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The Big Reveal of a Family Living Room

Silver Lake Hills Living Room Reveal

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Hey all it’s Ginny again with the as promised reveal of the Silver Lake Hills living room. Check the post from earlier this week to see all the before photos, the process, and our initial plans for it, but in short, we wanted to take this room from dark and heavy to bright and happy.

Some of you asked in the comments why we ended up doing a full redesign instead of the partial design we initially set out to do with the client. The short answer is that the scope changed throughout the duration of the project. Some of their existing pieces that you’ll read about below did work, so we kept them, but other pieces did start to feel out of place. It’s our job to make things better and be open and honest with our clients and if things aren’t working then it’s up to us to suggest alternatives. Granted we have budgets to work towards but the family was very open to upgrades and if we could make existing things work then great, but no love lost if not. Not only that, but some companies did reach out wanting to participate in the makeover and kindly gifted a few pieces which obviously made the changes more appealing. Anyway, back to the design itself – just wanted to give some of you commenters a bit more background on why things changed and it turned into a full redesign.

This family isn’t afraid to go bold, and they love colour and pattern, so while the previous design was pretty pulled together we wanted to create a space that felt more like them. We started off by finding the perfect rug. We wanted an old, worn, colourful Persian, for less than $3k in 9 x 12, which is harder than you’d think but we did it and this rug really brings life into the room.

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They already had a pretty dope sofa, so instead of buying a completely new one we had theirs reupholstered in a blue/green linen. They have two teen kids so we brought in some playful and contrasting patterns and textures for pillows and throw blankets. It took us a long time to find the perfect lamps for in here. They needed to be organic and rounded in shape to contrast against the square side tables. They also needed some height too. Their previous vintage lamps would have worked perfectly but sadly one got broken (not by us), plus they were white and we wanted something colourful to pop off the walls. Surprisingly it’s really hard to find good, tall, colourful, none-cheesy globe-like lamps without spending a small fortune. These marblised glass ones are from Safavieh and fit perfectly what we were looking for.

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We kept their existing side tables since they were already pretty cute with their brass detailing/hardware, and the size worked well for the space and sofa. With the side tables being black we decided to bring that in as an accent colour throughout the space as well. The artwork is by our friend Jaime Derringer and these two pieces are sold on Art.com. We love the energy and modern vibe that they bring to the space.

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We toyed with swapping out their coffee table as that was another item contributing to the dark and heavyness of the room. But once we started to pull in other pieces and colour, the table became less of an issue. You get a real view of the rug here, it’s beautifully worn and saturated in colour without being too in your face. We kept the styling simple and fun for everyday. The white tray pops off the dark table top and is a great base for a stack of books, a vintage vase and a box to hide away unsightly items.

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We really liked the idea of leather in here, and even though they already had a leather chair and ottoman we replaced it with a new, lighter feeling more modern version. I have this in my living room and love it, so I couldn’t recommend it more. We added a white garden stool side table and surrounded it by plants since that corner gets a good amount of light. The armoir is a beautiful family heirloom from Austria (I think). It’s so pretty in person and there was no way we were going to remove it.

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There was talk of completely redoing the fireplace and we gave them a few different options, but the most cost effective way came down to just painting it. We like the surround as it feels traditional and speaks to the house, so we kept that and gave it a fresh coat of paint. It originally had an ornate flourish detail on the front that we removed before painting to give it a more seamless feel. The bricks were a red which really brought it down so we convinced them to paint them black which makes the fireplace feel bigger and more modern.

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We styled it out with a touch of brass with these cool candle holders from Lawson Fenning, a marblised vase from Target with some flowers Emily may or may not have ‘borrowed’ from their back yard and a stack of books with a simple wood box. Layering and landscaping. The circular mirror brings in a more organic shape and bounces light around the room.

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We really tried hard to make their existing side chairs work. We questioned refinishing them but with all that caning it could be tricky and expensive. We could paint them. We could reupholster the cushion. When I say we tried hard, we tried damned hard but what it came down to was the shape and the fact that they didn’t feel so cosy. We got these two side chairs from Article which sadly are no longer available on their site – but they do have a handful of similar options still available.

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The rounded backs bring in a softness that the cane chairs were lacking and the colour pulls from the colours in the rug. We teamed them up with some stripes, lots and lots of black and white stripes. This adds a fun modern vibe in here and that pulls in from the other black elements around the room.

