The Simple Decorating Trick That Designers Don’t Want You To Know

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

And why don’t they want you to know this decorating trick?

Well… I can’t speak for them. :]

But this one’s so simple and yet I don’t see anyone writing about it.

The trick to creating beautiful, professional looking interiors is…

Are you ready?

 

You steal it.

 

That’s right. Take. Borrow. Copy. Follow. Imitate. Steal.

 

Oh, I know… you would never do such a thing. You were taught not to steal. Well, this is one time when I’m telling you that it’s okay.

I mean. That’s how we learn. Right?

When you were born, did you know how to walk and talk? No. You copied other people.

Did all the great painters just put their brush to canvas and out came a masterpiece the first time? No. They learned by imitating and  copying their mentors.

And then, over time, they developed their own style.

Did Mozart just sit at the piano and start composing a concerto when he was three?

Okay, that one isn’t a great example. But he still learned from his father and his fellow musicians. There was a particular form and style that they all employed. He just did it better than everyone else. And then other musicians copied him.

When I was a ballet dancer. I copied my teacher and dancers who were better than me.

It made me a better dancer.

 

Well… it’s no different when we’re designing and decorating our homes.

 

By now, it’s all been done before.

But dang it all, sometimes we see stuff in magazines.

We become obsessed.

A piece of furniture.

A fabric.

And damned them! They don’t tell us where it came from! They tell us where everything else came from except for the two things we really want to know about. Doesn’t that drive you nuts?

Well, I can help you with that too! So, please hang on!

 

As another decorating exercise, I thought it would be fun to take a really gorgeous home  to demonstrate the decorating trick of “stealing.”

 

However, I also want to try to save you guys some money without sacrificing the look, so we’ll be covering that too.

It’s this beauty that was on the cover of House Beautiful May, 2016 by one of my favorite interior designers the fabulous Chicago (my birthplace!) interior designer,  Summer Thornton!

 

gallery-thornton-living-room-1 house beautiful

photo: Luke White

One of the things I love about her designs is that not everything is insanely expensive. Some of it is, yes, but not everything.

 

gallery-thornton-blue-entryway-with custom chinoiserie panels photo- Luke White copyPhoto: Luke White

 

Let’s begin with the fabulous entry.

I don’t know about you, but I’m in heaven. There’s nothing I would change. (although, that’s probably not going to stop me. haha)

 

The exquisite Chinoiserie panels are hand painted by Allison Cosmos

 

hmmm… That has to be somewhere in the ‘hood of 5k-10k. But I don’t know. In any case, most of us, myself included don’t have that kind of money, no matter how spectacular.

 

Here are some alternatives and most will be a lot less than 5k.

 

The first thing we will do is put up the picture frame moulding. If one has the tools and the gumption it is not a terribly difficult DIY project. For me, it would be. But I know that some of you are immensely handy and resourceful.

Summer Thornton picture frame moulding for Chinoiserie panels

Lucky for me, these are pretty big files that House Beautiful put up, so we can zoom in. Thanks guys!

This looks to be pre-finished picture moulding as opposed to architectural moulding. If one wants to hand-paint, it would be far less expensive to get the latter, but a lot easier to find a similar pre-finished moulding.

Then, for the panels.

We could do something fabulous from one of the companies like Zuber or Gracie, but that might end up costing as much as the hand-painted ones.

Then, there are some knock-off Chinoiserie Wallpaper companies in China who look to be pretty good. Anyone ever order anything from any of them?

I took a look at Tempaper.  Here’s an image from their booth from the High Point Market last Spring. This is removable wallpaper with a Chinoiserie hand-painted look scene!

tempaper chinoiserie wallpaper panels

That would be a lot less expensive and they do custom sizing, but dang, I don’t think they do custom-coloring (but I’m not 100% about that.) So, that’s probably not going to work. They have some nice colors, but no deep blue.

ralph lauren marlowe wallpaper prussian blue

I found this Chinoiserie paper at Ralph Lauren that I had not seen before. I think it’s pretty sensational. Not as much color, but very pretty, just the same.

