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Minimal, Bright and Cozy

Mel’s Living Room Reveal

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Hello dear readers, it’s a super excited Mel typing to you. Everyone wanted the day off so I volunteered to take over the blog, just kidding, that’s not true but it makes me feel like a nice person. In actuality I’m here to reveal my living room makeover! I can’t believe the day is finally here. If you need a refresher on the space you can find all the details in my introductory post. If you want to see all the other beautiful makeover takeover reveals take a peek at Ginny and Brady’s Living Rooms and Sara’s Bedroom.

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If you remember, my name is Melanie Burstin, I’ve been on the design team here at Emily Henderson for a little over a year and my boyfriend and I live in an apartment in Silverlake with a large open living room and a gorgeous view of the reservoir. In my introduction post you’ll see how nervous I was to share the before photos. I mean I’m an interior designer so it was hard to admit that I hadn’t had the chance to pull together my own home. Blake (my boyfriend and amazing part time potter whose pots you are about to see over and over and over again in this post) recently started working from home a few days a week so we had to introduce his office set up into the space. Losing the commute was great for his psyche but ‘ugh’ for the way the living room was laid out. We were also afraid of disappointing our landlord and kept a strange piece of plastic over our windows, which was better than the horizontal blinds but man did we need drapes. The floors in our home are also so dark that some of our mid-century furniture started to feel really heavy too. Honestly, it was time for a revamp!

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The other side of the room needed some hand-holding too. I loved all of these pieces individually but together they drove me mad since the day we moved in. There was just too much metal and wood and we never even got around to having more than two chairs.  I wanted the whole room to be sophisticated, inviting, simple and warm. Four qualities that perfectly contradict each other and yet, I think I got there!

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Here is the new back wall! I switched out the dark mid century furniture for a custom bookcase from Hedge House that is truly straight out of my dreams. I combined two of their pieces into one and now I’ve filled it with so much pottery, neutral books and all the treasures we found on our recent trip to Japan.  The coffee table remained the same; we designed it and had my metalsmith make it for us years ago for our first apartment together. As much as I loved our old chairs I was really excited to replace them with these gorgeous light and airy leather sling chairs designed by Fenton & Fenton. The chairs are so lovely and yet manage to feel casual. The owner of the company Lucy asked me about comparable stores in the US since she was considering a far in the future move and I was like none, none, please come here pleaaassee! (Fun fact, we hid the ties because some cats who shall remain nameless loved them).  Lastly in this vignette you’ll see the cutest little speaker by Vifa. There was a moment in my life where I realized that the people I knew who I felt were the most put together, always had music playing when you went to their house. They had ambience taken care of on all levels. I decided I wanted to be a real person like them and then went on the hunt for an attractive speaker and landed on this Helsinki which sounds just as good as it looks.

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Our sofa was custom made by Cladhome and is perfect for us cat keepers. The little friskies can’t attack the sides and we can flip the cushions over and over and over. I styled the sofa out with big squishy pillows I found at the Rose Bowl flea market and my favorite pillows from Block Shop (keep your eyes peeled for them in some future projects we have coming out soon too).  Pillows on the sofa can often be a great opportunity to add pops of color to a space but I chose to stay neutral and instead I brought in a big tree from the flower market for color. I use plants, flowers and greenery for color, texture and life throughout the space.

If you can recall, the art we had behind the sofa was truly the wrong scale, this sofa is heavy and needs something large and in charge to balance it. The piece we have now was created by The Fourth Artist in our home with our assistance! Jackie Leishman and Patrice Dworkin make art together and invite guest collaborations to inspire their work which is centered on women and the issues that are important to them. Patrice was my LA mom when I first moved across the country so I was so excited to be a part of her work. This large canvas is a part of their Make Your Mark series. They asked Blake and I to make the first marks on the canvas to catapult their creative process. The only instruction we had was to have our marks be conscious and filled with feeling.  They then used a mix of mediums (including hand sewn thread into the canvas) and made our marks gorgeous. Money saving hack; Blake and I then went to home depot after reading through Orlando’s DIY frame post and framed the piece for under $20.

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A common living room feature is a functional side table. Instead I opted for a very cute low table that wouldn’t muddle the view of my fancy ‘Life Size Jenga’. Before we lived together Blake and I went to a BBQ that had a ‘Life Size Jenga’ in the garden (just like the ‘Life Size Barbie’ all the cool girls had when I was younger, it’s not life size, just large, and yet the name sticks). After the BBQ we decided we needed to make our own and it’s been a huge hit at all of our parties since. If you ask me I will say we made it together, but I think Blake will probably roll his eyes since my wrist started to hurt and he did 90% of the sanding… he’s a keeper y’all!

