A mother can’t possibly pick out her favorite child (at least publicly), nor can a designer, with their painstakingly curated collection of furniture. If you asked me my favorite piece right now I would be so sad to neglect a piece of the full amount of love it deserves. BUT, with that said, my credenza, THAT CREDENZA up there, is my favorite child today. Hell, he’s also teacher’s pet and employee of the month.
So because of my job (and this blog) I got my greedy little hands on that credenza (in exchange for my, nothing but totally genuine, love for that piece on the blog). To say I was elated, and excited would be an extreme understatement. The fact that I slept on the floor of the living room the night that it arrived, so I could wake up next to it, just goes to show how happy I was to have it near me – or that I am certifiably insane. I digress . . . both my credenza and I are in a very happy, and monogamous living room relationship.
My initial plan for that wall/credenza was to devote half to my TV and the other half to some pretty accessories, so that it didn’t look too bare, or too cheesy, with a massive big screen on top of it (as seen in the pic above). This photo was taken around Thanksgiving, hence the fall decor and non-gray walls.
Once I took the TV down and began prepping out this post, I realized how much better (duh) it looked without a massive black boob-tube up there. So, I cleared it all off and tried my hand at a few different scenarios. The first one being what I like to call “artsy fartsy, black and white.”
This setup started with that massive (42″x52″) photograph that came from an awesome new online art resource called Captured52. Basically, every week for 52 weeks they publish an open edition, framed, original photograph in a large scale print. If you haven’t heard of them yet you must go check out what they have.
Once I had that large man up there, who I have yet to name, I started accessorizing around him. I brought in a few different styles of art, all in the same range of colors, to add depth and texture, and then a mirror to bounce off some of the light that streams in from the windows, directly across from the credenza. I finished it off with a small task lamp, and a few brass candlesticks and candles, because who doesn’t want a bit of romance in their living room?
In true Emily Henderson fashion I restyled it out completely 5 more ways, and then ended up on this look, which was a totally different, but good option for me. Let’s call this option “Browns, Woods, and Candlestick Drama.” I started this one similar to the other option, with one large piece of art – which this time was the nude oil I snagged from the Rose Bowl last month for $30. I threw the mirror up behind it again because, well, it is vintage, I love it, and it brought some light into the room. I also love the way it reflects the ceiling beams into your view, and juxtaposes the clean lines of the frame of the nude, as well as the modern lines of the wall sconce.
I added these wooden candlesticks in front of it all to bring in some of the warm brown tones of the painting. Some vintage, some new and some not even candlesticks, but I loved them so much I improvised by stacking up three chunky wooden planters, and throwing a pillar candle on top.
You know how I mentioned how impossible it is to pick out my favorite piece of furniture? Looking at this picture just solidifies that even more. This chair is giving me life. It arrived last week, and it was even more stunning than the pics I had seen online. I want to adopt it as my first child and never let it go. The leather bin, which comes in two sizes, is perfect for stashing my magazines and mess of cords and chargers, not to mention it makes the perfect companion to the leather chair.
Until last week I was very anti floor pillow. I did not understand it, I didn’t get why people would stash pillows on their floor, and I definitely didn’t get the appeal of it. The Citizenry sent these through, and although insanely stunning in person, I was still very skeptical of the floor pillow trend except for when used in styling an image. I threw these on the floor to add some depth in this picture, and let me tell you I have used them EVERY single day since I put them out on the floor. I am constantly throwing my feet up on them, sitting on them while I work on my computer, or using them as the most comfy huge pillows to lean on. So thank you floor pillows of America for making our/my life a little bit better.
Now comes the hard part of deciding which setup I want to keep in my living room. Are you a fan of the “artsy fartsy, black and white, ” or the “browns, woods and candlestick drama”? Which do you think works best with the new console, or which do you think you would live with? Be sure to vote below, as I am very curious to know what everyone thinks.
In the meantime I have rounded up a get the look for my space, as well as some of my favorite credenzas at under $500, under $1, 000, and some pretty awesome dream credenzas if your budget dictates a bit more. Be sure to check the sizing on these as every credenza has a bit different scale, depth, and width and not all may work in your space.
