Sometimes, just when you start to feel pigeonholed the right project comes along and pulls you right out of it. A year and a half ago I had finished a lot of mid-century eclectic projects in a row, which I LOVE, but I also love every other style (the good versions) so I was jones-ing for a change. Luckily Shana came along with her french-antique/spanish/industrial/country dreams, and a beautiful house that was a total blank canvas and I was as excited as a rider-less rodeo bull in a fence-less field. That’s pretty happy.
The only problem? They bought it mid-flip – meaning that the ‘flip’ was already under way and couldn’t be stopped (its complicated). It was going REALLY fast with what you can imagine to be not so beautiful builder grade choices. This house was a BEAUTIFUL 1916 Spanish style house and they were going to turn it into a faux Tuscan RHONJ monster. It’s the stuff you have nightmares about. The buyers (Shana and Brian) had very good taste and wanted an authentic spanish house with modern amenities (how novel, right?) and they didn’t want BS faux aged stone, and in fact, like most of us, were pretty offended by it.
The problem is that (traditional) investors don’t really want the new potential homeowners to really slow down the process of their flip by having opinions. But they did agreed to let them have some say if they hired a designer to help them make good, timely and on-budget decisions. Basically the investor already had a contract with this General Contractor, so they had to finish the house under the original budget and time. By the way this whole thing happened inside of Escrow so it was shaky and weird in general.
So here’s how it went down: they would show us the faux tumbled tile that they were planning on installing in the kitchen, and after we swallowed the bile in our collective mouths, we would say gingerly, ‘Well, maybe we could pick out some comparable tile?’. For the most part they agreed and if we did it fast enough and just covered the budget then they would install our choices. There were many things that weren’t purchased yet but what we wanted went way beyond their budget so we went out-of-pocket. It got tricky at times, for sure, but we all wanted the same thing – a beautiful house and fast.
Meanwhile the situation was even trickier – Shana was in Atlanta directing a feature film while pregnant almost the entire time we were under construction and designing. She wasn’t returning until the film was over, only weeks before her due date. So her house needed to be move-in ready by then. It was a pretty hard out. In a lot of ways this was amazing – she trusted me and I had a lot of freedom, but then of course it was hard to do some things just from pictures and emails so we didn’t finish everything before she got back.
Six months later it was finished and it now looks pretty darn beautiful if I do say so myself. It was a case of the right client, with the right house, with the right budget with the right designer. The bones of the house are BEAUTIFUL, the layout is so great and open. There is so much character in this old house but now its all modernized with 2015 amenities.
So that’s the general background of the project. Geez, that was a post already. Lets get into it, shall we? First up … The Living Room:
When I came in the walls were painted this insane avocado green, probably from the 60’s. The flooring was old, scratched and hadn’t been taken care of, but the wood was good. The living room was easy – just updates on the walls/flooring, add some lighting and we were done. That beautiful window with the stained glass crest was insane, and the beams, not to mention the doorway that you can see in the above grid of photos. But the green made it feel really dark and well, nightmare inducing. Oh that crazy double vanity up there? That was what they were going to put in the master bathroom (because it was left over from another house). Luckily we stopped that.
First things first: picking a paint color. Now, unfortunately this was before my current phase of ‘obsessively take photos of every second of the design process’, so I don’t have the photos of the paint samples. But we tried 8 different colors on top of the primer (not this green) and had some conflicting ideas but ultimately chose the same thing.
We chose Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore, which I was frankly SHOCKED by. Swiss Coffee is the color that so many flippers or landlords use because it’s basically a light beige. But in here it just looked so pretty and light, maybe because we refinished and stained the floors really dark. After painting and refinishing the flooring we got to work on, oh, just everything else.
So as a reminder, when Shana left town it was a big green torn up mess, and when she returned it looked like this – brought to you by my iPhone and NO THESE ARE NOT THE AFTER PHOTOS PLEASE KEEP SCROLLING!!!
This room was to be the more formal living room. We didn’t have any tv’s to deal with this time, thank god. And because of the way it was laid out, we had a great opportunity to do two facing sofas, and we rarely have that opportunity to do that because how often are rooms that big? These two sofas she purchased from Dekor (an LA store that had them made DTLA), they were custom-made but I’m pretty sure they were actually on the more affordable side (like $2K – $2500 each). Shana chose this blue performance velvet because she has two dogs, 2 cats and a toddler (now), so they needed something crazy durable. I actually would have gotten this fabric for myself if I hadn’t already had so many pieces of furniture in velvet.
