We’ve made some changes over here in the living room and it’s time to talk about them – and I’m very curious what you think. If you are one of those readers who like to see how people like us (bloggers, designers, moms, crazy people) change their homes far more regularly than normal people, hopefully you’ll enjoy this post. Brady and Sara styled and shot it (I was out of town and I’m working on involving myself less :)) and I told them to style it more for everyday, not a magazine so you could see more how we live.
When we first bought this 100-year-old English Tudor I was super excited to take my style in a different direction – more old world antiques and less midcentury furniture, more neutral tones and less bright colors. And yet my living room felt just too busy and chaotic for me. I loved everything, but needed it to feel more calm.
But I had to pull it together so fast for the reveal so I made it work. Since then (May of last year) I’ve made some changes and removed some ‘busy’ culprits:
1.) The Rug. I struggled HARD to find a rug that checked my boxes: beautiful, kid-friendly, would ‘pop’ off the floor and be photogenic (aka no sisal), large (at least 10×14) and not offensively expensive (under $5k). This rug was $2500 on Ebay, it is beautiful and hid ANY stain possible (the new owner might have inherited some smoothie). But I knew it wasn’t going to be our forever rug because I wanted something calmer (don’t worry, I sold it to a reader and it’s gone to a very happy, new home). So when Dash and Albert came out with a large size of the rug you are about to see, I JUMPED on it (literally and figuratively). I had used it in the boathouse makeover and LOVED how soft and beautiful it was in person (rugs are kinda hard to buy online, thus the rug-swatch industry). But I can vouch for this one.
SO much more calm, and it really simplified everything. This lady is so soft (and we have it on a 1/2″ memory foam rug pad, so it’s like a trampoline and perfect for wrestling). It’s a medium tone which I wanted – I didn’t want dark, but with two kids I can’t do anything lighter than this. And it’s a nice tone of blue – not too bright, mixing indigo and cream threads. I LOVE IT. It’s a subtle pattern that wears well and hides many stains. The cats, however, are pulling at it with their claws so if you have cats be careful because it is looped, not pulled so they can get their claws in there and they do. I end up ‘mowing’ the rug before every shoot (clipping the strings with scissors). But when it comes to the kids and dirt, it’s been GREAT so far (we’ve had it since October and it’s HIGHLY trafficked with shoed kids and our friend’s dogs).
2.) The Artwork. I liked it, but wanted it to feel more modern.
As much as I loved the creepy portrait above the fireplace, I generally wanted the room to feel more modern and young. I fell in LOVE with that piece by Colin Glasgow from the Parisian hotel makeover and bought it. It has high impact and brought an instant jolt to the room and modernized that fireplace a ton.
The art you see in this angle (above) stayed the same, but we moved the one on the piano to above the credenza to create a mini gallery wall.
I also moved some of the art around on the credenza which I’m WAY happier with (below) and I’m sad to say that I prefer the credenza without the record player, which is a massive bummer because that was EXPENSIVE. Ugh. I might end up bringing it back but it competed too much with the lamp before, and I like that it’s simpler over there now.
The two large pieces above the credenza are from Kirill Bergart and the small piece of the girls is by Lisa Golightly.
3.) The Bookshelf. Here it was before:
I’ve always struggled with those shelves, fearing that they look cluttered and bitsy and busy.
But when I turned all the books around, to show their neutral spines, for Halloween I loved it. So I styled it without the really colorful books, leaving some blue, black, and all the neutrals.
The shelves still have all of my favorite things, family photos, objects, weird wood things, but it’s WAY less busy. YAY. I think I’ll reduce it even more and maybe store some of those bright turquoise books. (P.S. as you can see, the rug we had was slightly smaller than the new one, thus our rug pad is slightly too small for this rug – creating that line you see. Now there is an easy visual fix – just shove the rug further in the room so that that line is at the back, thus less in view, but if any of you have ever moved a rug before with a rug pad with full furniture on top you’ll know that is the worst hour of your life, so I’m avoiding it at all costs. Moving rugs that are already placed is the least favorite part of my job, with hanging curtain rods coming in close at #2).