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I think this bookcase may be the piece de resistance no? I have so much stuff that needs showing off and this does it just right! As you’ll notice, Blake’s desk is no longer on this wall, or in the room at all. I tried my hardest but it just wasn’t working. We spent an hour or so tidying up the cords and taping them to the back of the desk which was an improvement but still there were two black computer screens in the center of our living room. When we moved in we decided against having the TV in here as it would take away from the view. We were right all along, so we reverted to a screenless living space and the desk was moved to the other room. I’m so much happier with the space now and he still has a place to call his own for work.

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I love the print on the left because it’s minimal but brings a little color to my otherwise neutral space. The photograph next to it is from a phase of my life where I stalked photographers on Instagram trying to find unknown works I loved. I then begged photographers to let me buy prints, I was sometimes ignored but most of the time it worked! I direct messaged Matthias and had this car print in my mailbox a few weeks later. The candlesticks layered in front are a product of our recent trip to Japan and perhaps my favorite things I’ve ever purchased.  While in Kyoto, we found this amazing store where I tried to buy everything (including the display elements not for sale), I was so happy to have had the foresight to bring an empty suitcase! As you can see I have not been exaggerating when I say we have SO MUCH pottery. With the exception of the double cone, all of these pieces are by my main squeeze Blake. He’s incredibly humble about it but don’t you think his stuff is amazing? He’s been throwing a little over a year and I’ve become the kind of person who insists that everything he brings home is mine and that no one else is allowed to have it. I’m working on it, especially since Ginny seems to be his biggest collector and this way I know it’s all going to a good home.

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The morning of my shoot I had a panic attack that a piece of art I hung was horrible and bringing down the entire space. (Have you noticed how dramatic I can be?) So I ran to the studio to raid the flea and came back with this illustration you see here. It turns out it was made by Emily’s grandmother! I guess by accident I raided some boxes I wasn’t meant to. But how cute is it, style clearly runs in her family! The piece next to it is from a recent solo show Patrice had a few months ago. It’s part of a 100 day series and of course Blake and I fell in love with day 1. The stool is from a thrift store in Tokyo that yes, I stuffed in our suitcase all the way home. The fish is one of the nicest presents I’ve ever received. It’s a studio Lagardo Tackett, something I loved and then Blake surprised me with it for my birthday a few years ago. (seriously he’s a good one). As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I love pottery (should I not be allowed to say ‘pottery’ again for the rest of the post?) so this lamp was a no brainer. It’s handmade in LA by an amazing potter named Victoria Morris. I want to switch out every lamp I have for something made by her.

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I moved the litter box to a nook away from the windows and now it takes up this wall really nicely. If you remember from my introduction, I do not like litter so I’ve hid it in a vintage piece of furniture! There is a small circle on the side that the kitties enter and exit through. I’ve styled out the top as well to make the piece even more inconspicuous. Again, the art is from my time being a creep on Instagram.  I use another Victoria Morris lamp here and of course more of Blake’s pottery (I know, you’re not surprised).  Since two different types of pottery is definitely not enough for one piece of furniture I’m also using a Modernica Table Top Bowl with Stand here. I love the way the dark wood looks on this piece of furniture. The planter and vases sit on a wood tray from Japan. A few days into our trip I was thinking out loud to Blake about what styling items we need to bring home for this shoot and I was like ‘oh, we could use some wood trays’ man did that guy catch on. We came home with 12 wood trays. We killed this shopping trip!

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Across from the litterbox is our entrance area. I set up this super cute bench that has an additional side piece for plants and accessories (a stylists dream). The rug was a steal from Zara and the pelt another no brainer from Ikea.  The leather pillow is by the amazing people of Fenton & Fenton who made my leather sling chairs and in very exciting news they’ve decided to do a giveaway of this pillow in honor of my reveal! All you need to do is visit their site and enter the contest. Good luck trying to not buy everything else you see! Okay, now I’m going to tell you another cute story about Blake and I. Before we lived together, when I was deep in my Intstagram stalking of artists phase, I found this LA painter named Jake Longstreth. Blake and I fell in love with his work and went to visit his studio downtown. We put together this triptych of paintings from his Particulate Matter series and then were like ‘oh, neither of us can afford all three of these…but we both want them…’ So I purchased one and Blake the other two. We quietly (maybe not even out loud) hinted at the idea that they would one day hang together but then we freaked out and decided not to mention living together again for two years. When we moved in together the first thing we did was hang them. Well after spending hours deciding what order looked best.

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I love the way the dining space worked out. These amazing dining chairs from Finnish Design Shop are so gorgeous from every angle. The contrast of the vintage table with the new chairs is just so great. I added a Noguchi Pendant and some art and it all came together. The print is also by The Fourth Artist and is currently being sold in a limited print series at Saatchi. It may be a print but it manages to keep the texture and depth of the original.

