Laurel, Why Does My Decorating Look So Awful?

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

I’m so disgusted. To put it bluntly. My decorating sucks. Or my rooms suck. Well, something isn’t right.

I love the furniture, but it’s just not all coming together like I hoped that it would. I think it needs those finishing touches. I’m hoping that you can help me pull it all together.

Sincerely,

Patty Pallid

*********

There is no Patty. Well, there is a Patty. There are thousands of them. And dozens have contacted me over the years with pretty much the same decorating tale of woe. I’m sure the designers out there are nodding their heads in knowing agreement.

In the early years of my career, I’d fly on over and then discover that the problems were usually far, far deeper than adding some accessories. And unfortunately, the problems were new purchases; like the sectional that was waaaaay too large for the room AND a difficult color in an ugly cheap fabric.

 

After a while, I learned that “I need help pulling it all together” was code for “it’s a big bloody mess.”

 

But this week, a kind reader sent me a photo of her living room and it’s NOT a big bloody mess. In fact, it’s rather nice and with a few tweaks, I think could be a soaring success. I told her she could send me a few more images, but she didn’t do that yet. It’s okay.


See? The sofas are lovely. The wall color is Benjamin Moore White Dove and the brick looks great painted. I love the mirrors.

So, what’s wrong?

Yes, in the back row?

The lighting?

Bingo!

Yes, the lighting. I have a headache just looking at the photo. Those babies need to go on a dimmer– stat.

And we need tables and lamps.

Since I can’t see the room, I don’t know if any of this will work, but it might be nice to have a sofa table behind one sofa and then end tables on the other, or at least one end table.

I think that some pretty chests or demi-lune tables would look great in front of the mirrors and those could be accessorized and then each have a lovely buffet lamp.

Then, I think the rug, while lovely, needs to have more oomph. I would either do a rich Oriental or sea grass.

And then some cool pillows out of lots of different possibilities and maybe even an animal texture.

 

scalamandre tigre velvet pillow WS Home

Tigre Velvet pillow from Williams Sonoma Home

 

That always seems to add so much style to a space.

I would definitely add some blue and white Chinoiserie vases, ginger or temple jars, as well.

 

 

The idea of this decorating post was to show different ways of doing collections.

 

 

And collect, I did.

But then I went back to my favorite decorating/interior design instagram account by M.O. (Maura) Endres.

And in the end, I had to stop right there.

Here’s what’s cool. I first found Maura or wait. She found me while I was in Venice and she was advising me on where to go. Since I had absolutely no control of where I went, I thanked her and that was that.

But later on, I thought I would check out her page and was instantly blown away.

And since then, she continues to astound and amaze me.

Now, don’t get (too) nervous or anything, but my stalking skills are actually pretty darned good. And this is what I found out about Maura.

She lives in Princeton, NJ and is a wife and the mother of four children.

And it appears that she is NOT a decorator or an interior designer. I can’t call her a housewife (horrendous word!) or even a home maker.

But the fact remains that if she wanted to be a professional designer, her phone would be ringing off the hook!

Maura’s the real deal.

And her instagram account is on fire as folks are rapidly discovering her and now many, many more are about to!

But here’s what’s funny.

 

Her decorating reminds me a lot, a lot, a lot of our fabulous NANCY KEYES!!!

 

And Nancy, too lives in NEW JERSEY.

 

Of course, everyone knows that New Jersey is a bastion of high-style, sophistication and all worldly endeavors.

 

Like, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Refined Oil Refineries.

Pretty, huh?

Yes, indeedy. The terrifying New Jersey Turnpike. Once when we got lost trying to visit friends in Freehold, NJ, my husband quipped that you had to be born on the other side of the road in order to get there. ;]

It’s tricky.

Oh, okay, before Nancy unfriends and blocks me on facebook. lol

 

New Jersey is not all bad. In fact, most of it is downright AWESOME.

 

Like Long Beach Island that bears the same initials as my company, LBI. For years, I would drive around seeing bumper stickers with LBI on them, not knowing what it meant until a client clued me in.

And Princeton! We visited there a few times, just for fun. That’s how nice it is.

In north Jersey, there is some of the most expensive real estate in the world in picturesque Saddle River.