1. Credenza 2. Wall Light 3. Leather & Metal Chair 4. Black & White Face Print 5. Leather Basket 6. Wool Rug 7. Candle Holder 8. Bust 9. Planters 10. Floor Pillow 11. Gold Candle Holder 12. Black Circle Art 13. Tabel Lamp 14. Textured Throw Pillow 15. Candle Holder 16. Nude Line Drawing
1. Besta Storage Combo | 2. Braven Media Stand | 3. Hayden Sideboard | 4. Besta Storage Combo | 5. Windham Stand | 6. Oxford Credenza | 7. Gray Storage Credenza | 8. Greyson Sideboard | 9. Stax Console | 10. Fuel navy Credenza
1. Zuo Buffet | 2. Alba Credenza | 3. Hampshire Six Drawer | 4. Willo TV Stand | 5. Mid Century Console | 6. Clapboard Console | 7. Congo Credenza | 8. Marin Shiitake Console | 9. Palm Beach Console | 10. HD Media Console
1. Broc Console | 2. Rose Glass Console | 3. Big Sur Sideboard | 4. Morrison Credenza | 5. Zann Sideboard | 6. Cross Credenza | 7. Walnut Credenza | 8. Rosanna Console | 9. Bennett Console | 10. Walnut Sideboard
In case you missed my last two posts where I picked out my sofa , or my gray paint color click on through. And be sure to check out all the other Makeover Takeover posts from the beginning: Sara Updates Her Childhood Bedroom | Sara Jumps Into Bed | Sara’s Custom Closets | Ginny’s English Roll Arm | Ginny’s LA Living Room | Jessica’s Living & Dining Room
***written by Brady Tolbert, photography by the always wonderful and insanely talented Zeke Ruelas. Styling, and design by Brady Tolbert
Didn’t Emily just do a post about how faux antiques are ugly and passé?
I actually really love the credenza and think it’s faux antique done well. But then I went to the company website and found that most of their materials are weathered by Mother Nature! http://cgsparks.com/Our-Furniture.html
The faux chipped paint or bad stain jobs are what bother me the most!
Rebecca that was my first thought too
But Emily also said that there are always exceptions, pieces that actually get the look right. I think that credenza is one of those rare examples. It’s gorgeous!
Exactly, Kate. I said that I liked faux mercury glass and some aged brass, too. And then yes, this an exception, too as its such a pretty piece. But I get it, y’all are on it and i’ll make sure to be clearer that there are ALWAYS Exceptions. I’ve even seen the faux chippy paint done well once or twice.
To be honest, this time around, I like neither look. The credenza is beautiful, the leather chair is awesome, so is your paint choice. However, I think your styling is wayyyy too crowded. I’m all for layering in order to give perspective and depth, but on the first look, your have four (4) elements in front of each other ! That seems way to many on a credenza that can’t be that deep. What is that thing behind the lamp and in front of the mirror ? There’s so much happening that I don’t know where to look. On the second look, the bust and candlesticks are on the same “level”, and compete (not in a good way), while the crowd in the back shouts way too loudly. It’s just so busy !
Sorry, this one is just not for me. I love the color palette, I love every single prop you have, just not all of them together. It takes the attention off of that beautiful credenza, and I feel like that particular piece craves much more simplicity and elegance.
I agree, and also think a more serene and minimal approach would complement the paint choice.
I agree, it looks a little too busy to me. With the browns, everything feels so uncomfortably pushed to the center.
But! I love the style of your writing in this post! It was fun to read and put a smile on my face.
It might not be everyone’s style, but the post was still so fun. I’m loving see the teams different styles.
I completely disagree with the naysayers. That is the most beautiful credenza I have ever seen. And I love both set ups, preferring the 2nd one. Love the colors, layering, and textures. It screams good taste!
I agree. There’s not enough negative space.
Hi, I absolutely adore everything here! You have such an eye! I got your book for Christmas and couldn’t put it down for a week! (Still perusing it several times a week as it is on my nightstand.) I am curious, what is the color and brand of the paint in these pictures. Also, how was it applied? I can see it wasn’t a straight paint application. Thanks so much.
Check out the links he posted up there about choosing a paint color!!
I think you made the right choice going with the browns. They complement the warmth of the credenza and the wall color better than the black and white. Using the browns gives the whole vignette a sense of harmony. Also, I love the painting.
Wait, what was the big sneak peak?
