Merry Christmas 2023! + Happy 3-Year Bostonversary!

Hi Everyone,

Merry Christmas 2023!!!

I began writing this entry on Thursday, the 21st, which was my 3-year Bostonversary, but I could barely focus on the screen, much less write a coherent sentence. It was an intense day; you’ll see why in a sec. So, here is the post as it began last Thursday, the 21st.



Yes, today, December 21st, is the third anniversary of my move to Boston.


And, today, I have some small surprises and one that’s quite shocking. (in a good way)

I was going to continue with the crown moulding, but really, I’m about to fall have fallen on my face. In fact, I was supposed to go out tonight.

Nope. Not happenin’.

Now, it’s after midnight. Oh well. (Give it up, Laurel!)


The small surprises are upstairs.


air switch for disposal

There’s a new air switch for the disposal. Yes, it’s a tad darker than the deVOL. It shouldn’t be because Rohl is, the parent company of Perrin & Rowe that, makes the deVOL faucet. Oh, well, again.

However, it works very nicely, and I like my new Insinkerator disposal.


Guys installing hardware

The guys have installed some of the hardware and the 12 glass shelves. You can see shadows in the image.

And yes, I made them clean each shelf and had them wipe down the cabinets, too!


Laurel, it seems like there’s more stuff in the living room.


Yes, it grows. ;]

No, it was from the front hall closet.


See that big piece of plastic covering the stairs?


That’s the big surprise. Well, not the plastic. It’s what’s underneath the plastic.

Let’s go and have a look.

boarded lower entry
Guys, we have walls!!!

Now, I had to work on these pics for about an hour or more. It was dark out, and there were only two bare bulbs, one ice-cold bulb in the bathroom and one warm bulb in the stair hall.

embrasure hall

The distance is distorted. I will take more photos during the day, which will be better.


Anyway, two guys did all of this in one day!


boarded bathroom 12.21.23
The bathroom. Oh dear, I never showed you that they did an awesome job of fixing the framing. However, you can see from the sheetrock that they did create a lovely niche for the vanity.
The niches will be paneled with hidden doors.

Oh, I just have to show you the original shot.

Please bring the prisoner down to the interrogation room.

lol Right? The dimensions are a little distorted because of the cell phone camera lens.

The next day, in daylight hours, I took more photos with somewhat softer shadows. Still, it was only two hours before sunset, and the plastic also diminished the light.


linen closet new staircase
I love this view of the stairs where we can see the living room wainscoting, currently just underneath the plastic.

That is not a handrail. It is a leftover LVL beam.


lower entry - stairs

Another thing I love is that when coming down the stairs, there’s an entrance into the bedroom suite. With the old spiral, with the last step, it was a sharp right through a doorway, and to the immediate left was the bathroom. To the right was the bedroom.


This way, it’s a far more interesting journey.


Also – remember this image when we were working out the guard rail?


Solution for not having overlapping handrail and guardrail steel handrail only
The post for this is here, “Renovation News and Deets,” but you’ll need to scroll to the bottom. It was in the first entry out of dozens.


embrasure hall towards bathroom

The embrasure hall. This is reminding me of an enfilade of sorts.

Bedroom hallway to bathroom walnut doors embrasure doors George Smith chair after renovation

Remember this rendering of the hall from the post about how to spice up a boring hallway?

We changed the bedroom doors, but the hall concept is the same.

embrasure door pocket
The above image shows the embrasure door pockets.

Cuthbert House - Furlow Gatewood - exquisite architecture - renovation countdown - detail doorway
Thank you, Furlow Gatewood, for your endless inspiration. And to my friend, photographer Rod Collins, for capturing so beautifully Furlow’s genius for us to enjoy. (and emulate!)


hardware range lights

I can’t wait to see the cabinet with the strip LED lights on. They are completely hidden. You have to stick your head inside and then contort your neck to seek them.

