A Home For Sale Runs Amok {part II} bathrooms and more

Before we go back to our over-priced home for sale, I need to say a few things.

Firstly, I am completely, and I mean completely overwhelmed at the response to the survey I put out the other day. If you didn’t see it and want to fill it out (it’s very short) you can find it here.  I think I set it to stop running around the 23rd. In the meantime, 100s of you filled it out AND commented, so I’m going to be reading those responses for weeks! I can’t thank you enough!

But there’s more! It’s been an intense week!

I just found out that I was one of ten interior design bloggers selected to be a part of the High Point Furniture Market Design Bloggers Tour. I had applied a few weeks ago and forgot about it thinking that as usual, I would be ignored, but no, they want me! I’m shocked, honored and thrilled!


Alright, back to our regularly scheduled underwhelming duplex.

If you recall, a week ago, I featured an apartment around the corner from me, here in Bronxville, NY that just went on the market for 800k. Albeit, it’s a large duplex with 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms, but the kitchen is small and dated.  And it’s just not right for this vintage 1920s apartment.

I’m going to start out with a nice image because sometimes the lead image is picked up and I do not want the lead image to be from that apartment!

lafayette-lamp-school-house-electricSchoolhouse Electric and Supply Co.

I found this image on a very cool lighting website that I found below on another verrrry cool website and blog if you don’t know it called Studio McGee. They are a very talented couple in Utah with lovely young traditional decor and gorgeous photographs!

I chose this because I think this would be charming for a bedroom and a great fresh look for a home that I was trying to sell.

Please remember… When your home goes on the market

it’s no longer yours.

The bathroom, below is one example from Studio McGee with sconces from Schoolhouse Electric and Supply Co.


We have a lot of trends with the cement tile aka: encaustic tile, shiplap which is a word I never heard 3 years ago and now I hear it 3 times a day. I really like it. It has a summer-country-house-vintage-y look without being screamingly so. Love the black painted door and that adorbs vanity! Really well-done little bathroom.

Alright, that’s enough pretty for the time being. I must share with you the bathroom in our 800k duplex [that’s going to be sitting on the market for a long time.]


Forgive me, but that has to be the ugliest wall tile I’ve ever seen. I know it’s mean to say that, but it’s also mean of them to foist this on their prospective buyers. And please straighten the mirror. Wait. Is that a reflection of the waterpik in the makeup mirror?

Two bedrooms.



Please just take it all down. All of it.We NEED to see the windows, not the mega yards of fabric.


The entrance. Oye.  Please don’t paint the hallway pink. But that’s not even the half of it!

What should it be painted?

Paint it white. Yes, I know, I know… I love a soft white on white wall with dark deep rich stained floors in an older home.

Alright, one more and them I’m done picking on my poor neighbors.


fuddee duddee, and please, you can get a beautiful French door at Home Depot for under $200! There are four pieces of furniture and I think that’s at least two too many. Put excess furnishings in storage. Less is definitely more when selling a home.

wendy-resin-interiors_Dining_LightsOff_B_WEB2Wendy Resin

Here is a beautifully put together dining room that would definitely help sell this vintage home.

The rest of this post will focus on bathrooms whether you’re designing, dreaming or you have a home for sale

Some of them are great and some of them are fine, if you’re planning on staying there for a while. OR lowering your home value.

But before I go on… I see some hands raised up in the balcony. Am I saying that the only way to go is classic and “safe?” Or JUST white? Alright. Yes, there’s nothing more beautiful in my opinion than a white on white bathroom. Maybe with some touches of color or black, but basically white. Or at least white in a home like this. If you don’t care, then by all means do whatever you like. Just don’t expect to get the value out of it that you put in.

Moving on… I’ve been coming across a lot of stuff like this. Stuff that goes under the category of “Hollywood Regency.” Well… kinda… maybe. I hear that HR is on the way out and if so this may be the reason why.

lonny-black-and-white-marble-floor-bad-designA Chevron Design on acid.


This one is making me really angry. I LOVE the lacquer chest. And I LOVE the gorgeous prints. But please…

I know what happened. It’s that durned decorator. ;] I don’t know who it is… Probably somebody famous. He talked his intimidated clients into this.

“Oh dahhhhliiiiing… that tile is absolutely to diiiiiie for.”


