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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Ehd Emily Henderson Living Room Update 8

Yesterday, you saw (and commented on, thank you!) my living room update and boy did you have enlightening opinions. I’m actually going to take the ones that most of you agreed on and well, experiment with them, but meanwhile, I have been secretly shopping for a new sofa (even before I brought this Article one down here…even though now, I’m wondering if I should just keep it?!). So today, I’m going to walk you through my thought process on what sofa might be next, if any, and how that would change the room.

But first some inspiration, and to be honest, I haven’t found enough. I’ve struggled with marrying the traditional style of the home, this long room in particular and my innate love of midcentury. Plus, the fact that we have kids, like “things” and want it to feel minimalist yet interesting. So here are some:

image via elle decoration | design by kristin lagerqvist

Those people are cool; that’s not up for debate. But what is is how I can bring in that personality without adding even more contrast and clutter.

image and design via o’connor and houle

Classic Windsor + cool art = I suppose that is something I’ll always love, RIGHT?

So while shopping, here is what I’ve been really drawn to, sofa-wise:

Emilyhenderson Waverly Living Room Refresh Sofa Vintage 01

This collection is all vintage, and ones that I’ve loved but am not opting for for the following reasons.

Floral sofa: This is a statement and one that also looks comfortable and kid-friendly. It’s in LA so I could go test it out, but it is incredibly expensive (over $10k) so why go try on a wedding dress you’ll love but can’t afford and then cry about?

Blue velvet sofa: I love the curved back of this one that lends itself to the Danish traditional style. It’s so beautiful but again, above our budget (weighing in at $8k). Plus, it doesn’t look comfortable and we need extreme comfort in this room.

Red tufted sofa: This one is more affordable ($1,600) but I would reupholster it in a color that would be more timeless (adding about $1,500 to the price of it). I would put the same colored fringe on the bottom, to match the upholstery but it still feels like a risk as I felt my last tufted sofa was too traditional for me (plus would that low back actually back comfortable?)

Green curved sofa: This one I felt was PERFECT stylistically. It’s simple but special, long and the scale was great, but the cushions nor depth would fit our comfort expectations. Plus, it was also expensive.

So we nixed all of them and started looking at new pieces.

Emilyhenderson Waverly Living Room Refresh Sofa New 02

Top Row: Left via Jayson Home | Right via Interior Define | Bottom Row: Left via Shoppe Amber Interiors | Right via Anthropologie

Navy fringed sofa: This lady from Jayson Home is a modern Victorian chesterfield piece that I could see working in here except for the fact that it’s not long enough. We need at least 96″ so we’d have to customize which is an option, but kept me shopping.

Chaise sofa: I love the chaise of the one that we currently have so was drawn to this Interior Define sectional (designed by friend Maxwell Ryan of Apartment Therapy—see it in blue velvet in Arlyn’s living room for reference). I have had the sofa version and it’s really comfortable and deep, and the low back looked great in this room, letting the windows shine.

Beige modern sofa: Amber Interiors makes this simple, deep and comfortable version that has a low arm and low back (a profile we like in this room because it keeps it feeling open). I still love it and think it’s classic for sure.

Curved sofa: The room might lend itself to a curved sofa because of the bay window, so I started exploring rounded sofas. This would open the space from the entry, and still looks comfortable, but I didn’t know if it was something I’d love long term in another house if we moved. But it’s more affordable (around $3k, from Anthropologie) and it has personality. I also feared that it was trendy, and not as comfortable as we’d need but again, I never saw it in person.

Emilyhenderson Waverly Living Room Refresh Sofa New 01

Top Row: Left via Modshop | Right via BDDW | Bottom Row: Left via Lawson Fenning | Right via Lulu and Georgia

Green sofa: The top left is from Modshop and the curved back, customizable fabric and relative affordability and fast lead time is attractive. I still feel like I should go check it out in person (they have a store here in LA…and yes, we can choose any fabric which is attractive).

Printed white sofa: The top left sofa is one of my favorite sofas of all time from BDDW. Those feet. Those hands. I’ve never loved a sofa limb before and, yes, it’s customizable, too. It has that mix of “modern traditional” in the edgiest, coolest way which I want for this house. Sadly, it’s over $20k (listen, it’s designed and made in the states, beautifully constructed…a real piece of art) so we are opting for our children’s college education over this one.

Gray curved arm sofa: The bottom left (from Lawson Fenning) is, well, perhaps the winner. I found a vintage version of this once and freaked out about it, in a “that’s my sofa that my soul has always wanted” kind of way. The rounded arms are great for the “visual invitation” that I want for this room (high arms can cut off a room if you are entering from the side of it). The single bench seat is comfortable (I sat on it, it’s a 10 on the comfort level). It has all the shapes that I want—round and square—and is totally customizable when it comes to the fabric. It’s in the $3,500 to $5k range which is a lot. My one big fear is that if I spend that much on a sofa (sure, my dream sofa), that it will be knocked off in 2 years and I’ll wish I had just waited for the copycats to save money. Dark, but true.

Navy velvet sofa: The last one is from Lulu and Georgia and I do think that it’s a modern traditional sofa that fits in this house perfectly. There are some length constrictions (might not be long enough) and color restrictions (comes in a lot but might not be exactly what I want or have the flexibility at least). But it was a strong contender and $1,500 cheaper than Lawson Fenning.

Considering all of that, I went to go sit and see the Lawson Fenning sofa and in not so shocking news, I fell in love with it. So we started playing with colors…

Sofa Colors Updated

How would she look in my house? With the things that I already love?? Here are some options:

VERSION #1: A medium gray (with a hint of green in it) with vintage black leather chairs:

Living Room Moodboard Gray Black Chairs

OH SNAP (the G-rated version of my real thoughts). The chairs that I have currently I love for many reasons, but like love at first site unlike a comfortable relationship, when I saw these black leather ’70s weirdo chairs, my heart skipped, my breath sucked in and from what I read in my teen romance novels of yore, that’s a good indicator that I’ll love it for a long time. Or maybe not because I’m me and being me means a level of furniture fickle that annoys even, yes me. I could give back the original chairs to Midcenturyla or sell them here, and I have a decent credit towards the company that sells these new chairs so they aren’t a fortune for me and would make up the cost ($1,500 for the pair). At the same time, I’m worried about how shiny the black leather is and I’d likely have to refinish the legs which would cost likely $400 for both. RISKY BUSINESS.

So naturally, the next question is WHY NOT A PINK SOFA???

Living Room Moodboard Blush

I went fabric shopping on Saturday and brought home a bunch of options, with a rose linen as one of them. It looks soooo pretty and warms up the room so much, but it’s MAUVE and that concerns me long-term. If it were for a shoot or a client that was open to it, I would do/force this, but Brian looked at me with side-eyes and a “kinda grandma” comment and I’m also worried that in 2 years a mauve sofa is not what I will want. At the same time, I’ve always loved pink, it’s just the shade of pink that has changed. But look how good it looks with the fireplace???!!!!

Back to safety for a second:

Living Room Moodboard Denim Black Chairs

A light denim gray sofa (it’s bluer in person but not BLUE) with the vintage black chairs. I get my hit of blue (kinda) and yet these dope chairs that as forementioned do in fact make my heart skip that beat. HOWEVER, I haven’t seen them in person, sat on with my butt cheeks, or assessed how shiny that leather is, so I’m nervous. There are risks in buying vintage online. There are.

Next, denim sofa with vintage eclectic chairs:

Living Room Moodboard Denim Eclectic

Last week when I was planning this post, I was like, wait, why am I conforming to symmetry? I don’t believe in a perfectly designed room and never have, so let’s shake up those chairs!!

I remembered that I have this awesome vintage Børge Mogensen chair from the flea market that I can either live with as-is or refurbish/refinish/reupholster to make it the perfect color. And then I’ve ALWAYS loved these Adrian Pearsall UFO chairs that are huge and graphic in such a playful way. Why not correspond the fabric and create a room that is truly UNIQUE. One is more square and visually light, the other is low and round and grounded. They are meant for each other. Sure, there are some risks (they might not look that great in the room). The Adrian chair might be too big. The wheels might prove terribly annoying. The Børge chair might be uncomfortable. The investment in them might not be worth it. But if we reduced the stuff in the back as many of you want me to do then are two eclectic vintage chairs perhaps the most interesting choice? And if your answer is yes, then do I do that blue-ish denim sofa with them or the medium toned gray one? And if you are like Brian, you might not even notice the difference in their color (to quote him: “what the eff are you actually talking about?”…we’ll explain it to him later). Living with a designer who is a laid-back perfectionist is a real treat, I promise.

So what say you? Keep as-is? Medium gray sofa? Rose sofa? Denim blue sofa? Black leather chairs or the charcoal chairs we already have?

  1. I vote rose – it looks so pretty! And, hey, regardless of the colour you’ll probably end up changing it in a couple of years, so why play it too safe? 😉

    1. My thoughts exactly!!

    2. I agree! The rose color really warms up the room in a really lovely way and looks great with all the existing finishes.

    3. Shameless hijack here. How does such a gorgeous room kinda not work? I’m totally invested here. I think you are switching out the stuff in it, because something about the bones need tweaking. What if you buy white contact paper to temporarily wrap the beams (sans damage) so you can see if painting them really is the trick. Or, as others have suggested, what if you paint the room a really dark color?! It might fix the heaviness of the beams and messy look of the built ins. I also like the “try out doors on the builtins” idea.

      It will be fun to see you tinker with this. And while I like the couch tinkering, I don’t think the couch is the culprit

      1. Ha. I think we will do all of this in photoshop to test it out. dying to see if getting rid of the built-ins is the answer! but hell maybe it is the beams. I also just don’t want it to look like a new build …. but those plaster walls will always be there. And @sam that is exactly what Brian said …

        1. Have you ever thought of just painting the fireplace a dark color? It’s such a cool shape and it would really draw your eye. I know it’s a little crazy, but you have Photoshopping skills on staff and it would be cool to see how that looked!

        2. Another idea for that fireplace wall: Could you cover the shelves with doors, like salvaged, special doors, to make them look like built-in cabinets? That would still have character but it would be less busy. You’d have some concealed shelves for all your styling props and whatever kid toys/ AV equipment we all have floating around our living spaces.

          1. Ooooo! I like that idea!

        3. Keep. The. Beams. Your team has surely considered grounding the room with the basics, a gorgeous, warm colored carpet for fall and winter.

        4. Yes, Rose! It’s the soulmate of the fireplace. And if you recover it in a few years we’ll all be jazzed to see the next iteration. I know they aren’t as funky as they black leather but I am super into the charcoal chairs.

          I do think the built-ins are distracting, which as a plaster wall/book lover makes me feel as though I’ve betrayed myself.

        5. I LOVE the beams. I just think they need something to balance them out. The problem with this room is the visual clutter. There’s just too much going on and the eye doesn’t fall anywhere, it goes boing-boing-boing all over the place. To cut down on the visual overload, I would add doors to those built-ins. Maybe heavy, wood doors to tie in the beams and the other wood elements in the room. Something you’d find in Spain or Taos that looks as if it’s been there for 200 years. Or whatever. But yeah, wood doors of some sort.

        6. It’s definitely the beams for me, I can’t see past them. I actually tend to cover the top part of your photos to be more fair in the decor analysis, that’s how much I can’t see past them. Mean no disrespect and it could be very different in the room.

      2. Agree – something with the structure of the room that is tricky, as noted, and I wonder if the long room with furniture lined up on either side creates a tunnel effect that is kind of a feng shui no no….energy escapes instead of gathers. Beautiful room no matter what!

      3. As others have commented I agree there is a lot going with the beams and built-ins. But I think the issues though is the competing curves of the fireplace, ceiling and curved beam support details with the straight lines of the built ins. I wonder what it would be like if you could square off the fireplace all the way up to the ceiling and replaced the curved beam supports with something a bit sleeker or even a bit more industrial. I think it would reduce some of the visual noise and let the eye travel a bit further into the room and allow the built ins to feel a bit more balanced and intentional. Just a thought 🙂

        PS -totally vote for the pink sofa

    4. Same!! My heart skipped a beat. It’s so you, Emily, but also so unique. And I love the chairs in that setup so much more than the black leather.

    5. I would still love to see two sofas facing one another, get rid of the two heavy pieces near the fireplace wall, replace them with arm chairs flanking the fireplace and change out the art above the fireplace. Blockshop has beautiful beautiful rose colored block prints that would pair nice with the rose sofa (my vote). I think back to that Spanish style house you designed a while back with the two chesterfields.

    6. Wow. I love the look of the rose sofa, but am so “rosed out” at this point. It’s such a market- saturated color and says deco when Emily, your living room is not deco. I’m also not sure you want to draw out the bricks on the fireplace…seems like too much of a contrast in styles. So and so, we all have our voices!!

    7. Agree with Sam! My vote is for the rose, knowing you will likely change it up in a few years regardless of sofa you choose now. I also think it’d be nice to have a warm color in the room of neutrals/cool colors (I learned that from you 🙂 !).

      Also love the charcoal chairs way more than the black leather. Too much black when you think about the chair near your fireplace. The color + style doesn’t feel cohesive with the rest of the space. Perhaps if you reupholstered to a more fitting color when you refinish the legs? I would say go for it, if I didn’t already think the charcoal chairs were great as is.

      Hope these thoughts are helpful!

      1. I agree with Jody. I think this room calls for more symmetry than you usually do because it’s sooo big and so much space means everything makes it busy. That said, I do love the recent version the most. I think a post with a bunch of photoshopped ideas would be so fun!! Pretty please:)

    8. Black leather chairs. Hard yes!!
      Add a soft throw if you need to lighten them up, but my heart stopped for a moment when I saw them. Remind me of my years in NYC. So good.

  2. I love the current Article sofa, and each of the new sofa colors you picked. Although the current gray chairs and the black chairs you like are gorgeous, I think they are too modern for your room. If you do keep them, I would move the vintage trunk to another room. The vintage chairs are very cute! My favorite version of this room was the green couch with the blue rug and the abstract over the fireplace…so beautiful and warm, and the vintage trunk fit right in! I know you would rather be cool, but cool seems to be more like the Portland house. Although I can appreciate the Portland house, I haven’t been following your blog for years to look at pictures like the Portland house. Why don’t you try moving the cozy hang-out part of your room to the back, around the fireplace, so that you watch tv and snuggle up back there? Then you can play up that beautiful bay window, instead of putting a sofa in front of it.

    1. This sounds amazing! I think the TV / projector forces the hangout spot to stay where it is, but I would really love to see some other layouts… I know a ton of other layouts were debated originally, but we never got to see any of them actually tried

      1. we did so many layout options when we first were deciding what to do in here – https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/layout-new-living-room . honestly since we put a TV in our bedroom this week i’m like – do we need to have the projector in here still? We rarely have group movie nights, could do family movie nights in bed (did that on friday and it was WONDERFUL) and I wonder if there were a popup projector situation that we could bring in for those occassions? The kids mostly watch shows on an ipad anyway. Then orient it towards the fireplace and then do what with the back of the room? I don’t know, but if you take the tv situation out of the equation MAYBE we do just reorient the entire room. OH GEEZ sounds like brian henderson is about to have a REALLY fun saturday rearranging the living room … 🙂

        1. Emily, what about making the fireplace part of the room the smaller, cozier part? Put two comfy leather chairs facing the fireplace, with their back to a console table. On the other side the sofa, which will be facing you as you enter. The TV can go between the 2 entries. Don’t get rid of the unique features of this house, like the built ins and beams.

          1. I like this! It seems like a room that might like being two “rooms”, a fireplace comfy seating area (or lounging…a daybed?!) plus…well that’s where my ideas end.

            Did I miss a reference to the “pop of red” conundrum? It looks like you did not try it….yet!

            Maybe the rose sofa is the “I work all day with bright colors and many textures and socializing and need a break when I get home” version of pop of red.

          2. Agreed. What about two matching sofas back to back?

          3. So agree! Getting rid of the unique features seems like the wrong way to go!!

        2. Yes yes yes please try it!!

          And love the two seating areas idea too … this room is sooo long it seems and really craves some width.

        3. Just looked back at this post from before you moved in with different furniture arrangements. It’s helpful but all done in photoshop. What if you took a weekend or two and used actual furniture to try some of the other options? It seems you have plenty of sofas/chairs to test them all out. You could try each option and live with it for a few days to see how it actually feels. Lots of work for you and Brian, but I think it would answer some of these seemingly unanswerable layout questions. And would be fun and educational for your readers! Take pics of each one and then do some photoshopping for other details (like making bookcases taller, adding doors, plastering over them, etc)

          1. I agree with Molly and others here: creating a cozy area facing the fireplace and then a second more formal seating area with four chairs or two and a settee or something could really highlight the architecture and make the room simpler but more proportional. I also love the pink sofa with the blue chairs, because it is WARM and CALM with less contrast. After the previous post I kept thinking about the mix of styles: maybe there’s just one too many, contemporary, mid- century, and antique are a lot to combine. What if you tried removing one of those eras from the room? I hate to suggest it because I like it too, but while you are experimenting, try removing the mid-century, keep the new/contemporary and the antique. It could unify the architecture and the decor. This is a fascinating dilemma. And as great as Photoshop is, I am a furniture mover around-er, sometimes there’s just no substitute for seeing, feeling and sitting on the furniture in different locations for a day or two, to really get it right.

        4. The projector is the first thing I noticed.

        5. I literally couldn’t sleep last night because I was up trying to figure out why this beautiful room with beautiful styling has never quite reached its sweet spot! I think it has a lot to do with its size and layout. If you keep the current layout, I suggest actually trying a much bigger sofa to fill the room more and not need the credenzas in the back. I’m picturing Restoration Hardware sofas, because I’ve seen ads of theirs with huge furniture in huge spaces. I don’t think that style would likely work with your style, but those sofa options might provide some inspiration. And while I adore your coffee table, I think a much bigger coffee table could also help.

          Thanks for letting us be along on the ride! Everything you do is gorgeous!