The guys said I couldn’t do the latches. I was too tired to argue. So, we’re doing knobs on all of the doors. I’ve decided (I think) to do the cup pulls on the big drawers. I wanted some variety.


The hood is hooked up, and the Zephyr Monsoon hood insert is whisper quiet on the lowest setting.


I will be discussing the appliances in subsequent posts. They are getting mixed reviews. However, Zephyr hood is superb.


Tomorrow, they’ll board up the entry. I’m hoping they’ll do their cutting downstairs. It isn’t a lot.




It is now Saturday, December 23, 2023

Well, someone showed up yesterday for an hour. I don’t know what they did, but they were gone by 9:30 AM and didn’t return. So, the entry hasn’t been done yet. But, the closet is totally cleaned out.

Anyway, It’s Christmas, and everyone is off this week. I’m going to take advantage and get things more organized.

While there’s still a long haul ahead, I’m happy to have the respite.

The kitchen, now fully functional with the basics, reminds me that the rest will get there, but it might be April or May.


Guys, even with the walls torn up and many details not yet done, the kitchen is more fantastic than I ever imagined.

It is very spacious but also enveloping with its 10′-2″ ceiling height and cabinets built to the ceiling. The rounded cabinet is pure joy, as are the marble, sink, and faucet are incredibly delightful; washing dishes is almost fun.

The cabinetry from Crown Point is sublime.


The glass doors with the Cremone bolts from Wilmette Hardware.


Sometimes, I just go over and open them for no reason. It’s an endorphin rush for days. haha. I mean, the heavy, gleaming, polished nickel bolts atop those heavenly 66″ tall doors. Well, I have never experienced anything so luxurious.

But even more than that, I feel instantly transported back to another place and time. It’s a time when no one ever uttered the word transitional unless they were talking about clothing.

The only thing is, I have no idea where the butler is hiding out. I need to discuss the menu for New Year’s Eve. ;]

Guys, a few things before I sign off.


Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!


AND time is running out to take advantage of the special offer on my rockin’ interior design guides.


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Thank you, as always, for your kindness and support. I appreciate it more than I can say. Please have a blessed holiday!



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36 Responses

  1. Is that a Bertazzoni induction range? The very one I thought about ordering tomorrow before the rebate expires? I’ve never heard it operating–I hope it’s quiet. I’m a little concerned about how one doesn’t apparently know what the oven temperature is–the gauge doesn’t have numbers, and the dial just turns so, oh, it looks like 350 is covered, surely it must be right…

    Help! Urgently! Yea or nay? Not that I have other options I like that aren’t twice as expensive.

  2. Laurel,
    Your design inspirations are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your journey and all the details throughout. I feel as though I’ve been in a spectacular Interior Design Masterclass. Exquisite!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  3. I am so pleased that someone is living my fantasy dream home! So beautiful and loved following along. Merry Christmas!

  4. Oh my goodness, your kitchen is sublime, even unfinished! I am so happy for you; it is a blessing to be surrounded by so much architectural and interior design beauty. Thank you for your gift to us of sharing your talents. Your blog is my favorite of all time. Merry Christmas, Laurel!

  5. Laurel, I am joining with the others – the kitchen is truly wonderful. And it is exciting to see the downstairs taking on shape. Looking forward to those future posts. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

  6. I’m guessing you considered, but ruled out, putting an angled drawer or two under the stairs. I’ve seen how a drawer can be cleverly installed to utilize the smaller triangular dead space under a set of stairs. I love your kitchen design and have enjoyed how you have shared the lengthy process to get it to this point. Merry Christmas and looking forward to the updates in the new year.

  7. I put a new kitchen in my home five years ago. After seeing yours I’m going to rip mine out and start all over again. Your home is going to be absolutely fabulous.

