Laurel Street Blog

Archive for the ‘Decor’ Category

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.

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.

I get inordinate pleasure from little things – often inexpensive – around the house.

My duvet is from Restoration Hardware (not inexpensive, but worth the price as it gets washed every week due to frequent canine traffic and comes out of the laundry beautifully wrinkle-free).

But I struggled with their Euro shams. I didn’t want them too ‘matchy matchy’ or made out of material that had to be dry cleaned (really, RH, that’s not going to work at all) and most of their shams were ridiculously overpriced.

Look at me wildly mixing stripes and paisley - I am a crazy man! Somebody stop me.

I loved these striped shams from (of all places) that only cost about 15.00 a piece. I think I got the last two – they’re no longer on the site. Kismet.

When I posted the gallery wall – I realized that my Chinese Evergreens that I keep tucked under my desk were looking pretty battle weary after three years. Happy houseplants are another one of my simple pleasures.

After three years of service, these two have earned an honorable discharge.

That's better. Good for another three years, I think.

A pretty copper watering can - my favorite Christmas gift. (Thanks Mom - it is perfect.)

Little plants on my chippy Creole pie safe

This is my spot. The combination of three simple things make me unbelievably happy.

But the thing I’m most pleased with today is that I finally have a nice spot in the house to read. For some reason I feel happy and peaceful in this spot by the front windows.

The wingback in the floral print was an inheritance – it’s calling (loudly) for a slipcover… but I don’t mind it terribly in the short term. Disregard empty frames behind the chair – I’m still trying to figure out the best place to hang the Italian prints.

I finally ordered that pharmacy lamp from that I had bookmarked for over two years so I can cozy up and read in the evening. The hand-painted garden stool is perfect for a cup of morning coffee or a glass of wine at night. The stool was $89.00 from – I think it’s amazing for that price.

Little things – I’m easy to please.

Sunday afternoon I stumbled over some work that made my jaw drop. Trish from Trouvais posted about Balustrade and Bitters which was quite a fun discovery for me. I clicked over to their blog and saw photos of some of the contributors and designer Jeffrey Alan Marks was among them. His name was unfamiliar so I did a quick web search to find his Web site The first image in his gallery of work stopped me in mid-click:

It had me at hello.

Oh, hello.

Hi there!


Yes please. Thank you.

Designer Jeffry Alan Marks is influenced by years of living abroad in London, Paris and Milan and his style is indeed timeless. I hope he does a book.

BTW – he’s pretty stylish himself:

Jeffry Alan Marks

The Vamp had a great post up yesterday: Hits & Misses…. It got me thinking what worked around Laurel Street and what didn’t? Valorie and I both live in classic, but small, New Orleans houses… one square foot never felt so precious, every inch counts. She posed the question today – are you a serial decorator?

"Serial Mom" starring Kathleen Turner. Please tell me I am not the only one who remembers this movie.

Okay to the serial decorating, I might be guilty. And the recent misses of 2009? I missed big time on this one:

This clock. I mean, it's fine, it's fun, it was a good deal, it's well made, it's New Orleans-y.... I tried convincing myself on multiple levels.

But ultimately I could not convince myself that it didn’t look just a little bit cheap… honestly I have never bought such an overtly ornamental thing in my life. Why I didn’t I look around little longer?

This one is the perfect scale for the space and its design is more up my alley:

This is very handsome. At 20" x 13" it's a nice size and will be perfect for the narrow space in the bath. The other clock will find a nice (different) home. Perhaps on a farm somewhere.

This clock comes from Bronson Design. I’d come across them before online but neglected to bookmark their site. Then they followed me on twitter @BronsonDesign and I rediscovered a great site, deep with a wide variety of lighting and accessories.

I’m also loving these little clocks from Bronson Design – I could make a fun vignette with them:

Pedestal Clock in Antique Brass

Christopher Clock

Nice little lantern clock

You’d think with all these clocks around I’d never be late for anything. Well… I can’t talk anymore. I’m running late.

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

August 2020