A Young Traditional Family Room Needs A Little Help. (just a little)

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

This isn’t a “Dear Laurel” exactly. It’s from a dear reader, though.

Karen K.

First of all, Karen has waxed poetic about my products. So sweet and appreciated.

She has all three of them and has said that she couldn’t decorate her home without them. Cool.

I think that I love this woman! :]

And she has been writing me sporadically for the last several months; keeping me abreast of her dining decorating.  Each time, her dining room just keeps getting better and better.

Obviously, as you will see in a sec, Karen is blessed with a talent all her own. Just beautiful.

 

However, after sending me the last set of dining room photos, she admitted that she’s not totally feeling it with the family room.

 

So, I told her to send me some more photos and with her kind permission, am sharing all with you today.

 

First some shots of the dining room before we get to the family room.

 

How lovely is that?

 

I had shown these gorge blue and white Chinoiserie lamps a while back.

And guess what? Karen bought them!

You may recall that they are the same lamps that we used in the dream Bronxville Kitchen

I forgot the story about the mirror (I think it was inherited?) but I love it! In this case, since it’s such a statement piece, I wouldn’t put anything above it.

Then, a few weeks later, Karen asked me what I thought of these rattan chairs for the host chairs.

What do I think?

SENSATIONAL!

I think that Chica, Karen’s adorable rescue doggie agrees.

I wonder what happened to the arm chairs?

I have an idea.

Hang on please.

stanley preserve console table

Preserve Console Table From Stanley

I couldn’t find Karen’s exact table from Stanley but I found another beauty from Stanley which is only $1,059.00 at Wayfair.

And then just yesterday, Karen sent me the photos for the new drapes she’s been waiting weeks for.

Kind of smashing, don’t you think?

And what is the wonderful wall color? (that looks different in every image) :]

It’s Benjamin Moore Pale Avocado which is one of the Laurel Home Essential Paint Colors/Palettes and Home furnishing collection colors.

And the color of my kitchen.

The one that hopefully will get fixed up one day.

 

I found the fabric at Etsy Studio which has tons of gorgeous fabrics at moderate prices.

 

Moving on to the Family Room

 

First some rooms that Karen is inspired by.

Eddie Ross

Me too! But she bemoaned that she’s struggling to do this maximalist look without it looking horrible.

Oh wow, just had to add what Eddie did to this secretary. LOVE it!

It reminds me of one in this post about home offices.

Mark Sikes Park Avenue living room - family room via House Beautiful

Mark Sikes Park Avenue living room – family room via House Beautiful

 

Here’s what Karen has done in family room so far.

 


A few months ago she sent me this of the brand new sectional.

And oh. the wall behind it. Fireplace and cabinet were on the way out. As in gone.

The fabric is Crypton is Spring Grass from Robert Allen.

Love the beautiful cabinet with the inside paint green. It is probably a Laurel Home paint color.

My guess would be Benjamin Moore Herb Garden.


Yesterday the window treatments came. I like the fabric but wish that they were inside mount Roman Shades. I told Karen that I hope that didn’t make her feel badly. It’s just my preference. And also what looks strong in a photo might not in the room and in the room is what matters. She loves them and so I’m good.

However, they are making a strong statement and so I think that we need to create a better balance.

 

Karen rolled up the rug because she’s not loving it. I don’t mind it but I think that we can do better. In any case, it’s too small. At the very least, I would layer it with a seagrass rug.

 

I told Karen that I needed to see some more shots of what was missing in the family room.

 

The slipcovered wing chair is going bye-bye one day.

Karen kept the cherry cabinets in the kitchen for a variety of reasons but updated the counters, hardware and backsplash for a fresh updated look. Me like.

And looking back from the kitchen tells the entire story. Now, the valances feel more balanced, but the room is still missing some cohesion. Nothing horrible, but I think that we can make it better.

I love the rattan chair and I think Karen found a chartreuse geometric that she’s going to use to recover the cushions.

But, I’m not totally crazy with where the chair is. It feels a little lonely over there.

Here’s what I’m thinking.

I’d like to center that pretty table and then flank it with the two dining room arm chairs. They can be brought back in to the dining room if necessary.

And then I’d like to reupholster all of the chairs.

First I looked at this fabric.

The iconic document print Citrus garden by Schumacher.

Just one problem.

Karen will have to take a second mortgage out on the house in order to get it. ;]

It retails for at least $200/yard! 

Okay, chair seats would only be a few yards.

 

I did find this fabulous chair to give you and idea.

I wish the image was better.

