Design is famously said to be 99 percent invisible. That’s because you mostly notice it when it doesn’t work, like a door with the wrong handle, or a room that just doesn’t feel right. But the interior designers of Houston — where entertaining is an important business, literally and socially — are showing just how noticeable the art form can be. From a “man cave” with an artful arrangement of TV sets and an elegant, kid-proof home to functional work spaces and high-luxury beach getaways, these Houston firms are creating spaces that re-envision what’s possible, and they have the education, certifications, and awards to prove it.

Top Designers

Wendt Design Group

Amilee Wendt

ASID Gold Awards,
ASID Silver Awards,
ASID Product Design Awards

3135 Fairhope Street, Houston, TX 77025

About Wendt Design Group

The Wendt Design Group works on a range of residential, commercial, hospitality, and large estate projects. The firm was started in 1975 by its owner and Principal Designer Amilee Wendt, who attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The firm is based in Houston. Wendt’s great uncle, Eugene Wendt, was a founding member of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers. Amilee Wendt is also a member of the local chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and served as its professional development director. The Wendt Design Group has won numerous design awards, including Silver, Gold, and Product Design Awards from ASID. The firm uses what it calls a seven-step approach to working with clients: meet and agree; collaborate; inspire; concept; specify; develop and construct; install.

Featured Projects

Wendt Design Group reconceptualized a sterile 1,300-square-foot post-industrial Midtown Loft into an exciting, modern bachelor pad. Wendt tossed some furniture the oil-industry- turned tech-worker had bought, and painted the condominium with cool, gray tones. She found vintage furniture for an empty space under the stairs and expanded the kitchen. The whole process expanded her client’s ideas of how to make a home. “One thing that really blew me away is the difference a good rug can make,” he told the Houston Chronicle. Wendt Design Group was more playful with its Bathroom design for the recent American Society of Interior Designers annual Showhouse. A frizzy, black-and-white rug melds with drawings of birds that cover the wallpaper. A dark black sink complements its white base, while the shower’s yellow tile adds a light accent to the room.

Marker Girl

Karen Davis

Houston, TX

About Marker Girl

Karen Davis named her design business Marker Girl because of something that happened at home: One day when the house felt a bit too quiet, she discovered her toddler daughter in the living room, black Sharpie in hand, “doing some decorating of her own.” The incident crystallized Davis’ approach to design, which she calls “family-friendly.” Her work incorporates sturdy fabrics and furnishings that can withstand the needs of a modern family without sacrificing style. Davis was raised in New Orleans and studied interior design at the Paris American Academy. Marker Girl offers a one-day design consultation service and full renovations, with an emphasis on the Sugar Lands, Woodlands, Cypress, and Katy areas.

Featured Projects

Karen Davis dispenses regular design advice on the Marker Girl blog and has recently been detailing the makeover of her own master bedroom. One pro tip: a good master bedroom should only have items that represent the couple — so no pictures of the kids. Davis used lightly decorated shelves with wedding photos, cards, and images of remembered art pieces for hers. The bedding was covered with custom upholstery and the walls painted with Benjamin Moore’s Brittany Blue. Shelves and nightstands hold lamps from Circa Lighting. At the Katy Home in Cinco Ranch, Davis used her family-friendly style on a 5,000-square-foot home for parents who had a 5- and 2-year-old to protect the house from. Davis upholstered the decorative furnishings in the living room with Sunbrella, a washable fabric. A stain-resistant light-blue rug was used in the center of the room, while stain-resistant carpets lined the stairway and playrooms.

Dodson Interiors

Julie Dodson

Paper City Design Award

675 Bering Drive, Houston, TX 77057

About Dodson Interiors

Julie Dodson learned her design skills at a young age while working for her mother, Tricia Dodson, who owned an interior design firm. She later studied at Ole’ Miss — the University of Mississippi — where she earned a Bachelor of Interior Design. Dodson calls her personal style “casual glamour.” She was named a Star on the Rise by the Houston Design Center in 2012 and one of Traditional Home Magazine’s 20 young designers to watch in 2010. Patty Henriquez serves as design assistant for Dodson Interiors. She earned a Bachelor of Interior Design at Louisiana State University, where she graduated with honors. Henriquez’ enthusiasm for creating hand-crafted jewelry informs her design work. Dodson Interiors offers services in new construction and remodeling. The firm is an active participant in the Pink Ribbon Project, which works to fund breast cancer research.

