Behind the Design Process with Laura de Pembroke, Laura Sirpilla Bosworth
Laura Sirpilla Bosworth is tired these days – and that’s a good thing because it means the business she has loved for 34 years is booming.
Bosworth is President and Chief Designer of Laura of Pembroke, a family owned business that offers home furnishings, lighting, accessories, womenswear and gifts, with locations in the Township of Plain and the Pinecrest Mall. at Beachwood.
Bosworth said creating beautiful living spaces is part of his family legacy.
âIt was like loving my mom’s eye for design and a house and a family that loved beautiful homes,â she said. âMy parents traveled all over the world and allowed us to see beautiful settings and beautiful homes.â
Bosworth said his late father, well-known businessman John Sirpilla, was also passionate about design.
âWhen I was young, he and I moved furniture to surprise my mom,â she says. âHe also liked beautiful things. Our sense of design is a little different from simple aesthetics. It’s about creating a gathering place for the family.
What started as a hobby turned into a 26-year profession for Bosworth, when Laura’s clients from Pembroke began asking her for help designing their home.
âWe made houses all over the country,â she said.
Bosworth graduated from the University of Wittenberg with a degree in business marketing and studied at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York.
âI loved going there, but the design education was not what I wanted at the time,â she said. âIt’s a natural eye that I learned to train, not only through this experience, but also through traveling and experimenting and through our family’s love for furniture.â
For homes not yet built, Bosworth said the design process includes using the architect’s plans.
âIf the house is in place, I will ask a client, ‘What is beautiful in your eyes?’ she said. “I ask them for inspirational pictures to start understanding what their vision is for the beauty of their home. It allows me to personalize their home. Every project is personalized; there is no design involved. cookie cutter. It’s taking the time to really understand what’s beautiful to you. It allows me to create a complete personalized look that is yours. “
Bosworth said the goal was to blend beauty with comfort.
âI ask questions about their lifestyle,â she says. âFor example, I work with a family in Charleston, South Carolina that has two young boys and a swimming pool. The fabric will be all white. I just ask a lot of questions about their families, for example, their size and (number) of family members to determine the frame and the size and size of the frame. “
When asked where to splurge, Bosworth said it’s always a good idea to buy high-quality seats.
âYou have to be careful what you buy,â she says. âUpholstery and chairs in the kitchen or dining room, or bar stools, you shouldn’t skimp too much. The basics, a bedroom chair, a living room chair that you don’t use every day, or lamps or a coffee table, you can save money. You have to be very careful with the pieces you put in the family room. “
Bosworth said a change of season can be recognized by accessories, such as flower arrangements or decorative pillows, “but that doesn’t mean a customer has to.”
“It is a ‘want’, not a ‘duty’,” she said. “I think it’s fun.”
While they also design for restaurants and hotels, Bosworth said Laura of the Pembroke design team, which includes Karen Fehlman and Abby Hanzie, isn’t averse to small projects.
âI love when our store is needed for a coffee table book,â she says. âI never want our store to know that we only do big plans. If a customer wants a powder room, they should be able to call us. “
Bosworth said he saw an increase in the number of people wanting a home office.
âCOVID has been a crazy year,â she said. âPeople are more at home and they are bored. They see their walls, they are sitting on uncomfortable chairs. We’re calling this year âCOVID crazyâ because we can’t keep merchandise in the store. We thought it would be bad, but it’s the opposite, to the point that we all operate with many clients. I am grateful for needing. I am grateful, but I am exhausted.
Bosworth said she was too busy to watch HGTV or home decor shows, but “the more the customer understands what they need, the clearer they are.”
âThe more TV shows, the more photos on Pinterest, it helps me see through their eyes because they know what they like,â she says. âIf they don’t know, I can show them pictures to start the process. It’s a gentle walk through their tastes to find out what they like.
Bosworth said designers stay in constant contact with customers on a daily basis during a project. Most can be completed in a matter of months.
âSome men like to get involved, some don’t,â she says. âI welcome them. Some men are involved in math. I really love it when a husband and wife team up because I know that in the end, they’ll be happy with the space.
Design services are free with the purchase of a Laura of Pembroke product.
âIf the merchandise is at our price, we have free design services,â Bosworth explained. âIf the need is not our price, like the exterior paint, the color of the roof or the flooring, things that are not our price, then we price our advice at an hourly rate. “
Bosworth said their designers can install a house from start to finish.
âWe advise on anything a client needs for their home or business,â she says. âWe can finish a house down to the toothbrush. If a customer has a second location, say in Naples, when they walk in they don’t want to think of anything other than to sit down and have a glass of wine. We even provide the wine.
Bosworth said the store recently outfitted an entire house for a client who plays for the Chicago Bulls.
âAt 23, he needed everything, so we did it,â she said. âHis agent’s mother lives in Canton. When visiting his mother, the agent came to our store and asked for help with his own home in Virginia. It was wonderful, so he told his client about us.
Laura de Pembroke was founded by the Sirpilla family in 1987. Bosworth has stated that in addition to her mother, Veronica, her brother, John B. “Johnny” Sirpilla, and his wife, Susan are partners.
Bosworth’s daughter, Lauren, is a designer who also oversees the company’s operations.
Bosworth said she was especially grateful to the staff, whom she calls the âLOP familyâ.
âThe system we have in place allows us to run things smoothly,â she said. âThey run the business to perfection.â
Bosworth said the most rewarding part of the job is the relationships that emerge.
âI am so close to the customers, I consider it a gift,â she says. âI’ve heard the expression that when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. I feel that I have gained friendships through my work. I work so many hours a day, but still consider it a hobby, and feel the phrase to be true. I am blessed and very grateful. “