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Design

Ginny’s Living Room Reveal

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Hey all, it’s Ginny here. You may remember “way-back-when, ” when I introduced my living room as part of the EHD Makeover Takeover series?! No? Me either, it was SO long ago now (here is a recap if you need it). But after lots of um-ing and ah-ing, moving furniture around, and re-styling every single surface, I can finally say it’s ready to show off to you guys. Not only am I revealing my living room today, and my dining room tomorrow on EHD (which is already a huge dream in itself), but MyDomaine are also running the story… pinch me!

ginny-macdonald-living-room-painted

A brief backstory – we moved into our 1930’s Spanish style fourplex in November 2014 and everywhere was painted a dark charcoal colour, which I didn’t hate because it highlighted all the moulding details, archways, and fireplace. But what I really wanted was a blank canvas to work with, so I got the landlord’s permission to paint it in Benjamin Moore Super White.

ginny-macdonald-living-room-progress

We moved with just a few pieces of furniture that Patrick had accumulated over his 9 years of living here in LA, and most of which needed upgrading (in my opinion). The first major piece we bought was the sofa, which we absolutely love and you can read about here. It’s been the best $2k we’ve spent and, even though it has two puppies sleeping on it all day long, it still feels like new.
I wanted the room to feel calm, inviting, cosy, earthy, with a touch of my English roots in there. My style really is a mish-mash of different things, but I love mixing traditional pieces with mid-century and even modern and rustic… you can see I’m all over the map here. But I think it works.

ginny_macdonald_grey_sofa

And here it is! I definitely have a specific colour palette, and you’d only have to peek into my wardrobe to know that. In fact, two days before the shoot, I decided that I wanted to add a pop of something else in here to liven it up a bit. I narrowed it down to either mustard or coral. And coral won. I would have maybe used both, but whilst I do love colour for other people, I prefer a colder palette for myself. If you look closely you’ll be able to see that we actually painted the walls in here a light grey (Farrow & Ball Blackened). It’s very subtle, but in person it does give the room some character and makes the moulding pop. One of my favourite moments from this shot is the artwork that was done by the amazing Carrie Crawford of Mineral Workshop. I first learned about her work when I was shopping at Lawson Fenning for a client. I very rarely see artwork that I really love and instantly fell for these and just knew I had to have a set. The nature of how she creates these pieces means that no two are the same, which makes them feel even more special. I once read that you should only buy art that makes you smile everyday, and as cheesy as it may sound, these pieces do literally make me smile.

ginny_macdonald_black_lamp

I found this little side table at the rose bowl flea market and it’s a true example of my love of traditional pieces. It could be easily dressed up and made to feel super granny, but I teamed it up with a mid-century style lamp from Rejuvenation, and some black and white accessories which helped to modernize it. I added a touch of brass with the bowl and some colour through the vase and flower so that it didn’t go too monochromatic. If you look closely, you can see a much younger Ginny with a fringe (bangs as they call them here in the U.S.) – I have no idea what happened to her because I do not look like that any longer!

ginny_macdonald_side_table_sofa

I want to talk about the rug, which you can get a better overall view of from the first image. We have two dogs,  and when it comes to choosing fabrics and soft furnishings it can be tricky. Nothing too dark or else you’ll see their fur shedding, too light and it’ll show up puppy licks, treats and just general doggy yuckiness. I’m pretty weird about cleaning their feet when they come in from walks, but there’s only so much you can do –  they’re dogs and they can be grubby little buggers. I wanted a rug that contrasted with the sofa but also felt light with a low pile. I got a few rug samples from Lulu & Georgia to try, some solids and some with more of a traditional pattern. The patterned rugs started to feel too traditional and like an older person lived here so we went with their Chay rug in Atlantic, I also tried the Denim colourway which I LOVED, but it matched the sofa colour too much. For a darker sofa, I would totally recommend the Denim; it’s so pretty in person and not really denim-like at all, more of a light grey. This rug is perfect for having dogs though, and a low enough pile that I would use it in a dining room too.