Featured Projects

Dodson Interiors won a Paper City Design Award in the Residential Interior Design or Architectural Design category in 2015 for its Bedroom entry. The room used a beige-and-white color palette, with thoughtfully placed pillows, artwork, and lamps for a relaxing, welcoming look. A large, purple-tinted shaded drawing of a tree filled out a wall to the left of the bed, which was centered with folded, elegant blankets and footrest. At a Houston Mansion featured in Luxe magazine, Dodson created a dramatic European flair with modern touches. She started with a white color base, accented by “pops” of blue, black, lilac, and coral. Concrete floors were replaced with French oak planks. “I love to design in the French style, but in fun and fresh ways,” Dodson told Luxe.

Pamela Hope Designs

Pamela O’Brien

ASID Ruby Awards (8 from 2015-2017)
Houston Design Center Leader in Design 2015
Deck the Tables 2017, People’s Choice and Best Use of Color
Deck the Tables 2014 Media Award – Best in Show and tie for People’s Choice
Houston House and Home Best Bathroom Remodel 2014
Legrand Adorne Summer Award

6218 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77007

About Pamela Hope Designs

The principal designer and owner of Pamela Hope Designs, Pamela O’Brien, has a more interesting background than the average interior designer: She studied French and Italian at the University of Houston and held three different jobs for the U.S. Customs Service — including as an intelligence research specialist. Somehow, O’Brien squeezed in executive courses at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She founded Pamela Hope Designs in 1999. The firm does residential and commercial work. Pamela O’Brien is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and the Greater Houston Builders Association and has co-hosted the popular Houston show Home Improvement Hotline with Tom Tynan. Pamela Hope Designs won the Legrand Adorne Summer award in 2014 for the design of a Galveston beach house.

Featured Projects

Pamela Hope Designs worked on the renovation of the former Star Bottling Works building — which had once held Houston’s oldest soda bottling business. The restoration team gutted everything but the structural walls and redesigned the interior from floor to ceiling, with custom-made staircase handrails, a new bell tower, and chandeliers. The new office walls, of what’s now called the Warrant Building, were decorated with historic photos of Star Bottling Works’ horse-drawn delivery vehicles. Hope partnered with architects Lori Arnold and Ashley LaBauve of Prevot Design Services, based in Shreveport, on the project. At what Food and Beverage Insurance Exec Matt Morgan deemed his “Manplex” in Fort Bend County, Pamela O’Brien focused on an absolutely essential ingredient for any sports fan: the TV. She arranged three sets for the Manplex, two 50-inch and one 100. There was also a poker table and a 300-gallon aquarium. Game on.

Lucas/Eilers Design Associates

Sandra Drews Lucas
Sarah Brooks Eilers

ASID Design Awards,
ASID Ruby Awards

5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 3009, Houston, TX 77056

About Lucas/Eilers Design Associates

Sandra Drews Lucas and Sarah Brooks Eilers started Lucas/Eilers Design Associates in 1995. The firm has worked on design projects in Houston, New York, California, Tennessee, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington DC, and New Mexico, among others. Eilers and Lucas pride themselves on their philosophy of creating thoughtful spaces through a dedicated attention to detail. Sarah Eilers studied interior design at the University of Texas at Austin. She was the senior interior designer at Bryan Design Associates for 15 years and a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers for 32 years. Sandra Drews Lucas studied interior design at the University of Texas at Austin as well and taught design at the Art Institute of Houston. Lucas/Eilers Design Associates has won numerous Design and Ruby awards from the American Society of Interior Designers.

Featured Projects

Lucas/Eilers Design Associates commissioned a local art piece made from antique rolling pins found in its client’s Houston Home in the Memorial neighborhood. Co-founder Sarah Eilers prefers to make her design projects personal. She started this home with inspirational photos provided by the owner, Jamie Sanford. The firm got a sense of her style, took her shopping, and created a theme based on her family’s personal taste. The final version had a second art piece, this one crafted by Eilers — an arrangement of fishing rods and baskets that spoke to the husband’s interest in fishing. Sandra Drews Lucas brought a similar artistic approach to the 3,400-square-foot house she renovated for herself in Tanglewood. She created a new drink-serving island covered in Texas Lueders limestone and arranged a row of cabinets around a painting by the famed Houston artist and muralist Janice Parsons.

