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Emily Henderson

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by Arlyn Hernandez
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It’s here! The day has finally arrived that I get to show you my home, which by the way is like reading your teenage diary in a crowded room of other writers, standing in your swimsuit. It’s scary. It’s awkward. Please love me.

That’s me. Arlyn Hernandez, Editorial Director here at EHD, smiling through the discomfort of having my photo taken (bless you, Sara—our wonderful Photography Director). Hopefully, you were here yesterday and were able to make it through my extended design sermon about the process of pulling together my living and dining rooms. Today, I’m sharing the reveal of the former, and tomorrow, the reveal of the latter. Though I’m writing this a few weeks before you read it, I promise you I didn’t sleep yesterday waiting for today. Before I get into it, all I want to convey is that I very much love these rooms, and getting to flex design muscles (cultivated from over a decade of pecking away at a keyboard writing on the subject) was SO.MUCH.FUN…and also, very hard and eye-opening. I bow down to Emily (Henderson and Bowser), Julie, Velinda, Grace, Erik…all the stylists and designers on our team that do this on the regular.

As a reminder, here’s where we started:

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Good bones, furniture that once worked in another home, a rug hell-bent on depositing all the world’s lint on my collection of black pants. It still made me happy even if it looked like a consignment shop. But I knew it could be better. I knew it could be properly designed to feel more in line with the building’s 1920s narrative, plus half my furniture was now in new homes (sold prior to moving across the country from Florida to California).

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Here she is. Man does this make me happy. Okay, where to start?? Well…I guess let’s begin where I began…the sofa. I mentioned this in the intro yesterday, but I wanted this sofa for three years (and a blue velvet sofa in general for twice that). When I started at Apartment Therapy as Design Editor in 2016, I had recently purchased my Crate & Barrel Lounge II (in the before photo above), and then Maxwell Ryan, AT’s CEO and founder, released this sofa that he designed for Interior Define. WHAT?!? It was basically a dream, except I had a brand new couch at home that my then-fiance Charles (now husband) and I picked out together. I moved on, assuming this would likely never happen. BUT THEN I got the chance to do a Makeover Takeover, and it was the first thing I picked out.

I didn’t move here with the intention of selling off my previous sofa, but honestly, it felt so wrong in this space. It wasn’t that cool combo of modern + antique in my 100-year-old apartment. It just felt out of place. Convincing Charles to let me get my dream sofa was an uphill battle, however. He LOVED that C&B sofa (still mourns it to this day, actually), but after many a desperate soliloquy on the subject, he caved and said he trusted me to do what I thought we needed to in here aesthetically. You see, he’s in architecture, so it’s not like he doesn’t understand design, but I couldn’t download my brain into his so he could see “the vision.” Anyway, like I said, he resolved to trust me, and after seeing the finished product, he sees the light. He proudly says to anyone who steps foot in our home “this is all her” and I’ve found out through the grapevine that he’s been peddling photos of this room and the dining room to anyone who will listen/look (so cute).

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So YES, sofa. I opted for the single bench cushion (I believe it’s an upgrade in the 98″ right chaise model). It fits perfectly between the windows and sconces here. Almost like it was made for the space (::cough cough::). There were a ton more options to customize this couch that I didn’t see online, so if there’s an Interior Define store near you, I highly recommend going in. They’re SUPER helpful and walk you through everything.

The black sculptural side table was something I bought off Wayfair to put between the armchairs, but it turned out to be gigantic. A happy accident, because I didn’t have a side table next to my sofa yet, and this worked great there. It’s very heavy and stable (it’s concrete) and added a bit of modernity to some of the more traditional things in here.

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Speaking of “traditional things,” oh man did I go back and forth with a rug in here. I originally dreamed of finding a huge 9×12 vintage stunner at the Rose Bowl for like…$50. That didn’t happen. After mocking up what was probably 70 options in Photoshop, I spotted this rug from Lulu and Georgia, and I love it so much. This is not remotely what I ever thought I’d get for this room, but it was a happy surprise. The pattern is a low-pile shag in a light gray, beige and blush (online it looks like there’s purple in it, but there isn’t…it’s gray). Any other color might have competed with the bright blue sofa, so this was just the perfect amount of punch.

The coffee table (a huge upgrade from the rolling cooler that was here previously) was a Black Friday score from Anthropologie. You can’t really see it here, but it has a marquetry pattern on the surfaces of the tiers, and when the light hits it, it kind of glimmers. The table was tricky because I wanted to check the following boxes: round to break up the straight lines of the sofa and other furniture, two tiers for storage, light in color to not domineer the design, and be not-too-big-not-too-small. Its 37.5″ diameter turned out to be perfect.