 

Someone wanting to mess with our heads put up this image. lol

 

But, then I found this charming Chinoiserie print from Robert Allen for 16 bucks a yard!

 

Etsy Fabric Supply

French chair in the chinoiserie fabric.

 

I could see this fabric working in both rooms and it would look fab for the dining room chair seats.

Custom Slipcover Education Blog

 

I was thinking that if we did the less expensive fabric that it would be awesome to do a skirt on the chair something like this.

 

I am thinking that we need to introduce some coral into the room. I found this 100% wool hand-knotted Oriental that I think might be perfect. It’s not too heavy or formal. I am not going to call it “transitional.”

You may call it transitional, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Can we please come up with a better word!?!

 

Karen wants an opium/ming/Asian coffee table for the family room and I love that idea too!

This one is the right idea from Ethan Allen. I have seen this table in person and it is very pretty. My only hesitation is that the “aged” appearance isn’t very believable. But, in a few more years, it will be. haha.

It is almost 38″ wide, so just need to check that it’s not too big for the allotted space.

 

I adore this little club chair which is super comfy Belgian chair in soleil linen from Serena and Lily. It can be customized in dozens of fabrics. I love this persimmon linen.

Now, I don’t have a floor plan and photos can be deceiving.

 

But what I’m thinking is that it might be wonderful to bring the wicker chair over to where the white slipcover chair is and the persimmon one on an angle to make a better conversational grouping. It looks like there’s plenty of room to do this. (I hope). We can also give it a pillow.

 

I have some more ideas for pillows and little tables in the family room board below.

 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14

 

Yes, I know. I can’t count. lol Sorry #10. It was an accident.

Hey, that’s nothing.

The other day, I found a half-eaten soupy quart of ice-cream in the kitchen cupboard.

Someone clearly needs a vacay. haha

 

Then, I would maybe round it out with a big fiddle leaf fig tree between the cabinet and occasional chair.

Well, I’m sure that there’s more. But I think the addition of some of these things will take this room up to the next level or three.

 

Really pretty home.

Oh!

Wait!

Hang on!

 

The exterior Karen’s house. Not the worst color I’ve ever seen, but nothing special either.

But afterward, in a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee– One of 12 shades of white in the Laurel Home Paint, Palette and home furnishings collectionhttps://laurelberninteriors.com/rolodex-paint-collections/

 

It is looking so fresh and updated and it also looks like it goes with the interiors far better. That’s important.

I forgot to mention that all of the interior cream-colored walls are Benjamin Moore Linen White which of course, is another color in my curated paint collection. For those that don’t know. There are 144 Benjamin Moore colors.

Happy Summer!

I think I have some exciting news, but just need to make sure. It’s about a trip. To England! More about that soon!

xo,

  • Susan Davis - July 13, 2017 - 10:21 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    Is it me or are you on vacation? You haven’t popped up in my email, so I resubscribed. I hope it was my snafu and not your blog having a problem?
    Love your site.
    Sincerely,
    SusanReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 13, 2017 - 3:47 PM

      Hi Susan,

      Oh, that’s odd. Sorry for any problems. And no, I am not on vacay. I’d check on it, but since you’re back in, I can’t see what happened. Someone last week unsubscribed and sent it to spam and has no recollection and felt horrible about it.

      We can blame the bonafide spammers for that!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Davis - July 1, 2017 - 11:25 AM

    Dear Karen,
    Lusting after your dough bowl on the console. I once saw such a bowl showcased on a dining room table with a small pot of Clematis on it…..passing it on as a possibility when you want something different on your dining table….love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jan - June 30, 2017 - 11:23 PM

    Love your blog and read each and every word! May I suggest that the homeowner consider adding a valance on her kitchen window? The key would be to hang it high and create an optical illusion of a taller window for visual balance. Perhaps in one of the fabrics (like the Robert Allen) that you suggested? Would she consider having her kitchen barstools painted in the warm white? And add a thin cushion (with a short skirt) of the same fabric as the kitchen window valance to the painted barstools?

    Cheers! Jan at Rosemary CottageReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2017 - 11:33 PM

      Didn’t you get the memo Jan? You need to read all 97 comments before replying. lol Seriously joking. But that has already come up and actually the valance is coming any day now.