Shana was an antiques dealer before she got into filmmaking (which makes her sound old but she isn’t – she’s almost my age) so she knew exactly what she wanted and where to get it and didn’t mind splurging on a few things. The Italian chandelier she bought from her friend, an antique dealer Janet Wiebe. And the big shelving unit was from Big Daddy’s.
So, the living room was live-able but not fully styled out. A lot of the accessories were hers, but we supplemented with antiques from the flea market and vintage stores.
We threw in this rug (because I had hoarded it before it was in The Fig House) and we wanted to put something in here for her to come home to. So we kinda just staged this rug for now, knowing it wasn’t exactly right. We looked and looked for an antique rug for her but there were none that we could pull triggers on from afar (because every 10×14 antique beautiful Oushak rug is like $14, 000).
As you can tell Shana had an extensive collection of antique french nudes that were STUNNING. The magazine nixed them as most magazines do because apparently some people in America think that this is pornography (but it isn’t) so just in case they leave it out. But you can see some of them up here and they are pretty darn pretty.
We certainly hadn’t worked out the pillow situation yet. Shana didn’t want to splurge on any pillows because she was afraid that her animals would just ruin them, so in these shots (the progress shots) it’s definitely not ready. The window treatments were by a company similar to Decorview – where they come to you, bring samples, make them and install. We did the whole house (which was probably 10K, but I don’t totally remember) and they are stunning. We chose to do nothing on that beautiful main window because there just didn’t seem like any real solution. They didn’t feel like the privacy was worth the window treatment, especially since this was more of a formal room, not their cozy tv room.
We kept shopping for a rug and ultimately decided to just go for a 10×14 jute rug (I believe this one is from Restoration Hardware). In case you don’t know too much about sisal or jute here’s their deal; they are relatively inexpensive and can go with a ton different styles (I’m not sure which one we got but it could be this one and its $1995). Still a lot for a rug but try to find a nice 10×14 rug for under $3k and I’ll congratulate you. If you find a BEAUTIFUL one for under 5k I’ll hire you. Of course the random beautiful inexpensive antique rugs exist out there, stuffed into thrift stores, antique malls and on Craigslist but if you don’t have years to search then you need to compromise or spend, unfortunately. It looked wildly better than the deco rug. Just lighter, less heavy, more modern, etc.
But we still weren’t done with the project, it was just good enough for them to move into. Shana had her baby, we took a break to let her live in her house, spend time with her newborn and figure out what worked and what didn’t.
Months later, we came in and finished all the loose ends and styled it. We shot it for the book and we took some pretty beautiful shots (these are NOT from the book – those are still top-secret). After shooting I sent the shots from the book to my friend Jami Supsic who was the new style editor at Country Living, and she said that she would LOVE to publish the house, but they’d have to re-shoot because they can’t have the photos of the book. So a few weeks later Country Living came in with their crew and styled and shot these beautiful photos.
P.S. I know that sounds confusing and you are probably asking ‘why didn’t you style it’? The answer is two-fold: a. I was way too busy shooting/styling the book the week of this shoot, but that could have gotten moved I suppose, and b. I had just finished designing the house and then had just styled the whole thing for the book over two days, so styling it again 3 weeks later was hard. I didn’t want to make it better or worse than the book and it couldn’t be exactly the same as the book, obviously. It would be like finally being finished writing a novel and then being asked to write the last two chapters again and make it different without changing it too much. It just felt weird. So I figured that someone else should take over that one.
I wasn’t even able to stop by set, but I got the pictures the next week and was VERY relived at how pretty they were. They were different from how we styled it but not so different that It didn’t look like my work. I even liked a few things more. Once the book comes out I’ll do a side by side so you can see the difference.
Since it’s for a magazine they only took 3 photo of the living room I just cropped in on these photos to show you more information. When I reveal it in the book you’ll get multiple angles, I promise.
Here we are, the French, Spanish, Country Rustic living room of Shana Feste (and her family:)):
Boom. Lets get into it:
We found that kilim and while it isn’t the perfect size for the room, with the sisal underneath grounding the whole seating area. These chesterfields are tricky when it comes to pillows. Part of me things they don’t want pillows or just 2 huge ones and a throw. Elizabeth styled them with a lot of pillows and I really like the one on the right (below). That little drum normally lives somewhere else, but its so darn cute (flea market). The coffee table we purchased at a store in the valley for something pretty cheap, like $250 or something. Shana wasn’t into the cement cowhead thing above the mantel so we put this painting instead, but I kinda think that the cow had the right presence. She’s from Texas and she has some cowgirl in her for sure. Meanwhile you can see that they got rid of the nudes. In the book version that you’ll see in 9 months, you’ll see the difference. The rug behind the sofa must have been something that they brought in for the shoot, but i like it! the coffee table styling is very similar to what we did – with the vase and the tray.