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Oh these chairs. I had seen the original design (by Pierre Jeanneret in the 1950s) pop up over the years in luxury design projects, but then by nearly blinking, they were EVERYWHERE. I saw these at the Rose Bowl back in December (being sold new by Makers & Smiths), and I just frankly didn’t care. I loved them. There’s a funny thing that happens with trends. When something first starts becoming popular (but before it infiltrates), it’s exciting to hop on board, but then you do, and all of a sudden, you have the same thing that millions of others also have. But also…who honestly cares if you love it, right? Anyhow, I passed on the chairs that day, not wanting to spend an additional few hundred dollars just weeks before Christmas, BUT THEN I saw they were being sold at a further discount on Instagram and I scooped them up right away (after getting the A-OK from the mister…we both live here…he gets a say, too). Anyway, I love them so very much, and they were just the angular, sculptural thing I needed to edge everything up. The little wood table is from Target and very, very good.

Very quickly, that fiddle leaf fig, I got it at Costco…for $30. Not sure if they still have them, but such a score. All the rest of my plants I got either at The Sill here locally, or at Mickey Hargitay Plants in West Hollywood (such good stuff at amazing prices).

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You might have spotted this through the armchairs in other photos but this is my big DIY moment in here. I think every room should have something in it that feels handmade. Something that feels personal, that was birthed in your head to leave that “stamp” that could only be yours. This is mine. It’s just 3/4″ birch plywood from Home Depot cut to size, stacked and glued. The original inspiration came from here, but my sweet Charles used his mad drafting skills (I believe he made it in Revit) to mock up a customized version for under the picture window. After several weekends of sheer how am I building this bench without any tools panic, Sara offered up her brother Shade to build it for me. Thank you, Shade! I love it. The rugged plywood is a nice juxtaposition to the “fancier” things in here like the velvet and brass. The cushion I sewed myself with a terra-cotta velvet I found at Mood (don’t look at it too closely).

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Okay, time to talk art and decor.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I really wanted something above the sofa that felt like “us.” While a big piece of art would have been pretty (and another opportunity to bring in color and pattern), it felt a little devoid of personality. I wasn’t staging this room for a shoot…I was designing it to live in every day. On top of working in architecture, Charles also dabbles in photography, so we had a bunch of photos of us and our family and friends that were just sitting on our phones or his computer, likely never to see the light of day. That is until we thought to do this big 40″x40″ grid collage. I worked with Frame It Easy to build a custom-sized frame (they make it, well…easy to get frames in whatever size you need right online), then just got these 4″x4″ photos printed through Artifact Uprising that I attached in a planned grid with mounting foam squares. It’s the first thing I see when I walk through the door, and it makes my soul so happy. Seeing all the people I left on the east coast—my mom and dad, my nephews, Charles’ parents—our courthouse wedding snapshot…this right here is my heart personified in a piece of art.

The curtain decision, like everything else, was an internal battle. I so badly wanted something impactful. After I settled on a white paint color (White Dove by Benjamin Moore), I had to redeem my hypocrisy with something of color. Low and behold…I ended up buying these white curtains from IKEA instead, and well look, I ended up loving them. They look SO much more expensive than they really are ($40 for a set of 2), and because there would have been so many panels in here, anything with a striking pattern (like the English floral or toile I wanted) would have been Overwhelming with a capital “O”. To edge it up a little, I used my favorite curtain rods and rings in matte black that were left over from my old apartment (I had to buy the extra-long one for that front window, though, but it was still only like $60).

Oh and the pillows…where I FINALLY brought in the color and pattern aside from the sofa. The blockprint floral pillow and embroidered tassel pillow were both sourced through McGee & Co., the copper crushed velvet one I got on sale at West Elm, the textural blue lumbar was borrowed from Jess at the last minute and the mustard yellow lumbar is from Lulu and Georgia (though sadly no longer available).

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Here was my solution for the whole TV-off-center situation. An articulating, pivoting wall mount. Drilling holes in my rental walls made me insanely nervous, but nothing some spackle and sandpaper can’t fix. This has really changed our TV binging viewing experience for the better. It pulls out FAR—much farther than in the GIF above—and can turn to reduce glare from the windows in here and the dining room. Boom, problem solved (plus, there’s a part of me that loves that the TV is not the focal point here).

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Ah, that Article sideboard. I’ve loved it ever since I saw it in Emily’s house, long before I worked here. It’s not technically a media console, but I don’t have a cable box or anything (just some Firestick cables) so it’s totally fine. In the name of honesty, there is typically a big white box that holds a power strip and excess cables from the TV and the soundbar that’s not in this photo in the name of “pretty” off to the left, but a jumble of cables just wasn’t cutting it for this shoot. One day, when I figure out my cable management, maybe I’ll show you what I did to make things better. (Also, look away from the dining room, that’s for tomorrow…)

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The fireplace is non-functioning so that firewood is just for show, but man do I love its character. The little wreath on the top tile makes me chuckle. And while I think if I owned this place, I’d give this a little refresh, I don’t know…I kind of love it as-is. The sconces were generously supplied by Hudson Valley Lighting (also, generously installed by Jess) and they are so sturdy and well-made. The double light (x6) keeps this room BRIGHT at night (a dimmer helps). I contemplated doing something rad and modern, but landed on something more appropriate for this building’s era and I’m really pleased with how they look all together.

