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SUMMER ISSUE Art piece pictured by Jonatan Lopez “Cache”



You’re Invited!

1848 Westheimer Rd. Houston TX | 713.527.7377 River Oaks Residence, (Houston, TX))

Publisher’s Note June-July 2011

“summer issue”

Laura Umansky President & Creative Director

Summer at Laura U is high energy! School may be out but we are just gearing up. For our design firm, summer is our amazingly busy season and we couldn’t be more thrilled. June and July signal the installation of interiors, the start of new design projects, and all of us trying not to succumb to the heat while running around at warp speed. But we do take a break every now and again to appreciate all of the great things that go along with summer (sans vacation)! In addition to the frantic pace of our design studio, we have been hard at work with Laura U | MAG and in the Laura U Collection! Inside these pages (and in the boutique) we have collected the coolest gifts for summer. The following issue brings us a snapshot of two fab weddings, American design takes center stage, and everything is red, white, and blue all over. Sourcing edgy design fare for the magazine goes hand in hand with sourcing for our boutique. Come visit us to escape the heat! Stop by the Laura U Collection during our Grand Expansion event (July 21st) or stop by today! Our designers have been sourcing and reviving the best vintage furniture pieces by Thomasville, Tomlinson, and (not a Tom) James Mont. You will also find the cutest line of organic baby bedding and gifts by Coyuchi – a new addition to the shop! Welcome to the summer 2011 edition of the Laura U | Mag! Enjoy the following pages!

Laura 4 | LauraU


“in every issue”

Laura’s Note


Letter From The Editor


Art | TALK


Heather Sanchez

Shop | TALK

Community | SPOTLIGHT

60 86

62 18

62 24

editorial features 54


The Return of Classic Femininity: Retro Swimwear


Want This Look? Vanguard Furniture


Occasio Productions Meet Aurora Perez



75 6 | LauraU


Giants of American Furniture Design


The Plaza Hotel



shopping A Red Affair


Fire & Ice


A Blue


Red | White | Blue


Summer Love:


A Guide to Entertaining

Wedding Gift Guide


Laura’s | Picks


Editor’s | Picks



58 58

7 | LauraU

features cont.


Wedding Fever


Get The Look


An American Dream


Vendor | Profile



Vacation: Destination Style


Eco | CHIC

82 84

48 Party Scene





A letter from the EDITOR June - July 2011


Summer is definitely here and we are feeling every moment of it. School is out and the season of pool parties, destination vacations and colorful ensembles are in!

According to “Summer is considered a time of blossoming and greatest happiness, a time of relaxation.” But here at Laura U, there’s been no stopping this summer for us. Since our last issue a couple months ago, Laura U has experienced a few monumental changes, like the expansion of our new retail boutique and showroom (which stretches almost one city block! … wow…) and the addition of my newbie intern Andi! We’ve also welcomed our new in-house industry partner, Audio Video Designs, led by TJ Morgan who promises to deliver my very first iPad.

As you can see, we’ve made a lot of progress this summer… and it’s only the beginning. As if our days aren’t long enough, I decided to incorporate what can only be viewed as “a grueling” 5 a.m. boot camp every morning. While I’m loving the outcome, I dread the early mornings even more than this great Houston heat! If you peek inside our Summer Issue, you will be overwhelmed with summer inspirations! If you love to entertain, you will be pleased to find ways to pull off chic outdoor entertaining, summer brides will get an inside look at two of our very own Laura U designers whose weddings were absolutely gorgeous, and if you just love Independence day and the revelry that follows, then you will discover a great selection of red, white and blue products in the Fashion vs. Furnishings section. And last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for a great summer vacation destination, check out our destination feature. Speaking of Independence day, our annual Red, White and Blue Sale is next week at the Laura U Collection. Don’t forget to swing by the boutique between June 29th and July 2nd and check out our new showroom as well as grab your favorite items in sale! With the transition of seasons, comes a transition of weather and the Texas sun is brutal, which is why this issue inspired me to plan a destination vacation in Jamaica, my home. Actually, it’s not so much a “destination vacation” if it is my home, right? Well, I will certainly bring a few cans of sunshine back with me.

Karee… 10| LauraU

Want to find chic accessories like me? then check out what’s in store at Laura U!

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

12| LauraU

A RED A Original Wayfarer RB 2140, Ray Ban

Rachel Antonoff Crimson and Colors Dress, ModCloth

Provence Soleil Pillows, Villa Home Collection

Red Dot Teapot, Rosanna

Color-block Tote with Cross Strap, Color-Block

Red Upholstered Tulip Armchair, Knoll

AFFAIR Red Dots Pedestal Cake Stand, Rosanna

Utility Pendant Lamps, CB2 Home

Make Up For Ever, Sephora

Japonica Collection Candles, Voluspa

Bobble Red Matinee Purse, Amelia Heart

Red Coral Side Table, Chris Kabatsi

Charlotte Olympia Espadrille, Bergdorf Goodman

Damask Foil Wallpaper, Bro-

Horchow Mirror

Flora Eau Fraiche, Gucci

Paper Mache Luv Bird, Stray Dog Designs

White Ceramic Glitz Watch, Michael Kors

Set of 2 Candle sticks, Rosanna

Eco Collection Herita ham and

Moroccan Leather Pouffe, Coco Male

White Leather 2 Cheste

Fire & Ice Paper Chandelier, Pottery Barn

White Chandelier Earrings, Lauren G Adams Victoria Beckham Paint Effect Dress, Net A Porter

age Wallpaper, Grad Brown Hand Embroidered Mirror Studded Pillows, Gracious Home

2-Seater Sofa, erfield

Silver Stud Pumps, Boutique 9 Poppy Flower Sturdy, Stray Dog Designs

A Blue Crush



1. Blue Plexi Chandelier,

2. Twin Rose Cut Lapis Lo

3. Blue Convertible Eye sha 4. Ruffled Silk Dress

5. Quilted Lambskin Flap

6. Lalique Cactus Tab

7. Gabrielle Earrin

8. Bleus d’Ailleurs Tea/Co


9. Architectural Legacy Fa

10. Robin Pillow in Indig

11. Peacock Chair, Hiv

12. Feerie Perfumed Bath and Show 2.

13. Blue Suede Tassel Platform Pu

14. Eiffel Tower Colette 15. Relax Wear Watch,

16. Lattice Stool,

13. 12.