3.) The Plants. While I love plants obviously, they were annoying to care for and added too much visual weight in the room, thus adding to the chaos.
The fig tree found a new home (my styling assistant Emily) and the plant by the fireplace moved to our exterior front door.
Almost all the accessories stayed – the lighting and pillows barely changed, but I moved some trays and vessels around, as you do.
Generally, things are simplified, quieter and yes, more calm. If I were to shoot it again for a magazine we’d likely change a few things (add some more flowers, maybe some books on the credenza above) but I’m pretty happy with it for the day to day living that we do in there.
The piano area didn’t change too much. It used to look like this:
And now looks like this:
I actually like how it was styled a bit more before, but one of my schoolhouse lamps (the blue shade) shattered so It couldn’t live here anymore, plus I like that piece of art above the credenza more now. But just having some family frames, a modern lamp that contrasted the wood of the piano and some books was enough. I’m not sure if that abstract piece of art (the blue) will stay there or not, I just don’t have a place for it right now.
Below is how this sideboard was styled:
And now it’s more like this:
I traded the vintage Cherner that was in our bedroom with the 100-year-old Windsor that was here because it was FAR too fragile (although I still don’t let anyone sit on that gorgeous sculptural piece above).
Overall I’m happy with it (for now). It feels low-maintenance, kid-friendly and extremely comfortable. And now, thanks to these changes it’s WILDLY less chaotic. The kids have almost free reign (not the Cherner and they generally know that the accessories on the shelves aren’t toys).
So which do you prefer?
The old living room or the new version? Let us know below.
For more reveals from Emily’s Los Feliz Home: Powder Room | Jack and Jill Bathroom | Charlie’s Big Boy Room | Master Bedroom | Master Bathroom | Living Room | Kitchen & Dining Room | Elliot’s Nursery | Backyard | Closets | Laundry Room | Elliot’s Nursery Update | Family Room Update | Kitchen | Updated Living Room
Definitely now!! I love the lightness the rug brings in the living room. I might prefer, slightly, the old arrangement around the piano. Switching the portrait on the fireplace is such a good idea. I think having portraits like that, if they don’t represent a family member or someone you appreciate/care about, feel fake.
I admire your style and risque taking 🙂
Calmer and brighter now. Good moves!
Old version all the way! That rug was fabulous, I loved the creepy portrait, and the fig tree added a lovely pop of green. However, my style is way more traditional (I have hardly any furniture that’s not antique… Said very few 30 year olds). The before didn’t look chaotic to me. The after is lovely, too, just a bit less harmonious with the house in my opinion. I think I’d like it better with more colorful art.
Totally agree! The rug and portrait painting MADE that room! I am obsessed with antique oil portraits and have a gallery wall in my kitchen. But I live in a 108 year old house and am restoring it with timeworn and original items – so that’s more my style. I don’t buy anything that’s not antique (also only 32 years old) except for new sofas and appliances. I feel like we’d be friends 🙂
108 year old house?! Awesome! We’d definitely be friends ?
Yep! 🙂 You can check it on insta @timewornoriginal if you’re bored.
I agree, old version wins for me. Love the rug and personality of the room. I do like the styling better for the sideboard in the new version. Both lovely though, and I can appreciate that the calmness might be the overriding factor in your busy life.
Old version for me too. Mostly because that vintage rug is spectacular. Like 5 stars. But, I think the new rug suits the chairs and the coffee table better, so I do understand the change, I just mourn the loss of that beauty. I think the vintage rug just didn’t jive with the coffee table (which I think you could end up moving to the Oregon house because really — it’s striking and very modern — and it really doesn’t jive with the vibe of an English country house…)
Every piece you have is beautiful, I just personally feel the room is feeling too mid century at the expensive of its English Tudor charm.