I got this mirror through Schoolhouse and it’s so nice in person. It has this wide lip around the edge that makes it feel extra special, and it was insanely easy to hang (it came with a French cleat that had a built-in bubble level…easy peasy). Oh, oh, and that little stool…Jess came to help me MULTIPLE times before this shoot (I seriously do not deserve her as a coworker or friend), and when she saw this she swore it was a flea find. NOPE. It’s from Target. It straight up looks like something from a cool antique market and it’s one of my favorite pieces in here.

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In my “before” photos, I had a vintage mid-century chest here that I found at a vintage market in Boca Raton, Florida. I love that piece so so much, but I painted it blue many moons ago, and next to the blue sofa, it was too much. Plus, it sat a little high and I could barely open the window, so now it’s in my bedroom and holds an overflow of books and candles. I picked up this console from Target to fill its void and it works perfectly here.

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That weird phone on the bottom right-hand corner? It’s an antique from Puerto Rico (where my family is from). I did not, however, get it from my Puerto Rican family; instead it came via my sister’s Bostonian-French-American mother-in-law who’s a thrifting wizard. She thought I should have it, though my sister will tell you another story (sorry, Frances, but it’s mine and you’ll have to come to LA to get it “back”). The rest of the pieces I’ve had forever (including that giant stack of Luxe Interiors + Design magazines—I used to be the Executive Editor there, so it’s a reminder of my career journey). Oh wait, that cool round rock sculpture thing is new (from West Elm), and the terra-cotta vase is actually a very chic oil diffuser from the brand Vitruvi. It comes in a few different colors and is the only diffuser I’ve found to blend into decor seamlessly and in a very good looking way.

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By the way, Target has a nice line of candles from Project62 that are insanely good. You see a sliver of one here, but they’re all in ceramic vessels and the scents are so strong, you can smell them even without lighting them. I’m sold.

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And finally, this year’s birthday present to myself, because yes, I am that type of person: two custom commissioned embroidered art pieces from Samantha Gluck. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s a designer that did projects with Emily in the past. We ran two house tours from her last year, and in her own home, she showcased a crazy cool embroidered wallhanging she made herself. I sent her an email to see if she’d be willing to make something for me because I was obsessed, and she kindly agreed. I gave her my color palette (neutrals, blues, greens, terra-cotta), she sketched this up and we went through the design process together to land on these two. She’s amazing, and so are these pieces.

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And that’s it! I leave you with another sneak peek into my dining room to get you excited enough to come back tomorrow to hear from me, Arlyn, YET AGAIN. Thank you Emily for handing over the reins of the blog to me for three days in a row to share my home with the readers. Thank you readers for sticking around and getting down to the bottom of this behemoth post. I hope you love my home as much as my husband and I do. It’s our refuge from the crazy streets of LA (that has quickly become “home” this last year). If you have any questions at all, let me know. I’m happy to answer whatever about whatever. Come back tomorrow to see my dining room…I promise it’s good (well, to me, at least).

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1. Blockprint Pillow via McGee & Co. | 2. Copper Velvet Pillow | 3. Embroidered Tassel Pillow via McGee & Co. | 4. Sconce via Hudson Valley Lighting | 5. Custom Metal Frame via Frame It Easy | 6. 4″x4″ Prints | 7. Curtain Ring | 8. Curtain Rods | 9. Curtains | 10. Table Lamp | 11. Black Side Table | 12. Velvet Sectional via Interior Define | 13. Coffee Table | 14. Basket (as tree planter) | 15. Rug via Lulu and Georgia | 16. Caned Side Chair | 17. Wood Side Table | 18. Yellow Bud Vase | 19. White Vase | 20. Girl Print | 21. Candle Holders | 22. Mirror via Schoolhouse | 23. Black Frame via Framebridge | 24. Slow Down Tea Towel | 25. Stacked White Planter and Tree | 26. Bleached Wood Tray via McGee & Co. | 27. Black Vase | 28. Carved Wood Accent Table | 29. Brass Hand | 30. Blue Glass Vase | 31. Andirons | 32. Walnut Sideboard via Article | 33. Bench Cushion Velvet | 34. Black Planter (similar) | 35. Lidded Candle | 36. 3-Wick Candle | 37. Canvas Floater Frame | 38. Custom Embroidered Art by Samantha Gluck | 39. Stone Oil Diffuser via Vitruvi | 40. Brass Snuffer | 41. Rock Match Striker | 42. Metal and Rock Sculpture | 43. Console | 44. TV Wall Mount | 45. White Dove by Benjamin Moore | 46. Sheepskin Throw | 47. White Knob Planter

***Photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp for EHD

FOLLOW ALONG THIS MOTO SERIES: Arlyn’s Living & Dining Room Intro | Arlyn’s Moody Dining Room Reveal

  1. This is so special – the sofa and the styling are particularly beautiful. What a lovely space to spend time xxx

    1. Thank you!

  2. Love it! It feels like such a nice place to live… and that light! You´ve made a great work solving all of your design troubles, including the TV thing. I see a lot of beautiful living rooms around but not all of them seem as cozy and relaxed as yours. I hope you enjoy it very much…

    1. Oh I do!! We’re homebodies, so it gets A LOT of use.

  3. Beautifully done!

  4. Everything is gorgeous and so are you! You should feel such pride and celebrate your successes!

  5. This is stunning. That bold blue couch is perfect (yay for jewel tones!) and the whole room comes together beautifully. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s reveal.

