Laurel Home Interior Design, Furniture, Inspiring Ideas Thu, 18 Aug 2022 18:28:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 58074999 Classic and Affordable Lamp and End Table Pairings Wed, 17 Aug 2022 05:55:26 +0000   Hi Everyone, Before we get into the beautiful collection of (mostly) affordable table and lamp and end table pairings, who has had cake on the brain since last Sunday? Raise your hands, please. What? Are you kidding? Only four of you? Just kidding. And, thank you all for your sweet comments. I’ve been zonked […]

The post Classic and Affordable Lamp and End Table Pairings appeared first on Laurel Home.


Hi Everyone,

Before we get into the beautiful collection of (mostly) affordable table and lamp and end table pairings, who has had cake on the brain since last Sunday?

Raise your hands, please.

What? Are you kidding? Only four of you?

Just kidding. And, thank you all for your sweet comments. I’ve been zonked since that post and couldn’t get the cake image out of my head. By Monday afternoon, I couldn’t take it any longer, and it was a sublime evening, so I marched myself over to Flour Bakery. (a local Boston chain with 10 locations)

I got two things. (just in case)

They were the lemon, raspberry cake, and a buttermilk cupcake piled high with blackberry with not-a-speck-of butter in the frosting. They describe it:


lemon raspberry fake flavor from Flour

lemon raspberry cake – lemon cake (No, it was vanilla) filled with lemon curd, (questionable) crushed raspberries, buttercream, (No way!) and fresh seasonal fruit. (one raspberry and one blueberry)

There was not a spec of butter to be found.


bad cake from flour


Frankly, both were dry, bland, and fake tasting; very disappointing.


dry horrid cupcake fr

I think they forgot to put sugar in the cupcake. I didn’t detect any.

However, it did cure me of my cake craving. haha


After three attempts, all of them mediocre at best, I’m done with Flour Bakery. I have no idea why it’s often mobbed.

Okay, I started working on this post and began to collect cheap coffee tables. After a couple of hours, I was utterly bored. I was bored because they all began to look the same.


So, I thought I would look for cheap table lamps and end tables. (Sometimes called side tables.)


However, there is a post about cheap table lamps. Although, it’s pretty old.

And, there’s this post about high-low Chinoiserie lamps.


This time, I’m going vintage.


I adore vintage furniture, as you may have noticed, being more than half of my furniture is vintage.


However, as in all vintage furnishings, you can also find these items in consignment shops, tag, yard, estate sales, and both live and online auction places. Also, you might try Craig’s list and Facebook Marketplace.


Sorry for the obnoxious color. I have to do that for those who skim and then remind me of these sources.


You might also enjoy this recent post featuring vintage dining room pieces.


But, the focus today is on table lamp and end table pairings.


Let’s first go over a few rules and other things you need to know regarding table lamp and end table pairings. And, this goes for all table lamp and end table pairings, whether they are vintage or not.


Let’s begin with the end tables.


I feel the best height for an end table is from one or maybe two inches lower than the arm to about two or three inches higher.


typical heights sofa, table lamp and end table
I made this graphic a while back and added it here after I wrote about inexpensive lamps.


Most sofa arms, except for tuxedo and chesterfield styles with arms at least 30″ high, have arms from about 23″-25″.


I learned from experience that the absolute highest to go for an end table is 27″.


With a high-arm sofa, I would never go higher than the arm, but you can go up to five or six inches, max, lower than the arm.

If the table is rectangular, for end tables, the short way usually faces the front. Using the end table as a nightstand is the opposite unless the space is very tight.

However, when looking for a nightstand, it is better not to go past 20″ deep, and ideally not past 18″ for the depth. This is so you don’t gouge your thighs out getting in and out of bed. That’s why most nightstands are from 13″-18″ deep.


Laurel, how big should an end table be if you put a lamp on it?


That’s a terrific question.

It’s always better for the table to be at least four inches wider than the shade, if possible. If space is super tight, it’s best to choose a thinner lamp that can take a more narrow (in diameter or width) lamp shade.

Please go here for a post about selecting lampshades for your table lamps.


For the past 18 years or so, lamps have kept getting bigger and bigger.


Now, a mistake some people make is that they equate a larger room with larger furnishings.

Yes, you can have a large, low coffee table in a large room. Maybe you can have more seats on a sectional.


However, the room size doesn’t affect, to any significant degree, the furniture sizes in terms of height and depth.


Furniture is still made for PEOPLE. Right? And, since people don’t get larger (unless they eat too much horrid cake) when they walk into a large room, the size of the furniture should not change much, either.

The furniture can have more visual weight, and there can be more than one seating area in a large room.

Okay, I wrote a post about sofa and coffee table pairings not too long ago. And, yes, the coffee table and the sofa are integral parts of the composition, along with the table lamps and end tables.

However, it’s too much for me to bite off in one blog post.


The only thing I’m going to say is this:


Please do not match your end table to the coffee table. Please don’t, even if they’re cool vintage pieces. The pieces need to coordinate, however. For 20 other hideous decorating mistakes, please go here.

The trick to coordinating coffee tables with end tables is in the materials, scale, and color or finish.

Please know that I am mostly excluding some specific styles, such as mid-century modern. That’s another post. (Okay, that’s not entirely true, as you’ll see in a bit.)

As most of you know, my preferred style is some version of what many call the new traditional or neo-trad. Or, some might call it eclectic.


table lamp and end table with black lampshade
A vignette from my living room in January 2020, shortly after I moved in. Everything is vintage or antique except the lamp I got in 2013.

There’s a post here that talks about mixing modern and traditional pieces; I explained how the 80/20 or 90/10 rule applies. Either the room is 80 or 90% traditional, with no more than 10-20% modern. Or, it’s the other way around. It never looks right if a room is 50% trad and 50% modern.


Also, it doesn’t usually work if the room is 98% one style and 2% the opposite.


So, beginning with the coffee table. Let’s say the room is mostly trad. If one does a more modern, glass and brass coffee table, that is a great way to interject some modernity into a space that is 80% trad. Then, more modernity could be in a desk lamp and art. Or, it could be a super interesting modern chandelier. And then, there will be enough modern elements. It’s not an exact science, but you get the point.

Could the end tables be the modern element? It depends on the sofa and the lamps, and the coffee table. This is why I think making mood boards is such a valuable exercise. It’s a terrific way to visualize how everything will look together.


For this exercise, I’m mainly staying away from anything super informal and country.


There is a disproportionate glut of that already existing in the marketplace.

Okay, here’s what I’m going to do.

Three widgets are coming.

The first widget contains some gorgeous table lamps. I know I said I was going to say what goes with what. Okay, that’s impossible with this many lamps and tables. If I had six lamps and six tables, I could do that. But, since this is me, Laurel, who can’t stop at six, many will not be paired up.

However, most of these are interchangeable. And, also as stated before, some of it depends on the sofa and coffee table.


Please enjoy the table lamps! If you’re interested in any of these, they’re for sale. If you click on the image, you’ll be taken to the source.



Next are the end and side tables. There are not as many of these. I could’ve put up more, but I’m trying to be kind to your pocketbook, should you be interested in getting any.

Many of these tables need a little TLC. And most of them could be either refinished or painted.



And, finally, what’s left?


Well, I found what I call “statement lamps.” Some are Chinoiserie, but most of these are mid-century, and some of them are well over 40″. They look best either with a very low table. Or, they could also go in a more maximalist space. All of them would look smashing in a primarily contemporary room.

I have a friend back in New York who has a living room that has simple white slipcovered sofas and then these huge, gorgeous statement lamps. They make the room! I so wish I had a photo.



Okay, I hope this makes some sense, and that you enjoyed the classic and mostly affordable table lamp and end table pairings. It’s actually a super broad topic. I suppose I could’ve just done lamps and the end tables in a separate post. However, talking about them simultaneously, is hopefully more helpful.


PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!


PPS: My back is almost 100% back to normal. I guess it was the petroleum jelly they used to make the cake?


The post Classic and Affordable Lamp and End Table Pairings appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 26 61448
Yellow Walls – Why Do You Hate Them So Much? Sun, 14 Aug 2022 07:01:17 +0000   Hi Everyone, Thank you so much for your kind notes and comments. My back is still sometimes sore, especially after I went shopping today. However, after icing it and one Advil, it feels okay now.   Today, we’re going to talk about the color yellow and yellow walls.   Wait, Laurel, I thought you […]

The post Yellow Walls – Why Do You Hate Them So Much? appeared first on Laurel Home.


Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for your kind notes and comments. My back is still sometimes sore, especially after I went shopping today. However, after icing it and one Advil, it feels okay now.


Today, we’re going to talk about the color yellow and yellow walls.


Wait, Laurel, I thought you said you like to talk about cool colors in the summer.


Well, summer’s over. haha, It’s almost time to put up your tree. ;] Anyway, please try to listen. I know most of you hate yellow walls. Or, at least don’t want to see a big drink of it.

I understand. But, here’s the thing. A big drink isn’t good, but yellow walls are a fantastic background for art.


However, I’ve read more than once that it’s the worst color to paint your home if you want to sell it.


But, in reality, is it?

Maybe I was fortunate; however, as most of you know, I had yellow walls in my living room in Bronxville, NY. I put it on the market two days before Thanksgiving, 2020. Two days after Thanksgiving, I had a full asking price offer from a lovely young woman with a handsome income and perfect credit.


31 Pondfield Rd Bronxville, NY apartment for sale - living room - Benjamin Moore America's Heartland wall color

Awww… there’s Joe. I miss him.

While this color may not be your favorite, it’s definitely not the worst color you can paint your living room. In fact, all of the warm shades of yellow, gold, and even orange look absolutely amazing in the evening. That’s with warm lighting from lamps and sconces primarily.


This living room glowed at night. Truth be told, the original color was a tad deeper, Hawthorne Yellow.


This shade of yellow looks the same at night but is a touch paler during the day. It is Benjamin Moore, America’s Heartland. Both of them are in the Laurel Home Essential Paint Color Collection. It comes with a coordinating guide using all the paint colors in 40 palettes; you can mix up according to palette families. At least three of those palettes are in the yellow family. And, I have to say that one of them is my favorite board.


Benjamin Moore lemon grove living room

I love it because that shot of saturated lemon yellow walls makes a fantastic backdrop for art. And, it looks fresh with all of the shades of white.


via aloveaffair blog lemon cakeOMG! That looks incredibly delicious.

The lemon cake recipe is here via A Love Affair blog.


Via Draper James


Remember William McLure’s gorgeous dining room with the bright yellow walls? I could eat this yummy room too!


Of course, like any color, intense yellow walls would be a nightmare of a paint color.


Yeah, this is why you hate yellow. And, I can’t say I blame you.



Yellow wall hell is where they take prisoners of war to get them to talk.


But, here’s the thing, I bet a lot of you don’t know.


Yellow is actually a historical color. And, I don’t mean cream, gold, or some pale shade.


Let’s go back in time about 250 years ago when the US was severing ties with England.


Remember this handsome guy?  He was an architect, a lawyer, and an esteemed statesman in the infancy of the United States. Of course, he penned, along with a bunch of others, the Declaration of Independence. He was also the third president of the USA. Yes, Thomas Jefferson.


Thomas Jefferson was a true Renaissance man, a classicist who was enamored with the work of architect Andrea Palladio who has been talked about numerous times.


La_Rotonda - Villa Rotonda designed by Andrea Palladio


Jefferson was so in love with Palladio’s masterpiece, the Villa Rotonda, that he did one of my favorite design tricks.


via the Clio


He stole it. Well, not all of it, but much of it. However, Jefferson also added many of his own touches.

Above is a drawing Jefferson did back in the 18th century of his Monticello. Yes, it’s a “modern” pared-down version of Palladio’s La Rotonda built about 250 years before Monticello. Both buildings have entrances in the middle of each of the four sides. Of course, there are many more differences, but one can see the influence Palladio had on Jefferson’s design of Monticello.

Well, it was at that time that someone developed a color called “Chrome Yellow.” It was all the rage, but only the well-heeled could afford it. However, artists figured out a way to make this super-saturated yellow with synthetic pigments that cost a lot less.



Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732 – 1806 ), Young Girl Reading, c. 1770, oil on canvas


Fragonard was one of the first artists to use the synthetic pigments in the gorgeous painting above.

Jefferson caught onto this new trend and embraced it for his Monticello.

However, over the years, the old saturated yellow walls had been painted over.


Several years ago, the main dining room at Monticello looked like this.


Yawn. We really should’ve stayed united with England. While this color is nothing objectionable, it’s nothing special, and looks tired. Of course, the architecture is so gorgeous that almost anything would look okay.

However, a few years ago, they decided it was time to repaint, but this time, they decided to restore the dining room color to the original deeply saturated yellow walls. In a brilliant PR move, Ralph Lauren got involved, donated the paint, and then put it in his line.


Clever guy.


Naturally, it is called Monticello Yellow.


And below is the beautifully restored dining room.


It makes my day when they put back stuff the way it was initially intended.


monticello yellow architrave dining room - yellow paint color

Love the plain white swag. Excellent choice.




This room with the jaw-dropping yellow walls is now stunning.

BTW, if you are looking for a Benjamin Moore equivalent of the Ralph Lauren color, please check out these two colors.



Also, please have a look at Pratt and Lambert  ALE. My fan deck is almost as old as Thomas Jefferson, so that the number might have changed. Mine says 1723.

And Farrow and Ball BABOUCHE is very nice too.

It’s not easy to find rooms in this color.


But, this saturated yellow is actually a very classic color.


However, would I have the nerve to use this color in my home? It’s one thing to visit a place with this stunning color than it would be seeing it every day for years.

These saturated yellow paint colors were a favorite of the 18th-century classical architect, Sir John Soanes.

During my trip to England in the fall of 2017, we visited the University of Cambridge in a Soanes-designed building.


Sir John Soanes - University of Cambridge - beautiful yellow walls

The tea and coffee station was laid out for our group.


Sir John Soanes - University of Cambridge - beautiful yellow walls detail - photo LBI
See what I mean about how fantastic the art looks against the yellow walls?

But, that reminded me of another home in late 18th century Boston, featuring yellow walls.


Otis House - dining room - exquisite art

Yes! Architect Charles Bullfinch designed the fantastic first home for Harrison Gray Otis and his growing young family in Boston’s most fashionable West End. You can read here and see much more of the lovely Otis House and gorgeous art.


portrait Harrison Gray Otis - dining room

Above is a portrait of Harrison Gray Otis on the yellow walls of the Otis House dining room. Incidentally, this home is only a stone’s throw away from where I had my accident last Tuesday on Cambridge Street.

But, getting back to Sir John Soane. He painted his own home in that saturated color.


What I love about this image is the yellow furnishings with yellow walls. This room looks like it could’ve been done today.


Sir John Soane's Museum - art - yellow wallsAbove is another room in the Sir John Soane Museum.


However, yellow is not only used for walls.


Aristocrats of the 18th – 20th century also embraced the color yellow for clothing and decor.


THOMAS WILMER DEWING (BOSTON, 1851 - 1938, NEW YORK) LADY IN YELLOW, 1888 Oil on panel-Lady in Yellow Gardner Museum80 years after Monticello was built,  Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851 – 1938) painted this lovely portrait – 1888 Oil on panel-Lady in Yellow. It is part of the exquisite collection of art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.


