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Putting Together Dynamic Decorative Trays for Fall

Fall platters are for sliced turkey. But fall decorative trays are for anything you want. Anything.

Pack ’em up with mini pumpkins. Pile on dried twigs and candles (as long as the two aren’t touching).

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And decorative trays are so very easy to make.

In our videos, we create two different decorative trays in 15 seconds each!

OK, fine. It’s time-lapse stuff.

But you can whip up dandy decorative trays rather quickly. Take a few quick tips from Laura.

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Laura is our tray master here at Laurie’s. We bow to her during the autumn season.

Laura’s Rules for Decorative Trays

  1. Think of the tray as a giant puzzle. Move pieces around until you have no gaping holes. Gaping holes are ugly. Gaping holes will ruin the whole thing. 
  2. Go for an array of textures. A variety of colors. And don’t put two similar things next to each other, for goodness sake!decorative trays texture
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  3. Start with one large anchor piece. Branch off from there.
  4. Create to scale, biggest mistake people make. Don’t put a dinky tray on a huge table in a wide room with high ceilings. Big rooms and big tables = big trays. Little rooms and little tables = little trays.
  5. Use a tray shape that mimics the shape of whatever it’s sitting on. Round table = round tray. Long ottoman = long tray. Rectangular shelf = c’mon, fill in the blank! You got this!
  6. Use sets of three for each item. Things always come in threes. Three makes a trio. Trios are good. You can break this rule without penalty. Just keep it in mind.
  7. Fill holes with picks, wreaths, and other sprig-ey things. See rule No. 1 about the puzzle.fall-trays-1

And remember, above all else, gaping holes are ugly. Gaping holes will ruin the whole thing. Enjoy!

Dos and Don’ts for Decorating with a Fall Color Palette

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Ahh… the fall color palette. Brilliant yellow. Vibrant orange. That-would-look-great-in-my living-room gold.

How many times have you gazed out at the brilliant fall foliage and said, “Hey, I wish I could look at those colors all year round.”

Let’s be honest, you probably first say, “Dang, I gotta rake this stuff up.”

But then you might take a moment to admire the colors.

Using fall colors in your home can be cool, or it can go totally wrong.

When It Goes Totally Wrong

uglyorangeroomNature is magic. That’s why all the fall colors work together to create one big, fat beautiful whole.

You’re not magic. You’re only human. And when humans try to put every single fall color in their home it creates one big, fat ugly mess.

A mess that gives you a headache, no less.

Imagine it. Bright orange carpet with intense yellow walls and brilliant gold cabinets. Ugh!

I’d rather go rake leaves.

If you must go for super-bright fall colors, pick ONE. Uno. That’s it. Try a single bright orange chair. A single brilliant gold throw rug. A single intense yellow bookcase. That’s it. Statement made. Headache avoided.

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When It’s Cool

Another way to bring fall colors into your home is to pick a single color. One. Uno. And then pepper colors from that color family throughout your living space.

Let’s say you went with orange. No, you’re not going to put a bright orange chair in every room.

You’re going to select different thingamabobs in different shades of oranges for different parts of your house. We already know you can have a bunch of thingamabobs. And you can also pick from a bunch of different oranges.

The orange color family has members named:

  • Bronze, Burnt Orange
  • Carrot, Copper, Cinnamon
  • Gamboge, Ochre
  • Paprika, Rust, Tangerine

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Maybe a rust wall with a burnt orange arm chair or paprika ottoman could work. And you gotta use gamboge, just so you can feel all sophisticated when you tell people you have gamboge in your home.

Keep the base neutral with beige, grey, brown or greige, then have fun with all that rust, paprika, tangerine and, of course, gamboge.

Choosing an Interior Designer that Fits Your Style

Your home is much more than your haven. It’s an extension of your personality. And to ensure your personality really comes through in a way that works for you, you’ve got to find an interior designer that fits your style.

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How do you do that? Not with random phone calls, blindly plucking a name off the internet or otherwise leaving the fate of your home up to fate. You can instead follow a few tips that can guide you to the perfect pick.

Give them samples of what you like: Create a Pinterest Pin board or collect tear sheets to provide the designer with an idea of what you like and what you’re going for.  

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Ask for samples of what they’ve done: A designer’s Pinterest account is a great place to strut their stuff. Ask to see it. Ask to see a portfolio while you’re at it, which they may have posted online for your ease and convenience.

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Ask for their references: Get contact info for one to three of their fairly recent clients.

Actually call their references: Here’s where you want to find out what it’s like working with them: if they’re prompt, reasonably priced, open to suggestions and other qualities that will make your project a joy instead of a horror.

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Make sure they are asking you good questions: At the same time you’re interviewing the designer, they should be interviewing you to ensure a good fit on their end. Good questions include things like square footage, existing decor, desired style and budget. Not good questions include things like dog’s name and shoe size.

