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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Bowser
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If you’re here today, that either means you stopped by the blog yesterday to read the “intro” to today’s post or you’re like “who’s this lady and her two cats?” To answer the new faces, I’m Emily Bowser, lead stylist at EHD and this is my living room. If you already knew that, hello again…

We’re back new and improved! No more holes. No more rain falling into my home. Time to make these rooms feel finished. I mentioned yesterday that my old furniture fit pretty well into this space which made it low on the totem pole in the matter of importance when it came to spending any “extra” cash (what’s that??). Add that to the fact that less than a year after going $80,000 over budget in renovations that I had to drop another $20,000 and then 6 months after that an ADDITIONAL $20,000 on the back house, but that’s another story for yet another post. Point is, I had bigger fish to fry. Fish that came in the form of a crumbling foundation, or foundationS in my case. Two houses. Le sigh. That said, we also spend 99% of our time in this space so of course, the stylist in me had been day-dreaming about improving upon our situation although my wallet disagreed. 

Here’s a reminder of where we started (or at least, where we left off before the real “after”):

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These were my (not so) major issues in terms of decor:

  • Replace my 10-year-old couch that had lived through quite a few kitty fosters and had a bum leg
  • Create storage…but make it fashion. We’ve been over this but we have almost no storage other than our clothes closet and need to sneak it in wherever possible.
  • Figure out window coverings. Huge windows: YES, walking around naked: NO.
  • Get/make art for above couch that actually fills the space
  • Replace sconces on couch wall (current ones are too high for the art)
  • New rug? Clearly great minds think alike. I didn’t hate my Beni rug but I didn’t want to feel like my living room was too similar to Brady’s.
  • Maximize seating in the 56-square-foot dining space that is also a walk through to the kitchen (but more on that later today because the morning is just for the living room…come back after 11 am PT for the dining room!)

Enter: MOTO (Makeover Takeover). You all know this, but there are some serious upsides to working for Emily Henderson. One of the major ones is when you’ve spent over $200,000 renovating 1,300 square feet TOTAL, you can get a little help furnishing it through collaborations with amazing companies that appreciate the styled photos and press. I’ve talked about this before in the comments but would like to make it exceedingly clear here: I do not consider MOTO collabs “free stuff.” Here’s the breakdown: We do not work on these projects on work time. I have worked for Emily for three years and up until the day before we shot the space I was still putting finishing touches on it. In my “free time,” I am planning out, designing, sourcing, spending money so the room doesn’t literally collapse, emailing companies, finding/buying vintage items to keep the space interesting, designing, buying supplies and building DIYs, and finally styling the space to camera. This is to the benefit of Emily’s blog (which in turn pays a lot of people’s salaries) AND the companies involved. I know this is not an opportunity most people have, and I do not take any of it for granted, but it is WORK (though luckily, work I enjoy).

Big plus: In the end, I have a finished space that would have probably taken me an additional three years. Let’s get into the improvements, starting with…

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One more shoutout to that show-stopping handmade pendant by The Maison Craft.

Shop the Look: Pendant | Rug via Lulu and Georgia | Sofa via Article | Long Sconces via Schoolhouse | Short Sconce | Floor Lamp via Article | Credenza | Roman Shades via Barn & Willow | Frames via Framebridge | White Blanket | Ribbed White Vase | Black & White Boxes | (Everything else either vintage or no longer available)

The Rug

In my opinion, Beni rugs are classic. They had a huge comeback in 2015 but like white subway tiles, they never really go out of style. Brady clearly agrees and look how sleek and stylish he is!! (XO Brady). My job is to create content that is new and exciting though and Brady’s gorge living room has been on the blog multiple times over the years, so even though I would not have replaced it in other circumstances, I wanted Brady’s room to be his, and mine to be mine, if that makes sense?

I gave my rug to a friend (for free, because karma) and went on a hunt for the perfect replacement. The problem was I was really happy with the graphic, light and cozy aspect of my old rug and even though I found a lot of rugs I liked, none were comparing. Enter this rug, from Lulu and Georgia. I had pinned it over a year ago, but I was concerned because it read more gray than my former rug but it was cozy and graphic. That’s 2 out of 3. “Done is better than perfect” was ringing in my ears this particular week (the week I was making myself finish my bedroom MOTO) and I pulled the trigger. I reached out to Lulu and Georgia who is always SO lovely to work with (really, I can’t say enough good things about their team) sent it out right away! So fast in fact that I was like, “Sh*T I gotta finish this room!” 

The gray wasn’t too gray at all and actually just made it even more livable. You may be surprised to hear this, but I didn’t have too much of an issue with a white carpet. However, the area where your feet sit next to the carpet was definitely darker even in our (mostly) shoe-free home (dust, etc., from the wood floors I assume) but this rug has just the right about of gray all over that you don’t notice wear at all. It also doesn’t shed nearly as much as our old rug.

