Welcome! Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Laura Umanski of Laura U Interiors, a Houston Texas designer who runs her firm with her wonderful staff and comes home to her loving family. Laura has a vision that each client and space should get their own look, finding unique objects for her projects while mixing with the client’s personal objects creating a story for their space. Laura calls her designs Classically Current, her spaces are bold, dramatic, colorful, and never the same from client to client.
Welcome! Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with Jimmy DeLaurentis of Jimmy DeLaurentis, a Philadelphia native with an Italian heritage. He has a big spot in his heart for his family, his dogs, and loves to go big or go home. Even when he goes big with his projects, he’s always looking to go bigger in the future. Jimmy not only envisions a sleek space for interior design but creates his own furniture for not only people but their four-legged companions as well.
Today in The Lounge, Nick joins Dallas native Ty Burks of William-Christopher Design, he is one of the co-founders of the design firm, along with his partner Christopher Ridolf. Come listen in as Nick and Ty discuss how he started his career from working in financial corporations in Boston to an antique store on Charles Street to moving back to Dallas, Texas creating his design firm of William-Christopher Design.
Welcome! Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with Michelle Rohrer-Lauer of Michelle’s Interior. Michelle has fabulous sophistication mixed with modern elements to gives that special magical feeling that fits you and your home.
This past fall I had the pleasure of visiting several homes on the AIA Austin Homes Tour, an annual event that highlights 14 of the best homes within the city of Austin, Texas. A collaboration of work, it’s a unique opportunity for both designers and architects to showcase their talents. The homes showcase a range of styles, techniques, construction, materials, and execution.
Continuing my series on the home tour, I sat down with Tim Cuppet of Tim Cuppett Architecture & Interiors to chat about the Eva Street House. Tim leads a small team of six and offers full-service architecture and interior design services with a residential portfolio spanning two decades. Their work is rooted in traditional forms of hearth and home interpreted in quiet modernism. Over the years, Tim and his team have won several awards for their distinctive work and continue to do so each year.
The AIA Homes Tour describes the Eva Street House as:
“…a new urban infill home for empty nesters. Eager to embrace their surroundings, the owners wanted a home with a graciously scaled front porch and street-facing pedestrian-friendly street. Indicative of the early 20th-century era homes that fill the neighborhood, the interiors remain crisp and current, consistent with the scale of older neighboring homes. Eva Street House is quietly modern, modestly scaled and integral to its old neighborhood context.”
Here’s the scoop from Tim on this gorgeous home.
Can you tell us about the client and how you worked with them? “The client approached us about designing their next home in Bouldin, a walkable neighborhood adjacent to South Congress Ave. Being recent empty-nesters, they chose to downsize from their large suburban home.“
What was the timeline of the project with the client? “The client approached us early as they wished to work methodically through the process and were not ready to sell their existing home. On their schedule, we worked about a year in design, documentation, and permitting.“
How long did each process take? “After design and documentation, construction for this house took approximately 12 months.”
How big of a team worked on this project? “Our team consisted of 4: myself, my business partner Dave who functioned as the project architect, a draftsman, and our interior designer, Adriana Chetty.”
How does this house incorporate the design needs and style of the client? “Like each project which is designed for specific individuals, our solution marries the style and needs of the client to the site. Interiors were developed using sentimental pieces which they brought, supplemented by a few new items.”
What was the most challenging part of this project?“As on most projects, the most challenging part is stretching the budget to get the highest “quality-of-life” return on the dollars being spent.”
What are the prominent design features of this house?“The house was intended to blend seamlessly into the existing neighborhood. This tree-lined street was particularly pleasant and we didn’t want to disrupt its rhythm. The new house, scale, massing, and setback were compatible with existing fabric; its detailing and execution make it stand out upon close inspection.”
Were you able to stay within the client’s budget? “Yes, the budget was fixed.”
Did you work with local manufacturers and vendors? What was that like? “We prefer to work with local fabricators and vendors when possible; the collaboration leads to more meaningful solutions. For Eva Street we worked with local maker, Shoda Yamaguchi for some new furniture items. In addition, Ambrose Upholstery reworked some existing upholstered pieces.“
Tim and his team work in collaboration to create the unthinkable: a seamlessly perfected collaboration between design and architecture. They are happy to provide their expert advice and help your dream home visions come to life. You can follow their work and get in touch by visiting, www.cuppettarchitects.com.
