Laura & Her Home
It seems that, all too often, we find ourselves wistfully flipping through our favorite shelter magazines only to drop the issues to the coffee table in defeat. There's no way that we can have those immaculately decorated houses on our own, what with kids running around our feet, careers to invest in and constant cleaning and bills to attend to! Yet, every now and then, we stumble upon someone that we can truly relate to and that gumption to get our homes whipped into shape comes back full force.
This week, that inspirational person is none other than Laura Naples. As a working artist alongside her sister, Kristen Giorgi, Laura's life is already a bit chaotic to say the least, but then you throw in a family rounded out by two adorable children, and we can't help but wonder how she does it all.
Yet, with all of these accomplishments to her name, Laura also is able to boast an absolutely stunning, styled-to-a-T home. Nestled in Hudson, Ohio, the Naples's space is filled with the kind of real-life sophisticated character that has left us busily jotting down design notes and ideas. Below, we invite you to step inside the space to glean some interior motivation for yourself, and also to learn what it takes to be a multitasking mom, homemaker and professional creative.
What first sparked your interest—and eventual career path—in art?
Our mom used to take us to the Detroit Institute of Arts when we were growing up in Michigan, and I loved it. I even had my seventh birthday party there! I studied graphic design in school, with a minor in fine arts. For awhile, I focused on design and decorative arts, and then I decided to put to paper and canvas what I was seeing inside my head—and convinced my sister to do the same.
Is it difficult working so closely with your sister, or have you found a good process and flow when it comes to creating your art?
We are part of each other's process, even when we work individually (which is most often). We are kind of the answer for each other—or second brain—when we feel unsure of where to move forward next in our work. It's a built-in critique mechanism that is at the same time almost what our own instincts would tell us.
When we get the chance to work together, we enjoy that collaborative process—it's a special opportunity. We will take turns making marks, or mix colors for the other, discussing along the way. It actually makes us work so much more efficiently, because we provide each other with immediate direction and answers. It's something we wish we could do more often, but geography gets in the way.
Who are your top three favorite artists?
Wow, it's hard to choose only three! My sister, James Nares, Barbara Hepworth.
What influences have your children had on how you decorate your home?
Even though we have a lot of art in our home that rotates often, I want everything to feel comfortable and not museum-like. My kids enjoy being creative and feel proud to see their work included in our home's décor. Children's art feels so special to me. They create with a lot of freedom and honesty. Catherine especially enjoys drawing, and lately loves to imagine architectural spaces that are as detailed and as thoughtful as she is. I love to give James a brush and watercolors because his paintings are incredibly expressive—just like his outward personality.
What is the most prized piece of artwork in your home?
My sister gave me a work on canvas by Karina Bania that I could never part with. She is an artist who I "met" over Instagram, and she has really supported and encouraged us. I would love to meet her in person someday (she lives in California and Mexico, which would be fun to visit).
Before he passed away, my grandfather loved to visit his portrait in the living room and hang out there. He called it the "I Love Me Room."
Do you have any secret spots around Hudson, Ohio, where you find great art or furniture?
In my mind, there is a shop near my home that sells all of my favorite art, furniture, books and stationery, and I am the owner! But until then, there is a lovely shop called Pavilion in Cleveland on Larchmere Boulevard. You can find antique pieces from Paris there, as well as beautiful lighting, decorative objects and books.
Next door to Pavilion is Wolfs, a huge gallery in a former streetcar powerhouse building. Its collection is comprised of fine art from the 17th century to today, as well as furniture and other decorative arts. It's such a unique (and large!) space and collection.
Where would your dream vacation take you?
I love visiting cities (not beaches!). Florence is a place I've never seen and need to experience. On the other hand, I visited Japan when I was younger and would love to return to Tokyo and Kyoto with a different perspective. Right now, with young children and a busy schedule, any vacation seems like a dream! Our family is going to Washington, D.C., this summer and I truly can't wait to watch my kids experience American history at its center. They are starting to study it in school, so for them to see it in person and connect all those dots is going to be fascinating.
What’s your favorite part of your home?
Our living room feels very special to us—we use it every day. We set it up so that it would be comfortable and cozy, and so that we would use it. I love the large photographs of my husband's grandfather, who played football in college for my husband's favorite team (Ohio State), and my grandfather, who was an Air Force pilot. Before he passed away, my grandfather loved to visit his portrait in the living room and hang out there. He called it the "I Love Me Room."
Not every direction that presents itself is necessarily the right move, so it's really important to sort it all out and be specific about what makes the most sense for both Kristen and me as individuals and also as collaborators.
What are the three items you always have in your fridge?
- Lemons: I recently started drinking hot lemon water every morning before my coffee.
- Clementines: I don't keep them in the fridge. I set them out on the counter so we can easily grab them throughout the day.
- Dove Promises Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate (also not refrigerated): I'm addicted to these.
What does a typical day in the life of Laura Naples look like?
On a typical day, my husband will get up early to make breakfast for all of us, while I try to sleep as many extra minutes as possible. After everyone gets to school and work, I have quiet space and time to reflect on what needs to get done work-wise, and plan out what I'm feeling. This is both the upside and downside of working from home—it's a lot of freedom that sometimes can lead to less-than-productive days.
