Decorate To Sell Your Home – Brilliant Decor Or A Disaster?

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hi Everyone,

Well, it is definitely SPRING here in Bronxville, NY. And, no time is more beautiful than early spring here.

Although, my apartment has a Bronxville zip code, it is not technically in the municipality of Bronxville. It is in Yonkers, NY but just over the line. In fact, I’m actually closer to the train station than at least 3/4 of Bronxville proper.

 

Bronxville and the surrounding Bronxville zip code is filled with many large, old homes, mostly built in the early part of the 20th century.

 

The styles range from Beaux Arts, Tudor, Victorian and Colonial. However some homes were built later in the latter part of the 20th century.

In addition, the beauty of the area is enhanced by a hilly terrain. And, there are many mature trees and gardens. I feel very fortunate to live in such a lovely place.

As it happens, spring is when I think of homes going on the market for sale.

It’s a great topic to address at least every couple of years because a lot of us are either in the process of, or thinking about selling our homes. OR, thinking about selling our home within the next few years.

 

And, there are a lot of homes for sale, right now in Bronxville and actually in all of southern Westchester County.

 

I don’t know if there are more homes for sale than usual, but it seems like a good many.

The other day, I was in town doing some errands and I walked past Sotheby’s Realty. I usually look in the window to see what’s for sale.

Much of the time, I’m shaking my head in disbelief because there is no way they are considering how to decorate to sell their home. We’ll see some examples later on.

 

You may recall that I’ve done some posts about homes for sale in this area. But these homes are apartments and are all well under a million dollars.

 

Here’s one that’s near and dear to me. Remember, the swinger’s pad with the poo pot virtually in the dining area? Yes, indeedy. As predicted three years ago, it has not sold. The owners took it off the market.

And then, there were these apartments with tacky kitchens.

And then, one of my favorite posts that’s from 2014 is my general philosophy on what it takes to sell your home. And, it’s not what HGTV is telling us.

 

The post here zeroes in on how to decorate to sell your home.

 

But, the homes I’m zooming in on, this time, are the luxury homes in Bronxville.

Some are stunning and some are well… quite frankly, scary.

 

They are scary because the decor is either really band and/or it does not go with the house.

 

AND, it is making what could be a stunning home, really ugly. And, therefore, not likely to sell quickly.

Some of these homes are on the market for several million dollars.

I mean, if you are selling a home for five million + dollars, why would you put in a glass and iron coffee table from Crate and Barrel?

And worse.

Much worse.

Besides, the C & B furniture is far better than some of the abominations I’ve seen.

 

The reality is… If you want a free-standing home in Bronxville, NY, there is nothing under a million dollars.

 

Or, if it is, it’s in Bronxville P.O. like my place. But, the municipality is Yonkers and it’s the Yonkers school district, not the Bronxville school district.

Big diff.

According to the 2018 US News & World Report, the Bronxville High School ranks #15 in New York State and #90 in the nation.

 

Bronxville_HS - via Wikipedia

Bronxville_High School – via Wikipedia

All school-aged children are educated in what looks more like a building belonging to a posh boarding school.

This superb and highly desirable school district, of course, drives up the prices of homes in Bronxville proper. Although, it is possible to pay (a hefty sum) to go to the Bronxville schools, residents of Bronxville municipality go for free.

 

But, as we all know… There is no such thing as “free.” The taxes in Bronxville are through the roof insane! Some of these homes have well over $100k a year in taxes!

 

However, you will probably save a lot of money by buying into a neighborhood called Cedar Knolls. First of all, the homes are about half as much money. AND, the taxes are a fraction of what they are in the tiny village of Bronxville. The reason is that Cedar Knolls is in Yonkers. And, Yonkers is the 4th largest city in New York.

 

Cedar Knolls borders Bronxville and it was where Charlie Chaplin built a home.

