Our Modern English Tudor Living Room
Our living room is finally done, styled, shot, and in the can. Real Simple featured the whole house in the September issue (still out, grab a copy if you are into it and want to read the full story) but most magazines only put a photo or two of each room in the story due to page constraints. So I had Tessa come back the next day to shoot most of the house to give you other angles and more details. Today I have for you the living room.
My goal when designing this living room was to be comfortable, warm, kid friendly, appropriate for the style of the house and yet still ‘me’ or I guess I should say ‘Us’. I learned a lot from our last house where I didn’t design that living room to really be used that much (until we staged it, which I loved). Our house isn’t huge so we really need to USE this room every day, not just for friends. We don’t have a TV in here, so it is a more formal living room, but I swore that I would make it a space for the whole family, all day every day. The #1 goal was comfort and functionality. I wanted every single chair to be fought over, and I wanted every finish to withstand the chaos that is our every day life. While there are a couple things I would tweak (always, and see below), I feel like I succeeded.
We spend every morning and evening in here, reading or playing (the kids drag toys from the family room, and we force them to them drag the back). On weekends the doors to the backyard are open and this room is really the hub of the house. Nothing is precious, everything is durable and nothing can destroy my kids or be easily destroyed by said kids. Even those Target chairs are wiping up really easy (which was something that I worried about) because they have enough poly in the fabric. Would they withstand a sharpie drawing? Nope, but so far so good (plus they are so affordable).
The coffee table needed to double as as a kids arts/crafts/playdough space (it’s typically just styled with the tray… if that ). We originally had our vintage saarinen table in there which we loved functionally (so kid-friendly, heavy-based, simple, and a great surface for playdough), but it felt too short and it was pretty beat up. So, I upgraded to this one from Lulu and Georgia. We LOVE it so much. It’s a better scale for the room and ties in the black and wood that is peppered throughout the space. Plus it feels more modern than the classic Saarinen (which is now at our fixer cabin that I sneak toured on insta over the weekend).
Part of my job for Target is to use their pieces in my projects and share them with you guys (and the press). So I can’t tell you how happy I was that once again the Threshold fall line and their new Project 62 line is filled with some seriously amazing pieces that I wanted so badly – regardless of the job. You’ll see it throughout my house and you’ll have the same reaction as every friend of mine – Wait, that’s Target? And once again I’ll have the same response – YES. I KEEP TELLING YOU, THEIR STUFF IS SO GOOD. The black standing lamp, vase on the coffee table, blanket, and pillow are all Target – and that’s just that shot.
Most importantly we need to talk about the previously elusive Rodney chair. When I first saw these in the look book 6 months ago I emailed my contact in the marketing department and said ‘You better order A TON of these because these beauties are going to sell so fast.’ They upped the order, but still sold out immediately much to my horror (and many of yours). Now they are back in stock (but please hurry if you want them ..update, they may already be out of stock again depending on your location … sorry!!) and I can’t recommend them enough. We even replaced our other chairs because we like these more (the others were bigger and the tone of the wood worked less well with the trunk. They are now in the fixer cabin).
These are the perfect chair – in scale, style and price. They look really high end – the wood is beautiful, the fabric is a pretty simple linen, and the backs of them are even so pretty. I only received one sample for the shoot and had to borrow another from the catalogue shoot which had to be sent back the day after my shoot. So for 2 months I lived with only one chair in here and was ecstatic when they finally came back in stock.
I’m extremely picky when it comes to art in my house and I opt for vintage or newer originals over mass produced pieces from major retailers. But that painting above works so perfectly in my house and it looks SO REAL. My friend Scott thought it was an original from Nicky Kehoe. Ha. It’s $70 from Target. I love supporting artists as you know, and generally will encourage it over buying mass produced art, but man, it’s nice to get a large, framed, beautiful painting for $75. Update: IT’s by artist Pamela Munger (who has a lot of her original work on her Etsy site).
The vintage sewing side table (which houses all our duplo legos) was a score on Everything But the House. The large pillow is new Target and the smaller embroidered pillow is from Rebecca Atwood. I know her pillows are a splurge, but man if it’s in your budget I will say that they are stunning in both texture, style and color.
I will do a whole post about the sofa – we custom designed it with Cisco home and it’s now for sale from them – dubbed ‘The Henderson.’ It’s the perfect combination of comfort and formality. At first I chose an english roll arm with a more standard back but then I felt like we were missing an opportunity to do something more beautiful. So the combination of the tufted back, rolled arms, but that deep comfortable seat is perfect.
I’ll take some photos of it without pillows from all angles so you can really see it and give you the full story on where, when, why, how much, etc. We couldn’t be happier with it and we’ll have it forever.
When I first saw that chaise on Jayson Home’s site my inner grandma (who is VERY strong and VERY bossy) insisted it be ours. Our house is old, covered in ivy, in an English style, and it wanted and needed at least one piece of furniture that felt old-world Europe. But that kind of thing can go badly – bad pattern, too much ornate detailing, or just overall old and ugly. I felt that this chaise was perfect because it is just one color (a beautiful sage) and has aged so beautifully, without a lot of rips and tears. When combining 100 year old pieces with more modern ones it’s my opinion that there should still be something fresh and simple about them to mix it more seamlessly. Had this been an insane pattern or more carving/tufting it could have looked silly, but it’s simple enough to work here.
Birdie and I read in this corner every day (fun fact – the bottom two shelves are typically full of kids books, and a huge bin of kids books usually lives under that demilune). We snuggle, read, and I chant to myself over and over ‘why don’t more people opt for Chaise lounges???’ I think it’s because they don’t know how to pronounce it (neither do I), but I’m telling you – if you have a place for it, opt for one over a chair and ottoman. It feels so luxurious and they truly are so comfortable.