I kind of have to agree with the others that it looks too busy. The credenza (not my fav but it’s not my house) is already very busy visually so by adding a ton of things on top you’re really taking away from the main focal piece. The chair however is awesome, though good god I’d never buy it for $750US
I will admit these reveals are taking waaay too long. I’m losing interest in the blog because things drag out too long without giving you much to look at or they’re not design related. I understand when Emily has things being published so she can’t share them but these non-Emily designs should be condensed into fewer posts.
I actually don’t mind the spacing. I’ll enjoy reading a post, wonder what’s next, then be pleasantly surprised when I come back a few weeks later and there’s an update! Good things take time, right?
hahah you’re much more patient than I am 🙂 It’s not the worst thing in the world but I don’t find it as interesting to drag them out but that’s just me
I love the credenza too! But I would lighten it up and put less stuff–and the stuff on top I would stay away from that gilded mirror frame it takes away from the cool weathered metal doors. A minimally framed piece of small scaled art but with a large white or tan matte, and maybe a couple wood candlesticks. Just my opin!
Love the piece and love it styled with the browns. You’ve got me wanting to start a collection of wooden candlestick now.
also, like how the bust’s and painting’s faces turn towards each other.
Wow! I love this! The second scene with the older, less modern, decor is my favorite. It’s like looking through an old Parisian style book. I love that it’s full of stuff, not too crisp looking. I wouldn’t change a thing.
At first glance I thought for sure the first staging, but the second one is more interesting and has depth. No loser either way:)
Nice but you need to do a Coco Chanel and remove some accessories. I’d pare down and regroup the candlesticks.
I’m kinda into the candle sticks. It’s a little darker, and bit more dramatic than normal! Cool to see.
I really liked one of the under $500 featured credenzas, but on the website (Target), it’s listed at $657! Bummer!
I voted for the browns- but I would personally reorganize/edit the candlestick scenario a bit- and move most over to the to the right- and then use the stacked planters towards the left and actually give them some little plants. The entire vignette needs to breathe a little more!
But hey-everyone’s a critc on the interwebs so fuck it. You do you. Overall- I can’t wait to see what you’ve done with your whole space. Going to be fantastic!
I’m lovin it! This artist came to mind for you?
Dear Brady, I can see that your aesthetic is a bit different from Emily’s, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Also, I think you’ve edited the copy down this time which makes this post more entertaining and easy to read, imo. I have some practical questions: what is the material in the cabinet doors? Glass? Metal? Are you able to see the items inside? For you, hiding what’s inside might be a plus, but for me it’d be more of a minus. Re your vignettes, I personally don’t like items layered against each other (i.e. blocking each other), neither do I like large art/mirrors leaning against the walls. That’s just me. I know Emily does the same thing…love you guys anyway, but I’m more of a minimalist, I guess. That said, I prefer the wood tones in the second photo. I’d hang the painting and the mirror on the wall, limit myself to 2-3 candlesticks, and add a potted plant (in brass container?) to add a little green and bling. I also wouldn’t put the bust on top of the books. You seem to have everything congregated in the center–I’d spread the items out to cover the entire surface of… Read more »
I guess that technically isn’t a bust. Or is it?
If you click through to the link of the credenza it describes the materials. I think the panels are zinc but I just glanced.
JC, Susie! Absoulutely NO ONE gives a damn what you would do. You are such an a-hole “imo”. “Guess that’s just me”.
@Jamis, I dunno who is being an A-hole but it’s not mature to call names on a design blog. Thank you.
The nude setup has better movement. Those pulled colors are like threads that keep pulling me back in to the credenza and out again. But the black and white photo and the white nude gesture drawing hog all my attention. Maybe switch out the white for something that pulls more gold from the credenza?
First, I love your credenza choice. If it had arrived at my place I would have sat and stared at it for hours.
My favorite is the ‘Brown, Wood, and Candlestick Drama’.
What I like about the other is how you styled closer to the edges.
Thank you for sharing your home with us.
I feel like I’m 21 with a group of friends…we scored backstage passes for Bon Jovi, we’re all hanging out, but some in the group are shitfaced and acting belligerent and now we’re all going to get kicked out.
People, stop being so rude to Emily and her team.
Welcome to the internet… If they didn’t want comments or discussion about their posts they would turn off the comment section.