      I don’t remember what Karen said about her bar stools. Something, but she’s reading all of the comments, so maybe she’ll weigh in.ReplyCancel

      • karen - July 1, 2017 - 12:33 AM

        Hi Jan, I was thinking the same thing about the barstools and thought that the Ballard Dayna stools would be great in white. They also come in the lighter blue, which would transit well to my dining room sideboard. I like your idea about using the curtain fabric again on the stools, and that kitchen valance is coming any day. I appreciate your suggestions!ReplyCancel

  • LouiseR - June 30, 2017 - 12:09 PM

    Thoughtful article and fun to follow along. My suggestions: Reupholster both the white-slipcover chair and the wicker chair, and switch their places. The brown table will not overpower the larger chair like it does the wicker one. The white-slipcover chair can be done in the persimmon fabric like the Serena and Lily chair. The back cushion can be enlarged to fill the space and eliminate the wings. I think it would be fine, although I can see the attractiveness of the S&L chair too! The wicker chair would be good in Chinoiserie. I think it looks odd to put a potted plant underneath a table, but maybe that’s just me. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2017 - 3:32 PM

      Hi Louise,

      Some food for thought. One thing I didn’t know until yesterday is that there’s a door next to the wicker chair. yikes! A little tight. But Karen, sent the two dining arm chairs and they look terrific, but just a tad tight, but that could be fixed with a smaller round table.ReplyCancel

      • karen - July 1, 2017 - 12:34 AM

        Laurel I thought a small round pedestal table would work, I really want something tall enough for a lamp over there. Drums seem to be too low, and others are just too “leggy” in between the already leggy chairs.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Davis - June 29, 2017 - 7:10 PM

    Dear Laurel and Karen,

    Thank you for sharing.

    This room gives me hope that I will be able to pin down great ideas for my dining room…..You rooms are evolving so beautifully. Definitely 20/80 in that 20 per cent of choices and items in the room are giving 80 percent of WOW.

    But perhaps I missed it or maybe it will be there, where are you going to put more navy blue so the valances can relate to something? Or do they need to not relate, like the Blue and White export ware can stand alone in a room with no blue? Or maybe the Chinese Garden Stool will be enough….curious?

    Thanks for sharingReplyCancel

    • karen - June 30, 2017 - 7:34 PM

      Susan I get what you are seeing because I am seeing it too. One of the more challenging things for me to execute is the proportion of colors. I might pull that original rug back in and see how that goes, along with a few more blue accessories.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2017 - 3:27 PM

      Hi Susan,

      There are already the navy and white pillows and blue and white chinoiserie in the cabinet and we don’t know what the rug is yet and then probably some more blue on the table. I think it’ll be fine, but it’s a good point.ReplyCancel

      • Susan Davis - July 1, 2017 - 11:23 AM

        Oh I am looking forward to seeing how much blue will need to be brought in to get the balance; looking forward to more of this post. Such a learning opportunity to go from really great to WOW! I think the biggest thing to getting from one place to another is Courage….thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Olivia - June 29, 2017 - 5:04 PM

    What do you do when you find a fabric you love but it doesn’t go with anything in your home?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:16 PM

      Well, you throw everything out and start over, of course. Just kidding. ReplyCancel

  • Tricia Heliker - June 29, 2017 - 3:12 PM

    You nailed it, Laurel! I love that Etsy fabric for the dining chairs. That will make a huge difference in the dining room and is just the zing it needed. Also love the rug you chose. Your selections are terrific. Would love to see the room once your suggestions are implemented.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:13 PM

      Thanks so much Tricia. Of course, none of the suggestions may be taken. It’s a process. But I’m sure that whatever Karen does, it’ll be lovely.ReplyCancel

      • karen - June 30, 2017 - 7:29 PM

        Oh yes indeed I will be taking suggestions! Just maybe tweaking the accent color. Working on the ming coffee table. Found one at Bellacor in teak that is the right size and can be painted white and distressed a little like the Ethan Allen version. Love the reader suggestions too.ReplyCancel

  • Jerry Ballard - June 29, 2017 - 2:51 PM

    Just not a fan of valances! They have the effect of lowering the ceiling, and who wants that? Like your idea or going inside frame as it creates some vertical interest. Your comment about the chair feeling lonely over there…is the same feeling I have about valances..,hanging up there, doing no good really, they provide no privacy. Would love angling the sectional with point coming a 3rd of the wall over. Great for tv viewing and not blocking window. Love the home and furnishings, paint, etc.ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 30, 2017 - 2:02 PM

      Okay will try it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:13 PM

      Hi Jerry,

      That is a great idea about angling the sectional and worth a try if Karen has some man-power to help her move it.ReplyCancel

  • Libby - June 29, 2017 - 12:48 PM

    Karen has a lovely home and it is great to see she has used one of your paint palettes. The dining room curtains are so pretty. That Jaclyn Smith material and the chinoiserie are sold at Calico Corners. I mention just in case that is a convenient source. The Etsy shop in the link – the price quoted is great and it is for a 1/2 yard, not a yard, no fainting!