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Their exiting gallery wall behind the sofa was feeling quite static and formal, so we decided to liven it up with a more organic gallery. We mixed varying sized framed and mats to give it some variation but used materials found elsewhere in the room. This area now feels more balanced and happy.

What do you think? Does it feel more fun, family and friendly to you?

And because you know we love a dramatic side by side, check out some before and after photos below:

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We thought their mantle was a nice example of a simple, pulled together mantle. So it was a perfect excuse to pull together a mantle Style School episode for you all:

And if you want to recreate it then see the “Get The Look” below.

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1. Cream Pillow | 2. Blush Striped Pillow | 3. Blue Striped Pillow | 4. Art (left side) | 5. Art (right side) | 6. Sofa | 7. Pouf | 8. Rug | 9. Blue Table Lamp | 10. Floor Lamp | 11. Chair | 12. Sheepskin Rug | 13. Accent Table | 14. Gold Burst | 15. Blue Box (no longer avai|able) 16. White Tray | 17. Fireplace Tools | 18. Log Holder | 19. Gold Table Lamp | 20. Nesting Striped Accent Table | 21. Blush Dot Pillow | 22. Black & White Pillow | 23. Pink Throw Blanket | 24. Black & White Throw Blanket | 25. Mirror | 26. Sconce | 27. Footed White Vessel | 28. Blue Marble Vase | 29. White Vase | 30. Pink Marble Bookend | 31. Marble Tray | 32. Wooden Box

For those who have been following along with this house over the last few years – we just finished renovating their kitchen too. And for more of the Silverlake Hills home check out here: Tween Girl Bedroom | 5 Tips to Design a Timeless Boys Bedroom | Dining Room | Office Turned Guest Room | Bright and Airy Family Room | Master Bedroom 

**Photography by: Zeke Ruelas

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  1. So, I love love love the new fireplace, and the side chairs and stripe-y table and that little lamp, and much else, but please help clarify — the after pictures seem about 12 times brighter than the before pictures? Is it just that the walls are now white/bright? What about not painting a dark room white? Is this just the magic of the interwebs? Please tell me I can make a similarly-dark room similarly bright with just paint and furniture 😀

    1. I think it’s just that the before shots are taken by the design team on the fly, snapshot style. Then the after shots are taken by a hired professional photographer who spends hours setting up the shots using pro lighting equipment and a better camera.

      1. I agree, and I think they also may doctor the photos after to clean them up even more.

        It’s really comparing apples and oranges. I have trouble telling how much the redesigning changed the room because the difference in photo quality and lighting are too glaring to see past. I think some well-shot before photos would improve the content here. I don’t think the team needs the smoke and mirrors to look good at what they do.

    2. I think the “afters” are probably shot when the room is at it’s brightest/prettiest opposed to what it’s like the rest of the day. My living room is very bright and beautiful… for like 2 hours each day. Womp womp. But those 2 hours are definitely when I’d bring in the pro photographer!

    3. I was thinking the same thing!! I’m glad you asked, I kept scrolling back and forth to check. Also, I think maybe the before shots were taken in late afternoon when the sun cast a shadow across the room. I’m not sure.

      1. I had the same thought! Of course the updates are great but also the after photos are just better photos. The room is nicely styled and the light is more flattering. The room just needed a little help. In the previous post EHD did stress that the room wasn’t in need of a major overhaul and I think we are agreeing 🙂 The new art is beautiful! The new rug unifies for the room. The blue upholstery is fantastic and lets the coach sing. The biggest improvement in the room (besides better photography) is fixing the gallery wall. The before would have looked lovely if it had been well lit with the pillows arranged and a flower or two 🙂

  2. You guys are amazing. It looks soooo much better. It was kind of a dead space before but it’s come alive and looks so much brighter. What you’ve done with the family photograph gallery wall varying the frame colours as well looks terrific.

  3. I love this! I have the exact tile on my hearth. Can you tell me what paint you used? I would love it black. Great idea.
    Thank you!

    1. I also would love to know what paint you used, especially on the hearth. I’d be concerned that it would chip or wear over time since the hearth is technically the floor.

      Looks beautiful!

  4. Unusual for EHD that the coffee table is styled 3 different ways in the photos – even professionals couldn’t make up their minds how the tabletop looked best.