  6. This really looks fabulous. I love what you wrote about opting into a trend if you love it. That’s really just the opposite of not opting in if you don’t like it, right? So why wouldn’t you buy those gorgeous cane chairs if they’re calling to you? I think they really work well in a long narrow room because they let a bit of light through and don’t have as heavy of an imprint on the room as two upholstered chairs would.

    Your small-table/stool game is strong, sister. Makes me want to head over to Target. 😉 FYI, I also found a wonderful small wood stool at HomeGoods (you never know whether you’ll find something great there or find nothing).

    Love love love that color in the dining room!

    1. Oh there’s plenty all around my house from HomeGoods (that white Jack type thing on the console is, a few knick knacks, my old dining room chairs, lots of stuff in the bedrooms…there isn’t one very close to me so I don’t really go anymore, but I miss it!).

  7. this is absolutely gorgeous! i love seeing how this room came together and can’t wait for tomorrow!

  8. wow great..

  9. Arlyn, this is spectacular! MOTOs are my favorite thing on this blog for sure. Question about the DIY bench – is the cushion attached to the bench at all? I’m looking at making something really similar and I’m worried when I sit down the cushion will slide around. I’m not sure if I should connect it to the bench somehow, add a non-slip rug pad (?!) or what? Thanks!

    1. Thank you! I used Velcro! The kind with the sticky back to attach to the wood! It’s probably not the best long term solution, but it’s working for now!

  10. Lovely! I too have a blue velvet sofa and it makes me so happy!

  11. I looove this. Thanks so much for the IKEA curtain tip— I’m heading there today and will definitely be picking some up for my living room! It’s so hard to find moderately priced curtains that aren’t gross looking. I’ve also been eyeing that Vitruvi diffuser… Going to pull the trigger on it now! Enjoy your beautiful home!!

    1. These are honestly so great! I hemmed them with a bonding iron on tape I got at a craft store because the one from Ikea isn’t the best. Then just a matter of “training” them to feel pleated.

      1. I’m scared of that tape! Hard to do? They look fab!

        1. SO easy! you just have to measure out where you want the curtains to end (I use a sewing gauge like this one – https://rstyle.me/+ZktgE5Hm5r2OhfQCINH23g – and pins to make it super easy), iron a crease right at the point you want the curtain to hit the floor, then run the tape inside the folded over fabric (on the inside so you don’t see it), and iron it. Boom, done!

          1. Did you use four panels for the wider windows? Thank you!

          2. I actually used 6 on the big front window (it’s almost 150 inches wide). Honestly, it would be better (closed) with 8 panels, but the 6 works well visually when open.

  12. It’s gorgeous. I’d binge watch Netflix anytime on that sofa! Can’t wait to see the rest of the house!

    1. @Arlyn – thanks for your reply! So helpful 🙂

  13. I love how it turned out! I’m glad you went with something personal over your sofa. I feel like the design world can be a bit snobby about actually displaying your personal photos on the wall, but my opinion is that you’re not staging a house; you’re creating a space that makes YOU happy. Most of us feel happy when we see photos that are meaningful to us.

    As for the curtains – I’m not above switching out my curtains in summer and winter, kind of like my throw pillows. I have white Ikea ones like yours right now for the summer, but I like to do charcoal velvet Ikea ones in the winter. They’re surprisingly easy to switch out and it changes the vibe completely!

    Looking forward to the dining room reveal!

    1. I totally agree! I know lots of small frames on every surface can feel cluttered, but a house without personal photos is not a home!

  14. Can you add the link for #16?

    1. So sorry! Just did!

  15. Great room — great post! Thanks.

  16. Great job! I really enjoyed reading about your process, and the outcome is beautiful! Looking forward to tomorrow’s dining room post. 😊

    1. The dining room is my favorite! Can’t wait for you to see!

  17. I love it! It has a great balance of function and beauty and is very respectful of the space and era while still feeling current (but not overly trendy). Beautiful!! Can you decorate my house next?! 🙂

    1. That’s what I was going for! Thank you for your kind words.

  18. I’m sure it so hard to share a personal space on such a huge platform-but it’s absolutely gorgeous. That couch is the showstopper! And everything looks so seamless. Bright and airy-it’s perfect. You mentioned you were trying to hide cords and figure out the console situation. We kind of specialize in that business-making book boxes with hollowed our backs that hide cords and cable boxes and all sorts of wires if you need. https://etsy.me/2JTocma

  19. Love it! Looks beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much!

  20. Oh my god, this has to be one of my favorite rooms I’ve ever seen on here. So beautiful, what an awesome job!

    1. Wow thank you for the amazing compliment!!! It made my day.

  21. This is beautiful! Love this MOTO.

    1. Thank you Marti!!

  22. Arlyn, so refreshing both the style outcome and your “come on in to my thought process” writing.

    Love seeing a return to materials and items many of us can afford and that are not “freebie” paid advertisements for luxury brands that most can not afford.