 

Jerome Kern (Charlie Chaplin) estate in Cedar Knolls (Bronxville, NY)

Actually, I just found it! And the home belonged to Jerome Kern, but Charlie Chaplin lived there too at some point. As the story goes, they wanted to live in Bronxville, but since both Charlie and Jerome were Jewish, and Bronxville did not allow Jews to live there, (back in the day) they built this relatively modest home a stone’s throw away.

If you’re interested in stalking me, staying around here, you can rent this place for $367.00/night on trip advisor. Not bad for an entire family.

 

Cedar Knolls is also my neighborhood, but I am right on the edge.

However, two blocks up the road is where the gorgeous homes begin. One of my favorite clients has a beautiful home in Cedar Knolls that I was lucky to get to work on a few years ago.

The first home I’m going to show you and actually, my favorite is in Cedar Knolls.

I’ve walked past it many times. As a matter of fact, early last December I went out on a dreary day to take some pics for a Christmas post. Well, that was the plan.

In fact, the first house I took photos of last December is the one I’m about to show you.

 

However, just as I was taking my phone out of my purse, I kid you not, a van pulled up; a man got out and then left the dry cleaning hanging on the front door.

 

haha! Damn. I kept that photo for a while, but erased it because I didn’t see how I was ever going to need it. It’s pretty funny. The rest of the photos were just so-so, so I never produced that post.

Oh, before I begin. If I like the home and what they’ve done, I’ll state where it is. However, if I feel that it’s a decorating misstep, I won’t give particulars.

 

Below is the house at 86 Pondfield Rd. West

 

86 Pondfield Rd West - exterior

And another view below of the pretty facade. I love the Chinese Chippendale balcony railings.

 

86 Pondfield rd west - Cedar Knolls (Bronxville) - home for sale

Well apparently, the current owners did a real number on this place. And, either they are designers or they hired one because the interior is amazing! And, believe me, that is very rare around here.

 

86 Pondfield Rd West - beautiful entry - Anthropologie wallpaper

We walk into the beautiful entry and we see dark walnut stained floors and new-trad decor. Look at that wonderful wallpaper from Anthropologie.

 

Everything about this place, says “cool-young-family-home.” And, that’s who is going to purchase the place, me thinks.

This is the thing that bothers me when the decorating shows talk about how to decorate to sell your home. And, particularly home staging.

 

They are always talking about BUYERZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Like, just how many people are going to be buying this home?

 

It’s just like husbandzzzzzzzzzz.

 

You only need one.

Usually. ;]

Well, one at a time.

So, I say, decorate for yourself as well as WHO will be buying this home. And make it tastefully gorgeous, in keeping with the area and style of the home.

 

For instance, there’s another home in Bronxville that has gorgeous curb appeal. But that doesn’t mean that the interior is going to be as special.

 

Wowza! Right?

But then, we walk in and are met with…

this utterly bland living room with clashing beige shades and a waaaay too pale and too big area rug.

 

Compare this to a similar living room we did a few years ago, also in Bronxville. You can see more of this family home here.

 

living room layout-Laurel Bern Interiors Bronxville Living room-painting

Of course, it helps tremendously that the clients have this gorgeous art collection.

But, let’s go back to 86 Pondfield Rd. West because I have some more stunning rooms to show you.

 

There are many more to see on the listing, however. BTW, this home JUST went on the market, it appears.

I predict that it will be off the market by the end of the month; next month at the latest.

 

 Bronxville new traditional living room - decorate to sell your homeAbove and below, the beautifully styled and stylish living room. I mean, talk about move-in ready! Just leave everything as is, thank you very much! haha

86 Pondfield Rd W - Bronxville NY - beautiful young-traditional living room  - decorate to sell your homeLove how they styled the fireplace mantel.

 

86 Pondfield rd W new - trad dining room- decorate to sell your home

Way cool dining room. Love EVERYTHING. Please notice the exquisite detail on the draperies. But, all of it, is perfect, IMO.

 

And what about the kitchen, you ask?