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The Sofa

When Andrew and I first got married and lived in a very small apt (2009 and 2010), we were so poor that we couldn’t afford a couch and we would just sit in our bed and watch Netflix on my laptop. This was about the same time I started following Emily and began to become interested in interior design. I remember taking screenshots of furniture I liked—this was before Pinterest—and arranging it on my desktop. One of those pieces was our well-loved couch that we eventually scraped enough money together to buy from Macy’s during a sale. That couch moved three times and lived through quite a few cats, including neighbor cats that would sneak into our apartment and sleep on it. I threw out on my Insta stories that I was giving it away, with all its bumps and bruises it’s still usable for sure, and our former neighbor (who owned the three cats that liked to break in) took it! CATSSSS.

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I had a hard time deciding on a new couch. Our former couch was the perfect size and scale for the room so the pickings were slim. Most of the sofas that fit perfectly also looked pretty much exactly like our old one, which seemed a little boring, especially because I wanted it to be charcoal again so in that way it was already going to be similar. I played with the idea of a color and/or pattern but ultimately didn’t find anything that I liked that worked well with our burnt orange velvet chair or the pattern already in the rug. I loved the Quadra by Article but was nervous about the high arms, particularly on the side that was closest to the theater chairs and it generally feeling heavier than what was there. For three days I made my husband live with our old sofa in the middle of the entry/walkway so I could stare at a charcoal blanket that was painter taped to the wall and benches holding it up on the side.

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Luckily I was right, it worked! Let me tell you everything I love about this sofa:

1. The shape is cool and edgy JUST LIKE ME.

2. The high arms make for perfect corner leaning.

3. The wide flat back is basically a desk.

As I type this, I am sitting with my back against the arm, legs reclined on the couch, laptop on the back. It makes for VERY comfortable typing. Also, my cats like to lay behind us while we are watching Survivor and I can turn around easily and kiss their sweet little faces. The Quadra is a modular couch that comes in a few different shapes so you can reconfigure to your liking. We simply got the left and right arm module and put them together to make a normal couch shape. If I had the space, I would have loved to have the chaise module. Just FYI, it’s a firmer couch (my personal preference) and we have the “carbon gray” although it also comes in taupe.

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Article also sent through the task lamp in the corner and a secret side table. This lamp has been a staple at EHD for a while now and for good reason: it’s effortlessly cool. It was the exact size and shape I needed and has a small footprint so I could fit it and their slim side table in the very small space between the couch and wall. You could write (and in fact I think we DID) a whole blog post on lighting layering. I had the sconces, the overhead pendant, 2 ambient lights and I wanted a directional one, as well. ALL THE LIGHTS FOR ME!! 

The super-secret slim side table (a name I really think Article should consider) in matte walnut is one of my favorite things because I love a multi-use piece of furniture. It fits in the smallest of places and has compartments, including an area for cords to live and if you know me you know I love hidden cords. Inside the back compartment, I have this power strip and everything, including a dimmer for the lamp, is plugged into it. DIMMERS FOR PRESIDENT.

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Speaking of side tables, it’s kind of too dark to see, but my Nintendo Switch lives on the bottom right of that side table (vintage) and sometimes it’s a little aggressive for my laptop cord to reach over Andrew (MY side of the couch is clearly the Nintendo Switch side) so it’s good to have a phone charger and outlet on this side, as well. I bought these gray extra long iPhone cords and they blend in so much with the couch that we leave them out and just tuck them into the side of the couch so they don’t fall on the ground and get lost or trip someone.

The Art & Sconces

Guys. Did you notice…I have new art above my couch? I owned the frames from a Framebridge shoot I worked on with another stylist (HI Cat Dash) quite a while ago. Ever have this photo come up in your Pinterest feed:

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I took that triptych home and had it on my wall with those printed from a home printer basic photos for…over a year? The frames fit nicely though so I had a genius idea. GENIUS. I went back and forth on whether to admit this BUT COME ON HAVE I EVER IN THREE WHOLE BLOG POSTS HIDDEN ONE THING FROM YOU?? But really, have I? Julie, Velinda and I (YES, I’m outting the two of you, as well) may have had a litttttle bit too much wine one night and made collaborative art. As in, we each contributed to each piece in some way. We were SCREAMING because of how awesome we thought we were and you know what, I’m going to go on continuing to believe that we would have fooled ALL OF YOU. Whatever, it was a very fun night with friends that I have enjoyed working with (and enjoy getting a little tipsy and making art with even more) and now it’s mine to keep FOREVER. Or until I get sick of it…BUT WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE THIS BLOG POST.

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The sconces, which frame our beautiful and genius art, were another thing I needed to address. I mentioned yesterday that the ones I had were way too high for any art I put above the couch. It always bothered me but now with the new couch, it was a good three inches lower than the last couch, and I knew that would really put me over the edge. The reason they were placed where they were on the wall was to match the existing three on the other walls that were original to the house. I found these sconces on Schoolhouse and I emailed them and said, “would it be weird if I installed them upside down?” They were like, “no Emily, also, that’s kinda your job to figure out stop emailing us we are a huge company with lots of things to do.” Okay, they didn’t say that but they probably should have.