 

And then, there’s Fromental. Just gorgeous! It’s an English company and you may have recalled their partnership with CR Laine when they introduced their Studio Collection of gorgeous printed Chinoiserie Wallpapers. These should run around the same as other designer wallpapers. Not cheap, but nowhere near the expense of the hand-painted papers. There are two designs, Bambois and Florent. They are both gorgeous, but for this job I would go with the Bambois.

fromental studio collection chinosierie wallpaper imprime_bambois_symphony_X002-14c

This one is stunning, but here’s the problem. I don’t think the black background is a good fit for our entry panels– for this particular home.

There are two with blue backgrounds, but the colors are quite saturated, so probably not right for our subtle, sophisticated color-scheme.

x002-bambois-05c-bermudaSee what I mean?

While I love the idea of getting the hand-painted Chinoiserie look for a lot less, some of the colorways I feel could use some tweaking.

x002-bambois-05c-bermuda copy

I put the bright one above in the photo editor and knocked it back to this version which I think would be a fabulous replacement for the hand-painted version. I’m wondering what would happen if a tinted glaze were applied to the paper. I did that once; not for an entire wall, but to cover the backs of some speakers.

And finally

Chinoiserie-wallpaper-stencil-wall-mural-oriental-blue-bedroom

Qu’est que c’est? For the tres adventurous, patient, crafty, energetic of you out there, this is done with a stencil! (Cutting Edge Stencils) Woo Ha! And you have to see (in the link) how they created it and what else can be done. Below is a technique that’s really close to our hand-painted mural.

Chinoiserie-stencil-multicolor-wallpaper-asian-oriental copy

 

The question is… Do you stencil on the wall or on paper? Well… for me, there would be no question that I would do it on paper that could be removed, moved and then handed-down as an heirloom!

 

Oh wow. We have only just covered the Chinoiserie panels? Well, they are pretty important.

Moving on…

The Ming table in Summer’s room is a gorgeous antique.

feahome.com long lacquered altar table ming console table

I found this 19th century Chinese altar table beauty at Fea Home for $6,500

That’s fine if one has the funds but I think we can do better price-wise.

So, what else did I find?

Even when “stealing” another designer’s design, another decorating trick I have is to explore other options. :]

So, let’s do that.

DH60consoleredAbove and below is an awesome console table from Red Egg. I saw it somewhere online for $3,800 retail, but I think that price is probably inflated.

Double-Happiness-Large-Writing-Desk

 

People often think that there are amazing furniture deals all over the internet and that is just not true.

Remember the story of  how Ira Joe Sukerstein got royally screwed when he bought furniture online?

 

Back to our console tables. There are so many gorgeous ones out there. We could also do a white one.

7115-IW__89822__03598I’ve long admired the Asian furnishings at Legend of Asia.

Or we could do a persimmon orangey color.

circa who pagoda console benjamin moore blazing orange newly lacquered 2400 dollars A2709a

This is a fun piece from Circa Who. They sell vintage furnishings both in a store in Palm Springs, FL and online. The best things get snatched up very quickly.

One of my peeves however, is they keep items online after they’ve sold. It’s like saying. “See what you could’ve had?” That’s not nice.

console-table-ballard design ananda console asian tableThis cool console table is under $400 from Ballard Designs

I like the white-wash finish.

But the buffet doesn’t have to be an Asian piece.

One common decorating mistake is to get too “theme-y.”

Where does one draw the line?

That’s a good question. I think the rule of threes is a good one. And if we look at Summer’s vignette, we have three distinctly Chinoiserie elements and everything else is something else.

Throughout the home is a thread of Chinoiserie. So, the theme is carried from room to room but in a subtle way.

Konrad 1

Above and below from Phillips Scott.

Phillips Scott is one of the 36 sources in Laurel’s Rolodex that I can’t live without! (page 311)

Alton phillips scott console table

wisteria greek key console tableT11059_01

and one other interesting piece.

From Wisteria. You guys know that I can’t resist a Greek Key design.

T11059_06

And I think this piece has just the right amount of informality/formality for the rest of the space.

Next comes lighting.

 

gallery-thornton-blue-entryway-1- with custom chinoiserie panels photo- Luke White copy
Those are some way cool buffet lamps but I don’t recognize them. I did one of my favorite tricks when I don’t know where a lamp is from. I crop it tightly and put it in google images.

Nope it didn’t work.

So, now what?