    This is exactly the type of piece that we started following this blog for long ago

    More please!

    1. Come back tomorrow for more!

  23. This was really fun to read, I love how the room turned out!!!!

    1. Thank you SO much!

  24. Love it! And I appreciate how you took us through your thought process.

    I know I’m not supposed to look, but I think the dining room helps make the living room!

    1. It totally does!! Those two rooms talk to each other so much so I kept the living room much more subdued to let the dining room be the star!

  25. Aww, so cute!

  26. Excellent work. And the styling is perfection.

  27. I love it! And I love how the curtains touch the ground PERFECTLY. 👍🏻 Also that’s like $500 worth of coffee table books! Impressive.

    1. Hahaha yeah I have a lot but they’ve all been inherited from past jobs and stories I’ve written and whatnot. Very lucky!

  28. Really gorgeous, Arlyn! I enjoy your writing style, humor, and story telling. I’m happy you’ve created your bit of paradise in LA!

    1. Thank you! The only cure for homesickness was remaking a home where I was.

  29. Love this room! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  30. Your makeover is absolutely gorgeous! You are so talented! Well done!

    1. HA! Thanks mom. <3

  31. Arlyn! I love this so much…every bit of it. I remember reading all your “sofa squad” posts from AT. I love the Maxwell. Do you feel like the back and bench cushions are holding their shape?

    1. Sofa squad! I had SO much fun working on that series. And YES they are. The back cushions are down, so need fluffing about once a week, and the bench cushion is down-wrapped foam I believe, and also needs fluffing but once I smack it around a little, it’s back to new.

  32. You totally nailed it! I love how chic it is, yet it still feels homey and comfortable.

  33. I love this space! PLEASE share a diy post of that bench!

    1. Let me see what I can get together. I don’t have process of it building, but I do have a PDF of the plans we created!

      1. oh yes i would love that! Thank you!

  34. Very inspirational! It’s interesting, because I know the goal was to demodernize, but everything here looks pretty modern still! But it works! You added a lot more warmth.

    I’m feeling inspired by the custom embroidery (maybe I can get into embroidery?) and the DIY bench. I’ve been looking for a bench and this one looks doable.

  35. I love this and I love all of Arlyn’s words about the thoughts behind the process too! It feels very stylish and approachable both, with those kicks of personality. I’m pinning a bunch of these ideas for our living room too and am eagerly looking forward to the dining room reveal post.

  36. This was my favorite design blog post I have ever seen and I will use it for inspiration for years to come. I have the same style/architecture house and I love everything you did with it, blending the original style with current pieces. So thoughtful, beautiful and comfortable. I LOVE IT! (And this is the first time I have ever commented on any blog.) Thank you for sharing!

    1. Wow, I’m literally blushing. Thank you so much Demet. I really do love living in this room and I hope it shows! Thank you for your (FIRST!) comment.

  37. Okayyyyy this is my dream living space! DYING over that area rug, the tans/browns, THE blue couch!!!…. all the blue really. Such a beautiful room. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So nice of you to say Julie. THANK YOU!

  38. Really lovely! Kudos to you. And as someone who also owns the Lounge sofa from Crate (petite size), it can be done in a high pile microfiber that kind of mimics velvet (not nearly as pretty as your fabric, but super easy care)

    1. Oh Christine, trust me, I know. I wanted the lounge originally in a blue microfiber but SOMEONE thought I’d get tired of the color. Proved him wrong…

  39. What a happy room! Living here would send me out every day with a smile on my face.

    I particularly love your use of color here. Many of the rooms I see that emphasize color use too much of it for my taste but this strikes the perfect blend. Adding all the plants is the icing on the cake.

    Please share a link to that gorgeous throw. I have been looking for something similar for months.

    Thank you.

    1. I SO wish I had a link for the throw, but I bought it in person at Burke Decor and they don’t carry it online. They do have others online (and a sale today!): https://rstyle.me/+fxpmtSDXiZI_ZVipmWfuFg

    2. I think this is the link to the Cotton Woven Throw w/ Tassels in Navy by BD Edition https://www.burkedecor.com/products/cotton-woven-throw-w-tassels-in-navy-cream-by-bd-edition

      1. YES! Am I somehow blind and totally missed this?? Thank you!

  40. Loving the room! I have a very similar living room layout and my TV placement is the corner. This verified to me I made a good choice with that!