  8. So exciting and fulfilling to see your dreams coming to life… all the thinking and meticulous planning make your home a pleasure to be in…
    Your fabulous new kitchen should be a template for anyone with a small kitchen …
    You’ve shown that the idea of every detail having its own appeal is important – but not always
    easy to achieve – well done !
    The the walls and staircase make all the difference …
    Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year … and thanks for all you do …

  9. Go, Laurel! It’s exciting to see your vision for an elegant and classically styled home come to fruition. I share your taste and am living vicariously through your experience. Thank you and merry Christmas to you and yours.

  10. Happy Holiday!

    Kitchen looking great!

    Such chutzpah friend … asking your GC to clean the shelves & cabinets! I do those things after they’ve left for the day. I let them do the stuff I can’t. I even assembled a 36 ball light fixture instead of having the electrician bill me $500.

    I’m learning from you all the time!

  11. Without even seeing the end results, the kitchen is enough to grant you a PhD in design. This is your dissertation and you more than earned your degree! Congrats, and thank, for going with the Perrin and Rowe faucet, I was rooting for it!

  12. Thank-you for sharing your amazing journey with us, Laurel. I have learned so much from you over the years. Your new home is exquisite. Your attention to detail, your patience and perseverance, (and design school knowledge) have created a beautiful home for you in Boston. I have never had the desire to go to Boston until you posted wonderful Christmas pictures last year. I hope this respite of construction gives you the opportunity to enjoy once again your wonderful new city. Merry Christmas to you!

  13. What a wonderful progress post! It is so very nice to see the drywall downstairs — I have a much better idea of what it is going to look like and it is really unbelievable what you have dreamed, drawn, and are now seeing being built. The kitchen is stunning – and that is without being done, without styling. Like many others, when I see an email from you, it is the first one I read. Thank you so much for sharing your vision and remodel with us.

  14. Oh Laurel, that unkitchen is sublime. I’m very kinesthetic, meaning I relate to things by the sense of touch more than other senses, so opening and closing those doors would be something I would do multiple times a day! And stroking the beautiful wood and marble. I’m interested in hearing your stove review, because I’ll be looking for one in the new year. When all is finally complete, I suspect this will have been a year long job site. I wouldn’t have hair left at that point, so thankfully this is a labor of love for you. And thankfully you have a second bedroom and bathroom to use. Will you be touching up the guest bath at all? I don’t think we’ve ever seen it. Happy holidays, Laurel, and may 2024 bring much joy. You are one talented soul and I start my day with your post and my coffee. Thank you for doing this.

  15. Every post shows progress being made. It’s so exciting. It must be wonderful to have a functioning kitchen for Christmas.
    I hope you have a great holiday & get to spend some time with your sons.

  16. In the (very) long ago I was lucky to stay for a few nights in Bath at the Royal Crescent. Though it was a permanent home for some, there were guest suites. They were small but elegant in every detail. You new home reminds me of the pleasure and comfort I felt in every minute of that stay. When all is done I have no doubt you will experience that same gladdening of the heart every time you open your entry door. Thank you for sharing this experience.

  17. Happy Holidays Laurel, Thank you for showing us your vision, I literally look for your posts in my mail everyday, love them!Your taste is impeccable.
    Here’s to a wonderful and peace filled 2024, and your completed condo. I can’t wait for you to buy a beach home so that you can redo it!

  18. Hi Laurel,
    Everything in the kitchen is beyond gorgeous!!
    Enjoy the quiet week while the crew is off. Stay in your pajamas all day!
    Merry, merry & Happy New Year to you and family.

  19. Merry Christmas Laurel – you bring the joy of loving a home into my life with each post! Your home is going to be just beautiful and warm and every detail is one that you will remember planning for as the years pass! Thank you for all that you do for us!

  20. Just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Laurel! I’m following every post in spirit and am beyond amazed at your strength, fortitude, stamina and intellect. What a Herculean project! The endorphin rush you experience as you touch and feel these elements while still in motion reveals how much you are going to be in love with your home!

  21. It’s looking amazing, and so authentic as well as beautiful! I love what you’ve done with the downstairs. I didn’t really have a good sense of the design from the drawings or framing shots, but now that there is drywall I can easily see. What a wonderful thing you are doing in this nest of yours.