3. 5.


Pretty Pretty Props


adow, Stila Cosmetics Notte, March

p Handbag, Chanel

ble, 9.

ngs, Dannijo

offee Pot , Hermes

abric, Kravet Fabrics 8.

go, Thomas Paul

wer Gel, Van Cleef & Arpels 10.

umps, Christian Louboutin

e, Merci Gustave Tommy Bahama

, Emissary






8. 4.

1. Roost Lotus Chandelier, Laura U Collection 2. Decorative Outdoor Pillows, Thomas Paul 3. Mini Coin Purse, Aspinal of London 4. Admiral East Hampton Striped Top, Steffen Schraut 5. Vintage Silk Scarf, Chanel Vintage 6. Red Striped Floppy Hat, Juicy Couture 7. Blue and White Ceramic Garden Stool, Plantation 8. Flats, Leslie in Red 9. Hanna Chair, Oly Studio 10. Gold Shell, Bungalow 5 11. High Waisted Shorts, Barbara Tfank 12. Critter Boost Octopus Ring, Betsey Johnson 13. 8 Piece Nautical Plate Set, Thomas Paul




5. 7. 11. 12. 3.

10. 9.

CLASSIC FEMININITY Written by Shannon Ables Editing by Laura U Editors

Provence Rose Coquette swimsuit top ($81) Provence Rose Sweetheart bottom ($75). Credit: Nanette Lepore


wimsuit season. A phrase that is motivating

that not only disguises, but flatters a woman’s body

completely on its own to propel each one of

no matter her age, shape or confidence. After all, it

us into our exercise shoes and out the door

is in revealing exactly what we want and in such a

to burn a few more calories. Whether you

way that is most flattering that leaves a woman

enjoy basking in the sun on the sandy beaches or

feeling self-assured and completely able to unwind

lounging poolside, the perfect swimsuit makes such

as the sun adds a smidge of natural bronzer.

summer moments all the more enjoyable. An array of design details from ruching, blousing, The beauty of the retro styles being offered by de-

and classic colors and timeless prints makes it a

signers and well-known clothing companies this

cinch to have the same suit for a couple of years

season is that they preserve the feminine mystique

and continue to remain chic and sophisticated.

22| LauraU

The Return of Classic Femininity: Retro Swimwear

Beach Tote Essentials Bonjour, Happiness! by Jamie Cat Callan Lanvin Straw Hat - $945

) and

Kiehls – Super Fluid UV Defense Nau Klean


Canteen - $20-$50

Tory Burch “Roslyn canvas tote - $375

Rosebud strawberry lip balm - $7

Oliver Peoples sunglasses - $375 23| LauraU

Swimsuits to Fit Your Body Type?

Based on your body type, here are a few retro styles to look for the next time a swimsuit shopping oppo

Boyish (desiring curves): acc waist with ruching, embellishm bikini tops with embellishmen ture, etc.) Nanette Lepore Pr Price Available Upon R

Hourglass: the sky’s the limit, thank your mother! Zimmerman Ruffled One Piece, $242

Top Heavy: halter top necklines create an illusion of a narrower top half, select bottoms that have ruching or bloused waist-lines. J Crew Polka Dot Bikini Two-Piece, $72

Once you have chosen a swimsuit that accentuates your assets, be sure to pack a tote with beach essentials – protection from the sun, stylish oversized sunglasses, water to remain hydrated and refreshed, as well a some pleasurable summer reading material. Now it’s time to just be fabulously chic and always en vogue.

24| LauraU

ortunity presents itself:

Pear Shaped: choose a top that’s lighter in color or is more embellished near the neckline as you want to draw attention to your top half and bring the eye up creating a more balanced proportion. Aquarella Marino Collection One-Piece, $$

centuate the ments or belts, nts (ruffles, texrovence Rose, Request

Tall: deep V-necks - to balance a long torso with long legs, boy shorts – to shorten the leg, bikinis – to reveal a lengthy physique. Plunging Halter Maillot One-Piece, Anthropologie $178

Every body type: ruching (gathered fabric) which complements nearly any woman’s figure and is a bit ubiquitous this season so very easy to find. Aerin Rose One Shoulder Shirred One-Piece, $117

25| LauraU

art | TALK

An American Classic Artist: Heather Sanchez Heather Sanchez is a self-taught artist living the American dream. Growing up in Minnesota, Heather was surrounded by nature and the great outdoors. After living in Texas for more than a decade, she has adopted Houston as her new home. Heather did not study Art in college; instead, she received a Bachelor of Arts studying both Sociology and Spanish.

After living abroad in Mexico City for three years, she was inspired to explore her cre-

Written by Kara Johnson

ative side which she felt had been lost over the years. And so her career as an

This collection is inspired by the richness of our country’s history

artist began. Through a process of trial and error, she taught herself to express her thoughts and emotions on a blank canvas. She is inspired by the things that influence us the

and the feelings

most today; family, friends, art, media,

provoked by images from the 1950’s to 1970’s.

unique collages and paintings are exe-

26 | LauraU

and politics. Each layer of her modern yet cuted with precise attention to detail. Heather’s collection of collages are influenced





throughout the 1950s and 1970s and more importantly, its impact on us as a people.

They may simply allow us to reflect upon our progress, remember a historical milestone or even better…


These carefully thought out, one-of-a-kind collages allow for a personal and perhaps better understanding of our nation’s history and culture. “They are communal yet very personal , a tribute to all and to one.”

HEATHERYOKI-SANCHEZ Stay updated with her work at

28 | LauraU

WANT THIS LOOK? Written by Andi Kreuer

The brand Vanguard Furniture began over 40 years ago with just a velvet chair, or what can be called “the perfect chair�. Today the brand is still the same and Vanguard is still making good on its name. From one perfect velvet chair, to endless possibilities.

