Award-winning residential designer Laura Umansky founded Laura U Interior Design in 2006. For more than a decade, Laura and her growing team built a reputation for elegant interiors that were bright, bold and contrasting. In 2020, her firm evolved once more. Now offering residential building design services, the Laura U Design Collective is a multi-disciplinary studio offering a “wholistic” approach to home design.
As a full-service studio, our design firm comprises a diverse, multi-disciplinary team with backgrounds in architecture, interior design, graphic design, and the Fine Arts. From small-scale remodels to entire-home renovations, our highly collaborative team will help you achieve your design goals.
Laura Umansky is a Houston-based interior designer best known for her warm and luxuriously livable interiors. As Founder and Creative Director of Laura U Interior Design, she has helped clients all over the globe articulate their unique personalities through the art of exceptional design. “Above all else, my interiors reflect the personality of the people residing within them,” says Laura. “I believe that telling the homeowner’s personal story is paramount, understanding our surroundings is our bedrock, and adding more than a bit of drama and romanticism is necessary.” Her signature Classically Current aesthetic is a modern interpretation of iconic styles, resulting in interiors that are bright, bold, and contrasting. With this philosophy as a guide, Laura collaborates with each client to define a visual concept that seamlessly integrates art, family, and personal joy into every room of a home. “I am open-minded, I love beautiful and unique pieces, and I want to mix them together so I never have to be without something I enjoy. This is my approach to interior design, finding what’s beautiful and beloved, and surrounding yourself with those things every day.”
Laura has her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin and Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Houston. Laura – an active member of ASID and AIA – currently resides in Houston with her husband, Michael, and twin daughters, Liv and Ryan. As a family, they spend their summers in Aspen and love to host friends at their lovely Boulevard Oaks residence. When Laura is not in the studio, she finds her inspiration in great books and the experiences she has leading initiatives for the Girls Empowerment Network, the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, and the Furniture Bank’s No Kids on the Floor campaign.
Laura’s design icons: Carlo Scarpa and Bunny Williams
Not all children beg their parents to take them on historic home tours, but Gina had fallen in love with residential design at an early age. She watched as her parents built her childhood home, and knew in that moment, the exact path her professional life would take her. As Director of Residential Building Design, Gina’s passionate, client-centric approach drives her practice. Her professional portfolio spans all modes and styles, with one constant: each design is a true reflection of how her clients’ live and enjoy their lives. While Gina was raised rurally, she traveled often, and as a result, has an adept understanding of the connection between environment and internal space. She attended the University of Houston, where she graduated Cum Laude. She comes to Laura U from Newberry Architecture, where she was the recipient of several awards, including the prestigious John Staub Award. When she’s not in the studio, you will find Gina spending time with her three beautiful children, exercising, cooking, and enjoying the outdoors.
Gina’s design icons: Bjarke Ingels and Margaret Bourke White
Melissa’s experience in digital marketing came from an unlikely source, the ad department at the Chicago Tribune. After seeing the swift migration from print to online firsthand, Melissa joined research firm, Shapiro + Raj, where she refined her knowledge of consumer behavior and the impact of the online experience. After moving to Houston, she took on the role of brand manager for Blue Sky Marketing, an award-winning digital agency specializing in content marketing, PPC advertising, and social media. In the past 10 years, she has driven regional marketing efforts for brands like Starbucks, Walmart, and Johnson Development Corp. As the Director of Digital Marketing for Laura U, Melissa engages clients, vendors, and other design industry leaders through meaningful digital experiences, sharing the firm’s bold interiors in various media worldwide. Outside of the studio, you will find her discovering new artists at Sawyer Yards, painting with her daughter, hitting Houston’s live music scene with her husband, or cooking a gourmet meal at home. She has her B.A. in Media Communications from Indiana University.
Melissa’s design icon: Verner Panton
Shannon left behind 10 very successful years in sales to pursue her passion for interior design. She began her career in the hospitality industry, designing luxury hotels all over Asia. Now, with 6 years of experience, Shannon is recognized for her distinctive Modern Glamorous style, inspired by her international travels and time living abroad. Shannon’s favorite stateside project locations have been Aspen and Miami, where she has completed both new construction and full-home remodels in a variety of styles, including Mountain Chic and French Contemporary. When she isn’t in the studio, you’ll find her taking a Barre or Pilates class before hitting the museums and supporting Houston’s vibrant arts community. She loves to travel and ski. She has an enviable knowledge of wine and is a fashionable insider on all things to eat, see, and do in Houston. She has her B.B.A.in International Business and Marketing from Texas Tech and her B.S. in Interior Design from Texas State University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Always the jetsetter, Shannon studied at the Catholic Institute of Paris and University of Granada in Spain. She is an ASID Allied member.
