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Cup of Jo Makeover | The Living/Dining Room

Oh, folks. Its finally here: The Cup of Jo home makeover. There are so many good things about my job, truly – the unlimited shopping, the satisfaction of transforming a space, the forced creativity, and finally the being inserted into someone’s personal life for a week (or months with normal clients). The last one is why you really have to like your clients – it gets personal and intimate which makes your job more difficult and yet totally more enjoyable. Especially when said designer (me) is expecting a baby boy and the client (Joanna) has two RIDICULOUSLY cute, interesting, clever, cuddly little boys.

Joanna approached me a couple months ago as she was about to move into her new place.  I said yes virtually immediately because I love her and it seemed like such a fun and fast project. I enlisted help from Samantha Gluck, a designer who works with me here in LA (who I can’t recommend enough – HIRE HER, you won’t regret it). Together we had conference call after conference call, created secret pin boards and came up with the design plan for Joanna.

Cup of Jo Makeover

She sent us her floor plan so we could start placing the furniture and creating the layout. It’s a decent size two bedroom, with tons of light.

Cup of Jo Living Room

If any of you have lived in New York, you’ll know that most of the apartments there are old and “charming” in a lot of good ways, but the fact that this one is new and clean is a massive plus to this mother of two. It’s a blank canvas – visually and mentally and Joanna was ready to start over and keep it fresh, airy, bright, clean and modern.


1. Family friendly. She wanted a home that would be both easy on her to maintain, but more importantly a home where her kids can neither destroy or be destroyed by the furnishings. Seems like a fair request. In New York apartments they often don’t have a designated ‘play room’ due to space, so the living room has to be both the grown up area and the kid’s area.  I do not miss this, friends. Its absolutely doable, but definitely part of New York living that I won’t miss as a mom.

2. Bright, white, colorful but calm. Joanna is CRAZY busy running the blog and taking care of her two kids. She does not want a lot of visual clutter that will make her life feel busier and messier. So the color palette was full of whites, scandinavian woods, and pops of color – but limited in pattern. We had to find the balance between ‘fun’ and ‘busy’ which can be challenging but is so up my alley, so I think we nailed it.

3.  Comfortable AND modern. Now this is a challenge and one that I’m about to face in my own house. She wanted mid-century clean lines but also to be really comfortable and casual – where every seat was somewhere that people were psyched to sit in. We did it, but it was definitely the biggest challenge of them all. Mid-century wasn’t about comfort – it just wasn’t. The 70’s and 80’s were (hello overstuffed sofas) but the 60’s not so much.

Here’s what we did to her place:

Cup of Jo Living Room

Oh it is a happy, friendly, bright family room for a very happy friendly family. So here’s what we did:

1. Started with pin boards. Joanna made one per room and Sam and I checked it constantly. It looked like this:


Then Sam made a floorplan of where everything was going to go – or at least intended to go:


There were two different layout options as you’ll see with the living room. This was especially important to do because we were designing long distance, which just like my high school relationship with a college boy, isn’t totally ideal but if it’s the right fit it’s doable (it wasn’t in the case of my boyfriend … very VERY wrong fit). Joanna chose the one on the right because as she was in the space she said that you kinda want to face the windows and the sectional against the windows would have inhibited that.

Of course once we got in the space things changed even more, but it gave us a good idea of what size furniture to order and where the glaring holes were that we needed to cover.

Cup of Jo Living Room

Let’s talk about how this space is kid friendly really quick, shall we? (see more kid friendly tips here).

1. There are no sharp corners that are dying to crack open Anton’s very precious round head – not a one. The pouf, side tables, coffee tables and chairs all have rounded corners.

Cup of Jo Living Room

2. The solid rug is a relatively inexpensive find from the basement of ABC carpet that isn’t precious. It isn’t dark (again, we wanted to make it feel bright and airy) but it is also not exactly white cotton – its a poly blend which is way more stain resistant (liquid sits on top for a bit before it gets soaked in).

3. The other rug was added/layered to give the boys more of a designated play area (and to engage that corner) – it’s plush and VERY kid friendly. You could hide blood, playdough and all sorts of bodily liquids in that bad boy and not be able to see it. I can’t wait to have a disgusting little boy who will probably do just that. 🙂

Cup of Jo Living Room

4. All the breakables and books are out of reach – taken off the lower surfaces and moved up. Joanna and Alex have a lot of books (as they are both writers) but a low bookshelf just begs to be unloaded daily by little boy fingers. So we installed this system behind the sofa and put all the books and breakables on that – totally out of reach of children. If they were living their permanently I would have done a custom built in, but this container store shelving was a good solution that looks really simple and minimal (aka Scandinavian) without breaking the bank.

Cup of Jo Living Room

Cup of Jo Living Room

When you don’t want a lot of accessories on surfaces, but you still want a lot of personality the best way to do it is through art. Most places have ample wall space and I’m of the camp that you can’t have enough art. It’s a very fun, weird camp to be in, indeed. Just fill those walls …


And there she is – the other direction. I want to hang out so hard in this living room. With Anton and Toby – asking him simple questions and have him tell me super weird answers. He told me that he was at a music concert the night that Anton was born – with his imaginary friend. He went into detail about who else was there, what the music was like, etc. It was HILARIOUS and I couldn’t get enough of him.