  5. That blue couch is the perfect pop in this room!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  6. Absolutely love what you guys did here! Pinning so much of this 🙂 Thank you for sharing all of your hard work with us. The last several months of content has been really amazing and I look forward to reading your blog every day

  7. LOVE all the changes that were made. the coffee table really works in there. it’s not overwhelming but it’s a good size that complements the couch. Really everything was so thoughtfully placed!

  8. LOVE IT! It really is lighter, happier, brighter and more filled with personality. Nice work as always!

  9. full room / home makeovers (not overly plugged with target stuff) are my absolute favorite and why i started following EHD! more of these please!!!

  10. Painting the fireplace brick black is absolutely GENIUS. Just saying:)

  11. Love the pictures and have been eyeing these babies online. After seeing them in an actual design, I think I may do the same. Can you let me know what size they are in this design? Looks like they are not matted, so thinking they are pretty large print. Can you clarify? Thanks!

  12. I love it! What is the wall color?

    1. In the pre-reveal post, I think they said it was White Dove by Benjamin Moore.

  13. Omg! Omg! Omg. This is my favorite house ever of Emily’s work. One of your room inspiration pictures in my favorite too. I can not wait to c this.

    Any chance a smaller Persian on top of a sisial rug could work? I’ll never find/afford a 9×12.
    Getting ready to try and copy this!

  14. Would you please provide sources for the frames you used for the gallery wall of photographs? My husband is a landscape and architectural photographer and am in need of some “lightened up’ frames like those for his photographs. Thank you!

    1. I second this request – I would also like the sources for the frames used in the gallery wall.

    2. Yes! I third this request! I’d love to know more about the frames you used, especially the mid-tone wooden frames. Those can be so hard to find.

      Thanks!

  15. Ok, while you changed a lot, you did also keep a lot and those existing pieces look SO much better. Like that coffee table?! Beautiful. Just the lighter paint and new rug would have gone a long way, but yes, this so feels like the rest of the house now in couldn’t have didn’t before!

  16. The fireplace update looks great! What a huge difference. What type of paint did you use to paint it black? Was there a difference in painting the brick on the wall surround versus the tile on the hearth floor?

  17. This room really did come alive with the changes you’ve made. I would have suggested that the family find another place in their home that is less public for all their generational photos. If they had insisted on the gallery wall in this room, I think a much tighter arrangement to look more like a collage would be more appealing. Just too many frames to straighten and too many people looking at you. It’s fun to think that the family will enjoy this room now rather than shun it!

  18. Love the new living room! Where did you get the picture frames on the mantel?

  19. Love the finished room. The blue sofa, that rug! and the fireplace re-design are all fantastic.

    The lighting thing is an issue for me though. Kind of frustrating. I want to lighten up my office/sewing room/guest room which has limited natural light and this example, pretty as it is, is just not helpful at all.

  20. Amazing job!

    And, if you have a source for those little stick frames with the maps on the mantle, I will love you forever.

    PLEASE AND THANK YOU!

    1. I thought they were mothology.com, but they weren’t there. I’d love to know too!

      1. Yes, please share the source!

  21. I love what you have done here. The rug is just incredible and drives all the rest so beautifully. Though what I love most is how well this room now fits in the rest of the house. The “before” really seemed like it was from another house entirely. The only thing I would have loved to see was the original pillows from the brown couch on the new side chairs for a little more connection to what was good about the old. The stripe on stripe is just a bit much for my taste.

  22. This look fantastic. I can’t quit looking at those lamps, but I suspect I might have to trade a child to pay for them. I always love that you throw in pieces from Target and CB2 for those of us who have to pay retail!

    1. Wait! I just found the lamps. I know what Santa is putting under the tree this year!

  23. What type of paint did you use to paint the tile on the floor in front of the fireplace. I’d like to do the same, but my husband is afraid it will peel.

  24. Looks beautiful! What is paint color that you ended up choosing for the walls?

  25. Oh my goodness, it looks GORGEOUS! I particularly love that striped side table between the chairs, and, of course, that family heirloom armoire is fabulous.

    It’s also great to get a reminder that certain things, like the fireplace, can get a huge upgrade from just a thoughtful, modern paint job.

    Overall, it just looks so much better. Congrats!

  26. GAHHHH. The end result is so incredible–that mix of color, sophistication, approachability and fun that I think so many of us strive for. I feel like so much of my house is the “before” when what I really want is the “after”!

    And please provide intel on sourcing that rug. I’m sure it’s one of a kind, but a vintage Persian at that size for under $3K is a feat indeed!