And in the southern tip, another place I’ve visited twice and honey-mooned at– the charming Victorian ocean resort, Cape May.

And then we have Nancy Keyes and Maura Endres, both amazing designers.

And let’s not forget that Martha Stewart is from Nutley!

Before I forget. These are Maura’s images from her instagram account. And I dare you not to go to the end.

 

These are amongst my favorites but only a partial list. And in case you don’t realize, every shot is of Maura’s exceptionally beautiful home!

 

If you pin them to pinterest and her name doesn’t show up in the pin description, please give her credit.

 

Oh, I wish they were mine, but they aren’t.

 

 

But please pay close attention because every room is a brilliant lesson in decorating.

 

 Maura Endres kitchen with green plant and chinoiserie vase

Starting with Maura’s kitchen. Oh my. And she frequently photographs this corner with a revolving door display of one amazing horticultural display after another.

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - beautiful vignette with blue and white Chinoiserie porcelains
In fact, every area of her home is a special vignette that is artfully arranged for the season or just because she feels like it. I read that this wonderful console table was something she found for almost nothing and hand-painted it to look like an antique. How cool is that!

 

 

The awesome mural is hand-painted and you’ll see several views of it in the following images.

 

 

I love it to bits! I don’t know who painted it, but Maura’s daughter is a very talented artist. You can see some of her work on Maura’s instagram too.

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - exquisite living room decor
A long shot of the living room and her wonderful art wall! Love the large Chinoiserie temple jar. I couldn’t find one like it, but I did find the lamp below.

 

Barclay Butera Tessa Blue and White Chinoiserie and brass lamp available at The Well Appointed House.

In other vignettes, there is a pretty white ceramic lamp which I couldn’t find, but Oomph has one also available at The Well Appointed House.

These lamps are lovely, but are on the expensive side. Circa Lighting has my favorite lamp collection, over-all, these days. For more about Circa Lighting, click here.

 

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - accent paint color for the library nook

I love this little library alcove painted a deep hunter green. In fact, it looks like it could be Benjamin Moore Hunter Green which is part of the Laurel Home Essential Paint Color Collection.

 

*Note: I found out later that it is not that color at all.

 

It is Pratt and Lambert Tobacco 2248 which is actually a warm, gray, brown, green– one of those colors that’s difficult to describe and changes with the light.

I could not find a dead-on match in Benjamin Moore, but it is very close to Dash of Pepper 1554. Dash is just a shade lighter. But also look at Color Stories Coachman’s Cape CSP-90.

And Farrow and Ball’s new color – Salon Drab is possibly the best match I found. I have that one matched to Benjamin Moore Brown Horse, but what I’ve found is that the chips can change depending on the color card or fan deck! It’s in the same family, just more gray-brown and a little less green undertone.

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Beautiful view from the dining room looking into the kitchenA shot looking into the kitchen from the dining room. Please note that Maura has four children.

White is not a problem, apparently. ;]

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love her gorgeous kitchenThe oft-photographed beautiful corner of the white kitchen

 

I asked Maura if she knew the shade of white paint for the cabinets, but she can’t remember.

But based on my experience, I would say that it looks a lot like Benjamin Moore White Dove. I used that color in the Bronxville Kitchen and we also did Calacatta Gold marble. It’s a beautiful fit, but of course, always check your unique situation first!

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love the amazing art gallery wall!

Sometimes the table skirt is in a white linen. That must be for summer. Love the Chinoiserie benches.

 

Every vignette is a decorating lesson in styling.

 

This time lilacs grace the corner of Maura’s amazing white and gray kitchen.

Topiaries in blue and white chinoiserie cache pots.

Styling with books reminds me of William McLure’s Decorating.

 

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love her gorgeous kitchen

A summer display for the console of gorgeous potted plants

I went shopping to see what I could come up with in the way of something similar to this console table.

 

I found these pretty console tables from Eloquence.

 

This console below is from Ave Home

 

and this one also from Ave Home comes in raw wood so that the owner or designer can hand-paint it.

All sources are in Laurel’s Rolodex

 

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Amazing art wall!

Adore this art wall.

The best I have ever seen!