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A tonal bowl with lightly colored fruit and (you guessed it!) more pottery pull the eating area together.

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When I removed the mid century hutch we suddenly had no closed storage for all of our unread mail and paperwork. I trolled craigslist for this mini sideboard and then set up a simple bar on top to make it not feel random next to the dining table.

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I love this print above the sideboard as it’s so neutral but really stunning in the details. Again I used my favorite trick of pottery by Blake and neutral books to style a surface with layers and texture. The copper and glass cups are vintage and that fabric coaster is from Japan.

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These drapes are from Zara and the amazingly long curtain rod is from Wayfair. I love the look of plants so much that if I had a massive glass house I’d just have cacti everywhere. But for the time being I’ve stocked up on indoor plants that are durable and gorgeous large scale planters. Our planters are either vintage David Cresseys, some other mid century architectural pottery or they’re from Modernica. This large white planter on a wood stand is so cute, I thought I’d be quirky and add a tall tree to mimic it’s shape a little.

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We’ll there you have it folks! I hope you’re as pleased with it as I am and perhaps I’ve turned you all into neutral color hating monsters like me. That was a joke, I love color! Just maybe not in my own home. Check out a how-to on styling a neutral collection like mine and then peep the get the look below for even more. Thanks for reading!

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1. Pewter Linen Pillow | 2. Leather Pillow | 3. Blockshop Pillow | 4. Woven Throw | 5. Ascent, Photograph | 6. Custom Sofa | 7. Coffee Table | 8. Rug | 9. Curtain Rod | 10. Curtains | 11. Sling Chairs 12. Table Top Bowl w/ Stand | 13. Small Bowl w/ Stand | 14. Large Bowl w/ Stand | 15. Magazine Holder | 16. Floor Lamp | 17. Leaf Me Print | 18. Artwork No. 7 | 19. Table Lamp | 20. Speaker | 21. Bookcase | 22. Low Table | 23. Shirt Vase | 24. Footed Vase | 25. Hanging Lamp | 26. Dining Table | 27. Loop Vase | 28. Dining Chair | 29. Wood Pedestals | 30. Painting | 31. Giant Jenga | 32. Wood Parat Bowl | 33. White Vase | 34. Extended Bench | 35. Rug | 36. Sheepskin Rug

**Photography by Tessa Neustadt 

*Emily here. Due to the recent request for even more transparency it should be known that many of the furniture brands gift to my employees for the Makeover Takeover with the assurance that their pieces will be seen by our large audience, shown in a stunning, well -designed room, and photographed professionally (like seen here by Tessa). Thanks to all those who help make my team feel so proud of their homes – way more proud than I ever did in my 20’s 🙂 

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  1. Mel, your home is lovely, as is the pride you take in Blake’s work. I love the story of the three paintings purchased – and how you both brought meaningful items to your space. Emily, high marks for transparency about the gifted items. It’s quite the nice and deserved job perk. Mel – in a parenthetical further up the page you mentioned Blake’s work as who’s when it should be whose. Please don’t think I’m a jerk for pointing that out. I dream of being hired to proofread your posts. Seriously. Great post, Mel. You have an inviting home!

    1. I do agree — while I loved the cute stories, and this room is an absolute dream, there were so many errors that the whole post was actually quite difficult to read. A copy-editor would be a worthy investment. I apologise if I seem harsh or unsympathetic, but one of my pet hates is bloggers (and all businesses, really) who seemingly think they can get away with poor spelling and grammar because “it’s just the internet”. If this is your job for which you are being paid, then you need to take what you present more seriously. Hell, I’m in Australia, and will proof for you if you email me the copy. But this is a business and so many errors makes your product appear sloppy and like you don’t respect your readers enough to care.

      1. I think a lot of us are here for the daily design inspiration not the spelling. I find the blog very well written compared to most, and I’m really quite bored by the “pet peeve/I’ll proof it/so unprofessional” comments. Remember it’s your opinion, not fact, because I feel the opposite: the sacrifice for getting everything word perfect would be the frequency of posting, and I for one would rather have the posts.

        1. Professionalism isn’t a zero-sum game — it isn’t a choice between the posts or the spelling. It would have taken ten minutes for this post to be proofread, which really isn’t a big ask. And it’s fine to not be a great speller, but again, as this is a business there is (or should be) a responsibility to recognise one particular worker’s weakness and make a small investment of time (and perhaps money) to improve the product. Mel’s not a great speller? No problem! But then ask somebody else who is to take a look over the written content she provides for the blog, off of which this company makes money.