        6. I’m about to buy a Nebula projector for our living room – totally portable and wireless with speakers built in.

    2. Oh my gosh! Yes! Would love to see this set up. That fireplace should steal the show but it just gets so lost in the room.

      1. I also thought of the “two rooms” idea when I looked at the current LR. In the mockup you had before you moved in, the photoshopped sofas were heavy set. If you go for a lighter feel (lighter furniture), but still do a fireplace “room” and then the second room anchored by the french windows, then it might break the long tunnel effect of the room and give different focal points. Just a thought.

    3. “Although I can appreciate the Portland house, I haven’t been following your blog for years to look at pictures like the Portland house.” YESSS. And I love all the subcomments about what is possible when you don’t have to work around the projector screen any more. I really feel like that change could get this room unstuck with truly new and better options, rather than endlessly trying new furniture shapes in the same furniture spots.

  3. That rose sofa makes everything else in the room sing- it has my vote 100%!

    1. Yes! I love the wood tones and brick with the rose, and those Midcentryla chairs are perfect.

    2. Totally agree!

  4. Rose sofa and like many said yesterday, maybe de-clutter the back of the room a bit. If you removed the furniture from back there or at least a few pieces and dry wall or plaster over the shelves, then you could do one of those cool gallery walls like your inspo photos somewhere in the room. I have always loved this room, but in every photo, there is a lot going on.

  5. The mauve sofa all the way! It totally balances out all the cool grays and ties in nicely with the red brick in the fireplace!

  6. Lulu & Georgia have a blush pink sectional here: ALAINA VELVET SECTIONAL, ROSE and their Maxwell pink velvet sofa is stunning. Both are 95/96 inches.
    With kids you might shun the fabric but it’s surprisingly easy to clean and the pink/rose color is perfect with your existing arm chairs and coffee table.

    1. OOH i’ll check it out!

  7. The Rose is stunning. I don’t think it’s old lady at all. The sleekness of the sofa really balances it perfectly

  8. Love the rose!! Maybe with the vintage eclectic chairs instead?

  9. I LOVE the mixed chairs and that Lawson Fenning sofa is perfection in any color.

  10. I, as a reader want to see you work that rose one! In my living room, I would probably go with the grey or denim grey but what are you here for Emily but to inspire us. (Let’s be honest, you will probably want to change the room in 2years anyway and then you will find a new way to repurpose the rose couch.) You’re the best! Can’t wait to see what you do!

    1. “You will probably want to change the room in 2 years anyway…”

      Lol! I think she’s averaging a new sofa every 6 months!

  11. I love the sofa you already have together with the vintage eclectic chairs you suggested last. Also I second the “less stuff in the background” vote. 🙂

  12. The rose sofa 100%! It ties all the warm tones in the room together.
    With the Lawson & Fenning sofa I think you would need to replace the chairs with something less modular. They look too modern together.

  13. That last sofa is so beautiful, the curve echoes the arch on the fireplace. I’m in love with the green option, but I know that’s not your usual palette.

    I’m not sure any of the chair options are right for the room. Chairs are my favorites thing to dream purchase, so I’d keep looking.

  14. I hesitated with the pink sofa, I’ve got to be honest. But when I read about how it draws out the fireplace— I was sold!!
    Otherwise, I’d go denim gray… because medium grey feels too safe.
    Also, I like the symmetry in the middle of your space because the fireplace end is so asymmetrical. I worry with three different chairs in the room, I will start to feel like a furniture showroom and not a family hang out spot.
    Finally, if everyone wants to sit the the existing chairs and you worry the black Leather is too shiny I would stick with the existing chairs.

    1. Agree 100%. With in matching chairs, I think the whole room layout would need to be reconsidered.

      1. Oops. That was supposed to be withOUT.

  15. The rose! The rose! The rose! Then, if you keep the current chairs, and save that part of the budget, if you replace the couch in 3 years it seems like a wash 😀

  16. I think you need to be true to yourself and go with the navy blue Lawson Fenning! It’s a statement color and a neutral at the same time, but totally you and timeless.

  17. Rose sofa. I think Brian has to make room for your creativity and expertise.

  18. The rose looks SO good with the brick fireplace…love that! The shiny leather is A LOT but maybe in those pictures the light is more direct and bright than in your house. They also have the “weird” factor that is the EHD signature 🙂 To me, the Børge Mogensen chair looks a little too similar to the incredible ubiquitous IKEA Poang chair at first glance.

  19. I like the rose sofa. Unexpected and makes everything else you have look even better.

  20. Me, too. I l vote for the rose sofa. But maybe I just like the color, I don’t think the style is as important as the color and the comfort! I think the warm color is so inviting in your room and it seems you are excited about it. I just purchased a sofa last week and instead of getting the nice, safe, neutral one that I planned on, I unexpectedly found a beautiful teal blue -in the same store- that looks like velvet but is a synthetic. I was nervous about how it would look so the designer at the store told me they would exchange it for the neutral if I didn’t like it (and they have a ton of neutral sofas)! That is great customer service from an old family owned store that has clients around the country. Fortunately, I love it and am so glad that I took a chance and went with the one I loved that makes more of a statement but is very comfortable and kid friendly.

  21. Keep as is. The new sofas do not appear comfortable or hold many people. The current sofa looks like the whole family could sit together if they wanted. Also, the chaise is a nice comfort.

  22. I love the rose color. I’m thinking of Jenna Lyon’s apartment with her coral velvet enormous sofa. I can see that vibe in your living room with an extra large sofa with multiple chaise sections. Also, I think the wood beams should be white. Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  23. I feel like this room needs a mauve sofa. I feel like the element missing to tie in old world and mid century is pops of the old timey colors and busy patterns.

  24. I love your current grey chairs with the pink or dark green Lawson Fencing. I think the thing holding this back is the clutter of furniture, lamps, and shelves on both sides of the fireplace. Could you go way more minimal with the shelf styling? All covered books or books turned backward and remove the credenzas for just art or something more minimal? The rooms you love from your last house and your inspos is very minimal with more wall art and less object art. I am excited to see whatever you choose!!!!

  25. I think the last board is the clear winner. It looks like there are a lot of votes for rose, but you always seem to gravitate to color tones in upholstery. I am not sure about two of those black leather chairs, but maybe one if you are giving up on symmetry.

    I also strongly disagree with losing the built-in bookcases. I would love to have that kind of architectural element in my home. What if you painted the back of the bookcase black and/or replaced the white shelves with natural wood shelves and made it more of a statement in the room? You have an AMAZING collection of sculptural objects and vintage finds that make that space uniquely yours.

    1. I would add to your suggestion about the bookcases that replacing the shelves with ones that have “heft”, at least 2″ on the front face, would make them look more purposeful and architectural.

  26. Rose sofa 100%. Also, as many have said, I’d remove the credenzas in the back – especially the taller one lighter one. I actually think the bookcases are fine, but all the furniture back there is visually distracting AND blocking a good bit of the bookcases. Usually I don’t recommend turning the books around, but in this case I think it might calm everything down. Also, it look fantastic when you did it for (I think?) Halloween one year.

  27. I do love the denim blue sofa option, but I feel conflicted about the chairs. I love the black, but the eclectic mix of chairs seems to really work. Tough choice.

  28. Light denim grey (with hint of blue) or medium grey. I’m leaning to liking the medium grey one better but I’m not sure. DEFINITELY voting on those super cool super swanky black leather chairs. They have the coolest vibe!! Keeping the grey chairs you have now would be too matchy matchy in my opinion if you got the grey couch. (Just a thought though… I really love your couch you have right now in the room with those grey chairs).
    The rose color couch is pretty but it’s a wild card and even though you might love it now you may grow tired of it and long for something more neutral.
    Those are my two cents! I love your style and your vibe. You inspire me all the time. I copy you a lot.

  29. The one you have, your living is sooo beutiful, or Amber Interiors beige modern sofa.

  30. That awesome gallery wall made me think that I would LOVE to see a post with advice for those of us who are interested in building a cohesive art collection.

  31. The rose sofa immediately makes everything look perfectly tied together

  32. I’d love to see you try out a different furniture layout, rather than constantly switching up the pieces but putting them in the same place. It seems from photos that this room is MADE for a back-to-back sofa layout, so you have one smaller seating area facing the entry and then a larger one facing the fireplace. I’d love to see this! It would also be an opportunity to use a showstopper of a piece, a la: https://www.rogerandchris.com/product/366/janus-dual-sided-chesterfield

    1. I agree with the layout being the main issue. Changing the furniture pieces again within the same layout is not going to solve it.

    2. OOo yes

    3. I’ve been commenting this forever but I think there must be a reason she doesn’t want to do it. Would love to know 🙂

    4. i believe Emily has previously said they have the chairs where they are because of the doors to the back patio behind them

  33. Love the rose sofa for that room!

  34. I don’t know why this particular post got to me but I have to say that it makes me really sad that you ditched the Cisco Bros sofa so quickly, especially since I am sure it’s current replacement is not nearly close to it in quality. I actually purchased the Maxwell from Interior Define after seeing you praise it repeatedly on Instagram and… you get what you pay for. I think it would be really beneficial to not gloss over the differences in construction and quality that create the price differences. I have a sofa purchased through Crate and Barrel and produced by McCreary (at least one step down quality wise from Cisco) and it is light years more comfortable, it looks better even though it is 5 years older, and the price difference was not huge. So really, spending $1500 more upfront to have the sofa you really love is, to me, cheaper in the long run. “Buy the best and you’ll only cry once” and all that.

