Our House Floor Plan is Impossible to Furnish!



Okay, Guys; you asked for it and you got it!


For now, we’re done with the fluffy, symmetrical room floor plan that we did the other day.


Yesiree… I’ve combed the interwebs for the most difficult, poorly laid-out rooms, in terms of their original architecture.  Furnishing a floor plan like this is a nightmare because the fireplace is in the corner, there are no walls, no entrance, no space. On and on…

Unfortunately, there are a LOT of houses like this.


To me, it’s a lot like a restaurant that serves bad food.


I mean, ALL they have to do, is make something you put in your mouth, taste good. That’s it. Food. Delicious. But no, it’s revolting. As Woody Allen said, “the portions are small too.” hahaha.

And, it’s the same with our home builders. All they need to do is come up with a house layout that has beautiful, well-proportioned rooms with great flow. And yet again, they fail to do so.


Before I go on…


This post didn’t turn out exactly the way I had planned.


Lots of stress this week, both good and bad.

For instance, last night, my website was down for nearly five hours!

That’s right. If you tried to get on my site, you would’ve gotten a white screen. Isn’t that just peachy?!

Of course, that meant that I also couldn’t get on my site. Apparently, the server was having its period or something. I don’t know. I’m switching soon.

But, things have gotten a little backed up.


However, I do have something interesting to share with you, so please hang on.


The other thing with homes with poorly laid-out interiors. You know, the ones that many of you can’t figure out? Even though you’ve been in the home for 25 years? ;]

It’s always, an “if only.”  Right?

Alas, “if onlys” usually cost a lot of money to fix and/or are impossible to change for some reason or another.

I lived in such a house for 22 years. A townhouse where certain changes are impossible.

And I am not joking when I say that over the years, I spent dozens of hours trying to figure out our L-shaped loooong living-dining room. So did every other neighbor who had the same townhouse model. There were ten of the same model. And maybe in that time an average of 2.5 turnovers. That’s 25 homeowners who couldn’t figure out this space.


Here is the floor plan that I actually drew from memory haha– today!



Awkward floor plan of our living dinging area. I lived here for 22 years!


Now don’t get me wrong. I loved my home. Many, many reasons: I loved it for its light and bright airiness. And, I loved the white on white. I ADORED the mouldings that we added years later.


And I loved it because it had a fireplace with a lovely classically traditional fireplace mantel.


I told my husband in 1990 that our new home must have a fireplace. He rarely ever argued with me.

Early in 1991, we began our house hunt with purpose. We were living in an apartment in the Flatiron District in Manhattan that I talk about a bit in this post.

However, with a rapidly growing infant and a small, 700 square foot, one-bedroom apartment, we needed more room. Besides, I was tired of tripping over homeless people laying in the street while strolling my baby.


We focused on Northern Westchester County after a rec from a friend of friend. You know how it goes.


We saw a few places in our price-range that completely underwhelmed us.

But, when the realtor took us to “our home,” I knew before we even walked in that we had found “the one.”

And folks, I have to tell you something.


Please listen verrrry carefully. (she said in her most gratingly condescending voice)


Are you listening? Good. :]

When we walked in, there was puky-pink carpeting–EVERYWHERE.

And not one stick of furniture. NOTHING. The house was EMPTY!

Oh, it gets even better.

It was February.

In New York.


The heat had been turned off completely. (hmmm… not too wise, actually)


Of course, it was FREEZING inside. We also had our seven-month old baby with us. Yes, that baby.

There were no mouldings. The kitchen cabinets, made of the most tasteful almond melamine ever. haha The kitchen floors? Faux terracotta that was really linoleum.

And there was hideous wallpaper in all three bathrooms.


None of that mattered.

And here’s why.


The major bones of the house were already there.


Loads of light

Big windows

Winding staircase

Gorgeous fireplace and mantel.


I was in heaven and even though I was shivering to death, I’m not sure if it was from the excitement or the cold. I think a little of both.

The point that I’m taking a long time making, which you got the second I said that the house was empty is that it doesn’t matter.


(note: I realize that some of you make your living as home stagers and at this moment wish to stick a large sharp object into me somewhere that will let out a lot of blood quickly. My statement is not an absolute blanket deal. If you have furniture, of course, it must be staged!)


But, Laurel, you have great powers of visualization and many of us don’t.


Ummm… no… it appears, not so great over here, either.

IF I had these wonderful powers of visualization you speak of, I would’ve gone whoa! This floor plan is a bear and a half. Come darling husband, let’s move on.

But noooo… In typical impulsive fashion, I was so infatuated, we had an accepted offer within 90 minutes! That’s another story. The house had been on the market for a year. hahahaha. There was no need to make such a rash decision. But that didn’t stop us.

I think I’ve mentioned that I don’t have a lot of pics of the house which is a little dumb of me.


However, get this. Even though we sold the home over five years ago, I found the old real estate photos!


Ugh. Okay, better than nothing, but have to say that they are HORRIBLE! Sorry, to be so negative. But they are even worse than the photos of the home you guys ripped to shreds helped Cyndi with while I was on a little R & R.

The good news is that a lot of the furniture was gone because I had already moved out. But, I was there the day the photographer came to shoot. He didn’t just take photos. He had a high-speed camera that he clicked a million times to give a special “depth” to the images.

And yes, he used that horrible wide-angle lens. The images are washed out and BLAND and the lens needs to be banned.


By the way, our bad photos didn’t matter either. We did not need to wait a year. We had our offer at full asking price only 3 weeks later.


In our case, I got us the most badassiest realtor in all of Westchester County; Angela Kessel.

Apparently, she sleeps with her cell phone surgically attached to her ear. That is how fast her response is any time of the day or night! Can’t recommend her highly enough.

den with art prints - home in Goldens, Bridge NY - room floor plan
This is a photo that I took in our den about six years ago.

Okay, time to look at the real estate photos


house floor plan - great staircase

The best part of the house, but still a little distorted as you can see by looking at the wicker chair.

Ugh. The sheer linen Roman shades are not purple!


dining room townhouse floor plan
:] I took the four gray chairs. Here’s how it looked before.

dining room 2011These colors are far more accurate here.  Do you see my “rolodex?” haha?

The wall color, Pratt and Lambert Ancestral is similar to Benjamin Moore White Dove.

living room floor plan with fireplace

The walls are white, not yellow. So weird. The floor looks yellow too. It was a beautiful cognac color. We put the floor in, in 1996. I mean, we had it put in. :]

Ahhh… but just shut me up. There’s the fireplace.

living room dining room l shaped floor planAnd thar she is in her entirety. Almost. The ol’ L-shaped living-dining room floor plan.


What is that ugly thing with the rag on it, Laurel?