 

I opened up Laurel’s Rolodex.

 

Oh man, if you don’t have a rolodex, then you are missing out. I use mine all the time and wonder now how I got by all those years without it! (not very well, sometimes. lol) I just went to the lighting section and started scrolling through the dozens of sources and bingo! I found the source on page 246- Vaughan Lighting!  I feel giddy when that happens!

 

vaughan acanthus column buffet lamp

 

The shade is different, but Vaughan offers many shade options.

What is so great about using Laurel’s Rolodex is that all of the links are right there, so you can quickly click on a link and go through each vendor’s products, as fast as you can scroll.

In the meantime, I also found some other lamps I like.

Below are two similar lamps that could work.

 

NW3016VGSS circa lighting

From Circa Lighting and/or Visual Comfort

 

regina andrew gold buffet lamp
And I adore this chic buffet lamp from Regina Andrew.

currey and co tangiers pendant

I easily found the Moroccan-style pendant too. It’s from Currey & Company.

I do like this piece but I also selected some other options that I think I like even better.

smallsaraxlarge_1

One of my favorite chandeliers of all-time that I’ve done at least twice before is the Sara Chandelier from Canopy Designs. This is the smaller version. Depending on the size of the hall and height of the ceiling, it might be possible to do the larger one, but I think this size is best for this situation.

9202 currey beaded chanteuse pendant

 

Another great option would be this lovely beaded pendant also from Currey and Co.

 

For the accessories, there are so many places that carry great stuff.

 

My favorites for Chinoiserie porcelains are Legend of Asia, Bungalow 5, Avala, amongst others. There’s an entire section devoted to accessories in Laurel’s Rolodex.

I know I’m talking a lot about the rolodex and that is because I’m very proud of it. It’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever created; it’s a tremendous time saver too!

The other really cool thing is that every source except for one of the fabric places is in the rolodex. Most of the sources are sold to the trade AND retail as well. Or, they are sold through interior designers. But many of those sources are available online.

This is not meant to be a way to shop your designer. However, designers should be able to compete with REPUTABLE online sources if they are getting their products from the vendor and not a middleman.

AND the other thing is… This is your final reminder that at midnight on August 7th 2016, is the deadline to get your orders in for the rolodex and/or the laurel home essential paint color collection. This is so that you can be in the running for one of three prizes which is a choice of a free interior design consultation or the next product which is an elaborate paint palette collection product for free.

Monday, I will be doing a random drawing and announcing the winners later in the week. If you are a winner, you will be notified by email.

 

Gosh. (I do say “gosh” a lot, don’t I?). You know, I had plans to go over the living room, dining room, another vignette and the bedroom. If y’all are interested, I can keep going. I have some interesting things to say about the living room and I found everything there too! It’s a lot of fun when that happens!

Good luck to all who are in the running for the prizes!

xo,

 

Laurel-e1443573876689
PS: I forgot to say something. And that’s that when we begin by “stealing” someone else’s design, by the end what we often end up with is something perhaps reminiscent of the original design, but in the end, it becomes our own. And I think that’s one of the coolest aspects of design.

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5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • McKenna - March 31, 2017 - 9:57 PM

    Laurel, please do keep going with the living room, dining room, bedroom, etc.! Thank you! MReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 1, 2017 - 10:29 AM

      Hi McKenna,

      Thanks so much for the feedback. I’ll do my best!ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - January 9, 2017 - 10:14 AM

    Hello Laurel, I just discovered (and subscribed to) your blog. I laughed at the post about the guy with the outrageous delivery charges, although it was probably worth paying to get rid of that furniture.

    Your comments here about Chinoiserie and Greek Keys recalled a post I did about such patterns in Chinese antiques:
    http://roadtoparnassus.blogspot.tw/2012/09/chinese-meander-or-greek-key-patterns.html

    –JimReplyCancel

  • Monique - August 27, 2016 - 10:20 AM

    Hi Laurel, Two great companies for stencils or Modellos (really awesome adhesive designs for painting) are as follows: http://www.royaldesignstudio.com and modellodesigns.com
    You could use these stencils or modellos for wall panels or floor cloths (your recent blog) or on actual walls, floors or ceilings. Check out the work submitted by artists in the gallery. The owner teaches classes too last I knew. Her company will also make custom designs and sizes. I made a floor cloth with one of her Modellos and worked on a ceiling design too. The products are superior and there is a large library to choose from.ReplyCancel

