Month 11 of the Renovation + Important Life Lessons

Hi Everyone,

This has been such a weird week.

It began with my annual checkup with a new PCP associated with Mass General. My old one left the practice last summer. I liked her a lot. She had a nice, easy way about her, yet no stone was left unturned.


The new doctor also left no stone unturned, but the difference is he threw the stones back at me.


I’m not going to get into what was so horrible; my bad. I should’ve interviewed a few doctors before giving Dr. Arrogant the gig. If I had even bothered to read his reviews, I would’ve run a mile. However, I was spoiled by my fantastic doctor in New York. Plus, most doctors I’ve seen in Boston have been excellent.

I will contact some lovely specialists I’ve seen for recs on Monday.

Oh, Laurel, can’t you give the PCP another chance? Maybe he was just having a bad day.


Nope. This is one of those life lessons it took me a while to get. He only gets one chance, and he blew it big time.

You see, I subscribe to the Maya Angelou maxim:


“When someone shows you who they aaaaaare… Believe them the first time.”


No wiser words were ever spoken. And I have found it to be the case 100% of the time. However, I spent years making excuses for bad behavior, hoping it would change. It doesn’t.

I’m not saying that people can’t change. Occasionally, they do, but it takes years.

Yes, the young doctor might’ve been having a bad day. But, he needed to leave that outside the examination room. I assessed that this was a personality flaw, not a bad day. So, the only answer is to stay out of harm’s way.

‘Nuff said.


Wednesday, I read my GC The Riot Act as nicely as possible.


It’s difficult to get super mad at him because he’s the sweetest guy and lies a lot less than most. lol Since March 1st, the carpenters have only been here about 1/4 of the available time, and that is no good. In one week, this renovation will be 11 months old. Many parts are unfinished that should’ve been completed months ago. No yelling. However, I made it clear on Wednesday that we need to complete this job by the end of June.


When I say completed, if there still needs to be some wallpaper going up or a bit of painting left, that’s okay.


However, I need two working bathrooms, and be able to move back into my bedroom.

In addition, the lead carpenter has had COVID all week. However, carpenter #2 has mad skills and got a lot done on Thursday and Friday. He put the casing around the existing entrance doors, upstairs, and and other missing pieces. What’s left needs to be installed after the doors go in.

new panel moulding living room

The new baseboard is in, but the wainscoting panels and chair rail dying into the mantel need to be done. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying the mantel. It is perfect.

Then, Thursday, early evening, it was clear that I had a cold, a sore throat, and body aches. Man. I AM SICK! And, yes, this time, I’m looking for sympathy. lol, I’ve taken two Covid tests, and both were negative. I had flu, RSV and pneumonia vaxes to try and prevent an exceedingly serious infection.


The other big thing that happened this week was I had a phone meeting with the rep for the company that makes the tapestry papers and fabrics.


I opened a trade account and told her about my blog. She sounded disappointed because there would be no future business from clients, and acted like she was making an exception to let me open a trade account. I don’t need to explain it to you guys.

I asked if they would give a further discount for personal use or in exchange for all the free publicity. Way before blogs, it was common practice in the design trade to give a designer an additional 10% off for personal use.

The answer was a flat-out NO. A discount for publicity, she said she’d bring it up at their meeting the next day.

She was also supposed to send me a PDF of images not on the website with more information.

I didn’t get it, and my intuition tells me I won’t get it either. However, it might be a moot point.


That’s because I began playing around with the two large panels in the living room.


Oh, and I found this lovely Louis XVI-style mirror in France. I know. But, hear me out. It’s at least 1/3 the price of similar mirrors here.

However, I made a rendering of the two living room panels and mirror.


fireplace wall sconce placement tapestry artwork Louis XVI French mirror


No worries. This is a big fat a NO.


It’s all way too busy, too fussy, too much going on, and then we’re going to add the Egyptian Chandelier?


Parisian Fireplace Mantel - new fireplace wall rendering


Impossible. Well, it’s not impossible, but it’s bad design. There are too many divergent elements competing for attention.

I realize I need a simpler design for the mirror without the frills. Well, I found three I adore. More about that soon.


reno April 2024 - Sconce location

In addition, because I was originally putting my screen on the wall opposite the fireplace and over the staircase, I set the sconces 17″ away from their nearby doors. 12″ would’ve been better. They’re not installed, but the boxes have been, and they’ve already moved them once.

So, I decided to go with my original idea and put the screen in that living room. It will reflect in the mirror, so there will be two gorgeous screens.

Now, for the fireplace wall.


Why do you have to do anything on the fireplace wall, Laurel?


Well, I don’t have to, but I want to. In the French rooms, there is usually a door, but in my case, I have over seven feet on each side of a blank wall.

What I really want is something with fewer colors and less going on. It also needs to work with the entry paper, screen, and whatever I’m doing in the den.

Well, I have just the thing.


I’m sorry, I’ll need to continue this on Monday.


While you can offer suggestions, I have it all figured out. Earlier, when I walked out of the bathroom, I looked straight ahead at the newly paneled wall on the kitchen side of the fireplace and gasped. I mean it! Instantly, I was what I had planned, and it was both elegant and smashing.



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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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