Having Trouble with A Kitchen & Living Room Makeover

Hi Everyone,

Well, I don’t know what to say. This will be the shortest post because it is after 11:PM.

I have been working all day on creating two renderings for Mary’s kitchen and living room makeover.

One is the fireplace wall with a sliver of the buffet from last Wednesday.

The other is the one I spent the most time on.

The kitchen.


Gosh, the poor woman just had a question about her buffet lamps, and here I go again doing a whole living room makeover!


Okay, I do have something to say, related to this topic of a home makeover.

The other night, I was innocently changing one of my incandescent light bulbs. Frankly, I love 25-watt bulbs, but I can make do with a 40, especially if my lamp has a dimmer, which some do.

Anyway, high up on the cabinet over the sink, I found a package of two 2700 Kelvin LED bulbs. I do not remember buying these, and one was missing. Maybe the previous owner left it for me? Or, maybe I blocked it out. That could be the case.


So, I took the 2700 kelvin LED bulb out and put it in one of the shaded black lamps by the living room windows.


my living room holiday 2021-warm lighting
No, this was from last year. These are incandescent bulbs. They are usually not turned up quite this high.


After installing the LED bulb in the lamp on the right, I turned it on. Not all the way, maybe halfway.


I took a few steps backward and turned around.

Horrifying is the word that comes to mind.

Yes, like a horror show. From this supposedly soft bulb was very bright, cold, white light.

Surely, if I turn it down as far as possible, it’ll be okay then.

No. It was just a dimmer shade of white light.


I stood back a little further to see both lamps together. I’m pretty sure I heard the other lamp snickering when I turned my back.


Now, I realize that a few of you LIKE LED light bulbs. I will not comment if you won’t comment about my disdain for them. Or, at least, the one I have. If there’s truly a warm light bulb, I will take another look.


What reminded me is that Mary has 3000 kelvin LEDs in her recessed downlights. This creates a cold light with a lot of glare.


I know. Someone is going to make the argument that the colors are so clear with LED bulbs.


To that, I’m going to say, “I don’t want them to be clear; I want my room to be glowing with soft, warm light. I don’t give a rat’s A about the colors at night.

Okay, I know I’m going to get an earful. I have written about LEDs, but I need to do further research.

I am fine with these bulbs as long as they make them soft, warm, and able to be dimmed to no more than the equivalent of a 3-watt incandescent light bulb.


Therefore, I plan to report back within the next couple of months.


I am also going to include in that topic recessed downlights. Some people call them “high hats.”

A few months ago, I saw that my Gil (Schafer)… You know, I’m only teasing when I say my. I know good and well that Gil ran off and married someone else. However, I saw some gorgeous recessed downlights in one of his rooms. I don’t remember which one.  I’ve seen other A-list designers use them as well. Recessed downlights have come a long way.


I can’t stress this topic enough.


Lighting is the most important thing in residential decorating. It is even more important than the architecture, although that’s important too. But, think how atrocious an architectural gem of a room would be with a bare light bulb hanging in the middle of the room.

I see Mary left some lovely comments.

Fair enough, she doesn’t want outlets in the middle of the room and doesn’t want wires under the rug, etc.

Yes, there are battery-operated lamps like the one Magic Lantern make. I did a post featuring them years ago.

Are there other options if one doesn’t want eight lamps in a large room?


Yes, there are.

The most important thing is to have the corners lit with lights that will bounce the light back into the center of the room.

But, one can also use wall sconces for variety and spotlights. You can also do lights on the floor hidden behind a potted plant.

And then you can direct the recessed light so it, too, is hitting the wall either very concentrated or in a flood of light.

My point is that there are options when table lamps are not a possibility. And, yes, there will be enough light to read by. Or, for book reading, get something battery-operated if the light is otherwise too dim.


Again, I am not anti-recessed downlights. I’m for doing them in a way that creates a beautiful lighting situation.


Okay, for someone who said this was going to be a short post, I sure am talking a lot.

Let’s look at what I did for Mary’s home.

But, before I do. I love doing these posts and will gladly do many more this year. However, these are exercises– lessons in decorating meant to appeal to many readers. I am not decorating people’s homes for free. They don’t get to choose.

(Evil laugh) I have ULTIMATE POWER! (more evil laughing).

And besides, so many of you have fantastic ideas. These posts are meant to open our eyes to new possibilities.

Here’s the other thing. I really don’t know how the renderings are going to turn out.