Be nice. :] It was the best we could do at the time. And, it’s distorted. (what else is knew?) It was part of my wasband’s old sectional with a semi-unconstructed slip-cover I designed in 1991. There’s a better, albeit fuzzy pic below.

So distorted, washed out and yellow-ish. I know. It just bugs the crap out of me. The ceiling is a pale aqua too! I mean, it’s supposed to be.

These are the Melamine cabinets! I had a guy nail on moulding! And then he sprayed them. Now, everything was re-painted. It was a crap job with plain white latex. I wasn’t around for that.  We should’ve put on knobs, but other than that, I was very happy with the facelift we gave the kitchen and cabinets. We changed the floor and the ceiling is Anaglypta wallpaper, painted a glossy white. My boys always thought it looked like paper towels. haha!

The dishwasher was new and the range, and micro- hand-me-downs from a neighbor. Not kidding.

The wall color here IS a muted yellow-green from Pratt and Lambert– Flaxseed.

Pottery Barn table in our old kitchenYes, that’s snow outside. The kitchen and den face north, north-west, so rather dark except for occasionally a ray of sunshine in the afternoon. The hill killed the light most of the time.

The round pine table is vintage Pottery Barn. lol

Den room layoutThe little den. I’m embarrassed about that cabinet the old TV is sitting on. That was a hand-me-down from a friend too. Oh well. All of our money went for music lessons. And then we hit some hard times for numerous years.

Alas, that is a little Odegard Tibetan rug which Peaches mutilated pretty well.

And I had that little built-in cabinet made.


It’s really only about 40 feet from the back of the house to the front. It looks like 80 feet here, at least!


The green table was one of my many air-head mistakes. It was supposed to be red. The table looked great in our den, so not such a bad mistake.

Another part of the sectional with some expensive Lee Jofa fringe and cheap linen velvet from ABC Carpet and Home! That is one of the few fabrics that Peaches did not destroy. The white chair didn’t do too badly and same with the linen. However, the other chairs in the front, had to be dumped. That’s how bad they were.

Notice, the prints over the green table are gone. Lots of things are gone. I had moved out already, but I did bring some things back for the shoot. The colors in the den looked so lovely when IN the room. It just doesn’t translate here at all.

my old home awkward floor plan
Here is a sketch of our room floor plan with the furniture. If we had company and needed more seating, we’d just go grab a wicker chair or two. It worked out fine. I liked that the room didn’t have a lot of furniture. Oh, there’s another photo here. I moved the white chair for the photo.

Below is a little messing around I did earlier today with the floor plan.


Townhouse LIVING ROOM floor plan ideaIt’s a little rough, but the rectangles in the middle stand for chairs. The piece to the left of the sofa is a chest.  It does not look good to have the sofa facing the fireplace directly.

See? Very difficult.

This is one of those “if only” the room were a foot wider. Just one foot. Because the area adjacent to the dining room table is the central traffic artery in the down stairs, and I raised two hellions. We really needed to keep more than three feet clear the entire way.

Here’s a pic from a neighbor who sold her townhouse recently.

difficult living room floor planShe just put everything by the bay window.

I was going to do some more with this room, but time has run out.

In any case, I hope that this helped those of you who have an awkward layout maybe something like this. I do have a few other difficult room layouts and if you’re interested, I could explore those.


  • Joyce Hume - September 3, 2018 - 1:21 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Just voted for you. Keeping my fingers crossed that you win!

    Please accept my belated many thanks for all of the work your put into your blog. As many have said, I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your true self. You have taught me so much. I pray God’s blessings on you, dear one.

    XO JoyceReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 3, 2018 - 3:27 PM

      Oh, that is so sweet Joyce. I very much appreciate your vote and kind words!ReplyCancel

  • Jane Sohn - August 23, 2018 - 9:23 PM

    I would love more awkward layout rooms. I have a living room with a awkward layout because people walk through it, and there’s large window. I have to fit a TV in there, so I’ve put all the furniture agains the walls. It looks weird. I hate it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 23, 2018 - 9:32 PM

      I hear you Jane! There will be more awkward layout rooms and other issues too!ReplyCancel

  • Karen Alder - August 23, 2018 - 12:40 PM

    Hi Laurel-

    I love your posts and have been following you for about a year. I’ve learned so much from you and it definitely has made our nest a little nicer.I almost always pin your pins. And used your white guide when we repainted our south facing kitchen. It was so helpful. It took me a couple days to draw my hard to furnish room but now I cant find the email you asked us to use. If its not too late, our room is a definite challenge ( too long and narrow) yet it is where we spend most of our family time and has some nice features; fireplace( often used), large picture windows with beautiful views of outside and cathedral ceiling. Let me know if it’s not too late.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 23, 2018 - 6:16 PM

      Hi Karen,

      I’ll be delighted to take a look. I emailed you the email. But if a subscriber, you can always respond to any email I send you. Some people have my main email address, but stuff gets buried there. It’s really nuts. And thanks too, for your kind words. I love hearing how the posts have helped make decorating a little easier. It’s rarely easy, however.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - August 22, 2018 - 1:46 AM

    Hello Laurel, Of course you got my vote. I could not look at all the entrants, but let’s face it, who else could have even half of your class and entertainment value!

    • Laurel Bern - August 22, 2018 - 9:55 AM

      Hi Jim,

      Thank you so much! That is so kind of you to say! I think that they should separate the nominees into their respective location groups. But maybe better for me that they aren’t. Thank you too for your long-time support and consistent value you bring to this blog with your knowledgeable and always interesting comments.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret Vant Erve - August 21, 2018 - 8:37 AM

    I hope you win Laurel. Your blog is by far the most entertaining and informative. Plus I love your brutal honesty without being condescending or pretentious and I am soooo impressed that you take the time to respond to everyone. That is quite remarkable as it takes a huge amount of time. Btw, my entire ground floor was also a hideous pink when I moved in, trim included. I didn’t have much money at the time as I was going through a divorce, but I slowly painted each room. The kitchen was worse. Puke brown cupboards with peeling paint.. I had to scrape off all the paint only to reveal electric blue underneath. Slowly, we make our places lovely. Keep up the great blogReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 21, 2018 - 12:00 PM

      Thank you so much Margaret for your kind words. And yes, it is very time consuming… and then there’s email. But, I am not complaining. This is a very nice way to make a living. You have to wonder why people choose some colors. I think sometimes they are looking at the little chip– only and not even holding it up vertically flat against the wall. Of course, cabinets are not flat against the wall, they are parallel to the wall and therefore, will appear a little lighter than the color on the wall, if the same color. Or, at least different.ReplyCancel

  • Lara B. - August 20, 2018 - 10:38 PM

    Just voted for you and will anytime you ask us to Laurel. Your spot-on decorating advice, sassy sense of humor, and genuine warmth make me look forward to your every blog post!ReplyCancel

  • Maria - August 20, 2018 - 3:50 PM

    Voted. Wish I could vote as many time as to make sure you win. You so deserve it! You re the best blog out there. Good luck.ReplyCancel

  • MsScarlett - August 20, 2018 - 11:19 AM

    Thank you, thank you for this post. So much resonated. “especially the admission you did not recognize “this floor plan is a bear and a half.” That alone helped me to stop flogging myself for at least 5 mins. And that’s all I’ve done since i bought this house – basically being upset with myself for not realizing i was not up to this challenge.

