Hello! It’s been a minute. As I ponder about this as Women’s Month and today as International Women’s Day, I feel called to share a bit about the women who make up this team. My name is on the door, but these women are the talent and much of the reason this business has been able to maintain consistent, quality, soulful interiors over the years.

These past two years LMB Interiors grew in ways I never dreamed possible. We took on projects that stretched us, filled our hearts, challenged our spirits, and grew our team closer together. I can’t think of a better crew to celebrate than the women I get to work with every day. This Women’s Month seems like as good a time as any to shine a light on the talent who make our client’s project come to life and who make this business the fun place to be that it is.

Darshan Labang

Meet Darshan LaBang, she is a soulful queen with a boundless heart and a joyful presence. Darshan and I first met when our kids were in preschool together 14 years ago. We didn’t know each other back then, but I always felt warmed by her smile when we passed at drop-off. Three years later when she applied to be a project manager at my still-budding firm in the bottom floor of my small house, I could never have anticipated that she would bloom into the irreplaceable Studio Director, mama bear, best friend, and spiritual running mate she is today. Ask anyone who knows her and they will confirm. Darshan, who I also fondly refer to as Hot Lava, breathes life into her creations with joy, while taking care of me and our whole team from a deep well of love and loyalty. If you ever wonder how we do it, she’s the backbone of this thriving beauty-making business.

Left: Darshan at one of our beloved showrooms, Hewn. Photo by Starla Islas. Right: Our Hollywood Regency project, on which Darshan was an integral part of the design. Photo by Mo Saito.

Hannah Gipperich

After Darshan, Hannah Gipperich has been with me the longest. Combined with her thoughtful, creative interiors, her comedic timing and calm, easy demeanor are on par with the fabulous meals she pulls together in our studio kitchen. When Hannah is around, our bellies are full of laughter and wholesome goodness — and she is beloved by her clients for the same reasons. She also gives the best hugs, and on dance party days in the office, she busts out great tunes to move to. It doesn’t hurt that her dog Frida softens the hearts of every client, vendor, and friend who passes through our doors. The clients who are lucky enough to have her on their projects share that they feel taken care of, and her designs are timeless. See for yourself!

Left: Hannah with her pup, Frida. Photo by Mo Saito.  We adore this project Hannah managed, in our portfolio, “Gracious and Chic Piedmont Estate.” Photo by Sen Creative.

Nicole Quitevis

Nicole Quitevis came next. We love her for the edgy, playful designs she develops and her efficiency and organization skills are on point! We don’t photograph every project, and haven’t yet photographed any Nicole has designed and managed. However, I can brag on her behalf that we are nearing completion on projects that will be photographed, including a classic Piedmont craftsman for repeat clients that Nicole brought her tasteful, timeless side to. On the other end of the spectrum, she is rocking the design and execution on an adult playroom, complete with a secret door and a suspension rig, all dreamt up by her wilder side. (We are full spectrum here at LMBI!) Like Darshan, Nicole hails from Hawaii, and the earthy part of me can’t get enough of her stories about heading to Stinson to fill up jugs with spring water, or seeing her leather craft projects or her most recent tattoos. She fulfills our edgy, earthy, playful vibes in the best ways, and is the mom to our most recent studio dog friend, Nebula.

Nicole at the Vaheed Taheri showroom. Photo by Starla Islas. Right: Nicole during our holiday card photoshoot. Photo credit: Mo Saito.

Tiara Fukui

Oh Tiara, how do we love thee? This woman is all talent and kindness. But don’t let her easy laugh and big smile fool you though… she designs with confidence and experience, and is very willing to stand in her power with grace, which I love. Tiara grew up with creatives, so it’s no wonder she landed in a field where creativity is in high demand. She is also wickedly talented in CAD and all the structures that overwhelm my own brain. Having designers who can execute structures with such technical skills allows me to do what I do best: the people, designing, managing, speaking, and being ridiculous! I love collaborating with Tiara and appreciate the generous container she holds for all of us. She rounds out our doggie oxytocin needs with her two pooches Arlo and Alfie.