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I’m pretty into hand-made ceramics (some might say obsessed) and this tray was a total last minute impulse memo, that turned into a purchase. Full disclosure (because you’ll see it in the get the look further down) it was $800. Yes. The cost of a flight home to England, or there abouts. Am I crazy? Yes, probably. But in my defense this piece literally makes that hunky chunk coffee table feel way more elegant. I originally had a wooden tray on there and as much as I love mixing lots of different wood tones it really wasn’t working. I’ve also been eyeing that tray for months now, so this shoot was the perfect excuse. They come in three sizes and this was the medium, perfect for holding a couple of books (Anyone recognize that book there? Can you spot how many times I used it in the shoot?! 🙂 and a vase. Speaking of which, I’m also obsessed with the work of Sheldon Ceramics which is where the vase is from. He makes beautiful, earthy, rustic pieces which you should totally check out. The brass sculpture is from West Elm, we tried to find it online but couldn’t see it. Hopefully it’s in store because I know you’ll be wondering.

And just incase you want to know exactly why that $800 tray works, here’s a quick coffee table styling how-to.

ginny_macdonald_blue_striped_chair

It took me quite a while to find the right chairs for the room. I knew I wanted a pair that were low backed so that they didn’t cover up too much of the window. We actually bought these vintage for a client and then she changed her mind so I ended up keeping them and recovering them. In fact, I had them in the living room for ages in their original, ugly, smelly, striped fabric, that the dogs loved (why do dogs love gross smells??)  I’d toyed with the idea of ticking stripe, but with a predominantly white background that would be hell on earth to keep clean. I found this blue stripe and it ultimately came down to this and a dark blue linen. With the sofa being so big and solid, I liked the idea of breaking that up with a pattern, so the stripes won! You can see behind that the curtains (which I made and will never do again) are also striped, but horizontally. I LOVE STRIPES! I’m also going to call out Rebecca Atwood here because this pillow was the instigator of me bringing in some coral. Then I went with this simple marble and iron table from World Market that was just the right scale and size to fit in between the two chairs without blocking too much of the view or light through the window.

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ginny_macdonald_entry_table

We found this cabinet at the flea market when Emily was shooting the book (page 45) and I snuck the blue lamp from the studio to add more colour to it. It even has some orange tones too, so it worked pretty well overall. I combined some more hand made pottery with the vase from Target. I love to get one-off individual pieces from makers, but sometimes the big box stores really outdo themselves. I think this Target vase is two years old now, but I still love it.

ginny_macdonald_blue_chair

One of the main trouble spots of the room for me was the TV area – looking back at those progress photos that corner was like a sweaty, university living room. With a ton of speakers and the ugly media unit, it made me super sad to look at. I get a lot of people asking me why I didn’t put the TV above the fireplace and the main reason being that I wanted to be able to have art or a mirror up there instead. Not only that, but we don’t really do that in the UK. Most TVs (or tellys, as we call them) are to the side of the fireplace on a stand, and more at eye level than high up so you’re not having to crank your chin to watch the box. I found this media unit and size-wise it’s almost like it was made for that corner. It’s crafted from beautiful walnut wood and all the ugly TV gubbins are hidden behind the cabinet. It’s also super sturdy because that TV is H.E.A.V.Y! It just really neatens that corner up, and whilst we can’t really escape having a TV in the room, it doesn’t feel like such a focal point or eye-sore anymore.

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ginny_macdonald_coffee_fireplace

I kept it super simple on the fireplace and started with one major piece of art from St. Frank. I added some pillar candles to one side and flowers to the other to give it some height and landscaping. Does anyone else think hydrangeas are underrated?? I cannot get enough. I added some pops of colour here with the orangey-copper tones.

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Those are t-light/taper candle holders on the mantel from Heath Ceramics. I have an unhealthy growing collection of them in different colours. They’re fun though because you can bring them out for different seasons.

ginny_macdonald_reading_nook

I don’t spend enough time in this little reading nook corner, yet it’s actually the most comfortable seat on the planet. I originally had a blue wingback there which I love and still have (I’m hoarding it for the next house), I just felt that it made the room feel a bit too traditional/old. That and I also liked the idea of bringing in some leather to add another material and colour. It’s the perfect spot for snuggling puppies and as you can imagine they love the fur rug on the ottoman.

ginny_macdonald_corner_nookginny_macdonald_leather_chair

Another charming part of this style of apartments are the little arched bookcases. Since we don’t have any overhead light in here, this is the ideal location for a bookcase lamp. I have a weird collection of old English condiments jars that I get from the same guy at the flea market which you can see on the top shelf there. You might have spotted that I moved pillows around for different shots which is another thing I love to collect. I always wanted to have my own line of pillows, but there’s just so many good ones out there it would be hard to compete. This one is from Jillian Rene’s new Horizon Line collection.