If you’re in Bahstahn, you must say, “The Gahdnuh.”


I’ve been to the Gardner museum twice, but I don’t recall this lovely painting. So, I went to see if I had taken a pic when I visited last September. Well, yes, I found an image! However, there’s a good reason why I didn’t notice it.


mismatched wallcovering Isabella Stewart Gardner MuseumI was too busy noticing the mismatched silk damask wall covering. Is this original? It’s in pristine condition if so. However, I don’t think Mrs. Gardner would’ve approved of this. I can only conclude that someone didn’t order enough fabric, and then Tim Gunn showed up and said, “Make It Work.”  haha.


But, here’s what’s also funny. I DID take a photo of this beauty the first time at the Gardner in the spring of 2017.


photo -LBI - THOMAS WILMER DEWING (BOSTON, 1851 - 1938, NEW YORK) LADY IN YELLOW, 1888 Oil on panel-Lady in Yellow Gardner MuseumToday I came across it while looking for something else.


In addition, I also found some other gorgeous old art pieces with women in gorgeous yellow dresses.



I can’t resist sharing this incredible portrait of Mrs.Joshua Iremonger, painted by Joseph Highmore. The colors are incredibly sublime. It was painted in 1792. Tragically, she died in 1744, soon after the birth of their son, Joshua, Jr.


my antique zuber screenThe colors remind me of my Zuber screen.


still-life-of-yellow-roses-in-an-oriental-vase - Artist -George W. Seavey (American, 1841-1916)

still-life-of-yellow-roses-in-an-oriental-vase – Artist -George W. Seavey (American, 1841-1916)


Sotheby’s – Wilfrid Gabriel De Glen – “Blue and Gold” 1911 oil on Canvas 42″ x 52″


sothebys--WILFRID GABRIEL DE GLEHN, R.A. 1870-1951 Blue and Gold signed and dated u.r.- W.G. von Glehn - 1911 oil on canvas - detail

The original image is pretty hi-res, so I’m able to include a detail of the masterfully painted face. Again, gorgeous colors and magnificent painterly technique.


Speaking of technique, (I’m doing my version of Thomas Jefferson. haha.)


But, I found this young pianist on Instagram yesterday. Giuseppe DeMaglie


He’s amazing!

This is his composition. It is NOT Bach.


Gunn, Herbert James, 1893-1964; Pauline in the Yellow Dress

Gunn, Herbert James; Pauline in the Yellow Dress; Harris Museum & Art Gallery – 1944

(not related to Tim Gunn, I don’t think. haha)

Herbert James Gunn (1893-1964, British), 1944, detail- Pauline in the Yellow Dress, Oil on canvas, Harris Museum & Art Gallery

And, an incredible detail view of Pauline, the artist’s wife. What an elegant woman!


Now that we’ve arrived in the 20th century, many other designers have embraced these strong, saturated yellow walls.


I’m sure many of you recognize Nancy Lancaster’s iconic room for the Colefax and Fowler showroom in London, decorated circa 1950.


Nancy Lancaster 1916

Above is a very young Nancy Lancaster in 1916. Whoa, look at the furniture and the mouldings. The wall moulding is the same as what I’d like to see on my range hood. (If we ever got this project going). And that lamp!


However, Nancy isn’t the only decorator in love with these intense yellow walls.


The legendary English team of Sybil Colefax and John Fowler used it in their beautiful London showroom.


Ruby Lane


Above and below are two recent images of the Colefax and Fowler showroom in London. They recently moved after many years at this address.


Tim Forrest’s Blog


In fact, Colefax & Fowler have created their own shade of yellow paint.


Sybil Colefax & John Fowler Hambledon Yellow


Another iconic English designer, Jasper Conran. Ironically, he’s associated with contemporary designs, but his taste runs otherwise. I could definitely live here!


At the end of the 20th century, there was still a mystique about a woman in a “yellow dress.”



Did you see this show? Contact. I was incredibly fortunate to see it in late August 2001 with my mom. Two weeks before the show closed due to the World Trade Center attacks. It’s my favorite Broadway musical.


Below are some more favorite places with beautiful yellow walls.


Another historic room with yellow walls. I so wish I could see more and also know the original source. If someone knows, please let me know.


Ben Pentreath - Charlie McCormick - old parsonage timeless kitchen yellow walls - cabinet

I took an image of Ben Pentreath’s fantastic kitchen when I visited his home in Dorchester, UK.


Historic Charleston Greek Revival double parlor renovated by Gil Schafer

Historic Charleston Greek Revival double parlor renovated by Gil Schafer



And here are the Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Yellow walls in my old New York apartment. The Zuber screen is behind my desk.


For those of you, who are warming up to yellow (no pun intended) but are still weary of the more saturated shades,


Robert A.M. Stern Florida Beach house - painted color yellow

photo: Peter Aaron/Esto

please check out this phenomenal home designed by Robert A.M Stern. Can you guess where it is? My guess would be someplace like Newport, RI.

But, no, it’s in Florida!


Below are some beautifully saturated yellows for the brave.



SUNRAYS 343 – Benjamin Moore

LEMON GROVE 363 – Benjamin Moore

SUN VALLEY 350 – Benjamin Moore

BABOUCHE Farrow and Ball


Pratt and Lambert ALE 1723 – Benjamin Moore


How do you feel about these saturated yellow paint colors?


I have to be honest. I love the yellow walls in the photos, but not sure if I have the courage.



PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!


The post Yellow Walls – Why Do You Hate Them So Much? appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 65 61291
I Got Hit By A Car Today, While Walking On A Sidewalk! Wed, 10 Aug 2022 05:09:38 +0000   Yes, that’s right; at about 12:30 this afternoon. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning for a little procedure. No, it wasn’t botox or anything like that. I wish! After my appointment, I stopped at Whole Foods on Cambridge Street.   Here’s what happened. Oh, my, I lucked out here with this image from […]

The post I Got Hit By A Car Today, While Walking On A Sidewalk! appeared first on Laurel Home.


Yes, that’s right; at about 12:30 this afternoon.

I had a doctor’s appointment this morning for a little procedure. No, it wasn’t botox or anything like that. I wish! After my appointment, I stopped at Whole Foods on Cambridge Street.


Here’s what happened.
Charles River Parking Garage - I got hit by a car today!
Oh, my, I lucked out here with this image from Google. See where that woman is walking? I was about two feet in front of where she is in the photo above and about four feet to her right. Wait, no. I was in that position from the exit side. But, at least you can see the situation. I was walking between two cars that were stopped waiting to exit the garage onto Cambridge Street. So far, so good.

But, suddenly, the car to my left BACKED UP INTO ME, not hard, thank God, but hard enough to knock me over, within an inch of the following car waiting to leave.

I screamed because I realized I was about to be run over by the second car. Fortunately, that driver didn’t move.


However, please, I don’t want you to worry. The groceries are absolutely fine.


Yes, there were plenty of witnesses. It happened during lunch hour in the heart of the Massachusetts General Hospital complex, which sprawls over dozens of acres. If you have to get hurt, this is the best place to be.


Mass General Hospital Boston
Okay, this is why there’s no actual post.


Laurel, for God’s sake, were you hurt?


Oh, sorry. Yes, a little, but it could’ve been a lot worse.  My lower left back took the brunt of the fall and is quite sore. So, I wonked a muscle or ligament. Otherwise, just a little scraped knee and a couple of bruises. Thank God, nothing is broken. Aside from my back and just feeling a little sick, I’m more traumatized than anything.

Okay, I know your next question, and the answer is, no, I didn’t get his license or call the police. I knew if I did the latter, I’d be standing out in the hot sun for at least an hour. That would’ve made everything much worse. I just wanted to get home.


Please do not chastise me. I’m feeling bad enough as it is. Despite feeling yucky, I made the best decision for myself.


But, for sure, I let that dufus have it, and so did some other people. He claimed he had restarted the car, and that made it roll backward.

IMPOSSIBLE. The ramp slopes down to the street. The only way he could’ve possibly rolled back is to have put the car in reverse. He apologized, but did he get out of his vehicle to make sure I was alright? No, he didn’t. However, a very sweet young woman stayed there the entire time to make sure I was okay. There are Angels amongst us.


I walked home, which is just over a mile from there.


Of course, my back wasn’t hurting nearly as much as it is now. I’ve been icing it. But, I need to rest, which is why there’s no real blog post.

Hopefully, there will be tomorrow. But, if not, please don’t worry.

In the meantime, Melissa has updated the HOT SALES. I believe the Serena & Lily sale is ending the day after tomorrow.

Love to All!


The post I Got Hit By A Car Today, While Walking On A Sidewalk! appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 100 61300
36 Cheap Sofas and Chairs That Look High-End! Sun, 07 Aug 2022 07:08:57 +0000   Dear Laurel, Is it me, or am I just imagining that the furniture cost has gone through the roof? And, are there any decent cheap sofas and chairs? I’m asking because I need to get some new furniture for my daughter’s first apartment. And, I need a couple of new chairs for my home. […]

The post 36 Cheap Sofas and Chairs That Look High-End! appeared first on Laurel Home.


Dear Laurel,

Is it me, or am I just imagining that the furniture cost has gone through the roof? And, are there any decent cheap sofas and chairs? I’m asking because I need to get some new furniture for my daughter’s first apartment. And, I need a couple of new chairs for my home.


Sharon Hauspor.




No, Sharon, it isn’t just you, and no, you aren’t imagining things. The prices of a lot of things have soared in the last year or so. And, the home furnishings industry has been hit quite hard, as have other sectors.

Like our groceries.

Therefore, I’d love to do a little series about where to get stylish, comfortable, cheap furniture, if there’s enough interest.

Is it good furniture? Some of it is. I try to select pieces that have great reviews and look well-made.


Okay, I can see some of you squirming about tag and estate sales, Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List, and other super cheap sources.


That’s absolutely fine, but it doesn’t work for everyone. They can certainly purchase it, but can’t pick it up.

So, this is for folks who

A. Need to have their furniture delivered

B. Don’t feel like wading through tons of stuff and 100s of listings to find something they want.

C. And, people who don’t want used furniture. And, it behooves one to check thoroughly for pest infestations before bringing back to your dwelling anything you acquired from someone’s home, particularly upholstery.


So, where do I recommend you get this cheap furniture that usually comes quickly and can get delivered inside your home?


Well, there are lots of places.


However, I’m a strong proponent of shopping locally. Therefore, I’m recommending one of my quaint local shops.


Wayfair Corporate Offices Boylston Street Boston, MA

Wayfair’s new corporate headquarters on Boylston Street in the heart of the commercial area of Boston’s Back Bay. And, LITERALLY around the corner from my home.


500 Boylston Street in Boston - Wayfair Headquarters

This is the main building which they’re going to be renting part of it out.

Please notice how they’ve played down the PURPLE.

Yep, Wayfair Corporate Headquarters - Boston, MA
Yeah, just my little local Ma and Pa general store. And, do you know what’s across the street from Wayfair? You’re not going to believe this.

Nordstrom Rack.

Indeed, I live in an urban paradise. We’ll ignore the usually atrocious weather, which is either snot freezing cold, or one degree cooler than Death Valley, with the humidity rivaling the Amazon.

Otherwise, it’s the best place to live.


Here, let me show you a little map I made of the ‘hood and surrounding territory.


(mostly landfill. Remember?)


Sorry, some of it is a little difficult to read, so I’ll quickly go over the points of interest.

Here, you can see not only one but two Wayfair offices. One is only a baseball pitch away, and the other is about a 6-minute walk away.

At the bottom of the image is the Bahston Public Library, The finish line of the Bahston Marathon. Copley Square that they named after the Benjamin Moore paint color, Copley Gray, I guess.

Benjamin Moore Copley Gray HC-104


Then, Trinity Church. It is difficult to tell, but the John Hancock building is in front of the Wayfair building. Actually, they are across the street (Clarendon) from each other.

To the left is my home. Beyond that is the Public Gahden. “The Hill.” (Beacon Hill) I realize that it doesn’t look like much of a hill here. Believe me, when I tell you that when you’re climbing it, it is definitely a hill.


At the top of the Hill are the Massachusetts State Government buildings, as Bahston is the capitol of this state.


Then moving over to the far right, I forgot to put Logan International Airport in between Bahston Habah and the Atlantic Ocean. To the far, far right is the Massachusetts Turnpike. (the pike)

As you can see looking at the top of the map, the ocean isn’t really all that large, for just beyond that is where the earth ends.

And, that is my paradise.


Copley Square Back Bay Boston

Above is another map I made a while back. But, here, you can see the Wayfair building, underneath where it says Back Bay Garage. My little garden, for you crazy stalkers out there, is right above the “r” in Jonquils Cafe and Bakery. No worries. The alley rats are surprisingly friendly.


Okay, I hope you enjoyed that little introduction, along with another perspective of our lovely town.



By the way, yes. I did brave the scorching heat to take those pics this afternoon.

Okay, that’s all. I need a nap.

No, not really.


I do have some very cool cheap sofas and chairs to show you.


However, before I go on, I have two important announcements


One, please check out the new bundles for my interior design guides. If you purchase any bundle, you get 10% or more off!

The link above will take you to the introduction page, but this page is where you order and has all of the new and old bundles.





Good for dark rustic home Serena & Lily Eastgate Sofa - definitely not cheap sofas and chairs!


If you have the budget for some gorgeous high-end upholstery, I very much recommend you check out the Serena & Lily custom upholstery sale. Many items are in a six-week guaranteed quick ship program. Therefore, you can be certain to have your furniture before the holiday season begins. That date is about September 22nd. Right? ;]


Okay, time to focus on the main topic, which is cheap sofas and chairs. And, again, I am focusing on pieces that don’t look cheap.


Okay, let’s dive into our topic of cheap sofas and chairs.


What do I mean by cheap?


Well, from about $800.00-$2,100.00 for a sofa and about $300.00-$800.00 for a chair. However, some chairs here are less than $150/each. And, some sofas are well under $800.


I ordered a very cool mid-century modern sofa for my son Aaron for only $450, from Overstock.


It’s in the widget below. As a matter of fact, he received it today. Wayfair and Overstock are incredible about emailing that kind of information. I texted him and said that his sofa and desk had arrived. He said he got them, thanks.

That means he loves it!

Believe me, if he didn’t love it, I would hear about it.


But, Laurel– Aren’t these cheap sofas and chairs going to be uhhh– your favorite word, “ersatz,” or poorly made, uncomfortable, and fall apart?


Those are all great questions. And yes, there is a LOT of ersatz, ugly, amorphous, cheap furniture out there.

And, hang on, because I’ve rounded up a good ol’ mess of horror shows for you.

But, there is also a good amount of cheap furniture that’s surprisingly not only good-looking but great looking. And according to reviews, comfortable and well-made.


But sure, there are also cheap sofas and chairs which are not comfortable and will fall apart.


However, I’ve had clients who, when their kids were little, didn’t want to spend megabucks on a piece that would get peanut butter and jelly and ice cream sandwiches smashed into it. And worse. But, they also wanted something stylish enough to look good for the time being.