 

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - fabulous Chinoiserie print

Maura found these drapes in an old home in Princeton if I read that correctly. That Chinoiserie panel makes me swoon!

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love this lovely library nook off the living room

How delightful are the fall branches in the library alcove.

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love her gorgeous dining room and mural plus tabletop design

A gorgeous Thanksgiving table.

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love her gorgeous kitchen and collection of vintage china

Love

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love her gorgeous living room

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love her gorgeous dining room and this stylish vignette

A recent iteration of the console

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love her gorgeous fireplace mantel

Another gorgeous display over the fireplace mantel with vintage art prints.

Superb decorating by Maura Endres - @m.o.endres on instagram - Love her gorgeous kitchen

The most magical image with her Christmas tree in the background.

Doesn’t the dark gray remind you of Nancy Keyes’ kitchen? And yes, that looks like Carrara marble on all of the counters. I’m almost positive that it’s honed. Maybe she’ll stop by to share her experience since there’s so much controversy over marble?

 

(Note: Maura did answer in the comments. It is not honed but looks that way from years of use. And she loves how the marble has aged. Love that.

 

Also, the dark gray cabinet color is Benjamin Moore Bear Creek which is a warm, browny-gray, also in the same family as the library color, but a little less warm.)

It does etch easily if anything acidic gets on it. But maybe if it gets etched all over, it isn’t a problem? A little like an Etch A Sketch. haha.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed Maura Endres’ home as much as I do and will continue to follow her beautiful stylings.

 

It’s a special and uncommon talent, but Maura is a genius at interior decorating.

She sees her home and its decor as an artist’s canvas; her brushstrokes are the most beautifully styled florals and exquisitely chic home furnishings.

xo,

 

 

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  • Lorri - February 24, 2017 - 8:01 AM

    I finally got around to looking at Maura’s Instagram and it was well worth it! Wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • George - February 23, 2017 - 3:42 PM

    I think flanking the fireplace in some bookcases like these would balance the room.

    http://www.ballarddesigns.com/salerno-cabinet/341064

    Laurel can you (or anyone) recommend someplace to buy artificial/decorative branches or flowers. I’ve ordered some white artificial flowers from Amazon and Wayfair and they’ve all been horrible.

    Maura’s use of plants and branches is fantastic. I’m sure many are real but that one work in my house.

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 23, 2017 - 5:28 PM

      Hi George,

      That is a very good question and one I can’t answer easily. I have done a post about artificial flowers a while back, but not sure if I had many sources. There are a lot of wholesale sources but I’ve never bought from them except from John Richard. His are beautiful, but not inexpensive. You might try Horchow.ReplyCancel

      • George - February 23, 2017 - 5:59 PM

        Thank you, I’m going to look at some of these. Pottery Barn has a branch with yellow leaves like in one of these pictures above.

        It’s really the faux flowers that I’m not finding any I like.

        I’ve been fooled by the online reviews stating, “I’ve had so many guests tell me they thought my flowers were real!!”…and they are so fake. Those guests were being polite.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Savage - February 22, 2017 - 9:58 AM

    Wowzer! So this is instagram? Thank you dear Laurel! A light bulb just went off in my head……I am so dense sometimes! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 22, 2017 - 10:05 AM

      Yes, it is… but not everyone uses it the same. Some people post a lot of images of their kids, dogs, lunch (and not an artful composition like Maura, but just a close-up, of the plate.) My favorite accounts make me go WOW! and transport me.

      But… for building your blog and business, for me at least, there is nothing like pinterest. I’m going to be speaking about this at the Design Blogger’s Conference next month!ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - February 22, 2017 - 8:00 AM

    I discovered Ave Home furniture on One Kings Lane last year, and I love their stuff!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - February 21, 2017 - 11:44 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Loved the Instagram photos of Maura’s home. I realize that she had the beautiful mural hand painted, but if you had to match up the base green paint color on her dining room walls what do you think it would be? Thank you for your help. Best.ReplyCancel

    • Maura Endres - February 22, 2017 - 4:37 PM

      Hi Amy and Laurel,

      The wall color in the dining room is Farrow & Ball- Light gray. I seem to remember the artist telling me that all the landscape colors were pulled from BM Historic collection.

