A Wonderful Living Room Transformation!

A little mid-week post about a wonderful living room transformation!


Today, an installation and a vestige of a drapery sheer that was clinging on for dear life. hehehe. Not for much longer!

Another lovely client, this one in Pelham, NY which is a short drive away from Bronxville. We did this room in nearly record time, but then, you may recall, I went on a shopping trip early in September.

And now, we have furniture!

But first.

The old furniture.


Fat, bloated sectional which caved in on one end.


Yes, the place was a mess. Her son was getting ready to go off to school. But, in reality, it was very hard to move around in the room in any case. It seemed small. But when I measured it, I discovered that the living room isn’t that small at all! It is roughly 13.6′ x 23′. That’s actually pretty average for these parts.

We decided to work with the existing rug and walls. The only thing staying was the lovely Baker bombe book-case in the top image.

I’m sorry.

No, wait. I’m not sorry. What IS that window treatment supposed to be? It reminds me of a bad Imogene Coca 50’s hair cut.


Imogene Coca and Sid Caesar via Etsy

I guess I better shutup before someone tells me I’m going to hurt somebody’s feelings.



Imogene is not the only one capable of using poor judgment in hairstyles, ya know. Some of you may remember this 80’s gem from this post. Proctor and Gamble, young-demented housewife.

Geeeezzz talk about your digressions! lol

See what crazy-assed-effed-up-draperies will do to me??? But I see this kind of stuff all the time! Haven’t they ever opened up a House Beautiful or Elle Decor?

Of course, I was there for a reason. :]


And here’s the after!

We debated doing the entire slipper chair out of Le Lac, but it’s like 280/yard NET. And I threw it in at cost just for the pillows!

These are cell phone shots, by the way. And yes, it was another dark rainy day, so a little grainy and the blues did not photograph well. The drapes are actually a rich teal color where it looks gray.


Someone was asking me the other day because another pet-peeve are the dated “pinch pleats” what they should do instead?

Here’s the updated version and it isn’t that new either. It’s either called a Parisian pleat or a top pinch pleat. In the 20 years I have had my business, I have never done pinch pleats unless the drapes are going under a valance. A proper valance.


Here’s Mario hard at work. I so wished he had been available last week for my photo shoot!


Moving round the room, we have one of my favorite smaller scaled club chairs and sofa by CR Laine. Side table by Tritter Feefer.


We went for broke and did some cool pillows out of Brunschwig and Fil’s Le Lac. It has a huge repeat and we used all of it so that the pillows purposely do not match. Here are two different versions.


Does the table lamp look familiar? You might recall seeing it here. However, it was ordered before I went to High Point.


We’re just missing our coffee table which unfortunately is on back order. And yeah… it’s the #1 Sofa!


I like the contemporary edge it gives which plays off the more contemporary pattern on the drapes. Fabulous design by Candice Olson for Kravet.

I feel that a well designed room is about balance.

I’ll be back soon!



46 Responses

    1. Hi Carla! Thank you so much! It’s sooo funny, but before I went to bed last night, I saw your cute doggie, I think laying on chair with a pillow that was the same as the drapery fabric. (maybe a different colorway) I thought, wow! What a coincidence!

  1. beautiful transformation! at risk of sounding dumb: are pinch pleats REALLY that bad? like is there a huge difference in how a room looks.. (ie what if the curtains are a solid dark material anyway…). asking b/c we got lovely pinch pleats on sale..dread the thought of resewing them.

  2. Fabulous! I love how the original artwork, which before did nothing in the space but scream “art work” now looks so part of the space! fabric is gorgeous on pillows and I’m sure she appreciated the budget friendly way to add in beautiful textile without client having to skip a vacation over it. I actually welcome the look of using different repeats of fabric, keeps it interesting. Table is amazing…love love love the whole space.

  3. I’m wondering about that blue-gray end table beside the sofa. What company? Available to consumers or trade only? It’s lovely, as is the whole room. Thanks!

    1. That is from Tritter Feefer. And yes, it’s sold to the trade, but as I always say, if it’s sold to the trade, it’s also available to consumers. :] It is not a mega expensive line.