Sadistic freak. I cannot look at this image. I have a tendency to get dizzy and nauseous as it is. (no joke.) This could put me in a full-blown attack.


Oh, I am so close to loving this bathroom! I know… it’s really cool, but I’m struggling with the red and pink stripes. Just paint the walls navy and I’ll be a happy girl. Is that little tufted chair sick or what? (sick meaning, the good kind of sick) :]



This to me would be the quintessentially perfect bathroom for a 1920s-1930s home. Hell, any home! But especially an antique or vintage home. Wonderful!



Yikes! It’s The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Little Shop of Horrors. Or maybe the stylist was desperate and it was 5:00 PM?


Funky retro with another portrait and one of the filthiest tubs I’ve every seen. And that bathmat! Funky, okay but  a brown stained white bathroom mat is not cool. ‘Kaaay?

What about the brass, Laurel?

In this bathroom I really love it. Give the entire thing a good scrubbing and put up a cool mirror and this would be one amazingly cool space!

You’ve probably noticed that brass has made a BIG comeback and understandably, this makes a lot of us nervous.



Will the brass of 2015 look dated in 20 years?

It depends. If it goes in the wrong bathroom, yes. If it’s in a bathroom with an old world, funky or rustic feel then that’s as timeless as it comes.


Traditional Home – designers Clay Snider and Matthew Quinn – Photo: Emily Jenkins Followill

2014 Atlanta Symphony Showhouse

I love the elegant hotel feel of this bathroom. Like The Pierre kind of hotel. Not the Ramada kind of hotel.

jk-place-florence-michele-bonan-perfect-bathroomI found this photo which I had never seen before and saw Capri under it and then I saw the “JK” and thought… no… it can’t be. But it is… My favorite hotel in the whole world… well, actually, this is not the JK Place Capri, it’s the JK Place Florence. I love that the Roman shade has a little kink in it. Sublime little bathroom and sooooo unlike most of our bilious-beige hotels in the US!


original source unknown

Classic and I love the large door-less shower. This is a new trend. A shower with no door. Not in my family, because the water would be going into the next county but I do love this look!

If you only have one bathroom say in an apartment do you need a tub? Well, I don’t. I used to take baths until… never mind. But yes, you should put in a tub if there’s only one bathroom.


Vessel sinks.

They have never done much for me. This one looks like where they slop the hogs. And what’s with those pendants? They can’t be serious. I’d be clunking my head and singeing my hair every time I went in there!


I would’ve preferred just a thin row of black tiles and a white toilet seat but other than that I love this bathroom and what really makes it are the prints. Don’t forget that art in the bathroom is a good thing!

hillary-thomas-lonny-small-bathroom-teal-wallsHillary Thomas via Lonny

Love this charming little bathroom with the smallest sink in a cabinet I’ve ever seen. Here, in southern Westchester County, a lot of the old homes have no bathroom on the first floor. I’ve seen many a closet converted into a powder room. I could see this small bathroom in a lot of situations. At first I was thinking kid’s bathroom, but my kids would’ve had that sink for breakfast.

In closing, I know that I said that was cutting down my posts to once a week. I’m already feeling sad about that. I don’t know why. Well, I do know why. The blog is my favorite thing to do.

We’ll see how it goes…




47 Responses

  1. I am loving seeing the mistakes in your neighbors home for sale!

    Have you done a post or, if not could you maybe provide some insight as to how you would complete a color consultation (paint colors – ceiling, trim and walls) from a distance – ie. not local clients? I’ve considered this many times, but always wonder how it’s possible without seeing the true color of the flooring, cabinetry etc. in person. Thanks much!

    1. Hi Victoria,

      It works very well because I generally give more than one color for them to test out and also I can see the other furnishings. However, I’m not doing any consults long distance right now.

  2. The ugly portraits over the sink instead of a mirror are simply bizarre… One of the first jobs I had as a color consultant was to choose wallpaper for a bathroom with the same coloring as the unfortunate apartment for sale. Murky, clashing tile and all.

    My client was a lovely divorced attorney, he enjoyed remodeling his new house, but was clueless about color. We’ve worked together many times since, but the wallpaper search was tricky. I finally came up with wallpaper that pulled together all the colors, and he and his sons adore it.

