X Marks the Spot or the Beauty of Living with White

My long journey in interior design (to be specific; my own personal journey) has increasingly become smaller as the brood leaves home.   How much damage could one big hairy dog and an 18 year old (very petite) cat cause?  Factoring in these facts, I decided to reflect my true decor need of WHITE!  Like a laboratory, the thought of creams, ivories, and varying shades of white made me feel tranquil (and with my combo of Shabby Chic hording and OCD) sounded like a match seen only on The Bachelor after taking a Xanax.  So for my latest downsize, I purchased gorgeous slip-covered furniture, distressed armoires, chippy columns, beat-up ladders to hold fetching blankets.  The look was STUNNING.  And then my children started visiting.  Please eat at the table, I muttered thousands of times (much like I uttered, “if you put your shoes away, you would know where to find them,” for some 25 plus years.  But the allure of my cozy, meticulously cared for sofas became the only possible seat they could plant their adult asses.  After awhile I began covering up spots with pillows (that my golden retriever would promptly chew), throws (that my golden retriever would promptly chew, and professionally cleaners (which my 18 year old cat would cough and choke up bile).  So I decided to get creative.  Keeping the white, as never one to give in too quickly, but adding hints of color to take the eye away from marks that even the staff at Windsor Castle would protest.

The first purchase was this spectacular metallic mirror (thank you Hobby Lobby).  Hung on the wall, it reflected the light in a slightly different way.  Then, I bought a leather ottoman, an over sized cowhide rug in this glorious gray (though jute or sisal could work as easily).  My wide-planked distressed hardwoods helped but I asked one of my faux artists to paint the manufactured material in a black and white checkerboard (not a great idea) so lucky I still love wood.  I bought numerous suitcases and iron buckets from a well-known flea market in Kansas City and filled them with books, old logs, and various accessories.  Fortunate enough to have beams in my hearth room, I again enlisted the talents of Bob and Rick to create a barn wood feel (I know; so Joanna Gaines of me).  Though in protest, I performed this miraculous task (or Bob & Rick did) 15 years ago before anyone heard of Fixer Upper.  I threw up some bulletin boards to give a vintage vibe and redid my draperies.  Popped some glass knobs on a pretty sofa table and VOILA; all is well in the house of Buhrer.





10 Ways to Be A Little Bit Country

Like Marie Osmond (didn’t she have a hit called Paper Roses that hit the charts?), I enjoy country.  Over the years, though this genre of decorating never hit high on my list of requests, I learned a few tricks to make any kitchen stand out and sing Toby Keith or Carrie Underwood (if you prefer).

  1.     Use reproduction appliances (currently hotter than the Las Vegas Strip in August).  A recycled potbellied stove, a super cool fridge that looks like a 1950s model (an all the rage according        to the magazines).  Retro baby, you can do no wrong.
  2.     Never forget the apron or farmhouse sink.
  3.     Use glass fronted cabinet doors or better yet open shelving made from reclaimed wood.
  4.     Industrial light fixtures add a nice modern touch but stick to the aged oil rubbed or bronze chandeliers.
  5.     How about brick floors, reclaimed wood, or distressed manufactured.
  6.     Antique, barn, or glass doors.
  7.     Subway tile (never goes out of style).
  8.     Beams and more beams.
  9.     Movable island, preferably painted in some funky color.
  10.     Beadboard or shiplap your walls painted a creamy white

Please remember the bric n’ brac; cookbooks, cutting boards, wooden spoons, cookie presses, Mason jars, metal canisters, tea towels, spice racks, candy/cake tins, rolling pins, metal breadboxes, milk cans, metal memo boards, and all the other fabulous stuff that can be found at your favorite flea market, garage sale, antique store, Hobby Lobby, and Home Goods.

Give Those Windows a Double-Take


I Candy

Forget what your mother told you about staring.

