Laura Cattano presents impeccably. She’s chicly understated, usually dressed in grays or creams, layers of cashmere or cotton or silk. Tiny and lithe like a dancer, her long brown hair tied into a neat ponytail. As a personal organizer, Cattano’s appearance is her calling card. She’s a three-dimensional example of her talents and professional pursuits—an elegant illustration of what she can do for you, should you require her services.
Cattano runs her own website and the appropriately titled blog, The Order Obsessed. “I help people live the life they want to live within the space they have through careful editing of their things, improving floor plans, increasing flow and functionality, home styling and re-design, closet design, wardrobe editing, and styling.”
This list neatly sums up Cattano’s design philosophy. She says, “I believe in designing your space around what’s important to you and how you want to live. Forget about trends and others’ opinions. If you like color then use it, if you don’t like color, keep your space neutral. William Morris said it best, “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
The Long-Island native, now Brooklyn-based designer grew up in a family of five siblings. It was this bustling environment that first inspired her need for order and organization. “I used to admire the way my father’s suits and ties were lined up perfectly in his closet,” she says.
And though Cattano is the youngest, she can be unexpectedly dictatorial. “I would often nag my sister to clean up her side of the room,” she laughs, adding, “and I was the one who spent the afternoon rearranging the things on my bookshelf until they looked just right.”
Cattano studied environmental science in college. “At the time, I felt like my only options were to go into business or do something I cared about, and I cared about the environment. And then I was interested in urban planning, because it’s all about zoning. And this is basically what I do for my clients now, but on a personal level.”
After college, Cattano moved to Brooklyn and began working for designer Vicente Wolf, focusing on high-end interiors and commercial and furniture design. Three years later she struck out on her own, wanting to blend design with something she thought equally important: organization.
“Being neat and organized comes naturally for me, but my interest piqued when I was setting up my first apartment in Brooklyn,” she says. “Figuring how to fit the most functions—not necessarily stuff—into my small apartment, all while making it look fabulous without spending a fortune, was a fun challenge. I learned a lot about myself in the process.” Cattano is always mindful to emphasize that stuff or products are great, but they alone don’t make you organized. “It’s how you use them that is so much more important,” she says.