    Karen’s Empire mirror is gorgeous. The blue and white jars and lamps she has are wonderful and she can switch up between the rooms, if she chooses. Love the suggestions you made for her. The Herat rug you found at Overstock would also look good in the dining room if Karen ever wanted to move it in there. All the persimmon touches you suggested will be so effective.ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 30, 2017 - 1:58 PM

      HI Libby that empire mirror is too horizontal but it was my moms so I wanted to “make it work”. I move stuff from room to room all the time so the whole house palette idea is perfect for people like me who like to play “decorator”.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2017 - 3:35 PM

        Hi Karen,

        Actually, I don’t think that it’s too horizontal because it has a lot of heft. If you had a higher ceiling it would be a problem but I think it looks amazing in your dining room!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:08 PM

      Hi Libby,

      Thanks so much for your always fabulous comments.

      I was wondering about that too with the Etsy shop, but when I looked more closely can see that it sells in half yard increments. One can buy a whole yard or 50 yards of the fabric. (assuming they have that much to sell).

      ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 30, 2017 - 1:56 PM

      I moved the rattan chair up to my sons room to use as his “gaming chair” and I have pulled two dining chairs over to that space.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:04 PM

      Hi Ashley,

      No worries. My 27-yr-old would promptly knock it to the floor too. lol But he’s a cutie pie.!ReplyCancel

  • Susie - June 29, 2017 - 11:46 AM

    wicker, bamboo and rattan seem to be very “in” right now which is fine by meReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:02 PM

      Hi Susie,

      I think that they’ve always been “in.” I’ve used those materials in my interiors since the early 90s.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie S - June 29, 2017 - 10:43 AM

    What a fantastic job Karen did so far!!

    I LOVE all the coral items –and may steal some ideas for my living room. I personally would like to see some more of the blue from the window treatments in the room. It looks like a bit of an after thought to me without more of the color in the room.ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 30, 2017 - 1:51 PM

      So true Maggie! But I couldn’t figure out if it was more green I needed or more blue. Good eye!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:02 PM

      Hi Maggie,

      Yes, there needs to be more blue too. I think on the coffee table would be terrific.ReplyCancel

      • KAren - June 30, 2017 - 1:54 PM

        LAurel what about putting the blue and white Faux-riental rug back in the grouping for the added blue? I Moved a blue and white ginger jar to the table and found a Ming table in the right size that I will paint white. Can the upholstered chair be in blue? And does the blue I add have to be that exact navy/royal or can it be lighter blue or teal? I don’t want to be too literal and matchy.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2017 - 3:34 PM

          Affirmative all. I just think the rug needs a larger seagrass rug layered because the other one is too small. You can def mix all sorts of blues. As Barbara Barry says, “Complexity is what makes rooms rich.” So true!

          And fab on the ming coffee table. Where did you find it? Just curious.ReplyCancel

          • karen - July 1, 2017 - 12:08 PM

            Laurel I have trouble with the rug size because of the tight flow to the kitchen and because you have to walk past the media cabinet to get to that outside door. Then there are the heat registers that take away precious inches. And is it okay to encroach into that bay window area I wouldn’t know how big of a seagrass rug I’d need. If I do a larger seagrass could I use a smaller rug for under the ming coffee table? One other thing, all the seagrass samples I have ordered MATCH my flooring so closely. That made me wonder if it was worth doing at all.

            I found the Ming table (31x49x18) at Bellacor, the lighting company. It’s teak but I will chalk paint it, distress it a little to let the teak reveal itself a tad, then wax it. It was $300 so don’t know about the quality, but the dimensions were the best I could find.

          • Laurel Bern - July 2, 2017 - 12:16 AM

            Hi Karen,

            Oh, I wish I could answer those specific questions about the floor covering, but that’s the brain surgery of this business. My best rec is to draw it out. If you get some graph paper it is easy. Just use a ruler and 1/4″ = one foot. It doesn’t have to be precise down to the last inch, but close.

            The sea grass should be lighter/greener than your floors and it’s also a completely different texture and that’s what’s so great about them.

