Mrs. Laurel Builds Her Parisian Dream House

The other day, I received this comment from Courtney:


Adore your blog! I think a fab post or series would be if you designed/built your dream home, what would it look like. I’d love to see that.


Well, I did a take off of the hilarious 1948 film, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House with Myrna Loy and Cary Grant. I was watching some scenes on youtube and it’s funny how many things are pretty much the same as then. Like wanting an en suite bathroom for every bedroom and lots of closets!


Laurel, What’s with the “Mrs. Laurel” in the title?


Oh, haha. Yes.

Well, as most of you know, I am trying to create my dream bedroom and get the bathroom fixed and a few other things, like the kitchen one day.

I’ve contacted three contractors and gave them my “to do list.” Two haven’t gotten back to me and the third is my super, Jose. Yes, in addition to being superintendent of our apartment building, he is also a general contractor.

Great? Right? I mean, he’s right here! In fact, I could easily blow out his windows from my apartment as it’s just across the narrow part of the courtyard, but on the first floor.

I sent him an email with my wish list.

No response.


I saw Jose in the hall, two days later and he said, “Hi Mrs. Laurel, I got your email, I’ll be in touch.”


No word.

Two days later, I saw him in the hall again.

“I’m coming by Saturday, Mrs. Laurel.”

Okay, great Jose, any time after 1:30 will be fine.

On Saturday, on my way out to ballet, I see Jose in the hall again and I said, “Any time after 1:30, right?”

“Yes, Mrs. Laurel. I’m bringing a carpenter.”

Great, Jose. See ya later!

Right. He never showed up. Didn’t call. Nada.


So, if anyone knows of a great GC in the New York City Metropolitan area who isn’t a flake, please either email me or write it in the comments.


Just want you to know that if you’re not in the biz, that we have trouble getting people to do work too. Or at least I do!

Oh well, back to the topic at hand.


My dream house.


This is very difficult. Very, very difficult. And it’s because I love so many things!

But fine. There are some things that I love no matter what with the physical architecture of my dream house.


I know that this might sound strange, but I prefer either an apartment or a townhouse.


Or rather urban living over country living. I’ve had both and because I have a strong tendency to isolate, living in the country where one must drive everywhere, is not a good thing for me. Visiting is divine, but full-time, no.

Butttt… probably not New York City. It’s just tooooo loud and crazy to live there all the time. Plus, people ARE rude. Well, okay, it’s not that they’re rude, so much. They’re just wearing blinders.

I looked in all of my favorite cities like Boston, Charleston, London and then Paris.

Even though I’ve never been to Paris, I’ve certainly seen many dream houses and apartments there!

And then I found it. Although, from the title, I suppose that you already knew that it is in Paris. haha

dream house - Parisian Living Room entrance hall SothebysHere’s the listing at Sotheby’s Realty.

The front door to the home is down this enfilade. Remember when we talked about enfilades?

The glass doors on the left go out to the garden.  Here’s a post about beautiful urban gardens.

Please note that the price is “available upon request.”

I guess that goes under the category of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

Should I make an offer?



This is the library.

For more gorgeous libraries, click here.

And here, we can see why I’m madly in love with this place.

  • The architectural detailing
  • Floor to Ceiling Windows and doors
  • High, high ceilings. I would say at least 12 feet.


Whoever lives here has done a lot of traveling, it appears. Oh, and they also don’t watch the HGTV ‘decluttering’ method of home staging for house sale. 

Thank God!

I love the pale, warm colors and the bleached parquet floors. Yummy! However, this room is rather narrow. See how the sofa is butted up against the bookcase? That’s no good.

If it was my place, I’d take that bookcase out and leave the two on either end. That would be more than enough space for books. In fact, all of my books would fit on three of the shelves.

Then, I would put a sofa against the wall where the long bookcase  currently is and instead of the two sofas, I would put two beautiful chairs.

There would be end tables and table lamps as well.

Another enfilade looking through the library and at the end is the dining room. Wait until you see that!

The other thing I love is that the rooms are a nice, cozy size. I’ve come to realize that I really do prefer rooms to be on the smaller side. Just as long as we have a high ceiling.

My ceilings are currently nine feet which I love.


I’m quite intrigued by the Roman shades. These are the classic kind, but you don’t see them very often in the US. They are probably made of a sheer linen. And those lines going across are stays. I’ve never seen a custom-workroom who does these.

You guys who make window treatments, do you make these yourself or do you get them from a more industrial window treatment factory?

I do see that Hunter Douglas makes this type of treatment, but not quite as refined.

