Article Line Long1

“Rejuvenating” My Friend’s Living And Dining Rooms – My Next No-Reno Project:)

When one of your best friends in the world has a problem (a new beautiful house with old starter furniture) and you have the skills to solve it, it’s simply too painful to let them suffer for long. Add in the fact that you have kids of very different ages (thus fewer family hangs than you want) and two very demanding jobs (allowing for almost zero weeknight social time). It’s then you realize that maybe the excuse to hang is needed. So now I get to carve out time to hang with Robs and call it work. Backstory – Robyn and I have been best friends since 6th grade and have stayed super close when I lived in New York and LA along with a couple of my other childhood best friends (shout out to Megs and Nic). They are one of the main reasons I wanted to move back to Oregon. Y’all, if they say that the quality of your life is measured by the quality of your relationships, then I have an extremely high-quality life because of these three. If there is anything I could wish for our kids is lifelong deep friendships like Brian and I have with our respective cohorts – my goodness is it both uplifting and grounding to grow into adults and parents with people who knew you during puberty:)

That’s Robs and I 8 years ago when she secretly came down for a Gold Peak Tea ad campaign that was, you know, centered on making memories with loved ones, looking at childhood photos, while drinking iced tea! (one of those “my job is both hilarious and oh-so-fun” days). Last year we finished Robyn’s basement, mudroom, new bathroom, and teen son’s room with the lead design by Priscilla Frost (I moved up when they were 1/2 way done so I mostly just styled and helped get some furniture partnerships for the project, Priscilla handled the renovation). But Priscilla has taken a full-time position (and this current project is just decoration, not renovation), so I felt like I could handle the design work. I mean, I do have a shopping addiction but need nothing for our home so I’ve been able to direct that Saturday morning energy somewhere productive:) In case you are wondering (because everyone asks), no I don’t feel comfortable charging my friends for my design time, but they don’t feel comfortable not paying so we usually land where they cover my team’s time for design assistance and photography/videography and I hope to make money from the ads on the blog post and possibly partnerships should I pitch the project out). But it’s not about money, it’s about having fun with my best friend while getting to do my job, so I consider myself highly lucky. Let’s get into it:

The Living Room

So here’s what we got. Great bones in a vintage house full of old starter furniture (nothing wrong with starter furniture but check out that sun fading on the back of the loveseat on the far right of the photo!!). Robyn has a huge job at Nike and has worked her ass off for decades climbing the corporate ladder in what used to be a pretty dude-bro environment. She wanted a home that reflected her and her family’s current design style and I wanted to give that to her/them. She, like most people I know, wants to love their home more but doesn’t have the time to dedicate to decorating, doesn’t know where to start, and doesn’t have an unlimited budget after moving and upgrading the home (and saving for kid’s colleges). She was just so bummed to walk into her new house that she loves and be disappointed with her 15-year-old $300 sofa set (it worked way better in her old home). She suffered from the ubiquitous “I just want things to be better, but I don’t know how I’ll ever do it” ailment. I got you Robs!!!

Here’s the plan:

  1. Paint either walls or bookshelves/fireplace (currently planning on bookshelves and fireplace). Maybe both but if we don’t have to then GREAT, which saves on labor.
  2. New higher quality, heirloom furniture that works for her family of four (two teen boys) and their pup.
  3. New window treatments (they love the function of these so this will be a whole blog post about how we are giving them the same level of privacy and ease of the shutters, but just not those shutters which feel far too coastal and won’t fit the vibe when we are done).

See how they stick out so far when they are open? We still haven’t figured out what we are going to do, but I’m pushing to ditch the shutters (I like interior shutters at times, for sure).

The living room needs to function as a casual TV room at night, (they have a basement TV teen hang space), so they want this to be comfortable enough but more elevated than a “TV room” (the combination we all want, right?).

It’s also a pass-through living room (not my favorite layout, which I consistently seem to own) so we need to make sure that the layout flows well. There really is only one way to lay it out (main sofa against that wall) so that part is pretty easy.

The Dining Room

In the dining room, they have a really beautiful heirloom table that we are definitely keeping. But the rug will go elsewhere in the house and we are replacing and donating the chandelier (and lowering the new one a few inches). We are hoping to wallpaper in here and ideally leave the built-ins and window trims the creamy white (replacing hardware).

The view out the window is so pretty (you can see Mount Hood) and full of trees so we don’t plan on window treatments in here. The natural light is wonderful so it can handle a deeper color (and/or wallpaper) on the walls. I’m VERY EXCITED.

So What Is The Vibe?

We are going for a cozy and modern library/lodge vibe. It needs color, pattern, texture – all the things – and we want it to feel collected and more historic. Ryan loves deep, even bold colors (blues, greens, and burgundies) while Robyn loves things to be a bit lighter and more calming – blues, greens, and a slightly more curated color palette.