Vanguard Furniture is well-known for offering the broadest selection of upholstered frames in the marketplace and having one of the largest product development groups in the industry. Fashion driven, but still striving to match components with their intended use, explains why Vanguard offers so many variety and choices. The Thom Filicia Home Collection by Vanguard is a multifaceted collection that includes a mix of living, dining and bedroom pieces, occasional chairs, cocktail and occasional tables, upholstered pieces and textiles. The new home collection captures Thom Filicia's classic simplicity and injects an unexpected, modern flair. With a fresh yet timeless approach to design, the collection balances elements in unique and beautiful ways. 30 | LauraU

31 | LauraU


Lotus Armoire, Roost Home Furnishings Now Available at Laura U Collection

A Guide to Entertaining

For your summer themed beach party, pick out a bright and colorful tablecloth to set the mood.

Pier 1 Imports Watermelon Serving Bowl, $34.95 Crate & Barrel Marimekko Kimara, $29.95-$59.95

Partying by the Beach? Written by Andi Kreuer Crate & Barrel Reef Hurricanes $34.95-$39.95

What’s summer without watermelon? Every party needs a large serving bowl, so make it one to go along with the theme!

Pier 1 Imports Festive Stripe Stemware, $10 each

Mosquitos are always a problem when trying to do something outside so get a few hurricanes with citronella candles inside to keep bugs away!

Z Gall Dis

You never know what your gue so mix it up and be prepared ornate glass

Grasslands Road Plastic Party Drink Chiller Tub, $13

Inexpensive and very useful for all parties. Get a plastic tub and fill it with ice to keep drinks cool while outside. 34 | LauraU

Get colorful cloth napkins that will last your guests throughout the night.

Hansen Ellis Sea Life Napkin Rings, $5.95

Cranberry Collection Double Sided Cloth Napkins, $29

Consider it jewelry for your napkins. We It’s officially summer and we’re all looking for an excuse to entertain and have fun. Entertaining is not always easy but with the right tools, you can transform any backyard into a fun and chic summer look everyone will enjoy. So make it bright, make it simple, and check out these suggestions for a fanfare everyone is sure to remember!

all like to show off our latest “bling” so allow your napkins do the same.

Make your own centerpiece! Take a colorful pitcher and fill it with your favorite flowers! Make it easy on yourself and have a pitcher

Fiesta Carafe Pitcher, $58

with 3 different drink options. Plus the colors will make it really stand out! Crate & Barrel Jelli Flatware, $2.95 each

lerie, Trio Beverage spenser, $49.99

Grab a set of assorted plates for the occasion. Make sure they have vibrant colors to pull in the summer!

ests will want to drink with these colorful, ses Get a set of colorful, casual flatware that you can have some fun with! French Bull Melamine Plate Set of 4, $32

36 | LauraU


5535 Memorial Drive Suite F-560 Houston Texas 77007





Major Services

Full Service Production & Design Weddings Corporate Events Fashion Shoots Special Events Event Design Venue Services


Aurora Perez Why the name Occasio? The art of production is my tag line. I believe each event should reflect the host or guest of honor which is how I came up with Occasio. Occasio is the Latin word for occasion, which I believe best reflects what I do. Why did you start your event design business? I fell in love with entertaining and design while I was in the fine dining business. As an event planner I found myself customizing menus with a theme and an objective for the diner to have the best culinary and visual experience. As I became more and more focused on the details, I realized that as an event planner and stylist I could do the best of both worlds. Hence the creation of Occasio.

What are your top pieces to use when designing an outdoor, summer tablescape? Love Flowers: using kale, hanging amaranths, bunny tail, hypercium berries, peonies, lambs ear, billie balls, parrot tulips (orange, white, green), & succulents. Burch Branches: Love them because they are dynamic. Sawaya and Moroni Handmade Silver: Sleek and Elegant in any setting. Ikat Napkins: Great hints, and light fabric for the summer Raynaud Ombrages: China (Yellow) Who is your favorite designer? Linen- Wildflower Linen, a couture linen line. Floral- Jeff Leatham (Artistic Director for Four Seasons George V-Paris France) Design/Architecture- Capellini Furniture- B & B Italia

Aurora’s Guide to En

What are your favorite things to use i

Texture, Texture, Texture– and great lin

It’s funny men never seem to commen however, when I have a textured linen Everything you do, see, feel, and taste Occasio does.

Lighting Plays a lot into the look of a ta

Anything that creates a conversation: and they had this wonderful medusa l lents coming out of the top, I had to h

Occasio Production

I also believe a charger can frame ea each guest.

What is the secret to creating a wond

Many times, hosts are occupied when cause it’s important to make every gu party, having them presented with a c makes them feel like they are connec

Squeeze Glasses, Crate & Barrel

Interactive experiences also establishe guests into the event. Things such as: Risotto Bar, or even a made to order C

Tom Multicolor Tray

I also believe each table should be dif Many people believe you should have many times when I use a mirror, texture

What are your Top 6places (shops, w - love the arc and design aspects from all around th

Floral Plates, Raynaud Ombrages

Hand Towels , Crate and Barrel

Grace Ormonde Magazine- is the cou try.. Lush & Over The Top!

I love to go to High Fashion once a mo prints.

The Houston Urban Market on Smith St world collectibles.

Santa Fe, West Coast, Spain, Las Vega vorite places to go for inspiration for m local grocery store and department st want. I just returned from Peru last mo a whole suit case of food and materia They captivate me in all t best in all its forms: Design, Interior, Arc rants, Bars, Fashion, etc..

38 38 || LauraU LauraU

ntertaining in Style...

Chartreuse Green Classic Lantern

in when designing tablescapes?


nt on aspects of the wedding or event; n men are the first to tell me they love it. e is part of an event. That is what

able and room.

Fiesta Spice Baskets, Crate & Barrel

: I was recently at Bistro 19 on West Gray looking statue that had herbs and succuhave it.

ach setting and give a personalization for

derful experience when entertaining?

n guest arrive, such as at a wedding. Beuest feel like they are part of the event or cocktail or appetizer automatically cted with others at the event.