  • Christy - June 29, 2017 - 10:36 AM

    Lovely thoughtful post. As I’m currently trying to decide on exterior house colors, I paid attention to the picture of the white exterior paint.
    I think it looks classic and lovely However, I currently have white trim and it constantly looks dirty. I would like to paint in a navy with white trim or a gray with white trim but the dust and dirtiness that’s I see drives me crazy.
    Do you not have this problem?
    PS I have a craftsman bungalow built in the 1920’s and I live in Tampa Florida.
    Thank you for your thoughts.
    Much appreciation,
    CC PascoeReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 30, 2017 - 11:05 AM

      White is a little more maintenance, especially after winter. I pressure washed the house along the foundation, and just wipe down the window trim every few months in the face of the house. The face of the gutters can get dirty too, so I just brush that away periodically with a long handled brush if it bothers me. But most of the time White just looks clean no matter how “dirty” it becomes.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:01 PM

      Thanks Christy. I’m assuming that you’re addressing this to Karen. ReplyCancel

  • Kaycee - June 29, 2017 - 9:24 AM

    Laurel,
    Your blog is the perfect combination of wisdom, wit, and helpfulness. I appreciate you!
    This may be my favorite post yet- is it possible to get “after” pictures of this lovely home?
    It would be so fun to see how well it all comes together!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:41 AM

      Hi Kaycee,

      I agree. It would be wonderful to see how it all ends up. And thank you for your kind words!ReplyCancel

  • Bridget - June 29, 2017 - 9:21 AM

    As I’ve commented before, I really enjoy your blog. I have a question about the Roman shades and your comment about the inside mount. I have a similar situation and feel like the one, longer outside mount looks cleaner than chopping them up. You said you liked them better when you viewed the entire room – just wondered if you could expand on this a bit more. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:40 AM

      Hi Bridget,

      Oh gosh. I’m not sure. Sorry. What is difficult is when there are so many windows with no wall breaking it up. Even though the house is traditionally influenced, the window configuration is contemporary and it makes doing window treatments more of a challenge.ReplyCancel

  • Bunny - June 29, 2017 - 8:40 AM

    This is a wonderful article. I love seeing these beautiful rooms and the progress it each. You mentioned that Linen White is on the walls. Do you know if the trim is also in Linen White. It looks so fresh!

    Thank you. I look forward to your weekly posts.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:38 AM

      Hi Bunny,

      I’m not sure but it looks to be the same color.ReplyCancel

      • KAren - June 29, 2017 - 1:18 PM

        Yes the walls and woodwork are both Linen White by Benjamin Moore.ReplyCancel

  • mrsben - June 29, 2017 - 8:33 AM

    Beautiful home and love its architectural interior details. That said; however must agree with you Laurel about the Roman Shades but will admit, I lean more towards inside mounts for them but then again it sometimes depends upon their function (as in a bedroom for natural light control) or how they appear on the outside of the home. (I’m just a hobby sewer and far from an expert but have been making my own window coverings for many years but by same token am also a firm believer; to each their own.) Also totally agree with your suggestions in furnishings/accessories/placement as feel what you have chosen not only introduces more pattern and colour but also breaks up the repetition of the many rectangle shapes that appear to be going on in the spaces which I feel are not as prevalent in her inspiration photo. Do hope the latter makes sense and it is ‘not’intended to offend Karen as I definitely applaud her efforts and think she is doing a spectacular job in making her house a home and one to enjoy. -Brenda-
    P.S.: Apologize for being so long winded … ☺.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:37 AM

      Hi Brenda,

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Yes, I’m an inside mount girl too! ReplyCancel

      • KAren - June 30, 2017 - 11:12 AM

        Oh I struggled with this too. TWo reasons I tried
        The valance idea. One is we have tons of privacy on that side of the house and I don’t care if the neighbors see me dancing naked. JK. THe second reason is that here in the PNW we don’t get tons of light due to the forestation and weather. so I did not want to sacrifice light for “privacy” shades we wouldn’t ever use. Panels were used by a previous own and they looked so crammed that they would have taken away even MORE natural light. Having moved here from Southern California I just need every ray I can get. So that’s the story.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2017 - 3:28 PM

          I agree that panels would be too much for the window configuration. Damn those architects! :/ (well, not all of them, but some)ReplyCancel

  • Deirdre Fahy - June 29, 2017 - 8:14 AM

    Hi Laurel
    I hope you are well. I love the living room but I’d love to see a rich chinoiserie color on those walls. Perhaps an alternate green or yellow green from the Schumacher fabric? If it’s too much green maybe a deep coral or turqoise. if budget allows, a extra sanding or two to make the paint sine. Paint the tri,s in the same color.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:29 AM

      Hi Deirdre,

      Well, I don’t disagree, but the problem is that there’s the living room and the stair well and then the hall. The decision was made to paint it all one color because it’s difficult to find a good beginning and ending point.

