The Renovation Building is Complete + Kitchen Details & A Miracle!

Hi Everyone,

Okay, the renovation building is complete– except for the den where I am currently sleeping.

Also, when I say “done,” there are still a few things, like adjusting the kitchen pantry shelves. And, there, all the new flooring

around the stairs will be replaced. Brendan and Eugene removed it today.

By the way, I updated the living room guardrail rendering from Sunday with a new sofa. Please check it out here.


So, for the next two posts, we will look at all the new details and much more that’s going on.


One of the most gratifying is that the toe kicks were put on the cabinets last week, and the dishwasher was installed with its panel. Today, on the new Blomberg fridge, they installed the fridge panels that were created ON SITE for the lemon Bertazzoni fridge.

And let me tell you.

Never mind, I don’t have to tell you. You can see for yourself. ;]


kitchen range wall - new Blomberg refrigerator with custom panels - Crown Point Cabinetry Schaub appliance pulls

I was all prepared for the guys to have to do something creative to get those panels on there. It did take them a couple of hours, but I’ve never seen such a masterful job of paneling on a refrigerator. Never mind that I held my breath that the new Blomberg refrigerator would fit inside the small allotted space. I measured like ten times, and the space I had was 3/16″ of an inch larger than the minimum allowed for the height and width according to the Blomberg specifications.

Well, as you can see, it couldn’t all fit together more perfectly!

How is this fridge, Laurel?


It’s wonderful! The door actually closes with zero effort and requires a light tug to open as it should. The hold on the Bert fridge was so weak that half the time, when I shut the freezer, the fridge door would spontaneously open, but not enough to notice. Then came the ensuing cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo… alarm that the door was open.


That grating cuckoo always sounded like: Hey idiot cuckoo; you left cuckoo the door cuckoo open… hehe cuckoooooo…


Well, you little POS (It really is), I did no such thing! You opened it yourself and then dared to blame it on me. Nice try, but I’m not taking any crap from a whiny refrigerator that cost me nearly two thousand dollars!

Now, onto the new toe-kicks that have been chilling in the closet since last August!


kitchen range wall - new Blomberg refrigerator with custom panels - Crown Point Cabinetry Schaub appliance pulls

Okay, both kitchen designers I worked with at Crown Point Cabinetry urged me not to do this low of a toe-kick because getting one’s toe caught in the toe-kick space is not fun.

Alas, they are correct, IF wearing a shoe with a platform.


My Dansko clog sandals are terrific to slip on because walking barefoot is dangerous around here.


Well, so are open-toe clogs with my new toe-kicks. They’re very comfortable sandals, but they raise my toes well over an inch higher than normal. And you guessed it; I banged my toe but good week. Normally, I walk around with only socks on. Then, there’s plenty of room. So, for now, I am “hoist by my own pitard.”

I fell in love with this lower-than-average toe-kick many years ago when I worked with another (unnamed) company in Greenwich, CT. You can see their work in the image below, which is from a bathroom I designed in 2013.


bronxville-bathroom-window-floor - radiator

You can see more of this bathroom here.

That contractor was fantastic. He was from Scotland. Alas, when I contacted him a few years later, he said he was doing something else.


In case you are wondering, we did not do the shaped toe-kick everywhere in my new kitchen.


The reason is that with nine cabinet bases, plus the dishwasher, I feel 18 shaped toe kicks would be too much. So, we did the shaped toe-kick on five of the cabinet bases only, and I love how it turned out.


dishwasher panel - Bosch dishwasher

You can’t do a toe-kick for the dishwasher, or the door won’t open. So, for variation, we did the squared-off one for the two little cabinets flanking the sink, which does have a shaped toe kick. I’ll add that for tomorrow so you can see. Normally, we would do the return for this toe-kick, but it’s not possible. I’ll show you the entire sink wall on Wednesday so you can see how terrific it looks.


range wall in my new kitchen with newly installed fridge panel and toe kicks
I only had the two lamps on for this image because the overhead bulb and sometimes the hood light, which is usually on, cause so much distortion.


I’ll take more detailed shots of this, as well, for Wednesday’s post.


There is also news about the downstairs vanity. I have to admit that there are times when I feel a certain amount of rage regarding the floor downstairs. I mean, I’m spending all of this money, and while I don’t expect perfection, I don’t love being told that the floor slopes three inches from where the new door is across 15′-4″ to the back of the shower and toilet.