Back to this dope living room:

Cup of Jo Living Room

Yes, another art wall but this time with a TV challenge. Such a good challenge. The options for a wall like this are:

1. Get a huge tv, mount it on the wall and call it a day.  They aren’t huge TV people and didn’t want that option, understandably.

2. Mount the small TV and arrange the art around it – mounting is normally $400 (with the cost of the mount and the labor) so that seemed unnecessary because they don’t know how long they’ll be here.

3. Pretend like the TV isn’t there and just have an awesome art wall. Place the TV in front of it (ideally in front of a piece of art that has a lot of simple information that like beautiful deer bed photograph) and take away the importance of the TV. It’s as if we were all, fine, we can put the TV here but the art is really what we care about. 

Cup of Jo Living Room

We chose option #3 and I’m VERY happy with it. We used a variety of frames, colors, finishes, orientations and sizes, but made sure it felt balanced. See how the little black framed photo speaks to the black car drawing up on the left? And see how the pink/purples of the Dwell piece speaks to the pinks of the collage above the shell chair? And yes, we put museum wax on the lower pieces so that the kids were less likely to knock them off the walls.

Then on the space in between the living and the dining room was this adorable little vintage piece that Jenny originally bought for Joanna. It stores toys for the boys and is the perfect transition piece.

Cup of Jo Living Room

For the window treatments you might think we didn’t do anything, but we did. And its awesome. We chose these motorized roller shades that practically disappear (but with a simple valance) up at the top. They filter the light, give them privacy but keep the space looking totally modern. Drapes would have made the room softer, but visually just so much busier – plus kids like to swing all tarzan style on them. Roman shades are too traditional for them, so these modern white rollers were the perfect choice for the function and style that they needed.  Joanna used Decorview, too, which basically comes to your house, shows you all the options for your space, measures then comes back and installs. You do nothing. I did nothing. So awesome.

Cup of Jo Living Room

Cup of Jo Living Room

These are particularily fun because they are motorized, so Alex LOVES them. I just love how you barely notice them – sometimes its better for function to not be seen and then just used when needed.

Cup of Jo Living Room

Ready to shop the look and get all these pieces yourself?

For this project I used ‘Keep’ which is like Pinterest, for purchases – you can collect them all in one place so that when you go to buy they are all right there (as opposed to trying to follow the links to where they are on Pinterest). So, I collected everything that we were going to buy here (which made it especially easy to write this post because all the links were together).  You can follow this Keep board here or just click on all the links below.

Cup of Jo Living Room Moodboard

Resources: 1 Media console | 2 Coffee table | 3 Blue glider chair | 4 West Elm Wood & brass side table | 5 Dwell Studio Leather chair | 6 DWR Sofa | 7 DWR Saarinen table | 8 DWR Shell chair | 9 West Elm Martini side table | 10 Vintage Mid Century lamp | 11 Vintage Rattan pouf | 12 West Elm Basket
Cup of Jo Living Room Moodboard

Resources: 13 Vintage Copper Bookends | 14 Vintage Mustache mug | 15 Canvas Navy linen pillow | 16 Mug | 17 Anthropologie White pillow with red tassels | 18 Anthropologie Wooden lamp | 19 Wooden Figure | 20 Brass geometric object | 21 Loopy Mango Egyptian pillow | 22 Anthropologie Pink stripe pillow | 23 Handmade White vessels | 24 Bentwood car scooter

Cup of Jo Living Room Moodboard

Resources: 25 Car Drawing | 26 New York building print | 27 Flying car photo | 28 Beatles photo | 29 Triangles  print| 30 Vintage Lamp | 31 Union Jack flag | 32 Rolling Stones photo | 33 Indigo watercolor | 34 Deer bed Photograph | 35 New York Collage | 36 Boucherouite rug


Cup of Jo Makeover Dining Nook Cup of Jo Makeover Dining Nook

They had this adorable little dining nook to eat all their meals as an adorable family. Clearly they were missing some crucial furniture when they moved in (their last place didn’t have room for a dining table so this is a treat already just to have this space). So Sam (Will and Alex) and I pimped it all out:

Cup of Jo Dining Nook

I mean that is VERY cute. The table from DWR is the perfect size for every day living (and not no sharp corner in site). There wasn’t a junction box in the ceiling so we hung some awesome string light (and put on a dimmer) to give that space some light and ambience.

Cup of Jo Dining Nook

Thank god for attractive high chairs, right? That guy is from Stokke.

joanna-goddard-dining room

Cup of Jo Makeover Dining Nook Moodboard

Resources: 1 Clash poster | 2 String lights | 3 Wooden Figure | 4 White vase | 5 Canvas Mug | 6 Plant pot | 7 Dining table | 8 Dining chairs | 9 Highchair | 10 Cow hide rug | 11 Side table

There you have it folks – a very cute space for a very cute family. Come back tomorrow and Thursday for the Master Bedroom and Nursery.

What do you think? I’m in …

All photographs shot by the VERY lovely and talented Ryan Liebe, styled by me. Once again, thank you so much Sam, Alex and Will for all your help on this project – I might have died without you, your hard work and your really good imput. xx

For more of Cup of Jo: The BedroomThe Nursery

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