    I downsized and moved cross country to retire but the record low inventory in 2017-2018 in the area I wanted to live in forced me into two consecutive tiny apartments with most of my possessions in storage for over 18 months waiting for the perfect house. Finally something appeared

    The house i purchased and now live in which i call “the white elephant’ had issues I saw during the first visit, like a renovation by the former owner who obviously had issues with scale. It has 16 ft ceilings in a small room, an island that is 6 ft x 11 for a person who doesn’t cook or entertain, a kitchen that runs half the length of the great room open-concept living area but only has a 30 inch range, a refrigerator and two dishwashers, a shower that is 6 ft by 10 ft that someone commented it resembled a gym shower and an obsession for the same blinding brittanica quartz everywhere. And everything else is white too.

    They removed most walls, closets, built-ins in other words, ‘charm’. But as my realtor said: “If you don’t want it, the next person will.” It is a very desirable neighborhood. So I jumped in. I thought anything was better than another year in an apartment not seeing my things that were in storage.

    My question as a non-stager without unlimited funds to correct things and knowing you are not a psychologist is: how can i make peace with my home and esp stop beating myself up for buying a place that appeared spacious compared to an apartment but now feels cavernous and cold to me because there are so many hard surfaces and everything echos and is a blinding white quartz. This is more than a paint issue. And something i might have to live with for a long long time.

    This house will need so much to achieve a cozy home-like feel that I long for, that i don’t know if it’s possible to ever feel like i’m not living in someone else’s home. I have put my entire furniture budget in here and i’ve barely made a dent in the ‘warming it up department.” as well as paying for a few undisclosed surprises like air conditioning deficits or a leak in the roof. It needs a normal sized kitchen too- not the bright white quartz entertainer’s delight.

    How do you make peace with what hurts your eyes and take the focus from what is ‘wrong’. How do you let yourself off of the hook for missing that the fact that maybe I should have run. This was supposed to be my last house but above all, a place that felt like my home.

    PS- thanks for your comments on POTS. I’ve had it since 1998 – mine does come with the migraine with aura. Autonomic issues are tough to diagnose. I’m so glad you write about it to bring light to it so others won’t be misdiagnosed.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 20, 2018 - 1:58 PM

      Oh, MsScarlett, I have to admit that this one has piqued my curiosity. This reminds me of the old expression “putting good money after bad.” What I’m trying to say is that it it appears that this is not your forever home, because to make it the way you’d like it, is beyond your means. And even if it was within your means, it sounds like it wouldn’t be worth it.

      But, please. EVERYONE makes mistakes. And believe me; I’ve made some GIANT WHOPPERS! And one of them contributed to my being here today. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it!

      In the scheme of things, although I’m sure that it’s disappointing and you’re understandably kicking yourself, it’s time to forgive yourself. After all; nobody died. Nobody is maimed for life. Everything else is pretty much fixable.

      The bottom-line solution might be for you put this house back on the market and look for the house that you do WANT. After all, you don’t really want this one, but according to the realtor, “the next person will.”

      If the thought of unloading this one, in favor of a home that you love, makes you feel light, free and happy, then it is absolutely the right decision.

      Finally, I’m so sorry that you too, have POTS. Sucks, doesn’t it? For me, I have to really watch fluid and salt intake. I’ve also been going to ballet class twice a week. Just the barre, but it makes such a difference, later in the day. Usually, I have to force myself to go only because I feel so sluggish, foggy and slightly queasy most mornings. But I know that if I go, I will feel great later in the day.ReplyCancel

      • MsScarlett - August 20, 2018 - 5:51 PM

        Thank you Laurel for your kind response – that’s what i was afraid you might say. Reselling has crossed my mind too – with the exception that after almost two years in the tight market, nothing else except things that need to be almost completely gutted or are completely original from 1990 have come on the market. Most things here don’t hit the MLS or are gone in a day. The year over year appreciation here is almost 15% so i am trying to see myself fortunate to be able to live in the area i wanted.

        But I will take that suggestion and not put good money after bad and just hold on for a bit especially after moving coast to coast. All markets change, don’t they? And i’ll hope for a happy ending like yours. For now i am a little stuck if i don’t want to move to an apartment again. But i will not make it a money pit.

        About POTS, i found getting diagnosed was the hardest part. Although i had all of the text book symptoms including tilt test, my doctor insisted it was anxiety. I was almost bedridden for two year when i got to the autonomic disorders clinic at UCLA where they figured it out immediately. I am on a 20 percent of the beta blocker i started on in 1998. And the thing that has helped me most in my opinion, believe it or not, was exercise. Over the last decade, exercise like barre or even lifting heavier weight and really trying to build as much muscle and strength in my legs and body, has kept me from being deconditioned and really made my stamina and responses like other people, except for the pesky residual effects like heat intolerance or the migraines and orthostatic tachycardia without the beta blocker There are now more studies that show that rather than avoid strenuous exercise as once was the suggestion, to do as much as possible to not be deconditioned is the way to regain alot of functionality.

        Again, Thank you. Keep up the exercise. And i will keep looking at the beautiful green garden that made me buy this in the first place.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - August 20, 2018 - 9:53 PM

          I am fortunate that I have a wonderful physician who did a poor man’s test in his office and my blood pressure took to big a dip upon standing.That, plus the episodes I was getting. Then, I found a wonderful cardiologist who did the tilt table test. It’s def not anxiety! And you are so right about the exercise. But I don’t have to tell you that it’s a vicious cycle because for me, exercise was making me sick. And then, it just gets worse as muscle-tone decreases, circulation decreases. A couple months ago, I started forcing myself to go no matter how horrible I felt. I kept reminding myself that it’s just an icky feeling and it’ll pass. .

          After I started on the beta blocker, I was able to tolerate exercise much better and don’t get as sick as I was. Sick as in weak and phenomenally nauseous. But, I have still had a couple of episodes that come on without warning. Over-all, it’s much better now.

          And yes, one time, misplaced my pills and I was visiting my cousin in WI. Have to take it now. Felt like I was about to pass out. I did find them but it took about 30 minutes! Then, I had to lie down for a bit and wait for it to work.

