The Fig House Lounge | Before & After

Welcome to quite a dramatic before and after, folks. Like ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ proportions only without the tears – wait, what am I saying?? There were tears shed; both out of frustration and then out of happiness – but I was pregnant the whole time, so who knows …  I cried once because I couldn’t find the third disc of Veronica Mars, season 2, that I had already watched twice so tears don’t really mean legitimate emotions necessarily with me.

Remember in my last Fig House reveal post that I told you how the Fig House property was divided into a few different spaces that all connected? Well todays post is the lounge, which is my favorite interior space. It took 9 months to redo and now I’m ready to show you the result:

Here she is!!!!

The Fig House

Kidding. That is the before. I think it was a bike shop or something. But regardless it wasn’t exactly “party ready”. Whats wrong with it is kinda obvious, but I’ll break it down for you anyway: it was windowless, was just a box, with bad everything. But it has potential and outside of it was going to be the courtyard and we really wanted it to have an indoor/outdoor feel to the whole space so we knew that it was going to get opened up.

The Fig House

Here’s the reverse shot facing back towards what is now the ballroom/banquet hall (the wall in between is totally gone now):

The Fig House

The Fig House

So we started with some renderings (done by the always so lovely and British, Ginny):

The Fig House

We plugged in these huge glass doors, large mirrors a stained glass detail above the door (that led to the bathrooms), added some chandeliers and stained the ceiling.

This rendering obviously doesn’t look that awesome, but you have to start somewhere and often knowing what doesn’t look good helps you to solve the problem and turn it into what does look good. We knew we were going to do stained glass doors so we thought we’d bring that detail somewhere else – in the form of a transom on the far wall, but it just looked random and they are too expensive to just throw anywhere.
The Fig House

This rendering looks like we were painting the walls 2 different colors, but we weren’t. It’s just the perspective. Here you can see the indoor/outdoor feel and the art deco detailing on the mirrors that I love – plus those beautiful sconces. Clearly the back wall lacked something, though.

The Fig House

“Hey lets see what black tables and mirrors would look like!”, i must have exclaimed. “Too high contrast and cold!” is what we all yelled afterwards.

Then Dean or Ginny, I forget which one made the brilliant idea to put the dining tables/chairs (essentially the ballroom) into the larger room (what we call ‘Big Fig”) and have this be a lounge. This was smart for 1 million reasons but mainly for occupancy and budget. To furnish that large room with awesome furniture would have been so out of our already very tight furnishing budget. Plus this room could only hold like 100 for dinner where as the big one can hold way more. Of course we knew that for any event all of the furniture can be reconfigured, etc, but for some reason we had it in our heads that the lounge needed to be in the dark room.

Once we flipped it and put in the furniture/finishes it started looking MUCH better:

The Fig House

And now for the elevations, etc, to give the contractor. Basically you have to tell them EXACTLY where you want things before they do a lot. In a perfect world I would mark the sconces on the wall with a pencil and say ‘here, please’, when dry wall is coming down, soundproofing is going in, and junction boxes have to be added behind new dry wall, we unfortunately had to tell them WAY earlier than I like to. So the only way to make sure that we were right is to do renderings, so Ginny whipped these up (I’m sure it’s not just a ‘whip it up!’ situation, she spent hours on renderings and Its one of the reasons she’s full-time now – this stuff is CRAZY important, useful and helpful to have. THANK YOU GINNY!!).

But its kinda boring to look at (although part of the process)  The Fig House

Now for the construction. First things first – get rid of the wall, bathroom and weird little side room between the two huge rooms to become one large shared (yet separate) space.

The Fig House

Already it was feeling way more open. The green space was the bathroom between the two spaces that now had to be moved to the back of the space. “No problem! Just move the bathroom!” we innocently exclaimed! Oh to be that young and innocent again. Oh to think that plumbing can just get moved with magical little pipe moving angels. Instead we had to create a 3′ wide river in the middle of the space spanning the entire length of both big fig and little fig. Asleep yet? I almost fell asleep just talking about it. But I know that there are some of you still awake, riveted at the bathroom moving saga. But once its back there it has to drain correctly, go in a certain way, etc, before we can close it up (obviously it has to go through one million inspections as well) and just generally it all sucked, was very expensive and was so boring to think about.

