elemental Architecture in Seattle, WA, the Crockett Residence (as it is currently called) is an architectural dream. Their clients, an active family of five, wanted to replace the small, older home they were living in on the site with a new structure. For Dave and Chris, the site itself was challenging in both its small size and multifamily zoning. The surrounding area was an eclectic mix of charming craftsman homes and apartment buildings. Therefore, from early on the decision was made to go with surface (though mostly covered) parking rather than a garage to both allow more space for the home and avoid the “garage door dominatedâ€? front façade look.

Early in the process, it was also decided to locate the living level on the upper floor to capture views and allow privacy without curtains. Within the lower level, a flex space of sorts was created which could act as a family room, a mother-in-law or be closed off to act as a separate (legal) rental unit. The final design was realized through the creation of three simple elements; a horizontal volume, a vertical volume and a folded plane.

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The home was designed on three elements: a horizontal volume a vertical volume and a folded plane The private program elements (bedrooms & bathrooms) were located in the two volumes while the public areas were contained within the interstitial spaces created when the three elements were combined. The entry and stairs occur in the space between the folded plane

and the metal clad volume; the living level within the upper fold of the Minaret plane. In both cases, the simple massing allows the spaces to seem as if they flow out from the home to connect with the neighborhood adding energy and size.

Pb Elemental Architecture Seattle, WA 98122

vendor | PROFILE

STRAY DOG DESIGNS Fashionable Design for the Flirty!


tray Dog Designs design specialize in unique home accessories. All of their glass, tin, iron, and papier mache products are original, handmade works of art designed by Jane Gray. Stray Dog products are hand crafted by artisans and workers in sustainable jobs. Most of the materials used in the Stray Dog products are made from recycled materials. Every time you buy a Stray Dog Designs product, a portion of the purchase price is donated to organizations that do things like feed hungry children, shelter homeless families, or create loving homes for stray dogs and cats .

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TONIA BOZEMAN Art Direction/Editing by Laura U Editor photos by Michelle Rasmussen of Wondertime Photography

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Let’s get Started!

Creating a beautiful bedroom on a strict budget can be a very daunting task. However, If you have a little patience it can be done. In this DIY issue, we take cues from homeowners Michelle Jake of Arizona. Using a creative eye and a love for color, they have created a prefect master bedroom simply by incorporating their thrift store, garage sale, and flea markets finds and not to mention, a few DIYs. Of course, a few items were

purchased by regular retail and used to pull the entire room together. While most of the items they found needed a little TLC, there was no one piece that broke the bank or that was too difficult for the average person to repurpose. Even if there are a few things that may require a professional, such as upholstery—the cost of getting a custom, designed piece for your home is well worth it.

MASTER BEDROOM HIGHLIGHTS In the master bedroom the RAST Ikea night tables were simply painted out in white and changed out the knobs giving them a contemporary feel. The French provincial style wingback was purchased at a garage sale and was professionally upholstered. The sunburst above her bed was another ingenious DIY using bamboo skewers. The owl was found at her local Goodwill location and spray painted a glossy white. Custom artwork was created from left over laminate flooring and contact paper.

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+ +














Ideas for the eco-friendly shopper!!

Free Flowing lantern

The Free Flowing Series appears to branch out of itself through organic lines and seemingly fragile form. (Botanist, $215-$265)

Celery pillow Made from a blend of certified organic cotton and hemp, these eco-friendly decorative pillows add a vibrant design to your home that is derived from nature. (Amenity Home, $89)

Wine glasses & carafe

Stem-less wineglasses and a carafe made from recycled glass make for a stylish kitchen accessory while having friends over for a glass of wine. (VivaTerra, $39 to $99) Thinker rug

Ultra-Luxe and Earth friendly, Christian Rathbone’s rugs combines modern design with traditional methods . These rugs are handmade in Turkey using vegetable dyes only.. (Thinker Rug $4,200)

Nolan bed

Be eco-chic even while you sleep. The Nolan bed is made using eco-friendly water hyacinth and low VOC adhesives and protective finishes on this fashionable bed. (Crate & Barrel $899-$1,199.)

Isometric chair

The Isometric Chair represents a harmonious union of two distinct elements. Made with 100% bamboo plywood natural, non-toxic. (Kalon Studios $475)

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WANT TO ADVERTISE? Want to reach your target audience? Are they Young, affluent & design-savvy! Then, contact us today!



