A Week In The Life Of An Interior Decorator

Did you ever wonder what it was like to be an interior decorator or an interior designer?

Before I go on, I have to interrupt myself, because I use interior designer and interior decorator interchangeably.

Oh, I know, I’m going to get some flack from that statement and some condescending message informing me what the difference is.

I know the technical difference. One has had a formal education and the other one, not. And yet some of our most brilliant designers never took one interior design course. Conversely, there are many who have studied for years who suck. You can’t teach talent.

I thought it would be fun for you to see a little of what it’s like for me on a typical week; or at least this last week. I can’t say that it’s altogether typical because I am working feverishly on my first interior design product. It’s why I cut back my blogging schedule.

Still… many interruptions this week– from my day job. ;]

The previous Friday, while finalizing a new project, I realized that I needed to take a shopping trip into Manhattan to the D&D Building. I needed to check on a couple of things and sometimes it’s easier to do it in person. I had another job that I needed to find some things for as well. Most of the time, I shop online and order samples that way. I also keep a small library.

It’s really easy getting into the city from Bronxville. It’s a short walk to the commuter railroad. Then, a 30 minute train ride, then two stops on the subway.

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No, I’m sorry, you are not going to see me inside. lol

Yes, the other vids I took are that bad and it’s not just a matter of not liking oneself on camera.

It’s far, far worse.

Most of the time, it’s like some character straight out of central casting; perfect for playing a demented psychiatric patient on a day pass from Bellevue. No exaggeration.

In my defense, the entire thing was very impromptu. I had no idea what I was going to say and I was holding a camera (my phone).

First I headed to Lee Jofa. It’s my favorite showroom; so, so pretty. I’m sorry this photo is out of focus. It’s actually a screen shot from one of the videos you’re not seeing. :]


This is one of two rotundas. They redid the showroom about 12 years ago. It was always nice, but now, it’s positively divine!


When I think of Lee Jofa, I think of their iconic Hollyhock fabric. It’s been here for ages and it will always be here. It’s that good. There are two different versions. The hand-screened expensive version and the mega bucks hand-blocked version.

About 20 years ago +/- Kravet bought out Lee Jofa. Since then, Kravet has also bought out Brunschwig & Fils. That was due to the recession. Since 2008, the showrooms in the D&D building are like musical chairs. You never know if someone is still in business or if they’ve relocated to another showroom they weren’t allied with before.

Oh alriiiiiight. One brief video where I’m sitting in the other rotunda. Please forgive the eyebrows. Oh dear… I really do not want to turn into one of those old ladies whose make up is running all over her face because she can’t see what she’s doing.

I really do need some more help!

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Here are my refreshments.


These are in sharp focus!

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One of the beautiful linen print fabrics I took out. Most of the fabrics at Lee Jofa are very expensive, but this one @ $99.00 retail isn’t bad.


I’ve showed this vignette before; I always love it.



I adore this chair. It’s small in scale and the back is so pretty.

When I went to pick up my samples, a stack of these were laying on the counter.


Holy crap! BUNNY!!!

Yes, of course I’ll be there! I hope her darling husband is there too!

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Then, to Brunschwig which although under the umbrella of Kravet, like Lee Jofa has its own gorgeous showroom. I don’t recall seeing this Chinoiserie paper before. Gorgeous!


I would’ve never guessed this to be the entrance to the Brunschwig showroom. It’s like Belle Époque meets Vladimir Kagan


Next is Holland and Sherry. This is one of the coolest showrooms in the D&D building. The company had its beginnings as a manufacturer for menswear fabrics. They still do that and their home furnishings line has a large selection of plaids and tweeds. But it also reps some cool lines like Galbraith and Paul. LOVE this hand-blocked print.


Holland and Sherry is also known for their exquisite trims that can be customized however one wishes. How beautiful is that pillow!

I also visited about a dozen other showrooms before heading back home.


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Wednesday, I continued working on my big project and then I placed all of the reserve orders for the many fabrics and ordered the wooden furniture from Tritter Feefer.

Hopefully, all will be installed by Turkey Day. It’s a little tight but we’ll see.