Agree, love the red tones in the older version and the oil painting is awesome! I struggle with the same issue in my condo – I want calm, open spaces, but then my eyes and heart always go toward red and traditional lines. Thank you for sharing both version!
It looks more generic now, in my opinion it had more personality before. I do love antiques mixed with contemporary that’s my favorite style. I’m confused about your book comment, are you placing books in your own home/Living space (compared to a shoot) based on the colors not on what you are actually reading or are enjoying? That seems a bit fake to me…
Just jumping in to say that I personally own a lot of books and have three bookcases in my home in various locations. I have my blue, green and white books in my cooler colored living room, my reds browns and creams on another. All of my favorites are on a short antique bookcase in my bedroom. And anything ugly goes on the bottom shelves because they’re hidden by other furniture. My current reads are on my nightstand or floating around the house with me wherever I am when I read. All that to say — sorting books by color isn’t as far fetched as it might’ve seemed. Just throwing it out there!
Same here! I have built in book shelves in all the bedrooms and in the living room – so I have some arranged in a rainbow in a bedroom I have painted black, and all neutral in my living room – the other 2 rooms it matters a little less visually. But I tend to re-arrange a lot too. 🙂
I too have many books and always thought my living room looked busy because of the books. I’ve moved the bookcases to other spots and even to other rooms to see what would work better. I even got rid of the bookcases and put all my books in a long credenza that one sits behind my sectional that is floating in they room. Hated that because I couldn’t see what book I wanted to read or reread next. Now I’ve got etageres, not covering an entire wall, only 2. I put my favorite books and some books I haven’t read yet in the bookcases, organized by color, theme and size. The etageres are open and clean and I couldn’t be happier. After all of that, I completely understand styling for a shoot and having your space work for real life. I love how everything looks with all the changes, however the rug is the one thing I would swap out. For someone who doesn’t like swapping out rugs or moving them, the previous rug gave the room a ton of interest. Maybe a rug that has more pattern but not as colorful would work for both you and for photography.
I thought the books by color thing was insane until I realized that I’m more likely to remember the color of a book than to be completely accurate with its title, so in my experience it is actually a functional way of arranging books for a book lover.
Former librarian here. I fully ditched displaying books that didn’t fit my color palette, and either stored or recovered the few that didn’t. There’s nothing fake about it – visuals are important, some colors are jarring, and there are great books that are just plain ugly.
(I’m with you on the antiques mixed with contemporary pieces, though!)
I’m VERY interested in the details of getting books recovered. How did you do it? Is it DIY or did you send them off to someone? (please say it’s not DIY, cause I will never do it) Was it expensive? Tell me all the things, please!
My books are arranged by color/size as well and I never have trouble finding them and think it’s easier to put them away that way.
I agree that it looks kind of generic :(. I feel horrible saying that, but I don’t think the room is particularly inspiring even though it is really nice and kid friendly. I wonder if your sofa was a light gray that would have lightened up the room against your old rug. We have a Persian with a light gray couch and I’m obsessed with the look because it combines old world with a more streamlined look, and rug shopping at rug stores is so much fun (and great because they let you try rugs out at home)!
The new feels much cleaner and calming. The other felt formal and less welcoming. It was not a room that I’d want to relax. The new feels much more fun and laidback. I wouldn’t think twice about laying on the couch or letting a child play in the floor. It’s a totally different feeling where the old felt like a time for tea and retire to another room.
The piano nook is my favorite part.
I preferred the former style of this room. The colorful rug really popped, and this current one just kind of fades into the background. I get that this look is more soothing, but there’s nothing especially aspirational about it. And, you know, that might be just fine for every day real life. The previous made for a pretty cool photo.
I have always loved your penchant for weird but awesome artwork and your flare for adding color to a space, so it makes me a little sad to see you purposely moving away from that look. The old living room looked like you; this looks like it could have been styled by anyone!
What model/brand is your piano?? Need!