Now, it is doubtful that you will get a spring-down luxurious seat. And it’s true. The cushions might not hold up so well over time. Plus, very often, on a cheap sofa or chair, the cushions don’t flip. However, they usually say if the cushions are reversible.

It’s very important to read the reviews if there are any and any other literature available on your piece before purchasing. If in doubt, you can also call customer service where the piece is sold.


Here are some more things to look out for.


  • Like all upholstered furniture, we want its style to have good proportions. So, for instance, a mid-century modern piece might have a super low back, and that’s appropriate for that piece.
  • Some cheap upholstery is boxy when it is not supposed to be boxy. So, be sure to look at your piece from all angles. The pieces I’ve selected, for the most part, have profiles that look high-end.
  • If I were concerned about buttons falling off, I wouldn’t get tufted furniture. You might be able to crazy glue any buttons back on or ask an upholsterer if it can be fixed.
  • However, if it’s a piece that should have a pitched back, then make sure it’s not too straight up. Some pieces like Tuxedo sofas do have a straight outside, but the inside upholstery is pitched slightly.


Do you know the biggest aesthetic problem I often see with cheap sofas and chairs?


It’s the legs.

The front legs, be they turned, tapered, or straight, look best when they are very close to the edge of the piece unless it’s a mid-century style and the legs are meant to be set in.

Ideally, unless it’s a style meant to be otherwise, the back legs are curved and not the same leg as in the front. However, with cheap sofas and chairs, you will almost always have to screw the legs in after you’ve received them.


Below, I made a graphic to show some leg issues that frequently occur with cheap sofas and chairs. But, thankfully, not all of them, as you will soon see.


Common Issues with Cheap Sofas and Chairs


nice chair except for legs cheap sofas and chairs

More spark plug legs and in the back too. I don’t know who created this turned leg design, maybe a former auto mechanic? But, they are horrible. And too bad because they are ruining an otherwise lovely chair.


And, below is another widget of chairs with strange arms, legs, ugly backs, and one that looks like it’s made of cement.

Most of these are cheap and look cheap.



I think they look poorly designed and therefore look cheap. There’s no need for any of that.


However, the following chairs are all expensive. I mean, super expensive and IMO, even more offensive.






Oh, one more. Pretty Please?


What is with that small chair with the 50s hair-do flip arms? Bizarre, to say the least.

Okay, what do we need to look for when trying to find some great-looking cheap sofas and chairs?


  • Design. Is it classic? And by classic, it could be modern, mid-century, or traditional. But, the proportions are good, and the lines pretty.
  • How are the proportions? You can see when something is horribly misshapen. Great cheap sofas and chairs are beautifully proportioned.
  • Also, look, as mentioned earlier (except for a Tuxedo or Chesterfield), for a decent pitch. You don’t want to be sitting ramrod straight. And, you also don’t want to be leaning back against an amorphous amoeba blown up one trillion times its normal size.


What are the best sources for cheap sofas and chairs?


Some of my favorites are:


Joss and Main – They have a great selection of cheap sofas!

Pottery Barn

West Elm for more contemporary/modern pieces



Below are a few of my favorite cheap sofas and chairs. You will see them again in the widget below.


Bourgoin armchair looks a lot more expensive than it is. From Joss & Main


Harcourt+Tufted+Chesterfield+Sofa+in+Teal-Cheap Sofas and Chairs Joss and Main $820
This Tuxedo-style sofa looks so much more expensive than it is. There are lots of images on Wayfair too.


Lincolnwood+Slipcovered+Sofa-Cheap Sofas and Chairs Joss and Main $890This classic is in the widget a couple of times. (See below)


Katharina+Tufted+Chesterfield+Sofa-Cheap Sofas and Chairs Joss and Main $930I believe in this situation, with a straight back, it is fine to have all four legs be straight and tapered.

Huston+Sofa - $870 - Joss and Main - Cheap Sofas and ChairsThe elegant roll-arm sofa from Wayfair


Below is a widget of 36 beautiful budget sofas and chairs


(please click on any image for more information)



And below is a graphic to pin to Pinterest for reference.


36 Fantastic and Cheap Sofas and Chairs That Look High-End!


I hope you enjoyed these cheap sofas and chairs, and are proud of me for supporting the neighborhood furniture store. haha


You might also enjoy this post about a handsome room using some beautiful furniture.

Please be sure to visit the HOT SALES for more budget furnishings.





I think it’s time for a new laptop. This one just had two keys fall off while typing!


The post 36 Cheap Sofas and Chairs That Look High-End! appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 9 61234
How to Find Anything on the Internet + Blog Theft! Wed, 03 Aug 2022 06:03:48 +0000   Hi Everyone, First of all, before we delve into today’s topic of how to find anything on the Internet, I want to thank you for all of the wonderful comments you shared in recent renovation posts.   Anyway, this wasn’t the post I was going to write. I was going to republish this post, […]

The post How to Find Anything on the Internet + Blog Theft! appeared first on Laurel Home.


Hi Everyone,

First of all, before we delve into today’s topic of how to find anything on the Internet, I want to thank you for all of the wonderful comments you shared in recent renovation posts.


Anyway, this wasn’t the post I was going to write. I was going to republish this post, “OMG, My Interior Designer Just Fired Me!”

However, when I googled the title, I found MY POST on another decorator’s LinkedIn profile.


Uh Oh.


This makes Lauwie vewwwy angwwwy.


Whenever I find one or several of my blog posts stolen with zero credit given to me, it feels like someone just ripped one of my babies out of my arms and has run off with it.

Fine, yes, that’s a bit melodramatic, but you get the point. It sucks.

Anyway, I just took a screenshot of the first paragraph on this darling’s Linkedin page. As you can see by comparing it with my post from a year earlier, she lifted it verbatim.


I left a message telling her she needed to remove the stolen blog post STAT, and then I left her a message via her website saying the same thing. I told her in no uncertain terms that the post needed to be deleted from the Internet 100% – IMMEDIATELY, and I told her I was serious. That’s all.


OMG, she JUST called to ream me out for being rude and unprofessional.


Wait. What??? The thief is calling me rude and unprofessional?  It’s one wacky world, ain’t it?


Apparently, she was incensed because she did not like being called a thief. Her story was that she hired someone to write her blog for her. No offense, but I’m not sure why anyone would do that except for an occasional guest post. Isn’t that a tad disingenuous? Of course, that’s beside the point as it does not absolve her from the crime.

However, she continued to scream in my ear that she had no idea it was stolen property and in an angry tone recommended that I find out what the situation was before I go and accuse someone of theft.

Yes, that happens, but it’s still her responsibility to make sure it’s content she’s allowed to publish and put her forkin NAME on!


I mean, it’s like saying: “Officer, how dare you arrest me for kidnapping this woman’s baby! Who the hell do you think you are? Uncuff me this instant! I paid good money for this baby! How am I to know the baby belonged to someone else? Yeeesh!”


Alas, the “ghostwriter theft” has happened to me before; however, that time, the designer, as most would be, was mortified and exceedingly apologetic. Nope, not this time.  A simple apology would’ve sufficed instead of the victim shaming. Gaslighting at its finest. She did, however, remove my post.

I imagine there are dozens of my stolen posts out there. But, do I have time to google the headline of every post?


Okay, I don’t want to be a total Debbie Downer. That’s not why you come here.


And, I realize it might not even sound like a big deal to you, but this blog is my livelihood and duplicating my content hurts my standing with Google. Well, you get it. Thanks for listening.

However, I’m not redoing that post at this time. But, if the topic interests you, there are three other blog posts to check out that discuss client and interior designer relationships from both sides.

You can find them here.

My Interior Design Client is Giving Me Sleepless Nights!

I Think My Interior Designer Might Be Ripping Me Off!


Help! I Hired the Interior Designer from Hell!



But, there’s much more I have for you today. Earlier, a kind reader sent me some pics of rooms with these beautiful Hurricane Candle Lanterns.


But, wait, Laurel! How on earth did you find your blog post on someone’s LinkedIn page?


Oh, haha, I guess we’re not quite through with that unsavory topic. I’m always afraid I’m boring you with crap like that. Okay, that’s a great question, and it actually does tie in somewhat with a question sent to me from Kate in Colorado.

Alas, it’s a bit technical. To put it briefly, I did a google search on the topic to see if I needed to tweak the headline maybe. As I was scrolling down page ONE, I found the words, I instantly recognized as my own on the thief’s LinkedIn page.


Okay, as I was saying, darling Kate sent me an email lamenting that she couldn’t find the source of these beautiful hurricane candle holders. Here’s what she said:


Hi Laurel,

I have been thoroughly enjoying your kitchen and bedroom remodeling posts, and never get tired of following your design process.

While I haven’t commented lately because, honestly, I’m just so in awe of your incredible talent. If I owned your home, and you were my designer, and you gave me those choices, I’d just close my eyes and tell you to surprise me!

Like Mary’s kitchen, I’m still just gob-smacked; it’s so gorgeous!

For the past few years, I’ve had a nagging question, and I’m wondering if you could use my question in a post.


Where do interior designers get their stuff?


I have specifically been eyeing the OMG gorgeous hurricane candleholders that I often see.  (Is that what they’re called?)

I’ve been looking for over two years for the one that Mark Sikes used at his own home and in several projects.  Ashley Whittaker has also used that same one repeatedly.


James Farmer Blue Hurricane Lamps or Candle Holders

James T Farmer


Blaire Murfree Blue Hurricane Candle Holder- new trad dining room- via Flower Magazine

Blaire Murfree gorgeous dining room via Flower Magazine


And now James Farmer and Blaire Murfree have used another hurricane candleholder that’s just, WOW.  I’d cash in my stocks! – Well, maybe wait, they’re starting to rebound – to buy those beauties!


Blaire Murfree green Hurricane Candle holder New trad living room
Blaire Murfree elegant living room via Flower Magazine


I’ve looked everywhere. Well, obviously, NOT everywhere.

I’ve looked on 1stdibs & Chairish & OneKingsLane & Etsy & etc.etc.  Apparently, there’s one more place that I’m NOT looking!   And maybe other readers wonder, too?

Thanks for considering my question!





Thank you so much, Kate. I’m blushing.

Now, folks, I love you, but please don’t rush to email me and inquire if I can locate something you see on the Internet. This does happen frequently. I so wish I could help everyone, but it’s impossible.

However, you don’t need me because I will give you some tips from a professional stalker – errr, blogger. ;]

First, going to a source where you think you might find something, like the sources mentioned above, is fine. If you have a hunch, you might very well be right.


But, here’s what I do when trying to locate a product I see on the Internet.


The first tip is to take the photo or a screenshot of whatever it is you are looking for and see if anything pops up that way when you drag the cropped image of your product into google images. By the way, you need a real computer for that part of the exercise.

Above is what you see when you go to

I put the image on my desktop and then made my screen reveal part of my desktop where the image is located. Then, I drag the image into the google images box with the camera icon.

It works quite well for flat items like fabric and wallpaper. However, not always.

Failing that, I then use my Google search box with those descriptive keywords.


In this case, it appears to maybe be a Vintage Hurricane candle holder.


However, if you see the same item repeatedly, it might not be vintage or antique. If you’re still coming up dry, try different keywords. If you find something even a little bit close, click on it, and then look in your right-side sidebar.

Repeat that exercise, several times. Try tweaking your keywords.

That’s what I did before the stolen blog post saga, and YES! I found the beautiful candle holders.

Otherwise, why would I be telling you all this and putting you to sleep?


The beautiful and supremely talented Meg Braff sells them on her website.


Meg Braff cool Hurricane Candle Holders - Sold through her Website

Now that I located them, I put them in Google Images to see if there are other vendors. There are. But, I also found the manufacturer. International Shades.


However, you have to email them if you want to see their website.


I need to add them for the next update to Laurel’s Rolodex.

And speaking of– In the back of Laurel’s Rolodex is another tutorial that goes into greater detail about how I locate items on the Internet.


And, speaking of Laurel’s Rolodex


Surprise! I’m having a mid-summer FLASH SALE of my interior Design Guides.


Flash Sale For All of the Wonderful Laurel Home Guides, Including Laurel's Rolodex, The Ultimate Paint/Palette Curated Collection and Six Figure Income Blogger, but only through July 4th, 2018 from 20%-30% off.


I am offering 20% PLUS an additional 5% off on EVERYTHING! But, this is only for a few days.


In addition, there are also additional discounts if you purchase any bundle of two or more guides.  One bundle gives you two of the guides for free!


To get started, if you are unfamiliar with my rockin’ interior design guides, please begin here. From there, you can click on the various links for more information.

To go to the purchase page, where you’ll also find out about all of the terrific bundles, please go here.


PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!


Wow! I had no idea, however, Serena & Lily just put all of their gorgeous custom upholstered pieces on sale! Plus, they are promising SIX-week delivery on many of their pieces. Fantastic.


The post How to Find Anything on the Internet + Blog Theft! appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 30 61128
Ultimate Master Bedroom Suite – Flex Space Galore! Sun, 31 Jul 2022 04:32:19 +0000 Hi Everyone, Oh dear, I have zero discipline. This was not supposed to be yet another post about my bedroom. However, I know that a lot of you also have bedrooms. Right? ;] Plus, there are well over 400 square feet in my lower-level master bedroom suite. So, we’re going over it again because so […]

The post Ultimate Master Bedroom Suite – Flex Space Galore! appeared first on Laurel Home.

Hi Everyone,

Oh dear, I have zero discipline. This was not supposed to be yet another post about my bedroom. However, I know that a lot of you also have bedrooms. Right? ;]

Plus, there are well over 400 square feet in my lower-level master bedroom suite.

So, we’re going over it again because so many of you had some super great suggestions. And, I’ve come up with a few of my own.


But, then I got to thinking. And this is important.


A good thing to consider when building or renovating is:

Where does one design only for themselves, and when should you consider the next person, or people, after you?

Of course, we can’t know what others need or don’t need. And no one should expect a closet the size of a small department store in someone’s home. And, especially a 1215-square-foot apartment. That’s not happening. In addition, I’m the antithesis of Carrie Bradshaw. Clothing and shoe-wise; it’s true.


But, what if I told you that one of my designs had tons of closet space plus a home office nook?


But, there’s much more, this master bedroom suite can do! And, not just for me, but for other people who might be living here one day.

So, are you ready to see the ultimate master bedroom suite?


Ummm, Laurel, isn’t that a little grandiose?


No, it’s a LOT grandiose. haha. However, please reserve judgment until I’m finished.

But, if you missed Wednesday’s post or need a review, please go here.

I’m not going to make you read the comments. And, by the way, I tried to answer many of them. If I didn’t answer a comment, it’s not that there was anything wrong with it. I just plumb ran out of steam.


Okay, my impression was that the most popular plan was C with a straight staircase.


I believe there were many Bs with a straight staircase, as well. Although, many of you preferred the winder with only three winding steps. And, of course, many liked one of the three other plans.

The other day, as I did for the kitchen, I revisited one of my earlier concepts.

Sometimes when something isn’t quite working, it helps to think about things differently.


I know that I love the staircase going down straight. It provides many more options in the design.

Although, this plan with the staircase turning in the middle is certainly not a bad design.