The Fig House

Back to pre plumbing demo – the ceiling was taken out and it was high high high with woodwork that was really wide apart and spacious. Wonderful – good news was welcome.

The Fig House

When the opening was cut for the new stained glass doors (by the lovely and famous Judson Studios) we started seeing the place really come together. The amount of light it was going to bring it would be RIDICULOUS. And if there is anything that I’d ever whore myself out for, it is natural light.

The Fig House

The soundproofing was put back in, the electrical work installed, the plumbing moved, the walls mudded.  This pic below is looking from Big Fig into little fig (you can see the doors back there on the right). So now its one big space.

The Fig House

The Fig House

Oh the potential. It just needed some paint, although I kinda liked it white. Before you say ‘how sad it is that you painted the woodwork!’ trust me that a. it was dark, and b. it was gross and cheap. Beautiful woodwork is only beautiful woodwork if its beautiful – not cheap, dark and gross. We would have needed to refinish this wood, but it just wasn’t the look we were going for. We wanted bright, airy, romantic, pretty, not a ceiling full of oily dark wood and ductwork.

The Fig House

See? Its better and that’s just primer. And here we have the mirrors installed. These mirrors were from the Chinese Restaurant that closed (they retired) that is now the Room Forty Tasting room. They were along one wall, and I think were 8 of them. So we salvaged as many as we could and put those suckers here because nothing creates drama without busy-ness more than HUGE mirrors.

The Fig House

Whats up focal point? The space was really becoming just so bright and happy and I started become way more bright and happy.

The Fig House

As much as I love the white we wanted to give it a tone and we chose Theres’s Green from Farrow and Ball. It’s the most perfect mint ever because its soft and therefore not really annoying but still a color.

The Fig House

Here you can see the woodwork added to the mirrors to frame it, bring in some deco style and give them even more heft. We designed them on some renderings and then gave it to a carpenter, but when he did the first one we realized we needed it even bigger to match the scale of the mirror and the space.

The Fig House

I loved how it turned out. What a fairly inexpensive way to dress up a simple wall mounted mirror.

Here, below, you can see the stained glass windows installed, otherwise known as my favorite thing I’ve ever done. Don’t worry, you’ll get a whole post on that design process with hero photos of the final result.

The Fig House

And then it was the day before the furniture came in (otherwise known as my favorite day of the year).

The Fig House

Speaking of furniture. Our budget was tight and we had to be VERY thrifty and resourceful in order to get  enough really unique pieces. So yeah, it was all about thrift store/flea market finds with new fabrics. This is when it started getting really fun. We needed high-end, even commercial grade, fabrics which is why we chose so many velvets – they are just so much more durable than a linen, although now I wish we had just a few more linens or other textured pieces.

The Fig House

I think we had 18 pieces of furniture that needed to be redone in 14 different fabrics. My upholstery dude thought I was NUTS. I just really wanted it to feel bright and lively and unexpected, where everywhere you turned there was another big pop.

So everything arrived on the same day (although we had to remove it so we could finish that space) and it was the happiest day of my life, barring the days that actually warrant being the happiest days of my life.

The Fig House

You plan and pick and pin (yes, we pin swatches on each of the chairs) and send you babies off to get all spiffied up. You hope you did the best by them and made the best decisions for then, but it’s not til you get them back and they are all sitting in a room together that you think you did them right.

The Fig House

So many favorites – I think that the mint club chairs might be my favorites.

Well, here we are, ready for the after photos friends?

Welcome to The Fig House:

The Fig House

I love this room. Every time I walk into it I get happy. Sure, I designed it and i probably have no objectivity left (yes, I do, trust me) but I still really love it.