Hourglass Apartment Mod

es a form of conversation and helps ease making your own Mojitio, Sushi Stations, a Ceviche Station.

Nambe Bowl

fferent but also carry the same look. e color or theme to an event. There are e, or water to carry through my theme.

websites, etc.) for finding the goods?

chitecture which peaks conversation he world

uture looks and flowers of the event indus-

Beach Mother of Pearl

onth and look at the new colors and

treet– always inspired by the new and old

as, and Latin America are some of my famy events. Everywhere I travel I go to the tore to find out what the locals love and onth and found myself coming back with als to work with on a future event.

they have to offer. It’s the best of the chitecture, Art, Events, Travel, Restau-

39 | LauraU


Image Courtesy of Occasio Productions

Wedding Fever Two Brides…Two Cities…Two Chic Weddings

A wedding rooted in tradition, family and the church. This young couple wanted a wedding that was not just a memory for them but a memory for their families. The bride’s immediate thoughts about her wedding: “It went by too fast. It was lighthearted, fun and rooted in tradition.” The couple met freshman year of high school and even ten years later, the groom still remembers the first day he met his future wife. They became best friends their junior year of high school , but always knew there was something there. The summer after they graduated, you could say they figured it out and began officially dating. They attended Louisiana State University together and there the long lasting bond of friendship strengthened. The bride was on a business trip in Connecticut and the groom made plans for a weekend getaway in New York City. They went out to enjoy the city that never sleeps, grab cocktails at the Mandarin Hotel and then ice-skating in Central Park. On this picture perfect wintery evening, while crossing a small bridge, the groom stopped, went down on one knee and proposed. The couple knew they wanted a winter wedding. During the months of November, December and January, you can’t quite miss the warm, fuzzy holiday feeling. The numerals in the date were important too. They agreed upon the descending date of 12.11.10. The goal was to be traditional but also be able to personalize each and every detail. The wedding was filled with antique gold and silver with purple accents, “a vintage wonderland”.

Each invitation was handwritten by a professional calligrapher, giving personalization to every guest. The full mass ceremony was held at the same church the bride grew up and the reception at the Ballroom of the Junior League. The reception represented three cultures: Traditional Southern , a personal request of the bride’s father; Creole, for the couple’s LSU graduates and friends; and Australian, a tribute to the heritage of the groom’s family. The dance floor had rules: guests must wear Santa Hats when dancing and they also had faux moustaches and sunglasses readily available.

42 | LauraU

Mr. & Mrs. Marshal 12.11.10


Because the couple loves the Dave Matthews Band, they thought it would be very fitting to have their first dance as husband and wife to “You & Me”.

The Bride’s MUSTS: ⇒ Vintage cake toppers in place of big, busy floral arrangements ⇒ Birdcages on each dining table ⇒ Gold Chivari dining chairs ⇒ Christmas tree and lights on the stage

Their Most Memorable Moments: The bride describes her most memorable moment as that moment she stepped into her wedding gown. When asked to describe her gown, she gushes, “It was me.” Prior to the wedding, all the bridesmaids gathered at the bride’s parents’ house and sipped on champagne while they dressed. Another favorite moment the bride remembers was when she held her bouquet for the first time. She had her grandfather’s photo placed in the center of a charm and attached to her bouquet. It was special, “it was as if he was there with me the entire time”.

Just two days after their wedding, the couple left to Belize for their honeymoon. They stayed seven days at a little casita on the water. They wanted something private and low-key, nothing too fancy. They snorkeled, swam with sharks and ate great food!

“It went by too fast. It was lighthearted, fun and rooted in tradition.”

Set in Austin Texas, this outdoor w The bride’s first reaction to her wedding: “It was magical; I’d do it all over again.” The couple who reside in Houston wanted a wedding that was a giant dance party. Their DJ, The Human Jukebox was flown in from L.A., to make the party happen. After meeting through mutual friends at the West Alabama Icehouse , the couple dated a year and a half before they were engaged. The bride knew something was awry when she was asked by the groom to go for a bike ride. While a bike ride would seem quite normal to many couples, this couple had bikes but never rode them. The couple rode out to a quaint park in Houston overlooking the downtown skyline. They sat on a grassy knoll and watched the sunset settle in between the buildings. They enjoyed a few glasses of wine together… this was before the bride spilled wine on her white dress. Shortly thereafter, he popped the question and the planning of this destination wedding began.

fantastic DIY style and

Mr. & Mrs. Luebe 10.23.10

The couple were engaged for a year and a half before they tied the knot. Because a “dance party” themed wedding was what they both agreed to, the venue was very important as it would serve as the overall inspiration. The couple chose Green Pastures, an old Victorian mansion in Austin, TX as their wedding venue. It was old, authentic and elegant. They wanted to make sure they held on to the authenticity factor but more importantly, have a wedding that felt like it was meant to happen there.

“It was magical; I’d do it all over again.”

It was an outdoor ceremony held under a giant, live Oak tree with vintage birdcages hanging from the limbs. Albino peacocks roamed free. What most would consider a very nontraditional wedding, the couple considered a trip back in time. The soon-to-be Mrs. Wilson walked down the aisle to “Dreams” by The Cranberries and the reception consisted of a serious dance party. Glow sticks helped light the dark dance floor. Custom gown and bridesmaids dresses made the wedding party stand out. The bride’s favorite moment was when her best friend

44 | LauraU

wedding was a culmination of the bride’s the couple’s love of dancing.

sang at the ceremony. “Audrey sings beautifully, but not in front of people. It really meant a lot to me.” The couple waited six months before their Parisian, honeymoon excursion. They didn’t necessarily plan on waiting that long after their wedding, but they felt it extended the excitement of their wedding. They had six months to reminisce about their big day and anticipate the honeymoon. For the bride, the timing was perfect. They flew to Paris, France and then made their way to the shores of Avignon by train three days later.

45 | LauraU

1. 2.




3. 6.

12. 4.