 

After all, it’s kitchens and bathrooms that sell the house. Right?

Well, THIS is what caught my eye when I was walking past the realtor the other day.

 

UNKITCHEN!!!

Yes, there’s a bit of distortion in the image. It’s a real estate photo, after all. But those windows are amazing. There are more shots of the kitchen on the listing.  After all of the oak abominations around here, this is as refreshing as can be.

And, in case you are wondering, nobody is paying me to plug this home.

But speaking of… (and no one was paying me here, either) :]

Remember this beauty on St. Simons Island, GA?

Oh man! I forgot to tell you guys, but I heard from Cyndi, the homeowner shortly before I went to Las Vegas, last February.

 

Dear Laurel,

It’s Cyndi,  formerly of St Simons Island, GA. Wanted to let you know that my home sold January 31st! close to asking price. I took it off the market at the end of November and had three offers, immediately. The people who we settled on wanted the home totally furnished !  I did many of the things you advises me to do.  The plants, I believe made a huge difference. Thanks so much for your advice, now We can move on to the next phase.

Sincerely,

Cyndi

 

Sorry, I forgot to mention that. But there were so many great ideas. And it goes to show that staging is super-important. However, I believe that a home should always look inviting and like the folks living there are loving it.

 

It’s the love that will sell the home; not some insipid, generic color scheme and furnishings that looks more like the lobby of a Ramada Inn.

 

86 Pondfield Rd W. guest - bedroom -girlAnd, how charming is this bedroom for either a teen-aged daughter or a guest bedroom. The fabric on the Roman Shade is Mary McDonald’s Bermuda Blossoms for Schumacher. (You can see it here in a different colorway.)

 

And you can see and purchase all five colorways here.

Design trade, of course, should order directly from Schumacher.

86 Pondfield Rd west - decorate to sell your home - stunning marble pale gray and black bathroomAnd finally, the amazing bathroom. How sophisticated! This is giving me great hope. Somebody not only gave a lot of thought to this place, they know what they are doing.

 

However, there are also homes in Bronxville that are so incredibly cringe-worthy, I’m loathe to show them to you.

 

But, when did that ever stop me? lol

There are many homes that have a lot of heavy, dark wood.

However, the last thing you want to do is decorate the living room to look like and Easter egg basket. Right? It would be so easy to fix this too.

Rip down those hideous drapes. They are totally wrong for the room.

 

The leaded glass windows are stunning. And instead of seeing the windows, I’m seeing what is reminding me of a tacky bridesmaid’s dress.

Take out the sculpted rug. Get a custom seagrass rug. Seagrass comes 13 feet wide, but then it can be made the appropriate length.

Then, have white slipcovers made for EVERYTHING. Well, all of the upholstered furniture.

Get a hunky opium table. And a glass and GOLD coffee table for the fireplace seating area.

Check out Mike Serratt on One King’s Lane. I would stick with blue and white and maybe a little beige. That link takes you directly to his blue and white pillows, but he has other colors. You could also throw in a surprise. They are having a sale and then you can use your promo code: OKL20CARD for an additional 20% off. (double dipping sales, I call it.) He has the best pillows.

Or, you can go look on Etsy for great pillows and see this post here, for some pillow advice.

 

So bad. So bad. The bordello dining room.

And don’t get me wrong. I’ve done a TON of red dining rooms in my career. A ton! But, they painted the mullions red too? Yuck.

And the draperies.

I can’t.

Those valances are so wrong and the fabric makes this room look like a circus.

However, I won’t subject you to the bright green library.

 

But, I’m not sparing you the kitchen. Sorry.

 

Guys. Please understand. This place is on the market for nearly SIX MILLION DOLLARS!

 

And, THIS is what they are passing off as a kitchen for a high-end home in a tony New York burg?

I found other atrocities, as well. One that never fails to baffle me is when someone takes a 100-year-old architectural gem and then puts in a Poggenpohl ultra modern kitchen.  That’s just so wrong. I saw a home like that here, but didn’t save it.