Get interiors that you can’t take your eyes off of.  Designs that are drop-dead gorgeous.  From furniture and accessories, wall coverings to window treatments.  Laura Buhrer Interiors can help you create rooms that promise a double-take. (Jill Bagby)




Baby It’s Cold Outside So Use the Following Tricks to Make Your Home More Inviting


Pretty urns filled with a steady bloom of begonias, a beautifully engraved welcome mat (reminding guests the correct way to spell your last name), an iron bench placed blissfully next to a streaming koi pond.  But what about the interior?  Granted a pot brimming with a sweet-smelling marinara sauce, an open bottle of chilled Pinot Gris (or in my case, an iced Diet Dr. Pepper), or the password to the home WiFi contribute in making visitors feel comfortable but there exists a few design tricks that achieve the same effect.

Decorate with a mood enhancing color palette.  An added pop of yellow or green not only create a cheery feel but work well with the ever-popular gray or grain tones (bow to Joanna Gaines).

Give your home a pleasant smell.  No one, not even a pet lover, want to take a whiff of an uncleaned litter box or enjoy the aroma of socks worn by your son during a  recent basketball game that he carelessly threw on the floor.  So purchase your favorite freshner and spray as needed.

Live plants or cleverly bagged herbs bring the outside into your dwelling and generate a feeling of being one with Nature.  Personally; fresh peonies, tulips, and roses fulfill my needs and don’t require me to use the latest over-the-counter allergy pill.

Mood lighting; whether a pretty chandelier or a few well-placed lamps (remember the shade often makes the beacon) not only add style to a room but creates a softer environment.  No disco balls please as Studio 54 closed in the early 80s.

Pillows, blankets, and rugs (oh my).  A little texture adds warmth, vibrancy, and sometimes extra seating.

11 Way to Little House on the Prairie Style

Prairie Style is a bit rustic, a bit shabby, a bit mod, a bit vintage, a bit organic, and a whole lot of gorgeous.  To achieve this design aesthetic, one must incorporate the fusion of elements and textural accents that blend into a comfy and livable home.  Effortless and timeless, always emphasize those items that make you feel harmonious.


Meaningful objects whether from family or a thrift store.  Something that tells a story about you and your family.

Stick with a color scheme that defines rooms or areas but blends hues that compliment one another.

“Feather your nest” or simply purchase accessories that create a feeling of warmth and comfort that highlight the structure and style of your dwelling.

Paint, the secret weapon of most interior designers, adds the base for all creative impulses.

Reclaimed wood used as open shelving for a kitchen, a much needed bookcase, or a surprising accent wall unifies spaces and brings a sense of history to a house.

Repetition can be useful in decorating a room.  Collections often represents prized possessions that truly infuse your personality.

Throwing in a twist, whether a vintage item, a boho rug, or a collection of guitars add variation and contrast.

Always start with one large statement piece, an armoire, a sofa, an architectural buffet.  Then build around.

Limit the number of bric n’ brac instead favoring old-fashioned scales, antique clocks, farmhouse wares.

Emphasize lighting by making it a focal point in the primary rooms.

Utilize inexpensive wall treatments such as tongue and groove boards, shiplap, weathered beams, or galvanized pieces.



The Train to Tiny Town

The older I become, my need to downsize my life seems retractable, so much so that I sometimes feel like a scene from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”  The train to tiny town, popularized by HGTV, feels cool, hip, trendy, inevitable.  Could I live in a converted school bus or become a member of container city?  Perhaps.  It looks inviting until you realize that a dishwasher takes up a lot of valuable floor space.  My other issue, of course, is my chosen line of work.  The passion I feel for accessories far outweighs whatever agony (I mean devotion) that I ever grappled with for my ex-husband.  (A reoccurring theme, think soap opera).   Truth be told, I own a whole bunch of crap.  Most stylists, decorators, and stagers do.  A curse but a pretty one.

Few residential interior designers reinvent a living space, they simply improve on the perception.  And most home experts give similar advice on how to make things appear larger (mirrors, mirrors, mirrors).  Why?  Because it works.

The overly talented Orlando Soria, the Creative Director of Homepolish recommends the use of neutral rugs like sisal or jute.  Another way to make a small space appear larger; lighting.  A beautiful fixture can add a world or WOW to any room including those that “rest.”

Symmetry creates balance so consider not using angles especially when surfaces feel tight.  Create a focal point, if one such as a fireplace is missing, by adding a large piece of art, an architectural piece, or an accent wall using paint or paper.