    1. The Cisco sofas are my dream aspirational sofas.


  36. I think I just said yes out loud when the rose sofa popped up. It FITS. And to chime in–unless you need the credenzas back there for storage, they do weight the back a lot and I would get them out of there. Let the shelves be the star and maybe a chair that has some lightness to it. Someone also said raise them up and when I studied the photo I thought–YUP–they would look better taller. Don’t know if that’s possible or not, but a thought!

  37. Rose sofa and perfect chairs. I think with that level of interest in the seating area you don’t even have to declutter the shelves quite so much. Everything will balance, with warmth.

    As someone who IS old enough to be a grandma, pink is not us. We’re still all holding onto our peanut-colored Pottery Barn rolled arms.

    1. This room is just so beautiful…What I’d do to come over and style it! Never commented on blogs but had to concur with a few on here regarding beams et al. While they make the room, the color is too heavy. I would suggest lightening them so they don’t compete with everything in the room. Also, the brick on FP needs to be painted out. Everyone knows my obsession with white, as seen in my store and how I style it, but I am also loving and recommending a plaster looking white washed finish on walls that gives them subtle texture and arent solid white. Did this on my second store. This would work wonderfully in this room and would include FP. The built-in shelving? I’d get rid of all shelves here, save one on each built-in. Lean a painting on each and FP is now focal point. (Take down painting over fireplace and move out the chests). Definitely would layout sofas facing FP and let those beautiful windows shine! And I may be in the minority but I’d stick with a classic, timeless sofa. Good luck with your beautiful home!

  38. The rose! The gray and blue are a little too safe and don’t sing the way the rose does.

  39. This was very entertaining – love to follow your process! Thank you for sharing. I agree that if you’re going to buy the LF sofa, the rose one is the way to go. BUT, since you’re asking, if it was my room, I wouldn’t commit to a sofa change until I tried out some of the many suggestions yesterday. If you give the room some breathing room at the fireplace end, and/or address the bookshelves, and it improves the room in your opinion, you might not feel the need for a new sofa or new chairs. IMHO what works in the Mountain House and the Portland House was the space and simplicity of the furnishings. Maybe that is what you’re missing in this house.

  40. Denim! Like a great pair of jeans you can always dress it up or down. You will get the most longevity out of that sofa, particularly for the money. Either the v. cool black chairs or the mismatched pair. Can’t wait wait to see the next iteration of this room! (Also , I loved the commenters suggestion from yesterday to put some doors on the bottom of the bookshelves and perhaps leave a large niche up top.)

  41. PINK! Get weird with it. It looks fantastic!

  42. That Lawson Fenning is stunning! I also like the curved Anthropologie and the Modshop oneS. Pink in all!

  43. The rose for sure. The others make the room feel more one-note; beautifully texturally, but not enough difference between the pieces.

  44. I think you should look into buying a Herman Miller “Chicklet” Sofa. This is my DREAM sofa, and a know a guy in SLC who is going to sell me his for ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS! which I will then recover in large scale, B&W buffalo check. I think a very cool chicklet sofa is the way to go for you!


    1. Oh wow, that sofa is amazing.

      1. Right??? I am going to ask around on reddit if anyone has one and if it is comfortable. I just love the bold structure lines of it so much, that i may be willing to give up a lot of comfort – especially in a formal living room without a TV.

  45. Ok, I LOATHE that Lawson Fenning sofa *insert cry-laugh emoji*. I think it looks like a cartoon camel. Something about how close set the legs are?? I don’t know – taste is so personal and it certainly doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. I’ve liked every other sofa you’ve ever had! And, I get that you really want to push it and choose something that surprises and delights and inspires, rather than creating a period set.

    But, if you must have it (the camel), I think a classic, deep navy or green might help it live in the style of the home more seamlessly? And I think any of the chair choices would work well if you deepened the color palette! I’m partial to a pair of chairs over two individual ones, unless you want to scale back art and accessories – the chairs sort of become sculpture!

    1. I really agree. It looks very cheap for something that will end up being expensive. And yet, not weird enough for what you are trying to get to in this room.

  46. rose sofa with black leather chairs 😃

  47. I like the rose for that room! It would look so good with the fireplace and it’s different in a good way.

  48. ROSE! oh my gosh it warms it up so much and everything else looks bland in comparison. The rose does tie in to the fireplace so well and it still allows for other accent colors, like your blue cabinet by the piano. And I love it with your current chairs. The current chairs are way better than the black leather – the leather and the wood look too shiny and cheap. Which is the last thing you want when they def are not cheap.

  49. I think you should go for the mauve! This room needs some warmth and some contrast with the rug. I also think YOU need something besides a regular gray sectional that half of america has. The mauve is a beautiful tone and makes a lot of sense. I don’t 100% love that particular sofa but I could be convinced. Another thought I had was, what about a pair of sofas? It would give you the seating you need while being visually cleaner and simpler.

  50. I love so much about this room and the pieces you have collected. I was just curious if you might try two sofas to add some symmetry ( sometimes that can simplify a space)? Also, have you ever tried anything with rounder edges above the fireplace or do the straight edges of the art compliment the fireplace’s curves better?

  51. I agree with Erin thoughts – the current sofa and chairs are too modern for this wonderful room. Its a style that you’ve done and doesn’t highlight the best features of your lovely Tudor house. I think the Interior Define Maxwell Sectional would be great, and do that in the pink! I think that sectional nods to the style of the home, but a fun color modernizes it. Then you can go more modern with the chairs. (But don’t do black leather! 🙁
    Please, please don’t paint the beams! I recall all the thought and effort that went into their current look, and they are so good! Keep the built-ins, please! (But bringing them higher could look great). I’d like to see something more interesting in a rug.
    While your old house was great for some of these current choices, I think this house lends itself to more vintage/character. The sleek simple, greys with hits of black are at the Mountain House. Let the Tutor show a little more of your granny-style 😉

    1. Rose with your current chairs would be glorious!

      1. Oops, this was not meant to be a reply 🙂

  52. I had forgotten about that antique cabinet by the Windsor chair when I read the post yesterday. That is a lot blocky case pieces in one room — two sideboards, that cabinet, a trunk and a piano (reads similarly) — so I’m leaning toward one of the curvier couch options. I think something tufted on legs would also work well. It would add softness and contrast with the bold lines of the side chairs (which I love) but not be too traditional.

    I’m really liking the direction of the room, so I was surprised that none of these couch options really spoke to me. I think the pink couch is probably the best choice — I think the room needs a mid-toned warm color, but I think I’m getting stuck on the room layout.

    A curved couch would echo the bay window, but I think that will make it feel further from the opposite chairs, emphasize the bowling alley feeling down the center of this long room. I know the TV is important to the way the room functions, so I’d just think about ways to add horizontal elements.

    Sidebar: PLEASE do not paint the beams or close in the shelves. I’m afraid to read the comments these days, since someone is always suggesting this. That might make it easier to decorate, but it also makes the room more “normal.” It’s also helpful for us to see how you work with challenging architecture.

  53. Another vote for the rose/pink! It ties everything in together so nicely. Like others have said, you will definitely be changing the room in a few years anyways so might as well go for it! You also have the current sectional that you can store and switch in if needed for any shoots. I do love the back to back sofa idea that Jennifer posted – a new layout could help? In any iteration, the room is beautiful1

  54. The pink looks so good. And then mix up chairs.

  55. I’d love to see the layout change so that the sofa is across from the fireplace. In pictures, the angle of the sofa and chairs funnels the eye back toward the already busy bookshelves. It’s like an optical illusion that no combination of furniture is going to overcome (at least for the reader). The rose sofa across from the fireplace would look great, and you can recoup the storage with an extra long piece of furniture behind the sofa.

    1. Agree. This would create more of a conversation circle if sofa faces fireplace and 2 chairs face the sofa, flanking the fireplace. I think it would also help the room look less long and narrow and just make more sense. I like the sofa you propose – and I surprisingly like it in rose (even though I am apparently invested in your staying with blue because it is hard for me to admit I like the rose). But I liked the modshop one or the amber interiors even better.

      How about if you go with the rose sofa and current chairs in the new arrangement, keep blue accents in the room and then paint your kitchen island in an Emily blue so the rooms flow together. Yes, now I am bringing the kitchen into the mix…

  56. Rose all the way!

  57. I love the rose sofa and agree with the comments you will probably switch it up or repurpose it in a few years. So if you want something to keep stick with the article sectional. It’s so neutral and has a lot of the feel from the living room you loved at your other house. I love the line of the black chairs but I wish they looked felt warmer maybe camel leather. You have great hits of black throughout the room already the black would be to heavy IMO. I adore your style and willingness to take risks!!!