The Fig House

Everything was collected from the flea market or thrift stores and if we were lucky we didn’t have to refinish them, but all the upholstered pieces we had to strip completely and redo. But ultimately if you are buying pieces for $50 and $75, and then putting $400 into them its still a well-priced chair especially since it’s totally unique.

The Fig House

The stained glass windows are really the feature here, and they are even more impressive in person. I’m writing a whole post about them (just waiting on finishing up the video!) so stay tuned. They were designed by Tim Carey (and myself) at Judson Studios and they are just insanely beautiful.

The Fig House

That awesome copper dome/mushroom lamp is vintage, but I purchased it off of  And one savvy reader noticed that these rugs were the rugs that I bought on Craigslist a couple years ago and have been hoarding for a while, but they were from Bette Midler’s estate (she purchased them in the 80’s, they are originally from the 20’s and was redesigning her house). I love the history of them and I just picture her laying on the rugs, singing ‘The Rose’ over and over.

The Fig House

The Fig House

The yellow/navy chairs were purchased from Shopclass – one of my favorite LA vintage stores.

The Fig House

Those stained glass windows are from Judson Studios, but stay tuned for that post.  The green sectional was purchased on craigslist and then reupholstered. Its just a dream to sit on.

The Fig House

Wall Paint Theresa’s Green by Farrow & Ball |  Vintage chandelier From Old Good Things | Paintings by Kai Samuels Davis| USA Artwork by Nike Schroeder| Marble and brass side table (similar) | Pillar candles |  White and brass sconces from Lamps Plus |  Coffee Table, vintage (similar).

And all art chosen by Danielle Krsysa, The Jealous Curator.

It’s hard to source because almost everything except for the sconces and the side tables were vintage.

The Fig House

All photos by Mike Kelley and Ryan Phillips for Pure Photo (a company that sells some seriously beautiful large-scale original photography).

The Fig House

And that, my friends is The Fig House.  It has some art deco, some 2014 and a lot of blood, sweat, tears and now, love.  It was a project that was way bigger than we thought, took way more time than we thought but of course was way more satisfying that I thought it could be. A HUGE thanks to Ginny MacDonald (I hired her full-time after this job :)) and Dean Fisher who helped project manage the job. It was a dream to work with both of you and they are very responsible for the outcome. Also thanks, Steve Fortunato and the Room Forty team who you, made the whole project happen. So spread the word. Get your weddings on. For bookings email

And obviously tell them I sent ya.

If you are new to the project check out the progress posts herehere and here.  The mood board here, and the opening party here! Ryan Phillips from pure photo and photographer Mike Kelley

  1. Meghan

    This is gorgeous! I love the colorful upholstery and how each piece seems to pop but no one competes with the others! It is beautiful!
    May I ask what velvet fabric brand(s) you recommend? I am looking for a dark teal similar to the teal couch and I’m having a heck of a time finding the right shade.

    • Emily

      these are from Pindler and Pindler which are a wholesale brand. They were kinda expensive but they are commercial grade so they are really stain resistant and can withstand like 1 million rubs. xx

  2. Megan

    Emily, are the rugs in the lounge the Bette Midler rugs?

    • Emily

      You know it! Good eye. I forgot to talk about that. Might edit the post to, you know, drop Bette’s name because its a hilarious name to drop. xx

      • Megan

        Why I remember this but not what I cooked for dinner two days ago, I will never know. I would totally link back to that post. It is so randomly perfect.

  3. jen

    Yes, I would love a recommendation on choosing a good velvet fabric. I’m having the same issue finding the right color and quality for some side chairs.
    This room is fantastic. I want to move in.

    • Emily

      Its Pindler and Pindler from the PDC building in LA. Home fabrics downtown is awesome, too, but its just so hard to find online companies to recommend. I really should do a ton of research and then do a post about it because even I am dying for better online fabric resources. xx

      • Lindsay

        Yes!! Please do! I was going to write this in as part of the new “Ask Emily” feature. I would love to know some great online sources for fabric. I am not that crafty, but I can sew four straight lines to make my own throw pillow covers. I would love to see you find fabric sources and then give some sample fabric mixes for couches, etc. like that video you did a while back!