  • Gaye - August 15, 2016 - 1:18 PM

    Re Kim’s problem with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove in Florida condo. I can vouch for your recommendation of Atrium White. I live in Louisiana, surrounded by greenery and strong light. I painted a master bedroom that has 6 windows, two each opening to east, south, and north with Atrium White(BM)eggshell. Keeps its pure whiteness all day long. If there is ever any shading at all—only once, during odd storm light— it is toward almost imperceptible pink. Stays white morning, noon, night.ReplyCancel

    • Kim Stafford - August 15, 2016 - 5:21 PM

      Thanks Gaye! I followed Lauren’s suggestion and painted several pieces of large poster board with Atrium White and placed them strategically around the rooms. It absolutely knocks out the mint! Now when I can afford to repaint, Atrium White it shall be. Thanks again, Laurel – you are the stuff. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 15, 2016 - 4:33 PM

      Hi Gaye,

      Thanks for that endorsement. Always good to know!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - August 15, 2016 - 12:41 AM

    Silliest question you’ve ever had … in order to use blue and white ginger jars, does the room have to be blue and white? I feel dumb asking, but I love ginger jars, urns and cache pots, even though I don’t have any blue rooms. My upholstery is cream, my walls are palest peach and my rug is a soft floral. I’m guessing a touch of blue might be a bit out of place?

    Laurel, you are the most generous person I think I’ve ever encountered. You give away what many charge a lot of money for.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 15, 2016 - 1:11 AM

      Hi Andrea,

      Blue and white porcelain, IMO is a neutral. It goes with everything! In fact some of my favorite rooms with blue and white porcelains don’t have a speck of blue in them otherwise.

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I wish I could say that I’m that altruistic, but the more I give, the more I get in return. Some people, apparently, don’t understand that principle. ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - August 15, 2016 - 1:12 AM

        ps: that was far, far, far from the silliest question I’ve ever had!ReplyCancel

        • Andrea - August 15, 2016 - 1:27 AM

          Well, alright then! I was hoping you would say that, but I did not expect it. I think my entry console might be a good place to start, in multiples of 3, of course! Thank you, Laurel.ReplyCancel

  • Crystal Conner - August 14, 2016 - 10:45 PM

    Hi Laurel, Love the panels and just happened to come across these temporary panels from Tempaper. http://www.tempaperdesigns.com/shop-tempaper/chinoiserie-by-tempaper.html
    They have some pretty options and it’s about $12/sq. ft. I’m thinking about ordering some to make two framed panels for my living room.

    Love your blog, hoping to get mine up by the end of September. Your blog inspired me to finally do it. Thanks!
    CrystalReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 14, 2016 - 11:02 PM

      Hi Crystal,

      Tempaper is already in the post! (the lavender image before the Ralph Lauren) I’ve written about them a few times. But thank you anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl - August 12, 2016 - 4:13 PM

    Wow. I saw the panels in the magazine and wa-la you discussed fabricating these beauties in less expensive ways.

    I love ya Girlfriend! You share, inspire and educate and I never delete your posts without reading a couple of times. I am one of those you inspire, write to and about who can’t spend the money for quality advice. You know SOOO much. Just… thanks!

    I bought your Rolodex however it’s in a file in the bwels of my computer and I am not very IT savvy. Honest to God, when I do get it up, I’m going to print the whole dang thing to refer to!

    Finally, your entertainment factor: you crack me up and love the way you write! I feel like I have a very talented and giving little sister.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 12, 2016 - 4:54 PM

      That is so sweet Sheryl! I very much appreciate your kind words! Here’s back atcha!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Stafford - August 12, 2016 - 9:26 AM

    As a novice, I’ve learned so much from you about paint! However, there is a problem I haven’t yet seen addressed. How do we counteract the outside colors from affecting wall color? For example, we bought a south-facing condo in Florida, surrounded by gorgeous greenery outside: grass, plants, palms and trees. I wanted white walls and chose the lovely White Dove by BM and loved it! That is, until the afternoon sun reflected off the greenery, entered my house and turned my White Dove into Mint Green! I can’t be the only one with this problem, and want to repaint only ONE MORE TIME haha. Doctor Lauren, what’s the prognosis??ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 12, 2016 - 10:32 AM