114 Comm Ave #2 Garden Level Dec 2021-no furniture 12.21.21Above is the staircase with a big turn. Please ignore the fireplace. I’m hoping to put my antique bookcase in that spot.

However, the version below is the earlier design concept for the master bedroom suite. If you missed the post, there is one that features a bunch of these earlier designs.


Like I said earlier, any of these are far better than what is currently in the master bedroom suite.


You can see that in Wednesday’s post.

The staircase has some issues in that the 11th step overlaps the hole. I only want a pure rectangle because I’m trying to make the stairwell as small as possible. Plus, above, I indicated two treads before the wall, and there can only be one that sits entirely over the ceiling. The second tread will be lower than the ceiling by about an inch and a half.

I realize that this might be difficult to conceptualize. It is for me too. Simply, the first step is sandwiched between the floor joists and the second step has broken through the ceiling.


Another point is that this is actually more like how the winder needs to be. As I said on Wednesday, they take up a lot of space, compared to a straight run of stairs.


However, the main difference in this master bedroom suite iteration is that the entrance to the bedroom is in the back of the space.


I like this for these reasons:


  • It makes the bedroom more private.
  • And, I could put up a hospital track and have a lovely gauzy curtain to push over should I have guests, and we’re going to hang out on the patio.As a matter of fact, if money were no object, I might even consider putting up a thin glass wall, with a door, of course. Many terrific ideas are in this post that discusses solutions when there is no entrance foyer.


I love this idea for a small apartment.

Please rest easy. I would not do it even IF my last name was Rockefeller. One reason is that I don’t entertain a lot out there. I do love the idea for studio apartments.  However, if it’s a rental, this probably won’t work unless the landlord wants to put it in permanently. But, this is another blog post.


Let’s move on with the master bedroom suite and the new iteration of the rear entrance, we’ll call it.


And, we’ll begin with version E.

Straight run stairs Garden Level July 30, 2022 - flex space very open

So, we enter the apartment as before. Please notice the straight-run staircase. However, I bumped out the final step, which is quite lovely, I think.

Please also notice that I put a chest facing the staircase. We could put a beautiful mirror over that. I always like a mirror by the door to check for food caught between teeth and boogers. Right? ;]


Anyway, let’s stop in the bathroom.


So many of you begged me to enclose the toilet. Okay, I’ll try. But, can I move the toilet over to this wall? Sure I can. Will it cost $10,000 to do so? It might. It’ll be at least 7k, according to my quote.

Is it worth it?

That is always a question we need to ask ourselves. Some renovations will not see a return on the investment. That’s okay, as long as we realize it.

This is the sort of thing that probably makes it easier to sell the place. I don’t think it’ll raise the price much. But, having luxurious well-thought-out details does make a property more attractive. I also think just having the partition without the door is nice.


Okay, I also eliminated a sink and made part of it into a sitting vanity. The jury is still out about the latter. However, it’s something to consider.


There is a little built-in cabinet between the toilet and shower.

I have to say that I rather adore this little bathroom.

The rest is pretty straightforward. I put in a little closet for the mini-fridge and microwave. Then, there are two good-sized closets but no walk-in closet.


Wait. Is that smoke coming out of your ears?


Please, take a deep breath, you’re going to blow a gasket or something.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. You’re going to say this is not enough closet space. Right, for Carrie Bradshaw, it isn’t enough. For me, it’s double what I need– at least. Besides, I still have the under staircase storage.

But, since I realize I’m weird unusual, I will give you less Laurel and more Carrie. So, please get ready for the ultimate master bedroom suite. Wait until you see what this baby can do. Please get ready for version F.

master bedroom suite-Straight run stairs Garden Level July 30, 2022 - flex space galore walk-in closet APlease ignore the detritus I left on this one.

Also, to avoid making y’all nuts, I left off many of the doors. Most of the time, they are closed or open, so having them half open is distracting when viewed on the floorplan.


What is really freaky about version F is all I did was add ONE wall.


Now, get ready. It starts out exactly the same until we get to the BIG walk-in closet. Are you happy now?


But, rounding the bend just past the bathroom, we come to the real master bedroom suite showstopper.


Oh, I know it doesn’t look like much, at first.

But, see that back area that was a closet in the previous version? Well, now, it could become a home office. There could be doors to hide the desk. Or, one could even put in a little mini kitchen instead of the office.

What if this master bedroom suite became a mother-in-law suite? There’s even a door by the staircase so the upstairs residents can do laundry without disturbing mom.


It’s not allowed in my building.


But, this could even become a short-term rental or Airbnb. In that case, the staircase would need to be closed off. I’m not going to bother now, but the point is that it could be done with some reconfiguring.

Let’s bring the image back down.

master bedroom suite-Straight run stairs Garden Level July 30, 2022 - flex space galore walk-in closet AOne thing I don’t like as much is that it’s more closed off. However, I do think the entrance is very pretty.


Also, there are a lot of doors for different circumstances.


For example, suppose I had a boyfriend who liked to get up at 5:00 AM and do work. There’s a door to the bedroom proper, so I won’t be disturbed.

The sliding door parallel with the bathroom door would be great if I wanted to close off the entire master bedroom suite except for the bathroom.

The first sliding door is fantastic if there are upstairs guests and for complete privacy. Or, if using the master bedroom suite as a M-I-L suite.

Straight run stairs Garden Level July 30, 2022 - flex space more openVersion G features a smaller closet to keep things more open. There’s also a bookcase or small chest across from the bathroom.


We can still use the space under the stairs and access it from the side.


Of course, it won’t be full-height storage in this location. There could also be access for full-height storage from the bedroom. However, since there will be a nightstand there, it’ll only be to stow the M-I-L if she gets out of hand. ;]

Or, for items that aren’t needed very often.

Or, to stow Cale’s stuff, he doesn’t know what to do with, but doesn’t want to get rid of.

And, there’s one last version. Version H.

master bedroom suite-Straight run stairs Garden Level July 30, 2022 - flex space very open Version H is my ultimate master bedroom suite.

Frankly, I don’t need a walk-in closet. And, although, I have stuff in my current walk-in closet, I don’t walk into it every day. I can go for days without going in there. I prefer smaller closets. They are easier for me to negotiate.

My big one had gotten out of hand during my Christmas party. I cleaned it out right afterward, but the point is, it’s too tempting to turn it into a dumping ground. At least it is for me.

In version H, above, I included a breakfront, not for china, but for clothing, primarily. It’s really a wardrobe, and the Victorians loved them.

Remember this post featuring many beautiful wardrobes?

But, the wardrobe could also be for linens, books, or art supplies, whatever I wish to put in there.

I realize it looks a lot like my old Donald cabinet in Bronxville, NY. (That links to an old super-sucky post. haha) I left my Donald cabinet behind for two reasons. One, the new owner wanted it. Two, it was a bitch times 100 to move, and three, I didn’t have a place for it here in Boston.

Or, so I thought! Funny, isn’t it?


However, I retain the open feeling I love with version H but still have access to the under-the-stairs storage.


I can go back to putting the mini fridge and microwave in it. And, then the other closet can be used for other things.

Plus, I love using furniture for storage instead of a zillion closets.

Alright, I pinky-promise, I’m done with the master bedroom suite; at least for a while. However, I want to thank you all for your terrific ideas.

my backbay bedroom design - master bedroom suiteRemember when I did this conceptual design before moving here in December 2020? You can see that bedroom post here. 

That post is more about the aesthetics of the bedroom. I still love this design concept.


There’s only one problem.


And my southern readers are going to laugh-snort their coffee.


But, I’m kind of in love with my ceiling fan. It’s amazing and does a great job keeping me cool with only the one window air conditioner upstairs. However, I want to emphasize that I NEVER turn on the light. It’s not the worst light, aesthetically, but the light it gives off is horrendous.

In fact, it’s giving me pause whether I actually do want to go to the expense of putting a mini split AC system in. The only thing is the radiator. I need a better solution than what’s currently there. You can read more about that here. Although I have ixnayed the fireplace idea as I said earlier.


Finally, I’m going to close with a word about my younger son Aaron that so many of you were asking about a few months ago. He reached back out to me a few weeks ago after a very long silence on his end.


For those of you who saw my HOT Sales announcement yesterday, I posted a pic of a kitchen from Aaron’s new apartment that he’s moving to on Monday. Yes, he’s talking to me nearly every day now!

If you didn’t see Aaron’s kitchen, this is it.

Aaron's new kitchen!

It’s so much like others I’ve posted, and very close to my beloved grandmother’s kitchen in Chicago. And there are zillions of these in Seattle. Why didn’t anyone tell me?!

I love how they’re not ripping out these old gems like I also had in Palo Alto back in the 70s; but, instead, are fixing them up and adding new cabinetry, as needed.


 ***PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES and also, it’s the last DAY for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!!!

The post Ultimate Master Bedroom Suite – Flex Space Galore! appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 55 61085
Little Known Secrets On The Design Process Wed, 27 Jul 2022 05:45:09 +0000   Guys. Dahlings. Kind Readers.   Before we dive into the little-known secrets of the design process, I have to say a few words.   Some of you were mighty bossy last Sunday after my kitchen renovation post update. I wrote a more detailed response to Sue Sims in the comments. Her comment and mine […]

The post Little Known Secrets On The Design Process appeared first on Laurel Home.




Kind Readers.


Before we dive into the little-known secrets of the design process, I have to say a few words.


Some of you were mighty bossy last Sunday after my kitchen renovation post update.

I wrote a more detailed response to Sue Sims in the comments. Her comment and mine are not too far down, if you’re interested.

Oh, I know. You’re just trying to be helpful.


Okay, if that’s true, then, please READ the post before commenting. In many cases, it would’ve cleared up the issue you brought up.

And, please stop treating me like I’m a child. I’m a big girl now. I even know how to use the potty all by myself!

Isn’t that amazing? In fact, before long, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to wear diapers all over again. Cool, huh?

Thank you. I love you all and so appreciate your love and support!


Okay, let’s move on to the topic, which is part II of the kitchen renovation post.


It is a continuation of my design process. Only now, we’re going to go downstairs.

Part of the downstairs design process is tied to the upstairs.

Yes, the new staircase. However, I have had some revelations recently about that.

Since I’m masochistically putting my home out there a second time, please be mindful.

Okay, if you think the kitchen is fraught with challenges, the downstairs is even more so.


However, before I go on with the design process, the upstairs is nearly double the size of the downstairs.


Therefore, many of your beautiful ideas are impossible to implement. We’ve been through it all before.




Sorry to shout. It’s just that we’ve been over that countless times.

One of the design process secrets is to “explore the possibilities!” And, I have turned this place inside and out, exploring for the last 22 months.

This post, written shortly after I had gone to contract, is a great place to start.

And, this post shares previous iterations of the downstairs redesign.

(There’s also some super chillaxing music to listen to instead of beating Laurel up.)

And, you can get a glimpse inside of how my design process works when working with a challenging design. It’s fun to look back and see how the space and ideas take shape.

Most of the earlier iterations are far better than what is currently here. However, time and desire to create have left me with more chances to improve the design.


But, let’s first look at how the downstairs was when it was first renovated back in 1978.


lower level Boston Apartment - before renovationOkay, the renovators were young and didn’t have a lot of cashola. I get it. Besides, Back Bay wasn’t the neighborhood it is now. It had fallen into decay and was only beginning to be returned to the urban paradise it is today.

See where it says common area? Above that are my den, second bathroom, and part of the entry. The kitchen only begins about a foot into where the tub is. So, it is not the same footprint as one might assume.

Laurel, why is the door to your bedroom across from the janitor’s closet and perpendicular to what looks like the back door of the house?


Sweet, isn’t it? And yes, that one is a bloody great question.

The reason why is because that was the original door into the original KITCHEN of the home back in 1880. It is still there because, in all these years, no one has bothered to change it.


Don’t people disturb or wake you up sometimes?


Oh man, yes! And they scare the crap out of me, too. Because of some weird fluke, when I’m downstairs, and the back door opens, it sounds like MY FRONT DOOR UPSTAIRS IS OPENING! Of course, they’re not trying to disturb me. However, the walls are paper-thin. That one is easy to take care of with soundproofing sheetrock.


So, yes, we are going to move that door!

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with the design process.


We need to look at the downstairs as it currently is.


114 Comm Ave #2 Garden Level existing plan


I understand that owners, maybe a couple of decades ago, created this change. The super smart thing they did was enclose the killer spiral staircase. The bedroom sits directly under the living room without a door to close it off. That’s not exactly private. But, now it is if guests are staying in the den.


However, what about the huuuuuuge closet looming in the back?


Yes, it’s ridiculous. It’s like another bedroom; it’s so large. The same owners used it as a dark room. Okay, that makes sense, but it’s not working for me.

And, of course, neither is the spiral staircase. Yes, they are slippery, and yes, I’ve had some run-ins with them and got a nasty bruise on my shin once. It was my fault. I was running to get to the oven timer before it went off. Silly girl.

Anyway, it has to go.

If you missed the last post about the proposed new stairwell and railing, please check it out here.

So, moving along with the design process, I know I MUST move the door into the apartment’s downstairs area. And, yes, I’m not allowed to eliminate it. It’s the law.


I’m going to gloss over some of this because if I write it ALL out, you will be bored to tears, and then you will want to choke me. Please listen to those beautiful strings again if you feel any homicidal urges.

Here are the basics, and a lot of this is good to know if you’re ever considering renovating your place and need a new staircase.


basic staircase design


My treads must be 10″, but only 9″ will be shown in plan view because of the nosing. Please see the graphic above, or just nod your head, yes, even if you don’t understand. When I did this graphic, I thought I needed to have one more step than I will need.

However, there must be a minimum of 80″ headroom. Plus, in my case, there’s a 15″ floor joist area. So, it’s 95″ we need to clear.

The max height of the risers is 8.25.”

124″ divided by 8.25″ = 15.03 risers. So, 15 risers, 16 isn’t necessary.

However, there is always one more riser than a tread because the first step down is from the top of the floor, and then the treads begin. Therefore, I will need 14 treads.


Okay?  I hope you’re still with me because we’re getting to the enjoyable part of the design process secrets.


According to calculations, we need 11.5 risers. However, the contractor can fudge the headspace. Since it’s currently open, he has to build it and can make it less than 15″ for the first step. Then we’ll be well below 80″ once we hit step 12.

I could also make the treads a little shorter. I’d rather not do that.

So, let’s assume our treads are 10″ ( 9″ in plan view). 9″ x 11″ = 99″ Therefore, our stairwell must be 8′ – 3″ long.


However, that’s much better than I initially thought, which was 120″ long!

The beauty of this is that we should be able to clear the doorway and moulding ENTIRELY.


Laurel, what on earth are you talking about?


Oh, sorry. I’m doing what some of you do to me. I’m describing something like you’re standing right here with me. Hang on a sec.


bad spiral staircase

Do you see how the railing overlaps the door casing and extends beyond it? Horrible. I would’ve gotten a big fat F if I did this in design school. My new design takes the stairwell and railing just to the left of the door casing. Of course, the floor will be filled in. They can use the flooring for the part of the stairwell to be created.


And, now for the really fun part of this design process.


