Some of Lauri's best ideas for making the most of her space came from thinking outside the home-decor box when she and her husband, Douglas, a former investment banker, renovated their loft before moving in. "There are many resources available, if you know where to look," she says. As an event planner, Lauri has firsthand knowledge of the sources, tricks, and techniques the pros use―plus she relies on her imagination and a little thing called the Internet.
In the dining area (at right in photo), two tables on casters are pushed together for family dinners, pulled apart and supplied with extra chairs when more seating is called for, and rolled against the wall to hold buffet platters for large gatherings. "When I was in college in Houston, my friend's mother had this screened-in porch with little wrought-iron tables, so it was almost like a café," Lauri says. "I loved that they worked for tea for two or for groups, and I was thinking of that flexibility when I picked these tables. I can't imagine going back to just one." For more intimate dinners, an electronically controlled curtain drops from ceiling to floor to separate the dining and living areas.