It’s been a while since you’ve seen this room, and boy are there changes


Why? Simply because it brings me so much joy to rearrange my house and tweak styling in an attempt to have my house reflect the personality, style and comfort needs of my family. It’s a hobby that was turned into a career and like all accidental creative business owners, there tends to be way less time to do the stuff you love (i.e. styling my own house). So In my ‘spare’ time I’ve been playing around and with no deadlines (on this room, at least)…it’s VERY fun.

This room has such great bones and beautiful light, but it’s never felt done done. And maybe nothing ever totally is, because your style and needs shift, sure, but I never felt the reaction to this room that I do to the living room in the mountain house when I walk in. There is a reason why I haven’t thrown any parties or events here, but couldn’t wait to have a reader event up there—I wanted to show it off!

So here is where we started, as you know, almost 3 years ago.

It’s warm and inviting and yes, full of life, but ultimately too much stuff for us and too traditional for me, mostly because of the rug and sofa combo. I do think it’s interesting and layered and full of personality, though.

Yes, there are times when I wish I had kept that rug, and just replaced the sofa with something more modern. Like maybe the rug got blamed too strongly for it feeling busy. A neutral, more modern sofa on this rug is perhaps all I needed to shift it. But I sold it years ago and someone else is loving it for who it is.

The Target chairs helped modernize everything, for sure, but one of them now lives in the mountain house living room and the other went to our last Feel Good Flash Makeover.

The coffee table now lives in the mountain house and is actually so perfect up there.

I’m still hoarding that chaise because the shape and scale are just so pretty and I have dreams of reupholstering it in a deep color, with the same color fringe. It’s probably 150 years old with original fabric so it’s absolutely falling apart and needs total restoration, but I’m willing to invest in it because it’s special. The blue demilune table now lives in my best friend’s entry and looks SUPER cute.

In this iteration, I brought in more color (some brighter teals in the shelves and art) in an attempt to make it more interesting.

The rug, sadly was pretty destroyed by my cats and we had to “mow” it every time we shot as it was unraveling. It’s now in my garage with a good chunk of it intact and I might cut it down into a smaller rug or have it bound in the exact shape of the kids play nook in the bay window…dunno.

Most recently, this is the version I tried out and showed you:

The green sofa I pulled from our TV room (it’s custom from Clad Home) and paired it with a BLUE antique rug (from Blue Parakeet), so similar in vibe to the red one but less “loud.” You can’t really see it in this photo, but in general, that sofa was just too small for this room and looked out of scale IRL. Plus, this room just didn’t make my heart pound and I wanted it to feel “cooler” and less heavy handed…once I figured out what that meant.

When I look at my past work, past living rooms, I always see this one and think, ah, that room was so pretty.

It was simple and light and still layered and interesting.

I kept that Article sectional up at the mountain house and when we replaced it with the vintage one, I was like, well maybe I should try that back in LA. Maybe THAT’s the answer…a more modern, simple sectional. So I did…

I’ve been living with the room like this for a month or so, and last week, I found this rug at HD Buttercup and it was incredibly soft, and just so simple and pretty. I took it out on “memo” (which means borrowing to see it in your space before fully committing) and well, we all couldn’t give it up. It’s not a shag, it’s just thick and so soft. I know you are all going to want to know about it and I’ll try to find a purchasable link (HD Buttercup only has a few rugs on their website and wasn’t too into working with us on getting a link for it…and I tried to tell them about the blog. This one is similar though, I think.)

Now, I REALLY like everything here: I have my coffee table back and it works so well with the sectional, but the sectional on the rug could have more contrast…

The black lamps are from Target (the task one is from the Leanne Ford collection that’s been sold out for a while, the standing is still available here).

It’s certainly soothing and quiet, light and airy, and I can add color so easily. The pillows right now (from Target here, here and here) are neutral, but again, SO simple to swap. You guys might be wondering how the sectional is holding up with two kids and it’s pretty great, honestly. It cleans up pretty easily and a 4- and 6-year-old are just less disgusting than they used to be. Sometimes, when we are feeling like we really want to kill it in the parenting game, we put down a big towel so they can watch cartoons while they eat waffles with jam on Saturday mornings.

The rug has a lot of variation in tones and we got it treated by Fiber Care, but only time will tell if that works (it’s like a silicon treatment that repels stains). It was expensive, $280 for a 10×14, but hopefully worth it. It won’t do much about everyday wear and tear and dirt, so we are trying our hardest to do what most normal people in the world do (take off our shoes)…

Okay. Here are the vintage chairs that we’ve had for 6 months from MidcenturyLA. David, who owns our favorite vintage store, texted me photos of them with an “I could have a delivery guy bring them over right now to memo” and I was weak on a Saturday morning and said yes. We were having friends over that day and as we tried them all out, they are JUST SO COMFORTABLE and simple and everyone wants to sit in them.

You can see a lot of old favorites here: the vintage trunk, my wood magazine holder from the flea market, my wooden hand chair and most of the art has stayed the same. (That double-shaded lamp, though, is a new favorite, from CB2.)

I moved the Article credenza to Brian’s office (coming soon…I HOPE) and brought in this new one from Serena & Lily mostly because I believe the tone of the wood worked better in here and the mixed materials. We used the nightstand version of this piece in our last surprise makeover in Utah and LOVED it. The leather pulls, the woven drawers…it feels modern but classic.

Most of the rest of that vignette has stayed the same—art by Kirill Bergart, lamp from Lostine, and sculpture by Melinda Forster  (from the flea market). I’m liking it, guys, I am.

Over here we have a lot of changes: a flea market dresser just felt more modern, the thrifted black chair (that I got for $20 and we DIY’d) and the oil portrait of a lady from the 1700s that I got at the Pasadena Antique Mall. We also switched out the sconces above the built-ins for these from Circa Lighting. We put the sconces that were there in the playroom, but if you look closely, you might notice a metal plate underneath it and that’s because the hole for the junction box was much bigger than the new sconce so we still need to hire a plaster dude to come patch the hole and make it much smaller.

The shag rug is from Article that tends to move around the house, and the pouf is from Lulu & Georgia that I’ve had forever.

I still love that piece of art by Colin Glasgow above my fireplace, and I styled out the shelves to be more neutral but still full. Somedays, I want less stuff and color and some days, more.

Looking at that room, both in person and in photos, it’s insanely hard to be objective. I know I like everything and there are some things I would run back in and save from a fire. I love having a chaise sectional but haven’t stopped looking for my dream sofa for here and have pinned SO MANY. I want it to be a sofa that takes your breath away and yet it HAS to be comfortable, and that combination is extremely hard to come by. I also don’t need to do anything, but I like to fantasize.

So tomorrow (if I can write it in time, eek), you’ll see what sofas I almost bought, what I’m leaning towards with general “what is happening inside my head” musings (and perhaps bringing in the color red).

But I’d honestly, HONESTLY, love to know your thoughts. Should I push this room further, stylistically? It’s pretty close, I can feel it and I really, really like it. I have barely touched my bedroom since we finished it three years ago, so why is this room so much more of a challenge?? Oh, right…it has to serve as our living and family room, it has to be family-friendly but super comfortable and inviting…and I’m still struggling with mixing old-world with midcentury with contemporary, but it’s a combo that I still love and want to pursue.

Let ‘er rip.

***”after” photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

The post A Quick Update: The Changes I’ve Made to My LA Living Room appeared first on Emily Henderson.
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