      Warm regards,
      MauraReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - February 22, 2017 - 9:03 PM

        Thanks so much Maura. Light gray is like BM Sandy Hook Gray which is a khaki-ish color.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 21, 2017 - 12:31 PM

      Hi Amy,

      Ahhhhh… here is the perfect example of why I don’t ever give out paint colors or give specific advice.

      Colors online are only a suggestion; a suggestion at best because I’ve seen some wacky goings on over the years.

      This mural hi-lights some of the common issues inherent with viewing images online. Yes, sometimes the background looks greenish, but sometimes it’s cream, gold or beige. Which is it? Who knows? Impossible to know. We have the various lighting situations in the room, the camera and its filters, then there’s instagram and its filters and finally it all gets filtered through your unique computer screen–and your eye. Did you know that people see colors differently?

      And then, there is your home with its unique lighting situations, architecture… your other furniture, other rooms, etc. What that means is.. even if you knew the color, it might not look good in your home.ReplyCancel

      • Amy - February 21, 2017 - 2:36 PM

        Laurel,
        My intention was only to gain a suggestion, not to take anything at 100% truth. Obviously I’m aware that computers and perception can change how people view color; and I wasn’t really looking for something for my own home. You took a wild guess at the cabinet paint color so I didn’t think it would hurt to ask you to do the same for the wall base. Perhaps if Maura reads this she might be able to answer to whether the base is really green or something else? Thanks.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - February 21, 2017 - 6:17 PM

          Hi Amy,

          I’m not sure what is obvious to people or not, :] but in any case, you are right. I did take a guess and proved my theory because I was quite wrong. I’m not sure if Maura subscribed to the comments or not, but you could ask her on her instagram account, she’s quite receptive there.ReplyCancel

  • the gardeners cottage - February 21, 2017 - 8:43 AM

    hi laurel. this is my first time commenting here as i just recently found your beautiful/informational blog. i adore maura! and the best part about her is that she is so incredibly kind! she my friend and i can have a discussion about one of her shots for literally an hour. her home is layered with interest and love. i’m so glad you showcased her here! xo janetReplyCancel

    • Maura Endres - February 22, 2017 - 4:44 PM

      Janet- Your Gardeners Cottage is my dream cottage! I am very touched by your comment. Thank you, friend!

      xxx’s
      MauraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 21, 2017 - 12:21 PM

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks so much for stopping by with your sweet comment! Maura is a rare breed, but it’s so beautiful to see and admire if even from afar!ReplyCancel

  • kathy - February 20, 2017 - 2:41 PM

    Thank you for introducing us to Maura’s instagram. Spent the better part of Sunday afternoon looking at her glorious photos.
    I adored her use of florals and greens- what a difference just adding something from nature can do for a space.
    I think maybe that’s what’s missing from your reader’s living room?

    A well curated home such as Maura’s is a labor of love and takes time to achieve. I’m learning to slow down and enjoy the process of finding pieces that speak to me and bring joy each time I look at them.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 20, 2017 - 3:31 PM

      Hi Kathy,

      I guess that’s the conmari method in reverse. Only GET the things that spark joy instead of only keeping the things that spark joy.

      But, oh, what to do with those hideous wedding gifts? lol ReplyCancel

  • Elisa - February 20, 2017 - 2:24 PM

    Laurel,

    Thank you for your amazing on-point and informational posts. This particular post hit home for me. Maura’s aesthetic is very close to mine (gallery walls filled with art, stacks of books, draped tablescapes). My style is remarkably similar to hers, but without the finesse and elegance and of course. I have pinned several of the images so I can work on refining my spaces. I am inspired!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 20, 2017 - 3:29 PM

      Hi Elisa,

      I’m inspired too! I think this look is truly the epitome of classic and timeless. And that is what I’m always attracted to the most.ReplyCancel

  • Maria - February 19, 2017 - 8:02 PM

    What a great post. I have spent a good part of the day reading it, rereading it, going to Maura’s IG and pouring over her pictures. What a beautiful home. As always thanks for making my Sunday a little brighter.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 9:08 PM