Left: Tiara during our holiday card photoshoot. Right: A photo from her recently completed project, a “Warm and Welcoming Rockridge Tudor.” Photos by Mo Saito.

Starla Islas

Recently, one of my colleagues was scratching her head about how I get it all done. I think it’s obvious when you meet my crew, and Kristina, who we’ve started to call Starla (and so can you if you want), is part of how and why. Starla used to be an actual faerie, as a children’s entertainer. But that is only a sliver of who she is. She brings her faerie-ing to all that she does, making tasks as our marketing diva look easy. More importantly, she is efficient while keeping things light and fun. Behind the scenes, she edits my writing, creates our marketing materials including those for my Divine Hustler brand, arranges and edits our photoshoots, and helps keep me focused. When not at LMBI, Starla runs her side hustle Eyecatcher, and produces music with her project called Moonlust. Think ethereal electronic, with emotionally and spiritually inspiring lyrics. Click here to follow them on Instagram or Spotify. Oh, and did I mention she plays the harp and sings?!

Darshan, Laura, and Starla at the Hewn showroom.

Angie Padilla

Years ago I used to stop by my sister Rebekah’s house, and there was often a quiet, industrious woman whipping her house into shape as Rebekah tried to keep the chaos of three young children at bay. I was blown away by her order-making skills. Fast track many years later, Angie is our librarian. I can’t design in a space that is messy, and if you’ve ever been to an interior design studio, you know. It gets turned upside down every time we design. Angie has whipped this place into shape! Angie is a mom, so working part-time for her and us is a win/win. The first thing vendors say when they walk in is “Wow, how do you keep it so clean?” The how is Angie. She is quiet and calm, introverted and warm… but give her a mess, and she is wicked fast and efficient at creating order.

Angie, Nicole, and Darshan in the audience during a talk Laura gave at Brown Jordan. Photo by Starla Islas.

Jenny Johnson

I love a good Kismet story. Jenny approached me at Orange Theory one day and told me she follows me on Instagram. When we met, it was under the auspices of talking about design. Little did she know, I was showing up as the Divine Hustler, my spiritual beauty maker persona. I brought a deck of oracle cards and started our meeting with a blessing prayer. Ultimately, Jenny came to one of my Divine Hustler retreats where we got to know what a beauty she is, inside and out. When the studio needed help, we realized Jenny could be that person. And now, she is the secret weapon Darshan has been dreaming of. For someone who wears two too many hats, Darshan needed someone professional, helpful, and experienced in moving things forward to get tasks done ahead of schedule. Jenny has only been with us for a short while, but we already don’t know what we’d do without her. Jenny is also a mom, and has two darling boys she leaves to pick up every day. It blows me away to see how women can accomplish so much!

Jenny and I at the Divine Hustler retreat in September 2023. Photo by Starla Islas.

Jett Bovard

Have you met my daughter, Jett? If and when you do, my guess is you’ll forgive these motherly brags. I know I’m biased, but seriously. This young woman is a force of nature. Not only is she a serious rock climber, artist, ski demon, and good friend to all… She is also becoming an Eagle Scout and about to head off to a yet-to-be-determined college with her 4.0 GPA. We give her support, but she gets all the credit. So self-motivated. When she asked to work hours at LMBI to save for college, I about fell over myself. To get to spend some extra hours with my own child at work, away from home, where she gets her task list done quickly, is worth every penny. She does all the things at the studio that she’s less inclined to do at home. She picks things up, drops things off, takes out the trash, organizes the kitchen, and pets the pups. It’s one big happy family.

Jett and I during our holiday card photoshoot. Photo by Starla Islas.

Thank you for letting me share about these women. Though it’s not a typical newsletter, it’s what is in my heart. And that’s how I roll.

For those of you who are thinking about a remodeling project, or if you are ready to upgrade your furnishings for this new year, we are wrapping up a couple of long-term projects and would love to talk with you! Click here to submit a new client inquiry if you have friends or family who are ready for us

We greatly appreciate this community and your generous referrals over the years. We wouldn’t be here without you!

By Laura Martin Bovard.