    1. haha! You are right Diane about the portraits. The brown stained bathmat seems to be intentionally gross as well. Great on the bathroom rescue. One of my tricks is if you have an ugly tile is to paint the wall the same color and it becomes a “neutral.” (of sorts). It’s a little like the jazz music axiom, if you play a wrong note, play it again and it won’t be wrong. lol

  3. Laurel, I was so excited to hear that you are coming to High Point!! Do you know what day you will be talking ? It is not up on the web-site yet and I am trying to plan my trip around your talk . Can’t wait!

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Oh haha! They’re not having me talk— yet, that is. This is a blog tour where 10 of us will be making the rounds to visit certain vendors who have sponsored our trip. I will be there the 17th -19th. Then, winging to Wisconsin on the 20th for my mom’s 93rd birthday!

  4. Congrats on High Point Laurel! I can’t wait to hear all about it and live vicariously through you! Hubby is retiring and we are relocating this week. So, I doubt it will be in my budget this year. (Especially with having to reestablish a clientele for my own biz.)

    Another great post! I’m thankful for all of those hideous bathrooms though. I figure it’s job insurance, right?! I always love visiting your blog…such beautiful posts!

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for stopping by! I haven’t been in over 19 years! I know… I know!

      Good luck with your move! Oh, one thing. And this is such a pain in the A, but you must work very hard to get rid of your old address. Googs will get very confused and it will hurt your ranking in searches. You can use a service like Yext to help rid yourself of the zillions of online directories that take it upon themselves to list us whether we want it listed or not! I moved 32 months ago, and occasionally, I still see my old address!

  5. Congrats on high point. I so look forward to your blogs and will feel deprived… But I certainly understand as they obviously represent a lot of time and thought. Your tips are a great inspiration for the house I’m currently building. I hooted out loud regarding the folks who resist updating and cleaning out the clutter for resale. My husband is shaping up to be one of those as we try to sell our house soon…..

  6. Just want to say how much I truly enjoy your posts!

    As an amateur decorator, I’ve subscribed to many design blogs over the past few years, but often quickly lose interest.

    Yet I eagerly open each of your posts. I adore your style, you share great insights and tips and your writing and wit always keep me smiling. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Petra and your sweet comment. I can’t say that I disagree with you. lol A lot of designers put up a blog because they feel that they “need” to do it. And it shows.

  7. The pinkish walls in the stairway hallway of the condo reminded me of photos I’ve seen of entry halls painted Farrow & Ball “Ointment Pink” and lined with paintings. These homes were in the UK. Some were listed buildings with generous proportions but have seen photos of old cottages using the same color and always a flat finish.

    1. It’s funny, Libby, but the homeowners might very well be English because the window treatments are especially full and I remember the time I visited London how during the day, so many windows were heavily clad with fabric.

  8. Congratulations, Laurel, on your selection for the High Point event. It is wonderful for you to be recognized and have an opportunity to have a prominent role.
    I don’t like the brass bathroom and kitchen fixtures trend….at all. In some areas of the country it was used in new houses in the ’70s not just the ’80s.

    The JK bathroom was the only one I liked. My bathroom (1930s) needs to be redone. It is black and white tiled, no marble except for the threshold. It also has square tile not subway tile on the walls. The original kitchen was black counter top (made of an unusual material) edged with stainless, white/cream cabinets and red and cream marbled cork floor! I’ve been very interested in all your posts and the kitchen and bath posts are fascinating.

    1. Hi Libby,

      The JK bathroom is my favorite too! I agree… I don’t think I’d ever put in brass either. I don’t hate it, just wouldn’t do it. Fortunately, at least the kitchens today are for more fresh than in the 70s and 80s. I do like mixing metals, especially in kitchens, however. Overall, I prefer warm metals for lighting since it’s well… warm! :]

  9. I just found your blog. Love this post! I suggest you follow Schoolhouse Electric on Pinterest. They pin a steady stream of beautiful “young traditional” interiors.

  10. Another great post Laurel! And funny as usual….Wow, that BR was so 1980s. It’s amazing that many people just can’t see how bad their home decor is. I have a 1920s bungalow and recently renovated the kitchen and one bath with white subway tile of course. I love color and changing color so it’s perfect for me. I wanted to mention that I read an old blog post about what would prompt a designer to fire their client. I could so relate. If my current client who is also my sister (haha) wasn’t my sister I would have parted company awhile ago. Unfortunately she insisted on making many important decisions without consulting me and mistakes were made. Big ones. Her lovely green gray shingle styled new home ended up with a too light blue gray roof and worse yet; a purple gray, really taupe deck!! Ugh. She is quite controlling and just really can’t see undertones. Why didn’t she rely on my expertise more? Beats me. some clients just can’t give up control, even sisters.