In reality, I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t think it was weird to do that to their product. I had already done the very techy thing of taking a screenshot on my phone and using the edit feature to flip it and then staring at it for 10 minutes thinking “is that weird?”…then decided it wasn’t. It actually had the exact effect I was hoping for, it brought the light visually lower without having to move the junction box, but with the circle at the top, it’s also technically still as high as the other sconces! It’s like I’m a designer guys.

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The Credenza

Let’s about-face and check out the other side of the room. It took a while, but we found a credenza that was low enough to fit under our super low and large window (peep those Barn and Willow Roman shades, too. THIS IS ADULTING). It’s from CB2 and I definitely bought it in the short period of time where we felt we were climbing out of financial ruin. The dream was to have two of them directly next to each other so that the second continued underneath the TV, behind the Eames-style chair. It would give a good effect with the added bonus of even more storage but ALAS, it’s not in the budget at the moment. The one we do own holds our records (record player sits on it, with Puck’s special basket—and usually him, as well—on top), part of my extensive vase collection, more Nintendo Switch gadgets, our printer and printer paper. To the side of the credenza, there’s a small basket that holds all of Daffy’s wine corks and Puck’s toys.

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My $100 Craigslist Eames-style lounge chair is my unfinished pride and joy. I reupholstered this thing years and years ago (fabric look familiar? It’s the same as my DIY headboard!) but I’ve never gotten around to putting the piping on it because it seemed boring but let this be a lesson: if you don’t do the boring stuff early on, you’ll never do the boring stuff.

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The TV & Eames(ish) Chair

The function of this piece is that it swivels. I never want a TV to feel front and center and until Samsung Frame prices go down, or a mysterious check arrives in the mail or an anonymous Venmo comes through or cold hard cash lands on my doorstep (I will leave my address in the comments…), I will straight up put a chair in front of my black box and call it a day. When we watch TV, the chair swivels to the side and the TV is on a crank so that we can angle it towards the couch…like this: 

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My final and most important piece of furniture to talk about when it comes to function is the wanna-be sink turned entryway piece.

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Dog art by my (then) 7-year-old cousin Addison of my family dog, Olivia.

The Would-Be Bathroom Cabinet (That is Now My Entry Table)

This piece of furniture I would say is the hub of our home. It’s our landing pad, everything in pockets gets thrown in the tray (think wallets, receipts, sunglasses). The top drawer is our “junk” drawer. Scissors, pens, batteries, measuring tape, box cutters, lighters, misc screws and keys that seem scary to throw out (where did they come from??) checks, stamps, etc etc. The next drawer down is where every cord that isn’t plugged into a socket already is put, along with rechargeable travel batteries. Third drawer has a divider in the middle, on the left side, I put all the mail and bills I need to deal with and paperwork I need to file, on the right are all my extra candles and incense. The bottom drawer has stationery, office/art supplies. You might have also noticed the very chic cat scratcher. It’s from Mountain Pet Products and it’s so cute and useful, I swear it’s why my furniture isn’t entirely torn to shreds.

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And thus rounds out the living room. IT’S CURRENTLY 3:30 AM AND I COULD KEEP TALKING EXCEPT I’M DAYS LATE GETTING THIS POST TO ARLYN SO I NEED TO STOP WRITING. I do need to be up at 6 am so for you design nerds (come on, if you made it this far, you are a straight-up NERD), let’s talk more in the comments, after I shut my eyes for a sec. BRB…AND COME BACK THIS AFTERNOON FOR MY DINING ROOM. See you there.

***UPDATE: THE DINING ROOM REVEAL IS UP. CLICK HERE TO SEE IT

***Photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp, design and styling by Emily Bowser

Don’t miss other posts in this series:

Makeover Takeover: An Intro to Emily Bowser’s (Crumbling) Living & Dining Rooms | MOTO Intro: How EHD Stylist Emily Bowser Tackled Her Awkward Master Bedroom | MOTO Reveal: Emily Bowser’s Bedroom “After” is Unrecognizable from the “Before” | DIY How-To: A Step-by-Step for Making Emily B.’s Wrap-Around Velvet Headboard | MOTO Reveal: Emily Bowser’s 32-Square-Foot Bathroom is Packed With Small-Space Hacks | What It Really Costs to Buy an Income Property in LA (& Why I Thought It Was a Good Idea Even After Financial Ruin)

  1. Awesome!!!!

  2. Love the couch – the fabric has a great color texture. Room feels big and cozy. Upside down sconces for the win

  3. Beautiful! I love it. It’s really an upscaled, updated version of your original room— it looks really authentic and genuine. Thanks for sharing. I love the rust on the chair and that great rust lamp on the vintage chest. Is the little rust table lamp vintage? It’s such a perfect shape and style.

    1. Hi! Nope! It’s from West Elm, and it’s on sale for $70! https://www.westelm.com/products/bella-table-lamp-w3314/?pkey=ctable-lamps&isx=0.0.12615

      I’ve been watching it, too. 🙂

      1. Thank you!!

    2. I love that light so much. I’m really into quite a few lamps West Elm put out this year actually. Emily H had the same on in the loft office at the mountain house but in all white and yes – it’s on sale right now!