I know that it’s like that for the top down shades as well. They are factory-made. At least that’s what I was told years ago by the two workrooms I used at the time.

sheer linen Roman ShadesWhile I think that the Roman shades with the stays are cool for this Parisian home, I prefer this kind of Roman Shade, for me. But with such huge windows, I imagine that the stays are necessary so that they can go up and down more easily.

For more beautiful Roman shades, please check out this post.

Parisian dream home dining room - gorgeous windows! Sothebys Realty

And the dining room, I mentioned earlier! Mon Dieu! That’s insane! This has to be a decorator who lives here! Don’t you think? I’m a little surprised at how small the dining table is, however. Maybe it’s to ward off having a lot of guests. But shame. They need to share this place!

For more great dining room ideas, please check out this post.

The kitchen is certainly pretty, but of course, we are wondering where the island is? I could see a beautiful antique pine work table. And I’m wondering if that’s all the cabinets there are. It certainly is different from American kitchens and English kitchens too, for that matter.

dream house - Parisian bathroom

I believe that this is the master bath. Doesn’t that shower, assuming that’s what that’s a shower is verrrry small? Unless it’s the water closet? I would kill for that Venetian mirror. Sick!

The beautiful mirrors as well as the pale colors in this home are reminding me of the young designer in New Orleans, Rivers Spencer.

dream house - Parisian Master Bedroom

And now, the master bedroom suite.

dream house - Parisian master bedroom with art wall

Love the art wall!

Some of my favorite art walls are here.

Well, there it is!

Mrs. Laurel’s Dream House.


Well, the Parisian one.

I’m sure that I have about five more to build.

In the meantime, I put together a widget filled with things that I love and that I would put in this lovely French home.

Please click on the individual images, if you’d like to know more about that item.



And below is a close up of the wonderful fretwork design on the stools.

Vintage Hickory Chair fretwork stools on Chairish


Well, that was sure a fun fantasy. What does your dream house look like?


PS: Don’t forget to check out this week’s hot sales!

64 Responses

  1. Laurel, I had to check out this B&W Cary Grant movie after reading your post! Found it (and lots of other Cary Grant movies) on Amazon Prime. What a fun movie and it was crazy to hear the cost of building/land back then. Also enjoyed the room architectural details, even though they were movie sets, was beautiful. Thanks for another interesting blog post Laurel.

  2. LOL Thank you Laurel! I bet it was some kind of copywright issue. I’m like a kid who likes a picture book instead of reading! The paintings, sketches etc always add to the color (no pun intended) of the room and the owners sensitivities.
    That’s why I come back time after time.
    Be well!

  3. Hi Laurel! Oh what a beautiful space and I don’t even know you personally, but that Parisian apartment is so YOU! I cannot wait to see your bedroom reveal and what you have been cooking up in your bathroom. Good luck finding a GC to help with your project. It’s maddening when people are flaky. Dealing with the same thing myself. By the way, have you ever seen the blog “hooked on Houses”? Many movie houses with great pics. I used to frequent it before I found you. Lol!! I saw some comments about doing something on movie houses. That would be a lot of fun!! Saying a little prayer you find the right contractor! As for Paris….you absolutely positively must must go one day. You will love it and never want to return. 😍💗

  4. Oh, Mrs. Laurel! My dream house looks just like yours. And, never been to Paris?!?! Mon Dieu. Please, please can we all go on a Parisienne design tour together? I’ll start saving my pennies now, okay?

  5. Hi Laurel!
    This is a wonderful blog this week. The rooms are cool and warm at the same time and one gets the feeling of lightness. I do have a question though – why blur out the what is probably fantastic art work? I am staring at the pictures trying to figure them out! They are part of the entire room. I’m sad.
    Thank you for reading this.

    1. Hi Rosemarie,

      I noticed that too, and agree, but that IS what the artist chose to do. It’s not a piece I would’ve chosen. Maybe it was a gift. ;] Or maybe it’s meant to be disturbing.

  6. That could also be my dream home!
    I do make window treatments (for myself), because I enjoy sewing and love saving money and having a high quality window treatment. For Roman shades I use stays if the shades will be used, because they’re a mess when you open, otherwise. If it’s a fixed or faux Roman, I like the relaxed look, but the relaxed look can be super sloppy, especially in linen, if you use them at all.
    There’s a workroom in your neck of the woods that does top up bottom down. Her name is Deb, and she owns Leatherwood designs. I follow her blog, because her work is gorgeous. She’s done some sheer shades, as well.

