Born in Baltimore, MD, Laura moved to Durham in 1969 when her mother took a job at Duke University. Her family enjoyed what Durham had to offer with its leading medical research, great schools and its rich culture. Durham not only became home to her as a child but is where she and her loving husband Kelly have chosen to raise their three children, Jennifer, Ashley and Scott, as well as her two mini Yorkies, Nick and Bella, and a curious black cat named Tux. Laura is an outgoing, hand –talking, passionate Italian who loves spending time to unwind and share holidays with her mother and sister’s family who lives just around the corner as well as some of her lifelong friends of the city. Laura knows the ins and outs of Durham’s food, shopping, art and realty and is ecstatic with the transformation of beautiful downtown.
What did you do before real estate? I always loved the idea of working in real estate because it was a career in which I could envision remodeling old spaces, dabble in interior design and find the perfect home for families. I first started my real estate career as a Broker in 1983 and have since gained experience as an on-site agent for builders, an independent contractor in residential real estate and became the original publisher for The Real Estate Book. My passion for floor plans, exploring decades of home building and teaching people about the great things this community offers really does keep me coming to work after all these years.
What do you do outside of work? Keeping busy isn’t an issue with a family of five and three pets to boot but outside of work and family I do enjoy some “me” time. Refurbishing old furniture has been a hobby of mine for years and recently I have made a small business venture out of it by creating pieces for Bull Street Gourmet and Market in Durham as well as painting pieces for my friends and family. I also enjoy the simple things in life like walking the dogs, reading on the porch, soaking in the sun at the beach and of course, as any good Italian, cooking and having big family celebrations.
What organizations get your time and money? Moving kids in and out of dorms and apartments would have been impossible without the help of TROSA. They have been so helpful and knowing the money spent is going towards a meaningful cause is great. Supporting the programs of the Durham YMCAs and Durham Public Schools are important to me as well as they have been beneficial in the wellness and education of my children. My husband and I also make contributions to Caring House, the Animal Protection Society and to UNC – Chapel Hill and NC State.
How would you spend $100 in Durham? Special occasions are important in my family whether it be big or small. We have many little traditions right here in Durham that are meaningful and so I have decided on writing this section by sharing with you how I would spend $100 bringing my family together. On a romantic occasion I would spend $100 on a date night with my husband at our favorite dinner spot, Nana’s. We love to share appetizers and entrees as we sip on red wine at the bar enjoying the fabulous atmosphere. On the other hand, my mother and I have made it a mission to conquer all the lunch spots in Durham. For her we would hit our favorite spots like Parker & Otis, Toast, Foster’s and Havana’s for delicious food and great conversation. For a summer night of family fun I would take the kids to a Durham Bulls game and to get their favorite frozen yogurt at LoYo. On a Saturday morning my husband and I would spend it on fresh veggies and fruits at the Farmers’ Market and have our friends and family over for a home-cooked meal. As for a night of spectacular entertainment I would go to the Durham Performing Arts Center and see some of my favorite Broadway shows like Wicked. As for the oddest tradition in my family, we love going to Shiki Sushi on Christmas Eve and ordering our favorite rolls as we enjoy each other’s company and anticipate the excitement of Christmas.
Most recent restaurant: My 28th anniversary recently passed and my family and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner and celebration at Parizade’s. The staff was helpful and the food was amazing but p.s. save room for dessert!
Books: For now I am reading Island Beneath the Sea, but catch me in a couple of days and its sure to be something new. I love to read and my Kindle has become my best friend! I have also recently read Defending Jacob, the Hunger Games Series, One Good Dog and Room but my all time favorite book would be Art of Racing in the Rain. I have learned to love all genres whether it’s futuristic, comedy, history or coming of age and am open to recommendations!