  4. As an owner of a high end workroom (we make drapes, slipcovers, cushions, pillows, shades, etc. to order), I wish the drapes had been pleated to pattern. The print looks like a great candidate for it! The Euro pleated drapes (what I call that style) are otherwise lovely. The bold pattern in a fairly quiet room is terrific. Great transformation!! Love a good before and after…

    1. Thanks for stopping by Frances. I like drapes that are on the casual side. It makes me nervous when everything is too perfect. So, I actually like that the pattern falls somewhat irregularly. Same with the pillows. Each one is different and that was intentional. But if the distance from pleat to pleat is different than the pattern repeat, isn’t it going to be off no matter what? I don’t know. I don’t sew. I just crack the whip. lol

  5. Loved what you did in this room. The pillows are fabulous. Just one question,
    Did the homeowner want to keep the paint that was on the walls? The paint is awful.

    1. Hi Denise. Yes, she did, but then last week, she asked me about it and by the time I got back to her about 12 hours later, she had changed her mind! It looks much better in person than how it photographed. It was a very gray day, and that color didn’t translate well.

  6. Love everything in the room! The fabrics are all amazing. My favorite detail is the pleats on the window treatment. I call it a Euro pleat. It’s my fav 🙂

  7. I think the room is beautiful and love love love that you listened to your client and abided by her wishes about what to keep and what to go. The fact that the room is perfect with everyones concerns met including yours as the designer is wonderful. We should all be so lucky to have a designer as an ally.
    It reflects her and how she lives. Her art work is soo right and I love all the things you added. The pillows are so worth it. I hope we get to see the rest of the room eventually and the sun room too. I adore painted ceilings!

    1. Thank you Susan. I very much try to give my clients everything they want. I try to keep an open mind too, but when something is clearly wrong, I’ll find a way to let them know!

  8. I love your teal slipper chair. The details are perfect. I want to kneel next to it and let the seat caress my cheek.

  9. I really like how you worked with what was there. I am having a hard time deciding on end tables as I don’t want matchy matchy and have a weird room lay-out. Thanks for all the great ideas.

    1. Hi Colleen,

      Thanks, it can be a challenge! That’s why I like to mix in painted finishes. It gives a chance to get away from too much wood. There are two of the same greenish table and then a round one that’s actually in a painted finish but it looks like wood. I did them all with Tritter Feefer who can do custom work. For instance with the round table, I made their piece a little larger but lower to match the height of the other two tables.

  10. Do you design the drapes to close if the client wanted to cover the windows or did you use some type of blind on each window? My house has almost the same ugly window treatment. There are 5 windows in a row. Almost an entire wall. Almost impossible to find a solution. Your room is so cheery. Love the colors. The drapes are fabulous.

    1. Hi Dena,

      It’s always a challenge with the wall of windows. What I usually do is Roman shades on the individual windows or just that alone if the client doesn’t have the budget to do both. But sometimes, I do design the drapes to close. I’m doing that on another job right now. And occasionally, we do sheers. But I almost always do a linen sheer, not poly!

  11. Love the transformation. The pillow fabric combo works really well. Love the blue occasional chair too. Personally I prefer solid color Walsh with the addition of art for interest, but then I’m an artist so what would you expect. Keep it up! Oh and if this were my blog, I’d remove the negative comments, wjho needs that?

    1. Hi Jenny, Thanks for the support. Usually I do remove them, but then some people said something so I left that one up. It’s okay. Like I said, I bet that she needs a hug. Me too. :]

  12. This is one of the best transformations yet! Looks like people would actually live in and use this room! People of average or “high average” means. Amazing transformation from that perfectly awful room with the horrible sectional sofa.

    1. Yes Ann! The room was and is used! That’s why the sectional caved in! She got that thing when her kids were little and grimy. Four boys! God bless her! Two nearly put me under a bus! lol

      They’re all out of the house now and she wanted something more “grown up.”

  13. I love it ! What a wonderful transformation working around what the client has already. The teal chair with the beautiful patterned cushion is just gorgeous and ties in with the client’s existing teal lamp. The drapes are so pretty too, as is everything else, sofa, light blue side table with white lamp, coffee table….all fresh and lovely.You do such great work Laurel and you have impeccable taste !