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ginny_macdonald_bookcase

I kept both bookcases pretty simple with a mix of books, art, pottery, and plants. It’s crazy how adding a few plants here and there really livens a space up – I got all the plants from Rolling Greens which is really close to where I live. They were super helpful in there and even though I paid a bit more than I would going to the flower market, they did all the hard work and planted them up for me in the pots that I already had.

ginny_macdonald_english_roll_arm

So there you have it – Ginster’s living room.  Do you think my different mix of styles works in here? Would love to know what you think and in the meantime here is a “Get The Look” with most everything linked up. If you have any questions on anything else, then leave a comment below.

ginnys-living-room-get-the-look-emily-henderson-design

 

1. Colorblock Throw Pillow | 2. Navy Lumbar Pillow | 3. Colorblock Lumbar Pillow | 4. Ceramic Bell | 5. Canvas Art | 6. Floor Lamp | 7. Metallic Vase | 8. Faceted White Vases | 9. Area Rug | 10. English Roll Arm Sofa | 11. Patterned Throw Pillow | 12. Striped Navy Throw Pillow | 13. Photography Print | 14. Short Table Lamp | 15. Tall Table Lamp | 16. Armchair Fabric | 17. White Ceramic Tray | 18. Ceramic Patterned Bowl | 19. Teacup | 20. Leather Chair | 21. Leather Ottoman | 22. Console Table | 23. Sheepskin Rug | 24. Navy Jewelry Box | 25. Black & White Box | 26. Face Vases | 27. Orange Glow Vase | 28. Short White Vase | 29. Metal Drum Table | 30. Patterned Art | 31. Candle Holders & Tray | 32. Throw Blanket | 33. Basket

Tune back in tomorrow for my dining room reveal and be sure to check out the article on My Domaine.

Love Ginny xXx

Photography by the wonderful Zeke Ruelas

For more of Ginny’s Makeover Takeover: Christmas Home Tour | Christmas Bedroom Dining Room

Fin Mark

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Great job! Love your look. Easy to live with but very stylish.

Frania

Love it!! The colors go so well together. The artwork makes me smile too ?

Debra

I love your room! Nice accents, great rug (fellow dog lover here), great color scheme. While each of your pictures are amazing, for me (and I stress for me), there are too many little things–small vases, cups, etc. That is what makes interior design awesome–the ability to take a room and make it yours alone. Great job!

abby

great job, ginny! it truly is beautiful and you are so talented! i pinned several images 🙂 i think my favorite part is the console cabinet with the photography print above it…that whole “moment” is to die for!! do you know where the blue lamp is from? anyways, overall, i think you did an excellent job of mixing several styles to achieve what you wanted–i think most of it flows and doesn’t look out of place even though the pieces are different styles. that is encouraging to know that you CAN make different styles look good together! the only thing that slightly, and i mean slightly, throws me is the coffee table, as i think it looks the most different from the other pieces in the room. that, of course, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, and i guess that is helping the traditional style come into play! overall, fantastic job…i look forward to seeing your dining room reveal!

Niki

I know what you mean about the coffee table, but she mentioned it in a previous post that it’s one of her BF’s last pieces of furniture… and I think we all know how tricky that situation can be.
https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/ginnys-english-roll-arm-sofa

Molly

Ginny! It is simply stunning. You have a gift. The mix is impeccable and the photos really showcase how gorgeously edited the space is. This is what living room goals are made of. Bravo!

Great work Ginny, Such a beautiful space!

http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

Paula

Great job! Love it! You totally nailed traditional without being Granny, I am super impressed! And I have that two year Target vase as well, with it’s narrow necked opening it’s so good. This EHD makeover was worth the wait.

I really love what you’ve done! It feels cozy and collected, and I think it seems comfortable but well put together. I love the mix of different styles and materials. Lovely job!

Elaine

It’s absolutely stunning – so elegant but cosy too. I love the mix of styles and colours – it all looks so harmonious. I’m now going to pin every photo!