          I’m including this dialog because a lot of people read these comments and POTS is still sorely under-diagnosed. (That’s a link in case people think we’ve lost our minds and/or want to know more.) So, if if even one person has an aha moment and recognizes these symptoms in themselves, they can get the help they need so that they can lead a normal life! Or at least more normal.

  • Julia Kelly - August 20, 2018 - 10:45 AM

    I’m wearing an “I voted” for you today! Ok, not really, but in my head I am. Thought I read u opened a big ^*€+^ can of worms inviting problem for plans for discussion. Whaaaat? Oh there, there, now you’ve gone ‘n’ dun it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 20, 2018 - 1:18 PM

      lol – I guess I have and thank you so much for the vote and thought button! 😀ReplyCancel

  • Kate - August 20, 2018 - 9:54 AM

    Fingers crossed! Placed my vote! You deserve this award.ReplyCancel

  • mrsben - August 20, 2018 - 8:36 AM

    Congratulations on your nomination Laurel, and yes I voted for you as not only admire your talent but fully appreciate your generosity in sharing your knowledge. I do hope you win. Now back to the topic of a corner fireplace as stated in a previous comment to another reader; I am thankful that the original owner of my home eliminated it when doing extensive renovations. That said; though apparent she did have a wonderful team, for the past thirty-one years I often wondered why the kitchen work area wasn’t larger to at least provide a landing surface on each side of the stove … ☺. Fast forward, now that I am in the midst of upgrading the entire place the light bulb finally went on and I suspect it was because of square footage restrictions in add-on addition regulations, so can relate to the ‘if only one foot more’ … darn! -Brenda-

    P.S.: It originally was a small bungalow and IMO architecturally another 8′ 10″ could have been added to said area by bumping it out however she did get a beautiful fireplace elsewhere and an additional nine more living spaces that are more than functional due to its entire layout.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 20, 2018 - 9:32 AM

      Thanks so much Brenda and for all of the great information you contribute to the blog so regularly. Much appreciated!ReplyCancel

  • AS - August 20, 2018 - 7:23 AM

    I love this blog and actually check to see if it’s in my inbox yet..unheard of for me. Laurel you have the mysterious gift that great teachers have…you correct and instruct at the same time that you support and build confidence. I need it all!

    Just cast my vote. Best thoughts!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 20, 2018 - 9:28 AM

      Oh AS, that is the most lovely comment ever! When I’m writing, in my mind, all I’m doing is having a gabfest with my best friend over coffee and we’re munching on the most delectable pastries with a sugar rush! So many people have told me that they feel like we’re out having coffee! Well, now you know why!

      Thank you so much for your vote too!ReplyCancel

  • sharon - August 19, 2018 - 11:50 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Just voted for you….and I want to thank you personally in public for always responding to my email questions to you. I am over the moon impressed that you take the time to do that and your answers always are informative.
    My comment about the floor plan is to view the fireplace from a grouping to the north of it. The sofa is great against the wall with chairs opposite. I agree that there should also be a grouping in the window area as well (two chairs and an ottoman in front of them).
    Question: could the corner fireplace be eliminated and re constructed in the middle of the space or was that impossible?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 20, 2018 - 9:17 AM

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks so much Sharon! I very much appreciate your vote!

      It was not possible to move the fireplace. The primary reason was that it is a townhouse and the long wall without windows adjoined another townhouse. And we didn’t have money for that sort of thing. We never even changed the gray tile which I’m not fond of, but at least it’s marble.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - August 19, 2018 - 11:48 PM

    Voted for you!! Hope you win!ReplyCancel

  • Carolina Gutovnik - August 19, 2018 - 11:32 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    Searching the web for Bunny Williams’ fabulous interiors about 2 months ago I fell in your trap with your post on her husband! Ja ja!
    This comment is an excuse to thank you for your great blog, you are very generous sharing your knowledge and really you make it fun! I will be counting on what I have learned with you when doing my new bedroom here in Patagonia. I bet you never thought you would have readers this far.
    Wishing you all the best for this nomination!

    • Laurel Bern - August 20, 2018 - 9:12 AM

      Oh wow! That is far Carolina. Thanks for the sweet comment and your well-wishes!ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - August 19, 2018 - 11:22 PM

    Voted! If you have more examples and advice about awkward layouts, it would be very helpful. What are ideal room proportions/layouts?ReplyCancel

  • susie - August 19, 2018 - 6:10 PM

    I hate weird-shaped rooms. Also peek-a-boo openings from kitchen to other room. Love the black and white tile floor however.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:40 PM

      Hi Susie,

      Actually, I LOVED the pass-through. My boys would sit on two stools that I was always stubbing my toes on. haha. But, they would watch TV and/or I could keep a better eye on them while I made dinner when they were very little.ReplyCancel

  • Marcela N Longmire - August 19, 2018 - 6:07 PM

    Thanks for this post. I can sympathize with a “problem layout”… I have a living-room that has three focal points: the fireplace (1) faces a wall of windows looking to the lake (2), and to one side (the other side is open to the dining room/kitchen) there are built in shelves, where the TV is (3). By the way, thank you for introducing us to the Samsung Frame TV a while back! It looks great as a piece of art and it was a game changer as my husband didn’t want any cabinet that looked like it was hiding a TV. Anyway, when we placed the sofa and chairs, we decided to ignore the fireplace and focus on the beautiful lake view. It doesn’t look bad, but it’s a waste of a very pretty fireplace. You helped us (through this blog, of course!) make many decisions for this 1946 summer cottage that we remodeled this past winter and half of this summer. Thanks again, and I’ve just voted for you. Good luck!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:37 PM

      Thanks so much Marcela! I adore hearing that something I said made a positive difference in someone’s life! Really makes my day! It’s too bad they didn’t orient the fireplace so that one could take in the fire and the lake view at the same time. But maybe it wasn’t possible for some reason.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - August 19, 2018 - 5:53 PM

    My problem is a sofa wall that isn’t long enough for a sofa and side tables. No side tables – no lamps. A console between the sofa and wall could accommodate lamps, but where do I sit my tea and my book? My sofa is 82″. And, I bought that darling brass Pottery Barn Colette side table with the antiqued mirror top and shelf and fretwork railing from a long ago widget. My ‘coffee table’ is actually a pedestal table between the two chairs flanking the fireplace. It can be pulled in front of the sofa but it’s at it’s best between the two chairs.

    Had a massive corner fireplace that was out of scale to the room for many years. Yes, a headache.

    Laurel, you’ll win in a landslide!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:33 PM

      Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for your vote of confidence! Does the sofa wall end with a perpendicular wall, or a doorway, or two doorways? Just wondering.