I love both rooms, your style is totally awesome, but would possibly consider tweaking the chairs at some point? Although I love them, they seem a bit too mid century for the room and with the sofa. What about a pair of smallish scale modern wingbacks? Maybe in a creamy Gray patina leather? Could be an elegant touch but still modern.
The previous rug was too red but the current is too neutral. I think a washed-out-from-age Persian rug in blue/gray tones would be lovely. And it would hide most everything the kids could dish out. I don’t know how you can play the piano with an armed chair. I generally like the less busy look and agree that the bookshelves are still problematic. I almost think that solid books/nothing else would make them disappear a bit more. The busy-ness/clutter of them would drive me insane. I don’t care for the modern piece you chose above the fireplace but like the modernity of it more than the portrait. I think you’ve got a nice mix of modern and vintage that bring good interest to the room and it’s nice to hear that the kids have free reign and this isn’t a Do Not Touch living room that collects dust.
Ha. A washed out blue/grey persian is exactly what I wanted and searched for but couldn’t find due to size and cost. If you can find one for under $10k I’ll take it (but then i’m like – WAIT I HAVE CHILDREN WHY WOULD I INVEST IN A REAL RUG RIGHT NOW???) I even went to the super crazy rug places in beverly hills and fell in love with one that was $140k. You read that right ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. It was PERFECT though 🙂
Both are beautiful and livable but I prefer the old living room mostly because of the rug and the portrait painting which I could live with forever.
I absolutely love it, it is so much more you! It’s hip and fresh and gorgeous!
I love seeing how a room’s vibe can completely change by switching out a few pieces, while keeping the furniture the same! So cool.
That old rug made my heart sing, but I think the way a room FEELS is so much more important than how it photographs. I can see how the new room would feel calmer and more peaceful while you’re in it. And who doesn’t want that these days? 🙂
Yes, ITA with everything you said. I let out a sigh after seeing the “new” room. It just seems easier to breathe in. I love it. Sometimes, when you have interesting things throughout the room, a neutral rug is good not bad or bland. I think that is the case here.
I adore the before. I feel like the red rug brought the whole room together and made it layered and interesting. Now I feel like the chaise sticks out in a sea of white and blue tones.
I think as things go more minimalist (this room is not but it went more that direction) every piece in the room HAS to be in the exact right place or it looks messed up whereas with a little more going on I feel like I could actually live in it and it would look good most of the time.
I think you are right. When it’s ‘eclectic’ you can away with pieces that don’t exactly match, but when you go more minimalist everything kinda has to be perfect … Not sure if i’ve landed there yet … stay tuned …
I don’t like the new artwork above the fireplace. The black and white make that whole end of the room not really blend in, like it’s almost unfinished.
Agreed. I like the piece but not for this room. It feels jarring up there, and not in a good way. It’s so starkly modern that it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the furnishings, which got a little more modern but not enough to make that art work. Or maybe the rest of the room needs more black to make that guy make sense?
Love all the updates besides that art piece though. Serenity is important and the (beautiful) red rug was busy, for sure.
Agree. I’m okay with all other changes except the art above the fireplace. The portrait seemed more curated and much more Emily Henderson. The modern piece does not work in my opinion. If more modern is the preference then perhaps a different piece of modern art. Just not this one.
The new version brings out the architecture and really showcases the room, rather than taking it over. Absolutely love it. Also, saying goodbye to the fig tree, and indoor plants in general, is a beautiful thing. Plants/trees add so much clutter and have really had their moment. The new and rearranged art is to die for.
Plants are timeless! They are great for cleaning air, beautifying space and adding color. Sad to hear someone say they have “had their moment”. They may not be for you, but it’s not necessary to knock them in general. (Exactly why following “trends” leads to homogeny!
New version for sure! feels so tranquil….
I like the new calmer look, less magazine and definitely more like you live there and have small people too 🙂
I love both versions, but I was absolutely head-over-heals in love with your 1st version. Honestly the new picture above the fireplace makes my eyes hurt (optical illusions do that to me). But if the 2nd version works better for you and your family, that’s fabulous!