  58. Rose. Sofa. PERFECT.

  59. Oh, haha, I HAD a mauve sofa—in the 80s/90s and in Florida!—but it was fabulous! Absolutely, get the mauve sofa. You know you won’t have it more than a couple of years so why not??

  60. I would love for you to try on the wedding dress you can’t afford. Then snap a few photos and share the eye candy with the rest of us. It’s going to be difficult for me to love any other couch– in your home, in my own, or anybody else’s– for the rest of my life, after seeing that one.

  61. Another vote for the mauve option!

  62. Version 1…..I’ve been waiting for you to head back in this direction!!

  63. Those black vintage chairs are THE BEST!!!
    Now of they would only ship to Iceland 😀

  64. Rose, because I love the chairs you already have and how it works with the fireplace brick.

  65. The broad curve of the arm on the Lawson Fenning sofa is reading more Moderne than Modern to me. Especially in mauve….with the grey chairs, a classic Art Deco combination.

  66. Denim blue sofa would be my choice. It tones down the otherwise busy room, plus denim is probably more durable with small children. I would not pair the sofa with the black leather chairs, they’re too modern in my book. Do you still have the pair of brown leather chairs you’ve had in your old house? They would match perfectly.

  67. Pink! Inspired by your Atlanta project, I recently painted a bookshelf in band-aid pink and layered royal blue and black decor. Looked so weird in the paint can, but wonderfully neutral and modern once it was finished.

  68. I personally don’t like this sofa. I think the Modshop option is much better for the room!

  69. Rose pink for the win. And yes, declutter. That room is beautiful but busy. You’re awesome. 🙂

  70. I guess you sort of have to keep changing everything up, because that’s what you do. I like the Lawson Fenning sofa, but I like the sofa you have. What if you were to set 1 or 2 budgets for yourself to work within, and see what you could come up with that would change the look of the room but still be functional and comfortable? And to go back to the back of the room, maybe changing that will be enough. I would hate to take out the built-ins, but if they had doors on them to preserve storage, it would simplify the room, visually. Maybe play around with the “less is more” philosophy and see what can happen? And I would also hate to paint the beams, although they are just floating there. I picture paneling beneath, in the same color or a dark color, to give the traditional look, and then you can go more modern with the furnishings? (You have plenty of light in the room.) I see that paneling with modern furniture in a lot of the inspiration images you publish. I think what I’m saying is maybe there’s too much emphasis on styling and not enough on the design and structure of the room. The fireplace is also getting lost when it actually has a cool shape. Simplify to a few impactful shapes before filling the room with furniture and other items? As far as the chairs, the black ones look cool but I always opt for a chair with arms that my arms can reach, to rest on. For architectural design and simplicity, I like to look at Dwell. For imagination and taking my mind out of the comfort zone, Kelly Wearstler. Thanks for asking! So fun to look at your process.

  71. I kind of just want OG Emily even though this is a traditional house. To me, that means go for the DARK BLUE Lawson Fenning sofa!

  72. I thought for your love of blue you’d choose one of the blue fabrics and I think it’d look good with your current chairs. Why not bring in the rose/terracota colors of your fireplace through accessories and pillows? I also LOVE Arlyn’s couch and think it would fit your space really well… I tried to get my husband to get a similar velvet color for our front living, but he wouldn’t go for it.

    Just read other comments, totally agree about closing up the built-ins. It’s too much clutter at the end of the room where your eye goes. Maybe double sofas that face each other, close off the built in’s and have a little reading nook in the corner?

  73. Just going to say it, I absolutely think the Lawson Fenning sofa is awful. Doesn’t even remotely fit into this room. At all! Nor the style of home you live in. Sorry, I guess I am in a feisty mood today.

    So this begs the question, at least in my mind, when someone has modern taste/style, why would you buy such a traditional home? I’m seriously curious. I would never buy a modern home. Just isn’t my style. I probably lean more traditional, with some funky pieces thrown in the mix. I cannot imagine having a more modern aesthetic, and buying something traditional. I loved your last house, even if it was a little too modern for my taste. But everything within it, fit the modern space. Seems like you may be trying to fit a round object, into a square hole so to speak.

    Really, I am super curious about this. Promise I am not trying to be judgy, even if may come across as judgy. I have a friend who also leans modern, and bought a house close to me. I very traditional house, in an area full of traditional homes. I am dying to see how it plays out.

    I would keep the sofa you currently have in the space personally. Make some other changes to the room, like removing some of the furniture, and stuff by the bookshelves, and let those puppies shine. If you do decide to buy a new sofa, make sure it is THE one. So you don’t have to agonize again over making a wrong decision. Wondering what Brian’s thoughts are on the sofa?

    1. Just to second this – I think the rose sofa is so ugly. It’s also the ultimate kid-unfriendly sofa, with all these little pillows that will be flying away all the time. And, to me, it looks kind of small.

      I believe that the sofa you have, though not the one to keep, points to the right direction. Your sofa is the main thing one sees, and has the job of bringing this room to today. That’s why the latest design looks real and inviting and current, and all the other ones were lacking. You need a very modern sofa, not one that marries tudor and midcentury. You’ll do this marriage elsewhere. But the sofa needs to be a surprise, something you don’t expect to see near this fireplace, but somehow works.

  74. Rose sofa – you definitely need some color and I think it’s the perfect color at that!

  75. If you go to Heidi Caillier’s Instagram, you will see that exact couch in the rose color in a room. It’s very beautiful.


    1. I think you should look at heidi’s page. I think her overall esthetic is the exact look this room needs.

  76. The rose made my heart stop! Do it!

  77. I can’t believe how many comments you’ve gotten on the last two posts! Haha!

    Keep the sectional, buy the black leather chairs, fill the bookcases with books, put a large comfortable chair or chaise to the left of the fireplace, and a big tree (I think a dark green Rubber tree is graphic and modern!) to the right.

    This iteration is by far my favorite, I LOVE the rug, and for the love of God do not paint your beams.

    Daniel at a Manhattan Nest is brilliant at filling traditional old spaces (Greek Revival, in his case) with modern furniture in a way that feels really authentic and interesting. His projects might hold some inspiration for you?

  78. A list of suggestions:
    – switch the sconces to get more height on the fireplace wall (horizontal ones on the side walls, double bulb w/shade where they used to be above the built ins)

    – increase the height of art above your fireplace, there’s so much white open space between the heavy beams (WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT PAINT) and the rest of the furniture
    – lighten up the back corners: pick one corner to have a cabinet, one to have the hand chair or a cozy reading chaise (Bc that seafoam chaise is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen)
    – if you keep the fringe chaise, upholster in a cool but minimalistic pattern that gets you more “weird” in your house Bc you like that
    – get the Lawson Fenning sofa (In rose for sure) and place it in front of the bay window with a small table on one side of the sofa and a slightly larger side table on the other (maybe bring in a cool woven Or leather one to go with the woven and leather Sideboard)
    – switch the standing lamp to a more streamlined one (Maybe one vase but with multiple bulbs like the articulating ones you like) and put it on the other side of the sofa (not near the fireplace)
    – go with mismatched chairs, and maybe angle them on a slight diagonal, and place a light colored table in between
    – go darker on the rug to ground the space more
    – take off a couple of accessories, you like styling but you want minimalism and that’s not being conveyed with how much stuff you have on every flat surface
    – Consider adding another sofa or day bed/fainting couch facing the bay window and moving the chairs to directly face the fireplace from the head of the room

    I had a lot of thoughts over the past two days and this comment is the result!! Have fun!!

  79. Yes to the rose sofa! I’d love to see the iteration of that, along with decluttering the fireplace area and changing out the fireplace art. Blockshop has some beautiful block prints with rose color in them too!

  80. I vote for the awesome 70s black leather chairs and either the medium grey or navy sofa with it. It’s timeless, classic, comfortable, low seated, and kid friendly!

  81. I vote for the awesome 70s black leather chairs and either the medium grey or navy sofa with it. It’s timeless, classic, comfortable, low seated, and kid friendly! The rose sofa is oh so #ontrend and pretty, but in 3 years…? I’m already feeling meh about my Rose velvet chairs.

  82. I will dissent from the majority and vote for a dark gray or navy sofa. The rose will look washed out in the room. A dark sofa will create some balance.

    I do agree with the suggestion to Photoshop the beams white. There are too many styles going on in the room right now—along with the midcentury and Tudor, you’ve got the fireplace that looks almost Spanish or southwestern. Painting the beams white would reduce the stylistic conflict and also make the room less busy visually.

    1. Totally agree! I think rose is kinda the wrong way to go….

  83. Vote for rose, no fringe, clean lines. Agree with readers from yesterday to reduce items in room. It will be beautiful and eclectic. Also, when you look at the first picture of existing room in this post…I think you could get rid of sconces or lights above shelves. You see two sets of light fixtures and seems busy.

  84. Re the busy-ness of the room – specifically in the back right corner, what if you changed the gallery wall to one major art piece? I think that would fix the issue of that part of the room being too visually heavy. I also agree with some of the other readers in that the sofa is not the issue (although I looooove the Lawson-Fanning!). The sofa just isn’t a focal point which is actually kind of a relief. There’s already so much to look at. I also agree that the beams seem to be too much for the room (at least on my screen). I would paint them white – this house will never look like a new build. Because it isn’t : ) And there are so many details which are obviously unique to this house. Either way, this is my favorite incarnation of the room!