      Hi Kim,

      Well, take a look at Atrium White. In some lights it looks ever so slightly pink, but not always. So maybe it’ll be just what is needed to counter-act the green. Can’t say for sure. I’m not there. I would buy a sample and paint it on a big piece of poster board moving it around and see if the difference is pleasing to you.ReplyCancel

      • Kim Stafford - August 12, 2016 - 11:18 AM

        Thanks, Laurel! I will do just that. BTW, I love your color collection. I can choose all day between A and B, but get overwhelmed with too many options. It’s been a great primer for me (and a bargain!).ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Eaton - August 9, 2016 - 2:50 AM

    Glad I found your site… Thanks for the info and hints.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Windle - August 8, 2016 - 1:22 PM

    Thank you Laurel. I have wanted to put a Chinoiserie screen behind the bed in the master, but, have been unable to find anything I liked that was affordable. I think I am going to try the stencil panels and then frame them.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 8, 2016 - 7:18 PM

      That sounds great Barbara. I was thinking about it and stenciling is fine, but if you can get some tutorials either in a book or maybe even youtube, to get the authentic look would require a bit of hand-finishing.

      Don’t be scared if you’ve never painted before. When I was in design school, I had to do lots and lots of drawings (some free-hand) and renderings up the wazoo!

      But do some practice pieces first. I was thinking of doing something similar– one day!ReplyCancel

  • Val - August 8, 2016 - 9:36 AM

    This is the type of posts I like most and that’s why your blog is my favourite one of all designer’s blogs I came accross. Thank you Laurel and please, keep posting 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 8, 2016 - 7:15 PM

      Oh, thank you Val! That is incredibly sweet of you to say that!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Sprinkle - August 7, 2016 - 7:49 PM

    Please, please go onto the other rooms. This article was a real eye opener. I always knew about borrowing ideas, but I never knew how to do it. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - August 7, 2016 - 3:56 PM

    Thank you, Laurel, for another great post. I loved this Sara chandelier forever. And I love the Tempaper website!
    Now I’m thinking of ways to sneak these Chinoiserie patterns into my house lol-not easy when one already loves otomi, suzani, ikat, and florals of all sorts..))
    I think-maybe get some samples and decoupage an old desk with them..:) We’ll see.
    But the most important thing to me is your opinion on developing taste and creativity which I find to be very true. If you strive to be always the first, always the star, never ever to repeat a thought, a style, a whatever it may be-you’re setting yourself for a silence, in 99% of the cases. You want to be all or nothing-and then you find out something was said or made already, and you think “okay, then it’s nothing”, and you don’t risk anymore, neither do you really enjoy.

    Get inspired, learn, tweak, say to yourself ” I’m not aiming for stardom, I just want to do something as well as I can and try to enjoy the process”-and the passion will actually be blooming instead of wilting, and something that started as many other people’s thing has the chance to become uniquely yours as you grow from your learning.
    I wish I understood it as well many many years ago.ReplyCancel

  • Mary M - August 7, 2016 - 12:25 PM

    Yes, please elaborate about the other rooms. I loved this post!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - August 7, 2016 - 11:28 AM

    Very helpful post! It just happens that I am looking at chinoiserie panels right now so this is a life (pocketbook!) saver.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 11:39 AM

      Thanks Sherry,

      I think a lot of manufacturers are realizing that not everyone can afford to spend $2,000+ for just one wallpaper panel that covers a few feet! (not including labor). So, it’s really terrific that there are some far lower-cost solutions.
      ReplyCancel

  • Tricia Heliker - August 7, 2016 - 11:24 AM

    By all means keep going with the other rooms, Laurel. I just want to mention that I have purchased several stencils from The Stencil Library in England. They sell stencils that would be perfect for this application. They also have a blog which I find very interesting. I stenciled the backs of my dining room chair fabric before having them upholstered. In my attempt to find the right stencil for this project I emailed back and forth with the girls at The Stencil Library. They were super nice and very helpful.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - August 7, 2016 - 10:30 AM

