Podcast, Ep. 57: designer Liz Bauer

Elizabeth Bauer joins us today to share her story on how a passion for flea markets and shopping to repurpose led to a career design and a successful shop in the West Village of New York. She talks about the importance of “getting the bones right” of a home upon first moving in, how to make the most of small spaces, and decorating a seaside and vacation home in a playful and sophisticated way. We take listener questions on sprucing up long hallways,  painting vs renovating, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to mix and match whites!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • The story of how Elizabeth opened her store and started her business in Greenwich Village 2008
  • How she decides what she picks when shopping to repurpose, and the trends she is looking for now when she hunts and gathers
  • Elizabeth’s featured work in House Beautiful in March 2017, featuring stunning de Gournay wallpaper, painted floors, high-gloss aqua lacquer, and French Bistro bar stools
  • The proper prep work to paint, why lacquer costs so much and Elizabeth’s choice of tone and color palette when painting wood floors
  • Designing for clients with children, and the way Elizabeth’s own design has changed now that she has a family. Elizabeth believes in using (and enjoying) her furniture
  • Elizabeth’s tips on how to put those ugly chair and couch arm covers to good use
  • How to embrace and work with having a large television in your home
  • How to compromise design and style with the husband happiness factor
  • The opportunity to create a luxurious space in a small apartment or studio, and why Elizabeth believes a small space can create an amazing feel, whether it’s layered, bright and colorful or tranquil and simple
  • Elizabeth’s home in Nantucket, and how she plays up the nautical and New England theme
  • The solution to matching whites, and why different whites isn’t something to fret over

Decorating Dilemmas

I just bought my first house, and we have a really long and narrow entry wallway. There’s not too much room for furniture so I’d like to do something on the walls. What do you suggest. -Kate

Elizabeth deals with narrow hallways a lot in New York. She suggests decorative molding and painting or wallpapering above it to give it a lively layer. You could do a solid trim color on the bottom, and a fun floral or pattern with color on the top, or a texture such as a grass cloth. You can also do a collection of prints and gallery wall of unrelated items you love.


Dear How to Decorate,

First off, I just want to say that I love your podcast! I think you all have a great chemistry and I love the advice and topics that you cover each week. After listening to your podcast for many months, I have decided to finally send in my decorating dilemma!

We have lived in our home for eight years. The one space in our house that I have always wavered back and forth about is our kitchen. We have high quality, cherry cabinets. With the trend of going lighter, I have been debating for some time about painting the cabinets. I go back and forth because I eventually would love to renovate our kitchen. However, the home came with high end appliances. So my main motivation for renovating would be to change the style and layout.

Currently, the counter tops are off white corian and we installed the off white back splash. So, my question is…should I hold out on painting my cabinets and wait to renovate (say 5 years out budget wise) or would painting them be sufficient for an updated look for several years to come? Any other suggestions? Also, I am taking into consideration that if I paint the cabinets, I should probably replace the granite on the island.

Thanks so much for your input!

Elizabeth from North Carolina

We love your spacious kitchen and open floor plan.  We would keep the granite, and think the white will show the contrast of the granite. We say paint it an off white, possibly Benjamin Moore, and paint your walls a white or gray white. The white will make it very chic and we think this will lighten things up without even needing to renovate.

Show Notes

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    September 10, 2019

    I’m catching up on episodes in the archives and loved this one! Caroline, can you tell me where you got the frames for your nursery prints? The setup is so adorable and I’d love to do something similar!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      September 16, 2019

      I got them on Amazon, but I cannot for the life of me find the link!