At Laura U Interior Design, we take on three types of high-end interior design projects: renovations, new construction, and furnishings-only clients. While I love working on all our projects, renovations are my favorite. I love making the homes functional, while still honoring the history and architecture of its original build.

The process of uncovering the home’s beauty and creating a high-end interior that complements it does take time and it’s not without its challenges. In high-end design renovations, you get to keep a lot of the existing structure intact, but you get the chance to modernize it. And let me just say, the transformation is always stunning! It’s exciting to see the difference between what the home looked like at the beginning and then at the final reveal.

Today I want to give you a look inside five luxury residential interior design projects the team has worked on over the years.    

High-End Interior Design: Willowick

TOUR WILLOWICK HERE

Year Built – 1981     |      Year Renovated – 2017     |     Project Duration – 24 months     |     Build Team – Windham Builders, Colby Design, Tellepsen Landscaping

For the Willowick project, I walked the home with our client and their Realtor. It needed a lot of work, which made it difficult for our clients to see the home’s potential. It was dark, dated, and filled with all-wood paneling. And bayou flooding had eroded the land surrounding the home. However, our client loved the home’s body and layout and were willing to undertake the renovations.

This was a top-to-bottom renovation and the original layout was the only thing we kept. Tellepsen Landscaping assisted with reclaiming the land around the home that had eroded, nearly doubling the size of the yard. In the interior, we modernized a lot of the spaces, particularly in the kitchen where we added double islands.

Entertaining space was a must for the homeowners. We worked with Windham Builders and Colby Design to create an open-concept kitchen and living area. We repurposed the library into a great room to give them plenty of space to gather with friends and family. Thanks to our clients’ open mind and desire to restore this 1980s home, we were able to turn it into something timeless and chic. So good was the re-design that this home was honored with a Design et. al. award the year it was completed.

The master bedroom at North, home to interior designer Laura Umansky

High-End Home Design: North Boulevard

TOUR NORTH BLVD HERE

Year Built – 1925     |     Year Renovated – 2017     |     Project Duration – 10 months     |     Build Team – Newberry Architecture, Blue River Custom Builders

I’ve always loved the Boulevard Oaks neighborhood. For anyone who has ever seen the movie Rushmore, you’ll understand what I mean. The elegantly tree-lined streets seem to umbrella over the boulevards in a languid, comforting way that is so quintessentially Houston. And the majority of the residences were designed by Houston’s finest architects. After purchase, I had the chance to walk the home with Ms. Hubbard, who lived there in the 1950s. Ms. Hubbard was 5 years old when she moved in, which is the same age my twin girls were when we purchased it. Over the years, the home had fallen into disrepair and Carol, my Realtor, said “please don’t buy this house!”

But I had made an emotional connection with it, one that Ms. Hubbard shared. Using her childhood photographs as a guide, I set out to restore all the home’s original finishes and replicate anything we could not repair. I put together my dream build team to take on the challenge of renovating this home. The home is a historic home, protected by Preservation Houston. With their guidance and counsel, they helped Newberry Architecture and Blue River Custom Builders make sure the home represented its original roots.

During the renovation, we discovered that many of the windows had been sheetrocked over to create a darkened study. We wanted to stay true to the original design, so we opened up these areas. We restored the room back to its original purpose as a music room. When we invited Ms. Hubbard back to tour the home after our renovations, she was immediately teary eyed, saying we brought “life back after all these years.” That’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever received as a designer!

The high-end design of our home on North Boulevard is a true representation of our family’s personality. It’s a timeless, Classically Current interior that honors the designs of the past and gives it a modern twist.

A mid-century modern family room with white wingback chair

High-End Interior Design: Pinehollow

TOUR PINE HOLLOW HERE

Year Built – 1950s     |     Year Renovated – 2016     |     Project Duration – 12 months     |     Build Team – Adam Joseph, Bentwood Kitchens

When our clients approached us about renovating their 1950s mid-century ranch home, I knew this home’s interior was going to be full of personality. Originally from Texas, the husband, prefers a more traditional style while his wife, who hails from London, has an eye for quirky, contemporary pieces. Our goal was to design a luxurious, high-end interior that incorporates both old and modern pieces with a touch of whimsy.

Their home, featured on CultureMap, was in great condition when they purchased it. It had floor to ceiling windows offering gorgeous views of the bayou. It makes your feel like you’re in the English country, not in Houston. We did a complete renovation with Adam Joseph to pay homage to the home’s roots and the homeowner’s heritage.

Except for the original windows, the kitchen received a complete overhaul from Brentwood Kitchens. We were able to preserve the original fireplace surround, which keeps the spirit of the original architecture alive. A fresh coat of white paint gives it a clean update. We refinished their antique china hutch with a blue stain and added lighting inside to match their contemporary dining room design.

The result is a high-end home design layered with 1960s London style and a touch of Texas influence. The lush green views, the Union Jack frig, and the Aga range gives the home a very English touch. Leather upholstery and a cowhide rug paired with brass accents add a mix of interesting textures and give the design a Texas feel. This interior perfectly blends their unique design styles to create a space that’s warm and welcoming.

A living room with emerald green curtains, a sleek black piano, and roses on a table

High-End Home Design: Reba

TOUR THIS AVALON PLACE HOME

Year Renovated – 2019     |     Project Duration – 18 months     |     Build Team – Newberry Architecture, Blue River Custom Builders

When our clients purchased this 1930s home, it had undergone several renovations and had turned into a Frankenstein house. The homeowners considered tearing the structure down to completely rebuild, but the wife valued the home’s historic character. Instead of starting from scratch, we worked with Newberry Architecture and Blue River Custom Builders on a redesign.

We took the home down to the studs and created a new design to honor its historic roots. The new high-end interior design gave the space great flow, perfect for this young family of four. A large addition at the rear of the property added additional space without compromising the integrity of the main home.

Staying true to the original finishes of the home was an important part of our interior design. We selected blackened brass finishes to add instant patina and included interior doors that were authentic to the originals. The home’s high-end interior design, featured on Rue Daily, is warm, collected, luxurious and yet durable enough to suit this active family.

A living room in the home of interior designer Laura Umansky

High-End Interior Design: Dryden

FOLLOW THE RENOVATION OF DRYDEN IN THIS POST

Year Built – 1930s     |     Year Renovated – 2015     |     Project Duration – 8 months     |     Build Team – Newberry Architecture, Blue River Custom Builders

Before moving into our home on North Boulevard, Michael and I decided to purchase a 1930s home in the Southgate neighborhood. Despite a configuration that wasn’t functional for my growing family of four, I had fallen in love and wanted to restore it. I knew this was my home.

The original home had two bedrooms and one bathroom, which wasn’t practical for our family. And though the home had been well-taken care of over the years, it was engineered with a concrete slab and concrete walls. Back in the 1930s concrete wasn’t as advanced as it is today, so we had to repair the foundation before building the addition.

As we went through the renovations, I wanted the honor the home’s historical roots. We left the home’s facade almost unchanged, keeping it true to its French architectural style. Working with Newberry Architecture and Blue River Custom Builders, we came up with a design to double the home’s original square footage.

The home’s high-end interior was a mix vintage and collectible pieces with some of our cherished family memorabilia. Our treasured art collection took center stage in the interior and gave our home life and personality. The interior design was a bold, yet subtle blend of traditional and modern pieces.

Luxury Residential Renovations

Tackling a high-end home renovation project can take time and can be intimidating, but the end result is worth it! Renovations give you the opportunity to honor the home’s original design while making your own mark on it. Incorporating elements of your own personality is what turns a house into a home and is what makes it uniquely yours.