      You can do sconces for lighting, perhaps? That doesn’t solve the “where to put your tea and book. You could put them on the console behind you, but if you’re like me, the tea will go flying when I forget that it’s there and go for a stretch or something.

      Where is the Colette side table? Could it work in front of the sofa as a more permanent piece? I would put it towards one end, not in the middle. Of course, I’m just guessing since I can’t see your room.ReplyCancel

      • Andrea - August 20, 2018 - 2:08 AM

        Yes, there are large openings on both sides of the sofa wall. I like your idea of using the Colette table in front of the sofa to one side. At present it is at the end of the sofa, but overlaps the moulding of the opening. Thank you for the heads up on the Colette table. I LOVE it. I also love sconces. Great idea!ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - August 20, 2018 - 9:23 AM

          Another idea I have if finances permit and it’s architecturally feasible, to have a builder come and extend the wall however much would be needed to accommodate an end table on each side. It’s not a terribly big deal to do this. One time, we did that for a client and the wall was so off-center, that we only needed to extend one wall.

  • Danielle - August 19, 2018 - 5:41 PM


    Laurel that IS my great room floorpan- except my room is larger and the fireplace is centered, thank God! I can float the sofa in the center of the room opposite the fireplace and still have space for people to pass by to get to the stairs. Having space hides a multitude of sins, for sure. I wasn’t looking critically at the floorpan, either, I just walked in, saw the view out those windows and that was it.

    My problem is the dining area is smaller than your home here, in fact old realty photos show the dining table way down there by the windows (that area of mine is bigger, there are basically windows on three sides of that end of the room) which means you walk all the way through the living room to get to the dining area from the kitchen. Awkward! My solution is to have a custom L-shaped banquette built into the dining area, it’s a more casual house so I think that will work really well and I should be able to seat 10 when it’s done.

    I imagine when they built that townhouse some guy was thinking “Oh, let’s build a fireplace you can see from the dining room AND living room” and it ended up not working well for either!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:25 PM

      Hi Danielle,

      Thanks so much for your vote!

      I think that the banquette sounds like a great solution to save space and you also don’t have to worry about chairs banging into the wall.ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - August 19, 2018 - 5:02 PM

    You got my vote!
    Could go on and on about how wonderful you are and why I love reading your blog. What I like best is that you’re the real deal with years of experience in the business. You get down in the trenches with us with your humor and honesty to help us make our homes places of comfort and joy. Many hugsReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:24 PM

      Hi Lynda,

      Now I know why my head is so BIG! haha. No really. Believe me, I still can’t believe that I’m in this position and that I get to make money from blogging. Who knew? Sure, I work hard, but it’s work that I love. And the best is all of the kind messages like yours!ReplyCancel

  • Tina - August 19, 2018 - 4:45 PM

    Sorry about your computer troubles, hope its straightened out and fixed, we can’t lose your website, love it too much, funny and informativeReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:21 PM

      It’s a good thing I hadn’t just posted. Then I would’ve been really steaming. Thanks again!ReplyCancel

  • Tina - August 19, 2018 - 4:43 PM

    Voted for you, best and funniest design blog I ever read. Learned a lot from you and always had a great laugh too. Can’t ask for anything more.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - August 19, 2018 - 4:02 PM

    Hi Laurel I also happily voted for you too.!! I would like to send you a floor plan of my pain in the neck living room. It had 4 doorways into other rooms plus the entry door. We closed 1 of those doors into the kitchen. The “if onlys” is so true. If only my kitchen and dining room was 12′ wide instead of 11′ it would have worked so much better. Love your blog !!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:17 PM

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks so much for the vote.

      You can send it to any email you receive from me. I took the offer down because I was getting hammered with floor plans. haha. But, of course, the offer stands for anyone who read it.ReplyCancel

  • Genie Harris - August 19, 2018 - 3:54 PM

    Hi Laurel! I voted! I am so excited and thrilled for you and wouldn’t that be wonderful if you could go to England and accept the award in person????

    I have one of those rooms Laurel! We are rehabbing a very old house. Oy vey! I know I’ve mentioned that here ad naseum.

    Question to you and your lovely readers. And only answer if you have time or feel so inclined. Is a corner fireplace better than no fireplace at all? I am leaning towards the dreaded corner fireplace because I cannot for structural reasons move it. I love a warm fireplace but I have a feeling I will be cursing it soon enough. There are very intelligent people on this blog and perhaps someone can answer that. I’m sure I will get the “it depends” situation. I’ve got yet another designer coming to the house who seems to have my taste so hopefully I get that sorted out.

    That place you lived in was absolutely lovely. I can see how furniture placement would have been rough but I like the way it looked. The den was perfect and very cosy. Couldn’t help but laugh when I pictured Peaches shredding that carpet to pieces. The things we do for kids and pets!!! But it’s a life and not a museum. You and your son were so cute taking a vacay together. He’s an attractive young man, who has obviously been raised right, not many young men would vacation with their mother. 😀ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:13 PM

      Hi Genie,

      Well, if you ask me, I would say that having a fireplace in the corner is definitely better than none at all. And in some rooms, it’s absolutely fine.

      Thanks too, for your vote!ReplyCancel

  • Dolores Pap - August 19, 2018 - 3:44 PM

    Of course I immediately voted for you- it’s the very least I can do to show my appreciation for all the hours of dedication you lavish on us, through your wonderful blog.
    My living room is 13.5’x 21′..and there’s not one solid wall! The shorter, end walls have two windows each, plus, one, also has a centered patio door to the deck.THREE doorways as the living room also acts as a conduit to the bathroom bedroom wing. Fireplace, centered on a wall with two doors, but you can’t put a sofa opposite because it would be right next to the doorway to the bedrooms..
    I did the best I could arranging the furniture, and it looks pleasing..That’s all I can say! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:06 PM

      Oh wow! That does sound difficult. Sometimes you wonder what they were thinking or maybe not thinking.And thanks so much Dolores for your vote and support!ReplyCancel

  • Bette - August 19, 2018 - 3:12 PM

    Done 👌🏻❤️ReplyCancel

  • Emilie - August 19, 2018 - 2:35 PM

    Thanks for another great post laurel. I have just voted for you! I hope everyone else takes the time to do it, you deserve it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 3:16 PM

      Thanks so much Emilie. I very much appreciate the vote and encouragement. It only takes as long as it takes to type your name and email address and hit vote. They send you a nice acknowledgment too.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Kemp - August 19, 2018 - 2:13 PM

    i am a yes indeed for you Laurel!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 3:10 PM

      Thanks so much Barbara! I’m incredibly fortunate to have so many kind readers like you!ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie - August 19, 2018 - 1:38 PM


  • sandra berube - August 19, 2018 - 1:28 PM

    you’ve got my vote!ReplyCancel

  • Ruth - August 19, 2018 - 1:22 PM

    If I could I would vote repeatedly for you every day until you won! You are just so much better then everyone else. You are so funny as well as informative. It feels like we’re having a glass of wine together when I settle in to read your blog.