However, I can’t leave you with that bad image of how not to decorate to sell your home.

 

43 Prescott Ave - Bronxville - beautiful white kitchen - decorate to sell your home

I found another pretty home at  43 Prescott Ave in Bronxville. Love the kitchen. And there are other views in the listing. The furnishings are eclectic with a strong lean towards the contemporary. But it’s classic contemporary.

And one last home that I think got the over-all feeling just right.

20 park ave living room Bronxville, NY - decorate to sell your home
This lovely home is at 20 Park Ave in Bronxville.

 

Well, I hope that you enjoyed seeing some of the beautiful homes for sale in Bronxville, NY.

xo,

 

 

 

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

  • Cyndi - April 20, 2019 - 8:08 PM

    OMG….
    I’ve finally settled on a a home, almost half the size of my previous place where I’ve sold all of the furnishings with it! Now I’m panicked! Can you or Maura come help me ? Ha!Ha! I feel lost, there aren’t many designers where I live so I am crazily re reading all of your previous posts. The only thing I can commit to is doing all custom closets for organization. I am also beefing all trim and moldings and paint everything white dove.. read in your posts. I need some Xanax!
    Cyndi
    I’m not kidding, this is my final place and don’t want to mess it upReplyCancel

  • Terri - April 15, 2019 - 4:56 PM

    Laurel, Do you think Bordello dining rooms are out? We just bought a 40’s home with a red dining room with white trim. My first thought was that the room needed to be Oyster Bay from SW (sorry no Benj Moore within a hundred miles). My spouse and son are appalled, that I would paint out the red. My first thought was beach house…sea glass colors…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 16, 2019 - 4:14 PM

      Hi Terri,

      Well, it’s impossible to say without seeing the location of the house and what else is going on inside the home, as well. As for red dining rooms being out? I don’t think that they ever will be. Oh, of course, many will tell you that they are, but tell that to Queen Elizabeth.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - April 15, 2019 - 3:55 PM

    We just sold our house in four days. (I know, I’m bragging, but yay!!! The one with the bizarre popcorn ceilings!) We did do a ton of work, repainted and repaired everything we could repaint or repair ourselves. Our agent sent over a professional stager to give us some advice. It boiled down to paint everything white and get rid of all your interesting and personal items, with maybe a wreath on the door for “welcoming.” We did use a fair amount of white paint, (Mayonnaise and Cotton Balls, naturally!) I was good with moving out 2/3 of our stuff. But I just couldn’t do it on the living in and maintaining a pristine empty shell. So we kept up our artwork, and actually bought some new decor items, pillows mostly, to carry a unified look through the house. I painted the exterior doors a cheerful cobalt. What did it for the buyers was our gardens that I designed myself and how “homey” the place felt. We spent about $2000 to stage it ourselves and we got more than that over our asking price. So one success story to back up Laurel’s philosophy of selling a house!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 16, 2019 - 4:11 PM

      Congratulations on the quick home sale Mary! What you did sounds terrific!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - April 14, 2019 - 11:07 PM

    I love, love, love the home at 86 Pondfield. A little internet sleuthing uncovered that it is the work of designers Nastasi/Vail — and owned by one of the designers himself. Here’s a link to an article about the house. Enjoy! https://www.thecut.com/2018/06/an-old-fashioned-fixer-upper-that-was-untouched-for-decades.htmlReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 15, 2019 - 9:59 AM

      Hi Wendy,

      Holy crap! That’s great. Those photos are amazing! I’ll read this later. I have to run out now.ReplyCancel

  • Denise Manno - April 14, 2019 - 5:42 PM

    Yes laurel it’s difficult indeed. The previous owner tried in vain to decorate this classic beauty in a Home Depot/HGTV style. I walked into the foyer, and spied the picture rails and coved plaster ceilings, (quite similar to yours) and had to have it. I have changed every light fixture with beauties I’ve purchased in antique stores around town, and added lace curtains and lots of wallpaper. The living room layout and furnishings have me stumped though. I may just have to get rid of some of the pieces I have from my previous home. As I said, help is on the way. I have two designers coming next week.ReplyCancel