    1. Hi Susie,

      I don’t sew, but I’ve had made 100s of Roman Shades over the last 25 years. My only question was the shades with dowels or whatever they’re called. They’re very unusual.

      Actually, I like the relatively messy look of the soft Roman shades and I forgot that I had them in my old home for ten years. How did I forget? Well, they were just there and I enjoyed them and forgot what they were. You can see them in my portfolio on the stair landing with the green settee. I used that fabric for clients too, but usually I had them lined, but not always. Thank you for sharing the information about Leatherwood Designs.

  7. You picked a good one! Love your choices to decorate, especially the panel ‘excerpt’ and the black console and mirrored coffee table. Which is now on sale, “the Laurel Effect”? I could have sworn it wasn’t on sale when I first looked at it.

    For my dream home I would like a bigger bathroom.

    1. Hi Libby,

      Haha! The Laurel effect is very funny! But Wisteria does have a lot of sales so it’s probably not the LE.

      I would LOVE a bigger bathroom!

  8. I guess my “dream house” is anything that reminds me of my grandparents’ house. That’s why I have filled my condo with lots of vintage family heirlooms. Like the light, airy feeling in your dream house, reminds me of Gustavian which I love. Snow starting to melt here after latest storm.

  9. When someone says “Dream Home”, I just have a flicker of an image in my mind of a lovely window with sheer white curtains blowing in a breeze, nothing more, but it makes my heart zing.

    I’m just not a decorator, but I love your dream home.

  10. Laurel, I LOVE this apartment! Just about everything in it! I was swooning as I read and re-read! Your widget examples are just beautiful, too! Before we found our “dream contractor” I called so many who never called back. It was 2010-11 when they were moaning about not having work. I really didn’t understand. BUT we waited and our prince came along! XO

    1. I was thinking about you the entire time and the bedroom in particular made me think of your old bedroom. I knew that you’d love it too!

      And that makes me feel better about the contractors. The other thing is that they stand to get a lot of free publicity. And not just from me. But I’m used to people not getting it. It’s only 3.5 million people landing on my site every year. Yes, I know. It doesn’t seem possible, but I just checked google analytics and the first three months this year, January through March there were 897,000 unique visitors and 2,000,000 page views!

  11. Laurel – You just made me laugh…..and chuckle out loud here at work in my office in Utah………..

    “Whoever lives here has done a lot of traveling, it appears. Oh, and they also don’t watch the HGTV ‘decluttering’ method of home staging for house sale.

    Thank God!

    hahahah I love it! and your blog.

  12. Hi Laurel,

    This has to be my dream apartment too! We have been dreaming about moving to France fir a while now…
    Those Roman blinds look suspiciously like Ringblomma blinds from IKEA, which are very sheer and have magnetic strips sewn inside that you can lift the curtain up and shorten it by snapping the strips together. And they do have IKEAs in France! My interior designer friend moved there recently and is redoing her 200 year old apartment and just installed an IKEA kitchen.

    Love this post! Hope you have a great week!


    1. Hi Liz,

      I looked up the Ringblomma blinds and saw only one fabric that looks like a cotton duck. It’s definitely a similar idea, at the very least. Maybe there are other fabrics available somewhere else.

      1. Hi Laurel,

        I looked at the photo again on the real estate site and yes, those blinds are definitely Ringblomma from IKEA! I know because I helped a friend stage her house for sale last summer and I used them. They are extremely sheer and if you look closely at the photos you can see how some of them are hiked up at different levels. Too funny!!


        1. Hi Liz,

          Sorry, I’m still not convinced that they are from Ikea.

          The Ikea shades only come in one length and only 5 widths. They are obviously too short and the chances that the width just happens to work out as perfectly as it does, are very slim.

          These almost definitely are custom-made to fit these ginormous windows. But thank you for the info. They are very similar to the Ikea shades, for sure.

  13. Hi Laurel –
    Love your blog! Thank you for sharing.
    I am an Interior Designer in NJ. I have a fantastic GC who lives very close to NYC. I can give you his contact information if you’re still looking for someone.

  14. Hi Laurel, I am a drapery workroom, and was intrigued by your question on the sheer romans. These would not be difficult to fabricate. The horizontal slats serve a couple of purposes. They hide the rings necessary to contain the string to pull the shade up, and stabilize the treatment. I suspect that those are thin flat slats inserted in “pockets” in the shade created for insertion.Then the rings would be sewn to the back of the pockets. The lift string would need to be clear to minimize seeing them through the sheer fabric.But totally doable

    1. Hi Sally,

      Yes, I know that they are doable and why they’re done this way. Sorry if the way I put it wasn’t clear. I just wanted to know if any smaller workrooms make them because I rarely see them, anywhere. And then the two workrooms I was using for years did not make them when I inquired. And one said “oh, those are factory-made.” But thanks for your answer.