Ha. it is very STARK and i’ve used the word ‘arresting’ a few times. It may not live there forever. I bought it and I’ve hung it in a few places in the house where it’s looked amazing. I’m trying it out up there because why not?
I like both looks, but I do think the update is refreshing. I actually think removing some of the visual clutter lets those beautiful, unique pieces of furniture (like the chaise lounge) shine. The update nicely marries a more antique/collected/traditional look and modern, which I love! (Also, forever envious of your Cherner chair. I’ve wanted one since the first time I saw one in college.)
I loved the old living room, but the new living room seems more like you. It’s a bit more neutral and causal and modern but still keeping some of the older/Tudor relevant elements. It’s absolutely lovely.
thank you 🙂
I like both versions but absolutely understand why you decided to make these changes. I’ve found that the older and more vibrant my children and their personalities become, the more I’ve craved making my home a more quiet, restorative place that is a respite in moments of quiet or after they go to bed. It’s somehow a balancing thing: as the kids dominate and take up more space — mental and physical — we need to reduce the other demands on our senses.
Agree and I feel the same. Maybe the new is more generic, but if it feels more calm and that’s what the family needs, then it’s better.
Love the new room! I have something against red oriental rugs (just don’t like them) and that new rug is amazing! Also, as a mom of an 18-month-old, I loved the realness of getting rid of the plants. Oh, things I used to do…
It’s gorgeous! I can’t decide! Would you mind telling us what color your drapes and shades are? And where they are from? They’re perect!
i second that! ive been searching for that beautiful greyish blue forever
She has a post about it I think – they are from Calico Corners!
She did, but only said out was from calico not what exact color it was 🙁
I think the color is GRAY from the french general line. I think its in the first post!! Sorry …. not terribly helpful but look in the living room reveal post and see if its there …
i wish you did a close up of the shelving. hard to see.
I liked what you did before, but this feels much more like the Emily we all fell in love with!!! It has been interesting to see the evolution and I enjoy seeing the process. The thoughts behind everything is sooooo helpful. Awesome <3
Like the changes. I still love the other rug, but the new rug accomplishes the calmer vibe.
love the minimal version. calm is right. this is a great visual lesson on how to updated your home
I would say I prefer the updated version. When you came out with the original living room design, I also thought there was too much to look at it. although it was well-designed. And I also thought, this didn’t totally feel like Emily. I would say now the living room totally says ‘Emily!’ While I do like the graphic on the fireplace, I feel like it’s screaming for attention, and my eyes keep going back to it; everything else in the space is so much more calm in comparison. Perhaps it’s too bold? Or maybe that was the intent. Also, I love the rug! Works perfectly with the space
It might be too bold. I LOVE it but maybe its too jarring there ….?
No piano bench? Don’t the arms of the chair get in the way when you play the piano? I like the new artwork over the fireplace, but I liked the portrait too.
Ha. i’ve looked for a while – i should have called that out that obviously that chair is annoying at the piano. If you know of a great piano bench that works with the midcentury piano then let me know!
Overall I prefer the former look for your home though I think you could have incorporated many of your changes in the newer look without the modern look that is so pervasive in the room now. I just don’t think it fits the bones of your home. I’m thinking it needs some more tweaking and that there is a happy medium that you just haven’t landed on yet. However, after the nicky-nacky busyness of Christmas, plain, calm neutral is soothing and seems less winterish than the original with all the darker colors. Basically, I dunno. Luckily I can bet a good glass of vino that within a year you will mix it up again and maybe then you will hit the jackpot! 🙂
Ha. stay tuned. I’m still/always tweaking .. 🙂
Definitely now! So much calmer, and lighter, and still SO beautiful. Perhaps we are feeling similar in life – I too keep moving towards less and less visual clutter, and it feel so good! Thanks so much for your openness, your honesty and your writing – your voice is such a positive one in the world. Checking it with this blog is such a pleasure. You rock, Emily!