    The pictures aren’t automatically coming up, but as a quick fix, readers can just refresh the page and the picture will appear. You will have to keep doing it as you scroll down.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 10:53 AM

      Hi Linda,

      The images are back. I have a guy in India who was online and he was able to fix the problem. Something with the lazy load. But he disabled it because I don’t need it. hooray!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 10:44 AM

      arrrgghhh… we’re working on it. so sorry and thanks for that. I have tried refreshing on the back end, but not from the house, so to speak.ReplyCancel

  • sarah rideout - August 7, 2016 - 10:23 AM

    throwing myself on the floor and kicking and screaming instead of my usual happy dance as no pictures! I know you’ll get it fixed but I am impatiently waiting.ReplyCancel

  • Katya - August 7, 2016 - 9:06 AM

    None of the pictures appeared., just text. Have I missed something?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 9:08 AM

      No, technical problems. I put out an SOS to my server. Thanks for letting me know Katya.ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - August 7, 2016 - 9:05 AM

    This is a wonderful post but I cannot see any photos except the first two from HB! Thought you might like to know. I will come back and check again later.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 9:07 AM

      Thanks so much Ellen. Answering out of order, so that hopefully you guys will see that something suddenly broke. It was fine until maybe 20 minutes ago!ReplyCancel

  • Alice - August 7, 2016 - 8:51 AM

    Whoops, Most of the pictures are not showing in your post. I loved the text but sort of needed to see the pics. Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 9:05 AM

      Thanks Alice. I put out an SOS to my server. The photos are there. I can see them when I go to edit the post and they were there until maybe 20 minutes ago when I first started getting reports.

      #crazymaking!!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Thomas - August 7, 2016 - 8:48 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I love your blog. Every Sunday morning I read it first thing! I had a question, could you or would you do a blog about bare Windows? We live very set back from the road and so far have no window treatments. I wondered if leaving the Windows bare will ruin the look of the room.. The Windows are just normal Anderson 6/6 sash Windows, 3 together in the LR and DR.

    Thank you
    LauraReplyCancel

    • Heather Bates - August 7, 2016 - 12:08 PM

      Laura,

      As you live set back from the road, with nothing on your windows, I tell all my clients to contact a solar window film company. Applying the tinting film makes you see clear sky and full colors as if you were wearing polarized sunglasses. Cna cur up to 77% of heat and damaging sun rays that will fade your fabrics, art, rugs, and floors. The vendor will use different levels of tinting based on which direction the particular windows face. They can also do this on skylights. Also helps keeping heat in during the winter. But gives you NO privacy at night, whcih you apparently don’t need.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 11:31 AM

      On a very old post, I showed a beautiful living room with bare windows.

      https://laurelberninteriors.com/2014/01/12/freshening-home-new-year-part-iv-window-treatment-ideas/

      My feeling is… that if there’s any doubt, I would do the window treatments last and often do anyway or further into the project. ReplyCancel

  • Celeste - August 7, 2016 - 8:41 AM

    So happy to have your blog to go with my coffee this morning. I learn something new every time. I also have you to thank for being able to look at a house that I maybe 50% love, 25% meh and 25% HATE but can now see with different eyes and how it might look after some renovation. I’m eying up a 50s ranch right now ( surely someone will buy our damn house someday ) and the outside is perfect the colors and landscaping and everything. The kitchen and bathrooms and entryway are..problematic but I have learned to think in new ways and see possibilities.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 11:25 AM

      Hi Celeste,

      That makes me feel so good to know that whatever I’m writing about is helping some people to do exactly that.

      That is what I learned in design school and before I had those tools would not have been able to do it either. And then, there’s the 25 years of work experience since then!ReplyCancel

  • Suzi - August 7, 2016 - 8:26 AM

    Keep going with the different rooms. It was very interesting. What is this Rolodex that you are talking about?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 11:23 AM

      Hi Suzi,

      The rolodex is a home furnishings shopping guide that is based on my years of experience. So, there’s lots of inside info for many of the vendors. It’s set up to be useful for people who are in the trade and for those that are not. Most of the sources are available both retail and to the trade.

