Laurel Home is in the New York Times! + Vestibule Cabinet Design!

Oh my! I innocently checked my admin email this afternoon when I saw a note from my website.


Your Message:


Hi. I’m a reporter who writes for the NYT and I just wanted you to know that I linked to your blog post in a story I did on hidden doors and secret rooms. Cheers, Jane


In case you don’t know, NYT stands for NEW YORK TIMES.

Holy freaking crap! I don’t believe that’s ever happened before.

But, is it legit?


It is!


My response:


Hi Jane,

Oh wow! I looked you up, because 95% of the email I get from my website is spam. It’s endless requests for link insertions and guest posts which it says on my contact page I don’t do. However, it’s unlikely to be a real person writing me, as I’m usually addressed as:

“Hey there,”

(Insert crying laughter)

Anyway, this is fantastic news! When will it be published?

Thank you so much,



[So, guys, this is a legit columnist from the Times linking to my post about secret doors!]


Jane responded:


Just went online today.

Will be in print Sunday.



My response:


Hi Jane,

I’m massively grateful.

Terrific article, too.

I don’t know if you read my blog, and it’s totally fine if you don’t. However, I’m 2/3 done with a major
renovation of my 1215 sq foot duplex in Back Bay, Boston. (I did live in New York for 42 years!)

There are going to be a plethora of hidden doors in the kitchen (already built), entry, downstairs hallway, under the new staircase (that replaced a hideous 1970s spiral), and three in the primary bathroom.

The reno was supposed to be finished by now, but it should be done sometime in June, one year after it began.

I’m putting out a post tonight and, of course, I’ll link back to the article.

Any time you need material for an article, or a quote, I’m ever at the ready.




Here’s the link to the article in the New York Times. You can find the link to my post in the paragraph right before the tall, reeded, hidden doors. Look for the words “blog posts.”


Laurel, that’s fantastic news, but didn’t you say you were 2/3 done six weeks ago?


Let me see. I just did a search in my nifty search box. First, I put in two-thirds, then 2/3. That did the trick.

Geez, you’re good! It was exactly six weeks ago on January 25th, after the guys ripped down the wainscoting. (The date is at the end of part 2 of the post.)


It isn’t easy to put a percentage in. For example, the kitchen cabinets and hardware took three days. I went from no kitchen to kitchen in no time. The drywall downstairs went up in one day. 

However, aside from the basic structure, wiring, and moving the toilet plumbing, nothing in the bathroom is finished.


There is a lot of carpentry that needs to be finished. 

And the carpenters haven’t been here for a full week now. 

The painter has done about 18 hours of work this week.


In the meantime, I’m busier than ever with the designs.


In addition to the vestibule cabinet design there’s the finalization of the stair railing and guardrail. There are so many tiny details to work out. 

However, the design is looking fantastic. And, I’m 99% sure we can do the havelock Greek Key pattern that I really want, and I’m super excited about it. There’s more to it than that, but I’m saving it because I need to research it a little further.

The only thing is, I’m positive the steel guy thinks I need to be institutionalized. 

How lucky am I? There’s a place for me only 1.6 miles away. 


Okay, enough of this silliness!


As promised, I’m sharing my final concept for the vestibule cabinet design. However, this is the second part of the post in my renovation diary, dated Tuesday, March 5th, 2024.

So, if you missed part 1, or wish to review to see what it is that I’m changing, please click on the link. Right now, on March 7th, 2024, it’s at the top of the page.


I just had a thought about how I’m getting through all of this. I’m so enjoying the process of designing each element. There are so many things I’ve never done before or done for a client.


First, I’ll show you the rejects for the vestibule cabinet design.


new vestibule cabinet option one


This plan has four doors, but when I walked away, I felt it was a bit busy.


Laurel, what’s that texture on the doors?


Oh, great question. It’s caning, ala Lotte Meister. (below)


TV cabinet caning detail- interior designer - home stager - Lotte Meister - Rye, NY
You can see more pics I took of Lotte’s beautiful Rye, NY, home here.

Let’s look at option 2.

new vestibule cabinet option 2

Option two has six doors.

I like this one a lot. However, it’s more work for the guys. So, I think we better stick with four doors.


new vestibule cabinet option 3 - four doors - six panels

This is option 1a with four doors.

That’s better!


There’s only one problem.


I forgot about the door casing at the top of the entrance to the living room and entrance to the den. Therefore, I need to allow about the same amount of space for the header before the top doors start.


new vestibule cabinet final design

Oops. It still says 1a. But, this is the final version.

While the vestibule cabinet design is not a major element, it’s not going to detract from the beautiful stair railing as the eyesore it currently is.

For more information about the many doors I’m installing, please refer to this post about doors in my remodeled home.

There will be more about the stair railing very soon.

We are also going to start a new series that discusses the entire home palette and paint colors that we’ll be using, plus finishes, and more.