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ASIDlogoCheck Certifications: A degree in interior design never hurts, nor does membership in organizations like the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Certified Interior Decorators International (CID),  or certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).

One more tip is to make sure the person makes you feel comfortable. They are, after all, going be invited into your home!

Canopy is the Most Beautiful Place in the World (and Not Just Because Our Décor is in it)

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Laurie’s is always excited when our décor adds just the right touch to any environment, but when that environment happens to be the Canopy Cancer Survivorship Center, the feeling goes far beyond excitement. That’s because the center, which opened July 5 at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Woodlands, is a gorgeous haven for any and all cancer survivors.

Free Services, Phenomenal Support

Canopy says people become cancer survivors the moment they receive a diagnosis, and you don’t even have to even be a patient of the hospital to come into the facility. All survivors and caregivers are welcome to join the support community, where services and activities are absolutely free.

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Visitors can take advantage of private counseling, group sessions, an onsite resource library, music, dance, art and other therapies, classes like knitting and gentle yoga, coffee and conversation, and a gentlemen’s card game. The center is for men and women to find physical, emotional, and spiritual support. Mentors are available to walk through the shock of recent diagnosis.

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You can certainly understand why we were flooded with a mix of emotions when we were able to donate the furnishings and fixtures to the center. And when you combine Laurie’s decor with the incomparable talents of Mary Ross, you’ve got something really special.

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Time, Talent and Vision by Mary

You may remember Mary Ross from one of Aunt Laurie’s Home Tours, and the custom home designer is a Laurie’s regular. Mary initially agreed to donate her time and talents to create a floor plan for the center, but she had a vision for it to be more.

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As the photos illustrate, Mary’s visions are known to pan out into a glorious reality. From the chic classroom kitchen to the cozily couched community room, each area of the center boasts its own unique feel. The center as a whole exudes a sophisticated yet comforting vibe, coupled with a wholly welcoming charm.

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Heartfelt Everything 

That welcoming charm is expanded even further through Canopy’s facility coordinator Amanda Poole. She truly has a heart for caring. Before coming to Canopy, Amanda spent time working with non-profit programs overseas. She spent one year living and working with orphans in Zambia, followed by two years in South America doing the same.

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Combine Amanda’s caring nature with Mary’s talents, mix in a compassionate staff, enriching activities, and a powerful support network, and you get the overall feel of what Canopy is all about.

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If you would like more information, would like to volunteer (front desk help needed), or would like to become an advocate (church and other groups welcome), contact Amanda at 713-897-5938.

August Bedding Sale: Meet the Experts, Dive into Deals

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Laurie’s bedding sales give you much more than a chance to get delightful deals on pillow shams. You’ll also have the exclusive opportunity to stock up on amazing insights and wisdom from representatives from Laurie’s favorite bedding companies.

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Our sumptuous bedding sale runs all day Aug. 10 and 11, with the savvy reps on hand from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days.

    Aug. 10 features Martha Means, the rep with Pine Cone Hill and Pom Pom

    Aug. 11 features Amy Chrane with Bella Notte and Martha Kean with Downright

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Visiting our bedding sale in general makes sense for scoring sensational deals, and visiting while the savvy gals are on hand makes even more sense. Come on down and you’ll be privy to:

  • Wealth of knowledge
  • Undivided attention 
  • The trendiest lines, green products and the hottest updates from the most recent markets
  • Special promotional pricing for those two days only
  • Giveaways
  • Colossal savings on odds and ends in the bedding and pillow arena

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Need more reasons to come on down for the sale? Meeting the trio of experts gives you three more big ones!

Martha Means grew up surrounded by fine linens, thanks to a grandmother who sold custom linens out of her River Oaks home back in the day. Currently the rep for Pine Cone Hill and Pom Pom, Martha has more than 18 years in the retail and wholesale linen business.

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Amy Chrane has a background in design and a passion for Bella Notte and other fine linens, making her the perfect pick to represent the brand in Texas for more than 15 years. Her expertise in bedding meshes magnificently with her keen eye for home décor.

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Martha Kean grew up South Carolina where cotton as king – only to end up 40 years later representing some of the finest cotton grown in the luxury bedding industry: Egyptian cotton woven in Italy and offered by Downright. After 26 years in the culinary arts, Martha has spent the past two decades selling luxury home textiles and accessories to design firms and high-end retailers. You may also remember her oh-so-fun beach bungalow.

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Ready to chat with the experts about the perfect bedding for you? See you Aug. 10 and 11 at Laurie’s bountiful bedding sale!

Summer Series: Sunbrella & Crypton Fabrics

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What’s black and white and red all over? Most folks would answer something like their couches, chairs or other furniture that’s exposed to that thing called daily life.

  • Black is the fabric’s original color.
  • White is the fabric after fading.
  • Red indicates all the fabric stains, thanks to spilled juice, muddy paws and jovial wine sloshes.