Why was I only told this when it was too late to do anything about it?



One inch, okay. No one is going to notice such a gradual slope. However, it is quite noticeable in the entry and as we’ve already gone over several times, the bathroom.

So, please stay tuned for what happened when the guys set up the new vanity. Temporarily, that is.


Now, for the best news one could ever hope to have after a renovation in its 13th month.


One, the renovation building—the massive dust-making kind is finished. Yes, I just had to have zillions of mouldings. Well, I don’t regret doing that for one second, but… I did a happy dance for real when I saw that the giant buzz saw had been put away for good.

That is for a few weeks. There is still work to be done in the den. However, I expect that to take maybe three days at the most. That will happen after we can move everything downstairs at the end of the month.

For Wednesday, I’ll also have an update on the painting and the floors, too.


But, I saved the very best news for last.


My lovely neighbor upstairs goes abroad for five weeks every summer. Last year, she offered me her place for July. So, last week, I asked her if that offer was still available.

It is.

Today, she gave me the keys to her apartment for five weeks. And she’s refusing to take any money. She says she’d rather the place not look like no one’s living there. I will need to get her a very nice gift!


Remember a couple of weeks ago when everything was crashing down on me at an alarming rate, and I handed everything over to God?



Well, I must say, He certainly stepped up to the plate and then some. I am incredibly grateful for this massive break!

This means we can speed things up a little because some of the dirty work could get done upstairs, as long as the stairs are covered.

Isn’t that the best?


Hey, you could throw a big party, Laurel!


haha, yes, I could. Or, at least, have a place to sit down with a friend or two. At the very least, my son Cale can have a quiet place this week. He’s going to NYC for two days and then will be back for a few more days before heading back to western Mass.

There’s much more for Wednesday.



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27 Responses

  1. Someone asked about cleaning around the toe kicks. I don’t know if this is appropriate for you, or for this person, but mine are held in place with heavy duty velco. I can remove them, clean behind them, access underneath easily for vaccuming filters, etc., and then put them back. Plus, if they get dirty from dark colored soles hitting them, I can put them at a level that is easy to see and clean them with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Just a thought……..

    P.S. Everything looks wonderful. So rewarding when you get so close to the end to see all the progress. The inspection video was great to, for a before and after comparison of all you’ve done. Superb!

  2. Thank you Laurel, that post is incredible, so informative. Yes, yes I get it! Furlow Gatewood was such a master. I appreciate you taking the time to answer. Your apartment will be the envy of Comm Ave!

  3. Oh, it’s so wonderful to hear your happy tone in this post after so many setbacks. You kitchen looks gorgeous; I really love that crown molding so much. I’m so glad you could have Cale come to visit you – what a treat! I know that God is in the details of our lives and he hears our prayers. Thank you for sharing your experience with that, Laurel. You are blessed and you are a blessing to us!

  4. ‘I handed everything over to God’…’He certainly stepped up to the plate and then some.’ No surprise, for as Scripture tells us, “He does all things well.” Blessings, Gloria

  5. Laurel, your blog is always the first email I read, I look forward to it so much! And it never disappoints! Everything is stunning! There is so much beauty, it would be impossible to choose a favorite!

    Your turning it all over to God gave me chills. I need to remember to do the same so often. Yes, you’ve been blessed! So thankful for your place to stay and for the way things are coming together at last!

  6. Laurel,
    Please give updates on your Bloomberg refrigerator. My Maytag is 25 years old. I haven’t been able to find a quality refrigerator that will fit in my small kitchen. Thanks for all your posts. Everything is coming together nicely.

    Pat A.

  7. Your kitchen is amazing…love, love, love! You should be so proud of your design! It’s such fun to see all of your progress photos- the good and the bad.

  8. It’s looking beautiful.

    How do you clean under the toe kicks?

    Or perhaps more accurately, how hard would it be for me as a dog having child having person to keep it clean under there?

    I am nervous as we get closer to our renovation about maintaining the finishes on cabinets and inside them.

    I feel like maintaining things properly is important but how will they look in a year or three or ten when you are using a kitchen daily? This is the thought I keep turning over in my mind.

