Laurel Street Blog

How do you like the new place? I was feeling kind of cramped in the old, so a few months ago I started to slowly pack things up for the big move to I underestimated the amount of heavy lifting and schlepping, but the good new is today’s moving day!

Scrapbook fodder.

I only spent one half of one Saturday morning designing the old site (that’s not a lot of time)… and since my old condo board (I mean had all these crazy restrictions on what I could and couldn’t do with my own blog, plus there were about to press me for more maintenance fees – well, see Fig. A.

Figure A - 'Nuff said.

So I’m inviting you all over for coffee and cake at the new place immediately. Old bookmarks will still take you here, but if you follow along with me on an RSS feed, I hope you’ll update it to my new FeedBurner address. Just click here to add Laurel Street to your RSS reader du jour (I still use Google. They own me.)

There’s still a few boxes here and there, but the door is aways open – come on over!

As traditional as my home is, I think I could find a way to work one or two of these beauties into my front parlors. I love that they are at once modern but give a nod to the flourishes and embellishments of calligraphic script from the past (or a traditional fabric pattern – I can’t decide which is the influence here). Either way, I love them.

These stylish fireplaces are a product from a German company called Redwitz. These units are kinder to our environment than wood-burners as they only use bio-alcohol to add the romance of flame to a room. They don’t even need to be vented – just hang one on the wall.

Mazzetto blanco by Redwitz

Blanco Close-up

Mazzetto blanco

Mazzetto Nero

Nero Close-up

Mazzetto Rosso


And they also make a round fireplace which I also like very much:

Rondo by Redwitz

Bravo. Tip of the hat to Buzz-Beast.

And despite the fact that 1/3 of the way through the whole project I thought, “You know, somebody out there does this way better than you. Find that person!” I am actually happy with the pillows.

I had to take the picture quick - the dogs have already sprung a deep affection for sleeping on goose feathers.

I also learned a valuable sewing lesson. Do not combine plaid pillow construction with [variable] glasses of red wine. You need your wits about you.

WWYD = What Would You Do?

This Cherry wood dresser was part of my childhood bedroom furniture set. It came out of my Grandmother’s attic when I old enough to have my own room. It’s from the 1930’s or 40’s and it wonderfully made – dovetail drawer joints – and it has seen me through many moves, many different apartments.

I stripped off the old beat up varnish from the whole set during early high school years, but I never put stain or polyurethane back on it after it was stripped. I liked the natural wood back back then, but it’s not doing anything for me now.

I thought an easy update would be new hardware to replace the old wooden knobs, remove the little bumpy decorative details from the corners, then I would paint it. But something funny always happens when I take a picture of something, as I did this morning for this post. I see things completely differently than I do in ‘real life.’

The knobs will go for new hardware but my question is: What would you do? Paint it or stain and varnish it?

Check these wondrous painted creations… first up a WONDERFUL and stylish Norwegian/English blog you may not know about B-Living (Beautiful Living).

Loving the stripes

Or this little number from the fabulous Jamie at I Suwannee blog fame (second image after Rowdy #2  & Pizza):

Cheek pinching is in order

So I need your opinions PLEASE! Stain and a finish or a fun paint treatment?

I know you will want this (I know I do)  to protect your laptop with style. It’s like a trompe-l’oeil case for your computer! Each is handmade from leather and no two are exactly alike.  These come via a company called Twelve South and while they are tailored for Macs they will fit many PCs as well.

I mean come on – how cute is that? I wouldn’t mind the laptop on the coffee table so much if it looked like a beautiful antique book.

P.S. This is my one hundredth (100!) post here at the Laurel Street blog so I’m declaring it my blog anniversary. Technically, I started this whole mess on October 31, 2008 but I liked the roundness of 100 posts so I waited to celebrate. I typically don’t post just any old thing so it’s taken me a while to get to 100 and today’s the day – wheeee!

I’m not going to get too deep here, but I will say that I have taken these two things to heart:

#1 – I have learned that we are having truly engaging and continual conversations with each other through our blogs. It’s like a fun dance party where the bouncer never comes in and turns on the lights (and I am a simply terrible dancer, thanks for not mentioning that).

#2 – I have learned that there are many talented and genuinely thoughtful people blogging about design and decor (see my list of ‘Daily, Dutiful Reads’). So many of you have taken the time to come visit Laurel Street and leave wonderful comments – thank you.

Oh, and by the way, I have no idea what I’m doing here! I’m not an interior designer,  just an art guy with a house. I don’t have deep clipping files for a high volume of posts. I’m not trendy, much less a trend setter.

