Laurel Street Blog

Archive for the ‘Nate Stuff’ Category

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!

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.

My New Year got started off right. I woke up this morning to find that Lesley at the Design File featured my ‘Hey, why not?’ gallery wall on her site last night.

Then, while still pre-caffinated this morning I’m staring glassily at my Mac and see that Lindsey (of Better After Blog fame) featured Laurel Street as her first post of the new year! My  Spare Bedroom to Study post got a whole lot of love as well as the el cheapo kitchen fixes! Thanks Lindsey! If you love before & afters like I do, you’ll love reading the Better After blog every day.

And as I’m closing up at the office I get a an actual email from one of my funniest, favorite tweeps Alycia (@ajwdesignco) at the fab Casa Moxie blog. Give her a follow – one smile after another. She liked Laurel Street enough to call it one of her favorite blogs. Alycia listed me with some big time blogging heavy hitters – thanks A! She called out my open letter to Pottery Barn as a fave and I must admit it still cracks me up a little. Pancakes, heh.

Thank you Lesley, Lindsey and Alycia – you made my day.

Happy New Year to you all!


I’m having a big time this morning thinking about some of my favorite shelter blogs and why each inspires me. I’m happy to support these talented folks for a 2009 Homie Award from Apartment Therapy. Each has provided me with so much reward throughout the year. If you haven’t visited them before, please do! Each one is a treat in it’s own way:

I'd like to share this fortune with each of my homies - may it also be yours in 2010. It came to me (along with a Peking Duck) Monday night. I laughed out loud (Richard rolled his eyes).

Sweetly singing o’er the plains

And the mountains in reply

Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Especially if you drive a SMART car. This scene of fallen timber was waiting for us as we pulled up in front of our hotel in a taxi (we were driven there apparently by an illegitimate child of Mario Andretti).

Ottorino Respighi apparently did not drive a SMART car

Aforementioned pines - we made a point not to park the scooters underneath.

The Hotel St. Anselmo atop the very quiet and residential Aventine Hill. Nothing but bird song in the morning. I recommend it.

Lovely entryway to the hotel - nice covered terrace and hand painted tiles on the left wall.

All of the light fixtures in the hotel were handmade - this deconstructed chandy stretched from the ground floor to the top of the second. Fun.

The hotel room - great use of a small space. Loved the ceiling treatment and grisaille painting on the back wall.

View toward the door - the 'headboard' treatment could've been omitted, but heck, more is more, right? Again, the ceiling gave a real depth to the room.

Handmade (and numbered) original desk light. Note the curtain & crown treatment that leads to the terrace.

The terrace made up for the small room. Don't think this was too expensive. This room cost less than what you might pay for a typical Marriott or Sheraton room in a convention block in the U.S.

View from terrace doorway. Loved the grisaille on the back wall.

From our first walk down the hill into town. All the residences on the Aventine have balconies or terraces to take advantage of the Roman views.

I'd always heard the light in Rome was exceptional - I had to see it to believe it

The Aventine cat - we found this one again later the same evening in the Knights of Malta park on the very top of the hill.

Looking back up to the top of the Aventine hill.

More 'golden hour light' on this building's facade (in the Testaccio neighborhood)

A peek into a private Testaccio courtyard garden.

A view of the roses in front of the church of St. Cecilia in Testaccio

An interior of St. Cecelia - testing my handheld, low-light camera ability

Crossing over the Tiber River back to the Aventine Hill at dusk.

The end of the walk - a view to the vatican from the Knights of Malta Park, behind our hotel.

logoI’m not shilling for any company – but one of my favorite all time, all around most satisfying online friends is Nancy Boy. My love is hard won, earned through their unique, extremely effective brand of email marketing. Here’s an excerpt from an email they sent me on Monday about remodeling their new bricks and mortar store:

Subject: New Store & Hearth is Back!


Experts say the top 3 reasons people divorce are sexual incompatibility, money and infidelity. The sample must have been limited to people living in mud huts because 92% of couples actually split after a remodel.

A candlelit dinner is romantic. Sharing a bath is romantic. Nine months of eating, sleeping and pooping in what used to be the hall closet is not romantic.

While my attitude is very Mother Teresa no matter the circumstance Jack is a monster under stress like when we decided to turn a dilapidated building in Sonoma’s idyllic West County into a sumptuous country store.

I took on the hard parts like visioning and strategy. All Jack had was tactical stuff like architectural plans, city and county permits, contractor management and a wee bit of the actual construction.

While I lay on the couch with eyes closed but strategizing intensively Jack traipsed through the house covered in drywall dust after I’d repeatedly said to hose off in the driveway first. To turn his passive aggressive behavior into a learning opportunity I got out the electric turkey carver while he was in the shower and patiently cut his dusty clothes into shreds. He had a total spazz attack wherein he said I was working his last nerve so I moved into the laundry room with the leftover Halloween candy and my therapist says healing may be a slow process based on past experience.

The new store is open just in time for our 8th anniversary in business and we cordially invite you to visit if you’re up wine tasting but come on the days I work not him he will misrepresent certain things. You can see pictures sprinkled throughout our site: To see some pretty new photos of our San Francisco store and one of Jack with someone the caption says is me but isn’t, I am way cuter, click here:


Nancy Boy Signature Scented Lavender Buds

I get one of these hysterical emails each month – usually with a free-associative segue into whatever new product they’re announcing. All fun aside, I have to say their products are amazing. I heartily endorse the Nancy Boy Signature Shave Cream (“Tested on boyfriends, not animals.”), and almost any other of their all-natural and incredibly scented products.

Heck, I even washed the dogs on Sunday with the Nancy Boy eco dish soap. It contains entirely natural products – more so than the ‘dog shampoo’ I used to use that was made out of a petroleum-based substance. Likewise, all our clothes, towels and sheets get washed with their eco laundry soap. The fragrance is from actual lavendar and our clothes are completely petroleum free.

Speaking of botanicals, the Nancy Boys always send me a gift with each order. Last month it was a bag of lavender buds that were enhanced with their signature essential fragrance oil. I don’t usually do ‘house fragrance.’ I like candles but I never think to light them. And if I do, you will never walk into my house and think, “Is there a Cinnamon-Pomegranate Pie smoldering somewhere in this house?”

But I put these buds in a simple wide-mouthed glass bowl in the bedroom and it is just heavenly. The door stays closed during the day, so when I open it after work or settling into bed at night… well, the light fragrance will transport you. What a nice gift from a funny, original retailer.

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

March 2020