At home with Laura Lee

My home is a charming 1929 Tudor Cottage with loads of least from three sides.  What I mean is that some unenlightened soul did a dreadful addition to our little abode circa 1980 and it is quite, well... UGLY.

That is all about to change though!  With the help of a very talent and even more patient architect, Kelly Stockie of Schaub & Srote in St. Louis, we are going to make some major modifications to the exterior elevation while adding a new family room, powder room, en suite bedroom for our teenaged daughter and a lower level covered patio.



These before photos show some of issues with the inappropriate addition.  The lack of eaves over the west windows and north side of the addition has created wood rot at the drip edge and damaged several of the windows.   Where you see snow, there is rot all along the edge.  If you look best cpu for gaming closely, you can see several holes where a woodpecker has been busily stabbing the structure.  We are hoping the damage is limited to the exterior siding.

Here is the proposed plan.  Note the centered gable between the two original gables.  The new addition will have reclaimed clay roofing tiles as well as mimic the original stucco with half timbers that proclaim a classic Tudor home.  We have specified simulated divided light double hung windows like the originals and limestone on the lower level.


I am so excited to see this transformation!  Stay tuned each Friday as we chronicle the progress of our project.



Window treatments are expensive.  Whether you are considering drapery, blinds or shades they are costly.  Make the very most of the dollars you investment by adding a little creativity to stretch your window covering budget.

In this client's "No Boys Allowed" TV lounge, I added major drama to the simple white linen drapery and roman shade with a large scale navy geometric border.  The vertical pattern was cut into strips and integrated into the panels for a wow impact at a fraction of the cost of using an extra wide tape trim.  For this treatment, I used a 7" border.familyroom2

Since there was not a privacy issue with the window behind the sofa, I used a faux roman shade.  Having a stationary shade required less fabric and I avoided the pricey mechanism required to make my birthday status the treatment operable.   Adding some bright green fringe creates a cohesive look with the navy, hot pink and lime green story.


familyroom3There is also a small 1 inch band of green between the navy border and white linen for a fun little detail on the drapery panels. 

While these drapery were custom made, you can use these fun ideas and embellish stock treatments to create your own drapery statement,



Helping clients remodel a bathroom  is one of my favorite projects.  Taking a dated, dingy space and transforming it into a well designed, crisp, clean and function space is often life changing for my clients.  If you have ever tried getting ready to start your day in a cramped poorly lit bathroom, you know exactly what I mean.  Depending on the specifics of the particular bathroom, plumbing and electrical costs can be significant.  Then, add to that the tangible things such as tile, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, counter tops and lighting to name a few.  It adds up to big dollars pretty quickly. are my top 5 tips on how to make the most of your remodeling dollars.


(In this teenaged girls bathroom, we used a prefabricated vivavideo cabinet that included the black granite top and under mounted sink.  I changed the stock silver knobs to these charming hexagon crystal ones for a vintage vibe)

(1) Specify Chrome plumbing fixtures  (They are timeless, easy care and almost always the lowest cost finish)

(2) Find an accent tile and use it as a feature in a small quantity

(3) Consider white subway tile for the best soundbars under 300 dollars shower walls or tub surround.  (It can be installed horizontally with staggered joints, vertically for a more transitional look, in a herringbone pattern for a custom touch)

(4) If at all possible, leave the toilet in its current location. (The plumbing pipe for the toilet is much larger than the pipes needed for sinks, tubs or showers and it is the most costly fixture to relocate)

(5) Add color and pattern.  (This is a low cost way to add pizzazz to your bath. Create interest on the ceiling with a pop of color, fashion stripe with two shades of the same color or try a bold wall covering (make sure Windows Update Error you select a paper that is rated for moist spaces) or even use a few colorful accessories to bring your personal style to the space.


(This marble tile was quite pricey per square foot, but by cutting the 12" square piece into three 4" strips we only need two square feet to make a major impact on this classic black and white bathroom)

I hope these tips get you thinking about how to make the most out of your remodeling dollars!



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This is the week! Starting officially on April 18, the biggest thing in Interior Design begins...High Point Market. Designers from around the globe descend on the town of High Point, North Carolina to see the newest trends in design, connect with vendors, attend continuing education classes and see friends old and new. One of my first stops at this market is going to be CR Laine. Specifically, I am gushing over the Tobi Fairley collaboration that is debuting in a few short days. Tobi's signature style is Bright, Bold and Tailored and the preview of her fabulous collection doesn't dissapoint. The showstopping brass accented chair shown above is going to make its way into one of my projects very soon.

During this week, I will be shopping for a few projects on which I am currently working and looking for pieces to inspire the direction in a couple of others. One of the things I always do while at market is sit, sit, sit and open, open, open. What I mean by that is I check out key pieces in my vendors' Tesla model3 cars offerings and make copious notes about how the upholstery sits and check out the workmanship and attention to detail. I open countless drawers and inspect the little details that tell the tale of quality. There is no substitute for having evaluated a line of furnishings in person and going to market gives my clients the inside scoop on furniture they purchase.

Stay tuned next week as I post my favorite finds from High Point....Happy Monday All!


I am excited to launch my new Blog! This is a perfect place for me to share design ideas & inspiration and Before & After stories with you. I will also post ways to maximize the investment in your home through remodeling and decorating. Each Friday, I will be taking you on a real world journey chronicling a residential construction project in my own home. We will be addressing an architecturally inappropriate addition (circa 1980, yikes) as well as adding 1,000 square feet of space. Groundbreaking should be the second week of April. I love construction and can’t wait to get things started!


Before & After Guest Bedroom

Today, I am sharing a client’s guest bedroom Before & After. This grand early 20th century home has great architectural details and beautiful original hardwood floors. But, these guest quarters were less than inviting with zero privacy on the four windows and busy patterns on the area rug and bedding competing for attention. My goal was to reuse many of the client’s things to update this space without starting from scratch.


BEFORE Guest Room:

Before Guest Room


AFTER Guest Room:

After: Guest Bedroom

To update this guest space, I added a large neutral area rug and simple ivory linen drapery. The french iron drapery rods echo the bronze in the chandelier and the dark wood tones of the bed. The ceiling fan was swapped for a vintage crystal chandelier and I traded the oversized leather chair for a pair of the client’s existing silk striped armchairs to provide a place for guests to relax. Matching bedside tables in a distressed taupe painted finish were added with vintage alabaster lamps Es file explorer  from the client’s collection. We rehung the botanical prints above the bed to create a focal point. This guest suite is ready to welcome company!


After: Guest Bedroom

The ornate rococo chest was replaced with a piece from the client’s master bedroom. This armoire fits nicely with the traditional mahogany furniture and provides guests with a television and storage.