When I'm ready to go, I pour a cup of tea and put on a favorite playlist. Right now I'm listening to HAIM, Lord Huron and The Motels. When I really need something mellow, it's 70s Lite/Yacht Rock! I rarely work in large doses of time, and it's more like an hour or so here and there while getting things done around the house, driving kids around or attempting to work out in the interim. It's actually kind of nice to return to a work in progress with a fresh set of eyes in between all these other things.
Then I'll cook something for dinner (I'm actually better at "assembling"—cooking is not intuitive for me), and we try to have dinner as a family most nights. Alternatively, some days are too busy with kids and family things to work during the day, so I'll need to set aside time after dinner and the kids' bedtime to work. These are generally the nights I get into the zone and stay up until 3 a.m.
What elements were most important to you when you were looking for a home?
We wanted to live close to our parents, which is why we chose to move back to the town where we both lived in high school (we met each other through our sisters, several years after school). We also wanted friends in the neighborhood, a yard with trees, good natural light and a blank slate that we could imprint with our family's personality. We still have a lot of work to do on our house to make it our own. Our next projects are the upstairs baths, and we're in the planning phases for those. I've never lived through a home renovation though, so I'm kind of scared to pull the trigger.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since deciding to pursue art professionally?
I'm learning to listen to my inner voice, allowing it to guide me toward opportunities and partnerships that make sense. Not every direction that presents itself is necessarily the right move, so it's really important to sort it all out and be specific about what makes the most sense for both Kristen and me as individuals and also as collaborators.
What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day?
No matter the season, I'll bundle up in a fleece or sweatshirt because I am always cold. If it's been a really long day, I'll climb into bed early and either read or check Instagram or Pinterest, but I am generally a night owl. Also, my husband and I have a habit of drinking chamomile tea before bed most nights, like a little old couple.
Do you have any advice for those who are looking to begin art collecting? How do you choose the art that you add to or create for your home?
Don't be afraid to start collecting. I understand that it's an investment that feels important. It is, but the way I choose and collect art has nothing to do with strategy. It's intuitive and I just know when something needs to live with us. Kristen and I like to work in different sizes starting at 5-by-7 inches, which we refer to as our "minis." These little works are intended to make art collectors just starting out feel comfortable with the process. They're like the gateway. Once you start, you can't stop!
- Diptych painting over mantle: NG Collective Studio
- Pair of small canvases hung vertically: NG Collective Studio
- Tufted black loveseat: Home Decorators
- Ottomans (as coffee table): Overstock
- White side table: West Elm
- White bookshelves: IKEA
- Handpainted pillow: NG Collective Studio
- Lavender pillow: Crate & Barrel
- Sofa: Home Decorators
- Left to right, ceramic works on bar cart: Up in the Air Somewhere, Romy Northover
- Lavender carafe and glass: Bib & Sola
- Mini green sculpture on desk: Martina Thornhill
- Concrete table lamps on desk: World Market
- Brass organizer on desk: Target
- Notebooks on desk: Appointed
- Framed still life drawing: NG Collective Studio
- Large abstract painting: NG Collective Studio
- Mini framed abstract painting: NG Collective Studio
- Medium abstract painting on canvas: Karina Bania
- Left to right, gray ceramic works: Object & Totem, Romy Northover, Jacqueline Klassen
- Square book on coffee table: NG Collective Studio
- Large work on canvas: NG Collective Studio through Uprise Art
- Botanical drawing: NG Collective Studio
- Square 24-by-24 work on canvas: NG Collective Studio
- Charcoal figure drawing: NG Collective Studio
- Pair of 24-by-30 works on canvas: NG Collective Studio through Uprise Art
- Framed abstract painting between windows: NG Collective Studio
- Large work on canvas: NG Collective Studio
- Minerals notecards: Rock and Fern
- Wishbone chair: Overstock
- Pair of framed paintings on paper: NG Collective Studio
- French press: Bodum
- Rug: Overstock
- Ceiling light over table: Wayfair
- Windsor dining chairs: Target
- Splatter bowl: Rove and Swig
- Overhead pendant: Cedar & Moss
- Pair of abstract works on canvas: NG Collective Studio through Uprise Art
- Chandelier: West Elm
- Black and white photograph: Chicago Corners
- Bed: Room & Board
- Framed work on paper: NG Collective Studio
- Bookshelf: IKEA
- 24-by-48 painting on canvas: NG Collective Studio
- 50-by-70 painting on paper: NG Collective Studio
- Bed: Walmart
- Lilac duvet: Amazon
- Handpainted pillow: NG Collective Studio
- Rattan chair and ottoman: Overstock
- Bookshelf: Walmart
- Pair of landscape paintings on paper: Chad Wys
- Bed: Home Decorators
- Chrome globe sconces: Urban Outfitters
- Bedding: Target
- Chair: Monte Design
- Dresser: West Elm
- 20-by-30 framed abstract painting on paper: NG Collective Studio
- 9-by-12 framed abstract painting on paper: NG Collective Studio
- Bookshelf: Walmart