Even if your fabric started out blue, purple or tangerine, you’re likely to end up with a faded, muddled mess. That is, of course, unless you give Sunbrella and Crypton fabrics a try.

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What They Are

Sunbrella: Originally manufactured to withstand the salt, sun and other harsh elements in a marine environment, Sunbrella fabrics have kept their heavy duty magic while evolving into pretty-as-a-picture solids and prints you can use indoors or out. Sunbrella slipcovers can be speedily hosed down with a touch of soap – no worse at all for the wear.

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Crypton Super Fabrics: These powerful fabrics are resistant to water, stains and even microbes. Hotels and restaurants have long been taking advantage of these super-duper fabrics, and now they’re available for your home, yard or any other furniture your kid may one day decide to decorate with a marker. Just wipe all that marker mess right off — and hand the kid an easel for good measure. 

Shop Sunbrella and Crypton fabric options at Laurie’s today!

Summer Series: Planters

Plants that are lush, thriving, blossoming or otherwise happy and healthy can make an attractive statement. But put those same plants in the perfect planters and your statement just went from attractive to downright amazing.

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How to Pick the Perfect Planters

You have a number of ways to choose the perfect planters for your perky plants, and you can bet Laurie’s has enough planters to suit your exact style and taste.

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Pick the same material or colors: One of the easiest ways to pick your planters is to choose a certain material or color family and stick with them the whole way through. 

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Go for a style or theme: Contemporary, country cottage, minimalistic – select a certain style and then make all of your planters jive. You can also stick with planters sporting similar shapes: cubes, urns, tall and skinny, short and squatty.

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Match the plant vibe: You know you need a planter that matches the plant’s size, but you can also match the plant’s overall vibe. Flowery plants, for example, could be matched up with highly decorative containers. 

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Happy hodgepodge: Does a specific planter catch your eye, scream your name or otherwise make you want to buy it? Then do. Keep repeating this method for a hodgepodge of planters that provide a charming, personalized feel.

No matter what method you use to choose your planters, you can find planters galore at Laurie’s!

Summer Series: Banana Leaf Chairs

Thanks to yet another really old and really bad joke, we all know you can use banana peels to make slippers. But you may not know you can use banana leaf plants to make some amazingly awesome furniture.

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What It Is

Banana leaf is a type of wicker that’s about 10 million times cooler than the ho-hum wicker that was such a hit several decades back. Instead of being forced to choose between one or two ugly standard wicker options, banana leaf wicker is versatile enough to add a bit of tropical flair to a wide range of styles and pieces.

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Banana leaf plant fibers are first dried and then braided into a rope. The braided rope is then woven atop a chair frame, creating a highly sustainable, comfy and super-cool seat.

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Banana leaf chairs come with bunches of options:

  • Dining chairs around your elegant indoor table
  • Casual, kick-back chairs around your outdoor barrel table
  • Backless barstools around your patio
  • Barstools with backs around your breakfast nook
  • Low-seated, high-back statement chairs that make a sensational statement just about anywhere

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With proper care and outdoor placement under a covered patio, banana leaf chairs can last for years. Since their eco-friendly, earthy vibe isn’t something that goes out of style, you can actively enjoy them for just as long.

Get your banana leaf chair at Laurie’s today!

Happy Independence Day Weekend!

Come and shop this weekend for our oh-so-tasteful star spangled goodies. Scoop it up on Saturday and Sunday because we will be closed for Independence Day. We’ll be enjoying time with our friends and families and we hope you will too! 

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Down on the Farm (without Tacky Plaid or Overalls)

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You don’t need ill-fitting overalls to give your home a farmhouse overhaul. All you need is a quick hop, skip and jump to Laurie’s.

Farmhouse décor is hotter than a mad mother hen, and Laurie has her own special take on the country style. We serve up charming farmhouse flair with homey touches that add a quaint touch of sophistication – instead of the usual tacky plaid.

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No hay bales.

No rusty tractor parts.

Just plenty of delightful décor to give your home a cozy, farmhouse feel.

Take a gander at just a few examples and you’ll see what we mean.

Farmhouse Dinnerware

Ever notice how food tastes 500 times more delicious when it’s served up on just the right plates? In this case the right plates are the same type you’d find at Aunt Millie’s in Nebraska. Except they haven’t been chipped, dinged or repeatedly licked by a hound dog named Sam.

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Farmhouse Patterns 

You’ll be snug as a bug in a rug – or linens – with the farmhouse patterns on premium materials. Go for soft, sweet and soothingly comfy country colors and motifs.

Keep the farmhouse feel going with farmhouse-inspired clocks, jars, mugs, placemats or anything else that catches your fancy.

Skedaddle down to Laurie’s today, as our farmhouse décor surely won’t last until the cows come home!