1. Deep Grain Sheered Mango Wood V

2. Wine Charms (Set of 6), Fa

3. Red Wine Aerator, Vintu

4. Pure Komachi 2, 9 Piece Knife Se

5. Love Story Cake Plate, Mik

6. Candle Holder, Modern Lovers O

7. Black Orchid Easel Vase, Mich

8. Wine And Dine Plate, $8

9. Newlyeds’ Cookbook,


10. Confetti Tumblers (set o

11. Crystal Bowl, Kosta Bod

12. 3 Tier Cupcake Stand, Crate & 46 | LauraU

àÉ à{x







9. 8.

Vase, Lazy Susan $120

acet $19.99

uri $39.95

et, Kershaw $89.99

kasa $49.99

On A Swing $99.99

hael Aram $129


8.95 each

, $24.95

of 4), $48

da $170

& Barrel $29.95 47| LauraU


1. 3.

1. Silver Women’



2. Black Perforated Leathe

3. Intimately Yours Women E

4. Intimately Yours Men Ea

5. Pink Leather Eng

6. Black Leather En

7. Something Blue Nec

8. Men’s Bleached Ed

9. Maxx New York Daisy La

10. Jackson Leathe


11. Silver Oval Ring, Prepp

12. Wedge Engraved Cuff Lin


13. Chronograph Wa

14. Chronograph Wat

13. 48 | LauraU

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5. 4.

’s Glitter, Toms $54


er Men’s Classic, Toms $100

Eau de Toilette, Beckham $48

au de Toilette, Beckham $48

graved Flask, $19.95

ngraved Flask, $18.95

cklace,, $27

dge Scarf, Coach, $98

arge Tote,, $177


er Duffel, Fossil $198


py Monogrammed Gifts $59

nks, Things Remembered $30

atch, Anne Klein $55

tch, Michael Kors $195

10. 12.


49 | LauraU


75th year - diamond


13. 12.

49th year - luxury


4th year - silk

2. 5. 10th year - aluminum

1. Cotton Ha

2. Silk Robe, The Stand 3. Beveled Glass Cigar

4. Grand Tour Wrought Iron Mirror, C

5. “The Kiss” Alumi

6. D3100 14.2 Megapixel Dig

7. Indigo and Violet Sw 8. Multi-Strand Freshwater Cultu


9. App

10. Classique Gold Plated Trim Ballpo

11. 14k Two-tone Gold Onyx

2nd year - cotton

12. Sterling Silver Clasp Bracelet W

13. Open Heart 14k Black D 50 | LauraU




15th year - glass


15th year - crystal


5th year - wood

3. 4. 6th year - iron 50th year - gold

ammock, Hatteras $175

dard Jean Yu for The Mercer $395


Humidor, Stanford $84.95

Century Furniture, price upon request

inum Figurine, $89.95

gital SLR Camera, Nikon $699.99

wirl Crystal Vase, $129.95 red Pearl Necklace, Blue Nile $257

ple TV, $99

oint Pen, Montblanc Meisterstuck $385

x and Diamond Tie Tac, $245

With 14k Gold Snap, Pandora $325

30th year - pearl


Diamond Bead, Pandora $345 51| LauraU

NOW Available at Laura U Collection

be inspired!! 3

1 2







54 | LauraU


GET THE LOOK Written by Kara Johnson


Pure White Ceramic Vase Collection - West Elm A shapely landscape in snow-white ceramic perfect for any home centerpiece or finishing touch. Sold individually or in sets of 3. - $10.00 - $89.00


Suede Buffalo Bull in Fog- Edelman Leather


Red Coral Chandelier - Marjorie Skouras Approximately 24” Wide and 33” Height. Price available upon request.


“Red Shoe” - Ray Phillips This is a mixed media piece on wood by artist Ray Phillips. It is a 56” x 46” piece and can be found in his gallery. Contact the artist for pricing information.


South Hampton, Newport and Palm Beach Throw Pillows - Cherry and East

A sample of Sueded Buffalo Bull in a nice hue of metallic silver appropriately named Fog. On average, this specific leather is about 1.5 mm in thickness and water and stain resistant, which makes for a fabulous upholstery on any furnishing. Price available through Edelman Leather.

Overstuffed, eye-catching pillows sporting exquisite modern black and white designs. A 16” x 16” down feather pillow.

- $110 each


Nuevo Allemande White Dining Chair - Modern Digs Furniture


SH05 Arie Bookshelf - Arik Levy

The Allemande Chair is a perfect example of unforgettable and modern design. Comfy, chic and comfortable this piece is a must!! - $479

Invisible structural elements of the shelf enable it to be used as a freestanding room divider or as a traditional against-the-wall unit. Price available upon request.


Arktura Loop Coffee Table - Chris Kabatsi The seamlessly curved coffee table is an eye-catching piece for any living room. The powder coated steel sliced base provides the durability to withstand its glass top. This design comes in a variety of colors. Price available upon request


Brooklyn Sectional White - Z Gallerie A lovely white modern sectional to brighten up a living area. It is a lightly buffed Verona leather sofa with a protective coating for easy maintenance. - $2,499

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“Onward” is a book on how Howard Schultz built the Starbucks brand. As I work on building

Fringe Studio Journals, $13

my own interior design business it has been a very “Onward” by Howard Schultz, $25.99

interesting and great read for me.

With many long hours, I find myself needing to take a few minutes of my day to unwind and As an interior designer, I


I travel, when I’m with cli

spiration. Fringe Studio ha

carry with a variety Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath, $40, and Souffle Body Crème, $55

Living in Texas, where it’s warm most of L’Occitane Shea Butter Lip Balm, $10

the year, we all need to find ways to protect our skin as well as lips.