  4. I LOVE it! And your voice is amazing…probably my favorite writing out of the whole crew. (Don’t tell the others!)

  5. Beautiful! It looks cozy and warm, but still stylish and interesting. I think you did a great job.

  6. One of my favorite articles here yet. Not that I’ve got a home or understanding of renovating, but the fact that you have a very feasible before, and stunning after makes me happy. I’m in the process of making my apartment feel like home with smart design. I’m also curb shopping for most things, and have spent only $156ish dollars (that includes a couch, coffee table, and a couple pillows.) It looks much smarter than it should, but there’s so much I want to change.

    I also have a beloved chair that will make it to the finish line with me. Thanks for inspiring me.

    1. Yeah, I love vintage to keep things interesting in a space but sourcing vintage is hard, especially if your space is smaller – because the size matters a lot more. It takes a bit longer to get there on a budget and with vintage but in the end I think it’s worth it. Remember there’s: Fast, Cheap and Good and it’s very rare to get 3/3.

      1. “Fast, Cheap and Good and it’s very rare to get 3/3.”

        So, so true!

  7. LOVE the art & sconces above the sofa.

  8. It looks amazing! Also, your cats in these photos are just ❤️❤️❤️ Can’t wait to see the rest! PS tipsy art night sounds like a dream, and I’m texting my girlfriends RIGHT MEOW.

    1. We had so much fun I highly recommend!

  9. So GOOD! Your living room speaks to my little design heart and well, the cats kinda make it that much better (: I am a mama to 3 myself and it was so rad to not only see their cuteness in all the photos but also how you incorporate their needs into your design. I just purchased a money pit of my own and am in the process of finding creative ways to style my small space for my husband + I and our babies and I am so inspired! Thanks so much for sharing…can’t wait to see your dining room. Bring on ALL THE CATS and visual goodness!

    1. UGH. I want a third!

  10. It’s gorgeous. And Emily, your writing straight up makes me laugh out loud. I’m here for the journey.

  11. How does the modular couch stay together? Whenever I see couches like that all I can think of is it slowly sliding apart as I plop down on it.

    1. They make hardware just for this purpose; lots of different styles.

    2. They have an attachment I believe? I actually wasn’t here when they dropped it off and Article workers put it together. Either way i just plopped up and down on it a bunch to test it – it doesn’t come apart.

      1. Updated info from Article! There are hidden alligator clips that you attach each piece together with. Incredibly sturdy – they aren’t going anywhere. You can see them on the Quadra product pages!

  12. OMG – love that couch.
    Cat scratcher is now an Etsy favorite too!
    Thanks for sharing, I love everything about this room.

  13. Ohh totally worth the wait!! Room is amazing thanks for sharing and please keep writing more 🙂
    Cat question: are they allowed to go outside or are they in-house kittens? Thanks!!

    1. I wrote a loooong comment on this in the bedroom post I believe? But short answer: we let them outside during daylight hours. Daffy (white girl) stays in the yard (because she’s not agile enough to get out), Puck does whatever he wants. There’s a BIG risk here that we understand but ultimately have decided it is better for their mental health and try to be as careful as we can to decrease risk.

  14. I love everything about this space and your writing. (you had me at Survivor) This one is in my top three EHD reveals ever!!

    1. aw, thanks! I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT I READ EVERY SINGLE COMMENT AND THEY ALL MEAN A LOT!! XO

  15. I’m just here for the cat content.

  16. I love it! The rug is the bomb, I’ve been eyeing that one too. If only I had an endless rug budget!! The couch is perfect. Tres chic!

  17. I think it looks great, and your writing makes me smile! Love the ‘mistake vanity’ where it found a home. I also feel the same about the Frame TV. I’m admittedly really sad to see the vintage Navajo rug above the couch gone (also the wood frame thing you had for it was FANTASTIC and I covet it), but I get that this wouldn’t be a MOTO without change! 🙂 For my personal taste, in both the before and after, I’m actually hugely distracted by the light fixture, which is lovely, but to me feels like it fits in a completely different, much more modern/glam room (and doesn’t offer much light) – was changing this ever considered?

    1. Thanks! Loved the rug, especially for the colors but it wasn’t big enough and was never going to stay forever, the scale just wasn’t right. If you want it slide into my DMs! @emilyedithbowser :).

      haha I love that light fixture so much which honestly is all the matters but also, it is woven basket and I think has way more of a boho vibe than glam and the black hits are throughout the space. It gives off fine light really and also a cool shadow on the ceiling, BUT the secret to good light is to have like 15 different forms of it in the space haha. I have 5 wall sconces, 2 pendants, a directional light and 2 table/ambient lights. All dimmable!

  18. I love it all! My favorite is the painting of the dog by your cousin. I love special, personal touches like that. And she’s really talented!

    1. Same!! As the mom of a seven-year-old kid who makes art that I think is awesome…wow!! your niece is really good. 🙂

    2. I know! She’s like 17 now because I’ve been married for a decade and clearly is super talented at everything she does

  19. Great job!! How comfortable is the couch? Curious because I’ve been searching for the best modular couch I can find. This one is on my list but am wondering about the low back. 😻

    1. Also, how do the 2 separate sections stay together? Is the back just attached, i.e. it’s not a reversible cushion, right? Thanks for info.

