Well, it’s done. After a whirlwind 7 months of being in our apartment we’ve finished putting it together. And so, it is with great pleasure (and exhaustion), that I present part one of my Makeover Takeover series – The Living Room.
FIRST let’s rewind real quick. Some of you might remember my recent introduction/ask the audience post, but for those of you who don’t, but are ready to move on with your life here’s the short introduction: My name’s Sara, and I’m the social media coordinator and in-house photographer here at EHD. This past September my boyfriend Macauley (an art director at motion graphics studio Gentleman Scholar) and I moved into this 1-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles together. We wanted the space to reflect us as individuals, but also have a strong sense of our shared life (gross, right?). All while looking pulled together, which at the tender age of 26 & 27 sounded nearly impossible. So we decided to start from scratch. We sold all of Mac’s heavier, black, ‘bachelor’ style furniture, and I didn’t bring anything from my parents house where I’d been living (see that room here).
The bones of our apartment are so damn good. Wood floors, huge windows, cool architectural moments, lots of space, and original tile from the 50s (not shown here, but my kitchen is mint green and my bathroom is pastel purple. Like very, very purple). So we really had a good blank canvas to start from.
This is where we left off in the last post. We had most of our big pieces in, but nothing to give the room warmth or character. Just lots of wood floors to slide around on.
Now it has so much more of everything. Warmth from the rug, personality from the art, and life from the plants. And we love spending time in here. In fact, last Sunday after the shoot we did almost nothing but lay on that couch and binge watch Legion and Big Little Lies.
We tried 6 different rugs in the space before choosing one (and asked all of you for your opinions on the blog). In the end we went with this Texa rug in Fog, from Article. While it might not be the most exciting rug in terms of color or pattern, it is the most comfortable rug. And it’s very pretty in person. It has this soft grey heather color which will hide our cat’s hair perfectly, and a thick woven texture that cozies up the space fast. With a lot of our furniture being on the darker side we wanted to go with a lighter rug so the pieces could ‘pop,’ but didn’t trust ourselves to go white or cream (and probably never will). So grey was a good compromise.
Our sofa is also from Article. The color of the leather is perfect, it’s super soft (in a cozy broken-in way), and it fits both of us comfortably. Lots of readers asked about the comfort of the sofa in our first post and I can definitively say that it is awesome. The coffee table was a vintage piece I picked up for free from an old job, which my dad refinished for me. Then it sat in a storage unit for almost two years because I didn’t have anywhere to put it, but I couldn’t bear to get rid of it. And those books on the table are bit sentimental, as they belonged to my grandfather. He was an equine vet, and had a lot of these beautiful leather bound, gold embossed horse books. When he passed away late last year I got ahold of these two – ‘Horses of the Desert,’ and ‘The Arabian Horse.’ The lesson here, between the table and the books, is that hoarding is 100% acceptable.
We also love everything on that couch – the top left pillow is made by interior designer and our friend Sarah Zachary, the throw blanket is made by Mac’s friend’s company PLTNC, the small linen pillow is from Cultiver, the top right pillow is from the wonderful Jillian Rene. The cat is pretty good too.
There’s a separate room next to the living room which is supposed to function as a dining space, but since we rarely sit down at the table to eat (shame, shame, shame), we felt like dedicating a whole room to a dining space wouldn’t really serve our needs. So instead we decided to put a small dining set in the far corner of the living room. It’s still there, and we can use it, but that extra room is now an office (stay tuned next week for that reveal), which is much more useful.
To the left of the front door we hung this polaroid piece I made, and had framed by Framebridge. A lot of people have asked me how I did it, and it’s insanely easy. I bought a piece of 32×40 poster board at an art store, lightly penciled in a grid (which was by far the hardest part), and stuck on the polaroids with double sided foam squares I picked up in the scrapbooking aisle. Not only is it a really graphic piece, but it’s super personal, and our friends love looking through the photos and seeing where they show up. I take a lot of polaroids, so I’ll probably have to make a new one every year now.
We also had two pieces by local LA artist Anna Ullman framed and hung them over the dining table. Mac and I actually visited her studio to pick them out, and it was a very cool experience to pick out pieces for our home together, along with the artist, who could tell us the process and story of just about each and every piece. It made it insanely hard to choose just two…which is why we left with three. She sells her work entirely through Instagram, and is just generally a really cool human.
All the curtains and roman shades in our apartment were custom made by Country Curtains, who were obscenely wonderful to work with. We chose their washed linen curtains with a classic French pleat in the living room and bedroom to bring back in a hint of ‘traditional’ without being overwhelming. Oh, and those dining chairs were a steal at the Rose Bowl flea market. We got 5 of them for $50. What is life?
This picture makes it look like we live in a verdant jungle, but here’s the truth – almost everything was bought at the DTLA Flower Market that morning, and there’s really only a 50/50 chance they’ll survive the summer. IT’S NOT FOR MY LACK OF TRYING. I’ve since moved the Jasmine and succulents out to our patio for their dose of California sunshine, and I’ve done my best to figure out watering for everyone else. But they all look pretty happy in the photo, and that’s how I’d like to remember them. Alive, happy, and alive.
You can see how open our floor plan is from that shot above. Our living room opens directly into our office, which opens directly into our kitchen, which connects to our hallway, which you can also access via the living room. There aren’t any doors until you get to the back of the apartment. It all gives the place a very airy, spacious vibe, but also means it all has to feel cohesive.