  41. gorgeous!

    i too have a extending, pivoting arm for my off-center tv – I’ve never been happier about a decorating decision and it was rare, easily agreed upon joint decision for my husband and I – he doesn’t like TVs over the mantel because it’s too high for comfortable viewing, and i bc of the aesthetics!

    most of the time it’s pulled out – but when we are entertaining it gets pushed back and that space becomes our bar area – love it!

    1. Same! He actually didn’t mind it over the mantel, it simply just didn’t fit comfortably. Anyone who comes to my home always wonders how we manage and it’s funny how quickly you get over something (the pivoting arm helps SO much, though).

  42. Wowww! Love so many things. That DIY bench though!!

  43. Looks great! I love everything including the look of those chairs (but I don’t think I’d want to sit in them for more than 10 minutes!). Love the sconces, especially! And I think the curtains look nice- so often when I see store-bought curtains in a makeover article or show, they look cheap, but these look great. And of course the styling is fabulous- nothing less than I would expect from you guys at EHD. Good job! I’m sure it is a wonderful space to live in and I’m not surprised that your husband would want to be showing it off!

  44. Beautifully done! I have a similarly sized and shaped living room, with the front door opening right into it like you. Curious about your thoughts on a ‘landing strip’ with this kind of entry. Where do your purse, shoes, amazon boxes and jackets come to rest? I’d love love LOVE inspiration on how to make that kind of real-life functionality more beautiful.

    1. Hubby is good about bringing his stuff into the spare room which is kind of his office. Me on the other hand…I throw everything by the fireplace. 🤦‍♀️ I did have shelves by the door but found I didn’t really use them for another other than keys, which I just leave on the mantel now.

    2. We don’t have an entry at all (our door opens to our dining nook) and we’ve just gotten good at going straight to the bedroom and putting everything away straight away!

  45. G O R G E O U S ! ! !

    1. Thank you Karen!

  46. Great post! I immediately went and bought the fireplace stool. It is exactly what I was looking for in my dressing area and the price is right!

    1. It looks So much better in person than it does online. It’s pretty small, but SO cute.

  47. Such an INCREDIBLE job! You’ve got mad design skills.

    1. HA! Thank you so much Wendy!

  48. Stunning Arlyn! And I have an Interior Define single bench sectional too! LOVE them…

  49. Arlyn, this space is lovely — so, so lovely. It is sophisticated and serene and playful all at the same time. I really appreciate the way the design honors the architecture of this house but still has many elements of modern living (large tv, lounge-able furniture, big box combined with antique…) I love the window curtains and am blown away that they are off-the shelf Ikea purchases.
    I’m looking forward to reading about the dining room!

    1. Right?!? I stressed so much over these curtains, wanting something “different” and patterned or colorful, but I actually ended up REALLY loving these once I installed them. They look very high end and are $40!! I hope everyone buys them.

  50. You should check out the Gold Hive’s article on cable management – she has a lot of good ideas for keeping cords at bay: https://www.thegoldhive.com/blog/2018/8/7/how-to-hide-cords-plus-all-my-tricks-for-cable-management

    1. Oh thanks for sharing. Def going to check out. Cable management can be such a nightmare (especially in a rental where you can’t drill holes in the wall to hide everything). Grr!!

    2. Thanks for recommending my tutorials, Jenny!

  51. Love it and love you! You have a wonderfully warm writing style that feels like I can hear your voice. It’s really sweet. Love the DIY bench and that you sewed your own cushion. Is that gold and white marble-look console really from Target?? It’s looks so good. Can’t wait to the see the rest!

    1. Yup! The top of it is just white, so not marbles, but it looks great IRL regardless!

  52. Fantastic job Arlyn! Huge fan of the Pierre Jeanneret chairs and the DIY bench.

    1. Well look at this familiar name. 🙂 thank you friend!!!

  53. Beautifully done. Heartfelt and I enjoy your commentary

  54. I’m glad you can’t “refresh” the fireplace. I was watching House Hunters the other day, and one of the houses had an original tile Bachelderesque fireplace but I couldn’t really tell for sure BECAUSE IT WAS PAINTED ALL OVER WITH SHINY BLACK PAINT. So hideous. In an older place like this it’s so nice to see original features. Oh, and also on the same show, another house had put in one of those ugly dropped panel ceilings under a perfectly good COVED ceiling. Man, most people dream of finding a place with features like that.

    Love your dining room from the peak we can see, but the living room looks an awful lot like Emily’s apartment from several years ago. I guess this styling is looking really same old-same old to me. That said, I love your fireplace styling.

    1. Yes! Commenting to say to please not encourage “refreshing” historic character that can almost never be brought back once lost. Your tiles look similar to Batchelder tile – and real or not they are 100x better looking than when people put paint over ceramic tile.