    2. They click together somehow and none of the cushions move. It’s a firm couch, which I prefer. I also use the throw pillows to lounge around, they’re not just for show. I love a corner lean so this couch is perfect for me! I’m 5’7″ and the couch comes right below my shoulder blades which helps me keep my shoulders back for better up-right alignment, if that makes sense?

      1. Updated info from Article! There are hidden alligator clips that you attach each piece together with. Incredibly sturdy – they aren’t going anywhere. You can see them on the Quadra product pages!

  20. Great job! I really love seeing how people work in function and design in limiting spaces. As much as I love Insta house porn, we don’t all live in ginormous open layout homes with room formative sectionals or to full size couches. Reality is, most of us are doing exactly what you are: finding a way to live comfortably, beautifully within budget.

    I also wanted to appreciate your calling out that the work you all do to keep your homes part of the blog content IS work. I think readers can get sparked with envy sometimes, especially when so many bloggers want it all to seem so effortless and easy. But I count myself lucky that no one knows how long I’ve been procrastinating solving design challenges in my spaces.

    I am also very much hoping your home is appreciating and that all of this investment will pay out for you both. Giving a home another 50 years of life is meaningful, but can and should also be financially rewarded (imo). Fingers crossed for the far off future.

    1. I had the same thought about calling out the work. I’m a newish mom and have had to do a lot of work to even acknowledge that what I’m doing (taking care of children, meals, tidying, making nice spaces) is work, because it looks invisible to the uneducated eye. In fact, I accidentally made caring for a newborn look breezy to my husband (who wasn’t nursing, waking up at night, or caring for the baby all day) and I didn’t realize until I overheard him telling someone “taking care of a newborn is easy!” Shocked ghost face emoji! Just because I’m not complaining and I’m enjoying the task does not make it easy! It is some basic feminist stuff I’m still working (and educating my husband on). Thank you for highlighting your hard work.

      1. EVERYONE READ FAIR PLAY!

        Thanks guys. It is work, luckily work I enjoy but I hate that quote that’s like “do work you love and it will never be work” or whatever. THAT IS A LIE. Work is work and usually if you love it, it’s even MORE work because you care.

  21. I wanna see a close up of your art!! And I’m sure you already know this and are just being modest, but you’re not “fooling” anyone into thinking it’s real art. You three are artists and it IS real art. Well done!

  22. Oh my gosh! The art was the thing I honed in on immediately – I can’t believe you guys made it! It’s incredible. But I mean with the talent of your 7-year-old cousin I think artistry may run in your family! The whole room is gorgeous – good work. I think you’re definitely a designer 😉

  23. I was worried after yesterday that I would be sad at the changes in your already really great living room and dining room. But you made it similar but better! Even that peek at the dining room is better. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration! It may be time for a new rug in my living room too. Hmmm.

  24. First of all — you are INCREDIBLE. This room is gorgeous. Second — that portrait of Olivia got me 😭😭😭

  25. My favorite is that rustic entryway table and how you styled it! Gorgeous!

  26. I feel like you guys don’t need to apologize for getting spiff from your job. You work at a design website. TREAT YOSELF! I don’t imagine you are raking in the big bucks so this is a nice perk for working there and it lets us see more modest spaces. Thank you for sharing.

    1. could not agree more! you work hard, your job comes with perks, you are transparent!!! take the spiff and run. or, as you do, take the spiff and work some magic to highlight it in a beautiful space and post about it so we can learn the magic!

      sometimes i see glimmers of a culture where it’s not ok for women to take ownership of their worth… these brands are not gifting items for charity and it’s mutually beneficial…would love to see more comments like “YAS QUEEN” and fewer like ‘must be nice’.

  27. It’s beautiful – perfect!

  28. I. Freaking. Love. It. You got me over here already thinking about rearranging my small apartment living room. Thank you for this. It looks lived in but well curated.

  29. I love this room! It has a very “at-home” vibe but is also interesting and varied. One of my favorite elements is that vintage side table.

    1. $15 CAN YOU BELIEVE. I was so happy because it’s hard to get appropriate scaled side tables for high-armed (is that a word?) sofas. Especially because it had to be pretty slim besides to not block the hallway

  30. So cozy and warm! I actually came for the source of the art so you fooled me, and now i want to drunkingly recreate my own! So thanks for the inspo!

  31. I LOVE it! It’s beautiful. Where is the lamp on the credenza from?!

  32. The new sofa and rug make a huge difference! And I like what you did with the sconces! It’s all great. You have such an eye!

  33. So lovely! I can’t believe (I can actually) you guys made that art. It’s amazing!

  34. You TOTALLY tricked me with your homemade art. It’s giving me major inspo, and I might need more details on how it was done/what materials were used.

    I spy a little squiggle and tiny ladder in the windows! I’m loving all the layers and details in here!

    I love your writing voice, and can’t wait for the dining reveal!