      Sometimes, we’re bound by the architecture and it’s a difficult decision to have to make.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Griffin - June 29, 2017 - 7:58 AM

    Love the rattan chairs for host and hostess in the dining room. Any resources in finding something similar? Thank you for the amazing blog that you offer to your readers, you have educated us more than you will ever know!ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 29, 2017 - 1:20 PM

      I got those bamboo/rattan chairs at a local consignment shop. I’d seen Mark. D Sikes and Jeffrey Bilhuber, Charlotte Moss using them a lot. I got another Brighton style bamboo chair for my sons room on Craigslist for 35.00 but have also seen them on eBay.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:26 AM

      Hi Susan,

      I am thinking of doing a “chair” post. One reason is that some dining chairs cost almost as much or sometimes as much as a whole big sofa. And what if you need ten of them???ReplyCancel

  • Anne - June 29, 2017 - 7:54 AM

    Fun and informative post, as always! I would love to know who makes the semi flush light fixtures with the single crystal drop- could you find out?
    About the Robert Allen chinoiserie; it’s fun and super-affordable, but it’s also everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on Target furniture any day now. We have 2 large, custom pillows in that fabric on our LR sofa, so I have to laugh (I’ve always said I have the “common” touch)!
    Don’t go to England Laurel-it’s so divine there you will never come back. Then again, you can write from anywhere!ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 29, 2017 - 1:22 PM

      Re the light fixtures in kitchen and family room– THey are Minka Lavery from Lamps Plus. I didn’t like the bronze finish they came in so I painted the outside frame black and the inside one and the candle sleeves metallic gold.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:25 AM

      Hi Anne,

      Well, you may see that fabric everywhere because you’re in the biz. That sort of thing never bothered me. If I love something, I love it no matter. But I also know what you mean. One reason it’s so reasonably priced is because they produce a lot of it.

      And Karen lives in the Pacific northwest. I imagine that in some parts, they would deem that fabric to be “avant garde.” lol

      Once I ordered two Pottery Barn chairs in a teal finish. I think they were the napoleon style or something. Well, you know the ones. And when they arrived for my step dad’s little waiting room at his business, his office manager deemed them to be “very strange.” lol My mother told her that they were avant garde. She didn’t really think so, but was trying to make nice.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Martin - June 29, 2017 - 7:48 AM

    I would like to see her repeat the valance over the kitchen window. I would hang it just below the molding. It would link the two rooms.ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 29, 2017 - 12:14 PM

      Yes! That valance is made and ready to hang in the kitchen!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:20 AM

      Bingo Elizabeth! The valance is already in the works.ReplyCancel

  • Dolores - June 29, 2017 - 7:45 AM

    Everything you’ve suggested as ‘tweaks’ is just beautiful, and I want to congratulate Karen on making her home look so friendly, happy and lovely!
    I love that R.Allen toile fabric suggestion so much that I bought a yard of it( for under my bed :-)) at fabricguru.com- one of my favorite internet sources for fabrics.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:19 AM

      Hi Dolores,

      Oh, that’s fabulous! The RA toile is one of the things I love about that company. They make inexpensive fabric that looks like the expensive stuff. Well, from a distance. Sure, the cloth isn’t as fine. After all, they have to justify the $220/yd+++ some way. But the design and colors are sublime.ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for the tips, and for the laughs! - June 29, 2017 - 7:38 AM

    You are so generous and thoughtful with your expertise and your suggestions, which are both beautiful and practical. Amazing. And your paint collection and Rolodex are treasures! Thank you for sharing your awesome talents, chief among them your sense of humor, which I’ve found to be 100% lifesaving during a long ongoing whole house gut renovation, which included a designer I adored as a human being (and paid oodles and oodles of money) who hadn’t completed the work she promised–like lighting, hard goods, rugs, mirrors, completed paint palette, hardware, bedding, select upholstered items and more–long (as in a year) after she was paid a big fixed fee. (I paid her hourly, too. She complained that she wasn’t making enough money on my job. I should have bought a lake house with that sum of money instead.) When I told her again and for real that I really needed her to deliver, as construction was nearly complete, she quit. Oh, she also doubled the prices of fabrics she recommended and we selected, and tried to obscure the brands (“to protect her vendors”) by ripping the labels off samples. There’s so much more (like not returning funds advanced to her to pay for furnishings) but I don’t want to ruin your breakfast. Sigh. What can we do?