    We have just bought our hopefully final home ever…. took ten months to both like same house so we bought it….but it has unpaintable wood trim everywhere and corner fireplaces in two separate living rooms each with three french doors and deep bay windows on fourth wall and the only remaining wall space has radiators for central heating!

    I have been madly researching how on earth I’m going to furnish this in spite of everything said above beautiful house….. and you have been my salvation on all fronts. It’s 5 hours away from a decent furniture shop and we’re tight for cash …..I can’t ask you for help as only seen house for ten mins, live in another city and have no floor plans , only the listing photos to agonise over. Also you would probably shoot me as I have already made cardinal sin of purchasing furniture with no idea of size or scale.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 3:09 PM

      Oh, that is too sweet Ruth. How could I possibly shoot you after you said that you would vote for me every day?ReplyCancel

  • Caryn - August 19, 2018 - 12:28 PM

    Just voted.

    Here in Texas the builders are putting in those corner fireplaces. My son has one in his Houston home and I can’t stand it. If you own the property you can just take it out! It is not expensive to do this. All that is behind it is empty space. Fortunately, I live in San Antonio in a 1940’s home in which the rooms and fireplace are symmetrical. I’m with you, Laurel, about these crazy floor plans!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 3:07 PM

      Thanks so much for your vote Caryn!

      That reminds me. Atop the hill in the back are 16 more townhouses for a total of 30. Well, when we moved there in 1991, there were only 8 out of the 16 and nobody was living in them because the developer had gone belly up. But, the following summer, some people moved in and then a year later, they started building the remaining 8 townhouses with a new developer, of course.

      They were in the style of our townhouse, but— no fireplace, no bay window, and no big greenhouse window on the stair landing, no stair railing; just a wall railing which I can’t stand and NO air-conditioning! In other words, they were the cheapest crap one could build and they were selling them for only 5k less than what we paid. I went in one of them and didn’t recognize it as being anything like ours. They were just plain ugly boxes with white walls and beige carpeting and far darker than our place even though there was nothing to block the light and faced the same direction. But people bought them up quickly.ReplyCancel

  • Vicki - August 19, 2018 - 12:01 PM

    Voted for you of course! Your blog is the best. I too have one of those quirky rooms, and the main problem is the corner fireplace. Oh, and the large screen tv for husband. Haha! What An impossible combination. Great post, laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 2:56 PM

      Hi Vicki,

      Thank you so much for the vote. Arrggghhh. Corner fireplace + big screen TV = impossible for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Susie - August 19, 2018 - 11:21 AM

    How could I say no to that beautiful smile?!

    Townhouses can have difficult floorplans. The worst living room layout we ever had was a fairly large single family home with a fireplace on the wall where the walkway had to be. It always looked so “off” no matter the layout. After a few years in the house we built an addition (with the help of a designer), and it was still a problem (duh, it was still in the walkway). We considered moving it, or taking it out altogether, but finally just moved. There were other reasons, in addition to the fireplace, but it’s funny to look back and think of the distress a poor floor plan can cause.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 2:55 PM

      Hi Susie,

      Oh, thank you so much!

      And yes! Moving is always a wonderful option.ReplyCancel

  • Kathi - August 19, 2018 - 11:09 AM

    Just Voted for you Laurel. You do deserve to win, not just because of your great design posts, but because you are the only blogger that makes me laugh out loud, and that is just as important as good design info-maybe even a tad more!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 2:52 PM

      Hi Kathi,

      Oh, that is so sweet of you! And I agree. Laughter is the best cure for pretty much anything curable. If it’s not curable, then laugh anyway. (easier said than done- understatement!) Someone asked me on FB how I got to be this way. And I said that I was born this way! hahahaha

      This is the truth. My mom actually washed my mouth out with soap when I was four. They also put nasty tasting shit (yes, shit) on my thumb so I would stop sucking it. I did stop of my own accord when I was six. It’s developmental, is all. Oh, that would be fun. Horrible stuff our parents did to us and got away with it. lol Different time; different generation. I know that she loved me and was just doing the best she knew how to do, at the time. But now, if someone found out, they’d call Child Protective Services!ReplyCancel

  • Julie S - August 19, 2018 - 10:39 AM

    Hurrah! I have one of these vexing long L-shaped layouts too – I actually did notice it when house shopping despite the distracting large windows, sunshine, vaulted ceilings, corner fireplace, and view, haha. Like you I wish it was one foot wider! Ours has the kitchen about where all your stairs are – if I can get it together I’ll send you my scale drawings.

    It was completely, cavernously open when we bought the house but we put up a wall to create a semi enclosed kitchen and provide some much needed interior wall space for a TV and built in bookshelves! We’ve been here 6 months and it’s worked out ok to create 3 smaller “zones” for dining, living room, and the homeschool table in front of the fireplace, but it’s not 100% there at all. Yes, this is the kind of floor plan where you mull over your furniture arrangement for years!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 2:45 PM

      Hi Julie,

      Yes, it sounds very similar, only the supporting players are in different locals. Creating zones is a great idea. I think it also helps to think “What IF there were walls?” Sometimes a wall addition, or half wall, either in height (like a pony wall). (there’s a post that shows what I’m talking about) can be helpful.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - August 19, 2018 - 10:23 AM

    I’m happy to vote for you. You deserve it. You are always so generous with your advice & knowledge. And humor!
    My home has a corner fireplace. Fortunately the room is sized appropriately that I was able to fit a sofa & 2 chairs. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 2:39 PM

      Hi Mary,

      I think that part of it depends on which corner and also the length of the room. In my case, the fact that there’s a pathway, a pole (holding up the house, literally) and then a dining appendage makes it more difficult. One wonderful advantage to the room was that one time, we had a LOT of people over and needed to seat as many as possible. So, we turned the table on an angle into the living room, opening up both of the leaves. There was room with the table in situ to open up only one leaf, but not both. It was a lot of fun!

      Thanks so much for your vote!ReplyCancel

  • R. Speir - August 19, 2018 - 10:15 AM

    Three quick things …

    1. Thank you for calling out the “help” with the St. Simons, Ga house. It was lovely. I live in coastal GA as well about an hour north. With a home like that why in the world would someone want it to look like a beach rental. No way.. Your follow up post from Providence was spot on.

    2. Our home is relatively new and an open concept with a fire place flanked by two large windows with on small wall the rest open space. We have been through two interior designers and the room still looks hideous. Colors and furniture are still off. Yard sale or auction here we come and more blog reading.