      • Hannah

        Hi Emily!

        I would love the recommendation of a upholstery shop. I’m in Montrose near Glendale but I would travel for a great reupholstery job!

  4. Christina

    Was the round couch a thrift store find too? Would love to find something like that for a round bar room in an 1930s house.

  5. Emily, wow! You totally outdid yourself here. The colors are just unreal. Love love love!

    • Emily

      I found it on Craigslist and I thought it was vintage, but someone told me they think they got it at Room Service in LA and then we recovered it. So I think its based on vintage … but Room Service either made it or makes a similar one.

  6. Nana

    You really did an amazing job!! How is it that you do like a zillion things at a time?! Love how chick and happy the space turned out. Party time!

    • Nana

      I meant to type CHIC not chick… oh lord

  7. Allison

    This transformation is absolutely incredible! Wonderful job!!

  8. Theresa

    I had to comment and I never do these things. I’ve been reading your blog for years because I really love your design sensibility, and the work you’ve done here is just really beautiful. I’m commenting because of two things that are just so weird and amazing and coincidental… 1) My name is Theresa Greene, the name of your Farrow & Ball paint and 2) I went to high school with Steve Fortunato. Tell me that’s not crazy?!

    • Emily

      thats so funny and weird!!! Thanks so much for commenting!!

  9. sarah

    so obsessed with this entire space – it is so, so, gorgeous. also thinking i need to paint some room in my dream home that farrow & ball color. the perfect shade of mint!

  10. BridgetG

    Emily, do you use 100% cotton velvet or a blend? Do you mind sharing your source? Thanks bunches for the “eye candy” — what a happy, happy design. :)

  11. Jess Hartnett

    I love love love the jewel tones in this space!

    Question: The sconces appear to be hung at eye-level or at least at the same height as the artwork. In the images without the artwork they look a bit low, but with the artwork they seem to draw the eye perfectly around the room. Is this a traditional height for them to be hung, do they look lower w/o the artwork because of the high ceilings, or did you purposely hang them in line with the artwork?

    As always – amazing job! You are my idol!

  12. Laura

    Wow this space is amazing!! I love everything about it – the colors, the furniture, the rugs, the windows. I can’t even. Great work Emily and Ginny!

  13. I can’t stop looking at this room- it’s gorgeous! Beautiful job! I love this hot pink sofa- is it an original shape or was the back altered? Looking to source a curved sofa for a sitting room, but maybe now I’ll search for angular!

  14. this is amazing! i love how you sectioned off everything but kept it open. love all the luxe velvet upholstery.

    and, are you kidding me with the legs on the green sofa? are those LUCITE?!?!?! WHERE did those come from!

  15. I have been anxiously awaiting this post! I think this lounge is one of my most favorite spaces of all time! It will be my “happy place” for whenever I have to close my eyes and imagine something beautiful in order to decompress :)

  16. Ardis

    I love the furniture colors so much I want to lick them. They look delicious, like sherbet. I HAVE to visit the Fig House the next time I’m in LA. Great job as usual and great meeting you last week at Animal Haven. You are just as genuine in person as you come across in your blog, which wasn’t a surprise to me at all. Hope you had lots of fun with Brian and Charlie in Central Park and were able to enjoy the few days of nice weather.

  17. Lori

    If I am a very, very good girl, when I die I will go to heaven and it will look exactly like that.

  18. Valentina

    This place is stunning, love every detail of it!! I would like to know what software Ginny uses for her renderings.

    • Emily

      She uses a program called Vectorworks.

  19. This is my favorite space you’ve ever done. It might have something to do with the wall color (I have almost that exact color in the majority of our house) and the pops of saturated color. And those rugs and their story are to die for. The modern take on Art Deco is just perfect, Emily!