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Tom Ford Charles Aviat

PICKS Later this summer, I plan to go on vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. I found the perfect parasol to take along with me when I head to the beach.

constantly take many notes as

Radley London Clear Plain Sailing Parasol, $45

I love the scent of Voluspa Candles. They

lients, or just when finding in-

burn great and the wicks last a long time.

appens to be a beautiful line I

y of notebook designs.

tors $340

With the heat comes lots of sun here in Texas. Everyone needs to own a pair of sunglasses down here. Recently, I’ve been introduced to the Tom Ford line and highly recommend them. Voluspa Classic Maison 2 wick candle, $16

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I ♥ THESE! “Editor’s


Picks ”



4 5



Throw Pillows, ,Teo Jasmin $60/each

White Peonies

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3 Lipstick in Gingerly, MAC $14.50



Chryoprase Ring, Jamie Joself $990

Faux Snake Pictu Frame, Lazy Susan $40



6 7




9 10

6 Pumps, Sergio Rossi $1,565

7 Teacups and Saucers, Jasper Conran Kiliman Collection, $125/pair

8 Leopard Camo Bow Pin, Betsey Johnson $75

9 Hard2Handle Candle, Tyler Candle Co. $19.50

10 Gold Pocket Mirror, Judith Leiber $195

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In-Store @ Laura U Collection


3. 4.






1. Stray Dog Designs, Terrell Swan Chandelier, $1065 2. Stray Dog Designs, Paper Mache Luv Birds, $36 each


3. Curry and Co., Mirrored Chest of Drawers, $1,848 4. Trina Turk Pillows, $104 each 5. Coyuchi, Baby Bedding, $108 6. Fringe Studio, Peacock Vase, $65 7. Coyuchi, Baby Bib, $15 8. Rifle Paper Studio, Cards, $4 each, set / $16 9. Stray Dog Designs, Poppy Flower Sturdy, $ 150 10. Go Home Ltd., Wedding Chair Set of 6, $1,950 11. Stray Dog Designs, Paper Mache Spider, $18 each


12. Phillips Collection, Sheep in Natural, $500 13. Lunares, Silver Clothes Pins, $ 14. Stray Dog Designs, Renata Chandelier, $1,065


9. 10.

Vintage Vladamir Kagan Chaise 62 | LauraU

GIANTS OF AMERICAN FURNITURE DESIGN Written by Laura Umansky Interior Photography by Jill Hunter Art Direction/ Editing by Laura U Editor

As an admirer of American furniture design, I thoroughly appreciate all things Vintage and Mid-Century Modern. Because American furniture harkens back only to the mid-1600s, most significant pieces haven’t reached “Antique” status just yet (to qualify as antique, the item must be at least 100 years old). So, the furnishings that I adore are termed “vintage.” Which is just fine with me! In celebration of our grand nation’s independence, here are some of my American furniture favorites! Charles & Ray Eames. The quintessential midcentury modern designer. I should say “designers”. This dynamic duo was a hus-

band and wife team revolutionizing design in the US through simple, beautiful, and functional pieces. The Eames chair is arguably the most enduring statement piece of the 20th century. James Mont. The New York Times called James Mont the “Godfather of Exotic Modernism”. We call him a brilliant American designer. His bold, Asian-style modernism is unmistakable and we absolutely love to search for his work to use in our client’s interiors. Seems as though we, along with other collectors, are rediscovering Mont at a time when his work is in high demand. The hunt is on!

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Vladimir Kagan. Kagan is German born but moved to the US prior to his tenth birthday. He proceeded to become one of the giants of modern American furniture design. His work is strictly modern, but fits into most interiors because of the timelessness of each design. He is highly collectible and his newest designs, like the Fiberglass Chair shown here, are represented by Ralph Pucci (

Frank Gehry. Gehry is one of the most internationally recognized architects and designers in the world today. Can you say Sydney Opera House? His architecture is easily identifiable and, if I were a betting person, I would wager that you have admired his furniture as well. We love using his Wiggle Chair in our most whimsical projects. A word to the wise, do not use this chair if you have cats. It makes for an expensive scratching post!

Furniture pictured from top to bottom: Classic Eames Chair James Mont Blue Cerused and Siler Leafed Chestnut Console The Gehry Wiggle Chair

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Exotic Chair by Vladimir Kagan and Ralph Pucci

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The Plaza Hotel

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ince 1945, Sherle Wagner International has been recognized world wide as the premier source for luxury hardware and bath accessories. Their product range has expanded significantly over the years, moving beyond the bathroom and embracing the contemporary without departing from appreciation for the classics. Each new line they introduce remains consistent with the high design and fabrication standards that have made them a leader in the industry for over sixty years. Sherle Wagner International was founded by a man with a passion for perfection and an eye for elegance: a pioneer in realizing that the utilitarian does not have to mean the mundane. Mr. Wagner was, first and foremost, an artist. Sherle Wagner designs maintain a quality of timelessness through an artist's understanding of an aesthetic that does not pass with the ages.

When the legendary Plaza Hotel underwent a major restoration, Sherle Wagner was hired to create custom bathroom fixtures for its over 300 hotel rooms, suites, and royal suites. The Plaza was refurbished to reflect both the hotel’s timeless grandeur and a contemporary spirit. Sherle Wagner’s reputation for luxury and attention to detail made them the ideal partner for the project.

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THEIR PROCESS The process began with the architects in charge of the Plaza renovation looking through Sherle Wagner’s line of products. They discussed their concepts with Sherle Wagner’s team of designers and engineers, and exchanged ideas about potential product pairings and various customizations. The Sherle Wagner team took elements of several product lines and customized them to meet the architects’ vision. Sherle Wagner then generated digital three-dimensional models of the designs. The products were refined throughout this part of the process, perfected in every detail to the smallest level. Prototypes were then built and installed in a model hotel room at The Plaza. Once they received final approval, production began. The development process only took a matter of weeks to complete. All the resulting bathroom fixtures were designed to fit The Plaza. Some of the distinctive elements include a substantial exposed tub system and sinks that incorporate the Plaza logo into a special gold band. The most remarkable feature is the unique 24-carat gold finish that Sherle Wagner used to plate all the bathroom fixtures. This special polish was developed specifically for The Plaza. The architects envisioned the shine of a matte gold finish with the burnished quality of an antique finish. Sherle Wagner combined elements of deep color and high shine to create a gold polish that gives the fixtures an unmistakably elegant and classic appearance.

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69 | LauraU

An Am

designed by Ro

merican Dream

obert Senn Architecture


Designed by architect Robert Senn of Santa Barbara Architecture, this Americana designed home is an architectu designs an authentic feel. His client, a home builder from Denver, Colorado was moving to Santa Barbara to retire the client’s trip to Massachusetts and the idea to have a non-Mediterranean style home on the water front. Robert which combines in style to create a traditional American feel.