  • Val - April 14, 2019 - 5:41 PM

    Laurel, this house is beautiful! Can I possibly ask you dissecting the details of decorating scheme? I wonder what kind of budget the owners/ designer had to refurnish the house, any thoughts? I would love to read a bit longer extension of this post. That’s interesting topic, IMOReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 15, 2019 - 9:56 AM

      Hi Val,

      That’s a very good question. It looks like there are some bonafide antiques. Many of my clients inherited such furniture including upholstered pieces that we had redone. The biggest sums here would be for the kitchens and bathrooms. I’ll have to give that some more thought.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - April 14, 2019 - 4:50 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    I discovered your funny and enlightening blog about two years ago. We had just purchased a home built in 1994(yes many oak trees gave up their lives). With your encouragement, we have painted out trim, changed walls from dull brownish beige to gray, and the kitchen from yellow to beautiful Decorators White.
    The Laurel’s Rolodex is filled with great finds and we have used it to replace lights and pictures. In the kitchen, we just finished replacing the hardware, putting up a backsplash and painting beat-up doors a shiny black (Benjamin Moore Advance is great paint) Thank you again. I can tell you love what you do. CathyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 15, 2019 - 9:51 AM

      Thanks so much Cathy. This made my day! One thing about blogging about interior design is that I get to have all of the fun without 99% of the misery. I still get the odd troll who sends me hurtful messages. But, that’s a small price to pay for the immense amount of love I receive on a daily basis. That is priceless! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - April 14, 2019 - 4:16 PM

    Great post on decorating your home to sell it. Many of them so beautifully executed. I too, do not understand why someone who might be lucky enough to have a home with interesting and beautiful architecture would strip it down to nothing and remove all of the inherent beauty. If all buyers wanted a box, there are certainly many of them out there already. I don’t understand how that would increase a home’s value, but I am not a realtor. I thought the $6,000,000.00 home had great bones and the architecture, (here I go with that word again), of the dining and living rooms was lovely, in spite of the decor. (You are right. It’s hideous.) But in spite of the beautiful bones, I wouldn’t pay $6,000,000.00 for it. Maybe the owners projected a greater value on their home than it’s actually worth. I’d be willing to bet that they will be in for a rude awakening if that house sits on the market for too long.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 15, 2019 - 9:48 AM

      Hi Lisa,

      As a buyer of that house, all I see is a mountain of work to restore it to what it should be. I wonder what the original kitchen was like. Probably wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Leslye - April 14, 2019 - 4:05 PM

    Great post.
    In regard to your last picture. Very nice room, but for some reason I would love to see the piano painted.
    And yes, it can be done. I understand a professional should perhaps be involved.
    A dear friend gave one to my daughter for my granddaughter’s lessons and she had it painted white. Love it. It is not a grand piano though.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 15, 2019 - 9:47 AM

      I could see that too, Leslye. Actually, the piano takes up too much of the image, IMO.ReplyCancel

  • Denise Manno - April 14, 2019 - 2:53 PM

    In relation to the couch dictating the curtains, do you mean the formality of the two? I have Chantilly lace silk curtains, which pair well with my classic four square “Queen Anne” style home. I dislike Victorian styled furniture however. I feel it is dark, heavy, and dated. I am looking to purchase a new couch for the living room. I’d like it formal but young. I like the crypton fabrics you’ve posted.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 3:29 PM

      Hi Denise,

      Yours is a completely different style home. This could be a blog post. It is better explained in images, I think. I just added an image of a trad room by Mark D. Sikes which will appear soon. But, he is one who understands how to get the balance right. It’s not an easy thing to do, however.ReplyCancel

  • May - April 14, 2019 - 1:55 PM

    The devil really is in the details, isn’t it: I love how it’s often one tiny detail that makes a space, for instance those green sheep on the mantlepiece.