So here’s how it all went down. I have a beautiful leather tufted sofa and two cream swivel chairs – all from Rejuvenation that I couldn’t find the right space for in our home. I was hoarding them because they are awesome and I knew I would find a space for them eventually. They were in storage and I was not only feeling guilty about just hoarding them, but feared that they would get damaged. Since they were all three from Rejuvenation and the lighting that we had already thought about buying was from Rejuvenation, we figured this would be a good pitch to maybe swing a deal. All our partnerships are negotiated individually based on many many things, and for this one, I pitched something that made it a win both for Robyn/Ryan and for Rejuvenation (and I love working with Rejuvenation, love their furniture and lighting and figured that it would not only speed up the project but allow for us to make a better room, which is a win for EHD). Most importantly it just felt appropriate in this home, Rejuvenation is local to Portland and I knew that I could combine their heirloom quality furniture to give that collected yet historic vibe that we were going for.

photo by kaitlin green

Leather Sofa | Swivel Chairs

Here’s Where We Are Headed

This is the rough living room mood board…

and this one is for the dining room.

Now some of this might change, but here is what have selected thus far. Robyn, Ryan, and I went to Rejuvenation on a Saturday for a few hours and looked at every single thing. I got a great sense of what they loved, so afterward I pulled together a plan that I felt confident could work harmoniously. Honestly, because you can customize their pieces so much (more than many other larger brands of their scale) it’s much much much easier to make it look collected and not like a catalog.

Now I know that a sponsored makeover with almost all furniture from the same store might not be relatable to most of you (perhaps not at all) but a lot of the design decisions and problems to solve hopefully will be (like what to do about those shutters, how to choose pieces that “look” collected over time even if they aren’t). Honestly, we all feel so lucky and grateful that we get to do this here together. Ryan is super handy so Brian is getting a buddy to help him build the alpaca shelter this summer 🙂 See? Win/win! Cheers for designing with friends and calling it work:)

More to come soon. xx

0 0 votes
Article Rating


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jen A
2 months ago

Pleeeeaaase don’t paint the book shelves and fireplace! They look SO GOOD already and once you have furniture, rugs, styling, wallpaper (love the Morris print!) in the dining room this will be such a welcome look with all of the rest of the decor. LOVE the fireplace and bookshelves as they are. Vote to keep!

2 months ago
Reply to  Jen A

I mean, they’re already painted, and it’s just plain white. It wouldn’t be a tragedy to just swap paint for paint – it’s not like she’s covering up some beautiful raw wood! They can always paint it back to white. That said, I agree that with all the other additions, it could be enough going on in there already.

Nancy Fiskum
2 months ago
Reply to  MBJ

Is the living room paint for walls or mantel and bookcases? I would love to see it on the walls. keeping the woodwork white (or a lot lighter than the wall color) so it flows to the dining room. I love that wallpaper in all of its colorways!

2 months ago

Im very excited about this one! In the dining room reveal I’d love to hear tips on how to match a patterned wallpaper and patterned rug, like Emily is suggesting here, particularly with busy oriental rug designs.

2 months ago

Love it! And love the idea of centering friendships and even moving to be closer to friends!

2 months ago

That’s a million dollar view!! I love to see friends helping friends 🙌🏻

Cici Haus
2 months ago

Love the way you’re approaching this and can’t wait to see the results! Can you share a budget as if you bought everything new at the end? Sometimes I balk at a $5000 sofa, but $15k to completely renovate and furnish two living spaces feels reasonable

2 months ago

How fun to work with friends and what a beautiful home to do it in. Can’t wait to see how it develops.
Personally, the shutters read traditional, not coastal, and I like them. I don’t understand the concern about them sticking out into the room – who opens up shutters like that anyway, especially since they’re facing the street?
If you’re keeping the creamy color on the trim and built-ins in the dining room, seems like it would be more cohesive to do the same with the fireplace and living room built-ins and paint the walls in a color from the wallpaper.

Colleen K
2 months ago
Reply to  sheila

I like the shutters too.

2 months ago

We took out our interior shutters for the same reason!! They just take up so much space when they are open, which was almost always for us. I felt like it was a controversial decision but we have never regretted getting rid of them!

2 months ago

Looking forward to the reveal! I also have many friends from primary and high school so understand the connection.
Could you please explain a bit more why you are changing the things you are changing? Shutters are very popular where I live and considered classic rather than coastal so interested to know why you think they are coastal. Also the light in the dining room looks very similar to the proposed new one. Understanding those nuances would be really helpful when we get to see the rooms!!

2 months ago
Reply to  Sally

Yes, I was wondering about that chandelier too! Why change it to something so similar? The colors would work with the new vibe.