Those huge industrial shelves are legit (aka, not repro industrial) and she purchased them at Big Daddy’s in LA (a beautiful store worth the visit if you are into the whole modern farmhouse vibe. I think we got the horse lamp there as well. She already had the collection of globes, vintage bowling pins and juggling pins, so we just supplemented here and there. But this was definitely more of a case of designing with what they already had, not just buying a bunch of random accessories.
I found that ladder at a vintage store for $90 and I’ve kinda always regretting not keeping it for myself. Its black iron and just so simple and pretty. Its one of those objects that you can just lean anywhere, throw some vintage textiles on it and you are good to go. And yes, we hung a painting under a window, and we all love it. It was one of the first things that Shana commented on, in a good way.
We toyed around with updating the fireplace brick with some handmade Spanish tile but it wasn’t something that the contractors were interested in doing so it would have had to happen after they were done and logistically it didn’t make sense to put time and money there this time.
There you have it. We have many more rooms to reveal – the kitchen, the dining room, the breakfast nook, the guest room, the master suite and the nursery. We are actually shooting more at the house this week so that we have more to show you than what was just in the magazine, but stay tuned …
If you want a sneak peek into the rest of the house and a timelapse video of how this one came together you can watch this video we did around the time of the install.
As far as resources go there really is very little that is new in here so its hard to really credit. The sofas were custom-made from Dekor, the rug was Restoration Hardware and the drapery was from a company similar to DecorView (sadly I don’t remember the name of the company). In case you want to get the look yourself we put together two boards – 1 high end for you fancier folk, and another more affordable one for everybody else.
Look for Less Sources:
1. Blue Chesterfield | 2. Kilim Rug | 3. Wood Slab Tables | 4. Wood and Iron Chandelier | 5. Blue Pillow | 6. Kilim Pillow | 7. Taxidermy Bull Skull | 8. Drum Side Table | 9. World Globe | 10. Industrial Shelving | 11. Blue Blanket
Get the Look Sources:
1. Blue Chesterfield | 2. Kilim Rug | 3. Wood Slab Tables | 4. Wood and Iron Chandelier | 5. Blue Pillow | 6. Kilim Pillow | 7. Taxidermy Bull Skull | 8. Drum Side Table | 9. World Globe | 10. Industrial Shelving | 11. Blue Blanket
*All ‘before/process’ shots by me. All ‘after shots’ taken by Max Kim Bee (but cropped by me for more detailed shots!). Designed by me, with the photo styling for the magazine by Elizabeth Beeler. Video by SharkPig
Check out the Reading Nook, Guest Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Dining Nook, Kitchen, Nursery, and Master Bathroom.
Those shelves increased my heart rate! Love. Unfortunately, I am Canadian so I never get to have nice stuff! So hard to find anything similar around here.
i love a good velvet chesterfield, and this room has TWO! I got mine custom-made from CoCoCo Home (aka The Comfortable Couch Company), a quality, Made-in-the-USA company that was very easy to work with!
Also, loving the rug-on-a-rug look in the final after shot!!
Absolutely beautiful! We have a large living room and I’ve toyed with the double sofa. I liked seeing that here. The natural light in that room is amazing. Great work!
This is so gorgeous! I love your work regardless of what style it is, but my own personal style isn’t so much MCM, so it’s wonderful to see something in a different style here. I would move into this room in a heartbeat — especially for those couches! And that glorious, gorgeous window. ~covets~ I can’t wait to see the rest of the house.
Love love love to see your more eclectic work!
Great space. Is it weird that I almost like the “In Progress” shots better? But I usually go for a more toned down look as it is.
Also, I’m LOVING the “Get it for less” portion of this post. Wouldn’t mind seeing more of that.
Ha. yes to the ore ‘get it for less’ and thats hilarious about the in progress. The ones we shot for the book were more lived in, too. xx
Beautiful! A gorgeous room, and looks like a great place to hang out. I am wondering about the little gold table that the horse lamp sits on. Is is metal, or painted? Is it new?
Its antique – wood, I believe. Legit french antique. So pretty.
Gorgeous room! This is so not my style and yet I am completely in love with it. It’s so beautiful. I also love love love that you did 2 different get the look options. Not only are they great for different budgets, but people with middle budgets can mix and match.