SHOPPING Vintage and antique shopping has become more and more popular over the years. Turning an antique or vintage piece into something modern is not only exciting but it gives a room more personality and pizazz. We all want to know inside secrets and advice when it comes to vintage and antique shopping. In our exclusive interview with Aaron Rambo, owner and designer for Found for the Home, we explore his thoughts and creativity on antiques, vintage pieces and reupholstering.

What are some key elements to keep in mind when going antique/vintage shopping? We pride ourselves on original finish. The personality a wellworn finish cannot be duplicated. Yes, many decorative painters finishers can knock off a look, but the piece does not have the integrity of an original. How can you use antiques/vintage pieces today to make new ones? At Found, we search for antiques and vintage pieces with an open mind. We ask ourselves how the piece can be modified/retrofitted for a

new use. Table legs might become lamps, architectural fragments become side tables, or a discarded piece of paper has new life when framed as artwork. The key is to look past the original intent of an object and think about how it can be used in a fresh, innovative way that has relevance in today. What gives a vintage piece more quality than a newer item? To me, I value the fact that a piece has a past history, a past life. Vintage pieces add character to a space. When a

1940's Eight Light Chandelier

FOUND FOR THE HOME 2422 Bartlett Street #5 Houston, TX

room is filled with new upholstery, one odd side table will instantly give depth to the environment. The fact that it is a found object, it is also less likely that your friend or neighbor will have the same piece... leaving them to ask “where did you find THAT?” Is there a difference between what is considered “vintage” as opposed to what is considered “antique”? In general, an antique is any item over 100 years old. Vintage simply has some age to it. 109 | LauraU

key to revamping a piece is to “Thestart with great BONES. It can be hard to look past poor upholstery

but this is necessary.”

What is the most important factor to recreating an antique or vintage piece? The key to revamping a piece is to start with one with great bones. It can be hard to look past a poor upholstery job or a bad finish. However, a piece with great lines can easily be updated with a good workroom and designer. How can you tell when an antique is authentic? Authentic finish and construction are the first thing to look for. The way a piece is constructed, the nails used, and the way a piece of wood is finished are all important when looking at a piece. Honestly, experience is the most helpful. After seeing genuine, honest pieces, the fakes are easy to spot.

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What is your favorite piece or project from your store, Found for the Home? In our current inventory, I really love a set of four 19th century chairs in the Louis XVI style. In their original finish with 19th century leather upholstery. We found them in Paris and I want them at home! We also have an amazing 1930’s concrete foot used in a drawing studio that is almost 3 feet long. It’s all about scale and placement… Which object has been your all-time favorite find? My favorite find is a difficult question! Perhaps my 1970’s Brutalist brass chandelier I have at home. I purchased it for only $40.00 and have seen it’s mate at an antique show for over $1400.00! That was a steal…..

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Creating A Welcoming Sanct


I love your premise of helping people to create both a sorted and stylish home. Explain how a sorted home can also be stylish. It's pretty much impossible for your home to be stylish unless it's also uncluttered and neat, at least on the surface. However, once you've got the basics sorted out, you can make style an important part of any storage decision: don't always pick a functional container, but choose those which are attractive (lidded baskets, good quality boxes) and/or meaningful to you, too. Everything from soap to towels to pencils can live in stylish and unusual containers. Vertical storage is important, too: shelving and bookcases are functional items but if you pare down your belongings and place them with care, they can look wonderful at the same time. You yourself have relocated from Britain to the states. How has this inspired you to be the organized person that you are today and in your business The English Organizer? A long-distance move makes you look really hard at the possessions you bring with you and question what you really need. In addition, every single item we shipped, down to the last teaspoon, had to be listed on an inventory for US customs and our insurers. As well as the physical move, I was selling my London flat and my car, and donating lots of smaller possessions. We also had to close or consoli112 | LauraU

Written by Shannon Ables Art Direction/Editing by Laura U Editor



ith the arrival of spring, the tug to be outdoors is ever present, but creating a sanctuary within the home is just as important. Paring down, organizing, and getting rid of the clutter after the long winter is a simple way to create an environment that is welcoming to you and your guests. Pauline Wiles, better known as The English Organizer, specializes in helping to tackle this task and shares some simple ways to create a welcoming sanctuary as soon as you walk in the front door.


