Emily Henderson

Lisa’s House: Living Room

Last week I blogged about this chair ‘before and after’ and today I’m showing the entire before and after of the whole living room. Lets get into it.

When Lisa approached me it seemed like a different/good challenge, which is what drew me to the project. It’s so easy for all of your work to look the same because all of your clients want the same thing (white, blue, pops of bright color, brass, mid century … which I love, obviously), so the fact that she wanted something different made this project extremely appealing. Her budget wasn’t huge, but decent, and the space was really interesting. My problem is that once you get me into a space where I can see the transformation its hard for me to say no – It was such a pretty house and Lisa was so lovely so it just seemed like, yeah, let’s get our ‘french country’ on. 

Here was the before:

Before_Living Room

It was a two bedroom ranch style in studio city. She moved in a few months before she called, after a divorce and just really wanted a place that made her happy to come home to – and somewhere to make her friends, daughter and family happy to visit. After she moved in she had the walls textured with that buttery marble paint – which is not inexpensive. One of the first things I asked her was ‘can we change that?’ and she hesitated (because she had just done it and it was expensive!!!) and said, ‘If you think its necessary’. Thank god for that, Lisa – thank you for being so open. It was a deal breaker for me, so I said yes and she agreed. Lisa was cool like that.

Before_Living Room Dining

So we came up with a plan – After we chatted for a while: french country meets hollywood regency. How very feminine, and so wonderful.

We painted the walls in ‘Elephants Breath’ from Farrow and Ball. I mean, who names a pretty paint color elephants breath? It sounds hot and sweaty and thick … but at the same time I do kinda get it. It’s a really warm color that goes gray/taupe/brown/and almost purple at times because it has a hint of red in it (but just a hint).


The only thing that Lisa wanted to keep was the beautiful Oushak rug, which obviously I was happy to do.

I’m sorry I’m skipping all the design process. Here’s a lesson to you all – use a document/photo sharing server. This project was 3 years ago and we didn’t have one in place so once those pics (from my old computer) were gone, they were gone. And then even the design plan is somehow lost somewhere in the netherworld. So i’m going from memory here.

We pulled colors from the rug – ochre, blues and grays with some taupes and creams of course. We wanted it to be warm and inviting, but a little bit of bling, too.

We got the sofa custom-made from Room Service in a beautiful linen.


We brought it in and started playing around. Everything else you see there was antique or from vintage stores, so sorry that there are no real resources (stay tuned below for a ‘get the look’).

We played with the layout as we do. In the original plan/drawings the sofa was opposite the fireplace and the chairs flanked it, but the room was pretty long and narrow and the sofa was huge so it felt like the chairs were way too far away from each other.


It looked ok in these pics, but in person it wasn’t working.

Click on through for the ‘afters’:

EH Sherman Oaks Shoot 1-16-140

Alright, let’s get into it: We added the chandelier because that beautiful wood ceiling was rather heavy and dark, but we didn’t want to paint it because it was so pretty. Adding something reflective and sparkly, as opposed to an iron chandelier lightened it up so much. We hung it in the center, over the coffee table, where the bottom of it was around 7 ‘ 1/2″ high. Plus she already had that crystal chandelier in the dining room so the two speak to each other.

Living Room_Blue Chesterfield

She had these incredible old world style paintings already and while in the wrong context they can look garish, with the sofa and more of the more modern accessories they looked really rad. We were shocked at how well they worked (specifically the one in the dining room.

The gold velvet and blue linen pillows were custom-made – I think $60 each, not including the fabric which was probably $30 – $40 a yard. That amazing blue blanket that has horses on it is from Loopy Mango in New York and I’m pretty sad to see it here and not in my house.

Everything on the coffee table is vintage except for the coasters with the gold on the outside which we got at plantation (but stay tuned for some at Target in a month).

EH Sherman Oaks Shoot 1-16-125

Where to put the TV … always a challenge. Lisa, like me, loves to watch TV at night and it wouldn’t fit above the fireplace. So we put it opposite the sofa, but then the challenge was to make sure to get chairs that were low enough that you could see the tv over them. And then what else do we put on the TV wall to not give it a whole wall of importance? We flanked it with these shelving units.

Living Room_Chair Coffee Table Shelf Chandelier

I really loved how that worked and even did it in my old living room. I can’t tell if it needs art above the TV or if it looks good as is. And yes, we put flowers there to detract from the TV for the shot, but it normally looks like this;

yA9I6 iUEvf

We styled the shelves all out with vintage everything – I’m kinda obsessed with the helmet with horns thing and that weird man portrait. I owned that for a while but it was just not looking good anywhere.


For the vignette below we added that photo/print thing, because when you get closer in the shot you often have to add more to it or it looks a little flat and empty.

RwCUQ NMHWR hJ1zL Living Room_ Bench Mirror Living Room_ Chandelier Blue Chesterfield YgVCB


Living Room_ Fireplace EH Sherman Oaks Shoot 1-16-142

My new thing is doing gif’s of the styling process. You’ll be getting A LOT of this soon. By doing this you can totally see the obsession to placement and get inside the process (at least that’s the intent).


And here’s what we ended up with. We like how the bowl balanced out the lamp on the other side of the sofa and filled that empty spot on the sofa. A trick is that you want things to intersect other things either completely or not at all, which is why the white box, for instance, didn’t work. It came up to the edge of the sofa seat but not going over it.
Living Room_Detail

I’m obsessed with that bowl and I wish It was mine so bad – I think I got it at the flea market.

Living Room_Dining Room

My favorite thing? Its hard … I’m pretty into that side table and lamp situation. And I love everything on the shelves. A lot of it was things that I’d been hoarding for a while waiting for their french country debut.

EH Sherman Oaks Shoot 1-16-117

Literally everything in this room is vintage except the sofa and the shelving. So we did a get the look for you for the rest of the pieces in case you, too, wanted to get your french country on.

Lisa's House Get the Look

Furniture & Lighting: Shelving Unit | Chandelier | Linen Club Chair | Blue Chesterfield | Coffee Table

Accessories: Wooden Bowl | Brass Sculpture | Hourglass | Ceramic Bust | Mirror | Woven Basket

Textiles: Throw Blanket | Blue Pillow | Gold Pillow | Rug

Photos by: Bethany Nauert

Well, thats Lisa’s living room. Stay tuned for the dining room, office and bedroom. Does this make you want to get your french country on? Do you hope that I never use the phrase ‘get your french country on?’ …. too bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *