Master bedroom with rattan chandelier, sliding door to the master bath

We explore creative environments that integrate beauty and function, inspired by our clients' passions and joys.

Our Firm

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. 

Interested in joining our team? View our current openings.



Laura U Design Collective Founder and CEO, Laura Umansky, seated in the family room of her family home in Houston's Boulevard Oaks neighborhood.



Laura Umansky is an award-winning interior designer best known for her warm and luxuriously livable interiors. As Founder and CEO of Laura U Design Collective, 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 Aspen with her husband, Michael, and twin daughters, Liv and Ryan. When not at work, Laura 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


Residential Designer and Creative Director of the Laura U Design Collective, Gina Brown, poses for a photo in front of a bird art piece.

Gina Elkins Brown


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 Creative Director, 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. Prior to joining LUDC, Gina spent 14 years at leading and award-winning architecture firm, Newberry Architecture. 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 Grove, Laura U Design Collective's Chief Operating Officer, poses for a headshot in front of four black-framed art prints

Melissa Grove


Melissa’s experience in marketing started in the ad department at the Chicago Tribune and carried her through the market research industry before she finally settled in Houston. In the past 10 years, she has driven regional marketing efforts for brands like Starbucks and Walmart, steering companies to an effective, story-driven practice. As Chief Operating Officer, Melissa ensures our multi-disciplinary team adheres to our unified vision: the love of home. She also uses her experience in social media, digital marketing, and branding to share the firm’s bold and timeless 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 Smith, senior designer at the Laura U Design Collective

Shannon Smith


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 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 Usnick, Senior Designer at the Laura U Design Collective

Blair Usnick


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 

Residential Designer, Megan Strasburg in the Laura U Design Collective Studio

Megan Strasburg


As a Project Manager at Laura U, Megan is a central part of the residential design team. Early travel with her family to places like Europe and Southeast Asia sparked her interest in the architecture of places, leading her to pursue an Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M University. Since graduating in 2008, Megan has accumulated over 12 years of experience in the architectural field, with nearly 5 years in the high-end residential space. Her passion for design is client-centric, powered by a love for creating spaces that are an honest reflection of self. When not in the studio, Megan can be found exploring Houston’s restaurant scene, enjoying parks with her son and husband, doing yoga, and dreaming of new places to travel.

Megan’s design icon: Moshe Safdie

Lexie Terry, lead designer at LUDC

Lexie Terry


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 Matherne, design assistant at the Laura U Design Collective

Britian Matherne


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 has her B.S. in Interior Design from Louisiana State University.

Britian’s design icons: Athena Calderone and Sean Anderson

Lissa Eikrem, design assistant at the Laura U Design Collective

Lissa Eikrem


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

Purchasing Agent and Client Care Coordinator, Caitlin Miller, inside the Laura U Design Collective studio in Houston, Texas

Caitlin Miller


Upon graduating from the University of Houston with her Bachelor’s Degree in Retailing and Consumer Science, Caitlin began her professional career in the service industry where she gained extensive experience as an Assistant Buyer for a large corporation. She now serves as our firm’s Purchasing Agent, where she supports the design team logistically with order management, installation scheduling, and vendor/trade relations. When not in the studio, Caitlin can be found reading, shopping for new houseplants, or curled up on the couch with her cat watching crime documentaries.

Caitlin’s design icon: Danielle Nagel

Arely Gonzalez, Client Care Coordinator at Laura U

Arely Gonzalez

As Laura U’s Purchasing Assistant, Arely assists in making sure the ordering process runs smoothly. She helps with inventory management, order scheduling, and purchase records maintenance. She is currently pursuing a major in Social Work at the University of Houston and puts her burgeoning career skills into practice by building close relationships with vendors. Her positivity is one of her greatest strengths and enables her to step in wherever she is needed in the studio. When she isn’t in the studio or studying, you will find her reading a book while sipping on a cup of her favorite coffee- Caramel Macchiato Latte. 
Arely’s Design Icon: Jay Sarno 
Madison Doyle, social media coordinator at the Laura U Design Collective

Madison Doyle

As Laura U’s Social Media Coordinator, Madison is responsible for planning, implementing and monitoring the company’s social media strategy. She supports the Laura U marketing efforts by increasing brand awareness and connecting with social users. Prior to her start at Laura U, Madison obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. When she’s not in the studio, you can find Madison traveling to new places, trying new recipes for chocolate-chip cookies or spending quality time with her friends and family.
Madison’s Design Icon: Ruth Ansel
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