      Hi Maria,

      Thanks so much. I’m looking a lot too… yesterday and today and every time I see something new and wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Libby - February 19, 2017 - 7:19 PM

    Question for Maura,only if you would like to answer. What is the material used for your fireplace surround? Was it original to your home? It looks very nice with your mantel which is very similar to mine.ReplyCancel

    • Maura Endres - February 22, 2017 - 4:57 PM

      Hi Libby & Laurel,

      It has been a real thrill to read that you all are spending time looking at my photos. I am so touched by these comments. As for the fireplace surround, it is not original. This is a 1940’s cape and the owners prior to us covered the original brick, with what looks to be travertine marble.

      All the best!
      MauraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 9:07 PM

      Hi Again Libby. I don’t know if she’ll see this or not, but yes, I would love to know too. Oh, and I tried to find it. I have all of the kitchen colors except for the white cabinets. Wild guess ;] is BM White Dove or Swiss Coffee? The walls are pale oak which is one of my Laurel Home paint colors. And the dark gray is BM Bear Creek.ReplyCancel

  • Libby - February 19, 2017 - 7:08 PM

    Great post! Love the way you wove two stories together. Maura’s home is so lovely, elegant, comfortable and unstuffy. Of course, she has those wonderful dogs. A cat would not work with sea grass, baskets and possibly vignettes on tables. Plants and florals real or faux have never worked with my cat(s), either!

    Love all of your suggestions for Your Lovely Reader, ” Patti P.”. Lamps on tables in front of the mirrors plus dimmers on the overheads will reveal what looks like a pretty texture/pattern in the rug she has now which is totally washed out by the harsh overhead light. Looks like she was going for a tonal and textured look that was undone by lighting. I can see that the rug color is still too light. Lovely Reader’s frustration is so understandable. The light rug meant to counterpoint the dark wood flooring but the whole picture doesn’t work for her room.

    Since there is a real person behind the real room I’ll ask a question for “Patti”! Can she repurpose those too- small- for -the -coffee -table items on tables in front of the mirrors, Laurel? The items look very similar to materials Maura features on her tables.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 9:03 PM

      Great ideas Libby! And good suggestion for some of the smaller items. And awww… made me think of Peaches and you are so right. Every time I had fresh flowers, he feasted on them like he hadn’t eaten in week! And then he’d look at me, like “what did you expect?” haha! oh how I miss my little warm fur puddle.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - February 19, 2017 - 3:29 PM

    what a gorgeous home you’ve shared, Laurel and Maura

    thank you for “inviting” us in..I don’t have an Instagram account so that was really my first opportunity to see it. and yes, I pinned like crazy. it’s beautiful

    PS so agree about these can lights..fortunately I stood my ground about these..only in very utilitarian spaces, and kept them to the minimumReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 6:21 PM

      Hi Jenny,

      Actually Maura didn’t send an invitation, I just barged my way in! lol And thank you for pinning too! ReplyCancel

      • Maura Endres - February 22, 2017 - 5:01 PM

        You are are always welcome Jenny & Laurel.ReplyCancel

  • Elle - February 19, 2017 - 2:59 PM

    Good heavens, what a beautiful house! What I love most, besides the exquisite taste, is that is looks REAL and lived in, and warm and comfortable. Not staged. And I love how it changes with the seasons. If you told me it was a house in England and not NJ, I would believe you. It’s classic and timeless without being a period piece at all.

    If I were asked to fix the pallid room. I’d get rid of the recessed lights first. Then maybe I’d paint the walls beside the wood mantel a color similar to the mantel, and/or add some pale color (blue-green) on the ceiling to help the molding pop. The floor needs a nice old Persian rug or kilim. Then narrow tables and lamps in front of those mirrors, and lots of accessories there and the coffee table, as in Maura’s house. And a few pillows for the sofas, which are so pretty.ReplyCancel

    • Maura Endres - February 22, 2017 - 5:40 PM

      Laurel-

      Here is my take on the living room… I love the green and white simple palette. I also love the mirrors, but I think they are competing with the main attraction (mantle & art) I would move them. I’d get a few more green glass (large) bottles as a grouping on the table. All alone they will look like a wonderful collection, but could be elevated quickly with the addition of a big banana leaf or palm stem from the florist. Id even leave the neutral carpet but would add more texture with a couple of pillows and throw on the back on the couch.