Jen

This gorgeous! The colors and textures and styles all jive beautifully! I love everything about it! And that leather chair in the reading nook? To die for!

Sarah D.

Ginny, you’ve nailed it!!! I have dogs and kids and we’d be sooooo happy living here – the colors, the textures, the mix of woods. I love how you kept certain pieces, like the coffee table, that help keep the room feeling eclectic and less cookie cutter. Your pottery collection is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this beautiful space with us.

so true, I love the depth of this room! And that coffee table really sings together with that reassuring sofa and with the striped chairs, for me it takes the room from great to whoa! (waiting for my copy of styled in the inbox, should arrive in days now!)

Diann

What a beautiful room. It looks fresh and modern and yet still comfortable. I can’t wait to see your dining room.

Oh, it’s SO beautiful, Ginny!! I love, love, love how you mixed together traditional with mid-century, and your bookshelf styling is beyond inspiring. I’m excited to try out some of your ideas in our own home!!

Lisa

Hi Ginny!

What a great room! I have a similar gray/white/blue color palette, and this room is super inspiring as I have been wondering how to incorporate black in my room as well. Thank you!

Jane

It’s a beautiful space! It looks effortlessly mixed, love!

Stacy

Ginny, you nailed it! This is really very beautiful. Particular favourite is the styling of the fireplace, I’m pinning that! I’ll be checking back tomorrow for the dining room reveal – all the way from (an unseasonably hot and rain-free) Manchester.
x

Grace

AMAZING! I would live in that living room without changing a thing! I think you achieved your aesthetic perfectly!! Stealing so many ideas from here. Can’t wait to see the dining room tomorrow!!

Jess

Beautiful Ginny!!!! So warm and so cool at the same time. Completely lovely! Well done.

Lauren

I love this room, Ginny!! So beautiful, livable and fresh. I also love that you talk about decorating with dogs–as a pup lover myself, I’m always keeping an eye out for tips and tricks on how to live well with them!

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it. So good!

Faith

perfectly unstyled STYLE
please, what is that blue in the dining room?
Thanks

that reading corner looks so inviting, and i love the greens in the bookshelves. what a gorgeous space that seems really reflective of the owner!
b

Cynthia

Absolutely stunning, G! I love your color palette and the way your impressive paintings pick up the dining room color. The white ceramic tray is worth every penny spent b/c this is a piece you will use in myriad ways throughout your life. It will always bring back fond memories of former homes and times. Every house needs some of these classic, versatile, memory-keepers! Great job and thanks for sharing.

It looks amazing! Congratulations Ginny, it´s a great job, very “emily´s style”, perhaps because of the colors you´ve chosen.

Kelsey M.

This is gorgeous! I have a near-identical living room set-up (built-in shelves and all!) but am terrified to ask my landlord to paint the existing green-brown colored walls white. I sure love living vicariously through this post though! Any tips on how to handle lighting/paint in landlord situations would be lovely.

Vicki

Well ask, if he says no you are not worse off.

Chelsea

Kelsey, my experience with landlords is that they are unwilling to do the work, but most don’t care if you offer to do it/pay for it. Especially with something like paint that can easily be rolled over when you move. I would ask for the existing paint color and tell the landlord you’ll paint it back when you move out. See what he (she? landlady sounds so medieval) says! Oh, and don’t even ask about the fixtures. Swap them all out and put the originals in storage. When you move out put them back.

Shelly

Worst tenant ever but I just go ahead and paint! If I ask, they could say no. I’m willing to lose a deposit to not live with ugly paint! I’ve actually never had a landlord be upset about when they found out, a couple have thanked me:)

Cynthia

I haven’t been a tenant in decades but at my last home rental, my landlord was willing to pay up to $150 per month in supplies for any improvement we made to the place! We even refinished the hardwood floors. Win-win. ASK/SELL IT. Maybe you’ll change a landlord to be a better one!

Kelsey G

In my experience, landlords rarely don’t repaint because they love the existing color. They usually just dont want to spend the money or the time doing it, I would go them with the color you suggest and see what they say. I have never once had a landlord tell me no, my new landlord loves me for painting the entire house, he even gave my a discount on my next months rent when he saw it.

Susie Q.

For all you know, it was a previous tenant who painted your walls green-brown. Your landlord might be thrilled to have the walls white again!