2 months ago

On the burning questions of the day, I vote Emily all the way: paint the fireplace and shelves, the white won’t shake the early-2000s-pottery-barn vibes of the space, and since it’s painted already, they can always go back if they get bored of color; definitely remove the shutters, you need as much light as possible in this long space that now feels enclosed, and shutters have no place in the english style that seems to inspire your new direction.
The english style makes so much sense given the overall style of the house and your friends’ traditional inclinations. The moodboards do look a little “safe” at this stage – all iterms work really well together but I can’t see the wow factor yet (apart from the wallpaper). May be you need more metal (the coffee table in the living room perhaps?) Or a darker paint color for something to add a little intensity to the color scheme? But may be you’re planning to bring these on through the accessories. I can’t wait to see the final result, it looks so cohesive!

Colleen K
2 months ago
Reply to  sg5785

I’m in London right now and I’m seeing shutters around. Maybe more of a colonial vibe, but definitely traditional, and I like how they look in this space. But if Emily’s friend doesn’t like them, then they should go.

2 months ago

What a beautiful home! I’ve loved that sofa since the moment I saw it in your current living room layout posts, Emily. I’m really excited to see you use it here. Looking forward to this one!

2 months ago

Can I have their old dining room chandelier? 🙂

2 months ago
Reply to  Jeanne

Looks like the Classic Ring chandelier from Visual Comfort. The living room chandelier looks original to the home. If it’s removed, I hope it is stored in the basement, clearly labeled, for the next homeowner.

2 months ago

I would be very tempted to try switching the dining room and living room, get a great view for the living room plus sunlight to laze around in, maybe, and make the dining room the pass through room…

2 months ago
Reply to  Jen

Such a good idea. But the DR looks a good bit smaller so they may not want to make the switch. But I love your thinking on this. I live in a traditional ranch, and when we moved in we made the original (very small) DR an office and turned the formal living room into a dining room. Best decision ever. We gained an office that I’ve used every day since and saved a ton of $ not buying living room furniture that we would have used about 2x/year.

2 months ago

I had shutters in my early 1900s home growing up so agree they can read traditional – but they make a room so much heavier and darker. I’m definitely on Team Get Rid of the Shutters.

2 months ago
Reply to  Hilary

Especially in the PNW. I’d be eager to bring in all the natural light possible!

2 months ago

Can’t wait to see what you do! That living room design is so common. We have it – curious where the tv will go.

2 months ago

It looks like it will be soo pretty! Lucky Robyn! Have you maybe considered tiling around the fireplace and perhaps on top of the built-ins with some tonal green tile? If the budget allows of course, but that’s a relatively small job and would be so cool!

2 months ago

Happy you are happy! 🙂 It is already a beautiful home & sounds like a win-win for all! I have to admit, as a longtime reader, I do miss the days of client projects with actual hardline budgets.  There was so much to be learned from the “limitations” a budget creates…like what is prioritized in a refresh/remodel when there is a definitive number attached or how do you design around existing features/items while still incorporating them in a creative, cohesive way?  
With a sponsored project, it’s pretty standard to see all new furniture, rugs, lighting, hardware, window/wall treatments… I suppose because “why not?” But I do wonder how this affects you creatively and also how it makes you view priorities in a space differently, if at all? For example, would replacing the shutters even have made the list seeing that they are custom, transitional & seem to work well for the family?  

2 months ago
Reply to  Lea

I very much relate to this comment. I think it is why I enjoy seeing the team’s makeovers so much. I really really love them. While there is still lots of sponsored items, they are much more limited by budget and I find them highly creative, inspirational vs aspirational (not to say I don’t enjoy looking at aspirational pics too – time and place) and more directly applicable to my own projects. Ditto Velinda’s projects which surface from time to time.

2 months ago

Any chance you’ll post the dimensions of the living room? This looks like the literal exact size and house lauout of my living room (1915 Laurelhurst) and wondering how much I can mimic 😊 thank you !!!

2 months ago
Reply to  Gina

I realize now that you’re saying “I have a house from 1915 in the Laurelhurst neighborhood”, but I read this as you writing out your address and was like “GIRL! DELETE! This is on the internet, you know!!!” Hahaha!

2 months ago

I think non geometrical oriental rugs are the best rugs in the world. You never have to clean them, they keep your house warm, and they go very well with everything (except sofas with classic pattern upholstery). You don´t even have to match the colors with anything, although if you do it is better. The older they get the more pretty they become.
This does not apply to kilims, which are dirty and difficult to clean.
There are very good and affordable imitations now, although they cannot hide stains as well as wool oriental rugs.

2 months ago

I was meaning geometrical oriental rugs, sorry

1 month ago

So excited for this! I know I’m in the minority but I lived in London for years and love their traditional shutters with dramatic wallpaper! I don’t think they look coastal. Plantation shutters read coastal.