    3. Just voted – you deserve to win and I hope you do!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 11:13 AM

      Oh, thank you so much R! The two windows flanking a fireplace reminded me of a consultation I did about 16 years ago. It was shortly before flat screens became wide-spread. The home was in a development of large post-modern colonials. Actually, I believe that is an oxymoron, lol. But anyway, she had an open concept family room/kitchen. The back wall was solid windows– two stories. (hang onto the thought of an entire 20 foot long two-stories of windows) Next wall was a staircase with a half-wall on an angle, but very little usable space. That went into a hall for the remainder of the wall. The fourth wall was the open kitchen.

      So, where to put the TV? The area in front of the stairs was also a traffic area and the light from the windows would be problematic as well.

      I suggested as we had done before to cover up the two windows flanking the fireplace and build cases deep enough to hold a TV. They were set in deeply enough from the fireplace that this would’ve worked out perfectly.

      Well, she looked at me like I had seven heads! And, with a REALLY, LAUREL??? haha!

      Now, of course, the TV would be over the fireplace mantel.ReplyCancel

      • R. Speir - August 19, 2018 - 2:28 PM

        Loved your response to my post. We should have turned the windows in to built-ins but failed at the time. The worst part of our room is …. an we did not see this coming until it was too late and trust me, we are going to it have it removed when we repaint shortly …. not sure if you can handle this much tacky….the tv is of course over the fireplace; however, it is framed by a copy of the fireplace below….IT has to go…I have lived with it for 4 yrs. now and can’t take much more.

        My next challenge is to find one of your blog posts about layering rugs. We need a 10×14 sea grass rug and then what size goes over that??? More research and photos to see from your blog…then paint. They used Sherwin Williams which is not holding up – give me Benjamin Moore any time!

        Wish you would set up a seasonal consulting business during the winter down here. There are a lot of us who could use your talent and style!ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 3:15 PM

          Hi R,

          I forgot what I said and had to go back and then see that I forgot to mention the wall with the fireplace and windows in the beginning of my story.

          As for size of area rug over a 10 x 14 sea grass? I can’t say for certain, but depending on configuration, either a 5×7, 5×8 or 6×9 should be good. The larger one will give a healthy border of seagrass showing. I would never do less than one foot, and that would always be on the shorter end. But 2 or more feet is very good.

        • R. Speir - August 19, 2018 - 4:21 PM

          You are the best! Thanks so much! I have my eye on a rug you showed from WS Home’; however it is a 6×9!

          Forgot to mention that I am totally obsessed with your blog as if you can’t tell!

  • Robin - August 19, 2018 - 10:12 AM

    Done 🙂 This post is perfect timing because just yesterday my husband and I spent 3 hours moving furniture around in our living room with a corner fireplace! It’s a frustrating puzzle but what I appreciate most about this blog – and all your blogs – is your sense of humor. There’s always a wink with the wisdom, which reminds me that it’s only decorating! I’m much better at it when I loosen up and have some fun. Wine helps too 🙂 Congratulations on your well-deserved nomination.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 11:04 AM

      Oh, thanks so much Robin! Much appreciated! And you are so right. It’s only decorating. I have so many friends that have genuine problems. The kind of problems that makes a poor room layout akin to a slight hang-nail. It’s very good to keep all things in perspective. And for me, humor is the thing that gets me through all of the nasties that life showers on us at times.ReplyCancel

  • Dora - August 19, 2018 - 9:45 AM

    Laurel, i was fortunate to stumble upon your blog during the process of my new build. You are hysterical, and appreciate your keen eye and advice, I look forward to your emails with your blogs and sales.

    Just voted for you for the AMARA award. Best of luck!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:58 AM

      Thank you so much for the vote Dora! I always say that nobody stumbles upon on my blog. I say that they fell into my trap! haha! I do try to treat my “victims” with kindness, however.ReplyCancel

  • Christina - August 19, 2018 - 9:25 AM

    This is such an important post, Laurel – thank you!!!! Working on a room sketch for you! I’ve been thru 3 couches, a million rugs and many chairs trying to figure out this space. I’’ve come a long way, largely due to your blog – but I’d love your thoughts on where I’m at.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:55 AM

      Hi Christina,

      I should’ve said that if I do this, I’ll also need some photos and to know more about your needs for the room. I might also need to see other spaces. One thing that people don’t often think about is the possibility of switching spaces. In other words, maybe the small unusable living room, should be the dining room and the dining room with far more wall space should be the living room. Or, if a room is large and there are no walls, maybe some need to be put up!ReplyCancel

      • christina - August 19, 2018 - 5:52 PM

        Hi Laurel,
        I have thought about that, but husband vetoed. And it might be a little bit weird…you’ll see why. But maybe it will make sense to switch when you see it? I took some quality photos for you today of the space and the adjacent dining room. I’ll send that with the floor plan asap and will be as thorough as possible.

        Also, of course I voted for you. 🙂ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 6:26 PM

          Thanks so much for your vote Christina!

  • Danielle - August 19, 2018 - 9:01 AM

    Talk about mission impossible, that is a really difficult layout you were living with, laughed at the 90minute offer, so get that! The heart wants what the heart wants. I just wanted to thank you for the previous ‘layouts for a long living room’ blog. I had been struggling with mine and it was so uninviting, and no proper conversation area, trying to spread things out. Used your conversational grouping principle, made my dining table smaller, moved the couch along, and suddenly I have an inviting, cosy atmosphere…and a room that will now be fully used! I can,t thank you enough Wonderwoman of Decor!
    I am in Australia, and your sales widgets make me so envious, we just don’t have the variety of furnishings here at such reasonable prices. But, I have you. lol lol. Thank you again. Danielle.ReplyCancel

    • Runningonempty - August 19, 2018 - 11:04 AM

      Mate. Try antique and vintage shops, plenty of unique and well made pieces.

      Cath from Aus.ReplyCancel

      • Danielle - August 19, 2018 - 7:54 PM

        Thanks Cath, I do. I just meant the USA has a very broad spectrum of things to choose from which look so great. D 🙂ReplyCancel

        • Runningonempty - August 19, 2018 - 8:55 PM

          Yes, they totally do. When it comes to new, affordable made in USA, maybe there is less to choose from without a hiring a designer though. There’s alot of crud made in Asia etc, that isn’t made to last. Just the same situation as here.

          I have some beautiful leadlight lamps and matching pendants made in USA, cost a bomb nearly two decades ago. Bought in Sydney. Now there are so many Chinese ones, but not the same quality.

