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Jessica’s Living & Dining Room

Hello, friends. If you’re not familiar with “Makeover Takeover, ” it is an attempt for us in the studio to lighten the blog load for Emily while she bonds with her latest creation (an adorable new human by the name of Elliot). It all started way back on September 23, 2015 with Brady’s infamous Sofa StandoffSara and Ginny followed suit shortly thereafter. With Emily’s guidance, and hopefully some help from you, we will each overcome our design challenges one post at a time.

If you’re not familiar with me, my name is Jessica and I’ve been lucky enough to shoot photos for Emily and the crew since March of this year. I’ve gotten nice and cozy behind the camera, so I’m kind of stepping outside of my comfort zone here. In short, I recently moved from a small apartment in Silver Lake, Los Angeles to a stand alone house with 4 walls (hey, we’re talking LA here) in Highland Park, with my guy Scotty. Since working with Emily and the team, I’ve seen many an ordinary shelf/bed/room be transformed into a beautifully styled masterpiece before my very eyes. I can only describe it as witchcraft, but hopefully I’ve picked up some useful tips along the way that I can share with you while I makeover our new living/dining room.  If you came here for the tips, feel free to skip these next two super interesting paragraphs about my personal style.


So, as you’ve probably read from such places as this blog, one paragraph ago . . . I’m a photographer. Scotty is a musician. We are both deep in the creative arts so, not only do we tend to appreciate aesthetically eccentric spaces, but we’ve also gotten really good at being on a budget. Fortunately, we both have a serious affinity for thrifting at home and abroad, which has provided us with a variety of fun, interesting pieces that add character to our structurally characterless white box of a living room. It is my goal to carefully edit these piece, add, and transform our boring, narrow common area into a harmonious dining/living room peppered with historical oddities, family heirlooms and lush foliage.

progress_1 emily_henderson_makeover_takeover_jessica_isaac-before3 progress_1_4


Unfortunately, my prehistoric iPhone could not anticipate my involvement in this makeover series, hence some seriously terrible “before” shots . . . my apologies.

I’ve been a fan of Emily’s since her TV show Secrets of a Stylist because she’s not afraid to embrace weirdness, which I can relate to. However, while there are plenty of designers who appreciate the bizarre and unusual, there’s always been something extra appealing about her designs that I could never quite emulate. Clearly, this wizardry she possesses is something that comes naturally to her, but, just in case some of it is learnable, I’ve been taking lots of mental notes on the design magic that goes on around here. Everyone’s got their own personal style challenges, and I think I’ve learned a bit about my own along the way. Here are a few things I will be considering throughout this makeover:

1. If you collect vintage, you could be toeing the line between attractively eccentric and thrift store chic. 

Crossing that line has put me at serious risk for dropping the “chic” and setting up a donation center on my front porch. As I move forward, I will make sure to incorporate modern elements and hopefully avoid being backed into Sally’s Corner (that was a Salvation Army reference).


my ever-growing pile of hunted treasures…

2. Having an intentional design plan to stick to can help you edit your unruly collection and create a cohesive, pulled together final product. 

Here’s my design inspiration. It’s eclectic but clean with a nice mixture of textures with natural woods, metals, and fabrics. And that green leather. ::heart eyes emoji::


3. Sure, it’s important that a space represents who you are and what you love, but it should also make guests feel comfortable.

There are a few things that are generally appealing to most all human beings, so I will try to consider these when adding the final details to my space. At Emily’s, there is no shortage of smartly styled surfaces that are pleasing to the eye. There’s also always a good supply of soothing candles, attractive lighting options, and, of course, an abundance of comfy throw pillows.


That’s all for now. Needless to say I have my work cut out for me and I’m elated to have some seriously skilled stylists on call while I finally finalize a design plan for my home. Wish me luck and stay tuned!

*all photos, except inspiration photos,  by Jessica Isaac for EHD. Hey — that’s me.

Craving more Makeover Takeover? You can see the beginning of Brady’s living room redo here,  Sara’s intro to her bedroom here and my Ginny’s first two posts here and here.

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8 years ago

I’m so excited to see what you come up with and how you’re going to incorporate that pile of haunted treasures!

8 years ago

That treasure pile of yours looks like it is full of goodies, can’t wait to see how it gets pulled together!

8 years ago

Hi Jessica!
I was wondering… is your space planning definitive? To me it makes more sense to place the sofa against the window, not backwards to the dooor. From the photos it seems you have room enough to flip the livig room…

Good luck!