I have some surprises in store for you.

Please stay tuned!



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21 Responses

  1. NYT – congratulations Batleader!

    I appreciate your sharing the door designs. I love them and recall you may be using a similar element in your secret garden as an infrastructure screen, which was also beautiful imho. Does my nerves a world of good to see your taste level setting the bar higher. Your visual coaching for folks who are new to design options available outside of sprawl I mean contractor grade suburbia – well appreciated by me. It is helpful to see there are nicer and improved ways. Ps if I may go off topic I must say I agree with your statement about led ceiling pot lights.

  2. Someone mentioned a pic of Batman opening a secret for to the bat cave? I’ve just gone back and looked 4 times, and that isn’t displayed in the post I’m reading. Was it in the email?

  3. Laurel, you are a rock star! And you earn every accolade that you receive! From, a devoted “groupie” :]

  4. Wowser Laurel! Congratulations! I know how it feels to be recognized by the BIG GUNS! My only thought is that because of your capabilities and achievements, that recognition should be a regular and accepted part of your day-to-days!

    Your work is BRILLIANT, and any publicity is well-deserved; your readers learn so much from your posts and publications, and your writing is ENTERTAINING as hell!

    Expect more exposure! You have earned everything GOOD in your career!

  5. Laurel, how exciting to be in the NYT! I bet it brings more traffic to your blog.
    Your design for your cabinet doors is wonderful. I love the texture the caning adds. Will the caning be painted or left in a natural state?
    Ok…off to read your article in the Times.

  6. Congratulations Laurel! How exciting to be linked in the NYT!
    I find your blog to be very informative. I also appreciate your “voice” and humor. The video clip from Batman and the hidden door to the Bat Cave was great! (I used to watch the show when I was a kid.)
    Thank you for sharing your renovation journey! It is going to be beautiful!

  7. I’m not a NYT subscriber either, but have learned from reading other blogs that subscribers can “gift” an article. I don’t know exactly how that’s done, but I do know your readers would love to see that piece!
    Your reno is looking great, and I’m sure your contractor and craftsmen will be very proud of the end result. And just as you are learning lots of new things, I’m sure they are as well.

  8. Congratulations!!! You deserve it!
    I read the post when you wrote it back then and loved it!
    You can read the article of the NYT and access the link just by signing in with an Apple Id or Facebook or Gmail.

  9. Isn’t it funny what finally catapulted your blog into the “real” world of publishing??!! I’m always amazed at what catches the eye of the media. It reminds me of how A.A. Milne was a playwright, but we all now remember him for his children’s stories about Winnie-the-Pooh!

    Now you can be know as the Hidden Door Decorator! 🤩 It must be quite satisfying to have validation for pursuing excellence…if you had reduced your budget or expectations for your renovation, you might never have been found by the NYT! What a success story of perseverance and taking a calculated risk. Bravo, Laurel! You give us courage to pursue our own dreams 🚀

  10. Laurel, love your linen press design! I know you said it is a small detail, yet it is the little things that highlight the real quality of design. It is like dress maker details, something our well made womens’ clothing once had but sadly seems to have all but disappeared. Your linen press is a lovely detail. And my husband was able thru his NYT subscription to let me read the piece – congrats! Now, don’t be such a tease – share a little bit about the progress you are making with your railing 😉

  11. Such nice press for you, Laurel!
    However, unless you subscribe to the Times, you can’t read it.

  12. Hi Laurel
    Just wanted to say im SO Happy for you to get the heads up in the NYT – you’ve been working SO Hard and this is throughly well deserved !!! Keep on doing what you do, love your Blog !! Catherine

  13. Hello laurel, may I offer some advice learned the hard way? Your door design looks beautiful but I can guarantee you that over time the wood will “twist” and the doors will warp slightly due to their height and panel construction. I was warned of this by Crown Point some years ago when I wanted to do very tall pantry doors, and they were right: eventually one corner of each door refused to lie completely flush when the doors were closed.

    There are ways to mitigate this (for instance routing a steel frame into the wood) but the best thing honestly is to rethink designing a very tall and thin/paneled door. Speak with Crown Point about this if you don’t believe me! I’d just hate to see you go through the same thing I did. I eventually installed heavy duty rare earth magnets in several locations on the door to try to “catch” it at top, bottom and middle, which made them a pain to open and close! 🙂

  14. Hi Laurel ,
    At this very moment I am in a Kyoto hotel and my room , between the bedroom and entryway section has lacquered embrasure doors! As soon as I saw them I thought of you! So happy for you to be in the “paper of record”, the NYT!! Mazel Tov! Hope the rest of the Reno goes as smoothly as possible! Sincerely, Marguerite

  15. Wow, New York Times! I eagerly look for a new post about your renovation every day. It is beautiful and informative and always fun to read. Thank you Laurel

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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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