      I would love a post on saving / working with historic elements rather than giving into trends and slopping white or black paint on every surface in the house.

  55. Is there any way to confirm the color of the couch? I looked at the website & the closest one was the Oxford blue, but it doesn’t look quite the same. Maybe it’s the lighting? Can you please let me know! I am officially in love!

    1. Hi Kelly! Yes it’s Oxford blue. It’s no way near as dark as it appears online. It looks a little brighter in these photos than it is in real life because it was a very bright day when we photographed and the light was reflecting on it. I believe interior define has samples you can order but yeah, it’s more cobalt than navy for sure!

    2. I’ve seen the color in the store and its definitely more of a royal blue than a navy. I think the true color is closer to these pictures than the Interior Define website.

  56. This room looks great – and I love that it seems you actually purchased most of the stuff yourself, rather than had it gifted. Feels much more authentic and also possible for the rest of us. Although Target in Australia has nothing like the cool furniture you guys get. Great job!

  57. It’s beautiful, Arlyn. Chic and serene. And I love the White Dove LR seguing into the Inchyra DR. I always assumed that two rooms that open to one another with big archway should be the same color, but I can see that’s not so.

    Do you use the chaise on the sofa? I’ve always wondered if people really use them, because they are a bit awkward to get in and out of.

    1. Ohhhhh yes I use it. It’s my “spot”. If I have to sit somewhere else on the sofa, I’m upset. Ha!

      And no! Rooms don’t have to be the same color. They just have to work well together. In fact, picking different paint colors can make each space feel like its own space with its own personality. I find that when you paint two adjoining spaces the same color, the palette in the rooms also has to be the same. I had some similar colors in both rooms, but I designed them with separate palettes which makes them feel different (but cohesive).

      1. Thank you, Arlyn. Good to know you have a “spot!”

        I have the same situation as you in my 1921 bungalow – the LR and DR are connected by a large archway. The LR is long and narrow with a FP at the end. I finally realized that the tv had to go on the only long wall, with the sofa opposite it and in front of windows, with a separate seating area around the FP for conversation. Right now both LR and DR are the same “Skylight” blue and ivory from SWms. But you are inspiring me to re-think the color of the DR.

        I would love a post on how to find paint choices that work well with the colors of wood floors. I have red oak, with walnut decorative details. I made the mistake of refinishing them. I loathe the orange of the refinished oak, and so many paint colors make it look more orange. I don’t do rugs because my daughter uses a wheelchair – life is easier for her with wood floors. I actually am thinking of painting the floors a moody white, like pointing from F&B, but hyperventilating at the very thought of painting hardwood floors.

        Also, I’m a bibliophile with bookcases in every room. I want to consolidate most of them in one place, which would be the DR, but it means giving up a sideboard for bookshelves. I’m collecting ideas on Pintarest, but I’d love a post on combo DR/Libraries.

        Again, your LR is awesome!

  58. Love it!!!

  59. Arlyn, your living room is beautiful! I’ve been dreaming of a blue velvet sofa or sectional. Great job, and I can’t wait to see the dining room reveal.

    FYI: The links to the oil diffuser are giving me a 404 error.

    1. Shoot I’m so sorry. Turns out the terra-cotta color I have is not available right now. I fixed the links above, but putting it here too for easy access: https://vitruvi.com/collections/shop-all

  60. This is one of my top 3 favorite room designs of all time. Really, it’s so stunning and yet approachable! Loved hearing your thought process and approach.

    Relatedly, I’ve also been on the hunt for a round table that has a storage tier and is light in color! Were there any runner-ups you recommend? Looks like yours is sold out!

  61. This is a wonderful, timeless room that will look beautiful in 10 years. It’s so nice to see a room you could live in with zero changes. Enjoy!

  62. Arlyn, I LOVE your home. Thank you for allowing us in to your transformation…design dilemmas included. You brought it ALL together. The dining room is truly special: Wall color is perfectly saturated and draws us in; the table and chairs are a great addition. So proud of you.

  63. Your space looks so inviting and that sectional is heavenly. I still miss Emily’s blue sofa, thinking I should get one too since I’m always drawn to the blue.
    Can’t wait for the dining post tomorrow 😍

  64. I love this SO much! The space looks FANTASTIC and I especially love that there are a few splurge pieces, a few pieces from Target and other well-known stores, and stuff you already owned. I personally prefer this kind of content because it’s so relatable. I confess I had my doubts about that huge TV in such a small room but you made it work. BRAVO!

  65. Absolutely beautiful! Be proud…you have the gift!

    1. 🥰🥰

  66. This is a stunning transformation, well done! I was particularly intrigued by how you hung your curtains at different heights…I’ve been ruminating on what to do in my bedroom because the ceiling slopes so that there are only a few inches above some of the windows and almost two feet about others (like in your case, they are on separate walls). Any tips on making this work?