8 years ago
Reply to  Karla

They have the TV on the back wall, though, so it makes sense that the couch is set up like that.

8 years ago
Reply to  Karla

Definitely open to suggestions! we tried it there when we first moved in and I’m not positive why we moved it. There’s something about the flow that needs to improve…

8 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

Yes, you should explore other arrangements of furniture because it doesn’t seem to flow that well (even on photos). 🙂 All the best for your makeover, we readers here are cheering for you! 🙂

8 years ago

Wow, what an eclectic collection you have to work with. I love it and love your writing style as well. Can’t wait to see where you take this!

8 years ago
Reply to  Sheila

Thanks, Sheila! <3

8 years ago

Of all of the ‘Takeover Makeover’ posts, yours is the one I can relate to the most. Thanks for sharing. Getting that Emily Henderson, masterful balance between vintage thrift store finds and fresh, modern pieces is tricky, right? It’s proven elusive for me anyway so I’ll be VERY interested to see how it comes together! Thanks again for sharing. Hey, maybe that could be a cool post, or series of posts…. vignettes or rooms that are out of balance in a particular direction (i.e. vintage, modern, etc) and how they could be tweaked to a more balanced perspective…..

8 years ago

Everything looks fabulous as usual. I am not feeling those curtains. It must be because they are droopy looking in your photos.

8 years ago
Reply to  bluelaugh

I feel you on the curtains. Those are my temporary “anything is better than vertical blinds” solution. They’ll be getting replaced. 🙂

8 years ago

Cannot wait to see the total makeover!

8 years ago

Jess… Awesome Start! Your inspiration shots alone are enough to get me moving. Keep up the good work and let us see when “progress” turns into “hunkered down”.

8 years ago

After looking at your inspiration pics, and noting that you’re working on a major budget (I think that’s what will make this MT more relateable to a vast swath of your readers), I think you should keep the space white but paint the doors something awesome – like a deep, dark, high-gloss forest green. Good luck! You’re gonna do great.

8 years ago

How cute are you?!
Well listen, whatever second hand wizardry you desire for yourself – you are well on your way .. great pictures and explanations! Nice post, girl.

8 years ago
Reply to  sharon / tpt

I agreed, how cute are you! Great post!

8 years ago

The green leather is awesome. If that isn’t found and purchased bring the shiny green in somewhere even if it is paint. Yea!

8 years ago

I’m loving the inspiration for this space! I can’t wait to see the final result!


8 years ago

Very nice to meet you, Jessica! I love hearing from each of you. You have some great “bones” to work with, and I know with the help of the team there, it will look great! I think your pile of treasures looks great – now to figure out how to get the room to have the same vibe, right? I do think that having the dining table on the opposite side from the kitchen is a little awkward. But I’m sure it’ll all get ironed out. Good luck!

8 years ago

wait, you’re not going to get rid of that sally’s corner pile of treasures are you? no no no. mixed in with modern pieces you’ll be good to go!

i esp. like your dinette table. will you be keeping that. i hope so.

8 years ago
Reply to  Miranda

Hey Miranda! Just hoping to find a good place for everything and maybe edit it down…that’s only a small portion. :/

I’m glad you mentioned the dinette. I absolutely love it, but sometimes feel like it might be TOO retro. Hoping we can make it work!

8 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

I also love the dinette!

meryl king
8 years ago

it will be amazing.. but, I too think the space planning should be tweaked…
it does not seem practical to me to walk into your diningroom and have your seating next to the kitchen?
It feel off.
You could place the couch on the wall facing the entryway… or you could actually face it to the wall and utilize a table behind it to sort of set up a hallway feel when you walk in… and add a runner on the floor…
I SO wish I was there to help you move the furniture around… lol and creepy all at the same time…

8 years ago
Reply to  meryl king

My back also wishes you were here to help me move furniture. Definitely considering the couch/runner scenario! Figuring out how to work the TV in…

8 years ago

I love all these Makeover Takeover posts ! It appears, dear Emily, that the people you chose to work with are not only talented but very funny 🙂

8 years ago

Nice! I like the paintings you’e acquired.
(One grammar thing in point 1: it’s “toe the line,” not “tow the line.” Comes from track and field and not putting your toe over the line at the starting line. Now you know!)

8 years ago
Reply to  Brandeen

Doh! Thanks, Brandeen. Don’t mind me while I toe my foot in my mouth…