I don’t think most of the comments come off as overly rude or anything. It’s people discussing the design and what they do and don’t like. I’m sure Emily and her team know that not everything will appeal to everyone and aren’t too surprised when they get criticism. I don’t think you could hack it in the design world if you couldn’t take a critique.
Love this. So true.
So reading their blog is like being invited backstage by Bon Jovi? I’m not sure it’s really like that. Unless Bon Jovi doesn’t get income unless people come backstage, I mean.
We are down for the debate. Generally its friendly and you know, not cruel. It’s also how we learn what you guys like and clearly (sometimes VERY CLEARLY) don’t like. We’ve sped up the makeover takeover, but everyone is awaiting a few pieces that has long lead times. Sorry, y’all and thanks for your patience.
So excited to have some pretty stuff to look at this morning! LOVE the wall color, chair, tree (thank you for getting something other than a Fiddle Leaf!) and your beautiful new credenza! As for styling, I love the old-world charm of option #2; the warmth of wood and gold is perfect against your moody grey wall. The others are right, though… I think it’s a little crowded. Or maybe it just needs tweaking? My advice: move the bust to the left a bit, and the candlesticks to the right – rearrange them so they read as more of a “grouping” and less of a “line”, and let the middle area in front of the art and mirror breathe. You might even be able to add a small bowl or tray there. Also, I think your gold mirror needs to be in FRONT of your artwork – just covering up an inch or two, not much! – because it’s shorter. I can’t exactly explain why, but I think layering that way will be more pleasing to the eye. Sorry for all the nitpicking. I can’t WAIT to see the big reveal!!
Ok, after looking over the options again, I think I’d move the painting to the floor, actually. It’s kind of a strange shape on top of a long horizontal plane, but on the ground, it has enough height to compliment the credenza. It could lean up against the wall behind the chair, maybe even the tree, and you could be all like, “Oh that nude study? Yeah, I just leave glamorous art laying around my house. I’m badass like that.” Keep the mirror (duh) and, for some subtler layering, lean the white line drawing in front of it, just overlapping a few inches. Fill out the rest with the bust (probably to the left, sans books? and candlesticks (grouped to the right), and maybe one more small thing near the middle (not centered!). A little plant or bowl, maybe. FYI these really aren’t critiques – you clearly have killer skills, you’re working for EH after all. It’s kind of just fun to pretend that I’m there with you, styling, standing back, cocking my head to the side, frowning, editing, being like, what do youuuu think…..? Not in a creepy way.
Ok, kind of a creepy way.
Hate to type this but no to both. If I were your mother I would send you out to get coffee and then I would edit.
I know…I know…I’m not your mother, just a stranger on the internet whose opinion you did not ask for….sorry!
This is such a strange comment, haha
I love your style I don’t think it’s too crowded at all. The dark moody palette is really cool and your style reminds me of Abigail Ahern who’s really into dark moody and as she calls it, bottom of the lake colours. Great room!
It’s cool to see something that’s darker and more masculine on the blog today. I’m all for bright rooms, and clean mid-century, but I’m digging this darker vibe.
Brady- Nice post! I forgot it was you until the links at the end about the paint/sofa posts.
I love dark, moody, and masculine, so there’s plenty to love here. I love practically every piece featured (I actually don’t love the credenza itself, but it is a cool and dramatic piece.)
But I agree with those who say too much, too close together. There needs to be some breathing room.
That last pic with things spaced out a little more (why all condensed in the middle of the credenza in a big square?) and then maybe a few less candles.
Thank goodness we’re seeing some other goods being offered by another establishment other than Target! I love Target too, but that is all the Emily seems to advertise. I can’t believe that her home is filled with exclusively Target furniture and accessories.
My house is full of vintage, new, big box and indie-maker – pretty much just pretty things that i really like, including Target.
… It’s not. (???) If you read the blog, that becomes pretty obvious.
I like elements of both, but the black and white version seems more balanced. The brown abstract in the second version seems like it should be a little wider or move to the right a little to balance out the weight of the mirror on the left side. Maybe shifting the candlestick grouping in that direction would accomplish the same goal? Regardless, the credenza is gorgeous, and I love it with your wall color. So moody, masculine, and dramatic. 😉
I agree with the other commenters that the styling feels too busy. It’s not necessarily that the styling isn’t great for a credenza, it’s just that this credenza and the finish style are the showpiece and both pictures have so much stuff on them that the finish on the doors appears to be competing with the stuff on top. I like the second scheme the most because it ties the browns in other parts of the room to the piece, but I would remove the candlesticks and the books under the bust, and just have the mirror, the artwork, and the bust. Let THAT Credenza get all the attention!