          I’ve already said that I loved this room; in fact, it’s one of the best neutral-styled rooms I think I’ve seen. It has a life and a soul to it which isn’t always the case; neutral coloured rooms, I feel, always run with the danger of looking flat, a little lifeless. Mel is clearly talented at what she does, and I’ll continue to read this blog for design inspiration and styling tips. But I don’t think it’s too big an ask for the written content to be looked over so that the word reads “well” and not “we’ll”, for instance.

          Anyway, that’s my two cents. Emily can take it or leave it, but I do hope she considers what I suggest (and apparently what others have done too, as you say you’re bored of comments about constant spelling errors and typos).

          1. Well said, Chelsea. Why are readers expected to accept a choice between good content and professional writing ability?

          2. This is going to sound strange, but I LOVE the spelling errors and typos! It makes the content more endearing, more approachable. I can better hear the writer’s voice when I see these every now and then! I am turned off when it’s not as “raw.” It puts me one more step of formality away from Emily and team.

          3. I agree with Liz. No errors is fine, but I like the errors too. I find it so curious that people even care. You guys must be living the really good life if these are the things worth pointing out.

  2. Loved this redesign! It looks amazing! And thanks for linking all of the items so perfectly – I’ll be purchasing that rug!

  3. OMG, Mel. When I saw your first post I thought ‘I’m going to love this’ and you haven’t let me down! I love how refreshing, cool and sophisticated it feels. I rarely see totally neutral spaces that make my heart sing but yours is definetely one of them. It’s not boring at all, but so interesting and beautiful. Congrats, congrats, congrats on your living room and on that boyfriend that does the sanding, haha
    xx

  4. Love this room! I loved seeing a slightly different style and how you can incorporate so much wood and neutrals in a way that feels layered and fresh. Great job Mel!

  5. Mel, Just Beautiful! Clean and modern, but feels so WARM. It really seems restful and cozy without being full of stuff. Nice work!

  6. I love it! I was really excited about this project from the plans, and it’s even better than I was expecting. You’ve managed to pull off a space that’s totally different from most of the projects on EHD but yet somehow is still in keeping with that aesthetic. Great job!

  7. Beautifully done, Mel! Love the transformation. You definitely achieved your goal of sophisticated, inviting, simple and warm! Thanks for providing links – I’ve already checked some out. I’m particularly interested in those great dining chairs! Can you tell me if they’re comfortable? PS: Blake really sounds like a keeper!

    1. Thank you so much for the lovely words! Honestly, when I got asked for the chairs I thought, ‘who cares if they’re comfortable they are gorgeous’. But, when they arrived I was so surprised. They are the most comfortable chairs ever! They figured out the perfect curve of your back I swear. I love them!

  8. I never respond to posts but now I feel I have to! After seeing the plans for your living room a few months ago, I was so looking forward seeing the results and I LOVE your living room! Love the minimalistic Scandinavian feeling, great job!! I like to see more of your work!

  9. Gorgeous home! It’s fun to hear about your cats and Blake, and I loved all of the little items you brought back from Japan. Your use of pottery and plants is right up my ally. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love the layers and textures of this room–it feels lived in and natural and light. The art and pottery are to die for! Awesome job!!

  11. Damn it Mel! I’ve been really loving my house lately but now I want to change everything so it looks neutral and airy, and I want to put pottery on display everywhere. Wahhhhhhh!!!!

  12. This is really beautiful, and I love the pottery. Do your cats refrain from tearing up that rug? I’m considering purchasing something similar, but my cats have already proven I’m not allowed to have anything nice.

    1. For what it’s worth, I had a very similar rug and my cat didn’t attack it. That being said, vacuuming it and getting all of the fur up was somewhat difficult.

    2. I came here to ask the same question! I’m pretty sure our scratching post is made of jute, so it makes me very nervous as a floor covering idea. I’d love to hear from others if they had any problems.

      1. Hi, you know you’d be surprised, they only go at it once in a blue moon. I find that if we have a scratching post around they’re better behaved. And in the policy of disgusting honesty, the rug is great for cats because it really hides vomit stains. There I said it! Thank you for the love!

    3. I know all cats (and rugs) are different but I have a jute rug from IKEA and my cat scratches it daily (like, goes to town on it, many times per day) and it is holding up perfectly. It’s basically a miracle rug.

  13. This is beautiful! Just the vibe I am striving for in our new coastal home. The furniture changes you made really lightened everything up nicely.
    I love those dining chairs… Are they comfortable? Especially for longer than it takes just to eat the meal, but for lingering and chatting after? I love the wishbone chairs, but my husband nixed them since hearing from several people that they are not. These have a similar look, but at that price I’d have to know they were more comfortable before splurging!
    Thank you! Keep up the good work, and enjoy your lovely space!