  14. Love the room! The draperies are gorgeous. Tell us about the paint treatment? Looks like a treatment….? What’s the color?
    I haven’t received a link or whatever about the “Paint Secrets” I was supposed to get when registering for the blog… Let me know how I do that.

    1. Thank you Maryanne, Sorry about that. It happens once in a while and no one can figure it out, but hang on… I have it on speed-dial. ;]

      It’s so funny. I have no idea about the walls because they were done a while back but we decided to keep them because they’re nice.

  15. Hi Laurel, can you please tell us a little about those walls and the ceiling color, including what you think about them? (And, for once, please don’t be shy!) Also, that painting disturbs me far more than even the drapes did….

      1. Hi Eileen, I have no idea about the wall color because someone else did it several years ago. It is a faux finish and difficult to describe the color. It’s like a pale beige-ish gold-ish color.

    1. lol. There was a story about the painting which is personal and that would not be appropriate. Art, I rarely judge unless it’s rotting meat or something like that!

      But yeah… we did keep a lot of what she had and what we got rid of she hated. In fact, the day after everything was ordered, she had it all removed!

      The walls, are very neutral in person. And there aren’t a lot of them to see as there are three large openings, a fireplace and two large windows.

      There is a skinny long sun room adjacent and there we painted the walls a cream and the ceiling this really pretty pale aqua blue. The ceiling is lower in that space and it raises it up. That room was just started, so didn’t photograph that side of the room.

  16. Your description of your client’s home before you fixed it can only be described as rude and meanspirited. You were hired to change, not to judge, her home. No wonder she is ‘sooooooo happy’ with your work because she wouldn’t dare not be
    soooooo happy’ for fear of what you might say about her.

    1. Lol, why do accusers of the ” judgement” word never see their own hypocrisy? You are judging Laurel and name calling her as rude and mean-spirited.

      1. What Beth sai!. It’s true that Laurel sort of attacked the curtains and the sofa, and said the room was messy, which it was, but she never insulted the client. No doubt the client was just as dissatisfied and wanted a dramatic change. It’s clear that the room had been decorated a long time ago and our tastes change, and we realize we’ve made mistakes we’re tired of living with. Clearly the client has quite good taste and ideas because this room clearly reflects HER personality, not Laurel’s.

        1. Thank you Elle and you got it exactly. Actually, another designer (?) did that. She was busy with her career and raising four boys and really just wanted it to be functional. Obviously, she realized that it wasn’t working. She has a friend who’s home I did ten years ago and loves it and that’s why she called me.

      2. It’s awesome! What’s awesome about it, is as if by clock-work, I get a message like that about 3 times a month. They are always the same. A clear attack on my character and name calling.

        I figure that they probably need a hug. People who do that are probably desperately lonely and unhappy and looking for an outlet somewhere…

  17. Please explain the furniture trend that was the mismatched sofa thing, with the floral back and solid bottom.

    Obviously, the sectional is gone now but seeing it made me recall that… era… or whatever it was.

    What a beautiful improvement! Love the pillow combos, and the coffee table that’s on back order.

  18. I love the teal slipper chairs…those drapes were really hilarious. Tab tops w a valance. I’ve never seen that. Ever. Anyway I do have a question: I thought pinch pleats were classic…little ones. What is in now? Butterfly pleats? flat panels? Grommet drapes which I don’t care for. Just wondering. And I do subscribe to HB, and Trad Home. I see you’re a nite owl like me. Haha. Betsy O

    1. Hi Betsy. This is like lunchtime for me! LOL But I’ve been a little bit better in recent months.

      Pinch pleats were classic until circa 1995. I used to do a small box pleat or if a heavy drape, an inverted box pleat. I once saw the former in the Donghia showroom and fell in love with it. Now, most of the time, I do the Parisian pleat. In the earlier years of my business, I rarely did patterned drapes. It was almost always a linen of some sort or even a wool sheer which drapes heavenly. Haven’t done that in a long time. It will rot if in direct sunlight.

      And yeah, the tab top pseudo-valance is the most weirdtastic thing. I think they were trying to cover up the traverse rod but then, just do a proper valance all the way across on a board!

      Got an email from my client. She is sooooooo happy! That’s when it’s all worthwhile!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
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