    1. Hi Celeste,

      The space underneath only goes back 5″ before a vertical piece of wood comes down to the floor. My vacuum does fit underneath, as well. It would make me crazy if there wasn’t that piece coming down to stop debris from getting stuck in the space underneath the cabinet.

  9. I like the rendering you created with the couch. It appears that the low back will show off the rail nicely.

  10. What a superb restoration.

    I’m very glad the transformation has been so well documented because it’s now hard to imagine how the space could look any different. Thousands of decisions (and dollars) later you’ve made it look so elegantly obvious 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the all of it.

  11. Laurel, your kitchen is bang on gorgeous! Hopefully you are not getting tired of reading this – just joking 😉 And I agree with your son – the work downstairs (and upstairs) is genius. Loved the video. Was delighted to see the railing – I think it is perfect. And once you have moved onto decorating, we will all see how it all fits together. Bravo! PS: really like the chandelier change in the living room.

  12. Your kitchen is beautiful, classic in design, yet very elegant! I can’t wait to see the final details of the rest of your home, it’s going to be gorgeous!

  13. Hi Laurel,
    I didn’t have an opportunity to read Sunday’s post until now. Your son & new railing are very handsome. Once the downstairs area is completed please pose on the steps in your gold dress. 😂
    Love the toe kicks. I’m confused about why your dishwasher won’t open with a toe kick. I have a paneled dishwasher with a removable toe kick (in case it needs to be serviced). I have no issue opening the door.
    The new sofa you’re considering is a stunner. But you are wise on ordering it until the renovation is complete.
    I can’t wait to read the next post. These are the kind of posts I love. When you’re telling us about the wonderful things happening. When you’ve run into problems in the past I always feel so bad for you. But it seems like you’re in the final stages of your huge project now.

    1. Hi Mary,

      I was told it couldn’t have a toe kick, but with some clever engineering, it sounds like it is possible. Since it’s tucked back in the corner and on the much less visible side, it’s not that important to me.

  14. Finally things are coming together, Laurel! Did I miss a post on what’s happening with the new painter? What’s going on with that now? I think a little luncheon or get together might be in order for the other tenants in your building. This reno has been a long haul for them as well…

    1. Hi Colleen,

      The new painter info will be coming out tomorrow. There’s so much to write about! As for the neighbors other than the one above me, there is another above me who is very supportive. In 2021, they redid a tiny bathroom, (were all set to go) and painted and it took four months! My sister duplex was just sold and no one has been there for a few months, and the new owner has not moved in yet. The last unit are people who are only there sporadically. But, def, a building party, late fall, early winter is in order! At most, there are only eight people living in the whole building!

  15. Laurel, can you expound on the idea of too many pairs in a room? I’m putting together a library with a pair of leather chairs and a pair of large urns on top of a pair of pedestals. Now I’m thinking oh dear. How many pairs are too much?

    On another note, your home is so beautiful. You really have brought the original architecture to life. Such a good job.

    1. I think this post talks about that. Too many pairs

      I think when it comes to the big pieces, and a symmetrical layout, pairs are fine. There will always be some single pieces. I think it’s worse, unless it’s a boho style, when everything is mismatched giving it a tag sale look. But, where the deviation is helpful is with the small things.

  16. What a gorgeous kitchen! Congratulations. It’s all coming together as you imagined even if you didn’t imagine the time it would take or the “surprises” you would encounter. Giving it up to God is always a good idea. What a lovely neighbor you have!!

  17. Wow! I am speechless about your kitchen. July is looking good too. I am so happy for you. Also, you couldn’t have chosen a nicer sofa than the Jules for your rendering. It is my favourite. Things are certainly coming together!

  18. It looks absolutely amazing and it is always going to be classic. I love the mouldings and the lines. I loved the turning everything over to the Most High comment. I am so happy that you finally got your dream kitchen. I am praying that HE will give me mine. HE will, HE Is that GOOD!

    1. Hi Juliet,

      I am blessed. If asked ten years ago about the possibility of living where I am and being able to do this renovation, I would’ve seriously been rolling on the ground in laughter. My default response was always, “In my next lifetime.”

      It wasn’t until the later part of 2015 that things began to turn around. I was NOT making ends meet, even living an exceedingly modest lifestyle. However, I did own my apartment in Bronxville. Selling that made all of this possible. Buying this place was possible because of the ridiculously low interest rates in 2020.

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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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