  14. Mel it looks GREAT! The art, plants, and wood tones are so fresh and inviting. Really enjoyed this reveal. Pottery on pottery on pottery, now I’m off to look at more of Blake’s pottery =)

  15. I don’t get the point of that teeny, super-low side table by the couch. Can we even call it a side table? Isn’t it really more just a decorative piece? It’s not like it would be comfortable for someone to place a drink or a book there while on the couch. Am I missing something?

    I’m one of those people who feels more alive when surrounded by (probably crazy amounts of) color, but I can appreciate a well-done neutral room. This is really, really lovely. That bookcase is so dreamy! I’m also seriously considering that magazine rack. It doesn’t go really well with my current living room, but it goes great with my dream living room, so maybe it can be my first step! 🙂

  16. It’s beautiful!!! And your boyfriend is so talented- his pottery adds a ton of personality and interest to the room. Well done!

  17. mel, you have officially designed one of my favorite rooms ever. it is so quiet, calming, thoughtful, and well designed – where is the hand clap emoji when you need it?? I love the way you have styled everything too – it’s texture and interest without color or clutter. and as a work from home employee with a desk nook in the corner of the living room – I’ll live vicariously through you being able to move blake’s desk out of the room. if I could I would – nothing beautiful about two black screens in the corner of a room! thank you for your talent & for giving us all some morning inspiration and joy. – ks x

  18. Wow! I honestly want it all. It’s nice to see a totally different look on this blog too. You knocked it out of the park Mel!

  19. Woo hoo! Way to go Mel! It is no small thing to me that your style is very different from Emily’s or Brady’s or Ginny’s and you have the boldness to love what you love! I so appreciate the different perspective and how your influence expands the Emily Henderson brand. I hope someday I’ll get the opportunity to design a room like this, (and I will certainly be checking out Blake’s work when I do!). Keep up the good work!

  20. I LOVE it! It came together so beautifully and I love that’s it’s neutral and quiet but so interesting and sophisticated. I love how you mixed different wood tones and they all work together and Blake’s pottery is amazing!! I could sit in this room all day. You rocked it!

  21. It looks fantastic! So serene and cozy. Also, Blake’s work is pretty great. Crazy that he’s only been at it for about a year! I also recently took a trip to Japan, though since my significant other is not a potter, I brought back a small pottery collection as a souvenir. Japan is such a beautiful country! I was blown away by how pretty the gardens are there even in the dead of winter.

    Bookmarking your styling with neutrals video. I was starting to think I needed to bring some more color into my living room, but after this post I’m feeling more inspired to just make some tweaks and keep it light and neutral.

  22. I love everything about this. Everything. Please do a post about your trip to Japan so someday I can follow your exact shopping itinerary!

  23. so where did you put your boyfriend’s desk? I have to assume in an LA apartment space is not plentiful, so I know a lot of people who have to put the more ‘unsightly” pieces in common spaces…. where were you able to put it where it made sense?

    1. I have the same question! I love, love the results of this makeover — someone said it perfectly above, modern yet warm — but there is the unanswered question of where the workspace moved…?

      1. It’s under a window in the bedroom. One day when we move we’ll have a second bedroom office for him. And a pottery studio, but for now we’re happy!

        1. I love this space, but I think what resonated with me most was how each piece you’ve chosen for your home tells a different story about your life, your love and your interests. It’s making me look around and think: can I say the same about much in my own home? Everything you’ve chosen feels very purposed and warm. If you ever wanted to write a design/philosophy book on the tails of Ms. Kondo, I think you’d have a hit.

  24. This room is so pretty! Before you even mentioned that the couch is cat-proof I thought “That’s the PERFECT couch cause my cat wouldn’t be able to rip it to shreds!!” Great minds (or cat owners) think alike, huh? 😉

    I know your couch is custom, but I was wondering if you guys had seen any similar couches on the market? My Ikea couch is still going strong at the moment, but thanks to my little fluffball I’ll probably need a new one before I can afford a custom couch.

  25. Mel, I love it!! It is so, so beige and it makes me so happy. This is my favorite makeover takeover yet!

    I do have a question about the Fenton and Fenton chairs–do they have a recommended weight limit for sitting? I’m sure the leather must be sturdier than I imagine, but they look so delicate and I would hate if they stretched in an unpleasant way. Any ideas? Thanks!

    1. Thank you! The chairs actually feel really really sturdy. I’m not sure of any weight limit but I don’t think they’ll be stretching any time soon. The leather feels really strong!