Michelle

Ginny I love your style and I can see myself in that room perfectly enjoying a cup of tea. I am curious about the rug. I thought a tip for using rugs properly in a living room was to try and have every piece of furniture touching the rug. Here I see that is not the case. Could you explain a bit why you did that? Would it have looked weird if it was moved a little towards that comfy chair on the opposite side?

Vicki

Great redo. A beautiful place. I love the color of the blue in the dining room. What is it, please? Thanks for a great post!

Victoria

You’ve put together a wonderful room for living. Thank you for explaining your thought process as you went over each area, so helpful. I can have a yeah or nay feeling when I see a room but frequently wonder about the reason behind decisions.
Looking forward to seeing your dinning room. You’ve found a great place to build your home.

Laura

Oh man! So good! Were I to design my ideal space, it would look pretty darn close to this! Way to go, Ginny! 🙂

CALLY

Love, love, love!!! You just inspired me to up my shelfi game!

Lynne

Positively masterful mix! I love it so much that I could move right in!

Monica

It is all so lovely! You should be so over-the-moon with all you’ve done. If your not, just call me and I’ll be right over cause I am!

Lynn

It looks absolutely lovely, Ginny! Congratulations!

Meg

Absolutely STUNNING! I love every inch and every tiny detail. Perfection! One of my favorite projects to date. Congrats, Ginny!

Suz

Ginny, it’s just beautiful! Love everything about the room, especially the leather chair nook.

rachelle

GOOD GOD, ITS BEAUTIFUL.

Hannah

It’s so, so lovely, Ginny: warm and comfortable but still bright and not cluttered. But why, why did you have to show me that reading nook? now all I want is that chair and ottoman! They are amazing.

Anna

This room is bananas.
B A N A N A S
The blue dining room made it.

This is a beautiful, cozy room. As I get older, I find myself steering away from the bright colors and clean, mid-century designs I so loved in my 20s. I just want a big comfy couch or overstuffed chair to sink into after a long day. I love seeing how you were able to create a room that still incorporates very stylish, mid-century feeling accessories (those amazing lamps and all the pottery!) while still looking like so homey, proving you don’t need to sacrifice style for comfort.

Sarah

Beautiful! Your home is so elegant, yet comfortable. I can’t wait to see your dining room!

Chelsea

I totally agree about the fireplace and TV. Fireplace mantles are so pretty to style and I dont want to look up to watch tv. Everything looks lovely!

Grace

Ginny, You are my style-sister! Two style elements that I love are earthiness and traditionalism. I find they can be hard to put together, and then even harder to make the space feel fresh with those elements but you’ve done it wonderfully! And I can see why it’s taken you a while to wrap it up, you’ve clearly put some energy, resources, and soul into this room!

Sicily

Beautifully done. Can you tell me the color of the dining room walls? The blue is gorgeous and just what I’m looking for. Thank you.

Hi Ginny button!!! Amazing shoot and description of your beautiful living room! Feel so lucky to have experienced this beautiful space for myself!!!
Guys, it truly is the most warm and welcoming lounge! As always Ginny is right on point – every detail is considered and the styling is impeccable.
Totally obsessed by Heath Ceramics now too thanks to Ginny and brought some goodies back to the UK from my last trip. Amazing work Ginny! You should be so proud!!! Huge hugs! Adam x

dream living room!!!! it’s perfect.

Michelle

Wait, approximately 100 puppy references but no puppy photo?? Where are the puppies? I can’t decide whether to buy that couch without seeing some actual puppies on it.

Lucy

Agreed! Tragic missed puppertunity.

Alison

My sentiments EXACTLY!

Mary

This room is amazing! I’m sure you felt gutsy mixing all of those styles but it flows so well that it comes off as a natural reflection of you. You make it look easy!

Kirsten

Oh Ginny, I think it’s just perfect! I LOVE your mish-mashed style of old and new, big box store finds and one-of-kind. Did you tell us the color of your beautiful navy walls? I actually liked the gray walls you had before you started and might not have thought to change them. Guess that’s why we could all benefit from having a designer, right? . . . your walls now are so much better than I could have imagined! Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

Nastassja

Absolutely love! Its so beautiful and inspiring… I always see those drapery rods, and keep wondering where they are from??

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