That demilune was a Craiglist find for $100 but it was mohogany and super red.We tried to refinish but our guy said that it would always be red, so we painted it. I need to try and find the exact paint color for you, sorry!! I love a demilune and like chaise lounges find them totally underrated. Maybe I should paint my entry dresser that color? Yes, I probably will.
On the opposite side of the room is our vintage piano. Now I LOVE this piano, visually, but I will go ahead and say that it doesn’t have the softest sound. Clearly how it sounded wasn’t a priority to us when we bought it, but it should have been. We are going to try to muffle it a bit with some insulation where the mesh is. Regardless I love it. That chair, while stunning (a vintage Paul McCobb from County Ltd.) is absolutely impractical and we are still on the hunt for a bench so I can properly play this lady and teach my kids.
Any and all tips on how to teach piano to young kids, without adding another battle to fight, would be much appreciated.
Speaking of music, I bought that antique record player at the flea market and it is terribly fun (and EXTREMELY LOUD). You know the phrase ‘put a sock in it?’ Well, that’s from those because the only way to adjust the volume is to shove tube socks in it (or other thick fabric-type stuff).
Lastly our french provincial cabinet that I bought at RoundTop and love deeply. A piece of collage art by Krill Bergart is above it which helps modernize it. The classic Circa Sconce is one that I have loved FOREVER and it is the only one I considered for our house. It’s classic with an edge and totally timeless if you have a more traditional style house.
I wish I hadn’t put the photo of Brian and I there or the big plant because it blocks the art and that could have been a more minimal moment.
The window treatments are from Calico and are just beautiful, with the hardware from The Antique Drapery Rod Company (which supplies to Calico). Deciding between roman shades and curtains (and ultimately choosing both) was a hard decision because of a million tiny things that I’ll tell you about later in a whole post about window treatments, but suffice to say I love them so much.
Am I happy with the room? YES. I truly love it. However … I still want it to be more neutral and calm. I love that rug, sure, but I would rather it be a cooler tone so it feels more visually relaxing. It’s by far the most kid-friendly rug ever (and I have a 2″ memory foam pad underneath so it’s so kushy) so replacing it with something less busy and colorful is hard to do as a mom. But I think I’ve found one (or two). I’m debating between this one and this one, both 11×14. While they are expensive, by the time you get into rugs bigger than 9×12 it’s hard to find anything amazing for cheaper. I’ve scoured ebay, craigslist and etsy every day for 8 months for something vintage. And I found my dream rug from Restoration Hardware but it’s $10k which is just insane (and no, they wouldn’t give a press discount which I thought was odd, considering it was going to be in a magazine). A dark solid isn’t an option because the sofa is really dark, and a light solid is a bad idea for obvious reasons. So one that has a texture and pattern but not too busy and not light but not dark was needed. I used that Dash and Albert rug at the lake project and we all LOVED it in person. It’s so cozy and yet the small pattern is busy enough to withstand most of my kids. I also may have to resign myself to the fact that I’ll have to spend $250 every year or so to clean them. I’m not a perfectionist, truly, but if something keeps nagging me every day, then it’s worth at least exploring the options.
I also bought a piece of modern art to go above the fireplace. Don’t worry, we’ll do a side by side and see which you like more. As much as I love this room, and truly I do, I need to see if I’ll like it more if it were slightly more neutral and had more of a modern edge.
There she is, folks. I’d love to hear what you think and what you’d change if you were in charge of my life (p.s. I would also get rid of that plant next to the fireplace as it feels a bit suburban or something).
If you are interested in this look, here you go 🙂
1. Fiddle Leaf Fig | 2. Woven Fringe Basket (similar) | 3. Sofa | 4. Club Chair | 5. Blue Stripe Throw | 6. Black Table Lamp (similar) | 7. Rug (similar) | 8. Coffee Table | 9. Chest (similar) | 10. Lumbar Pillow | 11. Sun & Moon Pillow | 12. Cream Throw | 13. Linework Pillow | 14. Bud Vase (similar) | 15. Cream Vase | 16. Black Tray | 17. Landscape Painting | 18. Side Table (similar) | 19. Brass Task Lamp (similar) | 20. Ceramic Eye | 21. Woven Pillow | 22. Blue Pillow | 23. Spring Pillow | 24. Glass Table Lamp | 25. Blue Stripe Dish | 26. Matches Holder (similar) | 27. Phonograph (similar) | 28. Vintage LA Map (similar) | 29. Chaise (similar) | 30. Blue Throw (similar) | 31. Credenza | 32. Wall Sconce | 33. Blue Console Table (similar) | 34. Blue Basket (similar) | 35. Cream Stripe Pillow | 36. Abstract Art (similar) | 37. Black Farmhouse Chair (similar) | 38. Black Tall Vase (similar) | 39. Bowl (similar) | 40. Oil Portrait Painting (similar) | 41. Roman Shade & Drapery Custom (Calico Corners) | 42. Floor Lamp | 43. White Vase (similar) | 44. Wood Frame Stand (similar) | 45. Blue Table Lamp | 46. Bells | 47. Black Vase (similar) | 48. Blue Sideboard (similar) | 49. Wall Paint Color | 50. Herringbone Flooring | 51. Black Chair (similar) | 52. Sheepskin | 53. Piano (similar)
Thanks to Real Simple for the shoot and for Target for coordinating it.
***Photos by Tessa Neustadt