  26. HOLY CRAP. This space is everything I ever wanted for my own home. K almost could t breathe looking at the picture because everything is styled so exceptionally well and the neutral/minimal/Scandinavian feel is exactly what I want for my house. Ugh you are so talented, Mel! I am going to be contacting you to do an e-design for me.

  27. LOVE these makeover takeovers!! This one in particular. So refreshing. I would love to come home to this room. Beautifully done! I think you really accomplished your goal and will be stealing “sophisticated, inviting, simple and warm” as my new styling mantra!

  28. I’m slooowly converting my house from one of rich Tuscan colors to more lights and neutrals. (I’m not-so-secretly trying to create a beach house in the middle of Iowa!) And I love how calm your space is! The before was good… until you see the after! That’s how I’m feeling about my own living room right now, it’s fine, but… Anyway, LOVE the planter bowls in stands! And good to hear how things hold up with feline roommates 🙂 Definitely a space to be proud of, Mel! Thanks for the inspiration!

  29. Dear Mel, greetings from India. I have been a silent reader of this blog for a while now, but that changes today with your wonderful living room. I feel compelled to compliment the way you mixed all the wood types/tones with pottery and neutrals to create such a texture rich yet muted palate. This room is an excellent example of restrained design with perfectly curated pieces, I can not imagine how long you must have been brewing this one. Kudos to you for putting together this earthy and organic Zen oasis. Looking forward to more reveals from your home.

  30. Not at all my style, but REALLY well done. It’s hard for a room to be neutral, modern and warm, but it’s all of those things, in spades. The beautiful furniture and pottery make the room. Congrats on such a great space, and job very well done!

  31. This is SO peaceful and calm, but makes a big statement. I remember the skeptics from your original post…And I think you proved them wrong. 🙂

  32. I love this, Mel! It is so beautiful and calm, but not boring at all. My dream self has a living room this neutral and quiet, but my real life self can’t help from buying loud pillows and tchochkes. I am using your pictures as inspiration!

    I also just went and bought that poster, which is so beautiful. Thanks!

  33. All the beautiful POTTERY. Texture. Wood. Interesting art! (The photograph of the old women shopping is touching, and unexpected. Makes me think of my immigrant Italian grandmother Valentina.) Such a comfortable, peaceful, lovely space. THE POTTERY!

    And the surprising life size Jenga tower with Blake’s beautiful POTTERY vase. (Jumbo Jenga is a truly great party game.)

    1. Just came to mention the same photograph. Mel, I hope you’ll share the instagram handle for that beautiful print of the woman shopping! Many thanks.

  34. This is SO great! Nice work Mel!

    Can you guys put together a “Similar Look for Less” post sometime? I know that part of what makes simple pieces like this really special is their high quality… but what if you can’t afford them? Can you guys speak to that?

    Thanks! I love everything you guys do… this is so different from the aesthetic in Emily’s new house and yet both spaces share this bright and fresh quality that makes them equally pleasing to look at. I guess that’s due in no small part to Tessa’s prowess behind a lens. 🙂

    Keep it up team!

  35. Drinking game for everytime you wrote pottery. JK. 🙂 I love this – it play so well with the light and is so cohesive but interesting. Such a transformation! Also, love seeing this content from different folks as it gives such interesting perspectives of different designs. Love it.

  36. This space is perfect! I love color but you have me rethinking everything! I’m a pottery hoarder too and your collection is enviable, as is your low-key display of it all. Is the palm tree planter vintage? Thanks for sharing!

  37. Oh my goodness, I’m in love!! Clapped my eyes on that first photo and thought–ooh! I hope that’s not gift only pottery. Alas. So beautiful though. Such a beautiful story-filled room. It’s rare that I want to abandon color but you’re making me think strongly about it!

        1. Thanks anyway. That Hapan trip really seems to have paid off. Do you ever read LocalMilk? She’s also a lover of Japan design (and “neutrals”).

  38. Love it. This is exactly the kind of stuff I like. I love the dining chairs and the sling chairs–gorgeous. I didn’t know the speaker was a speaker, that’s also seriously cute.

  39. I had that old chair /computer desk . I bought it at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
    However, it broke. I miss it.

    I’m inspired to go with the same look for my living space 🙂

  40. Stunning! Love how you kept to a mid-century feel but brought a cohesive tone to everything. Appreciate your honesty Mel about dealing with the furry members of the house (the fact that the rug works well hiding stains and hiding the litter box).

  41. I have to say that this is one of my favorite posts ever on SBEH. Not only does the room look beautiful — I envy the ability to achieve such loveliness with neutrals — but I ABSOLUTELY LOVED reading about all your sources for contemporary art and pottery. I went down a rabbit hole looking up all the artists involved, and I’m definitely coveting a few pieces that may end up in my home. Thank you for sharing!