    Well, your Rolodex has been a saving grace as we have tried to scramble to finish our project, and your silliness has lifted my spirit many times over!ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 30, 2017 - 11:18 AM

      The same thing happened to me with a designer. I realized no one can “create” my home but me. What I’ve learned from Laurel in one year was plenty enough to design my own home. the more technical things I couldn’t do, like a lighting design and media cabinet design, I was overjoyed to hire a good designer to do!ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2017 - 3:29 PM

        You’re so sweet Karen. And I promise that I am not paying her to say these things! haha. (Well, not yet anyway.) ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:17 AM

      Thank you C! (cheated because I needed to know who has made my day and looked up your email address but will respect your desire for anonymity)

      Thank you, thank you for such a glowing testimonial. About the designer. That’s shameful behavior on her part. Not making excuses because it’s designers like her who give the rest of us a bad name.

      But it sounds like she has a high over-head and a poorly managed business. And/or, she’s really not fond of taking care of the details as they are not as lucrative as the big ticket items. But no matter; she promised and then insulted you on top of it.

      That is highly unprofessional, not to mention insulting for a designer to tell a client she isn’t making enough money off of you! And since she was triple dipping, I am thinking that there’s most likely some unsavory goings on in her life that we’ll just leave at that. I’m so sorry that you had this experience!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - June 29, 2017 - 7:22 AM

    I love Karen’s house. The two things I like best are her dining room curtains and the green background of the cabinet. Beautiful touches.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:04 AM

      Hi Becky,

      It’s been fun watching it develop. And I did not give her any advice along the way.ReplyCancel

  • Christine Pajonas - June 29, 2017 - 6:33 AM

    I hate the word “transitional” too! My homes are traditional, but spare and drastically edited…cleaned up traditional…there def needs to be a good word to describe it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 9:02 AM

      Hi Christine,

      I like new-trad even if I do sound like a millennial when I say it. lol No offense to millennials. I own two of ’em.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - June 29, 2017 - 12:39 AM

    Love that overstock rug suggestion. Have you had good luck with this vendor. Scary to order such a large item…
    Beautiful house and good suggestions!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 12:44 AM

      Hi Kate,

      With ordering a rug online, I would make sure that it’s returnable first of all. Also, sometimes you can contact the vendor and they can take the rug outside for more photos. Also, I read reviews. But not everything has a review and some pieces are one-of-a-kind.

      That particular vendor on Overstock looks good but I have not ordered from them.ReplyCancel

  • karen - June 29, 2017 - 12:29 AM

    Thanks for the amazing help Laurel! I could not have gotten this far without your fabulous products. All I did was settle on your Spring Palette. One of the smartest things I did was to first have the paint product professionally bound for easy reference. The green inside my media cabinet is indeed from the palette, Oregano. In the dining room I call the Stanley sideboard “Marilyn’s Dress”. The “Pale Avocado” sectional was made up in Robert Allen Crypton (which I never knew even existed until I read your post about this wonder fabric) and boy does that hold up to a family and doggie.

    One thing I’ve learned is to forgive myself for “mistakes” and never to take myself too seriously. I think it also has helped to drop one thing in at a time and then take pics and see what comes next.

    Thanks for letting me to reply to your readers, let me know if you need any other sources.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 12:32 AM

      Hi Karen,

      It’s a pleasure and thanks so much for all of the additional information as well as your kind words! xoxo

      ps: we all make mistakes and forgiving oneself is a great philosophy to have. Not always easy though.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 29, 2017 - 12:21 AM

    Wonderful architectural features, and I love the new exterior color! The cabinet with the green interior is beautiful. One thing, I hope the new coffee table will be a bit smaller than the present one, it makes that side of the room too heavy. Overall, lovely, lovely home!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 12:24 AM

      Thanks Kim. I think a lighter color for the coffee table will help with that as well as perhaps putting another chair on the other side.ReplyCancel

  • Taryl - June 29, 2017 - 12:06 AM

    I loved this post! What a lovely home she is curating and your advice is spot on, as always. Really enjoyed the troubleshooting.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Elizabeth - June 28, 2017 - 11:25 PM

    Wow! I love how the white transformed the outside! Just beautiful!
    I also love the picture showing the transformation of the secretary desk. (
    Might you consider a post on the best way to incorporate “painted” pieces into rooms?)ReplyCancel

  • Cindy Redman - June 28, 2017 - 11:03 PM

    Love love your chinoiserie fabric choice for the chairs and the rug is great. Centering the table with flanking chairs under the window is perfect, and switching out the chairs in the living room is such a great idea! Definite Yes on the coffee table. The room needs some white. I’m having a hard time with the curtains, although I understand that she does like them. Beautiful dining room… and what a great wall color that plays so nicely with the sectional sofa.
    Anyway, what do i know, but i couldn’t resist commenting.

    CindyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2017 - 11:12 PM

      Hi Cindy,

      There’s nothing wrong with your reply.

      Pale Avocado is one of those universal-neutral-but-not-the-conventional kind that goes with everything. ReplyCancel

  • Sara - June 28, 2017 - 10:57 PM

    I really like the white/cream dining chairs in Karen’s dining room. I have seen similar chairs in various stores online but it would be great to know the source for these chairs. I am hesitant to purchase online without a good sense of the quality. I have made some poor choices in the past and just end up donating the furniture. Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • karen - June 29, 2017 - 12:15 AM

      Hi Sara, I have had some big furniture fails too, but the dining chairs from the Restoration Hardware Outlet were a deal and work nicely.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2017 - 10:59 PM

      Hi Sara,

      It is a bit of a crap shoot. I do try to post good quality or at least acceptable for what it is. Sometimes I read reviews. I find that very helpful.

      Hang on. I will try to find a source or two. ReplyCancel

  • Lnfa - June 28, 2017 - 10:39 PM

    Love the lamps. I found some very similar at Home Goods for $55 each! Got a pair. Would like to put better shades on them.ReplyCancel

    • KAren - June 29, 2017 - 12:17 PM

      Homegoods is always having an off day when I am there– that’s why Laurels Rolodex is so great to have on hand when I need something like YESTERDAY.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2017 - 5:05 PM

        Thanks so much for the endorsement Karen! And to God for giving me the idea!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2017 - 10:44 PM

      Hooray for Homegoods! ReplyCancel

    • Linda - June 28, 2017 - 10:44 PM

      Love the lamps. I found some very similar at Home Goods for $55 each! Got a pair. Would like to put better shades on them.ReplyCancel

  • Terri - June 28, 2017 - 10:38 PM

    I love it all, especially the rug, might have to re-do my entire family room.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - June 28, 2017 - 10:26 PM

    I’m a huge fan! and This post was great…on that note, …is there a white or close to white color that works with already pure white (white 01) trim? Love the idea of an all White exterior!ReplyCancel

    • karen - June 29, 2017 - 12:19 AM

      Hi Karen. The all white exterior was a no brainer for me. I tested four different whites on all sides of the house and watched what they did in different weather and at different times of the day. Some went peach, one went green. Then I had the idea to just call a local architect and ask what was a good white for the Pacific Northwest? Swiss Coffee was among their pics and that was exactly the ticket. Make sure to test!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2017 - 10:33 PM

      Hi Karen,

      Oh, I’m sorry. We can’t answer that because don’t know where the trim is or what else is going on. And if the reference is to Benjamin Moore’s “white” which is also on my list, I wouldn’t call it a pure white. In fact, it has a lot of gray in it. It is warm. I should know. My entire apartment’s trim is this color. It’s not great with the yellow; the yellow in the morning light makes the white look like a cool white. But, I generally don’t spend much time staring at my trim. haha It’s not offensive, just not what I would have chosen.

      It does look very nice in my bathroom with Benjamin Moore Shoreline.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - June 28, 2017 - 10:17 PM

    Hi Laurel. I love the color of the wood floors – at least the color that they appear in the pictures. They seem to be a kind of medium wood color, neither dark or light, and a sort of a neutral wood tone. Very, dare I say, “natural”? And I have always loved the idea of an opium table, or opium bed – (metallic leafed, please.) My friends think I am crazy, as if I were really going smoke opium? They just seem like sort of an exotic thing to me.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2017 - 10:23 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Opium tables have become an enduring classic. There’s just something so chic about that and the ming shape too which is more delicate.ReplyCancel

  • Diane - June 28, 2017 - 10:16 PM

    I would like to see a bamboo type shade behind the valances in the family room and a colorful pattern and/or rug in the dining room.ReplyCancel

    • karen - June 29, 2017 - 11:02 AM

      Thats what my inclination is too Diane, about the shades. I can’t have a rug in the dining room because it is also a “pass through” zone (old house probs).ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2017 - 10:21 PM

      Hi Diane,

      I think for the windows, it would be better to have one or the other. I think it would only make the windows feel even heavier to have the bamboo shades, although I do love them. But I love them either alone or with drapes.

      I agree about the dining room. I think the colorful fabric on the chairs would be fab.ReplyCancel