date all kinds of bank accounts and notify all the usual suspects of our move. A project plan and very detailed to-do list were essential in keeping me sane. Today, when things get overwhelming, I still turn immediately to list-making and prioritizing. I encourage everyone to do the same, when they feel too swamped to know where to begin. With spring upon us, many people want to clean out their homes and freshen them up a bit. What do you feel are the most important areas we should focus on as we all begin to tackle our home's spring cleaning? You can't clean a cluttered space effectively, and in fact, you shouldn't even try to clean things if you don't love or use them. I believe in breaking home projects into manageable parts: for each space, pick a time to de-clutter and purge, and then once that's done, set aside a separate time slot to do the actual cleaning. If guests are visiting soon, you'll probably want to focus on the public areas of your home. Otherwise, I strongly recommend investing time to create a really streamlined, peaceful and luxurious bedroom. Even if the rest of your home is somewhat messy, at least then you'll have a calming retreat, which hopefully will inspire you to keep going in other areas! 113 | LauraU

With that in mind, what are the elements that are essential to creating a restful and rejuvenating sanctuary in the master bedroom? What should be purged, what depends on the person and what is a must -have? Concentrate first on two key parts of the room: the view from the door as you enter and the view from the bed. Home stagers know that the view from the doorway is key in creating a favorable first impression of the bedroom, and usually, the head of the bed should be placed on one of the walls facing the door. You will obviously want to invest in attractive, feel-good bed linens, according to your budget and lifestyle, and both partners deserve their own bedside table with a functional but attractive reading lamp. As far as the view from the bed goes, remove anything which is not pleasing to the eye or will cause you guilt rather than enjoyment.

I moved my bed last year, simply because I didn't like the view! The master bedroom is not the place for piles of transient laundry, paperwork or random clutter. I would also make a strong case that exercise equipment should never be on view in the bedroom - if it's small, at least hide it away when you've finished using it. I don't personally have a television in my bedroom, but I think they're OK if both halves of the couple enjoy watching one there. However, more than anywhere else in the house, I would consider using a cabinet to conceal the bedroom TV. Depending on personal preference, books can and should live in the bedroom, as long as you're mindful of how many you allow into your space. Art is also a matter of personal choice, although this is a good place to consider abstract images, rather than a style that's too strong or distracting. Photographs are also an individual preference - I don't actually want my extended family in my bedroom, but others love to display a meaningful collection in special frames. Environmentally conscience and paring down often go hand in hand. How do you incorporate these two concepts when beginning a project? The thought of someone else being able to get use, or value, from our old items, is a huge help for anyone having trouble letting go of clutter. For example, Goodwill has a calculator on its website, which translates the value of your donations into the services which will be provided to those in need. It's also getting much easier to donate or recycle all kinds of things, which previously were hard to find homes for. Even if a suitable non-profit can't be found, services like Freecycle mean that almost anything can gain new life with a new owner. I love your logo with the pot of tea balanced atop the packages. How much of a person's personality should be considered when beginning to tackle a home's organization? A big thing to consider is whether you get more pleasure from having things neatly stored away, out of sight, or whether you insist on keeping your loved possessions visible. Both personality groups should sort and purge as their initial steps, but after that, setting up an organizing system to honor your preferences will be vital in making you feel good about the space and encouraging you to use the system. For example, visual types may want to display all their jewelry on an attractive bulletin board in their closet, whereas the other group may prefer to invest in a jewelry armoire or matching storage boxes, with everything hidden neatly inside.

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What are some of the smallest changes that make the biggest difference? For a bedroom, make the bed and get scattered clothes either into the laundry hamper or back in the closet. That, combined with clearing off bedside tables, gives the room a pleasing focal point. In living spaces, be ruthless about paper: get rid of surplus newspapers, magazines and junk mail, and quickly sort what remains into action, reading and filing. You might also consider confining kids' toys to just a couple of rooms, rather than allowing them throughout the house. Then, tour your home as if you were a guest who had never visited before, or ask a close friend to take a look. Which items leap out at you as unnecessary clutter, or as lacking a proper home? When it comes to organizing, what truly makes a luxurious home environment? In today's crowded world, the luxury of space and peace is often underestimated. Hotels and spas know this is an important reason we enjoy our escapes there! If you honor your home by keeping it clutter free, and being very conscious about what you allow to enter it, you've already created an environment which lends itself to luxury. After that, if you do bring in a few indulgences like fresh flowers, a special pillow or piece of art, the space around that item will showcase it far better than if it was in cluttered surroundings. If you think about art galleries or exclusive stores, every piece on show looks more attention-worthy and desirable because of the space around it. When it comes to a wardrobe closet, how do you suggest handling the changing of the seasons? If you live in a climate where very different seasonal clothing is needed, it's essential you decide and allocate somewhere to store the out-of-season items. Try to make the seasonal changeover a pleasant event, rather than a chore, by enjoying the re-discovery of old friends, thinking creatively about outfit combinations, and noting any glaring gaps in your wardrobe.