  15. I’ll take all of it! I already own a Harbor Blue velvet sofa and the rug is in my cart as we speak. Thanks for all of the inspiration! Oh and if you’re not crazy about living in NYC I think you’d feel the same about Paris.

    1. Hi Danae,

      Well, I’m jealous if you’re getting that rug! You know here is what I’ve said my entire life about where one lives. Well, maybe from the age of 20 or so.

      “it doesn’t matter where you are. What matters is who you’re with and what you’re doing.”

      But a gorgeous living space surely makes whatever you’re going through a little sweeter.

  16. Love the chalky white of those walls. I think that you’ve probably already analyzed what’s a good match. Let us know what you’ve come up with.

  17. Laurel – You have such excellent taste. Yes, I agree, stripping your home for resale may make the space feel larger but there is no “wanting” . I took down some of my artwork as my realtor said the consensus was everyone was looking at my artwork and not the home. She was trained to “stage” homes. My no was a no and I didn’t repaint anything. Poor fellow who purchased it has it “decorated” like a fraternity house. Don’t think he cared about the artwork or the color of the walls. It is no long my monkey or my circus and I love what I have done with new space. Of course, when I leave here toes up, my son will have to deal with the realtor and take down some of my artwork.

    1. Hi Diana,

      Too funny about your buyer. I’ve had clients who’ve purchased some real dogs but in nice areas so it makes sense to put money into them. But the point is that they bought the homes in not-very-good shape and paid a fortune too!

  18. Sorry, I have to jump in here regarding dryers in the UK. Everyone has driers in their homes. Condenser or electric driers are a staple in most family homes. The kitchen or pantry pulleys that you are talking about tend to be found in larger homes and are a throw back to times when there was upstairs living and downstairs kitchens and staff. My parents still have a pulley in their home which they do use for drying on occasion but definitely not as the norm or due to the cost of electricity. I think most people regard pulleys quite fondly due to their sense of history and general usefulness! Although I live in the States, I still try to line dry my clothes outside when the weather permits. Obviously I’m in the minority here but British laundry habits still make sense to me on both an ecological and domestic front! I also own an iron and ironing board which I make good use off which my American neighbors view as quaint! I just need a utility room big enough for a pulley and an ironing station and then I will feel right at home.
    Love your blog Laurel. It’s fascinating and informative – thank you!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Someone told me the name of those pulley things. A Molly something. Oh well. I presume that people have dryers. I wish I did and a washing machine too. I have to lug everything to the first floor of my building but it’s not that bad.

  19. The house is beautiful! But I could only enjoy it after I took a few calming breaths over your issue of getting workers to show up! I constantly have the same problem. If they don’t want the work just say so instead of stringing us along.
    Why Why Why? So even designers have the same issue as the rest of us! Good luck with your real home projects- I know it will be fabulous!

  20. Hi Laurel,
    I only check my email because I’m hoping to see your posts! You never fail to entertain and educate me!
    About those Romans with “stays”…we workrooms do make them if a customer wants them. I call them “ribs” as I think a lot of U.S. workrooms call them. I find people here get touchy about seeing them when light comes from behind and that may be why they aren’t as popular. There are a few different ways of fabricating shades with ribs. Another story for another time.
    If a south-facing window wants silk curtains, give it silk curtains!! Be sure to line them with top-quality lining and interlining. use a pretty, coordinating fabric (not silk!) for the hem turnings with a micro cord or welt in the seam. Lead edge banding works well, also, to keep sun off the silk.
    Those are my two-cents’ worth of opinions from my to-the-trade custom workroom in PA!

    1. Hi Rosalie,

      Yes, ribs is a good word for them! I have read about them and I think I saw a video about how to fabricate with the ribs. But, they aren’t very common around here. And yes, they get touchy and about seeing the rings/strings too. So, I always tell them that if we’re doing anything at all sheer, they will probably see them unless they are only on the ends. That’s usually what I do.

      I’m sure that I’ve done silk in south facing, but of course, I always line and interline silk drapes. Probably black out lining if south facing, to be on the safer side.

  21. I’m am so with you on the Paris apartment, Laurel! Just beautiful! I’d also be living the dream in pretty much any movie set by Nancy Keyes! Especially the kitchen from “It’s Complicated” and the beach house from “Something’s Got To Give”! Maybe that’s a post idea? Movie sets we could move into??