$750 for the chair and $2380 for the console and we only see one wall of a (presumably) 4-walled room? right, moving on….
I’d guess that a lot of the beautiful pieces people love seeing on the blog are often on the higher end spectrum (but I think the blog does a good job of introducing a lot of affordable pieces in most posts as well).
Good design and quality has a cost. Luckily, you choose where you prefer to spend more, or hold back.
If they were forced to only use pieces under a certain price point I feel like us, the audience, would be upset by those limitations. The internet is 90% aspirational. Plus, he was transparent about what’s been gifted.
You expect a design firm to crank out a full room makeover daily? There are 3 decorators who focus on quality rather than quantity. you could get your cheap fast fix by perusing certain blogs, books, and mags, which I won’t name, but you are not going to get this kind of content .
Brady, I’m not sure why your posts seem to generate so much negativity, but I want to encourage you to ignore all the critics. (They would never be so critical of Emily’s work.)
But, back to topic, your credenza is gorgeous & I’d vote for the second option.
I bet you’ll get tons of happiness out of styling that beauty for decades!
The first styling (ART-Y) is waaaaay better, feels more natural and layered. While I love the elements of the second choice, they seemed oddly placed and layered. Just one gal’s opinion. David Hicks, who coined “tablescaping” would approve of ART-Y!
I agree with this comment. Love the elements of the second styling but it isn’t balanced as well as the first in my opinion.
I love that black wall! It’s so fun and adds a lot of statement to the room!
My favorite is the brown and wood version, although I love the line drawn nude in the first vignette. But, I would pare down the wood candlesticks to just a few and add in the brass ones from the first arrangement. Fun post!
I recently bought one of the credenzas that you highlighted under the $1000 mark and now feel like super validated about that choice! haha, I’ll tell my husband that it was Brady and Emily approved! 🙂
Love the look. Loathe the navel gazing commentary of people here. Yikes.
You done good, girl!!
You know, SC, I feel ya. If only life was rainbow enemas all the time.
I love the width of the first one and the candlesticks of the second one. Maybe use the large man print (so good!) with the bust and candlesticks? Or you could use all the same elements as the second version, just move the bust a bit to the left and the artwork a bit to the right.
I agree with other posters, too, in photos they both appear a bit busy but maybe in person the effect feels less cluttered. No matter what you choose, I’m drooling over it all and love the drama of the dark grey walls!
I think the most important question is… WHERE IS THE TV NOW?
One of the things I love about Emily is that she acknowledges the struggle of designing something beautifully but practically. I mean, we all want those pretty sofas and to not have a TV, but at the end of the day, we want a huge comfy sofa you can sink into and giant TV screen to binge our shows. I can’t wait to see how this is tackled in this room, other than…oh well I moved the TV into another room or my bedroom or some other excuse. Is it hung above the fireplace now? Let’s learn how we can style and design around it without cranking our necks to look above a fireplace. If that credenza was the focal point of your room and that’s where your sofa faces because you watch TV there…well, now what?
I am way too concerned about this TV situation haha!
I, also, am feeling surprisingly anxious about the TV’s fate!
Agree – how will you watch the Bachelor? I know this is Brady not Emily, but I’m assuming that’s a job requirement?
I think you are headed in the right direction with this last shot here – the nude, the bust, etc. I might just edit and simplify and maybe hang something on the wall – well, ok, the sconce is up there.
The credenza is a beautiful piece and the wall color is a great choice – the wood/leather/gold/plant keep it warm.
I like the chair – but let’s keep it real – how tall are you Brady?? The seat is only 12″ off the ground!!! Great for kids – or adults lounging with a joint in one hand and glass of red wine in the next. No wonder you rolled off into those floor pillows. Sponsored posts and swag is ok, but the floor pillow love was a bit of an oversell. You really curl up with them over lounging on a sofa or in bed??
Otherwise, designwise, lookin’ good.