Going dark transforms a space by amplifing  sophistication.  It also reflects light, adds depth, and just a touch of mystery (it’s where the monsters hang out in case the kids get out of hand).

For a small office, one not made from a converted closet (though adore that idea), tweak the accessories.  I converted a couple of old doors into memory board which I use for magazine tears of my latest and favorite designs.  Some might call it stealing, I refer to it as inspiring.  Sample photo from Pinterest that I intend to compliment very soon.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger?


But let’s not rush into that.  If you’re OCD (self-diagnosed) like me, horrible things go through your mind as you are straightening out the bric n’ brac  your housekeepers just cleaned and placed 2″ from their proper placement.  Do you have difficulty breaking up with the bamboo floor lamp inherited from Great Aunt Gertie that give your French Country room a Hawaiian flairDoes rearranging pillows become a nightly ritual that feels as satisfying as a good backrub?  Does your heart peel a bit knowing that Home Goods closes at nine when you have the itch to shop at eleven (Walmart; here I come).  Do you need the dishes out of the sink, properly cleaned and put away before closing your eyes and wondering why your not a Kardashian or even a Jenner?

Shit happens.  We have all been there and worn the t-shirt but obsessing over placemats (let alone napkin rings) has become my lifestyle.  We need to become more resilient and learn not to be some pathetic loser spending hours saving ottomans on Pinterest or watching episodes of Fixer Upper where Joanna Gaines tears down a wall, makes Chip add some shiplap, and accessorizes with Parkhill Designs (and yes, it looks fab). 

I want to become exclusive with my bric n’ brac.  Not just buy a piece that appeals to me and assume it will fit somewhere in my island, making it virtually impossible to use for eating (which is really no biggie since my kid haven’t had a home cooked meal in at least seven years).  When wheeling around the shops, I feel like my strongest self, fulfilling a primal need; overdrawing my checking account.  Relationships with inanimate objects takes on a whole new persona.  I am building a life with that 90″ sofa.  That coffee table I purchased for a steal will tell the tale of the 15 tequila shots from the previous night.  That cozy swivel chair in just the right shade of Burmese leather knows that my adding CNN on my cell is simply a hot mess because we elected Barnum for President.  Yet despite my wish to be normal, I still want to maintain plausible deniability.


So if “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” lets me go at an interior design shop running it’s yearly sale.

Make Every Inch Count (and no I don’t mean what you’re thinking, naughty girls)

I have finally hit that ugly age where all my girlfriend’s daughters have graduated from college and renting their first places.  Aside from the horrendous discounted fees, I actually enjoy in a 1 bedroom 1 bath.  Living small can be visually challenging yet refreshingly freeing.  All the collections (or clutter) that has created a world of hoarders needs to be eliminated for the sake of style.  Maximizing every inch of space with creative storage ideas and the use of optical tricks can overcome the stress of living in that first apartment or starter home.  Start with a clean palate.  Pick a nice neutral paint color (whites, creams, grays) and slap a coat on the walls, molding, and ceiling (if dating or married, exchange rates work well).  By using a single tone, rooms will appear taller and larger.  Next, create an accent wall with wallpaper, framed magazine tear sheets, or comic books.  In other ward, any items that catch your fancy for your impending interior home design.  The beauty of adding an accent wall is to add interest, depth, and a focal point.

In small spaces, they can be nothing more important than light so add chandeliers, can lighting, and lamps wherever possible.   Shop around at flea markets, antique stores, or discount shops.  Mixing materials makes any expanse more interesting so don’t be afraid to blend crystal, ceramic and galvanized.  Choose pieces that can help define an area.  Create a conversational seating corner and don’t forget to float the furniture away from the walls. Opt for mirrors to reflect light.

Use the power of groupings.  Several framed pieces of art create a more airy look than one large singular quota.  Multitask, multitask, multitask.  Choose furniture that can be used as different functions.  For example, chose a breakfast/dining table that converts into a work desk as needed.

Industrial utility carts make great displays in a front entry or in a kitchen (if room available).  Think open concepts whether using floating shelves instead of upper cabinets, rugs to define different areas and add pops of color.

Also when picking accessories, make sure you have a variety of sizes and orientations.  Outfit closets with drawers and storage bins and baskets which always improves functionality.