  20. Cindy

    Gorgeous space, and awesome post. Posts like this take a lot of time, and I wanted you to know I read every word (sometimes twice). Thanks!

    • Emily

      thank you!!!!! seriously thanks

  21. Janine

    I actually love that you included the renderings in this post!
    I’m about to begin taking design courses and the CAD aspects are what I’m least knowledgable and most nervous about, so to get to see how important they really are to reaching your end results makes me more prepared and excited about jumping into all there is to learn…as always, you keep on inspiring me!! :)

  22. I am such a couch person, like I obsess over couches. They can be beautiful and comfy and functional, and then add in velvet… I’m dying to go to LA and see it in person.

  23. Julie


  24. beth

    I just love this! Ive been thinking about the sofa I want to get since my doggies have abused my current one. You have me in love with these gems above…I need to scour the local antique shops and keep dropping into the thrift stores…I need me an art deco beauty. Thanks. You blog is my favorite!

  25. oh my god! you did such an amazing job!! This space looks amazing.

  26. stacy

    I just love this Emily! The room is beautiful. These design process posts are what encourage me to just take the plunge and go back to school for design, which is what I’ve always thought I wanted to do. Posts like this make me sure of it! Thanks for the constant inspiration!

  27. Emily, the furniture in this project is amazing! It really makes this room extra special. It would be such a fun and comfortable place to attend a party.

  28. Melinda

    Love it !!! Breathtaking ! where did you find the little side tables? They look like the rattan ones I have but in metal??

  29. This is so freaking amazing. I want to die in this space. Or, at least live the rest of my days here. I mean, that green couch…. Anyways, I love the renderings, and was wondering what software Ginny used and/or if it’s crazy expensive what cheaper options you might recommend?

  30. Sam

    So. Much. To. Pin.

    This space is seriously stunning. Well done!

  31. Laura

    Amazingly gorgeous space! Well done. And thank you, thank you, thank you for including elevations, renderings, and “boring” stuff like the plumbing issue. As a designer myself, that’s how I relate! Of course the photos are beautiful, but I absolutely love to hear about other designers’ design process and real life experiences.

  32. Sophisticated palette. Enough warmth and yet airy.

  33. April @ Birdsong Cottage

    Just beautiful. I’m sick from enjoyment right now.

  34. Lucy

    This is a master class on how to work with jewel tone fabrics. Simply stunning! You have every reason to be proud of the result. Any chance we could get a video tour?

  35. jen

    i feel excited every time i look at this. you KILLED it. i would like to have that hot pink corner couch, but i think you already know that. just a reminder. ok, bye. see ya later.

  36. kiah

    aaargghhh! i wish i wasn’t a 24hr flight away (i’m from Australia) or i would so be at the Fig House checking this beautiful space out in person!

  37. cait

    simply gorgeous.

  38. Hannah

    Hi Emily!

    I have a chaise lounge that needs to be recovered! Do you have any upholstery recommendations?

  39. Stephanie

    The furniture in this post is just outrageously beautiful. The texture and colors of the fabrics are simply yummy.

  40. Judy

    To die for.

  41. Ruby

    Absolutely amazing that this is the same space! Such a gorgeous job.

  42. Juliene

    God. You are so effing amazing!!!

    I’ve been really inspired since I discovered you about three months ago, and I finally started making some changes in my home. The catalyst? I scored a white Barcelona chair at a yard sale this weekend!!! So good. Unbelievable. So now I’m balancing feminine and masculine shapes and colors, and it’s working! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. You are wonderful and I love you! :)

    • Emily

      AH, thank you! And thats awesome about the barcelona chairs. nothing makes my blood pulse more than a really good steal. thanks for reading and commenting!

  43. Melanie

    I was there when you bought that awesome blue love seat at the flea market! You were so nice to stop and talk to me, Btw. I am still a huge fan and can’t wait till I have the money and space for you to decorate my home, if you’re not already running your own home decor multiple-national conglomerate by then. Wait that was THAT long ago? What have I been doing that entire time?

