Shop Like a Designer-Laura Hunt

Architectural Digest, September 2010

“Shopping in the U.S. saves on time and shipping costs,” says the Dallas-based designer. “Unless there’s something unique that can’t be duplicated, I buy it here.” But she’s equally at home in Europe and New York, where she delights in tracking down the “best of the be best” for her clients.


I shop where I am. I don’t consider it work--it’s fun! I always stay a day in a city, just hitting the streets, finding the dealers and the shops. Even in a small town I’ll find something.

“Do your homework! Use the Internet as well as the hotel concierge. And don’t forget to bring samples of the colors you’re using.”


The design district in Dallas is developing. There’s Slocum Street and Dragon Street; Knox-Henderson is another area for design. I go to Thomas Grant Chandeliers, and Mecox Gardens is fantastic for the project that has to be done quickly.


I love shopping in New York, from Alan Moss, DeLorenzo 1950, H.M. Luther and Hyde Park downtown to Guy Regal and Evergreen Antiques uptown. And Virginia Di Sciascio has fabulous antique textiles, embroideries and cottons. Karl Kemp, who’s uptown and downtown, wrote the book on Biedermeier. Then there are people like Christina Grajales--her shop on Greene Street is small, but she has the most amazing rugs from South America. And I always stop at Potterton Books in the D&D Building: I haven’t repeated a look yet, and it’s a great resource when I’m pushed to areas I don’t know about. I learn so much from books. I stay at the Plaza Athénée or at the Pierre, but I reserve the room on Orbitz!


I always have my furniture plans and fabric samples when I’m shopping, as well as my binders for each project, and I never leave the office without my bright yellow Stanley LeverLock 12-foot tape measure! And I love when clients come along--it helps me present ideas they might not have considered. But we can only keep them interested for so long. Women will go through the process. The men are harder to keep in line!


In Los Angeles you can walk from the Pacific Design Center to Melrose and La Cienega. For contemporary, the Ralph Pucci showroom is fantastic. The Golden Lion hardware store has great service. I usually stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and on a recent visit I ate every day at The Ivy on Robertson. I also love Sunnin Lebanese Cafe in Westwood.


If you’re on a budget, don’t underestimate catalogues. I love Wisteria. I also do a lot of shopping for “filler” pieces at Gracious Home in New York.