      This is fun! 🙂

      Yours truly,
      MauraReplyCancel

    • Maura Endres - February 22, 2017 - 5:23 PM

      Elle- Again… I am really tickled to be reading these lovely comments left to Laurel. I have IG followers in England that have asked me in what part of their country I live in? I think my ideas about curating a home are much more simpatico with our friends across the pond. Seriously, if you zoom in on any of my shots you’ll see some really worn out fabrics, tares and stains.Life goes on…

      xo
      MauraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 6:19 PM

      Hi Elle,

      You hit the nail on the head on all fronts!

      It’s like if Maura’s house were for sale, I’d want it and everything in it! And yet, it looks nothing like the typically “staged home.” Food for thought.ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - February 19, 2017 - 2:23 PM

    Laurel,

    Remember your post on floor cloths a while back? Guess what, the PA-based decorative painter who did the lovely mural in Maura’s house does them too 🙂

    http://www.carolnageldecorativepainting.com/carolnageldecorativepainting.com/Portfolio/Portfolio.html

    Thanks for another great post!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 2:55 PM

      Oh, how cool! And thanks for sharing her website Catherine!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Bates - February 19, 2017 - 12:19 PM

    Hi Laurel, Nice post!

    First thing I thought, when I saw the Living room photo at top? Needs a rug that is NOT white 🙂 Then, OMG that lighting?! Actually, it was both at once.

    Good call on the pillows, tables, lamps, dimmers and such. When furniture is not against a wall, people don’t like tripping over cords,and I agree…so perfect solution is the cordless lamps you spoke to in a previous post.

    It can be hard when sofa’s are across from each other, so you don’t have a square area for a “corner” table. That’s when Great ceiling lighting and lamps come in handy.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 12:36 PM

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for chiming in with your designer’s eye! That reminds me. I have to unpack my lamp and try it out. I just arrived the other day! That was fast!ReplyCancel

  • Naomi - February 19, 2017 - 11:18 AM

    Hi Laurel, obviously that Maura is very talented, professional or not. However re the first part of this post, I think it would be of interest to your readers if you photoshopped your solution/s for the room that needs work. And as per lighting: I didn’t need a designer for a room we redid (empty nest repurposing) but hired a lighting designer and yes, it was worth every penny.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 11:25 AM

      Hi Naomi,

      Yes, I agree and have photo-shopped before and/or done a mood board for a few others. But this time, the main point was to feature Maura as an example and provide inspiration for the reader who sent in the photo. Without any other images to go on, it would’ve been impossible to conjecture what would or wouldn’t work for the room as a whole.ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - February 19, 2017 - 10:51 AM

    In your example room there seems something off about the mantel. Perhaps, it needs beefing up. do you not find those mirrors too elaborate for the room? I love mirrors in every room but I think simpler ones would suit the upholstered pieces and rustic fireplace. I love your examples for finishing off the room.
    Maura’s home is absolutely beautiful! Her rooms are wonderfully decorated but still approachable. If she started a blog, I would follow.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 11:22 AM

      Hi Joanna,

      I think that the mirrors are fine but as I always harp on about, it’s the balance that’s a little off, I think. There need to be other things that compliment the design. In other words, the painting isn’t finished.ReplyCancel

  • Maura Endres - February 19, 2017 - 10:26 AM

    Dear Laurel,

    I am so flattered to see my IG account featured here on your blog, and would love to share a few details with your readers. Our home is truly a mix of old and new, high and low. Iv’e never had a room designed. I am content with the process of building a room, and I am in no rush to the finish line. In fact, a “finished” room isn’t even a goal here in our home. Many flea market finds that we always thought would be replaced, remain in our home. You mentioned the console in my dining room. I think i paid $35. for it, yet it happily shares the space with my Baker table, Century side chairs, and bamboo folding chairs bought in a thrift store. That room is a good representation of how I decorate. The muralist was found at one of the Junior League of Princeton Show houses. Her name is Carol Nagel and located in Bucks County, PA. She is doing a room at the Bucks County Show house this spring….wish she was on IG! You ended with a kitchen shot and mentioned the marble. It’s actually Calacatta Gold and was not honed, but looks that way today. I don’t mind the signs of age and use. The white slip covered chairs (IKEA) get washed a few times a year. Yes, to 4 kids. 3 in college next year…yikes. Two big Newfoundlands, lots of black hair and drool… in case you’re wondering!

    Warmest regards,
    MauraReplyCancel

    • Tanya - February 20, 2017 - 8:55 AM

      Your house is absolutely and positively gorgeous. So warm, charming, and beauitfully styled. Thanks for your account, can’t wait to see more!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 10:44 AM

      Oh Maura,

      Two big dogs too? The four kids would’ve put me in a mental institution for the rest of my days.lol (well, actually not all that funny then, but now I can smile a little.) But that’s a different blog. lol

      Thank you for giving out Carol’s name. Yes, she should be on instagram! Well, she is now! I noticed how forthcoming you are with where you got stuff and that is wonderful and also what helps to build a following. Folks really love that and why you’re engagement is so outstanding!

      Interesting about the marble. I wrote almost positive about the honed, because when I looked very closely in the last shot, I think that on the edge there was a slight reflection, indicating not honed. Well, whatever, I love it and also adore the look of aged marble that’s well-used and loved. I can’t tell for sure if the cabinets are white or a pale, pale gray. Whatever, I LOVE THEM TOO!ReplyCancel

  • nancy keyes - February 19, 2017 - 9:42 AM

    Oh Laurel,
    Maura’s Home is absolutely fabulous! I am flattered to have the comparison BUT LOVE HER STYLE!! I could move in and not change a thing.

    I promise I won’t unfriend you because you know our little area in NJ is quite unlike the oil refineries!

    Again, I thank you for all of great comments! It’s always a treat to walk up on Sunday and see your wonderful blog and then see my stuff, too…Extra treat!
    XOXOXReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 10:32 AM

      Hi Nancy,

      Every time I see Maura’s home, I think of you because you truly are decorating sisters. I wouldn’t change a thing either. In either of your homes! Love that! xoxoxReplyCancel

      • nancy keyes - February 19, 2017 - 10:45 AM

        Thank you, again! I looked at Maura’s Instagram, which is gorgeous, and noticed one of my favorite books. “I Married Adventure”. I have bought it for a couple of people…the cover is so cool. Brown zebra print!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Davis - February 19, 2017 - 9:26 AM

    Thanks for sharing Maura Endres’s home (swoon.) And the suggestions re: your reader’s room. I noticed the left mirror ‘reflects’ an issue common with mirrors. Sometimes placement= not so desirable ‘view’. I took note of your idea of layering with table, lamp. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 10:21 AM

      Hi Susan,

      It’s funny about that reflection thing, but if one moves over a little, the reflection will be something else. But yes, a good consideration.

      Lamps in front of a mirror do the most amazing thing! You get two lamps and therefore, need a dimmer light which is so beautiful and soft!ReplyCancel

    • Susan Davis - February 19, 2017 - 9:30 AM

      ***IMPORTANT*** Advice for your unique design issues cannot be answered. Thank you for your understanding. ….uh?ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 10:29 AM

        Susan,

        I put that up the other night because I get comments not only on the new posts, but the old posts and they are only wanting to get free advice. Hell, I’m not even giving out paid advice, at this time!

        Dozens of times a week, this happens. I do have a note as close to the comment box as I can get it, but those people, apparently don’t see it. I love comments like yours that pertain to the post and/or comments of a general nature that are for the good of everyone.

        I have a similar note on my contact page because I also get dozens of emails a week. Same thing.

        Ideally, the note should come before someone asks me what color should they paint their walls. That would require a custom comment box. In the meantime, the note gives me license to delete those comments that are taking advantage.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - February 19, 2017 - 9:24 AM

    The “problem” room (which looks pretty darn nice), yeah, it just seems like some contrasting pillows and an area rug would do wonders and some flowers or greenery. Put a BIG colored glass jug on coffee table instead of smaller green bottle. We are enjoying a warm spell in Wisconsin for time being….ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 10:19 AM

      Hi Susie,

      Yes, good point. It’s true that little, dinky accessories on a table unless part of the composition, don’t quite cut it. And sometimes just the one dramatic thing can make it.