    • Emily

      Ah, thank you! That loveseat got me more instagram likes than another others up to that point. apparently the world was into it (and yes, i LOVE it). the scale is just so good.

  44. That space it so gorg that it makes me want to move to LA simply so I can host a party there! Seriously though, I’ve been shopping for a new sofa and have loved the velvet but kept questioning myself… no more! You helped enforce my decision! I would adopt every single piece of furniture if given then option (even though my entire house is probably the size of the room, lol. Anyway, bring on a velvet sofa!

  45. Absolutely stunning and amazing!!!! You are so brave to mix all those colors, but wow, it is just WOW!!!! The stained glass is totally GORGEOUS too – so unique, so you, and beautiful. My hubby makes stained glass as a hobby and I am inspired now to design something for him to make for our new house we are building! I am IN LOVE!!!

    • Emily

      Do it! I wish my husband did stained glass as a hobby. I do. Although i’d just force him to make me stained glass over and over and over.

  46. Amanda

    Worth waiting for!! Magic Emily. Kimye should contact you. That’s what your fans/followers love to see.

  47. Tara

    Emily, don’t second guess all the velvet! The saturated color brings so much life to the room! I love it! Excellent and inspiring, as always! Thanks for sharing!

  48. Laetitia

    WAOUH !! fantastic !! so inspiring … Thanks

  49. Oh my! I’ve always loved the idea of transofrming a dead space into an event space, lick of paint here, some nice lighting, fun furniture, easy! Erm no! Perhaps I won’t be doing it anytime soon but this looks incredible, and a very ‘happy place’. Fascinating to read the journey (I’m new to your blog too!). If I was in LA (not London) I’d be thinking of an event to throw to be there. Huge congratulations on such an amazing achievement, it looks beautiful.

  50. Jackie

    Absolutely STUNNING!

  51. Lori

    Honestly, I could not love this more. You are a genius.

  52. Kelly

    What programs are Ginny using for the renderings? I’d love to know, as I’m looking at different programs to work in for designing. Thank you!

  53. I absolutely love everything you do. It is always so beautiful. Don’t ever stop, please!

  54. I WANT TO LIVE HERE! Sooooooooo beautiful. Congrats! You and your crew did such a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing it.

  55. Seriously, this is amazing. Congratulations guys!
    And LOVE your write-up, Emily.
    Ronnie xo

  56. Those pictures made my day! it makes me happy just by looking at those!!
    The chairs turned out AMaZING, I love the colors and your upholstery guy did a great job! Swoon worthy!!


  57. beautiful interior designing and interior furnishing!

  58. Meghan

    Where are the octagon-shaped dining room tables from? Love them! Just saw them in a post on design love fest and had to ask, thanks!

  59. Sarah

    Can you give the name of the green velvet fabric? I’m looking for the perfect green to reupholster some chairs for my living room.

  60. Oh my, this place is so nicely furnished! That’s freedom: when you have so much space to decorate and put everything you want in it. The pink corner canape is simply adorable! Bravo))
    P.S. I’ll think about this interior when I obtain a room big enough for these ideas;)

  61. Marshia

    totally utterly perfect!! Love love love the space!! <3

  62. Great Layout, Beautiful Colors>>>> and the conversation areas, invite and simply sing……This is Magnificent….

  63. Hi Emily,

    Wow I’m so inspired! Love what you did with the place and all of your ideas. Wonderful work!

  64. Katie

    Hi Emily,

    I’m not sure if you will get this, but I’m crossing my fingers you will! My husband and I are buying our first house, and having always been a gray girl my first instinct was to paint all of the walls gray. I am a recent follower and have fallen so in love with all of your decor. I find myself spending hours reading your posts and searching for things you have done. I came across this room and within seconds got off of my gray platform and decided our living room must be this color. I found it on Farrow and Ball, but for the hefty price tag of $97 a gallon. Do you by chance know of any color matches at Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore? I would love an identical color, but for a little less money. Thanks so much!

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