We have to look at what’s going on in the bedroom.


114 Comm Ave #2 Garden Level existing plan
I have considered many options, but the best one is to start the staircase upstairs nine feet from the wall. But, since the first riser will be buried in the 15″, we can move that wall back about 6″.

And, yes, that means that green wall next to the spiral is moving over four feet. But, that’s fine with me. And, the 9′-6″ will still easily accommodate a queen-sized bed and nightstands.

Actually, I like making the room a little smaller. I prefer smaller bedrooms. Cozier. My bedroom in Bronxville was a little over 13 x 13.


Before last week, let’s look at the most recent iteration of the downstairs design.


design process - Comm Ave #2 Garden Level Dec 2021-no furniture 12.21.21I did this in January and was very happy with it.

Yes, I know my address is there. Please don’t write me as several have: “you might want to think about removing it, just to be safe.” WTF? Safe from WHAT? The most dangerous person to me (and by a wide margin) is ME.

Remember when I was whisked away in an ambulance after I attempted to cross the street?

Oh, and remember the time I came close to decapitating myself?

Yes, indeed. If I wish to stay safe, I guess I better keep my address a secret from myself.

For the love of God! It’s a public freaking record! If you want to find my address, just google Laurel Bern address in Boston. You’ll find it in 20 seconds. (or less)


Sorry. I’m just tired of being treated like I’m a clueless dolt. I am sometimes, but that’s my problem.


Anyway, let’s return to the design process and more secrets.


Last week, I took another stab at my downstairs. I’m not sure why except it’s a lot of fun.

I found some discrepancies because I should’ve just blocked out 99″ instead of putting in each stair. At that tiny scale, it’s easy to be off by an inch. But, here’s another important thing.

However, here’s something I just realized.


Winders (the three pie-shaped steps) do not save space. They only save space when needing to turn. (three steps instead of one). But, if you don’t need to turn just yet, you can get four steps in the same space that three winding steps take up.

So, I went back to the “monkey-board.”


And, then, I realized I could do a straight run of 11 treads and then simply turn the last three and be done with it.


straight run stairs into curved - original source unknown


Remember this lovely from the fall of 2020? (you’ll see much more about my spiral too!) 

Going back to the lovely staircase above. It won’t be this narrow, but this gives you a better idea of what I’m talking about.


And, yes, I plan on creating a little closet in that location.


I know you guys get all goosebumpy at the thought of using that hidden space underneath the stairs. Me too! Hey, maybe I’ll tunnel back to the bedroom.


Okay, it’s time to see what this looks like in the floor plan. There are four variations on the same theme.


In this case, Yes! I would love it if you could tell me which one you prefer.  Or, you can mix and match./>


Comm Ave Garden Level July 26, 2022 new plan! - design process


Above is number one or A


So, I’ll briefly go over what’s going on.

You walk into a lovely little entry. To the right is the bottom of the staircase, like the one pictured above; only my walkway is much wider.

One thing I’m exceedingly mindful of is how furniture will be moved in and out. The existing exterior doors on this level are all super narrow at only 25″! I know! But, that’s what they are. I actually made my new entrance door a little wider.


However, the halls are all at least three feet wide and, in most places, wider.


Please notice the larger bathroom with this design and vanity for two. ;]

A kind reader pointed out that if I want a partner, according to Fung Shui, I need to live as though I already have one.

So, I’ve started buying shaving cream and boxer shorts. ;]


Comm Ave #2 Garden Level July 23, 2022 new plan!Number B is quite similar. However, by moving the opening to the bathroom to the right, I can center the vanity and still have sufficient space to come in without gouging out my hip bones. Even so, if I end up having a vanity made and doing something like this, it would be great to do one with the canted corners like the Bronxville Bathroom.


BTW, I’m going to put smaller versions of all four on one board so you can compare them more easily.


 Level July 23, 2022 - large hall - design process


#C Takes some space from the bathroom but gives the hall a feeling of spaciousness.


I love the wider French doors.  However, they do not have to be pocket doors; they could even be bi-fold French doors. Of course, most of the time, they’ll be open.

Although this one’s kind of impractical, I do love the spaciousness, and drama of the larger doors.


One thing I want to be sure to do is to make the entire bedroom suite private from the upstairs, should I have guests.


Therefore, the entrance to the bathroom is on the bedroom side, not the staircase side.

However, if you go to version number one, it would be possible to do both a guest door and bedroom bathroom door. Still, I’m not sure if it’s really worth it.


design process - Comm Ave Garden Level July 26, 2022 new plan! with double vanity


#D marries both the open and more closed versions.


I also added additional storage in the bathroom. That would be if I did console sinks. I love those, too. I will most likely do some hidden storage in the walls with custom mirrors.

And, below is the graphic with all four designs.


four floor plans design process renovation plans

Now, to really make y’all really crazy, I could also do a no-turn or winder straight run of stairs. Here are two versions of that.

Comm Ave Garden Level July 27, 2022 straight run stairs

Above is B with a straight staircase


design process Straight run stairs Garden Level July 27, 2022 - large hall

And above is C with a straight staircase.

I do prefer the winder. It’s prettier and more interesting. However, a straight staircase would be easier to build.

I’ll look forward to your kind thoughts.


Please remember, no elevators!




Please check out the HOT SALES!


***Please note that there are only a few days for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! They are adding new items every day. Also, because of returns, something you may have been interested in might be back in stock. The sale ends August 31st 11:59PM PT. After that, the prices will be going back up!


The post Little Known Secrets On The Design Process appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 132 61017
A Change of Kitchen Renovation Plans – Months Later! Sun, 24 Jul 2022 03:50:40 +0000   Hi Everyone, before we get into a change of renovation plans. Yuck, but I’ve been sick the last couple of days. It’s mostly just a fever and aches. Not severe enough to call my doctor, but bad enough to keep me awake most of the night. My covid test was negative. I thought it […]

The post A Change of Kitchen Renovation Plans – Months Later! appeared first on Laurel Home.


Hi Everyone, before we get into a change of renovation plans. Yuck, but I’ve been sick the last couple of days. It’s mostly just a fever and aches. Not severe enough to call my doctor, but bad enough to keep me awake most of the night. My covid test was negative. I thought it was from the heat on Friday since I was out for three hours the evening before.

Anyway, I’m feeling better right now at 7:30 on Saturday. But, this is a “light post.” For me, that is. But, why the glum looks? Oh, I know, I’m feeling better, and that is making you sulk. (bad joke) What is the matter?


Oh, Laurel, don’t tell us that you’re not going to do the renovation after all.


Well, believe me, the thought has crossed my mind. Everything is very slow. However, I am still planning on going through with it. But, it’s not going to begin until early next spring. My goal will be to have it all finished by 2023.

However, there’s been an important lesson here as I’ve had so much time to consider my options. So, what has changed are the actual designs.

The kitchen is unrecognizable.  However, here’s what’s interesting. The plan I’m going with is very close to one of my original plans. Some of you hated it. However, I’ve made some necessary changes.


kitchen mock-up March 14, 2022 white marble counter schoolhouse light

Above is one of the most recent kitchen mockups from last March. However, I began doing this mockup in October.


While I still like this plan, a couple of things happened that caused me to change my renovation plans.


I began working with a kitchen designer who I can’t mention now but definitely will. I asked her what she thought of the under-counter refrigeration; I don’t recall if she answered. However, she sent me a rendering. That was close to this drawing I did in 2020!


Brownstone kitchen design - range elevation
And while the details weren’t there yet, the basic renovation plan I could see was better in numerous ways.

The most significant way is the refrigerator. The old renovation plans called for ONLY under-counter refrigeration.


Fortunately, I came to my senses. I don’t think it would be good for resale. And maybe not even good for me.


Now, before y’all hyperventilate, yes, I KNOW the drawing above has some significant issues. First, there needs to be a generous stile (vertical piece) on the fridge’s far end so the door can open all the way.

Also, the word “wall” was a misnomer. I really meant pilaster, but I probably said wall because, at the time, I was thinking of this as the mini pantry part of the kitchen. At most, the pilaster was going to stick out one inch. Alas, they’re going to be fairly plain. But, I was told the stile closest to the cabinet needs to be 5.25″.

I played around with the design and sent KD (we’ll call her), not this rendering, but one similar.

range elevation with Christopher Peacock hood panel moulding missingPlease ignore the faucet. And yes, I ripped that right off of Christopher Peacock. Well, I didn’t rip it off of him, but you know what I mean. ;]


See? I mean, I used a similar image to this for the rendering! I can’t find it now. But, this one will suffice.


Please note that the crown detail was not yet included in these renovation plans.


And, there was an error in height at this point. So, there’s another 18″ to go!

Then I played with the design again, and below is what I came up with.


range elevation with Christopher Peacock hood panel blue plates
And the charming vent from fantastic designer Courtney Hill. You have to check out her work. It’s gorgeous! And yes, I ripped the plates off from Furlow Gatewood.


Laurel, weren’t those images in your frient’s kitchen in Bronxville?


Do you mean this one? Yes, I ripped those off too. Do you have a problem with that?  ;]

Well, no, but you don’t sound sick, Laurel.


Thank you, but fortunately, I’m feeling much better than I did last night and this morning.

However, my point is that when I design, I love to take a little here and a little there and then transform it into something that becomes my own.


However, I’m not finished, so let’s keep going with the change in renovation plans.


The following week, KD sent me a full-frontal rendering in perspective of the kitchen. It wasn’t this one. This is after I made some changes.


range wall corrected marble counter counter
Please remember, we’re still going up another 18″!

KD had put in a wood floor, but I love this rustic, not quite black and white checkerboard floor. The squares are 15″ square. The more I worked with this design, the more I loved it and knew we were on the right track.

All that needed to be worked out were the details. But, something was bugging me.

The counters. While I love the beautiful white marbles, it all felt like a marshmallow in the snow. And, remember how I’m always harping on balance. You know what I’m going to say.

It was crystal clear to me that the counters should be soapstone.


But, then, I had an idea related to the Victorian coving moulding I plan on doing.


The WHAT, Laurel?


Our English readers are having a good laugh right now. They know exactly what I’m talking about.


Above is the plaster coving, as the British say it. Or sometimes, cornice. But, it’s never “crown.”  The queen wears a crown, not the ceiling.

The cove is a true swan neck cove, they call it. And then most of the crown (we can stick to our American word) sits on the ceiling. But, what really blows my hair back is how you can see the beautiful return of the crown when looking at the top of the fireplace chimney.


victorian coving dm3069-1_2_origAbove is a close-up view and in cross-section.

And yes, folks, it’s made of plaster. UK - CAbove is another Swan Neck Victorian Coving from GJ plaster mouldings in the UK. This one’s a little too big for me.


deVOL-NYC-ClassicDeVOL did a similar moulding in their incredibly gorge Manhattan showroom in 2020.

Of course, I have my own Victorian coving in both the living room and den.


Classic Jersey DeVOL Crown MouldingThis DeVOL kitchen features a more contemporary version of the ceiling cornice.

original crown moulding with frieze my Boston apartment


Mine has a decorative frieze. Remember when we talked about the entablature in classical architecture?

Well, I also want this Victorian detailing in my kitchen.

No, not as grand as in the living room. But, scaled down about 30%.

The problem is that everyone looks at me like I just dropped down from another galaxy when I begin talking about this stuff. However, that’s not thwarting me. The wish is to have this kitchen look like it was ALWAYS here. I want Thomas Jefferson to walk in and say, “Not too bad, Laurel.”

This would be a good time to review the current kitchen from the real estate pics.


Boston galley kitchen

Believe me; it looks worse in person. The inside of the cabinets is so disgusting; I can’t stand it.

Anyway, we need to move on with the change in renovation plans because what was bothering me with this new plan was that I was no longer going to see that beautiful return on the hood of the Victorian coving cornice. I mean, if I have to have a hood. (I do.) then I’m going to make it the world’s prettiest freaking hood!

range wall with bistro shelves

Yes, I could go back to just a hood in the center and then the walls flanking it (like above), but I love the drama of the hood spanning the entire 93″!

John Jacob interiors - cool galley kitchenAbove is John Jacobs’s gorgeous galley kitchen. This is one of my all-time favorites!

Incidentally, yes, indeed, I ripped off the moulding detail on the hood. Remember this post about an early idea for my entry closet? Oh, so many beautiful mouldings! Well, I remembered this gorgeous one by Josef M. Design.


beautiful moulding+Josef m design - styling -Jody Moon StylingI love this, but I left the center cartouche off.


And then, it came to me. There is a way to create the dramatic hood spanning the entire length from the fridge onward and also see my beautiful hood return.

elevation range with key corner hoodYes, I could make the hood section into three sections. The center section comes out four inches past the two end sections.
This hood’s detail is better. While I adore the Greek Key corner detail, it feels a bit much here. Besides, that motif already exists in the living room! Please scroll back up; you can see it at the top of the windows.


The other day, the cabinet people needed some good drawings for pricing purposes. So, I did further tweaking.

Range Elevation with frieze detail 7.23.22

Now, let’s look at how the renovation plans have changed for the back and sink walls.


back wall and sink wall in progress 7.19.2022- renovation plans
The sink wall isn’t quite done yet. And, I so wish the wall could be a little longer. However, it can’t because of the off-center doorway. I’ve made it as long as I legally can. That’s life. The cabinet on the right is a coordinating piece similar to the fridge cabinet. Only this one will house a dishwasher, microwave, coffee mak, and some pantry space.

I am sticking to the spirit of the classical Victorian English style. There are some areas of embellishment, but I am trying not to get carried away. I don’t want anything to feel contrived.


So, let’s look at some of the kitchen details.


Oh man, I can agonize with the best of ’em when it comes to the details.


However, it’s the details that matter most! That is after the design and renovation plans are complete.

How did I do the crown detail?

Great question! It took me hours. I had to use wood for now. To make life easier for KD, I went to Kuiken Brothers who have a fantastic website and CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) files. They also have Victorian-style moulding. I changed one or two mouldings slightly.

crown moulding soffit details door frame - renovation plans


However, it’s hilarious. This is a very large image, but when I went to put it in my image in Picmonkey because I had to reduce it to a tiny fraction of this size, it disappeared, entirely!


crown moulding coving soffit details enhanced Therefore, I had to seriously beef up the lines.

Next up, I’m 97% sure I want to do a frieze detail. I love the rosettes but don’t want them too close together.


decorative frieze molding


I found this decorative frieze from Outwater, but it’s a little too large. For now, I used it, but shrunk down a little. The frieze and crown will run all along the kitchen and entry.


And finally. Do you have any idea how long I looked for that vent cover?


You will want to send the guys in the white coats if I tell you. (Yes, please do, but only if they’re cute.) ;]

Bloody damn! I couldn’t find it. So, I looked up geometric patterns on Pinterest. And I came up with one that I really like.

I could also have copied Courtney Hill’s, but I like this one.



Vent Cover Design by LBI

Then, I put it in Picmonkey and reversed the black and white to make the grill out of the white. See? I love this!

Oh, there’s more. But, alas, I am pretty tired now.


kitchen floorplan July 22, 2022- renovation plans

Above is the new floor plan. It’s true; the kitchen has less counter space. However, it has two good-sized counters on either side of the range. If the range is off, it can also be used as a counter. Also, I added some pull-out shelves. Please scroll back up to see. I love the way that detail looks.