  85. Thomasville has a tufted sofa that is 100″ long, I forget the name, maybe Elle? I have it in teal velvet, was around $3K.

  86. 100% the rose sofa + a vote for custom doors on the built-ins. The gorgeous shape of the fireplace leads your eye to the back of the room and straight up to the high ceilings, but the open shelving flanking it seems unfinished in comparison. There is no contrast between the shelves and the interesting furniture pieces in front of them. I pulled the main image of your living room from this post and did a super fast Photoshop job covering the built-ins with the color of your walls and breathed a sigh of relief. Something far better than my hack job could be done, but it might help get you started! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1a5JZuMhMfzF65o9WvzOTXjAL5CoGEEZF/view?usp=sharing

    1. Wow! You are right. Room makes way more sense with fireplace as focal and no bookcases.

    2. Wow! You are right!

  87. Rose sofa would look lovely but will age out faster than other colors. Please do NOT paint your beams or get rid of your bookshelves. They add so much character and personality to your house! Maybe declutter a bit over there or do a more defined space that doesn’t compete with your seating space.

  88. Your living is gorgeous! I love the beams, bookcases, and fireplace. To me, the fireplace is the star of this room and not the sofa. If it was my room, I would probably remove the sideboards/buffet near the bookcases. They just distract and add to the business of that corner. Let the bookcases breath on their own without a chair right in front of it!

  89. Yes rose sofa! Loved everything about that look!


    Hold on a minute, I’m recovering from my swoon.

    YES to those black chairs. A thousand times yes, if you want hearts a’ pittypat lingo. Make the shine work. Shine can be good. Sofa schmofa, with those chairs who looks at the sofa?

  91. Well the room is beautiful and you are amazing so you can’t go wrong!! But I agree with the rose sofa choice and the charcoal chairs. I do always love some black in a room – but love the charcoal chairs for some reason. I also LOVE the beams the wood tone for the warmth and character in such a large room – I do think the more saturated color sofa will help ground things against all the white. Can’t wait to see the end result – and you are so sweet to even solicit other opinions!

  92. I love the medium grey and symmetrical black leather chairs. Those chairs are SO INTERESTING. and the fact that you can get a pair of them??!!?! welllllll…..it’s a no brainer to me. Thank you for sharing your thought process in such an organized way. I love reading this blog!

  93. Omg…do the mauve!!!! I love it! Annnndddd…the walls in that room are BEGGING for color!!! I miss funky risk taking Emily!

  94. Who are you kidding that you’re not going to switch out your sofa in 2 years? Get the mauve one!

    1. My thoughts exactly! I also vote go for the rose/mauve/pink whatever we are calling that. I was surprised you mentioned what if you move and the expensive sofa doesn’t work in the new house, I figured as a home stylist your goal would be selling this house furnished/styled.

  95. I’m sorry, did you continue talking after you showed me the chair sofa by Interior Define? That was the perfect blend of cool and traditional.

    You do you. I found my dream sofa.

  96. I’m going to go against the popular choice here and say avoid the rose sofa at all costs!
    It’s a very trendy color and I think you’ll get sick of it quickly. Rose/Mauve has been around for some time now and it’s 15 minutes are up.
    Also, the sofa profile looks somewhat down-market. Step it up and go for a contrast-y classic black sofa, maybe in leather. Also, your rug is a little one-note and this is where you could use some cool pattern or color.
    Paint the fireplace in a charcoal shade, sandblast the beams to a pale, natural wood tone.
    Maybe change the bookcase shelves out to a natural wood to reiterate the beams.
    A tall, branchy, asymmetrical tree would look great somewhere in this room.

  97. OMG GET THOSE BLACK SHINY LEATHER CHAIRS!!! They are amazing and special and totally worth the money! Also I love the Amber Interiors sofa. Get that too. I think you don’t need to worry so much about “honoring the traditional lines of the house” or whatever blah blah blah. It’s crippling your creativity and distorting your eye. Just paint out those beams and start picking pieces that speak to you and work for your needs. It will all work out!

  98. I vote rose, too. I came into my marriage with a pink sofa and, I dare say, I think it’s grown on my husband. And might I add that it’s comforting to see that even the great Emily Henderson and Team have these kind of decorating hang-ups like the rest of us mere mortals do? Thanks for letting us see that we’re not alone and that this stuff takes work — even for the pros.

  99. Why not put doors on the built ins next to the fire place? White wood framed ones with seeded glass would calm the area down and you could still have the storage.

  100. I think I’ve commented before about how much I appreciate how candid you are about not being sure sometimes, and having things not work out. It’s very reassuring! Because I drive myself crazy doing stuff like this, but at least I know the pros do it too. Ha.

    This is my favorite version of this room, so far. Love the rug. Love the sofa. I think the juxtaposition of styles works.

    I agree with the comments about the busy-ness of the back of the room. I think the best suggestions are for all books on the shelves (I would love to at least see this version!) and to lose the credenza on the right. I can’t wait to see where you land.

    All this said, if you paint the beams I will legit cry.

  101. I would love to know where the drapery hardware is from! I am currently in the market for similar French return rods, but I could not find the info on any of the prior living room posts. Love the window treatments in this room <3

  102. Those black leather chairs are not working for me. Love the vintage ones you just got, they should stay!

  103. Don’t care for any of them but I’m more traditional. Backs are too low. But then we like recliners.

  104. I am Team Brian- the pink couch is like bad 80s Grandma and I also don’t like the matchy with with brick- don’t get why you’d want to draw out the brick part of the feature at all.

  105. Sort of random, but I’ve been looking for a new sofa too and stumbled apon this brand that makes entirely custom sofas here in Seattle. I saw this one (they have some suggested styles that are fully customizable or you make your own I think) and thought of your living room: https://www.couchseattle.com/chord It’s got a great curved back which can be really special and/ or fit really nicely with your windows. Thought I would pass their site along- I am in no way affiliated with them, so can’t vouch for quality or anything, just found them on the web today! Xo

  106. I would vote for the rose sofa with the current chairs. I had kind of the opposite reaction to the black leather chairs. . .too shiny! Would love to see some blue pulled in with pillows too.

    For me, the biggest issue is still too much stuff in the back by the fireplace. Yesterday I was on board with closing up the bookshelves, but now I agree with others that you should leave the shelves but remove the dresser and console table by the fireplace. Like someone else said, put a big comfy chair on one side of the fireplace and a big plant on the other. I don’t think you need all that furniture back there, especially with the piece near the piano at the front of the room. I think less is more in this room. Just my two cents!

  107. I vote to keep the original!

    1. Why don’t you try two different style sofas? Amber Lewis has done that before in rooms like yours and it looks very cool but also streamlined/not fussy.

  108. PS The built-ins just need to marry the beams, frame them out, add matching shelves, add a wood mantle, that will anchor the beams, and make sense. Originally the doors were likely the same wood, which would have been way too busy.

    Painting those beams white, is kind of forever, as your ceiling will be if you paint it white.

  109. Black leather chairs so dreamy!! The room needs some Emily funk

  110. in LOVE with the black leather chairs!!!!! I think they’d give a lot of interest to a room which to me has always been a little boring (sorry).

  111. What if you painted your walls penthouse from Clare paint? I feel like your walls are too white. It would still be neutral and you could add more pops of color when you feel like it. Sometimes I like white walls but for some reason I don’t in this space. I like moody colors too, but I’m not sure they would flow with the rest of the house

  112. My grandmother had a pink 3 piece sectional so … I’m with Brian on this one. Sorry! I would tire very quickly of a pink anything.

  113. Team Mauve (rose) all the way!

  114. I’m in the camp of coordinating with the style f the home. I also think a buttery leather sofa would warm the space.

  115. OMG THOSE BLACK CHAIRS!! I’ve never seen anything like those before, I’d snatch them up in a heartbeat!

  116. I like the idea of the rose colored sofa but the Lawson Fenning feels heavy to me in a room that already feels overcrowded. I love the simplicity of the Modshop sofa. I also like the green, which would add a little old Hollywood style glam and may be a nice balance to the beams and the fireplace brick.

    Thanks for asking our opinions.

  117. I hate pink but LOVE mauve. Its the perfect marriage of brown and pink in my opinion. I love love those black leather chairs. I feel like they are meant to be in there. I love mixing traditional modern and mid century and I love things and minimalism. I feel like some form of a black leather chair would be amazing if not those. and I love the mauve sofa if you’re ok with it being probably a shorter term investment. One way would be a slipcovered sofa or making sure you go with a design you love and then just paying for it to be reupholstered down the road when you fall out of love. But I feel like you never stick with a sofa for long term anyway. I would totally do mauve sofa and those rad leather chairs. Then let the architecture of the room sing the traditional tune. I think the mauve will blend well with the beams and fireplace and soften and warm it up and compliment the rug well.

  118. Also I think the chair in the left corner needs to be cozy and great as a reading chair. I found a scandinavian bentwood chair and ottoman recently and it is so comfy for reading. Has to have a headrest or high back to support your head. I feel like you would love that area more.