Not only is the space beautiful but I absolutely LOVE how you crafted this post and included the price comparison at the end. I’m sure it must have been a pain but as I reader I LOVE it! Excellent!!
Yes! Really appreciate that Emily!
Same here! Great post overall!
YEAH! Thanks, guys. Thats the motivation we needed to do more of those. xx
Seconding the get it for more or less! Sometimes you just want a little something that struck you from the original post and you don’t want to spend ALL.THE.MONEY on it, and then, sometimes you do!
Same! Love! One of the things I mentioned in the survey (together with others Im sure). Love that you thought it was a good enough idea to put your time towards, thank you.
This room is stunning! Thank goodness you guys stepped into this flip and saved all the character of this old house. This is probably my favorite room of your’s! Simply cannot wait to see the rest of the house!!!
Thanks, Cathy! Its so funny to see what rooms are people’s favorites. I’m going there tomorrow to shoot the other rooms that the magazine didn’t and I can’t wait to see it. i love that room.
Abso-freakin-lutely gorgeous. Also, I just bought a navy sectional and am having a bear of a time with rug options, esp. since our front door opens directly into the living room and the dirt def finds it’s way in. Jute layered with a smaller kilim? Perfect and affordable. You rock Ms. Henderson.
Holy shit, Emily (can I say that?) I always expect a lot from you but this is insane. You killed it. Love everything.
Definitely agree with you about the cow’s head. (What kind of Texan is she, anyway?)
Love all the art – and the placement (under the window? Yes!) – including the sea captain portrait, who I’m glad is not nude.
🙂 No nude sea captains here. xx
I love everything about this post. The room is so beautifully appointed and I particularly love the boards you’ve created with all the sources! More posts like this please (although obviously I love all of your posts).
I love chesterfields but I always think of them as too formal for my more bohemian house, so it’s great seeing them here, mixed with casual rustic things and fitting right in. Beautiful job!
I’ve been waiting for this house reveal!!
Especially the kitchen!!!
Kitchen is coming soon! We are shooting more tomorrow since the magazine only ran one photo. Stay tuned. x
Love this room and love your post more….you’ve put so much information and photos into it. I’ve wondered why sometimes you would see art pixelated out on TV now I’ll think hum must be a nude. One of the first things I noticed was the piece under the window sill as I did the same thing in my last apartment. I love art in unusual places. So, so good Emily thank you!! What a great idea for with the high/low purchases.
The blurred out art, logos etc. have to do with copyright laws..artists can sue.
The big jute rug with the smaller colorful kilim is perfect! A fun punch of color and pattern without being overwhelming. Everything looks wonderful!
thanks , holly. xx
I’ve been dying for a post like this! That room looks so good. I love the kilim layered over the bigger area rug, and that coffee table is killer.
Thanks for sharing the backstory!!! What a nail bitter. Its great to hear a little bit of real-life “before the styling” stuff. Those decisions are crucial and navigating a strange client situation had to significantly impact the final product. Its lovely to see your hand involved designing and styling something besides MCM-ish.
emily, this post is AMAZING. this is exactly one of the reasons I love your blog. thank you for sharing this amazing space and giving us some fantastic inspiration!
Your welcome and thank you xx
Beautiful! I love how you are using colorful sofas…is that a trend thing? Or are people just choosing colors now to reflect their personality? What are you thoughts on colorful sofa’s… Blues, greens etc?
its all about what is a neutral to you. i personally think that blues are never fail for any person or gender so in a lot of ways its a neutral. Now hot pink? Not so neutral. But yes, I think that colorful sofas are in style because they make a subtle statement while being more durable than beige or white.
I love seeing it all come together and the details behind it all. Such an awesome post and home. I cannot wait to see more!
Awesome work! So much good stuff. Worth the wait for us for sure.
Also loved the Orlando action in the video. It’s probably for the best you’re working more separately these days because your cuteness together is OVERWHELMING.
everytime i watch that video I miss working with him. luckily i’ll see him tomorrow. xx
Looks like everyone else has already said it – but amazing post, amazing design! I love that the “look for less” is actually still beautiful furniture and not a sad imitation that just makes you wish you had more money. I actually prefer the rug and shelving from the “less” side! Can’t wait to see how you’ve styled it for your book.
Loved seeing you and Orlando together again – and absolutely love the room!
Those painting are out of control! I would die of happiness if I had that many beautiful vintage paintings in my house. This isn’t normally my style but it’s so so good! Not sure if I missed it somewhere but is this in the current issue of country living magazine?
SO excited about this reveal! I have wondered from time to time what happened with this house (since you first mentioned it). Cannot wait to see more!! Beautiful.