Okay, I’m going to close with one last image I made about four weeks ago, using KD’s computer generated rendering as a base.


range wall corrected soapstone counter counter French hood with Victorian coving crown- renovation plans

Does that little painting look familiar? You can see the real one here, which is far larger.

Anyway, I love these new renovation plans!

The soapstone is definitely the way to go, I think. By the way, I’m not going to go too crazy with the shaped valance furniture toe-kick. I adore the way the Bronxville bathroom and kitchen were done. 


The downstairs has changed too!


I think it really is true that one should be in their home at least a year before any major changes are done. But, now, I’m wondering if it should be two years? Yes, if you’re me. haha

Well, I need to rest, so I’m going to edit and relax.

Hope you’re all fairing well with the heat. Speaking of which, my temp is almost back down to normal.

GUYS! Please. I know you mean well, but before commenting, please read the post.


PS: Please check out this week’s super HOT SALES!


Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2018


And, also, there are only EIGHT days left for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!


The post A Change of Kitchen Renovation Plans – Months Later! appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 89 60946
Light Blue Wall Colors-Don’t Make This Mistake! Wed, 20 Jul 2022 03:13:07 +0000 Betty Bluper thought she had chosen a fantastic pale blue wall color. Please read what she had to say.   Dear Laurel, I only discovered your blog a few days ago. I think I was up until 3:00 AM the other day because I couldn’t put it down. Thanks. I hate you, now. Seriously, I’m […]

The post Light Blue Wall Colors-Don’t Make This Mistake! appeared first on Laurel Home.

Betty Bluper thought she had chosen a fantastic pale blue wall color. Please read what she had to say.


Dear Laurel,

I only discovered your blog a few days ago. I think I was up until 3:00 AM the other day because I couldn’t put it down. Thanks.

I hate you, now.

Seriously, I’m joking. The truth is, I wish I had found you a month ago. We just painted our living room. I wanted it to be one of those soft silvery, calming light blue wall colors I see all over the place.


I chose what I thought was one of the best light blue wall colors I’ve ever seen. It looked amazing on the paint chip.


The painters came. I went to work, and nine hours later, I returned home. And, well, the light blue paint color was a lot more BLUE-BLUE than I was expecting. But, there wasn’t enough time to do anything about it. You see, in three days, my husband’s sister and husband were coming for a visit.

And, I had to ensure that everything was dry and put back. Did I mention that S-I-L is having her first baby in six months?

They arrived right on time. (Always.)


However, I was so busy mopping up the glass of chocolate milk my four-year-old had just dumped all over the dog, the cat, and himself. The rest of it resided in a splatter radius of eight feet.


Fortunately, my DH arrived home from work an hour early and was there to greet and entertain the inlaws until I could make myself semi-presentable.


I like my S-I-L. But, for some reason, I’ve never felt that I quite measure up as she’s super beautiful and talented. Yes, that’s my problem, I’m sure. However, she looked quite happy to see me.
And, then she said, with a beaming smile in our freshly painted LIVING ROOM, “Betty, this is absolutely the perfect shade of BABY BLUE for our new nursery. I just found out that we’re having a baby boy! Oh, please be a dear and tell me what is this baby blue paint color?”


I tried so hard to smile, but I had a pressing urge to slap that happy grin off her face.


However, God came in to rescue me as, at that very moment, I realized that the roast was burning and ran into the kitchen.

Oh, Laurel, I wouldn’t have slapped her; I was just embarrassed. And, that’s because she’s right.
Even more depressing is that the color is even worse during the day. In fact, my sister-in-law never mentioned wanting to know the color again.
How could this have gone so horribly wrong?


The color looked so beautiful when I saw it online.


And, I worked really hard to find out what it was, too. I asked the designer on HOUZZ and was so thrilled when she let me know the name of the paint color. It was one of the best light blue wall colors- ever. In her room, that is. Maybe she lied? I don’t know.


Oh, just so you don’t think I’m a complete idiot, I did check out the color before bringing the two gallons home. As I said, it looked beautiful on the chip– in the store, that is.
Maybe you could turn this into a blog post if you think there’s a lesson here.
Please tell me that others have made this mistake.

Thanks so much,

Betty Bluper



Oh, Betty,

Not only have others made this mistake, I’m sure that I have too, at some point. But, I’ve probably blocked it out. Believe me. I’ve made 100s of mistakes when decorating. If it makes you feel any better, you can read about some of the more hideous ones here. However, that’s how we learn. Hopefully. :]

And, for 21 common decorating mistakes, click here.


Okay, this IS a great topic and for numerous reasons.


Actually, there was more than one mistake made. But, please don’t beat yourself up!

Gosh, they don’t even teach this stuff in design school. They should, but they don’t. And, they don’t teach it anywhere else, either.  Well, except for here and maybe some other interior design bloggers. So, how are you supposed to know the pitfalls of choosing paint colors, particularly the more tricky light blue wall colors?


Below are the three main problems I will address when selecting the best shades of pale blue paint colors, or any color, for that matter.



Exhibit A


Pottery Barn cool blue and white bathroom - best pale blue paint colors


Above is an image I’ve shared on the blog before from Pottery Barn. I Adore that Covington Faucet! The last time I posted this image, at least a dozen people asked me for the paint color and the wallpaper.


This is another topic, but I hope you’ll understand that unless it’s my room you’re seeing, I almost definitely won’t know the color or anything else in the room without researching it.


Now, I’m going to demonstrate the problem, aside from the fact that this is not my room, and I have no idea what the ACTUAL color is.


And, even if I knew the name of this pretty light blue paint color, I can pretty much guarantee that it’s not going to look the same in your home.


Let’s look at the space below.


plain pale blue paint color


Let me ask you. If I shared this image on the blog, would you be frothing at the mouth, dying to know what this wall color is? Most likely not.


BUT wait! It’s the SAME pale blue wall color as in the Pottery Barn bathroom.


So, why is it that you aren’t jamming my inbox wanting to know what it is?

Does anyone want to tell us why?

Okay, don’t all shout it out all at once. ;]

Alright, I realize it’s disgustingly hot and you’ve had a tough day. So, I’ll just tell you what most of you already know. ;]


You far prefer the boy’s room pale blue paint color in the Pottery Barn bathroom because the bathroom is gorgeous and charming. The boy’s room is nothing special.

Will the room become more special with a different paint color? No, the paint color will not do much to make it more memorable. The reason is that paint colors are only one aspect of creating a beautiful room.


Okay, haha, after saying I don’t know what the wallpaper is, I accidentally discovered that the wallpaper is Atelier Oiseaux Et Fleurs by F. Schumacher.


You can purchase the paper here if you’re not in the trade.

But, let’s bring down that image from Pottery Barn again.


Pottery Barn cool blue and white bathroom - best light blue paint colors

Right. This is another problem. The wall color in the image above is not a good match for the wallpaper sample. When doing wallpaper, you must have the sample of the paper AND, if possible, a CFA (cutting for approval) of the current dye lot.


And, that is BEFORE you select your perfect pale blue wall color.


Corrected - Pottery Barn cool blue and white bathroom

Above is a color-corrected version of the bathroom. I based the new color on the sample I found online.


best light blue wall paint - Image via Pottery Barn

Above is a third version of the Pottery Barn bathroom I found. Will the actual light blue paint color please stand up?


The reality is, I could’ve posted any one of these three images of this lovely bathroom, and, I’m quite positive, I would’ve gotten the “Laurel-what-is-that-gorgeous-light-blue-paint-color-question.


Which one? As you can see, there are three variations of light blue paint colors. However, as I hope I’ve demonstrated, it is not the wall color making you swoon.

Therefore, the precise wall color is irrelevant.

I repeat. The precise wall color is irrelevant. What IS relevant is how a color looks in your space and with the other givens surrounding it.

Do you think that this is an isolated example?

No, it’s a prevalent issue.


Suzanne-Kasler-Buckhead-best light blue wall colors
Above is an exquisite entry to an award-winning home by Suzanne Kasler. Suzanne, one of my favorite interior designers, is the queen of pale, watery ethereal light blue wall colors. And, BTW, I’ve met her a couple of times, and she’s exceedingly lovely and humble.

However, I found another image of the same room.


SuzanneKasler_Ambella Home - pale blue wall color
The lovely furniture is Suzanne’s design for Ambella Home.


But, do you see that this image differs from the one on top?


The first pale blue room came from Suzanne’s website. The bottom one the internet. I imagine the one on Suzanne’s site was color corrected as images straight out of the camera tend to have some color distortion.

Did you know that?

And then, there’s the situation of our computer monitors. The colors vary there, too. So, when we see an image online, most of us don’t know if the image has been color corrected or not.


***Therefore, if you see a color somewhere that you like, try to find a paint color that matches WHAT YOU SEE. And, looks the way you’d like it to in your space.***


I can’t stress this enough. It would be best if you did everything as close to how it’s going to live in real life as possible.

And, even then, please test your color(s) before it goes all over your walls.

One other thing. Please do NOT take the wallpaper to the store to have them computer match it. I did that very early on in my career. It did not match. Fortunately, the clients were either color blind or didn’t care. Phew! I dodged that bullet. It wasn’t horrible, but it could’ve been a lot better. Coincidentally, it was a wallpaper from Schumacher.


So, now we’ve addressed problems one and two. Please bookmark this post. It’s super important. Most mistakes are made when we try to take shortcuts. It’s not advisable.


This brings us to the third issue: selecting which of the light blue wall colors is best for your room. Pale blues are more challenging to choose if you’re inexperienced and only looking at a small paint chip.

The best light blue wall colors frequently look drab and dull on the paint chip. But, when they go on the wall, the blue really pops out. That’s why some blues can go quite intense even though they don’t appear that way at first.


And, then it’s important to remember the following when selecting all paint colors:


Please do not put any size sample flat on a table unless it’s the table you’re going to be painting. It needs to be FLAT against the wall.

Do not select a paint color IN the store. The lighting is going to be different than in your home.

Also, please resist the temptation to look at the paint chips on the way home.


For rookie designers out there:


Please do not select a paint color while looking at it in your own home. Believe me. I can’t tell you the number of times I had it “all figured out” in my home, where I worked. However, it was not good when I got to the client’s home!


Now that I’ve scared the living crap out of you, ;] I’m going to share some of my favorite light blue wall colors.


Some of these are in the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collections and some are not. And a few others in the collection are not listed here.

I’m also going to share some images. None of the photos are mine, and in almost every case, I don’t know what the actual paint color is. Therefore, it might look like the color name underneath, but I can’t guarantee that.

There is a chart coming up with the paint colors to pin to your Pinterest boards.


Here are some beautiful Benjamin Moore Pale Blue Paint Colors


benjamin-moore-sea-foam-looks-like-farrow-and-ball-borrowed-light - best light blue wall paint

GRAY SKY 2131-70


best light blue wall colors - bedroom by Deborah Needleman via LonnyDeborah Needleman via Lonny



- Hickory Chair - best light blue wall colors - Quiet Moments



Click here for a home I did a while back with Healing Aloe.


This is one of my all-time favorite go-to colors and is especially lovely in bedrooms. In addition, it is a color loved by both men and women.



ICE CAP 1576


For more terrific bedroom ideas, click here.

And some more terrific bedroom paint colors you’re probably not using.


SEA FOAM 2123-60

More furniture by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair. The fabulous Chinoiserie wallpaper panels are by De Gournay.


charlotte-moss-lonnyCharlotte Moss


naomi-stein-lonny-kitchen-pale-blue-settee-suzanne-kasler-dining-chairs - best light blue wall colorsNaomi Stein

I don’t think the walls are actually blue here, but this has to be the most beautiful eating area I’ve ever seen! I would be the one who would slobber marinara sauce all over the settee and, while I was cleaning it up, would knock the coffee over.


If this were my dining area, I wouldn’t serve my guests anything but saltines and seltzer. ;]

By the way, those gorge chairs, I recognize as one of my faves from Hickory Chair by the wonderful Suzanne Kasler. Love the floral fabric on the back. Really smart.


 Wallpaper - Suzanne Kasler

Another fabulous Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair vignette. Gorgeous wing chair.

I designed some wing chairs for a client and myself that were almost identical about 19 years ago.

You can see them here.


And, don’t forget the ceiling! A pale blue-green-gray is fantastic on the ceiling.


Another Suzanne Kasler beauty with furniture for Hickory Chair


For more wonderful ceiling colors, click here.


Suzanne Kasler - Sophisticated SimplicitySuzanne wrote a beautiful book that came out a few years ago. Click the link for more info.


summer-thornton-lonny-pagoda-gold-lanterns - best light blue wall colors

Summer Thornton


I adore these Pagoda Lanterns.

They are the Mykonos Medium lantern from Visual Comfort. There is also a smaller version available. But, the medium is pretty significant.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 7.52.31 PM



We used this Benjamin Moore light blue wall color in a master bedroom, and it’s quite lovely. Picnic Basket has a lot of green and gray in it.


GLASS SLIPPER 1632 - Best light blue wall colors

A wonderful blue-on-blue Bedroom by Alexa Hampton

This is not a representation of Picnic Basket; just a beautifully done blue-on-blue bedroom.


flickr-blue-strie-walls (1)via


CRYSTAL BLUE – 2051-70

This isn’t Crystal Blue, but not too far off. It’s a strie of these two colors, MYSTICAL BLUE 792 glazed with FADED DENIM 795. Actually, this looks nothing like those two colors!


pholhemus-architects-woodlawn-blue - best light blue wall colorsPholhemus Savery DaSilva


Woodlawn is the bluest of the light blues here, but it’s a definite winner!


Best benjamin-moore-pale-blue paint colors - best light blue wall paint

Please pin to your Pinterest boards for reference.


9 best pale blue paint colors - best light blue wall colors

Please pin to your Pinterest boards for reference.


If you’d like to see a post about some deeper blue paint colors, click here.

This post has some even deeper blue colors and shades of navy.

Also, this post on cool gray paint colors has some colors that read more blue than gray.




PS: Please check out the newly updated hot sales  One Kings Lane surprised everyone with a one-day-sale of 25% off!


The post Light Blue Wall Colors-Don’t Make This Mistake! appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 19 60879
How To Mix Patterns – Designers’ Secret Formula Sun, 17 Jul 2022 04:06:10 +0000   Dear Laurel, I’m so confused about how to mix patterns in a room. For instance: Can you mix stripes? And, how many stripes can you mix in one room if so? Or, can you mix stripes with plaids? What about stripes, plaids, and geometric patterns? When is it too much? Are there patterns that […]

The post How To Mix Patterns – Designers’ Secret Formula appeared first on Laurel Home.


Dear Laurel,

I’m so confused about how to mix patterns in a room. For instance: Can you mix stripes? And, how many stripes can you mix in one room if so? Or, can you mix stripes with plaids? What about stripes, plaids, and geometric patterns?

When is it too much?

Are there patterns that should never be mixed?

And, how do you avoid making it look too contrived?

Thank you. I hope you can do a blog post to clarify this confusing topic. In other words, what are the rules for how to mix patterns in a room?