  22. Merry Christmas, Laurel. It makes my heart sing to see what you have created. I know it wasn’t easy as I have followed the process with you. And I relate to the the constant vigilance needed to take an idea in your mind’s eye to reality. Many times it seems like battle after battle with architects, inspectors, contractors, suppliers, and obstacles of every sort. You stayed the course, removed things that should never have been there and replaced (are in the process of) them with a design, materials, elegance and taste that befits the building in which you live. I have seen the interiors of beautiful old homes butchered in a remodel and I applaud you for so beautifully restoring this one.

  23. Laurel,
    It’s Christmas Eve morning and I’ve been up for sometime baking the chocolate sponge cake for tomorrow’s Bouche Noel. After I put it in the oven I treated myself to a cup of coffee and your update. Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous, and like you, I envision a butler wiping down the cabinets after service.
    Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the next few months as your new home takes shape. Thanks for the updates! Dot

  24. Hi Laurel
    I have searched everywhere for this, but my question is:
    Is your Rolodex helpful for those of us living outside of the US?
    As a Canadian designer, I find many US sites don’t ship internationally so sourcing is even more challenging for us. And I want to be sure that I will get the full value of your Rolodex if I choose to purchase it.
    Thank you in advance,

  25. HappyHolidays

    Your Kitchen is gorgeous!
    I have been following you for years. And when I first started following you, I went backwards to read all your previous posts. I’m sure I’ve missed one or two over the years your blog is certainly among my very favorites.
    When you first bought your apartment, I envisioned a normal staircase. It is lovely to see it is happening. I enjoy seeing all the plans and decisions that have gone into your remodeling.

  26. Laurel it has been such a pleasure following you along with your renovation.
    Your email is often the first one I read when I awaken! The humor and love and just plain old fashioned HARD WORK you pour into this are impressive and delightfully received.
    It would be so much fun to be your student, your mentee or your friend! Thanks for being you, Laurel!
    Love, Pam Sherman
    PS my sister follows you too so we discuss your project like we know you! It’s so much fun!

  27. Everything is coming together beautifully. Your attention to detail and insisting on things being done right are paying off. I can see why your kitchen is a delight to be in. You might just take up having a cooking blog so you have an excuse to spend more time there. I love the handrail solution and can’t wait to see it installed. The downstairs has a wonderful feel, seems spacious and is an interesting space that just begs one to explore. You’re going to be torn about where to spend your time. I can see you making trips downstairs just to admire it. I bet you haven’t missed your spiral staircase for one second. What an improvement! Once the inspector sees what you have done, he’ll question why there were any concerns about the stairs.

    Wishing you a peaceful Merry Christmas and may all your remodeling dreams be fulfilled in 2024.

  28. All your hard work – sleepless nights – drawings drawing drawings and attention to detail have paid off – Congratulations. Your staircase is a wonder to behold and will make the apartment a million dollar winner. CONGRATULATIONS.

  29. Have a wonderful holiday Laurel!
    All your hard work is paying off – bravo!
    Love the kitchen!! I didn’t realize you could have glass doors that tall (66”) – amazing.

  30. Merry Christmas, Laurel,

    This has been hands down the most interesting blog I subscribe to.The kitchen is beautiful! and I can’t wait to see the rest. This is the 1st Christmas in the new house and it’s been a hard year with many unresolved issues that perhaps will not get resolved. I am trying to get comfortable with that. I am so glad your contractor worked out, it makes such a different.
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and the most successful 2024!I wish you and yours all the best.


  31. Laurel – It’s thrilling to see you so excited and happy with the kitchen. At times I wondered if all the details you labored over would make a difference. I know the answer now! Absolutely perfect!!! Happy Holidays and enjoy your respite.

  32. Laurel,
    Everything is gorgeous! Thank you for the sharing the journey.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year on your dream that continues to come true!!
    Best Wishes,

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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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