    1. I’m so glad you mentioned the tiny ladder. It’s early, so I thought I was just losing it, but, WHEW! It actually IS a tiny ladder! Hahaha

    2. haha yeah, the ladder is a nod to Emily and her influence in my life. I actually own 3, hoarded somewhere, found them at the flea market after seeing hers years ago way before I worked for her. The squiggle is from the ATL Invitation Homes Project that I worked on primarily with Julie for 10 days where we stayed in a haunted house and shared a bedroom. I like having trinkets around that remind me of good times and to be thankful 🙂

  35. It’s really fantastic! Love all the texture and color. I love your writing and dare say re-read your posts often. Can’t wait to see the dining room this afternoon!

  36. I love this room! Quick question – how are the cats with the rug? I have a cat who loves all rugs, but she has clawed up any jute or fiber rug and on occasion makes it her mission to vom on them as a way to make them hers. I also have a dog with thick, wiry hair. I just moved into a new space with my boyfriend about a month and a half ago and we haven’t been able to find a rug that will withstand shedding and pulling from the babes. Any guidance would be appreciated!

    1. Daffy looooooooves scratching up this rug. LOVES it! But it’s totally fine and unscathed. Purrrfect!

  37. AMAZING! Will you share frame, image opening and mat dimensions? Not to dismiss your artistic skills AT ALL (I too was waiting for the link – I would have clicked) but the proportions knocked it out of the park. Makes me think I may have a diy coming up myself. Thank you and can’t wait to see the dining room.

    PS – I’m a dog person but dang if your fur babies (throughout this series) haven’t made me reflect on what I thought was settled animal kingdom hierarchy. Completely adorable!

    1. This wasn’t a collab with Framebridge, although we’ve worked with them plenty before, but I *think* they will cut the mat however needed.

      If you go to their site there is an option to buy a triptych: https://www.framebridge.com/gallery-walls/the-triptych?color=173 These are in fact the exact ones from that shoot. The opening of this mat is 13.5″x10.5″ and the opening is 4.5″ from the top of the frame. We made the art first and didn’t really think about the opening because I figured we were just going to “float” it on top of the mat but then it kinda looked stupid because it felt like “why in the world is THAT sized art in THAT sized frame??” but the mat was too small for the art. When we realized that part of the “art” could be that some went behind and some went over the mat, we practically lost our minds with giddiness. I’m not lying when I said we were screaming. Wine, as I mentioned, was involved.

  38. Really nice upgrade. The rug and sofa seem to impart much more energy than the previous versions. A tad too defensive about this being work though for this reader’s taste.

  39. Okay, you must explain the tiny ladder on top of the shade on the large window

    1. explained above, but it’s a nod to Emily, she had a bunch. They are birdcage ladders and just fun and graphic for styling with.

  40. Love it all— now I think you need to do a story on your cats! I LOVE them too!

    1. Don’t tempt her Meredith…. 🙂

      1. picture my smug face pls

    2. Another vote for the kitties’ stories! I have three and could talk about them and cat products (we have cat shelves so they can jump on our heads whenever they want…)

  41. I like that the kitties have inserted themselves into most of the photos.

  42. It’s so dope how putting that vase of greenery (faux or real greenery is what I’m wondering) on the coffee table really helps to make your living room feel alive! This is mayhaps one if my fave MOTO! So relatable <3

    1. It’s real and I have NO idea what it is called. I went to the flower market downtown that morning and it’s the first time I recall ever seeing it and now it’s a new fave. ANYONE KNOW? The good thing is it kept for like 2 weeks the bad thing is the cats thought it was a fun game, the GREAT thing is that it was V cute to watch them sit up and bat at it 🙂

  43. I guess I’m a design NERD because I read your entire post. I love it! And you are so funny, I was totally laughing about the sconces and how it was like you were a designer. I love the Eames chair and would have never known you didn’t finish it. Was it pink yesterday though? And so happy you kept the vintage cabinet and am in shock that your SEVEN year old niece painted that dog painting. How old is she now and where can I buy her pieces?

    I have a couch that same color (kind of a steely blueish gray) and have really struggled finding pillows for it that go with the room. I’m probably over thinking it but I’ve bought pillows like 4 times just to return them. Can you share where the pillows are from?

    Can’t wait for afternoon post! I saw a peek into the dining and already loved it! Now get some sleep!

    1. THANK YOU! I’ll convince Addison she needs to open an Etsy shop! She must be 17 now? I think the pillows are linked but the green canvas-y ones are West Elm, the white ones are those ripped edge ones from Target that I haven’t been able to find online but I think you can still find them in store. the stipe one is from the Long Beach Flea Market from a Turkish textile vendor.

  44. I love the collaborative art! Looks cool and has wonderful memories associated with it.

    I also love the mix of high, low, new, old. You found creative storage solutions, and bonus that the dresser bought for the bathroom is the perfect entry piece!

    I know you mentioned in the headboard post that the rust velvet was out of stock, but I was wondering if it was an upholstery weight fabric. What is it made of? Polyester?

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. It is upholstery weight. It’s from Mood Fabrics and MIGHT be available but I can’t remember exactly what it’s called!