    1. Okay so I debated this. I didn’t have much room on the smaller windows because of the ceiling slope, so if I matched the front window to those, it would feel so low. Truthfully, those with does could use Roman shades instead. I’d say go for the varied heights if the ceiling itself slopes. That’ll carry your eye to the next wall with higher rods and it’ll feel more natural…less like a mistake.

      1. Thanks for your reply! I really want to hang them “high and wide” but felt weird about not having everything at the same level. I think you pulled it off beautifully, so that gives me confidence to go for it.

  67. Your home is beautiful❣️

  68. It’s a triumph Arlyn, I feel like plonking down on that sofa and having a good chat with you. It’s very calm and welcoming.

    1. Thank you so much! And that sounds lovely!

  69. Very, very nice and you had some good bones to start with. What a beautiful spacious apartment.

  70. Gorgeous bedroom design. I love all the designs above. A mattress can increase the beauty and lookings of a bedroom. Here is my favorite mattress website https://www.mattressinsight.com/

  71. Oh,I love averything about this house! So so adorable! Well done!

  72. To be honest, when I saw your mood board yesterday I thought, meh! I am only admitting this now because today I can truly say I LOVE your place!! The rooms look crisp, yet relaxed. This is one of my favorite interiors on EHD ever–I think I’ll have to pin EVERYTHING. Two things that caught my eye–one is the lamp next to the sofa–it’s from IKEA, whut?! I love it. I also love the planter with the rubber tree. Emily has a similar one that I have been coveting for years. And I’ll go ahead and tell you, pre-dining room reveal, I love your banquette so much. The way you toned down the rest of the room and made it the star is genius. I love the fabric on the banquette. I’d like to have something similar in the future, so I’m pinning like the wind!

  73. Your living room is all the things! Inviting, airy, comfortable, beautiful. Well done! I particularly love your photo art about the couch and would love more info on how you did it. I’m imagining marking off where all the photos should go to keep them straight, but I feel like then I’d have millions of pencil lines ruining everything! Am I making it too complicated?

    1. Thank you! You can def go that route, but yes, there will be pencil lines. Here’s what I did (man I hope I can explain this): mark out the very center of the frame and that’s where your center photo will go. Once you decide how far you want everything to be from each other, I made a template with a scrap piece of cardboard that looked like an X with 4 90-degree angles. Those 90-degree notches are where you’ll align the center photo and then add three other photos. Add foam mountain tape to each, then keep using the template to build out the whole grid.

      1. Thank you!! That is so smart and easier than marking everything… I know my lines would be slanted anyway. Definitely going to try to duplicate this myself.

  74. Would you mind sharing the exact dimensions of the frame with the 4×4 prints? I have been trying to find a solution for displaying vintage family photos and this is PERFECT!

    1. It’s 40.5″ x 40.5″. I believe I spaced all the images apart by 1.5″ but I’d have to measure to be sure!

      1. thank you!!

  75. Beautiful! Love the photo frame! Can you tell me how you got the 4×4 photos to stick to the frame? You mentioned sticky foam but how does that attach to the frame? And what size frame did you end up buying?
    Thank you!

  76. WOW! I am completely blown away — thank you so much for being brave and sharing with all of us!!! I love how this room is so approachable while still being knockout stunning. My favorite part is that I don’t see a ton of creative mixes of ‘California minimalist’ with color explosion — most of the rooms with rich color are in super ornate or moody palettes or of a luxe/glam style. That rich blue of the sofa with everything else is *Italian chef kissing fingers motion*. You’re incredible! This is so beautiful.

  77. Arlyn, looks fabulous! Logistics question…where do you hide your remote or cable box? Do you have to open the console when you watch tv? I’m considering mounting my tv but haven’t given much thought to the cord or box chaos.

    1. I don’t actually have a cable box so it’s easy. I put my remotes right in the blonde wood tray right on my console (or sometimes in the box there!) I fall I had a cable box, not sure this console would work for this purpose to be honest.

      1. Thanks for the reply. Love both rooms so much!

  78. Love love love love love! This actually looks uncannily similar to what I’ve been fantasizing about doing to my own living room! Very inspiring to see.

  79. Beautiful! What size are your sofa throw pillows? I love the way they look together and am curious. Thanks!

  80. Beautiful! What size are the sofa throw pillows? They look so nice together!

    1. Whoops! Sorry…I didn’t think it went through the first time.

    2. I believe all the squares are 20″x20″ and the lumbars are 14″x20″.

  81. This is so beautiful. I have been dying for a blue Velvet sofa for eons, but I’m not sure my husband will be as persuadable 🙂 Oh, Arlyn, your career mirrors the one I wish I could have … a perfect blend of editorial and interior design. Im glad I stumbled across this series and can drool over your work on both spectrums!

    1. thank you Amy! That’s so nice to hear.

  82. I’m just catching up on the blog now, but I have to tell you, Arlyn… I haven’t coveted a living room this much since Ginny’s. It’s perfect.

    1. What a compliment! Thank you so much Elisabeth!

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