Haha!! Moving rugs IS the worst. Both versions look pretty for different reasons. The new version is very fresh, bright and relaxed.
I prefer the old room! The new room looks more plain.
love love love it now! the last photo of the sideboard is my favorite. so simple but so much impact
New!! The old rug was beautiful, but too busy with all the different furniture styles. The room looks more harmonious now. Love the Cherner’s new spot next to the sideboard!
I understand why you like the new version … I think you say you like traditional far more than you really do, Emily! 😉 But I think you could have accomplished a look that fit the house better by making all of the styling tweaks you made while still keeping the old rug, which was perfection. No disrespect to Dash and Albert, but the new rug sucks all the personality out of the room. I agree with one of the other commenters that it might come together better to fit the style of the house if you switched out the mid-mod chairs. And I don’t like the new art above the fireplace at all. It doesn’t fit the room or the house and you really need a pop of color there, even if it is calming color and not the moody portrait.
I think you are right – i LOVE the idea of traditional, and certainly windsor and primitive styles I’m always going to love, but maybe i dove too far into the trad world this first time around 🙂
I totally prefer now, both rugs are gorgeous, but this new one allowed the architecture of the room to show itself more. Same thing with the art on the fireplace, we see the sexy curves of that fireplace so much more. The sideboard vignette gives me all the feels, the sideboard in itself is perfect, but with the art, that pitcher and greenery….wow! I wonder where that gorgeous tall chrome mushroom lamp by schoolhouse is though!?
Generally like the reduction in the current living room, but miss the “soul” from the old rug. Would love to still see an antique run in there–would bring more character, though you sacrifice comfort to a degree, but more durable for the cats, and finding one that is affordable is the ever present challenge, I know! Feel like if you found one in the right size you’d be up for another future switch 😉 Love the change of the artwork over the fireplace, that alone made everything feel more modern.
WOW!!!! The new version is near perfect! Everything before that I disliked about the design is gone and the new is so much simpler and more Emily. I can see your style coming through in this room. The old lacked Emily. It was pretty, but didn’t have that fun quirky vibe. I truly love this one. Great job!
I also fell in love with that Colin Glasgow piece from the Parisian Hotel Makeover. And I have a controversial question that I hope won’t get me thrown in jail…
I was so inspired by the piece that I did a study of it for an art class. I loved how it turned out and now have a little 8×11 version done by my framed in my office. I’m curious what the community/artists would think of this… literally just googled “what counts as an art forgery?” and am just sitting here waiting for the FBI to bust in. Hopefully it’s the White Collar Division and Matt Bomer is the arresting agent.
HA! This comment made my day. Just tell Matt Bomer that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 🙂
Okay, but… I really need some feedback here. Am I committing a crime??
Here’s my two-cents: Keep the framed art up and enjoy it. When you receive compliments, just say: “Thank you! It was an art study I did of a Colin Glasgow piece.” As long as you give proper credit and certainly don’t start selling them, I think that’s perfectly acceptable.
I am a lawyer and while intellectual property and copyright are not my specialty, I can advise that you have nothing to worry about. You made a copy, not a forgery, since your intent (I assume) is not to pass your piece off as an original Glasgow. Enjoy your handmade reproduction! Although now you’ll have to find another excuse to get Matt Bomer to your house…
Haha thank you Ashley and Elsie! I did get worried when a lifestyle blog wanted to snap a pic of my dining nook. I ended up swapping out the piece in my gallery wall because I couldn’t control where the picture was distributed. But I’ll rest easy knowing I’m off the hook!
Love this question / issue so much. It is very much part of standard art education to copy “master works” especially early in art education when one is learning how to handle paint, match colors, consider composition. I have a copy of an O’Keeffe, Hopper, and Kahlo that I painted in my senior year of HS and proudly displayed in my college dorm room. What my professors told me – it must be signed by you as a copy of the original and you must never pass it off as the work of another and you can never sell it.
The old one had so much more personality! The new one is beautiful but more generic.