So, let’s go back to Mary’s living room makeover.


If you missed Wednesday’s post or want to refresh your memory, please check it out here.

We left off with this image of Mary’s living room in her north-central California home.


Mary's room new lamps coffee table accessories

This is the rendering I did on Picmonkey using Mary’s photo and superimposing the new furnishings to do Mary’s living room makeover, virtually.

I think I read that Mary’s husband likes the coffee table, and so does Mary. He likes the prints, too. I believe that the vignette balances out the mirror very nicely.


For the fireplace wall, I struggled a bit.


Not with the floor plan. That worked out as I hoped it would.


Mary's floorplan revised with seagrass rug, slipper chairs, opium coffee table, end tables
Those two dark teal rectangles are slipper chairs that fit in perfectly, not blocking the TV or fireplace. This makes for a much better conversational seating area. (Thank you, Maggie Cohen, my space planning teacher at the New York School of Interior design back in 1988!)

As at least one of you mentioned, the rug is a tad small for the room. Yes, that’s true. Plus, you can’t see it until you’re in the space.


So, I layered the oriental with a much larger seagrass rug underneath.


Then, I pulled the sectional back towards the kitchen and over towards the sliding glass doors.

Yes, the seating area encroaches slightly on the entrance, but the hall is 7.5′ wide. So, there’s plenty of room. And plenty of room to get behind the sectional as well.

Where I struggled, with this living room makeover is with the color of the upholstery for the slipper chairs.

Ballard Designs dark blue slipper chair

While I didn’t hate the dark teal color, I didn’t love it, either with the stone.

Okay, I used Mary’s photograph and wanted to get a bit of the buffet area in, so I did a little cheat which you’ll see in a sec.

Mary stone corner fireplace

fireplace wall - after sage walls



Sorry, it’s not the best rendering. However, I went with a similar neutral for the slipper chairs that’s on the sofa. I tried medium-dark blues and very dark blues. I think it’s the best option, having tried many others.


I might take another stab at it for the living room makeover because I can see that we’re not going to get to the kitchen.


Bummer. I can’t wait for you to see it.  Apologies again. These topics do take three posts. The seagrass was hard to put in, and it got a little whacky, but you get the idea.

Of course, they don’t have to do the Chinoiserie pillows. But, I love the colors. That is Le Lac by Brunschwig and Fils. It’s insanely expensive, but you can usually find affordable pillow covers on Etsy. Please note that the repeat is HUGE, and the pattern is quite varied. So, if you don’t want people on your pillows, you might be able to specify that.

I did Le Lac pillows for this living room several years ago.

I love the colorful painting here. I chose something impressionistic, which I think suits the stone very well.

The chairs, I believe, are in this week’s Hot Sales widget. They are a Suzanne Kasler design for Ballard Designs and are on sale right now. There are dozens of fabrics to choose from, and several leg finishes.

The prints go closer to the mirror, and they, too, can be something else.

Okay, that’s it for today.


Wait, Laurel. Don’t go!


Yes, what is it?


You can’t leave us hanging like this. What did you do with the kitchen?



I’m sorry, I can’t tell you now, but it’s really good. ;] Please give me feedback, for the living room makeover, and I can make some revisions if necessary. Wednesday will come very soon.


Photo by REGINE THOLEN on Unsplash
Photo by REGINE THOLEN on Unsplash


There, there now, please stop looking so glum.

Fine, I will share one thing from the kitchen to give you something to ponder.



I used this fabric, Nympheus by GP&J Baker, an English company repped by Lee Jofa (I believe), for two Roman shades. Nympheus comes in several fantastic colorways.

Here are some Nympheus pillow covers in this colorway for sale.


Oh, Laurel, pleeeeease just tell us what color the walls are.



Benjamin Moore timson green cw 470

I chose a Laurel Home Collection Paint color— Timson Green which is part of the Colonial Williamsburg collection at Benjamin Moore.




Yes, really. There is very little wall space, and the green looks fabulous with the stained wood. :]

For other colors that look great with stained wood, please check out this post.


I hope you enjoyed the second of three installments of Mary’s kitchen and living room makeover. (virtually)



PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES, filled with gorgeous home furnishings and a new women’s clothing widget. And, all on sale!

PPS: I just have to say that Crown Point Cabinetry is doing the most amazing job of fine-tuning my design, and making sure it’s perfect for me. I’ll be sharing more about that soon, too!

Welcome To Laurel Home!


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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