  42. I love how personal this space is – each item is very intentional and thoughtful. It gives an energy to the space and you don’t need a ton of color. Well done Mel! I lived in Japan for a year and was lucky enough to bring back so many special things. It’s a beautiful place. And well done Emily on such a great team! I’ve really enjoyed all of their spaces!

  43. So, so beautiful. I love how light, airy and spacious it feels while keeping the tones warm and appealing.

    I took the Style Quiz on this site recently and my result was ‘Zen,’ which didn’t seem like me at the time. Now after seeing this post I realize my style might be Modern Zen…which nails it.

  44. Wowowowow!!! One of my favorite posts by far. Such a beautiful space. Probably going to have vivid dreams of your sofa tonight. Also, Emily sounds like the best boss in the world.

  45. Very pretty space but there doesn’t appear to be any lighting in the vicinity of the couch. I often see what I think of as inadequate lighting on home design sites. How does that work in real life where I live?

    1. We have a lamp in pretty much every corner of the room so in the evening it’s moody and comfy. I sometimes cant decide if I like it better at night or during the day! Doesn’t feel too dark at all. Thanks!

  46. You have a lovely home…and such a great collection of beautiful things. Those Victoria Morris lamps are amazing, I’m actually so sad right now because $$$ I can’t buy one. I notice you have really dark floors, is there a rule about using light furniture/woods with dark floors. I have dark floors and my furniture is more dark and moody to complement them. I’m just curious.

  47. Mel, this looks amazing! I have been thinking about getting a custom sofa from Clad Home, myself, and was wondering what fabric you went with. We have a dog and plan on having kids in the near future, and I’d love to know how the sofa is holding up with your kitties!

  48. Hello from Brazil. BIG issue: why do you style so beAutifully your ex house if you are going to sell it? I imagine you sell it with nothing inside. Is it to give ideas and good vibes? Please, tell me, best, big fan, Alda

  49. Gorgeous! It’s minimal without being stark, which is such a tricky balancing act. I’m wondering if you could share a bit more on how to mix different types/stains of wood in a room. You’ve done that so well but for the design commoner like myself, it ends up looking like a hodge-podge of furniture without anything cohesive to tie it together.

  50. So nice!! I really like this one because you haven’t thrown out everything you already had – you just made some big improvements. It’s really helpful for learning how to look at a space and figure out what’s already working and what needs tweaking 🙂

  51. I so relate to the idea that people who have it all together play background music in their homes! I aspire to be that person too, haha. Thanks for the stylish speaker recommendation! PS – I adore those copper/glass vintage cups. PPS – I can totally see myself having a giant jenga game in my living room as well. How fun to have friends over and play an impromptu game!

  52. Wow! I honestly thought I wouldn’t care for this room after seeing the moodboard, but I actually love it in “real life”! I guess that’s why I’m the reader and you’re the designer, LOL. Blake needs an Etsy store filled with Jenga and pottery.

  53. Love your home and Blake’s pottery is amazing and perfect for your home together. I’m only sorry you didn’t show your cats. Most cats of my acquaintance pick the best spots in the home to drape themselves, ready for their close-ups.
    And hands down, that is the best looking litter box I’ve ever seen.

  54. Beautiful! I’ve been eyeing those Fenton & Fenton chairs for a while now but haven’t taken the leap because I can’t go ‘test drive’ them here in NY. Are they comfy? Comfy enough to hang out in and watch TV with your feet up?

  55. I accidentally deleted my comment. I hope this doesn’t post twice..

    I love that you made all that wood work. I LOVE WOOD 🙂 I studied architecture and cannot get enough of woodshop. And that you were able to design a beautiful space that cats live in too.

    Way to make a gorgeous neutral zen sorta space. I love all the natural materials. My messy roommates and my obsession with clearing the space are making me lean toward this style more and more. I hope I can afford such furniture some day.

    Also, just yesterday I messaged someone I Instagram stalk @dantom for a print 😀 Way better creeping on people and supporting their craft than getting some random print from a boz store.

  56. Mel, I love this! You have such a great sense of your own personal style. I love what you did with your tightly curated palette and finding meaningful art and furniture that spoke to you. It was also so great to see some new sources for home items and to feature some really great artists, not to mention Blake, who is very talented!! Thank you again for this modern and minimal but warm and beautiful inspiration. Be proud!

  57. REALLY beautiful. I aspire a calm, neutral, spare, & beautiful room, & you have shown the way. Of course mine is thrifted/IKEA/Target;) It’s a great perk for you folks to get the $$$ stuff, & you’ve certainly used it well. I love the dining chairs with that lovely table.
    And a question for you all. I appreciate the insight on what works with cats (mine is draped over my shoulder as I type) but I also have a dog (and raise guide dog puppies) so happy tails & chewing puppies are ongoing issues. Even with puppy gates & constant supervision my house looks a bit top-heavy because so much needs to be above nose level and/or unbreakable. And no rug.