I do love the blue rug and the lighter, airy atmosphere! There is one issue I have with your piano chair, though. No musician would ever use a chair that had arms! We actually do not use any chair with a back, either. I love that chair, but it is useless to a pianist. I just wanted you to know that small detail.
I’m not a pianist, and also love the chair, but you have not confirmed my first thought: “I wonder if a pianist would agree with this choice?”.
Ha. I know. Our piano didn’t come with a bench! still looking for one if you have any ideas … 🙂
I love the now version. That rug is amazing and lightens up the whole space. Changing out the art over the fireplace was a good call too. It’s amazing how styling things a little bit differently and changing just 3 pieces can make the room look like an entirely different space. Fabulous!
Your sideboard, both the old styling & the current, are my favorite vignette ever. It is such a beautiful piece. As usual, your art choices are wonderful. They add so much life to your home : )
For me, it has become too monochrome. The old was too busy but now it’s almost too boring. Nothing really stands out, except the piece above the fireplace, which look misplaced.
The room needs life. And more colour. I had hoped for so much saturated colour in your new house and was so dissappointed with the lack thereoff, especially with the kitchen.
I love the changes you made the bookshelves–you’re right, they feel calmer now. They look great. I hate to say it–but I like the first living room better! I loved, loved, loved that rug, and I loved the windsor chair and the portrait above the fireplace. The graphic painting currently over the fireplace is not my style at all. Obviously it’s your style, which is all that matters 🙂 I’m glad you’re happy with your changes and feel calmer, as you should in your own home!
Both rooms are gorgeous. I suppose in Cali, you don’t really have a winter, but I could seè them as a winter and summer room. One’s kinda cozy, curl up by the fireplace room and the other eazy, breezy, run in and out with your barefeet kinda room!! Beautiful either way!
I wonder if you polled people based on where they live if you’d see a correlation with people in colder climates preferring the first option and warmer climates preferring the second.
I’m sitting in my freezing office in Nebraska thinking the first option looks cozy and the second looks cold.
That is a fascinating thought! I used to live in So Cal (in Northern Oregon now) and have definitely done away with more modern pieces and a very tight color palette in favor of more antiques and a slightly less-restrained palette.
I agree! In my head, I was likening these to foods (weird, but it happened). The second is a fresh crisp citrus springy summer version. And the first is a bowl warm nutty oatmeal. ?
What I like about the new version is that it is less cluttered and feels visually lighter. BUT…it looks sort of one note, or a little generic now to me. I would not look at that room and think Emily Henderson designed it. Maybe it is too neutral? Everything is blue and gray and pale wood with a little bit of black. Although I agree that the previous rug (while very beautiful), was too busy for the room, I did like that it brought in more color. I also really dislike the artwork above the fireplace–I actually like the art, but it is discordant in this living room. It’s way too modern for the rest of the room. I have every confidence that you will keep tweaking and make this the most amazing room ever, but right now I feel like it isn’t quite there yet. I hate to say anything negative! Your work is so beautiful and aspirational to me, and you rarely design things that I don’t wholeheartedly love.
I prefer the new living room but I miss the colour the old rug brought to the space. It’s a bit too monotone for my tastes. The new one is definitely more calm but it feel like it’s missing something (not necessarily that old rug, just something with a bit more pizazz colour wise). Doesn’t help blue is my least favourite colour so I’m probably a bad judge 😉
Both rooms are lovely. I think the second version reflects Socal lighting and living better than the first. As we have moved around the country, I have found that the climate has a profound impact on how we feel about certain types of furniture and colors. The original room reminds me of our traditional home in Northern New Jersey. It is beautiful and welcoming, but not the “feel” I want in SoCal. We prefer simpler lines and more neutral tones in the brighter light of Orange County.
You and your team have tremendous talent. Thank you for sharing.
Love the new! The thing that seems to clutter up the room in pictures are the shelves, but probably not in real life. It seems like if the bottom shelves had doors, and the top had fewer, chunkier shelves it would still look era appropriate but less busy.