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ural dream, literally. Living and working in Santa Barbara, Robert is able to use the small details to give the homes he e. He wanted to build a few high end custom homes in the Santa Barbara area. The Cape Cod style was the result of defines this home as an Americana design because of its blend of the cape cod style with a little craftsman; both of

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Santa Barbara Architecture, Robert P. Senn , Architect 150 Cedar Lane Santa Barbara, CA 93108

How did you first get interested in architecture?

Describe the design process and working with the client.

I wanted to be an architect since I was 5 and was playing with Lego blocks. I started drawing ships and buildings at about age 7.

The client was highly involved in the design process. We developed the floor plans together, it was then up to me to transform the 2 dimensional plans into reality.

How and when did you start your company?

What were your goals for the project? After earning my Master of Architecture from the University of Washington in 1990, I returned to my home town of Santa Barbara to Design a traditional feeling Cape Cod home while maximizing the design a home for my parents on a golf course in Montecito. People ocean and island views. in the community loved the home and asked me to design homes for What was your inspiration for the project? them. I have been a high end custom residential architect ever since. I studied not only historic Cape Cod homes but also contemporary What is your favorite thing about creating your own architectural interpretations particularly those by Robert A.M. Stern. designs? What is your favorite aspect of the project? None of my designs are completely my own. They are always the result of working closely with my clients to meet their needs as well as When walking through the front door, a 30ft wide opening with pocket doors allows full view of the ocean and islands beyond. design a beautiful and functional home. How did you meet the client?

What is the best industry advice you’ve received?

I was recommended by a previous client to design a Tuscan home in Don’t be afraid to study the great architects and borrow from them. Montecito, the Cape Cod home was the 2nd home I designed for this What is your favorite part of the architectural design process? client. Listening to my clients and coordinating the synthesis of ideas. The Tell us about the client, the project, and the client’s desires for results often include things I may not have thought of but add to the the project. project and personalize it for each and every client. The client was a home builder from Denver, CO. moving to Santa Barbara to retire. He decided not to retire. Instead of building hundreds of homes per year in Colorado, he decided to focus on building just a few high end custom homes per year in the Santa Barbara area. The Cape Cod style was the result of the clients trips to Massachusetts. And local review boards desire for a non-Mediterranean style on the water front.

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What is the most frustrating aspect of your job? And the most rewarding one? The most frustrating aspect is dealing with antiquated ‘one size fits all’ zoning rules, design review by committee, and ever changing code requirements. The most rewarding aspect is seeing my 2 dimensional sketches become a 3 dimensional reality.

“When the stuff you do on paper becomes a reality, then it hits you, it’s real.” Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Robert has a great sense of appreciation for the city. Working in a city that he knows like the palm of his hands gives him a feeling of purpose. Santa Barbara has a sense of place! You don’t get that everywhere.

vendor | PROFILE

COYUCHI organic cotton


ounded nearly two decades ago off the coast of northern California in Point Reyes Station, COYUCHI’s luxurious linens and home texles are manufactured from 100% cerfied organic co on. With an organic co on collecon of bedding, bath, baby and wearable products, COYUCHI has also added cashmere and other pure, natural fibers to incorporate into their collecon. COYUCHI aims to create designs around comfort and to rejuvenate—body, mind and soul.

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VACATION: DESTINATION STYLE Meet five ladies who share their top travel destinations and their top five tips to use when travelling!!

Written by Tonia Bozeman Edited by Laura U Editors

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantcucket, Massachusetts is a favorite place to travel in the Summer. I have been going for over 25 years!! It is an island paradise with something for everyone. From a charming cobblestone town with great shopping and 82 miles of gorgeous beaches. We all know it's crucial to have technology with you, i.e. iPad, mobile phone, etc. I always pack my Aquis microfiber hair towel. It dries your hair faster to save you time and cut down on hair-damaging blow drying.

Paris, France

My top five travel tips:

I heart Paris, France! It is hands-down one of my all time favorite cities. The women are chic. The men debonair and everyone everywhere is just so darn cool. The Parisiens have a certain je ne sais quois about them— that makes all of us just a tad bit envious. The architecture alone is reason enough to visit, it's such a pretty city. Then there's the city's history and the Seine, Le Rodin, The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower, the cafes, the croissants and oh, the shopping!

1) Save those clear plastic dry cleaner bags. They are essential for packing clothes that tend to wrinkle.

1) Plan Ahead. If you're going some place you've never been before, do a little research ahead of time.

2) It's easy to pick up germs when you travel. There are many options for wipes but a great one to use is Herbal Essentials.

2) Make a packing list. Take the time to plan out what type of clothes you're going to need for various activities.

3) This is a 2 for 1. First, it's essential to plan your wardrobe around one or two basic hues and then use accessories and smaller pieces to bring in pops of color. Then for the second half - take photos of all your coordinated outfits with your phone or camera. Go from day to evening with changes in shoes, jewelry, bag and make up!!

3) Travel in comfortable shoes. The goal is to never look ugly - sweats, flip-flops are so not the way to be seen. I must admit Jack Purcell sneakers are stylish but don't make you look like a fashion plate. 4) Travel with personal stationery. Pack a few personalized notecards so you can leave a personal note.

4) In our digital age, our gadgets have become appendages. If you travel internationally, you need a power adapters.

5) Make sure you have your essentials in your carry on such as an MP3 player, a good book and light snacks.

5) Use the internet to find helpful apps and sites for travel.

The one thing I always travel with is a satin pillowcase. Traveling with a satin pillowcase helps to minimize the damaging effects.

- Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence

- Kalyn Johnson of Possess your Style


Stockholm, Sweden is Summer because you holm’s many wondrous way to see the city. Yo give you a different fac probably most beautifu

1) Consider internatio indulge a bit. Pack carry on such as E for dry skin, Zia ult 30 SPF.