    1. Hi Betsy,

      I bet she’s an older sister? I have one too. haha. It’s very difficult if the client doesn’t have faith in us. Communication is so vital. right? Nothing worse than thinking a client likes something only to hear 3 weeks later, after you’ve built the entire room around it that she doesn’t like it. My feelings are never hurt if someone doesn’t like something I’m suggesting. I might think they’re nuts lol but it’s THEIR home! Oftentimes, when someone rejects something, I’ll realize shortly that they are right. Those are the best jobs because it’s a real collaboration and ultimately the client gets a fabulous result!

  11. I will cherish your once a week posts…I don’t always have time in the middle of the week anyway. Ciao.

    1. Hi Alice,

      Thank you! I know… and I usually end up unsubscribing from the every day blogs. I start to feel down on myself when I can’t keep up. sometimes it’s all to much!

  12. Kudos on the Highpoint, you deserve it! Re: the bedroom with the lamp over on the far end of bedside table. You have to reach across, what is that an antler (ouch) to turn lamp on or off. I’ve seen that in other decorator photos. I guess it looks better in the photo with the lamp further away from the bed, but not practical in real life.

  13. So happy for you – certainly a HIGH point in your career.
    I love your analysis of the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m building a home now and I’m encouraged by what I can do and not have a follow the herd mentality. I especially like that I can use a beautiful shower curtain (no plastic pink flamingos), instead of glass doors (hate shower doors – they get grungy and make me feel claustrophobic).
    I’m getting a soaking tub and thanks to one of your posts I will certainly avoid the “coffin” look. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. Hi Lora,

      Haha! Re: herd mentality; I think that with a lot of blogs I read. They’re beautiful but they all seem like they’re produced by the same person. Lots of white, pink, gray, blue, navy, with graphic black fonts and buttons. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Hi Karen,

      I really appreciate that. I see bloggers who will put out only brief but usually daily posts, many written by someone else (a ghost writer, not a guest blogger, that’s different)— just to get something out there. I find that a total turnoff because it seems disingenuous to me.

  14. Laurel,

    High Point! What an incredible honor and new level of distinction for you! See, pouring your heart and soul into this blog paid off.

    I am so freakin’ proud of you!


    1. Hi Marsha!

      Thank you so much! I owe so much to you and Jon for your sage guidance! And yes, it is a testament to sticking with it. I think a lot of people expect instant results and then when nothing much is happening after a few weeks think they’re doing something wrong and then keep changing things. But, they really just need to stay the course and believe in what they are doing!

  15. Congrats, Laurel. You certainly deserve to be in the top 10. I so look forward to your honest appraisal of the photos you post. Love it when I pick out the “no-nos” before I read your comment and blush when I miss the obvious like the black toilet seat in the otherwise good looking bathroom. There is always at least one photo in each shelter magazine I subscribe to that makes me wonder how/why that room was worthy of publication. And the for sale properties, OMG, don’t get me started. You will never run out of material, Laurel. 🙂

    1. Hi Tricia,

      Thank you so much! Yes, I could have a blog just about bloopers. I don’t see it as much now, but a few years ago, some rooms so overly done with crazy pattern and color–insanely expensive. It always boggled my mind with all of the great choices why someone would choose to live with such discordance – willingly. haha.

  16. Wonderful post, Laurel! Just fabulous. A BIG CONGRATS on High Point! Going to Market was way up on the list of the things I loved about decorating, but I haven’t gone in a few years. I’m so close to the ADAC now — Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, and is fills my needs. So happy for your distinction — it is well deserved! I want to thank you for being such an inspiration in this field. Big Bird is so right about you. You stand out in a sea of decorators and designers, many of whom, as seen in your photos, either don’t know what the heck they’re doing, or just have lousy taste. But for you — joyful times, Laurel, joyful times….