    1. Hi Bobbie,

      Yes, I would have Nancy do my home too! That’s a great idea for a post. It’s difficult to get good images from movies usually, unless one does screen shots from youtube.

  22. I’m not a workroom professional but have made plenty o’ Roman Shades…with and without dowels/stays.

    I do use dowels for my wide windows. Mine are lined to be room darkening and are in two rows of three windows each. I like them to be perfectly even when they are open in this room (weird about that) and since the top bank of windows are high, the doweling ensures they lay nicely and adjust easily (if/when necessary) without a ladder 🙂

    My take: super light or super heavy fabric benefits from the structure. Fabric with enough body, or hung on more standard size windows, look and lay beautifully without the added “help”.

    The treatments in your photo seem like a purposeful contrast to me…the long draperies are a little loose looking (unstructured pleating), if the shades were also unstructured the windows may have gone from airy to messy.

    That’s my untrained take. 🙂

    1. Hi Em,

      I think that your take is accurate. I’ve done a zillion Roman shades in my lifetime. errr… rather, I cracked the whip and someone else sewed them! It has to number in the hundreds. And what’s my problem? I really must be losing it. ***I*** had semi-sheer unlined 100% linen Romans in my own home for TEN YEARS!

      I’ve even pictured them here. Okaaaaay, I’ll go find a post with them. Never mind. They are in my freaking portfolio! (with the green settee on the stair landing.) They are the soft kind or whatever they’re called. People have different names. Relaxed. Whatever. The rings are sewn on the ends and so they curve. More, of course, if the window is wide and not at all if the window is about 18″ or less wide. Mine were about 26″, so a nice subtle curve. Really pretty.

      I am thinking about doing something similar for my new bedroom, but I was also thinking of putting this beautiful Greek Key on the hem, so I would need to have another row of rings in the center, so that there isn’t a dip.

      Thanks so much for your ideas! Love the name of your blog. And too funny, your last post was about Roman Shades! It’s a sync world! xo

  23. Beautiful apartment, Laurel!
    My dream home would be Brooke and Steve Gianetti’s home in Ojai, California. Or a period home in Maine on the coast.

    1. Hi Diana,

      Okay, those are 3 of my five homes! I need one that’s heavily Gustavian. But I suppose that they’ll all have some painted furniture! I think that we need one in Venice and definitely London too! Oh wait. That’s six. Okay, six homes. lol

  24. Beautiful. I am very glad you, like, as I do, pale, pale floors. The creaminess of this apartment is lush. I love color, but I might go paler in the future with lots of cream spread around.

    I have a white sofa in Sunbrella bleachable fabric. I’m pairing everything with grey, grey blue and blue/purple ikat (I have sewing to do).

    But what is going on with the messy but beautiful drapes. They aren’t trained to fall nicely, or is this a factor of the 12′?

    I would need all those bookshelves, yes, I would. But only one reading lamp?

    I am guessing this is a one woman apartment.

    Great post, again.

    1. Hi Ramona,

      It’s over 3,000 sq feet. I think there’s more than one person living there. I think it has four bedrooms. I just didn’t post everything and neither did they. And yes, more light is needed!

  25. My dream house looks like the Bennett’s home from pride and prejudice. The mini series or the more recent movie. Either one is beautiful inside and out. Although I would give some of it a bit of a sprucing up if it is the newer one, lol! Ugh, but I love them both so much.

  26. How fun! Which dream house is the question. The adobe rancher in the dessert with solar-heated pool, the brownstone in NYC, the Victorian in Victoria or the terraced villa in an olive grove in Tuscany? I’d take this Paris abode if I had too. Hahaha. Dream, dream, dream….

    1. Oh, one of each! I imagine the Parisians think that we’re very odd over here. Especially when we’re trying to sell our homes. I don’t disagree! I’ve always felt that things should be clean and tidy, certainly, but there’s nothing wrong with having your beautiful things out! To me, it looks like a warm, home filled with love, not a sterile, soulless cavity!

  27. Very beautiful! I read that Parisiennes eat out every night and don’t usually have ovens. I haven’t been to Paris in a long time but remember the plumbing being sketchy in Europe in general.
    Oh, and in a kitchen post you asked why English people hand their tea towels in the kitchen from a drying rack. It is because no one in England (except probably the very rich) has dryers because of the cost of electricity.

    Do you prefer blue or white sofas?

    1. Hi Susan,
      That’s all very interesting, especially about the dryers.

      I remember when I got to the first hotel in Italy, it took me a fair amount of time to figure out how to flush the toilet!

      I prefer white everything!

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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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