  58. Such a stunning space! Love every detail…especially the plants and the cheese book! I MUST know what book that is that says Cheese in giant letters on the spine.

  59. How do you keep your cats from jumping up in the shelves and knocking down all of your beautiful, delicate, styled objects?

  60. Absolutely gorgeous space!!! The turn out could not have been better!! Love the idea of it being “screenless”! The incorporation of all of the items from travel and Blake’s pottery make it so meaningful!! Great imaginative mind when bringing this space to life!!

  61. whose*

    this is really lovely! i love that custom shelf piece and the sofa. it reminds me of those rosewood baughman sofas. i love that blue stripe/red dot print too. i’ve been looking for something like that. that’s such an interesting idea–getting instagram photogs to let your print their work.

    the mix of light/dark wood furniture? so good. i’d normally be like…zzzzz where’s the color? but this is doing it for me. <3

  62. Your home looks beautiful!
    Can you share what the specific plants are? And do you know if they are safe for cats? I am always searching for beautiful plants that won’t be dangerous to my cat if he eats them (and he usually does).

  63. Just gorgeous. I tend to like color for most of my own spaces, but this is very well done and came out really nicely. I love the stories and sourcing info on your art.

  64. I love your space soooooooo much. So much that I can’t narrow down the many loves to comment on just a few — I love it all. Please let Blake know that his pottery is truly beautiful, artist to artist.

  65. Love this – our living room is a bit on the dark side with the furnishings and looking at this I am inspired. We also have a wonderful full lit room due to large windows to our terrace. Great job

  66. This is jaw-droppingly beautiful. I would not have thought that this would be my style, but I’m deeply in love with the combinations of wood and pottery and all the textures. This is one of those times that I think, “Now I understand why you hire a designer”. You are incredibly talented. I feel like most amateurs can coordinate a few pretty colors and basic furniture in their own homes. But it takes a professional to pull together a lot of understated, quiet pieces and turn them into a cohesive picture that makes a big impact.

    Question: How is that particular rug (from Wayfair if I remember correctly) holding up? Is it shedding too much on your dark floors? I also have dark floors.

  67. Great content!!

    Love the part about the litter box hidden in the antique furniture! Did you DIY? Would love a tutorial (or a round up) of things like that! (Hidden pup spots / hidden litter boxes, etc.)

    Keep up the good work!

  68. Absolutely gorgeous space, Mel!
    I love your couch and am saving up for one of my own (for the same reason as you – looking for an aesthetically pleasing yet cat-proof couch). Would you mind sharing how much you paid for it? And I’m curious about the construction – are the cushions attached to the frame at all? If not, do they tend to slide around? Thanks for any info you can share!

  69. Mel, what kind of plants do you have? I also have kittens and I’m always on the hunt for cute, non-toxic plants! ? Also – no photos of the kittens?? Why!!

  70. Wow Melanie! Your space is amazing. You have so many beautiful sculptural elements. They really speak to the sophicated yet warm look you were aiming for. I normally don’t care for neutrals, but I’m loving the shapes you chose in both your furniture and accessories that I’m inspired to rethink my own spaces with those similar sculptural lines!!

  71. Mel, I had to set this post aside so that I could spend extra time examining the beauty. Its so serene, I could just move on in! I love me some neutral beauty and you’ve nailed it. I’ve already favorited Blake’s work and will be keeping a close eye (tell him to go get busy–i.e. footed vessels on your bookcase).
    I really appreciate seeing Emily’s team show their stuff! And I like the personal stories you shared about how it all came to be. Well done.

  72. Didn’t think I would like a neutral room but this is beautiful! Well done! Did you do a custom frame for the Leaf Me print (#17) or did you find a source for pre-made?

  73. This is SO gorgeous. It’s so different from the way that Emily designs but is truly stunning – what a nice change of pace! It may be my favorite room of all time on the blog. I would buy that coffee table and the trio of paintings in a heartbeat if I could. I’ve never seen a space feel both Japanese, modern, and Scandinavian at once.

    Two questions:
    1. Can we see a floor plan or overhead layout of this space? I’m having trouble visualizing where everything is.
    2. Do the dining room chairs get annoying because it seems like they are too high to push under the table at all? This would bug.

  74. Such a gorgeous and serene palate and I cannot believe Blake has only been throwing for a year! His pottery looks like perfection. Such an inspiring space. I love how zen everything feels, but also interesting and energized. Such a wonderful transformation!