“I actually would have gotten this fabric for myself if I hadn’t already had so many pieces of furniture in velvet.” – Add that quote to the reasons I heart you and read this blog.
LOVE the pict under the window. Echo the Thank You’s for the look for less options!!! I’m so getting that rug if it’s not sold out.
Wow, I absolutely love this. Beautiful job! It is nice to see a different style!
First of all, I love this room. But the main reason I’m commenting is to thank you for including two cost versions of the look. I am often discouraged when reading design blogs because it seems impossible to get an amazing designer look without either spending a million dollars or it looking super cheap. Plus, I live in the Midwest, and people here just do not spend their hard-earned money on things like couches, so even if I had the money, I don’t know if I could pull the trigger.
So thank you, Emily. I really appreciate this detail, and I know it must have taken a lot of work to get together.
You are VERY welcome. Thank you for saying that. Brady worked really hard on the look for less. There might be some that we don’t do that for because if its already not high end then it doesn’t make sense, but since this one was high end we wanted to give that option. Don’t you love that 10K ralph lauren sofa that none of us will ever own?
I absolutely LOVE this room and this space. I would move in right now if I could. Super great work, I love seeing all the behind the scenes action!
I have used this website (maybe you know of it already) for rugs and you can find a few large rugs for around $2-3k: http://esalerugs.com/10×13-rugs-sort-sizedesc
choices are limited but there are a few kilim and oriental ones. I’ve found some good ones in the past and they’re all mysteriously pretty cheap for what you get!
OOh, good to know.If they have 10×14 that are reasonable then I’ll be VERY happy.
I love your voice. That’s my favorite thing about you. Mostly I love how you style things. I feel like I have learned some stuff about styling from you but not sure. Hmmm. Now I see a lot of you in that style particularly the blue couches. You have a thing for blue and that is my least favorite color in decor but you do make blue couches look amazing. Currently you are my favorite blogger becasue of your personality and your pretty styling.
HA! Thank you so very much. Thats hilarious about blue being your least favorite color. I can’t imagine anyone not liking it but its good to know that you are out there, so impressing you is even more satisfying. Thank you .xx
wonderful work! happy to see a non-mid century room. looks great and oh so inviting. can’t wait to see more of it!!! happy to see more home tours on your blog!!!!
Where in LA is this bungalow? It’s making me homesick!
Ooh, I love spanish homes! And these are the colors I want to do in my house. And I like that you include the “look for less” board + sources.
I love, love, love that you did a “get the look”! Please continue to do this.
Love love love the “Get this Look” boards! Thank for putting them together. Now I just need money for the high end rug. 🙂
Just a note on jute and sisal with pets – they are impossible to clean. I think if I ever had a room this large I would have wool carpet cut and edged to the rug size I wanted. I have always been able to clean wool when there are accidents but all my jute and sisal [fortunately small ones] had to be tossed.
Love the room and got really happy when the warmed up colors were added.
I cant get enough of this home! and I just love seeing your work in other styles!
Before I scrolled down to see the side by side affordable/fancier total costs, I was thinking ‘aw, man why do I always want the more expensive things? I just like them all SO much better!’ And then I saw that the column I thought was more the fancier version, was in fact the much, much cheaper one. Always pays to look around in all price ranges for sure!!
I’m dying over the sconces. I keep seeing ones like these everywhere—where did you get them?? I’m on the hunt for sconces for my place. Love the layers in the living room! Good work.
I’ll post about them tomorrow! Where i bought them from is now no longer in business but Brady scoured and found them. Stay tuned. xx
This isn’t really my own style but I LOVE how this looks! gorgeous!
This post is perfect.
Beautiful room! Amazing job! 🙂
Love this house! Thanks for the boards at the end. great post.
Fabulous! I have a similar look in my 1930’s Spanish Revival living room. Found some amazing moroccan/eclectic accessories at De-cor in Pasadena (similar name, different shop). Can’t wait to see the rest of the house.
Great work. Great post. By watching what you do while the job is in progress, we learn from you…tips, techniques, new ideas. I am grateful.
thank you. thats the whole point so thank you.
really cool. i also agree that this post was good on so many levels.
Get it, mama! Love this. I like how it’s not the expected “midcentury eclectic,” but still not old-timey or Home Depot faux-chic (no disrespect to HD). Inspirational, for sure.
In other news, I spent more minutes than I’d like to admit trying to identify the “California-cool style maven” from the magazine’s subhead. Shana’s unnamed roommate? Life partner? OH, Emily. Right.