Jane Page Design Group

Jane-Page Crump
Ashley Tisius

ASID Design Awards,
Prime Living Reader’s Choice Best Interior Designer

500 Durham Drive, Houston, TX 77007

About Jane Page Design Group

The Jane Page Design Group was founded in 1977 and focuses on high-end commercial and residential design. The president and founder of Jane Design Group is Jane-Page Crump. She holds an MBA in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and is a former president of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers and the Texas Association of Interior Design. Crump was named one of Houston’s 50 most influential women by Houston Woman Magazine in 2010. The firm’s senior designer, Ashley Tisius, studied architecture and interior design at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She volunteers often with Covenant House Texas, a Houston homeless-services nonprofit. The Jane Page Design Group won an American Society of Interior Designers award every year between 2008 and 2015.

Featured Projects

The Jane Page Design Group created an opulent home life at a private residence on a golf course in Montgomery. Drawing from the greenery present in the area, the house has a light, natural theme. Materials were chosen carefully, with metallic touches and fabrics that underscored the firm’s attention to detail. The family room featured embroidered, blue-and-white linens and a custom-designed fireplace. The study held LED in-cabinet lighting, built-in benches, and a gray handrail. Jane Page Designs created something completely different for the offices of the family-owned, Houston produce company Latin Specialties. Here, the focus was on functionality. Desks with clear, rectangular lines provide an easy space to focus, while interior and exterior green accents fit with Latin Specialties’ pre-established branding. Ample windows allow for the use of natural light.

William W. Stubbs & Associates

William Stubbs

IIDA Outstanding Design Award,
ASID Design Awards

1502 Augusta Street, Suite 150, Houston, TX 77057

About William W. Stubbs & Associates

William Stubbs is Houston’s very own celebrity architect. He hosted the Emmy-nominated PBS show Moment of Luxury and has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, The New York Daily News, People magazine and Good Morning America. Stubbs’ energetic personality has been compared to a carbonated drink, and he’s sometimes called “the Indiana Jones of interior design.” But Stubbs is no media darling who stumbled into success. He has industry credentials, too: Architectural Digest placed him on its AD 100 list of the world’s top designers and architects. Stubbs’ frequent travels — he’s worked everywhere from Moscow and London to Hawaii and Acapulco — means he doesn’t do as much work in Houston as some designers on this list, but the firm is still based in Houston, and he’s an important local figure.

Featured Projects

William Stubbs transformed a family mansion at a River Oaks home. He updated the interior to give the family a great space to entertain guests, with the luxurious atmosphere you would expect in River Oaks. A series of smaller rooms were reorganized into one large great room that connects to the gardens outside. A landscape painting on a wall panel rests above a marble fireplace from France. But flip a switch, and the panel rotated to expose a large TV. Stubbs used textiles and family antiques to give the estate a mix of Old World English and French country style. The challenge was in the selection. “It’s like baking a cake,” Stubbs told the Houston Chronicle. “You can’t have too much sugar, and you have to have enough flour.” A similar process played out at another Houston home, where Stubbs was tapped to downsize the 12k-square-foot interior of a “classic Texas Mansion” for a married couple looking for a fresh start. Stubbs began the project with his real estate hat on by scouting a new location. Then he switched back to consultant mode to help the couple decide what should stay and what should go from the first house’s decades of accumulated artwork and furnishings. He used color-coded stickers to keep track of everything — the collection was so extensive that some pieces were donated to a museum. Items that made it to the new mansion included 17th-century chairs, 19th-century tables, and the dining room’s long serpentine-front buffet.

Laura U Interior Design

Laura Umansky

ASID Ruby Award,
Design Society International Design & Architecture Award

4306 Yoakum Blvd., Suite 150, Houston, TX 77006

About Laura U Interior Design

Laura U Interior Design has offices in Houston and in Aspen, Colorado. It was founded in 2006 by Laura Umansky. A true Texas personality, Umansky was born in the state and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Design at the University of Texas at Austin and Master of Architecture at the University of Houston. Umansky still serves as the firm’s president and creative director, where she guides its “classically current” philosophy. The firm was included on Luxe magazine’s National Gold List, won an International Design & Architecture Award from the Design Society in 2016, has been granted more than 20 awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, and is one of Decorilia’s top 10 interior designers in Houston.

