House Tour: Original Woodwork, Moody Walls & A Gasp-Worthy Wallpaper
Written by Arlyn Hernandez
I first discovered Emily (Cosnotti, not Henderson) of The Sweet Beast as I feel like I have most of my new house crushes lately: via the One Room Challenge (for real though, a veritable gold mine of talent over there). One glimpse of her guest bedroom which she completed last spring, with those deep moody walls and those tone-on-tone DIYed curtains and I knew I wanted (needed?) to see more. Emily was gracious enough to share a peek into her Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home which she shares with her husband Andy and corgi pup Penelope with the EHD universe and here’s a spoiler alert: there’s so much character and personality to love here (just wait until you see the original wallpaper from her sunroom).
Emily always has some new project brewing over on her site (and I can’t wait to see if she does another space for the upcoming ORC), so be sure to pop over there and her Instagram to give her some love and check out what’s new with her and her home. But alright, you’re not here to listen to me blab surely, so I’m going to pass the keyboard to our protagonist of the day to introduce herself and her home. Blog, meet Emily, Emily meet blog.
Thanks Arlyn! Hi everyone, I’m Emily of The Sweet Beast. A little background on me before jumping into my house: I always thought I would work in a museum, but after finding myself working in e-commerce and later in content, I’ve made surrounding myself with beautiful objects my hobby instead. My husband and I shared an apartment in a historic building for seven years before purchasing our home, I broke all the rules in our lease there by painting the walls and even removed paint from hardware and marble. I knew each step honored the space and its history, and that’s the same approach I take with the home we now own. It can be scary to dive into renovating and restoring an old home, but often tell myself, “you can hardly make it worse.” Our home was well decorated by the previous owner but in more of a bed and breakfast style than one that supports comfort and living. I often say that I’m “undecorating” our home, as I remove extra frills and opt for a modern traditional home that feels lived in and loved.
The best part of the entryway to our home is our round top door with its tiny window panes. With closets on both sides, we are blessed with storage space for all our coats, shoes, my vacuum collection, and whatever else I can hide in there when guests come over. Those stacked frames feature some of my husband Andy’s photography from our trips to New York and his hiking trips with friends. And of course, our home wouldn’t be the same without our corgi Penelope, up there sitting on our one-of-a-kind pink and blue printed kilim rug, waiting for her favorite person to come home (hint: it’s not me).
Our living room’s paneled fireplace is probably the fanciest touch in our whole home and is likely an addition and not an original feature. It got lost in a sea of warm yellow tones before we stripped the walls and painted. Removing yellow striped wallpaper from the largest room in our house in the hottest days of summer with no air conditioning was a task I will never forget. It took four of us (myself, Andy, and my parents) days to complete the task of scoring, steaming and peeling the wallpaper and then scrubbing away the paste. Painting this room afterward was a breeze compared to that task. I was inspired by Deuce Cities Henhouse to pair our unpainted warm woodwork with dark, moody cool-toned walls and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
We divided the living room into two zones, one small sitting area that houses Andy’s record collection, vintage speakers, and an inherited turntable, and a larger area for lounging on our sectional and watching Netflix. The long shape of the room has presented some modern-life layout challenges—there is no good place for a TV in this room that doesn’t block either the windows or the fireplace, but it glows with light all day long and is the most comfortable spot in our home.
When we toured this house for the first time, there was so much furniture in this room that we nearly missed seeing the corner built-ins. The family before us used this as a living room and music room, so it was outfitted with quite a few sofas, chairs and floral patterns. I painted this room first when we moved in, anxious to cover up the yellow walls with a crisp white and to repaint the cranberry pink shelves of the built-ins a deep gray-blue. The dark paint inside the built-ins lets my white and black ceramics and serving pieces shine and also looks so good with our honey-toned woodwork.
We went with a simple woven pendant from IKEA (that replaced the chandelier that was existing), the bright kilim rug was an eBay find and the dining chairs were a Craigslist score. As for the table, we found it in the IKEA as-is section and had to disassemble it to fit it in my car…so worth it because it was a steal.
Credenza (vintage) | Lamp (vintage) | Small Footed Bowl
A vintage mid-century credenza stores our board games and extra table linens inside and our growing collection of cocktail ingredients on top. I like to display a few of my collected ceramic pieces here as well or put out snacks when we entertain.