That cute little cat bed is from Forma Living, and Lady likes to climb in there and use the walls as a scratch pad. Sometimes we’ll set it in front of the window at the other end of the living room so she can lay in it and look out over the world, or during the winter we’ll set it in front of the wall heater in our bedroom so she can lounge in the warmth. We just want to create a safe and loving environment where our cat is free to express herself and feel supported (#blessed #letthembelittle). We’re honestly the worst kind of people.
The art above the cat bed I think is hilarious, and by writer and artist Dave Eggers. Mac’s mom gave us those two pieces (plus one more in the office) and I’m really happy we could get them up on a wall. On the mantle is a vintage barrel label Mac found at the Long Beach flea market, and a little oil painting I did. I didn’t realize until I was getting everything framed that Framebridge does awesome canvas framing, so if you have a canvas piece that needs framing you should check them out. Let’s ignore the cool vintage bird ladder, since it’s Emily’s and I’m hoping she doesn’t remember I took it and never brought it back, and instead focus on those awesome wall sconces from Cedar & Moss. Replacing electrical components in this old lady was a nightmare, but installing these sconces were worth it.
Let’s take a peek into the hallway, shall we? Tessa made it look SO much brighter than it normally ever gets, but I’d like to pretend we get this much sun in here. That hanging piece on the back wall is actually a scarf from Block Shop that I decided to use as a wall tapestry (per Ginny’s suggestion). I created a hanging solution that wouldn’t damage the scarf, and felt very crafty and accomplished. I’m sure something pre-made and better already exists, but life isn’t worth living if you can’t make things more difficult for yourself. *Edit: A commenter below shared this link to this awesome option, if you enjoy sanity more than DIY.
What you can’t see from that shot is that next to the hallway shelving, there on the right, is a little nook…
Voilá. It used to be a phone nook, back in the ‘old days’ (is it crazy that I still remember the number to my childhood landline from 16 years ago?). Obviously we don’t have a landline, and subsequently were at a loss with what to do with the space. Then while Brady was over he was like ‘bar area?’ as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. This is why Brady needs to be carefully watched. He’s too good, you know? Suspiciously good some might say. It’s not normal.
He helped me set it up (which means I let him set it up, and gave him positive affirmations while I watched), and it does look good. Right under that pretty brass flower sconce is the prefect place for my random lady oil pastel portrait too. Mac isn’t the biggest fan of her (something about having portraits of people we don’t know being weird), but I’m in love. So now she’s tucked away, but I can still go visit whenever I want, chat about my day, and share a
nightly occasional drink with her. This is a much classier set-up than the ‘random dusty bottles on top of the fridge’ look we previously had going.
We picked up that little entry console at the Rose Bowl, after I stalked it for several months. I’m not exaggerating. Every 2nd Sunday, for 5 months (or more) I would go ask the vendor how much it was. It started at $420, and I finally bought it for $280. Was that incredibly risky? Yes. But sometimes you’re poor and risks are all you can afford.
Also featured here is a another plant that will surely die, my favorite Target mirror, an awesome leather CB2 runner, and a peek at our vintage German anatomy poster (which you’ll get a better look at in the bedroom reveal).
I quickly want to point out that we also swapped out the ceiling light in the hallway and installed this much prettier piece from Schoolhouse Electric. It’s a small change that just makes everything in the hallway looked pull together. Especially since it matches all the knobs and it matches the sconce in our bedroom vanity nook, which you’ll see soon. So it’s kind of this nice threw-line (BUT I forgot to tell Tessa she needed to shoot alllll the way up, so I took this photo above really quickly before work so you could see!).
I can’t really put into words how relieved I am to have the apartment fully furnished. It feels like a dream to have it looking this pulled together and we’re so lucky to have had the help and support of the EHD team and all the sponsors who worked with us on this project. A big shout-out to Mac, the world’s most patient boyfriend, who kept his cool even when I asked for his opinion and then ignored it time and time again. Stay tuned for two more posts – the office, and the bedroom. And if you’ve got any questions pop ’em down below and I’ll do my best to answer!
1. Navy Pillow | 2. White Mudcloth Pillow | 3. Leather Pouf | 4. Matches | 5. Cement Candle Holder | 6. Sconce (in architectural black) | 7. Curtains | 8. Curtain Rod | 9. Ball Finials | 10. Brass Photo Stands | 11. Sofa | 12. Side Table | 13. Black Vase | 14. Brass Cup Candle | 15. Frame | 16. Chair | 17. Gray Rug | 18. Coffee Table (similar) | 19. Smoke Grey Pillows | 20. Media Console | 21. “Yellow Agate” Print | 22. “Pyrite 2” Print | 23. “Untitled, Don’t Cry for this One He Went to Law School” Print (similar) | 24. Black and White Throw Blanket | 25. Dining Chair (similar) | 26. Dining Table (similar) | 27. Pet Bed | 28. Blue Scarf | 29. Brass Letter Organizer | 30. Stone Eye Dish | 31. Burgundy Rug (similar) | 32. Mirror | 33. Copper Cocktail Shaker | 34. Black Flush Mount | 35. Glass Drum Shade | 36. Black Cabinet Knob | 37. Black Drawer Pull | 38. Brass Flower Sconce | 39. “The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails” | 40. “Cocktail Techniques” | 41. Runner
**Photos by Tessa Neustadt