Featured Projects

Laura U Interior Design’s entrepreneurial spirit showed in its bold retail experiment Studio U. The studio worked almost like an Apple genius bar for design. Clients could walk into the white, open-floored space attached to Laura U’s office and connect with design professionals for smaller, a la carte projects. Samples of textiles and interior furnishings could be viewed, with personal storage trays available. Studio U closed after three years, but that didn’t dampen the firm’s business instincts. Umansky recently purchased Custom Designs by Greenerobin and renamed it House and Town. Umansky focused on the view of her recent design of a Galveston Beach Home. An easy color palette and light curtains gave the main room an airy, natural feel. “What I really love is how it’s so cozy and warm,” Umansky told Houstonia. “The whole interior is based around that concept.”

Ginger Barber Interior Design

Ginger Barber

Paper City Design Awards,
Houston Design Center Designer of the Year

2025 West Alabama Street, Houston, TX 77098

About Ginger Barber Interior Design

Ginger Barber moved to Houston from Florida 30 years ago to start Ginger Barber Interior Design. Her guiding philosophy is “keep it simple,” which shows in the natural, relaxing colors found in her work. Ginger Barber studied interior design at the Ringling College of Art and Design, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts. The firm expanded with a design shop called The Sitting Room in the West Alabama section of downtown in 1993. Ginger Barber Interior Design received two Paper City awards in the Residential Interior Design or Architectural Design Under 3,500 Square Feet category in 2015. In 2014, Ginger Barber was named Designer of the Year by the Houston Design Center. In her personal life, Barber advocates for equestrian rescue and is actively involved with Habitat for Horses.

Featured Projects

At a hilltop hideaway an hour-and-a-half outside Houston, Ginger Barber Interior Design helped its client create a residence reminiscent of an English country estate. An 18th-century library staircase purchased from Memorial Antiques & Interiors complemented a custom-built fireplace with a table-and-chair set. An antique Italian Regency sofa and iron table filled out a cozy sitting room. Ginger Barber showed her love of city escapes in a completely different fashion at the Galveston Bayfront Home, where she created a weekend getaway with a Texas feel. The building had whitewashed wood instead of drywall, with a blue-gray stain on the wooden floors inside. A huge Cypress stump was bleached, whitewashed, and turned into a coffee table. A fireplace in Leuders limestone completed the living room, while reclaimed wood and bamboo chairs filled out the kitchen.

Paloma Contreras Design

Paloma Contreras

Design Bloggers Conference Best Overall Design Blog Award

Inner Loop, Houston, TX 77024

About Paloma Contreras Design

Paloma Contreras launched her design career through writing. She started the La Dolce Vita Blog in 2007 and quickly gained a loyal readership interested in her take on all things design. Paloma Contreras Design, a natural fit, followed in 2013. The blog, and Contreras’ design business are well awarded: At the Design Bloggers Conference in 2014, La Dolce Vita received the Best Overall Design Blog Award and Contreras was inducted into the Design Bloggers Hall of Fame. Contreras was listed as No. 4 in the home category on Forbes’ list of the top 30 influencers of 2017, Elle Decor placed her among the 10 most influential designers who use Instagram (she has more than 67k followers), and House Beautiful dubbed her a Next Wave designer to watch in 2015.

Featured Projects

Contreras’ Cinco Ranch home design was on the cover of the March-April issue of Luxe magazine. She started with a rug by one of the client’s favorite designers, David Hicks, and then hung two black-and-white paintings above the bed to center the room. The black-and-white theme resurfaced in the bathroom with the mosaic marble, and again on paintings in the living room. Gold accents added flourishes throughout. Contreras was more playful in another room that was divided by a fireplace, which she decorated with long sofas, bronze and brass lamps, and antique mirrors. The La Dolce Vita Blog started as a series of posts about designing her own home, which has two living rooms. One has a funky, salon feel, with comfortable couches and prominent modern art. The other has beige-yellow tones and no overhead lights, to maintain intimacy and encourage conversation.

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