      1. Thanks! I’ll check it out.

  45. I love it all!! I love your mix of materials-70’s blingy coffee table, earthy elements, Eames, all of it. The couch texture and color remind me of a hint of chambray which is always cool. I have 2 cats, one twinning with your white one- so I am loving your vibe, personality and style! Hoping to hear more from you on the blog!

  46. I love your design aesthetic and the room…it looks so cozy and comfortable. But I have a question….WHAT is that ladder on your window treatment?? It looks like a doll ladder there, but maybe it has some function???

  47. Another YES for more details on the art – it looks FABULOUS! Loving the genius of turning the sconces! Also sending scritches to the photobombing kittehs.

  48. I love the attainableness of Bowser’s posts AND the kitties. I’d love more pet-friendly ideas for styling and furniture. As the (crazy) owner of 11 house dogs and 1 house cat, my house has to endure a LOT and kid-friendly stuff just isn’t the same. 🙂

  49. Thank you for mentioning that super secret slim side table! We have a mess of cords next to our couch and I never ever considered something like this as a possible solution. Such a little thing but would help tidy up our living room so much. Thank you for this!

    1. Actually, one real question because I also love your rug. When you say ‘sheds less’ what does that mean? We had this rug which I loved: https://www.westelm.com/products/sweater-rug-r717/ but it shed like mad (and also got infested with carpet moths, cool, cool). We have a temporary filler carpet that is okay, but I am still on the lookout for a permanent replacement. I actually really love the rug here but don’t want another rug that sheds all over the house and our clothes.

      1. Like, there’s a few balls of it on the hardwood from time to time but it just doesn’t seem as aggressive as the West Elm one I had. It is a slightly shorter pile so maybe that’s it or maybe it’s just better quality? CARPET MOTHS?? How do I make sure that doesn’t happen?? omg excuse me while I google…

  50. Love, love, LOVE. First of all, I can see the actual fabric color on the Eames-style chair, and it’s NOT the peachy color I thought it was yesterday…it’s a nice, likable burnt orange. Yay! I like it now.

    The rug and sofa are perfect together. I’m happy you kept one of those sconces (the one over the “sink” cabinet), but the other ones fit the space over the sofa better.

    And your cats are ridiculously photogenic.

  51. Okaaaaaaayyyyy! I’m obsessed with your house Emily! This totally sparked a few ideas for my living room that just needs a pick me up (or maybe I need a pick me up? Those are the same things in my life haha! Home design=happiness.) I love your writing. I love your house. I love your cats. Brb I’m coming over.

  52. Question – does Puck not pee on the pile of books?

    It’s beautiful!

    1. haha surprisingly not as he does love peeing on piles!

  53. OK I had to comment. I giggle through every one of your posts, Emily (Bowser)! I feel like you are a kindred spirit. I live in 850 sq ft with two cats (and also two kids), I didn’t even realize the reason water got everywhere when I washed my face was because my sink was so small until your bathroom post of a bathroom that is identical in layout to mine, this quote made me feel so seen: “keys that seem scary to throw out (where did they come from??),” and last but probably most important, I am a HUGE Survivor fan! Like I’ve been watching from day 1 when I was in high school and still can’t get enough. (Really into all the people this season, yeah?) Cherry on top is I looooove your style and literally want to just copy your rooms for my very similar small house.

    Also side note for EHD, MOTOs are honestly some of my favorite posts, so I feel like employees should be able to work on them during the work day? Such a cool perk for your team regardless.

    1. Agreed I love the MOTOS! I was a little surprised this isn’t considered part of their work? Anyways, beautiful room!

  54. Hi Emily, I love how this space turned out for you!! Thanks for walking us through the entire thought process — love to see how you designers’ minds really tick 🙂 I had a question about that beautiful stack of blankets on your vintage theater chairs. Do you have a go-to place to shop for them? Currently on the hunt for a similar stack for the winter. Thanks again for excellent content!

    1. I forgot to mention that stack of blankets! I’ve had them all for awhile but, let’s see… the top one is CB2, the burnt orange is actually H&M home, the black one is a textile from the Flea Market (I used to use it to cover up part of the old couch that was, uh, worse for the wear, ha) the big one at the bottom is a comforter from Target a couple years ago. We grab em when we get cold. The West Elm one on the couch is our go-to though. Daffy and I love it.

  55. I love this space, looks so cozy and personal! Your niece is TALENTED! The art is great. I thought it was from that artist EHD has used before.. I think the Portland project??

    1. Love this site, your voice, what you have done in your space and the cats are killing it, so photogenic,! We have 4 (all rescues). Ordering the cat scratcher!

  56. Love that couch and the rug is dreamy but I don’t think that it would fare very well with my dog.

  57. I can’t find the short sconce with the link provided – can I get more info? Love the post and love Emily Bowser’s voice!

    1. The smaller sconces are from a store in North Hollywood called Practical Props in 2016. They don’t sell much online from what I can tell, if these still exist there they are not online. If you live in the area however, you should stop in. If you want 2 of them you can slide into my DMs (@emilyedithbowser) because I have 2 extra after I replaced the ones next to the art!