Pat Urnte




Pat Urnte, a fictitious person, asks some very good questions.

So, today, we’re going to (attempt to) tackle this important topic of how to mix patterns in a room. Although, it’s also a large topic. Therefore, I’m going to focus more heavily on the fabrics.


One solution to mixing patterns in a room is to have no pattern at all.


This is typically associated with contemporary or modern styles, of course. However, traditional rooms, or classic rooms as I call them, can be completely devoid of pattern.


Martha Stewart pink living room

Martha Stewart, above and below, is known for using a minimal amount of pattern in most of her rooms.

For more pretty pink rooms, click here and here.


Martha-Stewart-Living-mixing patterns

Love those Chinoiserie panels!


@stevecordony - eclectic interiors - new trad living room Rosedale Farm gorgeous crystal chandeliers - white slipcovers - white-on-white

Above, the exquisite decorating of Steve Cordony’s home in Australia.

You may recall my attempt at replicating Steve’s gorgeous style here.

Please follow Steve on Instagram!


@tradchap on instagram - handsome dining room

No pattern can be in a dark, moody room like this one belonging to Jack Laver Brister @tradchap on Instagram.


Gerald Bland Instagram - mixing patterns in a room

Above and below the exquisite home of antiquarian Gerald Bland on Instagram. Remember this post that celebrates his gorgeous style.


Gerald Bland Instagram - no pattern living room - exquisite art

There’s virtually no pattern except in the pillow. Using no or very little pattern allows Gerald’s exquisite art to shine through.


Well, Laurel, isn’t art also a pattern?


It’s certainly a consideration, but I see it the same as what’s outside the window. And yes, that needs to be considered as well, IMO.


So, let’s dive in and look at some examples of how to mix patterns in a room.


But, before we do that, I need to say something.


This isn’t as complicated as some of you are thinking it is. However, in a bit, I’m going to show you a method that has always worked for other designers and me. You can copy it so that you’re less likely to make an expensive mistake when you mix fabric patterns.

And, sure, I can give you some general guidelines, but I have found that when I put together things I love, they usually go together just fine.

For example:


 my bedroom-breaking rules - how to mix patterns
Here’s a quick pic I snapped with my phone back in 2019.


Let’s take a look at the mix of patterns here.


Do these patterns “go” together?

No. They do not.

Is it ugly?

I don’t think so; I think it’s interesting. And, I think so, because it looks collected. (It definitely is!) In addition, the pillow isn’t always on the chair. I move things around sometimes.


Is the pattern police going to show up and arrest me for breaking the rules?


Here’s the thing. There are certain colors I love and use over and over.


And, I believe that when the color scheme is harmonious and unified, the actual patterns matter less.


The wallpaper from Mural Sources, you guys know that this is for my old Bronxville bedroom refresh.

The chair is a classic from Sarreid that they discontinued. I’ve had two of them for at least a decade and had it recovered about nine years ago. The fabric on the seat is from Duralee but discontinued. The pillow was made from some scraps in 2010.


The rug I love and purchased from Overstock in 2018.


The point is that most of the elements in the image were not meant to go together.


You see… something else I discovered some years ago.


In my old townhouse bedroom in northern Westchester County, I had a bed from Grange in a cool celery green. And the rug was the one you can see here that was over wall-to-wall sisal-look carpeting. Yes, the rug was gold, and the bed was yellow-green. Didn’t it clash?

Yes, it did, haha, but I loved it!


I had a similar situation in my den.


The fabric on the sofa was a couple of shades different from the rug’s green colors. I think you can see that here.

I loved that too!

The truth is… I would never have taken such chances for a client– intentionally. But, what I learned is what I said earlier.

It’s okay if the colors and patterns are a little “off.”

In fact, it might even be better.


But Laurel… Can’t you at least give us some solid rules, and then if we want to break them, we’ll do so. ;]


Well, we’ll get to that.


I think the best way to approach this is to first look at the main categories of fabrics.


And, I’ll intersperse some examples of how people have used patterns in their rooms.


Let’s begin with Solids.



Solid fabrics come in all materials that can be used in an interior and blends of those materials. A solid fabric can also be with or without texture. Some solid fabrics have a pattern in the weave. Above is a super-practical Crypton fabric that I introduced to you here.






Stripes come in all different sizes, from tiny pinstripes to super wide stripes. One of the masters of decorating with stripes is Ralph Lauren, as you can see here.


Checks and Plaids


When I started working for a decorator in Bedford, NY (about 2 miles south of Martha), her rule was usually a solid, a chintz or two, and a beautiful plaid.

Plaids are usually a fabric that I use sparingly. Some are sophisticated, but many say country. However, there are some wonderful rooms that feature plaids.


buffalo-check-chair-slipcover-side-slipcover maker

This large buffalo plaid looks chic on this English roll armchair by the Slipcover Maker.




Althea-citron-Lee-Jofa-Mark D. Sikes fabric on chair

Althea – Citron – Lee Jofa

Florals can be small, medium, or large.  There are millions in the marketplace. However, not as many designers use them as they did a few decades ago.


Some fabulous designers who use or used florals beautifully are:


We sadly lost Mario Buatta, the “prince of chintz,” not too long ago.

Colefax & Fowler

Mark D. Sikes

My favorite ways to use floral fabrics are for pillows, draperies for more traditional rooms, and smaller upholstered pieces like slipper chairs.

Some florals are known as chintz. A chintz has a protective glaze on the fabric. This does wear off over time if it’s on a piece of furniture that’s sat on.




Chateau Silk Damask Schumacher - how to mix patterns



A damask is usually a type of jacquard weave and is traditionally made of silk, but some are not traditional damasks, but that type of pattern printed on linen or cotton.

  • Mixes with solids, luxurious florals, tapestries, and more formal geometrics.




Rapallo Beige by Cowtan and Tout

Rapallo Beige by Cowtan and Tout

is a dyeing technique originating in Indonesia. The pattern is created by a process called resist dyeing of the yarns before they are woven. Ikats look great with just about everything.




how to mix patterns-chinoiserie-pillow mixing fabric patterns small geometric with Chinoiserie floral

It can be large or small, angular or curved. Above is Schumacher’s Betwixt, one of my favorite accessory-type geometrics.




Brunschwig & Fils KOMAL PAISLEY INDIGO vignette



Toile de Jouy


my kitchen with Barbara Barry Indo Day Roman shade

Above is my old kitchen in New York with a Chinoiserie Toile Roman Shade. The fabric Indo Day designed by Barbara Barry for Kravet has been discontinued.

For more about Toile Je Jouy fabrics, please check out this post.


Animal Prints


Scalamandre Le Tigre Pillow

Le Tigre velvet pillow by Scalamandre





Scalamandre Marly velvet pillow


my living room holiday 2021-warm lighting

Above are my beloved tapestry pillows. I rarely use the hackneyed word “obsessed.” However, back circa 1996, I was completely so with the home of Ina Garten in South Hampton, NY.


ina garten living room That’s where I saw this fabric from Clarence House, and even though it was over $200 a yard at my designer’s price, I ordered a yard of it and had the pillows made.


So, how do we put all of these fabric patterns together?


my living room holiday 2021-warm lighting-how to mix patterns

Most would probably think that the fabrics above in my living room do not go together in a traditional way. However, they’re not fighting each other, either.


A balanced tonality is perhaps the most essential element when mixing fabric patterns.


Each of the fabrics and pieces of furniture makes me happy. What I find interesting, is that everything I loved 25 years ago, I love, as much, if not more, today!


For example, if I introduced a fabric like this damask below, it wouldn’t look very good.


chateau du chambord silk orange damask

But some of you might prefer this, so it’s also a matter of taste.

It’s also a matter of artistry. If it looks good to you, it’s good. If it doesn’t look good to you, believe what you see, either way.


For example: Are you the kind of person that many patterns in the same room will make you crazy? If so, then maybe you don’t need any pattern at all. Or, perhaps you’ll do one smashing pattern, and the rest are solids.


Ben Pentreath Exceptional Interior Design - colorful living room-how to mix patterns

Ben Pentreath in this beautiful living room used a cheerful, colorful color scheme and then stuck primarily to one floral. (ignoring the pillows on the left. He added a small animal print; almost everything else is textural solids.


The next consideration is color.


I think one can get away with more of a mix if the room is primarily monochromatic. Mark D. Sikes is the master of that style.


mark-d-sikes-living-room-southern-living-idea-house-how to mix patterns

Above Mark’s gorgeous room from the Southern Living Showhouse, around 2016


A classic formula I saw ad nauseum decades ago was to do a solid, a chintz, a stripe, and maybe a plaid or a small geometric, or sometimes an ikat. That was paired with a Wilton diamond geometric with a floral border. I mean, it looked tired to me in 1992. Now, I heave a little looking at this.


Old Stark Wilton trellis - floral border

I checked Stark’s website, and I don’t know if they’re even making these patterns now. The rug above, I found on an auction site, but it was sold.


What about Oriental rugs, Laurel?


Well, that’s a great question and probably needs to be a separate post. However, I think Oriental rugs look great with solids, a floral or two, and a stripe.


But again, there’s the issue of color.


Stacie Flinner - via StuckonHue - throw pillows - how to mix patterns Nobilis Tiger fabric

photo: Stackie Flinner


I adore everything Holly Rich from Stuck on Hue did in her fantastic living room. If you don’t know, Holly makes these incredibly gorgeous pillows. You can see many more of her pillows in this post, which links to her website.


how to mix patterns-kitty-tuttle-interiors-classic-english-blue-and-white-living-room-with-an-oriental-rug-randall-mill

Kitty Tuttle Interiors photo – Randall Mill


I love what Kitty did in this traditional parlor that is definitely in the classic English style but still feels fresh and not at all fuddyduddy.

Let’s, please, look at more lovely takes on trad designs.


I think one of the best designers who truly understands how to use color and pattern, as mentioned earlier, is Mark D. Sikes.


how to mix patterns - mark d sikes - blue and white living room in Montecito via instagram

Amy Neunsinger photo – Mark D Sikes


Let’s take a closer look at Mark’s work because this one is an excellent example of how to mix patterns.


  • Solid blue linen from Rogers and Goffigon was used for the sofa. That is one of my favorite boutique designer fabric companies. I have not seen it sold online to the public.


Althea citron - Lee Jofa mixing patterns


  • A floral was used on the chairs and repeated on one pillow.
  • A small-scale floral jacquard, it appears to be in lemon yellow (sorry, I don’t know where that one is from)
  • Then, a more contemporary stripe in blue and white gives a fresh note.


Suzanne Rheinstein blue ikat by Lee Jofa


Then, there are the details like that gorgeous fringe, the layered rugs, other furniture, lighting, and accessories. All of those elements are what give this room a beautiful richness in texture, color, and pattern.


Amy Neunsinger photo - Mark D Sikes how to mix patterns

Amy Neunsinger photo – Mark D Sikes mixing patterns


Another shot of the room from the spread in House Beautiful. Interesting that Mark put the chintz on the opposing sofa. However, it’s actually further away than it looks. I see another coffee table in front of it. And, who knows? Maybe in real life, the furniture is arranged differently. What you see in photos is not always what you get.

I also think that the pink/orchid chair is an excellent example of using something a little off-color to provide a certain tension. This is the element that feels scary for most of us. But, the blue and white chinoiserie introduces a “clashing” shade of blue and the green lamps, a “clashing” shade of green.


So, maybe it IS the clashing shades and sometimes patterns that create the best designs?


I certainly feel these elements are not frequently seen in rooms by novice designers. And, I believe it takes a particularly refined eye to pull it off as beautifully as Mark does. I’m bringing it up because all of the furnishings that go into making a beautifully designed room are interrelated.

That’s why it’s so difficult to answer questions without seeing the entire picture.

The truth is, there is no one formula that explains how to mix patterns.

However, there is a trick to putting it all together so that it’s harmonious.


Mark D Sikes pin board color stories - how to mix patterns


And, that trick is putting it all together as Mark has done so beautifully on a board or somewhere, where all of the elements can be seen together.


This works whether it’s for a living room or a kitchen that has numerous fixed elements.

It’s vital for a kitchen, however, that the elements be looked at how they’re going to live and in as close as possible actual lighting situation.

Sometimes when viewing materials on a board, it’s helpful to put only a tiny sample up of something that’s a small accent in the room.


the secret designers use for mixing patterns in a room

Please pin to Pinterest for Reference

While there isn’t one precise formula, a good starting place for how to mix fabric patterns is:


  • A solid fabric or more than one solid.
  • large scale floral
  • jacquard and/or smaller geometric or ikat
  • or maybe a damask
  • stripe(s) and/or a plaid or check


You can put it all together, and if it looks good to your eye, then it’s a go. If you’re not sure, leave it out. That goes for everything when furnishing rooms. Usually, if I left something out for a client, it stayed out. And, we realized our instincts had been correct when the room was finished.



***PS: please check out the newly updated Hot Sales

***And, definitely head over to the ground zero page for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It’s one of the year’s best sales and ends on July 31. However, the best stuff sells out quickly.


The post How To Mix Patterns – Designers’ Secret Formula appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 18 60823
A Refined Soothing Color Palette Inspired By Nature Wed, 13 Jul 2022 03:06:30 +0000   Hi Everyone, Before we get into today’s topic, “A refined, soothing color palette,” please read until the end because there are two pieces of important information. That’s why the post is a little earlier than usual.   Based on this beautiful post from over two years ago, a reader wanted to know more about […]

The post A Refined Soothing Color Palette Inspired By Nature appeared first on Laurel Home.


Hi Everyone,

Before we get into today’s topic, “A refined, soothing color palette,” please read until the end because there are two pieces of important information. That’s why the post is a little earlier than usual.


Based on this beautiful post from over two years ago, a reader wanted to know more about the soothing sophisticated colors of the Heckfield Place Hotel in the UK. Indeed, I adore this exquisite hotel designed by Ben Thompson. It is classic, new-traditional Georgian style decor. You can see the Heckfield Place hotel here.


Today, we’ll focus on the gorgeous interior colors of the Heckfield Place Hotel in Hampshire, UK.


Okay, so what is this Heckfield Place Hotel?


It is an exquisitely renovated 18th Century Home Grand home, now a sumptuously elegant hotel in Hampshire, UK. Please check out the Heckfield Place Hotel here.


heckfield_place Hampshire UK_via hidden_doorways

Heckfield Place Hampshire UK via Hidden Doorways


Ben’s design pays homage to the original architecture and classical design of the 18th century.

However, the furniture is a beautiful mix of traditional and contemporary furnishings. But, done so with unusual restraint.

Another thing I love is that every room is different. And, each room has a name. As you might expect, these rooms come with a hefty price tag. The range is from about $500 for a tiny room, but still, I’m quite sure, gorgeous and cozy. And, up to about $12,500 for the most expensive rooms. Yes, that’s per night.


Okay, let’s get ourselves in the mood with the digital painting I created of Heckfield Place.


Heckfield Place Hampshire, UK - 18th - soothing color palette
Fun, huh? I did this with Sketcher for Mac. Yes, it is done from a photo.

This is an enchanting place, as you can see, and already we can see the basis for a wonderful soothing color palette.


pigs Heckfield Place

There is a working farm and livestock on the grounds. At least, this is what I saw on Trip Advisor.