A refresh of our master bedroom came about with the fall 2018 One Room Challenge. The design for the space was anchored around my plans to install an electric fireplace where a wood-burning fireplace once was. I sketched up plans to build a Tudorish-Craftmanish-modernish fireplace surround and sent the plans and revisions back and forth to my dad. I spent my weekends traveling two hours away to his garage where we built, painted and tiled the surround, piece by piece, completing it JUST in time. Now, the fireplace adds a nice boost of warmth on winter days and is a cozy place to curl up in a chair and enjoy a cup of coffee. Just kidding, that’s just a clothes chair.
I had my eye on that beautiful spindle Rejuvenation bed ever since I saw it in Emily (Henderson’s) bedroom, and knew that if I was going to do this bedroom justice, I had to get that bed. Putting a bulky frame in front of a window can seem like a terrible idea, but not if you pick something that lets light pass through instead of blocking it.
Grid Art (DIY)
As for the rug, I struggled to find one large enough to fit this big, long room and even considered going with two rugs instead of one. All my Instagram friends encouraged me to keep searching for one big rug and, just in time (again), I found this overdyed vintage rug and it’s just so perfect. It adds age and texture to a room filled with newer pieces and cleaner lines, achieving that just-right mix of modern and traditional that I’m always striving for.
Bed (no longer available) | Ikat Lumbar Pillow (no longer available) | Pink Lumbar Pillow | Boob Pillow Cases | Wall Hanging | Duvet | Curtains (color no longer available) | Curtain Rods | Blanket (similar) | Rug (similar) | Paint Color
I revamped this room as part of the spring 2018 One Room Challenge and I knew what color I wanted to paint it before I’d picked anything else for it (it was previously a bright green boys room, decorated in a space theme complete with a ceiling boob light with glow-in-the-dark planets). I’d been seeing deep rich greens in places like Chris Loves Julia’s reading room and knew that dark hues make the woodwork in our home glow. My biggest revelation in this space was moving the bed in front of the windows, which allowed for access on both sides, and room for a small, guest-sized dresser. Previously, the bed had been against the short wall where the IKEA dresser is now, which left half the room oddly open and relatively unusable.
For the curtains, I went tone on tone, adding inexpensive velvet IKEA curtains with a DIY pinch pleat. I get so many questions about where the headboard is from because rattan is so huge right now, but it is an IKEA piece that I’ve held onto for several years that has long been discontinued (sadly that bench is also unavailable).
Those nightstands were a budget Amazon find at $100 each and equipped with USB ports so guests don’t have to search for outlets. I upgraded them a little by replacing the stock wood pulls with brass hardware from CB2. Right before photographing the room for the big reveal, I realized the corner looked so empty and decided to craft the brass mobile from a Crafters Box I’d been hoarding.
The room is a perfect mix of pieces that go but don’t match. And no more boob light, just boob-print pillows.
Finding a classic bathroom with original features was on my wish list for a house—a line item I didn’t think would be crossed off. But then we found this house with this perfect bathroom with its original floor, pedestal sink, medicine cabinet, bathtub and shower. The previous owners had added layers of extra frills with busy wallpaper, three layers of window treatments, a skirt for the pedestal sink, and even ruffled covers for the shower curtain rings. We painstakingly removed the wallpaper (it was really on there and holding together some of the plaster walls), repaired the plaster, and painted the room a soothing blush tone. It casts flattering color on everyone and lets the tile really pop without standing by being boring.
These windows right here…they’re what sold us on this house. I’d never seen anything quite like them and fell in love. The wallpaper is not something I would have chosen for myself, but it is growing on me. I also can’t imagine removing wallpaper ever again. At the closing, the previous owners made sure to tell us it was expensive and to “think about that” before removing it or painting over it. I’m still overthinking this space and the best way to use it, but for now, it’s a place where our plants are thriving.
Sofa (no longer available) | Pillow
Arlyn back again. Thank you SO much Emily for letting us (digitally) into your home. Sharing the work of such talented bloggers and designers in our community brings us so much joy (plus it’s fun to have permission to peek through people’s windows). It’s like touring model homes on the weekend except 100 TIMES BETTER for so many reasons. Feel free to share any bloggers/designers/stylist you follow that you get the sense have amazing homes and we’ll take a look, too, for a possible house tour.
To take a “tour” of all our EHD-designed homes and spaces, don’t miss our BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW PROJECTS section.
***photography by Emily Cosnotti of The Sweet Beast