    And, those balloon valances are known in this household as tart’s drawers. 🙂

    You have SUCH a good eye, Laurel, thanks for sharing yet again!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 3:27 PM

      Hi May,

      Yes, my eye keeps going to the green sheep, too! I shot of yellow green is welcome in most rooms, if not all!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - April 14, 2019 - 12:48 PM

    Hi LB
    I rarely disagree with your assessments and don’t, actually, about red room ,green room, Easter explosion room. I just saw them as extremely dated and out of touch – like when a favorite great aunt shows up for lunch in huge faux jewel earrings and a pastel St John knit with linebacker shoulder pads …. shock and awwww indeed.
    First time on market in decades the listing says.
    But you know all that. Your blog, your rules I say. I just thought you’d be less offended by these overdone fusspot rooms from the 80s/90s then you were . Perhaps I missed the point . If I were in the market for a house like this I’d be far happier to see the bones intact and the hardware close to original. I guess I’m really defending Grace Kelly dressed in pilling polyester over any of the current Bravo celebs dressed in Italian silk.
    As always though— appreciate what you produce here 🙂 Bronxville is lovely!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:50 PM

      Hi Carrie,

      No, I don’t think you’ve missed the point. Actually, I love beautiful traditional rooms from the 80s/90s if done correctly. The window treatment in the red dining room is wrong for any style/decade. Mario Buatta would NEVER have done that never-ending swaggy valance. Banks of windows should not have a valance. I tried to only do them for single windows. Occasionally, not, but never anything like this. You will not find an 18th century interior with window treatments that look like this. But, then, they never did a bank of windows either.

      The dining room was undoubtedly not originally painted; I’m quite sure that it was also stained wood.

      It’s just if they are going to list this place with the obviously dated decor, they need to knock the price back. A LOT. But, of course, that’s only my opinion. But, in reality it’s a giant of a fixer-upper. I don’t know the situation, however.

      My mother strong-armed her realtors (yes, she went through three) into listing her home for 30% more than it was currently worth. Thus, it didn’t get even a nibble and sat on the market for 3 years before her neighbor bought it for 150,000 less than he had offered for it two years earlier and then knocked the whole thing down.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - April 14, 2019 - 12:09 PM

    Good morning, Laurel.
    That was fun! I love going to open houses & being a looky-loo. And it’s nice to see how the other half live.
    I’m wondering if the home with the bland decor was staged for selling purposes.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:41 PM

      Hi Mary,

      I’m worried that the bland decor was staging. And herhaps it was something horribly dated. Fine, but then, they needed to have hired Lotte Meister who would’ve staged the home with style and panache. That fireplace area is particularly horrible. Are those lava lamps? lol So wrong for this beautiful, traditional home in Westchester County. The outside is a showstopper. And then, one walks inside and it’s a massive snooze-fest.ReplyCancel

  • Patti - April 14, 2019 - 10:58 AM

    Totally agree on having plants in every room. Even if it is small vase with a single flower – it is a nice touch.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:38 PM

      Oh, you’re referring to Cyndi’s former home in St. Simons Island. Yes, plants and flowers, even if artificial are great for staging. And, real life too! I had a client/friend whose husband brought home a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers every Friday.

      Husbands, are you listening? ;]ReplyCancel

  • susie - April 14, 2019 - 9:56 AM

    That Anthropologie storm cloud wallpaper is a knock-off of the high-end Italian wallpaper carried by Cole and Son.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:33 PM

      Hi Susie,

      Actually, they don’t say so, but it IS Cole and Son. I should’ve said that in the post. Anthro used to also carry the Humming Birds pattern. I’m not sure if they do still. But, they do have a beautiful collection. I love a lot of their patterns. hmmmm… we haven’t talked much about wallpaper recently. hmmmmm… :]ReplyCancel

  • Janet Lorusso - April 14, 2019 - 9:54 AM

    Yikes, I don’t think the cake plate of green apples or the pot rack full of Calphalon is enough to save that 6 million dollar oak tract-home builder special kitchen, LOL!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:31 PM

      Seriously! That’s balls having that home listed at that price. The outside is no great shakes either. It has an overbearing slate roof and the rest is largely stone. With the immense amount of competition going on, I believe that they will have a lot of trouble selling that place. They really, really should’ve updated the kitchen and all of the bathrooms, as well as the paint colors and furnishings.