The 21st Annual Austin Home & Garden show was exactly the last-minute adventure that I was searching for on a cold Saturday afternoon. The three-day event showcases outdoor products, landscaping, windows, doors, cabinetry, storage and so much more to inspire the designer in me. The beautiful vignettes were a sight for sore eyes and a great incentive to entice the crowd for more information. As a new homeowner and professional designer, I was intrigued by all the aftermarket utilitarian and functional products that were available. I convinced my husband to accompany me with the rule that he was able to spend freely with no restrictions.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the highlights and vendors that I had a brief chat with. As you’ll see, these Home & Garden shows are full of new products and inspiration for even the most seasoned of design professionals.
Custom Home Guides
Building the home of your dreams, shouldn’t be stressful for the homeowner or the professional. With the help of a custom home building company, it’s easy to see your visions come true. They hire the crème de la crème of contractors, suppliers, vendors, and financial providers so that the designer can focus on showcasing his/her expertise. They have in-house architects as well, so in reality, this becomes a collaborative project with all the trades. They provide construction expertise, organization and collect options from multiple bids. The designer has an opportunity to mark-up profitability while focusing on the homeowner’s overall budget. From the financial side of the business, they help the homeowner by cutting out the middleman and going straight to the source for all construction services. This is a great opportunity for the designer to offer these services in a one-stop-shop package deal.
Often overlooked by most construction companies, the water softener is an integral part of any home. The water softener is a water treatment conditioner that uses the latest technological equipment, to filter and soften the daily intake of water. A stainless steel tank that is embedded with a hygienic filter purifies chlorine, chemicals, and any heavy metals. The goal is to create crystal clear drinking water for everyday usage. Unfortunately, most designer centers do not offer this feature as an option to add to the overall homeowner package, so a Home & Garden show is a great venue to make connections in this niche market. Do note that water softeners can run with a pretty hefty price tag, anywhere from $3000-$6000 to install. I would highly recommend providing this as a design service or even educating the everyday homeowner about the long-term benefits.
Cabinet Storage Options
As a previous kitchen designer, I know that maximizing cabinet storage is a must for any utilitarian and functional kitchen, saving homeowners time and adding to a home’s value. It’s also an easy way to break the age gap barrier between all members of the family. No matter the age of the home, custom glide-out storage cabinets can be installed to existing cabinets. Custom solutions that are installed on top of new or existing shelves to utilize every inch of space for pots and pans, trash/recycle bins and everything else you could imagine. With a 100lb weight capacity, these shelves stretch out and push back with ease. Dovetail construction is used for strength and stability. The next time you have an opportunity to design a kitchen, consider all these new product options and details.
The garage can be a difficult space and most commonly overlooked as a great utilitarian area for extra storage. At the Home & Garden show, you’ll see innovative organization systems that can hold up to 800lbs of capacity for overhead storage. And, it fits the test of sturdiness, since not one but three people can hang from it! From a designer’s perspective, this product is innovative, resourceful and budget friendly. The next time your client is looking for extra storage, peek into their garage and imagine all the possibilities!
In the 21st century, it’s all about bringing the indoors outside. The big trend in outdoor design is creating a functional environment, where you can entertain and enjoy the outdoors. A hub of activity for the family, it’s the perfect place for your next gathering. Fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, pools, bars and patio seating all require a great foundation to walk on; this can be achieved creatively through stone flooring. The choices and options are unlimited and you can collaborate with a professional to maintain the design style and vision of the homeowner.
The core of a well-designed home is a quality foundation. With a cracked foundation, eventually, everything will sink down or turn into shambles. Concrete repair has come a long way with new and innovative technology. Polylevel injection foam is polyurethane foam which is injected beneath the concrete to fill the gaps of soil erosion. It is a fast-drying, strong, waterproof, stable, quick and non-invasive. Consider collaborating with the construction company on choosing quality products, before you begin the project.
A Feast for the Design Senses
A few of the other types of vendors you’ll run into at a Home & Garden show include: door and window manufacturers, pool companies, solar shade producers, kitchen remodel and design-build companies, paint contractors, energy saving specialists, clean air companies, etc. As a professional designer and homeowner, it was beneficial to see the after-market options available for both existing and new homes.
As a designer, I would highly recommend convincing your clients to consider some of these solutions for long term financial return by investing in energy saving and quality products. It was an eye-opening and educational afternoon for this designer. Unfortunately, my husband came back empty-handed, but I put a smile on his face with a $5 bag of roasted sweet pecans. Win-win for all!