  119. Ok changed my mind. If you do the mauve do it in a sofa style like amber interiors. My friend had clad home custom make one similar to ambers. Keep the design modern. The one above feels like combined with the mauve it does go 90s. But honestly unless you’re in love love I’d start with the chairs that make your heart sing. I think the article sofa paired with those chairs could be great. I’d probably nix having a table between them since they are pretty large looking plus that would simplify and take little out of the room. This orientation of the room is so lovely for photographs and I think walking into the back of a sofa even with a console behind it isn’t the greatest. I also think it lets you get away with having the bookshelves and dressers and more stuff over there otherwise looking directly at it will be too much. I feel like you need to follow you and just trust your gut. It looks really beautiful. keep the sofa clean modern lines and grey that is little darker than the rug so there is some contrast but so its soft and then do the black leather chairs that make your heart sing!!!

  120. The art over the fireplace is too linear for the curve of architecture. It feels tacked on.

  121. Hi – So fun watching your process! I have to laugh when you say ‘long and narrow’ b/c our family room and is 22 ft x 11 ft 2 in. So furniture is hard! You do not seem to be following the norm with either 1 sofa, 2 sets of chairs to basically make a square, or two sofas (one small) and a set of chairs. Maybe that is b/c you have kids and want a little more space or maybe the pics are deceiving? Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Not a fan of the 2 black leather chairs but do like the two grey/wood chairs. But I know you will pick what you like!!

  122. I really like your favorite sofa but I feel like you need the chaise…. 😬. It looks so cozy and inviting and good in the room. Sorry that’s probably not helpful.

    And I vote for those cool leather chairs. 😎

  123. I actually like the deep green!

  124. DEFINITELY NOT those leather chairs!!! sooooooooooooooooooo not good.
    Also I still think you need to change out the art above the fire place. it doesn’t fit.

  125. I like your living room just the way it is. I can’t imagine sitting in those black leather chairs. Is this a room you actually use or do you walk past it to another gathering space? If this is a room you will hang in, why would you choose a sofa so deep your feet can’t touch the floor or a back so low you can’t sit back without feeling like you are falling? You already have what you are looking for – relax and love itl.

    1. This! How do you actually use this room? I think this room needs to distinct seating areas.

  126. Go Pink!!! So good with the fireplace. You might need to find a cool area rug to play it up. So much fun.

  127. me too, me too, me too! the Lawson Fenning sofa in Rose BUT with the edginess of the vintage black leather chairs (because that heart skipping, involuntary inhalation of breath is Inspiration finding you and ought to be embraced whenever possible : )

  128. Love the rose sofa, hate the shiny black chairs

  129. I agree with a few others here that the choice of sofa or rug or artwork isn’t the main issue in your beautiful room. I think that the crux of the struggle is that you haven’t really established a focal point and then built your room around that focal point. So despite all the beautiful things in the room, and especially because of its long shape, the room is lacking its center and focus. If the fireplace wall is your focus, then the larger furniture should relate to it and around it, helping to draw us in. As it is, that possible focal point seems cluttered to most of us, and to me, most of the furniture at that end of the room lacks purpose and just adds to the feeling of clutter. Perhaps you could do two real seating areas as some have suggested, but I don’t know if the room is actually big enough (I do think that some of the photos make it look longer than it is).

    As for the sofa choice, I really dislike your favorite sofa and feel that no iteration of it will be great in this room. I do like the Interior Define one or the Lulu & Georgia sofa, or maybe one more like your current one but a bit larger and with a stronger color? But I’m sure you can make the Lawson Fenning work if you want it badly enough. I also greatly dislike the shiny black chairs–WAY too shiny and big. I’d move the artwork off of the fireplace wall–it just fights with the curves there too much but looked great in another location previously. Just my two cents, obviously!

  130. Go for the green Lawson !

  131. I’m probably going to be the last one to comment on this, but I vote a big NO on the mauve/rose sofa. I still maintain that this room needs some traditional pieces to honor your home’s history. How about a tufted green leather Chesterfield sofa for impact and a nod to the Tudor style? It’s young and fun and would add substance without turning your living room into a living museum. I’m not for leathering it all up, but I believe it needs some masculine pieces for balance. Keep the MC and eclectic pieces for the nod to who you are and in small doses for the element of surprise.
    The art above the fireplace has a bit of a flat affect, IMO. If you weren’t using that wall to show movies for the kiddos, I would hang a vintage wood carving of a stag head. European. You could have all kinds of fun with that. Give him or her a name, hang mala beads on the antlers for whimsy ( or whatever) and change it up. Lastly, a rich, warm colored rug is needed and bookshelves are for books. Just books. It looks too contrived otherwise.
    Thank you for allowing my two or three cents. I had fun.

  132. I don’t think this is your “IT” sofa (like a bed, it is a BIG investment, so keep looking). The lines of sofa are kinda weird. I think you should keep the neutral sectional sofa you already have and ground it with a more interesting (more saturated) rug and also add a leather tufted ottoman for your coffee table.
    The biggest disconnect in the entire room is the coffee table!!!
    I love the table, but you’re trying to make it “work” in the wrong home/style/environment.
    Please don’t listen to others re built-in bookshelves & beams….keep them as is (classic always wins out in the end)!
    Edit the right back corner. Remove black table lamp & hand chair.
    XO Jean

  133. 1.Turn da couch to face the fireplace…

    Move the blue ottoman to the right of the couch…

    Get rid of all the clutter…and put up small picture frames on the shelves…

    Change ur curtains…and add small decor…

    add curtains and decor that is blue and white,so as to blend the colours of the ottoman and coach…(even ur picture frames should match your colours…

    *there is no place for that dresser and all other clutter so it should go!

  134. I love the sofa pick, but I have a feeling that ‘I love this (single) piece’ is the problem with the harmony in the room. Individually everything is wonderful, but there is disconnect as a whole.
    The back of the room is struggling as many have said with the stuff. So study that area to make it architecturally have a significance. Lower doors, wood shelves maybe a dark color painted inside.
    I think the mountain house is so successful because the architecture shines throughout, and then when the pretty pieces come in they are able enhance the overall look and not clutter it.
    I like the chaise on the sofa because it hugs the coffee table and grounds the middle of the room. I would like to see you try comfy largish reading chairs (please no vintage trunk) near the fireplace and a contemporary daybed parallel to the current sofa in front of those windows – to see what that layout offers.
    Excited to see the red come in, and to see how the room evolves.
    Love reading the blog, you and your team are awesome!

  135. As some of the other comments here suggest, have you considered adding doors to the built-ins? I think that small change would make the room visually lighter and all of the objects (even though everything is beautiful) wouldn’t be competing with the other statement pieces and accessories in the room. (And definitely do not paint those beams!)

  136. I would not paint out the beams. They add a unique architectural feel to the space. They also create a visual cascading effect that pulls your eye to the end of the room and then focusing your gaze on the built-ins. So what you do with them will be key, but that also could be mitigated if you went with a sofa that grans your eye more and holds it in that space before heading down to the built-ins. All that being said and having read your post and all the comments here, I do wonder if all of this is being overthought and to what end. But hety, if you got the time and money …

  137. Fireplace, bookshelves and beams are wonderful as they are! They feel right for the home and altering them will probably take away what originally drew you to this house. I think it’s the layout of the room. The fireplace needs to be the focus and freed up from all the stuff. Couch facing fireplace with credenza behind it as a sofa table. Add a floor outlet if needed. Two sets of chairs flanking the couch. Put the projector screen behind one of the beams on fireplace end of room so it is hidden.

  138. The current iteration of the living room is my favorite, so I think you are getting veeeery close…. While you are brilliant and I’m sure you *could* make it work, I think the rose-colored sofa is all wrong for this room. The lines of the rose sofa feel awkward to me. It’s neither quite modern (like your current sectional) nor organic in shape. It radiates a 90’s vibe to me, I think because of the terra cotta color.

    However, I am mesmerized by the floral, rounded “why try the wedding dress that you can’t afford” vintage sofa. It is absolutely stunning and original in every way. Can’t you just borrow it for a photo shoot? It would make my day. Or perhaps a more economical option would be the option from Anthropologie that has a similar curvy shape.

    I agree with the previous commenters about the back of the room being the crux of the difficulty here. I would get rid of the Dutch portrait painting (much too serious!), the crescenza and the dresser so that the fireplace and bookshelves can breathe.

    I am also not crazy about the vintage trunk. To me this really clashes with any mid-century vibes.

    And never under any circumstances paint over those magnificent beams! They give the room SO much character!

  139. Please keep the fireplace, bookshelves and beams! They give the room such great personality. There just needs to be less furniture and stuff around that area. Can you find smaller pieces (of furniture) to put back there? And fewer books on the shelves? Also, I think the shelves would look nice, and tie in with the rest of the room, if the shelves were made of wood and stained to match the beams.