      And I spoke to my sister in Mequon who poor thing is sick as a dog, but is incredulous over the warm temps. It’s pretty mild here in the northeast too.

      Seems the ground hog is getting a little senile. LOL But then again, Mom nature has a way of being just a tad sadistic with mild weather in February and then a massive traffic-snarling snowstorm in May. Not here, but I do remember one in Wisconsin where we had to walk home from school in over a foot of snow– in May!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - February 19, 2017 - 8:49 AM

    Stunning home. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to reading your blog Sunday morning with my cup of coffee. As for New Jersey, we can’t forget Jon Bon Jovi! Be still my heart!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 10:15 AM

      Oh thank you Lisa! Yes, and The Boss and Ol’ Blue Eyes amongst others.ReplyCancel

  • Roxanne - February 19, 2017 - 7:54 AM

    I thought “Patty’s” room was beautiful and hope she sends another pic if she follows your suggestions to give the wow factor! Maura’s house is incredible. I will be pinning and Instagramming like crazy!! Imagine my horror as a newlywed living in beautiful Charleston, SC (45 years ago) when my beloved announced we were being transferred to Elizabeth, NJ. Yes, we are still married!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 10:12 AM

      Haha! I presume that you’re still living there and of course, the entire place doesn’t look like something out of sci-fi horror movie. Fortunately for you guys, the winds usually blow towards the east. lol

      Charleston, SC is my fantasy place. I just need a rich husband. lolReplyCancel

      • Roxanne - February 19, 2017 - 1:34 PM

        Ha! Luckily, our stint was only 2 years. Happily back in SC. You do need a very rich husband to buy in Charleston these days!!ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 1:38 PM

          Hi Roxanne,

          I know… I was looking at real estate and of course, I would want to live in the historic district. Well… a girl can dream, right?ReplyCancel

  • Jane Schott - February 19, 2017 - 4:54 AM

    The first thing I do as a designer on a client visit is change out a few light bulbs. I usually keep half a dozen SPOT bulbs in my car and a couple of dimmers to install. These contractors that put 8 recessed lights in every ceiling are nuts! And then they put FLOOD bulbs in them…you could land a plane with the lighting you get. The worst. And then a client will ask me if the fan can have a light fixture…NO! Find me a house with a light package in any design publication featuring a home with some style…No? Can’t find one? I rest my case.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 10:07 AM

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for giving me a chuckle. Oh, those contractors. I had clients who I was horrified when I came by to install the drapes, had just had dozens of operating-room-level LEDs installed. Brightest white light I’ve ever seen and I wanted to throw up.

      Did I say something? No. I took the cowards way out. haha. But then again, nobody asked my opinion on that one.ReplyCancel

  • Gaye Ingram - February 19, 2017 - 12:57 AM

    Oh, Laurel, my eyes and I are so glad you’re back! I’ve not received new posts since Christmas, but this one is a whopper. I am concluding a modest uptick of my classic Southern home, and I needed this one. And I do love the names you assign your petitioners! Dazzling.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 1:07 AM

      Hi Gaye,

      Glad you’re back too!

      But I haven’t gone anywhere except for a brief trip to Florida. I wonder why you weren’t getting the blog? Spam filter? I have blogs that continuously go there and I keep telling that idiot, Google that they are NOT SPAM and he just doesn’t believe me!

      Anyway, there are several posts waiting for you on the blog page. ReplyCancel

  • mollie duvall - February 19, 2017 - 12:56 AM

    What a sensational home! So stylish and elegant yet approachable. Truly a labor of love.

    I love the new Pin button on each image!!! So much easier to organize by subject. Thank you for adding.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2017 - 1:04 AM

      Hi Mollie,

      Thanks so much! You must be looking on your phone. It was such a struggle to get that thing to work on mobile. Because of the Draconian google, I had to get a separate mobile plugin to make it “responsive” and “mobile friendly.” Fine. But then my pinit button wouldn’t work. The rest is all geek-speek!ReplyCancel