Hello dear readers! It’s Melanie here (aka ‘Mel’ if you’ve been keeping up with the blog or saw the post from a few days ago). Em is in NYC on business for a few days so Brady has given me full permission to take over the blog and introduce you to the makeover takeover of my living room (don’t worry, Em approved it as well)! You may remember when we started the MOTO series last year and then earlier this year when we started revealing everyones projects – if you need a reminder here are Ginny and Brady’s Living Rooms and Sara’s Bedroom.
But first let me get back to introducinng myself to those of you that don’t know me yet. I am an interior designer over here at Emily Henderson Design and I work closely with Ginny and Em on our full design clients. I also work on some E-Designs here and there and Brady’s been schoolin’ me on how get thrifty and scrappy for the Budget series you all seem to be loving. As for my time outside of the studio, I’m an East Coaster living in LA on the Silverlake Reservoir with my boyfriend Blake (a budding and amazing ceramicist) and two very fat cats. We’ve lived in our apartment for under one year and although there was a period where it really looked great, our needs have changed and it’s now a big ol’ half designed mess – enter Makeover Takeover
Stylistically, I’ve always loved Mid-Century design and Japanese/Scandinavian minimalism. I die for the “Emily Henderson Aesthetic” but my home definitely has less color. As you’ll see in my inspiration images up top, there’s lots of wood tones, plants and a nice combination of vintage Mid-Century pieces. I think I can make that happen in my space!
Now for the moment I’ve been most nervous about: I am humbly embarrassed of the before photos you are about to see. I also have a serious need to further preface by saying that as a designer our homes are sometimes neglected as we spend so much time beautifying the homes of our clients we rarely have the time to pull together our own spaces. As anxious as I feel about showing you design lovers a far from perfect set of photos, Makeover Takeover has inspired me to complete the space and I’m getting excited to show you the progress we’re making! (I’m holding my breath while you look at these, and I’m sorry my hutch isn’t styled and just has junk crammed on the shelves. How non-EHD of me!):
When we first visited the apartment we knew we loved it and tried to move in immediately. The location is a dream and we have great light and a beautiful view of the reservoir. We wish the floors were lighter as they show so much cat hair but the empty space had a lot of potential. A few days after seeing the apartment we signed the lease, got the keys and walked into the new apartment. What we saw was horrifying… they had installed massive vertical blinds over the windows! I was devastated and we immediately took them down. We we’re nervous about our security deposit and kept the long piece up as it was too big to hide in the closet (and maybe we could pretend it was a valance? even though it definitely didn’t look like a valance?). This my friends was the first thing to go as our Makeover Takeover began. Our window/sliding door is so big that it was pretty difficult to find a curtain rod long enough without having to go custom but after some searching Wayfair had the perfect solution. We’ve since purchased these drapes from Zara and had my dry cleaner hem them to the right length. The living room is looking much better than the photo above, and getting so much cozier.
Next up you’ll see the furniture on the back wall doesn’t fill in the space well enough. Blake recently started working from home a few days a week and needed a new desk so we got rid of the one that hid all his wires because it wasn’t comfortable and now the whole backdrop of the living room is unbalanced and cordy (new term, pretty into it?). Hedge house Furniture is currently making us a custom bookcase to fill the space! Not only will the blank corner be filled in, but we’ll now have more space to show off the one million pieces of pottery we have on every surface. (This is not an exaggeration folks, there are cups and bowls everywhere!) Hedge house is customizing this piece for us. It will have the same frame and legs, but with open shelving instead of drawers. They are so nice, easy to work with and sent us wood samples in just a few days so we could see finishes in person. I’m so excited to finally have that wall filled in and to have more space to style and store things! I think it’s a secret rule that to work at EHD you have to be obsessed with constantly restyling your own shelving (which I am, I promise, even though I let my hutch go).
Speaking of the hutch, I started to feel like it was just too dark with the floors. You’ll also notice that the rug is a little too small. We’ve swapped out our rug for this larger rug from Wayfair and the room feels even bigger. This hutch was the first nice piece of furniture I ever bought for myself, and although I’m sad to see it go I think I’m ready. Are designers the only people who get so sentimental about furniture? The sofa was custom made with Clad Home as Blake and I couldn’t agree on anything we were seeing in the big box stores. We decided on a wood frame because (we finally agreed on something design wise), but also because now the cats aren’t tempted to scratch the sides therefore destroying the investment we made. We’re also going to replace our vintage mid century chairs that the kitties have claimed with these gorgeous chairs from Fenton and Fenton in Australia. I’m obsessed with the frame of our current chairs, but the fabrics not doing it for me anymore. The new Fenton and Fenton chairs feel so sophisticated and yet inviting. And this is the feel we’re after for the entire space so they were a no brainer!
Our dining area is attached to our living space on an awkwardly angled wall and has always been the least pulled together area. I mean, we never even got around to having more than two chairs and although I love both the vintage table and the string shelf, I really don’t like them together. We’ll be replacing these Eames shells I found on craigslist with these chairs from Finnish Design Shop. I’m pretty obsessed with this site, and constantly have to restrain myself from buying dozens of other things! We also have some new planters from Modernica to add pops of color with more plants and we’re going to rearrange our art to bring some verticality to the room. The vintage cabinet you see in the corner is actually the litter-box. I hate everything about a litter-box so I figured I might as well not have to look at one! We cut a circular hole in the side and try to pretend it’s not a mini bathroom in our living room. (I love the cats, but I’m definitely a dog person!)
Over the few days I’ve been jumping in and out of writing this post, new items are starting to trickle in. It’s both terrifying and so, so fun! I keep having this fear that nothing will look right together, but whenever something new arrives it looks so good that I relax and get excited again! I was rereading Ginny’s makeover takeover intro and it sounds like she was a bit nervous too. It’s so funny how much harder it is to share our own homes even though we’re constantly buying things for our clients and feeling very confident in our decisions. I guess this is another insecurity to get over! Anyway, I’m so excited Emily has given me the chance to makeover my living room, and I’m even more excited for you to see the final shots soon! In the meantime, here is a little sneak peek moodboard of what we have planned for the space – all the stuff I have planned for the room is linked below. Even seeing it all here in a rendering is getting me very excited for the final reveal.
Art Print One | Art Print Two | Speaker | Pendant | Floor Lamp | Bookcase | Sofa (existing made by Clad Home) | Pillows | Planter | Magazine Rack | Side Table (vintage) | Coffee Table (custom) | Leather Chairs | Desk (craigslist find) | White Chair | Curtains | Curtain Rod | Rug | Dining Table (vintage) | Dining Chairs | White Planter (vintage)
So, what do you think? Could you live with as little color as I can to get that zen vibe, or do you prefer a lot of color around you to really keep your space bright and punchy?