  140. Navy,Lulu and George

  141. I love the Article sofa and think it’s just the right size in there…but that rose sofa is so happy and soothing and pretty. It would give the room a nice dose of calming color. However, when you think about decorating for holidays, does the color work for you? I think you’ve had a beautiful neutral Christmas tree in there that would go perfectly, so it probably does work. Just food for thought! My final vote if you’re going to change it is the ROSE. 🙂

  142. Ok….you’re crazy. The sofa, rug and chairs you have are perfect. It’s the messy FP end that’s the problem. Too too much going on. Remove the cabinets on walls adjacent to the FP and remove at least half of the “stuff” on the built-ins. Add back the black chair, but on right side to balance chaise end of sofa. A couple of largish green plants for the corners and stop.

  143. What about a Roche Bobois sofa. Unique, comfy ++++

  144. The current sofa you have seems pretty great. The rose sofa and those chairs that chairs that look like they are covered in vinyl or black garbage bags seem like they would give the room an 80s vibe which is so far from your style. There’s something to be said for design that is more conventional and soothing. It seems like it would be exhausting to have to confront these pieces that challenge conventional wisdom on a daily basis. I love the original idea to combine traditional and mid-century elements in this room and featuring pieces from other eras seems like it will just add confusion to this beautiful space.

  145. Ok – I wish I had the time to read all of these comments before commenting myself because one of the most annoying things is people who comment the same thing as 219038430984 other people. But, alas, life is busy.

    As someone who is in your EXACT situation – old house, love midcentury – I empathize. I’ve battled the issue for 4 years. I recently let the midcentury stuff go. It finally feels right. If you don’t want it to feel like a new build you need to embrace the old/traditional vibe. If you want it to feel midcentury, you need to let go of the “I don’t want it to feel like a new build”

    Finally, the ROSE couch is the way to go…in two years you’ll have a new one anyway. 😉

  146. I vote the denim with the vintage eclectic chairs – I love the effortless, I-just-threw-this-together vibe (even if you planned it 🙂 ) and each piece is just so visually interesting individually, but none are over the top and going very well together. Plus the last option is like my dream color palette – plus you can add pops of color in and out with the seasons to always keep it fresh!

  147. BUY the black leather chairs. They’re killer and so unique – and would pair amazingly with the art above the fireplace. There will never be regrets with these!

  148. I don’t think that MCM decor will work in a traditional-like house with what seems to be a Mediterreanean (inspired? ) fireplace. Since you have what seems to want to be a tudor I would embrace the English look. Perhaps a visit to England is in order for you Emily. Their styles are pretty much orthogonal to yours. Which is why I am surprised you bought this house.. It doesn’t seem very “you” – pardon me if I am mistaken. You might want to perhaps check out British designers.. Ben Pentreath does tudor and very traditional English ..
    I live in a tudor and love it. I mix modern and traditional, leaning more traditional.
    My humble opinion: If it were me I’d embrace the busy. You can’t take a room that was meant to be busy and tone down the busy-ness and then expect it to work, in my opinion. I’d go for the blue-green rug (the one you had from Blue Parakeet was DIVINE and I am astonished you returned it) with an emerald green velvet sofa. The one from Interior Define balances the modern with the slight traditional bend. The undertones of that room would actually play off nicely with a blue-green vibe .. while Black white monochrome just seems out of place and will actually never work with the bones and undertones of that room. The colors that would work well in that room are probably yellow and green.. with shades of blue thrown in. It’s too bright to pull off a red (red always works better in moody setting with rich upholstery or paneling to offset it). But black white and denim don’t seem to work for me at all . They are too minimalist to go with the vibe of that room. This is all my opinion and will be happy to be proven wrong !!

    1. Wanted to add – just caught a glimpse of that floral sofa and I think it would work spectacularly in the room with a toned down rug. That sofa is very English looking and so unique. Is there no way you can justify getting it? I would lose the ‘funky’ decor – the hand and that magazine holder. This room is a more ‘serious’ room. I’d go with less overtly MCM if I were to do it. I’d probably cull most of the decor from this room. I never understood the point of filling up shelves with bric brac that have no personal meaning or memories or connection to the owner. So I’d let go of half of the flea market stuff and embrace bolder colors. Neutral will wash down this room. IT’s calling for the correct color palate. But that’s just me. Feel free to ignore all of this !

  149. I love how much lighter and more airy this room is now with the sofa and rug. I wouldn’t change those. What I would change is how busy the back of the room is. It’s so distracting and confusing. The built-ins plus “dressers” on both sides is SO much. I also think the “dresser” on the left in the cherry-ish color sticks out like a sore thumb, as does the huge trunk on the right. I’d simplify the table in between the arm chairs with a small table toward one chair and the magazine bowl toward the other. And remove at least one piece of furniture from the back of the room, and cupboard up the built ins, at least on the bottom. Your inspiration photos have SO much less furniture in them. And fewer things sitting on surfaces.

    I said “dresser” bc I’m not sure what they’re actually categorized as but I think you get the drift. 🙂

  150. I think splitting the room a la a pseudo-traditional British living room would be a good idea. Have the sofa centered facing the fireplace, a console behind it and another seating area in front of the console, kinda like this but not ya know? It wouldn’t need to be super busy or cluttered…

  151. Rose sofa please!! i have a gorgeous rose sofa from the 1930’s that I’ve struggled to modernize, but with the addition of new pillows and modern mid-century floor lamps ( the tripod one from Target and the one from Rejuvenation you have now in the Mountain House I believe), and new coffee table, it looks really great. I will send you guys a photo so you can see a rose sofa that works (in MYHO).

    I really really agree that you should try switching up the layout of the room before getting rid of any of the gorgeous architectural details (how many of us would love beams like that?!). Embrace the Englishness of it all…or maybe its time for a new house? LOL.

    I was also thinking Danish minimalism could work great here. I have a very large awkwardly shaped living room and I kept most of it without furniture except for one seating area near the windows. It turned into a great dog/kid play area. Now its crammed with too much stuff (husband moved out entirely family room in there, plus a friend gave us a piano…sigh. Its awful now.

    By the way, I suggested you turn your family room into a kids playroom, and divide the room into separate areas where the wall changes back when you first moved into the house and weren’t sure what to do with the room. Glad to see you have finally come around to that iteration!

  152. I love the rose couch, too!

  153. I think you should keep the current furniture but change the layout. Angle the sofa so it faces the fireplace and get a long sofa table along the back, then take the two chairs and create a separate seating area closer to the doorway. The room is so big and it doesn’t feel cohesive- I think cutting it into two separate and distinct spaces will help. Also I think all your furniture is great, but I’d get a more colorful rug to warm up the room rather than changing the sofa.

  154. ROSE SOFA OMG!!!! No question.

  155. I think the bookcases can work if you fill them with JUST books. Beautiful antique and vintage books, like in The Makerista’s library. I’ve scored tons of great old books off of etsy and ebay, sometimes the only old books in bookstores are rare and therefore $$$.

  156. I seriously think a pink sofa is it. Makes the brick work stand out, so brings the room together without a need for too much trad furniture. In my house we have similar brick color and I painted the ceiling in our joint fam/kitchen Odessa Pink by BM. It makes it warm but you don’t notice it unless I point it out.

  157. I was so happy that you choose the Lawson-Fenton sofa! I have had my eye on it for a couple of years. Do you really think it will be knocked off and the price would be lower? Also, can you explain how it works if you do not like the fabric choices they have on their website. I have a fabric I really like, but don’t understand how this custom upholstery works???? Also, how does it change the price……????????

  158. If this new sofa lasts more than 12 months, I will be shocked. Hard to be invested in the redesign of this room since I know that you will be explaining to us in a few months how the perfect choice was actually completely wrong.

  159. Have you looked at Bolia’s line of sofas? The Madison Sectional would look amazing in this room.


  160. Ohmygod I just lived through this process. Researched and researched: Maidenhome, Anthropologie, SixPenny, Crate & Barrel, CB2, West Elm, etc. etc. etc. Wanted something distinct, but also practical (tough combo) with kids and pets. Wanted a single cushion, in an interesting color. Something cushy and boho, but not something you’d get lost in. Considered this beautiful pink slub velvet sorta victorian vibe one from anthro but was worried it would date fast. Then moved to a yolky yellow velvet from Six Penny. Ended up with something so traditional! Completely flip flopped. But…we were able to actually sit in it, and it had the perfect proportions, was sturdy yet soft and very well made. It looks SOOOOO much better in person than online. Chose a denimy-blue / gray with a little texture because we’ve experienced what can happen to a light colored sofa. Arrives in 8 weeks.

  161. I vote rose because it picks up the brick in the fireplace and then same tones with your existing chairs. I like the gray with the two new chairs but not the black ones. The black ones are very cool but with the shiny leather they set a whole different vibe that the rest of the living room doesn’t say. The black chairs are so dramatic and call for more contrast and dramatic players in the rest of your furniture. The rose and gray are calmer and light and breezy. My vote is rose color.

  162. The pink sofa is so fab! Have you considered just doing two sofas instead of the sofa and chairs? I think the “off” feeling you are getting is that two chairs, and the scattering of tables feels visually “busy.” I think two sofas will help draw the eye towards the gorgeous fireplace too. Not to mention the extra seating! Give it a try!

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