      But they’d have to have hired Victoria Hagan and then just let her do her thing.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - April 14, 2019 - 9:51 AM

    Hi Laurel, curious what you think of the rows of tiny ceiling lights in the gray and white kitchen. It seems I’m seeing more images lately where the ceiling is dotted with these decorative lights instead of recessed lighting.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:27 PM

      Hi Kelly,

      That’s a very good question. I have not been IN a kitchen where they did this. In photos, I think it looks too much. But, maybe in the kitchen, it’s fine? If I were to do that, I’d consider doing white fixtures. But, in this case, maybe a combination of the fixtures and recessed lighting. I also love sconces in kitchens.

      A lot also depends on ceiling height and size and configuration of the kitchen.

      I agree that the Swiss Cheese look can be a bit much. So, whenever I have to do recessed lighting, I favor the smaller cans.ReplyCancel

  • CVG - April 14, 2019 - 9:16 AM

    Hello Laurel!
    I am enjoying your posts so much! there is so much to learn!
    Could you explain why you find out of place the drapes in the living room. I thought they were one of the few things to keep 😬.
    I feel the same with that tremendous red dining room, I like the drapes, maybe not for this style of home????
    You live in a lovely neighborhood!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:23 PM

      Hi CVG,

      I had a feeling someone would ask me that. No problem. First of all, the yellow silk it looks like is absolutely the wrong fabric to have in a wood paneled living room. And, especially with the leaded glass windows! But, the furniture is also wrong. It’s like the Easter Bunny meets Judge Judy’s courthouse.

      Being that the furniture dictates the window treatments, if everything were slipcovered in white cotton duck, I would do a coordinating white linen drape, maybe with a chic trim ala 86 Pondfield Rd. W.

      But frankly, if someone gave me that house, I’d paint the entire friggin’ thing. Many of the rooms are already painted. I would paint them all white. And then do a Gerald Bland look.

      I should really do a field trip to his shop in NYC. Except I’ll probably end up drooling all over the insane beauty.ReplyCancel

  • Nanci - April 14, 2019 - 7:47 AM

    I went to check out the post on Cyndi’s home and I had to laugh at how many times you used the word “buyers” yourself. Other than the chuckle great home and tipsReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:11 PM

      Yes, haha, I’m sure it’s true. It’s a bad habit. We should all say, THE buyer. Of course, the best is getting into a bidding war with numerous buyerzzzzz. At least for the home owner, for the buyerzzzzz, of course, it’s no picnic.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - April 14, 2019 - 7:38 AM

    Hi Laurel, love this blog and was relieved not to see any pictures of my house in the what not to do!
    I absolutely love the first house! I want to live there! Or better yet, you buy it and I will come visit…. see you Thursday.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:09 PM

      haha! I would need some other people to help me fill it up. And, damn, I was going to include your home in the “what to buy” category. I still can.ReplyCancel

  • Vicki Bowman - April 14, 2019 - 7:28 AM

    Laurel, I am a new follower of your website. It is my new magazine- going to cancel House Beautiful.
    I loved your article today on Bronxville homes. As a young bride, from North Carolina, we moved to Bronxville and lived for three years in Rockledge Manor apartments.
    My husband and I would often walk the beautiful streets of Bronxville and dream of the gorgeous homes would look like inside. We never had the luxury of doing so, except I did tutor a student at Bronxville Elementary, and went to his home often.
    I was a substitute at the elementary school and ended up being a reading teacher at Assumption School in Tuckahoe.
    Wonderful memories , of almost 50 years ago.
    Enjoy living in this wonderful place , as we did, VickiReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:05 PM