2) Consider where yo most beneficial to you travel to and f

3) When traveling ab how you pack. It is your luggage. Larg

4) Travel is not a vac you are, when you slow travel and foc

5) Focus on quality p put to good use fo memento instead

- Nicole Dufour Dur

olm, Sweeden

a favorite place to visit during the can get to just about all of Stocks sites on foot, which is the perfect ou can also take a boat trip that will cet of Scandinavia’s largest and ul city.

onal traveling to be me time and k travel sized beauty aids in your Evian Brumisateur or Zia starter kit timate eye crème or Zia solar care

ou are going and what will the you once you are there plus while from.

broad be vigilant about what and s important to make the most of ge leather weekenders are ideal.

cation, it is a journey. Enjoy where u are. Embrace the concept of cus on quality over quantity.

purchases that will be loved and or years to come and serve as a of something obvious and usual.

rocher of BRLYN Contessa

San Diego, California

San Jose, Costa Rica

My favorite Summer destination is San Diego is beautiful year-round for the most part. Great restaurants, bars and shopping is everywhere. The beach and ocean views, are the highlights and if you cap off a vacation with a boat ride, it's the perfect getaway. Let the water be your guide. Wherever there’s water make sure you get there. Create your very own travel traditions.

I'd love to make it to San Jose, Costa Rica this year. Even though it has been uncovered as a tropical vacation haven in the last few years, the options in price allow anyone to afford a slice of this paradise. I never leave home without a scarf, even when visiting a tropical destination. A linen or cotton scarf can always be used in various ways.

1) Wake up early. Sometimes getting out early just as the sun rises, allows for a great start.

1) When you get to your destination, ask locals where to eat. Ask the porters/cab drivers for their favorite restaurants in town. You'll never had a bad meal with this strategy.

2) Go where the natives roam. Ask a random person on the street or your taxi driver where the best eats and boutiques are. 3) Take the road less traveled. Go somewhere that’s not in a tourist guide or the hotel list. Just get out! 4) An extra bag or suitcase is always a must. You may go on a weekend getaway with no intention on picking up knick-knacks or clothes but more times than not, you do. 5) Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Some people don’t like to take pictures for fear of looking like tourists, but I’d rather have mementos from my trip than none for fear of looking less than hip.

Adrienne Smith of Mustard Seed Collective

2) Plan your "looks" ahead with separates that can mix and match: cardigans, tanks, lots of dresses. You would rarely have to check on week long trips. Wear the heaviest clothing and shoes on the plane for light traveling. 3) Apps are the new pocket travel guide. From Flightboard to Foodspotting and Google Translate everything is at your fingertips now. 4) Sites like Gilt, Living Social, and Jet Setter are making travel deals and steals available everyday. Planning a luxury vacation on a economy price is now easier than ever. 5) If you are traveling someplace where your dollar can stretch significantly further, book a massage or two.

Karen Young of Hammocks and High Tea

Ideas for the eco-friendly shopper!! Driftwood end table

This chic end table is made from collected pieces of driftwood off the shores of Java. Crate and Barrel adopted this piece into their Eco-Friendly Collection. $399 Crimean Pinecone Lamp

Made from 56 plates of natural Maple wood, lighting designer Pavel Eekra organically crafted a beautiful pendant lighting concept that is a real showstopper!

Seaborn throw

Designer Ritva Puotila innovatively used 100% paper yarn to create a chic hand-knitted bedroom throw.

Hand-slumped glass bowl

With three colors to choose from, this 100% recycled glass bowl by Terra Furnishings is carefully melted and ‘hand-slumped ’ over a bowl mold . $55

Recycled rover

Roost Home Furnishings used recycled paper and various repurposed materials to construct Recycled Rover! This conversational piece can be placed anywhere in your home. $128 Tree ring coasters Each fallen tree due to natural forest fires, the tree trunks are repurposed to create a common household good, drink coasters. You can find this product at

Uncommon Goods. A set of four for $55.

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


party | SCENE

Art for the Ages Houston interior design firm and boutique, Laura U Collection, held an annual artist’s exhibition event called Lilith’s Spring, which featured works from local and regional artists. Wednesday, April 27, and Thursday, April 28, Laura U Collection brought three (3) energetic, unique, creative and gifted artists to the forefront of Houston’s art scene. On the 27th there was a gallery pre-show, where pre-selected VIP guests enjoyed art, music, cocktails and signature collectables. On the 28th the Laura U Collection showroom opened the exhibition to preferred guests, who had the opportunity of meeting the artists. This years featured artists were Kimberly Clemmons, Sophia Buddenhagen and Julianne Christoffel.

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community | SPOTLIGHT

Houston Young People for the Arts (HYPA) is a committee of the Houston Downtown Alliance that aims to promote education of the visual and performance arts; to advance awareness of current events in the Houston art scene, particularly among young people; and to collaborate with governmental and not-for-profit organizations to achieve these goals. From HYPA-tailored events to joint promotions with other organizations around the city, we provide Houston young professionals with a unique opportunity to view and participate in the burgeoning art landscape without emptying their pockets; meet other individuals with similar goals; and be able to support the art scene in its many forms. HYPA was formed in 2005 by recent University of Texas graduates coming back to Houston and seeing a need to bring younger audiences to the arts scene. Their first event had two members (the co-founders) and was hosted in their home. Now, HYPA hosts events with all different types of organizations and is home to over 375 members and counting. HYPA finances their programming through their annual gala that is inspired by a major theater district organization production. For 20112012, HYPA will partner with Theatre Under The Stars’ Bring It On The Musical and the gala will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2012. Membership to Houston Downtown Alliance is $20 annually. Membership includes participation in Houston Young People for the Arts and Emerging Leaders, Houston Downtown Alliance’s business networking young professional group. For more information visit or HYPA is structured to be a low-cost, collaborative effort and is ideal for many communities looking to bolster their young, diverse arts audience participation, 21 & up. HYPA was featured as a topic at the National Arts Marketing Conference Project in November 2008 as an illustration of how arts non-profits are reaching younger audiences and has been recognized in many publications including Houston Chronicle, Houston magazine, Miami Herald and many others.


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Laura U|MAG - June/July Issue  

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

Laura U|MAG - June/July Issue  

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