    1. Hi Jo,

      Oh, you’re so sweet! I went to ADAC a year ago. They paid me to do that too! I had a great time and was fed very well. I just can’t get used to that simple syrup brewed with a teabag that y’all call iced “tea.” lol

  17. Hi Laurel – as a home stager myself, I appreciated so much your post today. I bang myself on the head all the time with clients (and non clients) who think they can sell their homes as is – dated and dreary etc. I recently did a consult for a client whose home was one of the worst I’ve seen…and the owners don’t want to do a thing to improve it. The husband even removed a header on the second floor because he couldn’t get a queen size bed up the stairs to an attic bedroom. He had apiece of carpet over the part of the header he removed. And he adantly refused to fix it! He didn’t see anything wrong with it! “The new owners can fix it, ” he kept saying. Newsflash – there will be no new owners… Only investors who will gut the place and offer him 1/2 of what he expects!

    I I am re-doing a bathroom in my house – I am going very classic. I will send you a link to my blogpost when I am finished.

    Thanks for all your inspiration!


    1. Hi Linda,

      Oh man, I do know the type and it’s soooooo frustrating! He’ll probably go through a whole slew of realtors who will tell him the same thing you’ve been trying to. I’d love to see your bathroom! Oh, how I wish I could redo mine.

  18. Hi Laurel,

    I love your blog – not sure how I discovered it, but probably one day in one of my procrastinating moments of surfing house design websites! Anyway, thanks for your great blog. I enjoy it.

    If you’re ever in Pound Ridge, come visit me at the Farmers Market there on Sundays! I am the Pound Ridge Scone Lady.


  19. Laurel,
    I think you need to publish a book or a Design Bible. You nailed it (to the cross) in each and every post. I love your humor.

  20. Hi Laurel – love this blog but you’ve thrown me into a crisis. I’ve renovating a Georgian townhouse in Bath, England and I’m taking out a bedroom for a luxury bathroom so I want it to be amazing! I’ve only got 170cm between the wall and the doorway to place the bath so was going to do a boat bath with freestanding taps like this https://www.pinterest.com/pin/327425835387521431/ (it’s 158cm wide) – but there’s issues with splash backs as I can only fit panelling behind the bath (no space to the side) and there’s not really anywhere to rest my shampoo or book – plus you’ve made me fall in love with that JK bathroom – so should I carry on as I am or would it look better to have a bath built into marble like that one with wall mounted taps, built into marble against the back wall?

    The ceilings are really high with coving so I was also thinking of filling that space with some paneling like this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/327425835387470657/

    Or something lower that I can rest my shampoo on: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/327425835387521434/

    Only I’m worried aesthetics are taking over practicality – I’ve got a 3 and 6 year old who also need to be washed in that tub.

    The double vanity is also proving to be very tricky as you can only get really clunky wall sconces in the UK (wish I could import visual comfort stuff but you can’t) so I’m having to fit two mirrors either side of this nickel sconce https://www.pinterest.com/pin/327425835387691480/ over an antique base that will take two under counter basins and the only thing I can find to fit is this mega bucks one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/321807242693?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    Will it work and if so what bath style should I choose… I’m in agonies over this so any help hugely appreciated. Oh and the walls are meant to be Farrow and Ball Palma Grey a Georgian blue colour (the reason being this works beautifully in the master bedroom the bathroom is next to – although the rooms don’t directly connect as it’s a listed building so can’t knock through the wall) and the bathroom is quite dark and East facing so I thought blue could look good – esp with grey veined marble), but I don’t have to stick with that – it’s just not coming together and I want it to look amazing to justify losing the 4th bedroom! Help!!!

    Kathryn x

    PS congrats on being picked as one of the 10 suppliers I love your work

  21. Laurel, Wow you nailed it with this post I want to share it so I can remember some of those amazing bathroom details. I just returned from a drive from NY to CA and the first thing I photographed in each boutique or historic hotel was the bathroom, one more beautiful than the next. Came back with so many designs elements and photo journals that my head is spinning and these photos in your blog post are right up there. Proof positive that you’re right in stating that when a client gets ready to sell their home they need to pull away the layers of ‘homeowner special’ decorating and years of personal momentous and just let its architectural details ‘aka’ its-bones speak – along with the right paint color, if it’s loud tone it down, let the ‘less-is-more’ sell it’s self. Kudos on HP invite & I look forward to your post. Gotta go fill that survey… TK

    1. Thank you so much for all of that Theresa! I’ve spoken with several realtors as well as home stagers and they are constantly up against a brick wall with all of that.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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