Take this opportunity to be critical and donate anything which you haven't worn or is past its prime. With a clear idea of your wardrobe gaps and needs, you can shop more effectively and with much less guilt. What are the best ways to store winter clothing/shoes that won't be worn for months? It should go without saying that anything to be stored should be clean and dry. If moisture is an issue where you live, be careful what you pack your clothing in and where you put it. Investing in some canvas storage bags can be a good move. Many people hate to store things under the bed, but I happen to think, if things are packed in an orderly way and you know what's under there, this is a great option. Certainly, avoid garages and basements unless you're confident in your climate. Above all, do yourself a favor and don't bother to store anything you won't be thrilled to see next season. What have you found are the greatest benefits of creating a home that is organized? The ability to find things easily, saving both time and money, are clear benefits. However, for me and many women, the peace of mind which comes from a calm and welcoming home is a reward greater than we ever imagined. Your home should be part of your support crew, not something you constantly battle against. Being able to come home and relax, and not be surrounded by clutter, chaos and guilt, is literally priceless.

Pauline Wiles’ organizational services are available in the San Francisco Peninsula area as well as consultations over the phone. Visit for more information.

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The Top 5 Margaritas For Cinco De Mayo….. “The Perfect Margarita”

“Texas Cyclone”

Café Adobe

Pappasitos Cantina

Searching for “The Perfect Margarita”? Look no further than Café Adobe! The award-winning restaurant was voted to have our city’s best! Appropriately named, this traditional Mexican beverage consists of only the freshest ingredients and top shelf tequilas. Swing by Café Adobe and treat yourself to Houston’s Best Margarita!

Variety is the spice of life and Pappasitos has done a lot of living! Within their 27 years of success, Pappasitos has perfected their hand-crafted margaritas! You are bound to find your perfect match with so many flavors. We recommend letting loose with the Texas Cyclone, among the many other local favorites.

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“House M


Deep in the he only in Texas, y Tortilla. This lo food chain cre and colorful at potent Hous accompanied w watering fajit perfect co


e Tortilla

eart of Texas and you will find Lupe ocal “mom & pop” eates a vivacious tmosphere. Their se margaritas with their mouthtas makes for a ombination!

“The Blue”

“Benediction Margarita”

El Patio


El Patio’s legendary Blue Margarita is bold, bright and biting! This drink is their House Margarita plus a splash of Blue Curaco that adds a sweet kick! If you’re in the mood for a stout margarita, El Patio is the place to go! Indulge with this sweet tasty treat!

This one of a kind, authentic Mexican restaurant has a new favorite in town, the Benediction Margarita. The zesty taste of grapefruit and orange marmalade along with El Tesoro tequila will get you on your feet… if the house band doesn’t first! Stop in for a ‘rita and refined Mexican cuisine at Hugo’s!

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community | SPOTLIGHT


rees For Houston was founded in 1982 as the Live Oak Society. By 1984, we realized that all of Houston’s trees were important, and updated the

name to Trees For Houston. As our city grew, so did our understanding of the important role trees can play in making a neighborhood more inviting, bringing community members together to achieve a common goal, and adding beauty and unity to commercial corridors. Trees For Houston is a nonprofit organization dedicated to planting, protecting and promoting trees. Since our beginning in 1983, Trees For Houston has planted and distributed over 378,000 trees and seedlings. At the end of the 2009-2010 planting season, over 15,000 trees were planted along Houston’s residential and commercial streets, in parks, along bayous and trails and on school campuses. These programs are implemented with the help of corporate volunteers,






professionals, and all others who want to leave a legacy for future generations. Once the trees are planted, we ensure they have a strong start by watering them for two years, and then work with the businesses, property owners and public sector organizations on policies and practices to not only protect the trees we have, but to continually replenish our urban forest.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Trees For Houston at

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Thanks to Our 4th Annual Lilith’s Spring Supporters

Laura U|MAG April-May "Green" Issue  
Laura U|MAG April-May "Green" Issue  

A Houston based virtual magazine focusing on interiors, fashion, art, design and inspiration for the modern-day homeowner. A Houston based...