One hundred posts ago I decided I would share a some of my projects online and join in the conversation. And even though I have no idea what I’m doing with this blog, I must say doing it with all of you is a lot of fun.

Please remind me

why I chose

to do this the hard way.

Hey, I love the New Orleans Saints. And in honor of the playoff game this Saturday, I offer this decor to be burned on the altar of  – well, I don’t know. But it should be probably be burned, somewhere.

Ripped from the Times-Picayune headlines “Living the Who Dat dream in Destrehan

PHOTOS BY BRETT DUKE / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE James and Gina Scott show off their living-area tribute to the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints chair was a recent addition to the home, but the image of Reggie Bush with a real ball protruding from it was the accent piece that put Gina Scott on the road to decor victory.

Gina Scott says the football-shaped clock in the kitchen was a Christmas gift from her mother.

The upstairs bonus room holds spillover decorations, such as the yard ornaments that have been moved inside. The tree, however, stays up year round.

While I want our local team to get to the Superbowl (Geaux Saints!) I don’t want to encourage this decorating behavior. If you spot any of the above symptoms in the home of someone you know, there is a hotline: 1-800-WTF-OMG1.

It’s handy to have, just in case.

I know I do. And it all started with these glossy black doors:

Wow! These are beautiful!

Everybody loves this San Francisco house from Elle Decor – funny but one of the things I admired the most were the glossy black front doors. The hardware and center knobs are beautiful too… but that’s not what got me thinking about pulling out paintbrushes! The glossy black finish looked chic and sleek to me.

Loving the doors. And those picture frames, the consoles, the giant glass hurricanes... and...

There’s a lot to love in this room (I shamelessly pilfered this image from my blog cousin Millie at the Laurel Hedge) but the doors again caught my eye. I believe the image originates from Homehints.

Another fabulous black door.

Another find from Ness of Marley & Lockyer blog and store fame – what a tidy, trim entry. The Wellies make the photo for me – not to mention the black and brass on the front door.

From Better Homes and Gardens via Porchlight blog

Here’s a stunner with sidelights, all rendered in black. It’s from BHG via (my third Australian design blog in one post – wow!) via porchlight interiors. I want a real gardener to deliver those two urns that flank the door to the Laurel Street cottage.

I honestly can't remember where I swiped this image from - please let me know if it looks familiar to you.

Black doors from Joni Webb's Tanglewood client. That door looks wonderful with the black banister.

Joni from the ever amazing Cote de Texas blog talks about when she painted all of her interior doors black – and again where she did it for a client. After seeing this – I love the idea.

A lovely study from Patricia

The wonderful Patricia from pve design is the source of the handsome drawing above – it’s a bit amazing how Patricia’s drawings can inspire inspire us. Take a look at this wonderful post from The House that A-M Built.

Looking good on these French doors!

I think painting the pocket doors black is a pretty hot look. I might be run out of the house if I did this to ours, however.

Above two images from the wonderful Raenovate blog post on a before/after by designer John Willey on an upper East side renovation.

The Laurel Street brown varnished door. I think a serious sanding and high gloss black might do it a real favor. Probably need to rethink the old curtains a bit (they are necessary for basic privacy). And what is up with all those crazy light switches and old alarm system box? Hmm.

Now I just need to figure out how to make it happen. Anybody have any painting tips for me to get that black high-gloss look?

Someone did say it and I made out like a bandit, despite the whole needle/haystack situation – $7.00 a yard!

I’m glad I persevered sorting through a mountain of remnants, though I had to do a bit of  strategic misdirection against a couple of sexagenarian ladies that were eying my toile rather competitively. I’m totally kidding, but those girls did admire my choices a just little bit too forcefully. They wanted to know, “what are you planning to do with that fabric, young man?” I always get funny looks (and more) when I go in the fabric store.

Nevertheless, these three are going to be turned into something fun, very soon. On reflection, I probably should be flattered that those two ladies considered me “young.”

Face it - I'm more Southern Accents than Elle Decor. I know. But come on - who could resist these three when they are at a fire sale?

It was just a happy day altogether. Not only was it (nearly) short-sleeve weather again in New Orleans, but when I went to my frame shop they weren’t busy. The framers offered to cut the mats for my little Italian prints on the spot! This never happens. It was amazing.

Happiness is instant gratification.

Zip - up they go. They're pretty cute there, but I'm not sure this is their final resting place....

And just to end on a non-sequitor: Look at this happy little Ivy! I picked up some sheet moss to dress around the base and it gave it a nicer look for the living room.

Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

The Laurel Street Cottage

February 2023