Yes, that’s Brunschwig’s megabucks Le Lac. We were just going to do it on some pillows, but then I got an email that my client wants to do it for the slipper chairs! The teal velvet is also yummy. We’ll see.



We’ll make up for it a little by using this pretty print in the dining room from Kravet. It looks a lot more expensive than it is. We’re painting the walls red. I always love incorporating the wall color either as a solid or as the background of the fabric. We don’t always do that, but it’s one of my favorites. It makes the drapes a more subtle element of the room. Sometimes they can be too in your face.


Then, Thursday, first thing… I went to see if I had any phone messages.

please listen. It took me a long time to figure out how to make it so that you won’t hear the vendor or shipper’s name. And yeah… Mr. Ricca is a bit of a character. (I should talk. lol) Great receiving company, by the way!

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That’s a bit heavy before coffee!

Yes, the first table came in damaged too! This was the second table and now there will be a third!

Folks, this is why I only work with nice, normal people. Shit happens. Yes, shit. And quite a bit of it sometimes! It can’t be helped. It’s part of the business. Best to keep it all in perspective.

Thank God it’s only furniture! It’s not the fault of the manufacturer either. Those shippers need to be more careful. Oh, they are all the same! I spoke with the owner of the company that makes the table. Very nice. He even gave me his cell phone number. They are going to turn that baby around by the end of next week. It’s normally a 10-12 week lead time!

Ugh, I had to contact my client right away. I always hate those emails or phone calls. Fortunately, these are long-time clients– very nice. Yes, they’re annoyed! Who wouldn’t be?!

Well… the week isn’t over… I’m working all through LABOR DAY weekend. I really don’t mind. I’m so excited about creating this product for y’all.

Next month, I really am going to High Point for the fall furniture market! Some of you have already read this, but I was selected to be a part of the design blogger’s tour. I’m shocked!

And then, I’m going to Wisconsin for my Mommy’s 93rd birthday!

That’ll be my break.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!




20 Responses

  1. So glad we got to hear you. You are definitely the kind of decorator I would love to have. You seem very approachable, not snooty. Love the designer fabrics. I look forward to your blogs!

    1. Thank you so much Lora. The snooties turn me right off too! And there’s plenty of that around here. They make me laugh because it’s like they’ve gone to college to learn how to be that way or something.

  2. Can’t wait to see the finished project, fabulous fabric choices, can’t wait to see them in play! Michelle

  3. Thanks for posting the vids! Your personality really shines through as a very sweet, gentle, fun ( and funny:) person with a great camera presence. You may even have the special charisma that few have…that makes everyone feel like you could be their best friend, lol!

    1. Oh Chris, What a kind thing to say! Many years ago… I took a ton of acting classes of all kinds and especially on-camera classes. I was the “lysol type.” lol I guess some of it rubbed off.

  4. Love the combination of fabrics selected. Would love to know how you are using each of them. Pictures when the project is complete? I see others could not view two of the videos either. I always think it is something wrong with my computer so I appreciate their comments that take me off the hook this time.

    1. Hi Tricia,

      No, it’s all me. I wish that they had another setting which was private to my blog. But they don’t. If you happen to see this, they’re available now. Thanks for letting me know!

      I hope to take photos of this job when it’s done. I have other jobs I need to take photos of as well.

  5. I feel like I just had the pleasure of meeting you in person, courtesy of your videos. Thank you- a very nice personal touch. Nice to get to know you! I generally don’t like shopping with other people but with you, I’d make an exception! By the by, ditto to Marrah’s comment re two videos marked private but we still got the gist of it.
    Very much enjoy your humour over my morning granola!

  6. Laurel,
    I am a Wisconsinite living next door to High Point (Archdale, NC). Hope your visits to those two areas are lots of fun!


  7. I think you look fabulous in your videos — because your wonderful “you-ness” shines through.

    You must get tons of jobs just so people can have you around and enjoy your company.

    You have the taste and eye of a great interior designer/decorator with the wit of a Woody Allen.

    BTW two of the videos were not playable, the second and fourth were marked “This video is private.”

  8. I usually read your blog on Sunday morning with my first cup of coffee. Great way to start the day – you make me laugh out loud. I’m a real fabric junkie and loved today’s blog featuring all those fabulous fabrics. And Happy Birthday to your mom!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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