  27. What color is the paint on the walls?

    1. Echoing other commenters, would love to know what paint you used for the fireplace brick! We’ve been looking to do something similar to ours but can’t figure out what the right kind of paint is.

    2. Great changes. I’m curious what the family did with the previous furniture? Does the design team coordinate getting rid of it/selling it? Or does the family have to figure out what to do with it?

  28. Looks great! What’s the story with the fireplace doors? I already painted my fireplace surrounding brick black with a heat-resistant paint, but I still need doors. Are they new or part of the “before”?

  29. Oh I love it! It has that casual but sophisticated, curated mix of old and new. I think before it was trying a bit too hard but now it just feels elegant but not in a presumptious way. Well done you guys!

  30. I love the fireplace remodel! How did you remove the ornate detail? And I love the black brick for this room. If I have a dark, dark room, would the black brick still look amazing or would white brick with a white mantel work well?

  31. This is a beautifully recreated room, the result of a brilliant collaboration with your client. The living room looks fresh, inviting, comfortable, and frankly perfectly detailed. Cheers, Ardith

  32. Looks much more inviting than the before because it doesn’t look like a dark waiting room anymore. The lighter wall color, fireplace black paint and removal of the fussy mantle detail, and new rug make a huge difference. What would interest me a lot now is more explanation around the design choices ala the annotated photos in the before photos in a previous post and the resulting room.

    Why did the layout stay the same with just new furniture?
    Aren’t the new chairs way out of the conversation area the same way the old ones were?
    What other furniture arrangements might have worked?
    What happened to the big mirror that was “the right scale but hung too high”?
    Why did the space above the fireplace “need art” but ended up with a round mirror being switched out for a different round mirror?
    etc.

  33. This is so inspiring! I love the color of the couch! It changes the room!

  34. Emily and team, I have been ruminating about that video you posted on Facebook of all the walls that would be demolished in Emily’s kitchen area and I would like some clarification on the “F*ck Capitalism” graffiti on one of the walls. What did you mean by this? Surely it was meant with irony? I think this post especially proves that a interior designer is one of the first professions (if not the very first) that would be entirely obliterated if we did, in fact, f*ck capitalism.

    1. i hope you’re not losing sleep over these burning questions…

      1. Of course not.

    2. I just can’t get over all of the affiliate links.

  35. Love this room! One thing that struck me is how much changing the color of the sofa highlights the end tables. In the before photos, the tables and sofa presented this long, dark line of brown. Now, I notice the beauty of the tables.

  36. I like overall design.
    Although:
    I think the mantle is way overloaded.
    The art above the sofa could be have more personality or be more curated (sorry I ‘m not native English speaker, so I am missing words) ,specially with the budget that they had.
    The flowers are not to my taste 🙁
    The photo gallery frames have the the mat boards too large and with gold/brown frames the photos are not enhanced, I see the frames and not the photos.
    The chairs’ styling is too matchy matchy and symmetrical.

  37. Beautiful room. My favorite changes are the paint, the fireplace, the couch and rug. I think those made a huge difference. Room definitely more fun and more pretty now so also more inviting. Not sure it’s more family friendly but hope so :).

    Tiny nitpick – you guys way overuse “simple.” I think you use it to describe something in every post, usually “simple and pretty.” That wouldn’t be annoying at all (we all have our favorite phrases) except the things you are describing are usually not simple. Like the mantle? I like the styling but I’ve no idea why anyone would describe it as simple. It’s got a ton of stuff! All different kinds of stuff! I don’t think it’s too much or anything – I think it looks great but why call it simple?

  38. It does look “cozy”!

  39. Great room. the transformation from safari/faux global to genuine global accents is wonderful. where do you get used persian/oriental rugs??

  40. I really love what you have done with this room, it looks amazing now. My fav things are the blue sofa and the gallery wall. Great work!
    XO
    Anna From Italy

    https://society6.com/sierraf31?curator=sierraf31

  41. Lovely!!! I would love to know your go to spots for antique rugs.

  42. think it’s just that the before shots are taken by the design team on the fly, snapshot style. Then the after shots are taken by a hired professional photographer who spends hours setting up the shots using pro lighting equipment and a better camera.

  43. This family isn’t afraid to go bold, and they love colour and pattern, so while the previous design was pretty pulled together we wanted to create a space that felt more like them. We started off by finding the perfect rug.