Now, let’s focus on the beautiful interiors, especially the sophisticated, soothing color scheme.


Ben’s palette is wisely taken from the natural surroundings of Heckfield Place. In this way, he integrates the inside with the outside.

However, earthy does not mean lacking in sophistication. Nosiree! In fact, it’s just the opposite.


Gorgeous Interior Colors - Heckfield Place - Morning room gray walls- soothing color palette

The Morning room epitomizes everything about this place. It is elegantly serene and a beautiful mix of old and new.


Gorgeous Interior Colors - Heckfield Place

I believe that this is part of the same room. Most rooms I’m going to show are guest rooms, but this is a public room. The color I selected is Benjamin Moore Tapestry Beige oc 32.

I love the beautiful monochromatic mix of grays in this space. It is grounded with black and brown. The greenery and beautiful art bring a note of vibrancy to this serene, elegant space.


guest-room - Farrow & Ball Light Gray - Benjamin Moore Sandy Hook Gray- Gorgeous Interior Colors - Heckfield Place- soothing color palette

From a guest room – Farrow & Ball Light Gray or Benjamin Moore Sandy Hook Gray


comfy-sofas-in-one-- soothing color palette - photo - Meija and Kajphoto by Meija and Kaj, who were guests of the hotel


lambs at Heckfield


awww… so cute!


Meija and Kaj also took this photo of the beautiful Moon Bar. The wall color looks to be a soft blue-black. The colors I suggest are Benjamin Moore Soot, Raccoon Fur. and Farrow & Ball Railings.


r Colors - Heckfield Place - deep blue black walls - soothing color palette -English Country House

I got this image from the Heckfield Place Instagram page. Of course, their insta page is also gorgeous!

People were asking on their page about the paint color.

However, it’s a moot point, in my opinion.


It doesn’t matter what the color is. I always tell people to match what they see.


One color that looks a lot like this is Farrow & Ball Hague Blue. It is a fabulous navy with the right amount of warmth, without being teal.


What is so appealing is the slightly blacker fireplace mantel, the dark brown carved wood table, and the perfect accent pieces.


So, it doesn’t matter all that much whether the color is Hague Blue or Railings or something else. What is important is how it all works together in your lighting situation. And, with everything else in the space.

Now get ready for another view of this incredible room. BTW, this is a guest room and one that is on the upper end.



I know. The colors! Can you believe this is a hotel room?

And, no, I didn’t put the red and turquoise colors in my palette. I did for an earlier iteration, however.


Heckfield Colors


I bet that you’re intrigued by that ochre color at the top.


ochre roomYes, it’s appropriately called the ochre room.


Gorgeous Interior Colors - Heckfield Place - Farrow and Ball - India Yellow Ochre room


Above is another view looking into the sumptuous bathroom.


Some colors you can try are Farrow & Ball India Yellow or a Laurel Home Collection color, Benjamin Moore Bryant Gold hc 7.

Of course, it is reminiscent of the iconic and archived color, Orangery. (but you can still get it)

And, yes, this is another one of the costly rooms. There are a number of them. They are known as the signature rooms.


Gorgeous Interior Colors - Heckfield Place - soothing color palette - Lake room Farrow & Ball French GrayIn the guest room above, we see how some of their colors or subtle variations are brought into other rooms. I love that kind of integration with the soothing color palette. Above is the Lake Room. The wall color is close to Farrow & Ball French Gray. But, please remember that I am only conjecturing. It might not be that color at all.

Please also look at Benjamin Moore Fieldstone 1558.


Heckfield Place - Lake Room Detail - Gorgeous Interior ColorsA high res, close-up, I found. There is much more discussion of the furnishings in this post.


dessert - Heckfield PlaceI found some 300 photos on Trip Advisor. The food in the restaurants is not to be believed.


cows at Heckfield Place

Dairy cows at Heckfield Place – I found them on the Heckfield Place Instagram page.

Yes, we’re looking at you. haha


Gorgeous Interior Colors - Heckfield Place - Farrow and Ball Mouses Back - Benjamin Moore Kingsport GrayAnother cool guest suite.


Gorgeous Interior Colors - Heckfield Place - beautiful mix

The wall color looks very close to either Farrow and Ball Mouses Back or Benjamin Moore Kingsport Gray.


Heckfield Place - restaurant lemons and linenLovely


Farrow and Ball Cornforth White - soothing color palette - Heckfield Place

This color could very well be Farrow and Ball Cornforth White

The painting makes the space, I think. I get dibs on this room, please!

Please refer to the chart here if you need to convert any of the Farrow & Ball colors.

And, for more Farrow & Ball colors inspired by nature, please go here.


Heckfield Place Soothing Color Palette - with a bit of punch

please pin it to Pinterest for reference


Well, I hope you enjoyed the soothing color palette of Heckfield place, along with the exquisite furnishings.


Important Reminder


***Please click here to see a preview widget for EARLY ACCESS of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, which is beginning this Friday. I recommend you do the early access as a lot of the best stuff sells out BEFORE the full-blown sale starts. Please keep checking back because I am working on adding new early access favorites to the widgets.***

Of course, there’s always more on the HOT SALES pages. There are other sales. Oh, so many! Okay, I have to get this out so I can do my own shopping!



The post A Refined Soothing Color Palette Inspired By Nature appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 19 60768
I Can’t Stand My Ugly Stone Fireplace – What Can I Do? Sun, 10 Jul 2022 03:50:59 +0000   Dear Laurel, I loved your post about the ugly brick fireplace. Well, I have an ugly stone fireplace.   Amy’s ugly stone fireplace It might not be the worst one you’ve ever seen, but I can’t stand it. I’ve considered painting it, and in an unprecedented situation, lol, my husband is open to that […]

The post I Can’t Stand My Ugly Stone Fireplace – What Can I Do? appeared first on Laurel Home.


Dear Laurel,

I loved your post about the ugly brick fireplace.

Well, I have an ugly stone fireplace.


ugly stone fireplaceAmy’s ugly stone fireplace

It might not be the worst one you’ve ever seen, but I can’t stand it. I’ve considered painting it, and in an unprecedented situation, lol, my husband is open to that idea.

It seems to me there was another post where you spoke about some special finishes for brick, but I can’t find it. Can you do similar techniques for stone as you do brick?






Hi Everyone,

This is based on a real note I received a while back, and it’s a great topic. That’s because, over the years, I’ve seen a lot of double-story family rooms. Now, I know that many of you have them. I know this because they are as common as cornflakes. And, indeed, getting rid of one of the cavernous spaces will most likely not work.

It’s also not like all of them are bad. But, that’s not the topic of this post.

This is the topic.


two story stone fireplace
The ubiquitous late 20th century and beyond the ugly stone fireplace.

What’s wrong with it?

Well, for one thing, it’s a big dark thing and in a room with white walls. And, it will be challenging to balance out that element.

The divided light windows are based on traditional and classical style windows. The stone is rustic.

In my opinion, it’s too much.

However, it’s not the ugliest stone fireplace I’ve ever seen.

Please see below for a collection of far uglier stone fireplace surrounds.


This overbearing (IMO) monstrosity.

this – with matching fugly 70’s wall paneling


ugliest stone fireplace

Close Encounters of the worst kind.


Richard Dreyfus is always so excellent.

Perplexing, ain’t it?

Giraffes looking confused

Hey, you guys lookin’ at me? I swear I didn’t do it! Please, don’t kill the messenger!


Bowling ball cemetery, I guess.


Please do not pin these to Pinterest unless it’s to a board entitled “Don’t Do This.”


Of course, many homes have a perfectly appropriate stone fireplace in these situations, and possibly others.


  • In an antique home– usually.
  • In a home that is genuinely rustic, through and through.


My parents built a rustic home in 1980 on the shores of Lake Michigan, just north of Milwaukee. The living room was two stories with floor-to-ceiling windows. In the center of the room was a magnificent Lannon stone fireplace that formed the entire core of their hexagonal-shaped home. Lannon stone is an indigenous stone to Wisconsin.

It was quite impressive as the staircase to the second floor wrapped around their stone fireplace.


Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of their fireplace. However, above is the look of the stone to give you an idea. The home, as this one is, was contemporary and rustic. In this situation, it felt appropriate.


Below are some other natural stone fireplaces that do feel like they belong


Ruthie Sommers

The home is rustic, and the stone fireplace is a natural extension. I also like the juxtaposition of her furnishings against the rusticity.

Remember James Farmer’s successful rustic showhouse, but with traditional furnishings? He’s amazing.


Please do check out the post in the link above. There are several examples of stone fireplaces that I think do work beautifully, including one by Gil Schafer.


His is not fully stone, but I love what he did.

Let’s look at an interesting example of a stone fireplace that’s not terrible but I think could be better.




The first thing I notice is that the stone fireplace looks too cramped between the two doors.


Otherwise, the stone fireplace above isn’t terrible, but I think it would be much better if the walls were painted in a tone to coordinate with the stone, like maybe more of a deeper warm gray. That would be stunning with the white furniture.


Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray hc 168

Maybe a color like Chelsea Gray or Kendall Charcoal.


Kendall Charcoal hc-166


Or, I think it would look great to paint the window muntins and door frames black. The walls could still be white, a pale gray, or a deep gray, in that case. And, then on the walls, I would add some art to balance that out. I also think a darker floor or a rug with deep colors to go over the seagrass, might be good, as well.


But, at least this stone fireplace isn’t going up 20 feet as in “2001, A Space Odyssey” monolithic fashion.


2001 A space odyssey monolith



There rarely is one solution, as long as all of the elements come together harmoniously.


Below are some more fantastic homes with beautiful rustic stone fireplaces.


Mallory Mathison - rustic kitchen - white cabinetryMallory Mathison – rustic kitchen – white cabinetry


James F Connor - architect interior design -Tammy Connor

And, this wonderful home by Tammy Connor has a beautiful old stone fireplace.


But now we need to get back to what to do if our home’s style doesn’t work with the stone fireplace someone else put in.


A logical idea for a quick and relatively cheap solution is to paint the stone.

But, is that a good idea?

Let’s check this next one out and see what we think.


Cool! These folks painted their fireplace, to look like a giant piece of gorilla dung.

I mean, could it possibly be any uglier?

Or, weirder?


Gorilla dung from the side. But, wow! This is a beautiful room, with a lot of potential, otherwise.


Okay, not to be discouraged from painting because I think painting IS a viable solution.


Of course, painting your ugly stone fireplace brown is probably not going to help.

Some of you may recall that I posted gorilla dung images before. Nancy Keyes kindly sent them to me and shared her incredible makeover.

Below is the after.


Nancy Keyes' formerly brown stone fireplace, now painted a pristine whiteYes, she painted it white. Here, you can see that she rendered the formerly horrid brown fireplace, virtually invisible.


Above is an oft-posted image of Nancy’s seriously gorgeous living room.  Here’s the proof that a white room need not be boring, nor does it have to look antiseptic. This one image is like an entire course on how to do it.


Below are two graphics of the before and after you can pin to your Pinterest boards.


stone fireplace makeover before and afterand

Stone fireplace makeover, before and after



So, yes, one viable option for the ugly stone fireplace is to paint it.


Just white it out. Or, it could also be painted to match the walls, whatever color that is, if that works for your space.

Below are some excellent examples of people who painted their natural stone fireplace white or a neutral color.

For more of Nancy’s exquisite designs, including her fabulous kitchen and her before and after home exterior in Atlanta, please check out these three posts:


Astonishing Makeovers Before and After

An Amazing Home Exterior Transformation Before and After

A Kitchen Renovation Has Charm to Burn!

And also please follow Nancy’s gorgeous Instagram page. Wait until you see her incredible garden, too!

Below are some other successful stone fireplace transformations with paint


lovely white painted stone fireplace disappears creating a white-on-white textured contemporary space

See how the stone almost disappears? It’s just a wonderful texture in this contemporary white-on-white room. Sorry, couldn’t find the original source.


Coastal Collective Company

This is a terrific before and after. I think the paint job here is superb. And there’s an excellent tutorial by Anneke McConnell detailing how she did it.

Anneke linked to Amy Howard Chalk style Paint, but she also recommends Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

style=”text-align: center;”>

I think this is an excellent job here, and the stone looks much better. Again. Gray stone looks great with gray walls. (source unknown, despite the watermark)


So, Laurel, is that it? Just paint over the ugly stone fireplace in white or a light to a medium neutral paint color?


Oh no. There are many other options, so let’s look at them.


House Updated


You could tear the damned thing down!

However, it’s massively expensive, toxic, and potentially dangerous. Plus, this is only a small mantel. So, that one is probably off the table. But, it would be possible, and you’d have to vacate the premises.


Rather than tear it down, I think, if possible, it would be better to build over the stone.


stone fireplace can be built over!

via DIY Network (but probably better to hire a pro)


But, aside from painting and building over the stone, let’s look at other interesting options for dealing with an ugly stone fireplace.


Patina Farm – Home of Steve and Brooke Giannetti

This is from Brooke and Steve Giannetti’s magnificent dream home that they built 80 miles north of Los Angeles several years ago.


Patina Farm.


patina farm parged stone fireplace and exteriorCan you believe this is a new house?


The Giannettis started with French Limestone, and I believe it was then acid washed.

Now, get ready.


Patina Farm over-grouting or parging technique makes new stone look old and softer.


They had it “over-grouted” to give it the look of a stone wall that had been there for centuries. They use this incredible technique all over their unique and rustically beautiful home.


Over-grouting is also known as parging.


(my Grammarly insists on it being “parking.”)

Typically, parging is done to repair cracked or damaged masonry and may not be applied so artfully. Here, the type of grout or mortar used gives a chalky appearance of an old-world wall.

As you can imagine, in the years following this fantastic new build, over-grouting has become quite a trend.

Brooke’s blog Velvet and Linen has an excellent section about how they built their home from design concept to completion.

In addition to the technique of over-grouting, or parging,


There is white-washing and lime washing.


Oh, and something called a German shmear, or schmear if you’re hungry for a bagel and cream cheese.


***So, if you’re interested in learning more about parging, lime and white washing and German Shmear, please check out one of my favorite posts about painted brick. There is a ton of helpful information in this post, including products one can use.***

True, these techniques are over brick, but I don’t think the process is significantly different if going over stone.


This links to an excellent post I discovered on Pinterest.


One thing I love about Pinterest is the “More Like This” dozens of images to follow the one at the top.


So, if you check out that lovely on Pinterest, you’ll see many gorgeous examples of painted, lime, and white-washed, parged, shmeared, and over-grouted stone walls and fireplaces, both inside and out.

I hope you guys learned something new in this post. I know that I did.


PS: Please definitely check out the HOT SALES. This is a huge shopping week coming up with Amazon Prime Day(s) on the 12th – 13th of July. And, Friday, the 15th, is early access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.


This is one not to be missed as these are not the end-of-season left-overs.


Nope. They put almost everything on sale, including their new items for fall/winter. There are some fantastic deals to be had. However, you need a Nordy’s charge card to get early access.


The post I Can’t Stand My Ugly Stone Fireplace – What Can I Do? appeared first on Laurel Home.

]]> 27 60687