      Designers have access to sources (over 150) that are designer friendly. There’s more info in the link in the post– at the bottom of every post and in the side bar. You can click on any of those and it’ll take you to the page that talks more about it in detail with examples as well.

      this link works too. :]

      https://laurelberninteriors.com/laurels-rolodex/ReplyCancel

  • Pamela - August 7, 2016 - 7:50 AM

    Yes, please continue with the other spaces. These images were among my favorite when I first saw them. I love having it broken down in ways that can be imitated. Immensely helpful. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 11:19 AM

      Hi Pamela,

      I had already scouted out the living room fabrics and it was a challenge, but I found them! It’s a fun moment when that happens!ReplyCancel

  • Penny WHITE - August 7, 2016 - 7:45 AM

    I don’t profess to be any sort of decorator but your making me feel as though I need this Roladex & I’m in Australia…lolReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 11:17 AM

      hahahaha! Penny. And thanks for reading! ReplyCancel

      • Penny WHITE - August 7, 2016 - 8:34 PM

        All good Laurel, love reading your blog, it’s so ‘no nonsense’ and it’s really inspiring for me. I’ll just keep plodding along with my little blogging baby. You are in my top interior designers in my Pinterest board. Come & visit sometime.ReplyCancel

  • Karin Gallagher - August 7, 2016 - 6:54 AM

    Thank you for this post! I have been drooling over this article in HB since I saw it and would very much like to see what you found for the living room. I don’t live in a warm climate but love the relaxed feel of this room and would like to copy anything I could to incorporate it into my home.
    KarinReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 11:16 AM

      Hi Karin,

      It’s definitely a more summery feeling room, but it could be adapted for a warmer climate with more reds. For instance the Chinoiserie panel could be red. I think it’s a great look to do that with a red wall behind it.

      Another way to make it less summery would be to change out the rug.

      I’m one though that has done sun rooms and added a couple of leather chairs. It worked well because everything else was kind of mid-tone teals mostly and it helped it from looking blah.ReplyCancel

  • Pat Bull - August 7, 2016 - 4:53 AM

    Thank you.😊ReplyCancel

  • Ann Mingo - August 7, 2016 - 4:38 AM

    Yes! Please continue with the living room, dining room, etc. These room analyses
    fascinate me and I imagine many other of your readers as well. I’m now thoroughly convinced I need your rolodex. Just need to shake the change out of the bottom of my purse. : )ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 10:54 AM

      Hi Ann,

      Haha. Needed a good laugh since the images went on vacation again, but fortunately got it fixed and it shouldn’t happen again now.ReplyCancel

  • Gaye - August 7, 2016 - 4:26 AM

    Every week, I think THIS is the best post yet. The next week I think the same thing. But this is terrific, really off the well-trodden path. The wallpaper/stencil panels–what kind of paper would one use as base? How should it be applied to wall? You and your Rolodex have gotten me almost through my year of refurnishing/refreshing. Thanks for this post!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 9:11 AM

      Thanks so much Gaye! The photos have suddenly gone missing again, so I have to deal with that. I want to answer the comments. It would need to be a heavy-duty acid-free paper meant to be painted on. ReplyCancel

  • Libby - August 7, 2016 - 3:12 AM

    Please keep going with this room, Laurel. It could make several more threads. You convey so much helpful knowledge, balance and taste when dissecting the spaces. I think you make very helpful points about copying as a learning experience. Add the right tool(s) and an inspiration room and as you say in the postscript, it becomes your own design.
    Your post reminds me of a story about a retired ballet dancer, now teacher and coach. I typed it but it’s too long and doesn’t belong here even if you might appreciate it :< ]ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 9:06 AM

      Hi Libby,

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed it and could see the photos before something broke again! ReplyCancel

  • Karen - August 7, 2016 - 1:29 AM

    I love Laurel’s Rolodex. It is so thorough, so valuable because now I know my choices reach beyond Pottery Barn for my retail needs. There are so many unique sources out there I would never have known of! There is life beyond Big Box retailers!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 7, 2016 - 1:45 AM

      Thank you so much Karen!

      Every time I go through it, I find new things too. That may sound strange. But, I was so hyper-focused while putting it together that it really was a forest-trees thing.

      So now, going back I always find myself saying. Wow! I did put that one in. Not every source is one I’ve actually used. Many, many are but of course with well over 500 that would not be possible.ReplyCancel