      Oh wow! Thank you for sharing these lovely thoughts Vicki! And I’m so glad that I could bring back your fond memories of this beautiful village.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - April 14, 2019 - 6:40 AM

    Hello Laurel, These are some wonderful interiors, just the type that stagers love to rip out in order to install bland garbage. Let’s see what tips I can glean from here. I love the marble bathroom, but I would have used a higher faucet, like a mini kitchen faucet. The dresser in the green bedroom I would buy in a minute, but that slanting wall over the bed would give me nightmares. The gray and white marble checkerboard floor in that last kitchen is great, but the overall arrangement perhaps could be improved–to be fair, we are not seeing the whole kitchen; there must be more of it. Except for the sculpted carpet, I am not so offended by the dark-paneled room, but agree that your suggestions would greatly improve it.

    Overall, I have not seen any room or house that I could move right in and not change anything, but I admit that 86 Pondfield comes close!
    –Jim
    p.s. I am wondering if we should start a petition that only Loi Thai would be licensed to create all-white rooms?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 1:02 PM

      Haha! That’s funny Jim. There are few other designers who I would allow. Victoria Hagan is one of them. Her home in the Hamptons from 25 years ago is still my fantasy beach home. I copied her dreamy linen gauze (but lined) curtains for at least a dozen clients. And yes, there’s much more to the checkerboard kitchen. The link to the real estate listing for that home at 43 Prescott is under the image. There, you can see the rest of the kitchen. It has a gorgeous eating area, too.ReplyCancel

  • florida1 - April 14, 2019 - 5:25 AM

    I agree with you on almost all these houses. IMO ‘hideous’ colors=bad enough if one is NOT going to sell one’s house. My comment is 100K in TAXES. NY is KILLING its own people thru $$!!! I read that Thousands/Wealthy=MOVING away! The tax rate is SICK! For the 2020 elec-one side is touting 70% TAX. WHY Don’t you all REBEL and FIGHT to keep your hard-earned $$?? Or move to Indiana-where we ARE Sane-Conservative-and can PAY for our nice houses. Just a thought-don’t wait ’till its 70% then they want MORE…lol.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 12:56 PM

      Hi Flo,

      Well, the same house in Cedar Knolls has 14k in taxes. That’s what I didn’t say. And Cedar Knolls is a neighborhood that anyone would want to live in. I should really get my act together and go and take some pics with my brand-new over-priced I-phone. The camera is amazing!

      But yes, Westchester, known as the “bedroom community” of Manhattan has notoriously high taxes. Actually, if there’s any place to lay blame, it’s in the corrupt department of education. Having a child with special needs and actually caring about the insane budget laid out by the Katonah-Lewisboro school district where we resided, (Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren live there too) about 10 years ago, I made it my mission to discover why the cost to educate one child (back then) was $31,000+ a year.ReplyCancel

  • GL - April 14, 2019 - 4:02 AM

    What I enjoyed most, Laurel, was seeing what you did for the Macs a few years ago, stunning. I love their sitting room curtain fabric, it looks remarkably similar to some fabric I bought a couple of months ago — will send you a pic. At some point, that is: off to the garden on a bright sunny day but freezing (literally) cold here. Hope you’re basking in warm sun!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 12:50 PM

      Hi Gilly,

      Actually, I was basking in some much needed sleep! The fabric is from Duralee. I’ll have to check to see if they still stock it.ReplyCancel

  • Denise Manno - April 14, 2019 - 2:32 AM

    I have two designers coming over next week. I’m excited to get a professional opinion. Alas, I did not have a plan. Thanks for steering me straight!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 12:48 PM

      Oh, you’re welcome Denise. And good luck with your plans!ReplyCancel