Shannon’s design icons: Joseph Dirand and Jean-Louis Deniot
Blair has been in the high-end residential design space since 2011. As a senior designer, she manages projects originating from all sides of the design spectrum, but feels most at home thoughtfully curating collected interiors that reflect her clients’ most beloved belongings. While she has worked on renovation and new construction projects internationally, her favorite location to work is in California. She tends to focus on Mid-Century, Transitional, and Contemporary styles, and is well-versed in high-rise interior design. Combined with her expertise in custom drapery and soft goods, Blair’s biggest strength is her empathy. By gaining a true understanding of what her clients are seeking, she visualizes a design that is completely unique and one-of-a-kind. As a native Houstonian, Blair appreciates the ever-evolving restaurant and live music scene. She is known for venturing out somewhere new each week and is a devoted patron of Houston’s many art galleries, especially the MFAH, CAMH, and The Menil. She has her B.S. in Interior Design from Baylor University, is NCIDQ certified, and is an allied member of ASID.
Blair’s design icon: Rose Tarlow
Since 2013, Shenay has designed exclusively in the high-end residential space. She strives to make her clients feel at ease throughout the design process while incorporating thoughtful, personal details into their new home. She is known for her bold experimentation with color, blending playfulness with sophisticated contrast. Her projects have spanned every design style, from urban high-rise to casual beach house to an adobe-inspired retreat in Santa Fe. As lead designer, she works alongside architects and build teams to create stunning interiors her clients love. When she is not designing, you can often find her traveling with her husband, enjoying live local music, or trail walking with her Golden doodle pup. She graduated in 2012 from San Jacinto College with her Associate’s degree in Interior Design.
Shenay’s design icon: Maya Romanoff
Lexie has been interested in interior design since childhood. Seeing her parents restore the historic home in which she was raised had a major impact, fostering in her the wonderful ability to see potential in something others may overlook. Given the freedom to rearrange her furniture and paint her room any color she wished, Lexie developed a passion for design. For the past three years, Lexie has grown from intern to design assistant to associate and finally, lead designer at Laura U. Her approach is pragmatic and inspired. Using the transformative power of Fine Art, texture, color, and pattern, Lexie creates layered interiors that truly encompass her clients’ personalities. She has her B.S. in Interior Design from Sam Houston State University. When she isn’t the studio, you can find her exploring the outdoors. Nature is her happy place.
Lexie’s design icon: de Gournay
Britian’s passion for design is inspired by the memories she has of growing up in her native Mississippi. With an appreciation for the simple things, she is drawn to beautiful, curated, and cozy interiors. Her background consists of highly focused sales roles, where she honed her customer service skills. As a design assistant at Laura U, she supports leading design teams with confidence and creativity. One of her favorite locales to work is in Santa Fe, where design is profoundly influenced by cultural identity and the surrounding landscape. Britian is very much influenced by her environment, and when she isn’t in the studio, you will find her painting or exploring an antiques shop to keep her design eye fresh. She also enjoys trying out new restaurants with her husband. She has her B.S. in Interior Design from Louisiana State University.
Britian’s design icons: Athena Calderone and Sean Anderson
As design assistant, Lissa is instrumental in supporting our lead and senior team members. Her background in hospitality allowed her to work on designs all over America. This experience combined with her great love of travel has influenced her approach to design. Lissa loves to mix styles, patterns, and textures to create singular interiors that tell the story within a space. She designs with the location in mind, considering the surrounding environment and the local culture. She graduated from Sam Houston State University with her B.S. in Interior Design. When she’s not at the studio, you will find her outside, sitting al fresco with friends, exploring Houston’s nature trails and parks, or getting in a Camp Gladiator workout. When at home, you’ll find her spending time with her precious maltipoo, Dany.
Lissa’s design icons: Kelly Wearstler & Hanne Gath
Before joining Laura U, Lisa honed her procurement and management skills with MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas NV. She worked with her team at MGM in several large scale high end hospitality projects including restaurants, hotels, casinos and event spaces over the past 4 years. Lisa was focused on critical path procurement and logistics activities supporting these projects to ensure highest levels of quality products were delivered on time and at or below budget. She is proud of her ability to exceed her clients’ expectations in her work efforts. Lisa holds a bachelors degree in Business Management from California State University, Northridge.
Lisa’s design icon: Tom Wright
Jeanifer discovered her career path in Business Management when she first started handling budgets and organizing events while pursuing her degree. She started working at Laura U while still in school and was able to master the application of accounting principles as they pertained specifically to the interior design industry. As her education progressed, she discovered that Accounting was her passion. In her role as Accounting Manager, Jeanifer works closely with the design team manage project budgets, keep financial information up-to-date, and provide top-level financial information to clients. She manages all financial reporting and is integral in maintaining a healthy cash flow for the studio. She has her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Houston. When not in the office, you can find her traveling somewhere around the U.S or enjoying the outdoors by going for a run with her dogs, camping, hiking or visiting a nearby lake.
Jeanifer’s design icon: Antoni Gaudi