Are you trying to be Emily? Don’t try to write like her. We like you just fine. Continue to edit, edit, edit…including my (brown wood) choice.
I’d bet they just have similar writing styles (he does work for her after all). I’ve always liked Orlando and Brady’s writing, and yea, they have a similar fun and casual voice to Em. “We like you just fine,” haha. Kinda harsh there, Teri.
Great post with lovely images! I am definitely in the warm woods and candlestick drama camp. While it is not my style at all really (I collect glass candlesticks), I am drooling over the large grouping of wood candlesticks and non-candlesticks. Sometimes more is more in a good way! I would try moving the nude more to the right and the mirror a little more to the left though. Showing more of the mirror might make the whole vignette feel a little less crowded. But I do think it looks wonderful!
So where did you end up putting the TV?
Brady, so impressive! When Emily shared your and Sara’s resumes, it was shocking to see that you didn’t have a decor background, because both of you do great decor work! I’m loving the direction the living room is taking. Also, want to validate how full and informative this post is. Two styled walls, with a complete get-the-look AND three different price-point groups of stoppable credenzas. Time, effort and talent went into this post for sure, and it is appreciated. I like posts that make me think about styling. It’s a fun challenge. For my personal taste, The browns version is the favorite, maybe just because the big photo is disturbing (ha). The tree looks a little lonely, so moving the nude towards it a little would feel good, and same with the mirror…move it a little bit towards the sconce. Then layer the nude lady sketch from the other version between the mirror and the male nude (or use another piece roughly the same size of the lady in place of her). Might reduce the candlesticks…maybe just the blonde ones or the brass ones, and move them a little more to the tree? But that is just my zen/minimalist urge.… Read more »
Liz is the first post in a long time that I have really enjoyed. It’s sad knowing that there are so many finished room projects we haven’t gotten to see. Can’t wait to see the full reveal. Great job, Bradley. Keep this content coming!
I loved this post! The credenza, as well as the other options shown, are beautiful and inspiring. I can’t take my eyes off that black and white photo, so number one was my favorite. Nice job, Brady!
I would have to say it depends on what else is going on in the room, BUT I am leaning toward the black and white. Both are a bit too crowded for me though. I rotate my tchotchkes so that I can see them all…but not all at once. I guess styling is a bit different from decorating, but honestly LOVE your sensibilities. And everything looks beautiful together.
I like this, Brady. Dont mind the haters. We cant just have the same bright white room with mid century modern credenza, tribal rugs, brass fixtures and fiddle leaf fig tree everyday right?
^^ hilarious. And so true.
Haha. THANK you! I personally find it refreshing to see a different aesthetic & I like both looks. You can still appreciate design that you wouldn’t personally choose.
Definitely the black and white. Brown scheme looks crowded, and the candles are sticking the poor guy, right there!!
Not loving the credenza although you didn’t ask about that.
Oooh such a gorgeous credenza!
I voted for your brown candlestick situation. I think both are lovely color palettes. Your second option light placement though (on the wall) brought more visual balance (to the photo) as it complemented the height of your tree. Also it seemed to be a better color palette to match your chair, wicker planter, and magazine holder. Plus I love all of the textures.
I love the credenza, I love this post, and I can’t wait to see the rest of the room!
Very dramatic yet still masculine. Love it. Very lovely credenza. I JUST (as of yesterday) ordered my first credenza off Etsy so I can understand your excitement. I can’t wait to receive it!
Looking forward to your full reveal!
My first thought was “ooooh, moody”! It’s great! My choice is #2 – I just feel like the pieces speak to each other a little better than the first one. I’d also second (14th? 15th?) the idea of spreading it out a little. Way to go with your own style. Hope to see the rest soon!!
Even though it’s not my favorite name, “Artsy Fartsy Black and White” is hands down the winner. My eyes are immediately drawn to the credenza. I love the use of texture and color. It shows contrast and adds variety without detracting from the focal point. The frames are well distributed across the credenza bringing attention to added accents.
As for “Brown, Woods, and Candlestick Drama”, the wooden candle holders are beautiful standalone pieces. However, in this arrangement they look cluttered and burden the beauty of the credenza. Colors become oversaturated creating too much “drama” and the entire ensemble loses value and individuality.
Overall you have a great eye and keep up the good work!