  58. This is gorgeous! Big fan of the artwork and the credenza under the windows, and my kingdom for that bathroom cabinet-turned-entry table. It’s stunning, I’ll be pining over it forever.

    I gotta say though… you get free stuff. Yes you have to research, reach out to companies etc, but to be honest, that’s what most of us do anyway. We’re on a design site, we’re interested in design. We scope out potential perfect pieces, we ring companies for information, we do it too. The difference is that you get them for free in exchange for press and photos. I’m not denying that’s work, but you don’t shell out the cash, meaning so much more is available to you. That ArtIcle lamp is gorgeous and I want one, but I will definitely be looking for something similar that’s a cheaper alternative. There’s nothing wrong with any of this (if I was in your position I’d do it too, of course!) but I think you should own the privilege that you enjoy rather than try and deny you don’t get beautiful products for free. You might (and probably will) disagree, but hey, my two cents, I suppose. (And I really do say this in the spirit of generosity and as a fan of this blog! Just looking for more transparency and honesty.)

    1. Thanks so much! I love that piece of furniture. I don’t know if you can tell but there are hooks on the side for bags/hats/ purses. I forgot to mention that. It also has wood dividers in the drawers, the top couple drawers would have had to be taken out if I put a sink in it, so I’m glad I didn’t! It really turned out to be a very usable piece of furniture.

      Thanks for your comment on the business, I LOVE LOVE LOVE talking out the nitty gritty of business, all businesses really, because in an instagram world it can be hard to understand what happens behind the scenes. The more info that is divulged, I think it’s better for everyone’s mental health. Your comment helped me to think through it a bit more and here’s my response:

      I don’t know if I can get more transparent and honest than saying exactly what was bought and what was received as a trade. In fact, I brought it up in the post to do the exact opposite – to be completely and totally transparent. What I was trying to say is, sourcing and designing takes a lot of time, energy and money no matter if you’re a layman or a professional. I would never ever want someone to see an instagram picture and assume that it is not the case. Without the items that were given for trade, I’ve spent over $5000 on these two spaces and I was only able to do that because I’ve been buying/collecting it all over a long period of time. In addition, I’ve spent more time that the average design enthusiast because I have a lot of additional things I have to spend time on (styling to camera, writing, answering comments negotiating with companies, etc etc) and energy on (time restrictions or the pressure of performance, for example).

      The problem with the word “free” is that it neglects to take into consideration the very real business transaction and the value of what my time and energy is doing for the companies. This is my career, my time in this field does = cash, or in this case, things that are worth cash. Privilege is a strange word to use because it makes it sounds like I am getting something I don’t quite deserve. I’ve spent money/time/energy on a space that isn’t just paying MY bills, it’s helping pay other people’s bills too.

      I don’t think we disagree actually, I think broken down this way you probably completely agree with me. It’s more the language around it. No one want to be told that the money they are helping other people make is “free”. The companies clearly don’t think of it this way or they wouldn’t work with us to help bring you beautiful content. Emily doesn’t think this way or she wouldn’t have it on her blog. It is a serious win-win. I am NOT (please, please don’t read it that way) unthankful for the work I get to do, or how I get compensated for it. THIS is my dream job. It is WORK and I very much so enjoy it. It isn’t magic though and it isn’t free.

      SIDE NOTE: if you do find yourself (and I mean anyone reading any of this) thinking that I’m “lucky” or “must be nice” to get what I get for doing what I do I encourage you to think about changing careers. Reason being, if you’re thinking that way (as I definitely did about Brady years ago) it might be because you SHOULD be doing it. If you think it looks fun and easy and your friends comment that you have great style, it’s probably because it does come easier to you than other people. It’s funny, it took a long time for me to realize this was a job because I thought, “well anyone could do that, I’m not special”. Guess what – NOT EVERYONE IS GOOD AT THIS. Some people are brain surgeons and could not put together a room to save their lives (if you are good at both, probably go ahead and stay being a brain surgeon please). I’m just saying, my work is work and definitely not easy in every way, but it’s easy in the way that when I get in a grove it comes out of me and my instincts are good. It’s taken me a long time to realize that what I’m good at has worth, and maybe that’s why I want to talk about this so much. If you’re doubting it does, it just may be because you’re doubting your own skills as I was.

      Seriously, let’s never stop talking about these things, I love being open and honest with you all!! XO

  59. It looks beautiful! You made me laugh so hard that I had to share some of your witty sentences to my husband as I read. I do not have cats but that cat scratcher is so good!

  60. this is so beautiful and an insane combination of modern and vintage. i love your entryway furniture, your side table, those floors, and your flipped sconces. so cozy and inviting! also your cats are amazing.

  61. You’re so funny! I enjoyed reading this.

  62. So many good things! Especially loving that light and really want that rug over the ikea ottoman to be a bolster! xoxo

  63. I love how your cats appear in most of your photos. They are stylin’!!!

  64. I have the couch with the chaise and a couple of added pieces (so as a sectional) in the taupe. It is fantastic!! It is firm, but comfortable, and the deep back provides a useful ledge. Great couch!

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