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:52 AM

      Oh, thank you so much for the lovely, lovely comment Danielle! So glad that whatever I’ve said has helped you. Space planning was one of the most valuable courses I took in design school.ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Adler - August 19, 2018 - 8:50 AM

    Laurel, That was a beautiful place! I love the cabinet the tv was on, painted out black or some other dramatic color it would be a keeper for me. The storage would sure help me out, I could take my off season shoes out of the ceiling height kitchen cabinets in my tiny apartment. Good luck,just voted,hoping you will win!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:50 AM

      It’s funny. I remember admiring it in my friend’s home. And then she told me that she was dumping it. And then I said, “oh, we’re moving and we could really use it.” Next thing I knew, they drove it up from Queens to northern Westchester and brought it in through the back door! It was especially delightful on the pink carpeting. The day we got rid of that gross wall-to-wall, I was one happy girl!ReplyCancel

  • Connie Fowler - August 19, 2018 - 8:16 AM


    Thank you for saying that about the EPA regs. We couldn’t get the good old Sikkens coating that we had been using for our cedar siding, so we had to go with the new less durable formula. One painter actually turned down our job a few years ago, because he couldn’t give us his normal guarantee using the new formula. GRRR. We found someone who ended up being great, but still. What a pain.

    Good to know our opinion is backed by a pro like you.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:47 AM

      Well, I don’t want to raise a whole shitestorm of controversy. But I always say, ” Go to India or China and then, let’s talk.”ReplyCancel

  • Connie Fowler - August 19, 2018 - 8:12 AM

    Congratulations on your nomination! I just voted. Of course, I hope you win!

    I enjoyed the post, as usual. My great room in my open concept house is rather long, so I’m not completely happy with the layout, but it works okay. At my age, I’m not changing it. But if I could do it over again, (we built this 19 years ago) I’d definitely change many things about his house.

    Good luck, Laurel!


    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:30 AM

      Hi Connie,

      I’d be willing to wager that there’s not a home-owner anywhere who built a home and afterward, wished they had done some things differently.

      Thanks so much for your vote!ReplyCancel

  • Penny - August 19, 2018 - 7:59 AM

    Congrats Laurel. Just voted. I always enjoy seeing your posts hit my inbox. Your posts are always so informative, unique and actually make me LOL at times. I can’t imagine how long it takes to write most of them!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:27 AM

      Hi Penny,

      Most posts take at least ten hours. This one, longer. One thing I’ve started doing is taking old posts and rewriting them and making them much better. One of the early ones only had about 10% new info,(I felt like I was on vacation!) but some of them, it’s 90% new info. Still, it’s easier than starting completely from scratch. Those posts only take 8-9 hours! haha

      Thank you too, for your vote!ReplyCancel

  • Diana Bier - August 19, 2018 - 7:48 AM

    Great discussion, Laurel–so informative and helpful.
    Just voted for you–good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Maaike - August 19, 2018 - 6:23 AM

    Hi Laurel, something new when I read your post: A big block fromAD telling me they use Custom ads. That’s probably the reason why your website was offline when they installed it.
    lots of love from the Netherlands and keep them posties coming.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:20 AM

      Hi Maaike,

      Sorry, not following “a big block from AD…” My server sent me this gobbledygook. “A software installed on the servers caused the network connectivity issue in the datacenter.” In other words, they installed software which caused the entire freaking thing to crash. And not just for me, but presumably thousands of other sites. Did they test this software before they let it go live?

      I’m leaving because they were bought out and everyone has to, but after that incident, would be anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Lopez - August 19, 2018 - 6:10 AM

    What a great post!
    I’ve been pulling out my hair for 12 years trying to successfully arrange furniture in my small two bedroom apartment. One of the reasons I religiously read all of your posts is how great you are with furniture selection, scale, and placement.

    I’m going to send my apartment plan and see if you choose it for the demo (pick me! pick me!) It might appeal to your loyal fans who live in a city apartment as you do. My apartment has an open kitchen and two large sliders so very little wall space. I cook and we entertain at a largish table often so it can get quite tight in here.

    In any case, I hope you win the blog award (just voted) you deserve it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 10:02 AM

      Thanks so much for all Susan! You know, I’ve often thought that if given the choice between a house with cavernous rooms and one with small difficult rooms, I’d take the latter every time. But, both can be a challenge to furnish.ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - August 19, 2018 - 6:05 AM


    I think your old house is cozy. One solution for that floor plan is to cluster all the furniture at the end of the room where the window is, and then just put two big arm chairs in front of the fireplace for a separate conversation area.

    My grandparents built their own house and CHOSE to do a corner fireplace. You definitely can’t do a conventional furniture arrangement with a corner fireplace, but we loved their house.

    Now that they are both gone, it lives in my memory. It was a happy place.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 9:58 AM

      Hi Lorri,

      Thank you, it was, but except maybe for the den which was only about 10 x 14, the photos make the rest of the place look odd cavernous. Still– why am I complaining? Selling that place was phenomenally easy; especially with Angela Kessel!

      I have such fond memories of my grandparent’s one-bedroom apartment in Chicago built in the 1920s. In fact, about six months ago, I was having a massive bout of nostalgiaitis. (hmmm… didn’t pass the spell checker. haha). I remembered the street name and that it was only a few blocks from the museum of science and industry. And I rememember there was a court yard. Well, I found it on Google images! I hadn’t been there since I was 13!

      Funny. I live in a one-bedroom apartment building built in the 20s and with a courtyard!

      And thank you so much for your vote!ReplyCancel

  • GL - August 19, 2018 - 5:51 AM

    Well, Laurel, good news: I’ve just voted for you. Bad news: I’ve got one of your dreadful floor plans in the sitting room (but perhaps that’s good news from your point of view). The room is roughly square, with doorways on two walls, a French window on the third and a window on the fourth. No wall is long enough to take a sofa, the fireplace is in one corner, and it isn’t placed on the diagonal.

    Your previous post was a help in suggesting spacings and groupings. After reading it, I made a floor plan and did cutouts of the existing furniture, and potential new buys. But I think that placement is only one element of the problem: colours to increase an impression of space is another, also lighting.

    I will send you an e-mail as suggested. I’m not asking for a freebie, just seeing if my conundrum might be useful to you and other readers.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 9:50 AM

      Hi Gilly,

      Oh, the dreaded fireplace in the corner but not on the diagonal. Why oh why do they do that? They’re treating it like it’s a light switch! But this one sounds like it has some additional pain-points, although I’m sure, very charming. Bad layout doesn’t necessarily mean aesthetically bad.

      Thanks so much for the vote!ReplyCancel

  • nancy - August 19, 2018 - 4:58 AM

    I do enjoy your style, advice, and humor Laurel. I voted for you. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Runningonempty - August 19, 2018 - 4:31 AM


    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2018 - 9:46 AM

      Thank you so much Cath! This might be the shortest comment ever!ReplyCancel