Located in Houston, Texas, the Green Tree project is the perfect blend of traditional ranch-style and mid-century modern design. We spoke with Senior Designer Shannon Smith from Laura U Design Collective on how her and Laura Umansky created a timeless homage to 1950s design.

Written by Juno DeMelo

Photography by Jack Thompson, @lauraudesigncollective

Designed by Shannon Smith Senior Designer from Laura U Design Collective

MADE Modern Peaked Diamond Curved in Blue Mist

How did you end up at Laura U?

My first degree was in International Business and Marketing and I eventually left behind 10 very successful years in sales to pursue my lifelong passion for interior design. I began my design career in the hospitality industry, designing luxury hotels all over Asia. Over six years ago I made the move to luxury residential design and was drawn to Laura U’s portfolio of work and business savvy design process.


What defines Laura U?

We want our clients to enjoy the creative experience, while we manage the smallest of details for them. To achieve that balance, Laura has put a lot of thought into our process. We collaborate with our clients to guide them toward the discovery of a design they love, and our team takes care of the rest. We are also a "wholistic" practice addressing every part of the home's design, not just the interiors, and that works for our clients because they can rely on us to curate a spectacular home from top-to-bottom. Our clients often comment on how efficient and detail-oriented our team is because we offer exceptional client care beyond great design. 


How would you describe your aesthetic?

I am personally recognized for my distinctive Modern Glamorous style, inspired by my love of fashion, international travels and time living abroad. However, I love working on a variety of design aesthetics for my clients from Houston, San Francisco, Miami to Aspen in a range of styles, including Mountain Chic and French Contemporary. 


You recently worked on the Green Tree project. Why did the homeowners reach out to you?

It was an existing midcentury home, featuring terrazzo flooring and low ceilings, and the clients had started with an architect to renovate the master bathroom and closet. They needed help with all the material selections and furnishings. Our team helped redesigned some of the existing layout, custom millwork, selected all the finishes and surfaces throughout the home, as well as all the furnishings and lighting. The clients wanted to honor the midcentury architecture of the home, but make it fresh and more contemporary.

How did the homeowners end up choosing MADE Modern tile?

At the start of our design process we have an inspiration presentation. For this discovery meeting, we bring in inspiration images and lots of materials and finishes to see what the client is drawn to. They fell in love with a lot of the geometric and unique textured tiles we presented, as well as the colors. Some clients are afraid to use much color, so it was fun working with a client that embraced color. True to midcentury design, the clients wanted to use a lot of walnut throughout the home, so a lot of the tile was in blues and warmer colors, which complemented the walnut and clean lines. We were able to make the clients dream home come to life and a few design tears of joy were shed when the clients saw our vision for their home.

Which tiles did you end up using and where?

In the kitchen, we used the MADE Modern Rectangle in New Lagoon. It was a stunning complement to all the walnut Poggenpohl kitchen. In all the bathrooms, there is also custom walnut millwork. We used the Peak Diamond Curved in Blue Mist for the Master and Ribbed Moon in New Lagoon for the Guest bath. One of the client’s favorite tiles was used in the powder bath, a custom glass mosaic, Beau Monde Marilyn.

Have you used MADE in other projects?

I have not used MADE in another project yet, so it was really fun to specify it in this one. We love working with the Ann Sacks team there is something from Ann Sacks for every project because its such beautiful, high quality, unique tile.