I pretty much use our house as my style laboratory – tweaking, moving, experimenting, blowing things up, then regretting and sometimes just scrapping it and starting all over. Often just when I feel like I’ve found the perfect combination I change the formula completely. I’m a real peach to live with. But when Good Housekeeping called and said ‘how about a house tour, with a fall “refresh” bent’ I used it as my excuse to do something I have been wanting to for a while – adjust some of the things that I wasn’t totally happy with and restyle with a slightly new color palette. Let’s get into it.
We “finished” the living room the week of the Domino shoot but then as my baby became a toddler I needed it to be more kid-friendly and generally more comfortable. So we brought in that huge white pouf, brought back those leather chairs and removed most of the low breakable items.
And I was pretty happy with things. But it didn’t feel very fall. Recently I had removed most of the pink and brought in more layers (which I’ll show you next week), but I really didn’t want to change too much of the actual living room – just make it feel a bit cozier and more fall/winter. The easiest way to do that is to simply switch up the color palette and layer on the textiles. And I did.
There she is – our new living room. Pulled back and quiet, but still so cozy and happy. I am shocked at how much I love walking into the house to see this room now. I have loved neutrals in other people’s spaces but I thought I was a color girl myself. And I probably still am, but layering on the neutrals feels so fresh and calm, and yet still totally alive.
Here’s what I did:
I decided to remove most of the really bright blues, teals and turquoises and move those favorite pieces to the shelving unit for now. The art is dispersed throughout my house – the string art in the dining room and the two other pieces in my bedroom and Charlie’s room. Then I brought in more denim blues, blacks and olives and creams. There is still a lot going on with texture and pattern, but the color palette feels more masculine and sophisticated.
I love, and will always love, that huge white pouf and now it happily lives in the family/TV room, being climbed on and wrestled around daily by that child. It was a perfect toddler coffee table situation, but there was no where to put drinks, and Charlie is better about not destroying himself or my pretty objects now. So when I found this vintage Saarinen oval table (which was still not cheap, by the way – $750 at a vintage store) I snagged it because it is super kid friendly, a total classic and the perfect scale for the living room. (If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I’m trying out another coffee table that I had ordered a while ago and just arrived, which I like equally as much – more on that later, but I know it’s confusing).
The blue rug that we had was beautiful, but it wasn’t working with the new color palette. So I moved it (probably to the guest suite) and replaced it with this beautiful scallop hyde rug from Serena and Lily. It’s indestructible and just so bright and airy. Plus the way it reflects the light is just gorgeous.
I had new slipcovers made for the benches out of this gray and white fleck fabric from Mood, but I kept the old ones that were indigo because I do plan on switching those back and forth every now and again.
The most shocking part of the whole makeover is my addition of, now calm down, the color black. For the record I’ve always liked black, but only when it’s done right – not in a bachelor pad kind of way, instead in a chic Scandinavian kind of way. But it’s an intense color and I’ve always wanted this space to feel bright and airy, so I was scared that incorporating too much in would make it feel heavy and dark. It’s a color that is best used moderately so that it looks intentional but not overwhelming.
I welcomed those black accessories and lighting into our living room and I love them. That black and white striped vase is one of my favorites of the whole fall Target collection. It looks like it was handmade, and the shape is just so simple. The candelabra is a huge hit, too, what with it’s simple danish lines, and the black and white throw from Nate Berkus’ collection looks extremely high end.
The flag! As you know years ago I had a huge cross flag over my sofa which I loved, but it was red and after a few years I was ready to sell it. The Nike Schroeder string art piece lived there the last year and a half and I love it, but some of the colors (the hot pink and bright yellow) were throwing off the new color palette. So I moved it into the dining room where it works better. But filling that space was rather hard because it needed to be something huge but simple, and not generic. I found this flag at the flea market for $40 but it was cobalt blue instead of navy (I can’t BELIEVE I didn’t take a picture of it before). We opened the seams where the panels were and dyed just the blue part with Rit ‘denim’ dye (over the stove) to be the navy you see now. It took a couple hours, then we sewed it back together. I can’t believe how perfect that color is and the shape/scale is exactly what that wall needed.
To see more of the living room go and pick up that magazine!
Nothing really changed in the bedroom – although I think it is going to soon. Stay tuned. The lamps should be available online soon, but are in stores most likely now (from Target).
More bedroom shots in the October issue.
Not a lot of changes in the kitchen area either, just some propping/styling. To see the whole kitchen transformation and resources go here.
On the other side of those stools actually lives this playroom that shares the space with the family room (which is coming along, I swear). I really struggled with what to do with that wall because it’s such an open space that whatever we did over there needed to work with the kitchen and the family room. And while I wanted it to be playful I really didn’t want it to be too ‘kid’ or messy (yet … I know the days of me plastering my kids art on the wall are coming, but I don’t actually have the art yet to do that). I toyed with framing vintage french school posters in a grid, or even vintage kid oil portraits, and lastly deconstructing a beautiful kids book and framing that in a grid, but they all felt like a lot of work and really expensive for what could feel pretty busy.
Instead we just drew a big circle in gray paint (BM Half Moon Crest) and then painted a clear coat of chalkboard paint OVER that. We did this the day before the shoot by the way. I thought for sure that it was a genius idea, but the problem with telling a child that he can only draw on the circle part and only with chalk is that it’s a very difficult concept to grasp, so he immediately started drawing on the white part (which comes off, too). And then as you can guess limiting him to JUST drawing on this wall proved to be difficult. He hasn’t done too much damage anywhere else, and he knows now and shakes his head when he almost does it in another room. Kids are so honest – when he first started drawing on the walls I pointed to it and said “Charlie did you draw on the wall?” and he enthusiastically, as if he just tied his own shoes for the first time said “Yea!!!!” It’s very hard to get mad at.
Visually, though, I love this circle. When you are sitting on the sofa on the other side of the room with the view of the kitchen and the playroom it really is the perfect graphic, simple shape that provides enough style and playfulness without too much color or chaos. Yet. Right now we use a hide rug in there (again, because white hide is the only kid-friendly WHITE rug that exists) but it’s a bit big so I may change it out as it gets caught under the stools legs all the time which is terribly annoying.
Those wicker animal heads are painfully cute and sophisticated at the same time – with or without their “clothes” on.
Lastly back to the dining room – the opening image of the feature.
I’m finally happy with this room. The problem was that the dining table (which was AWESOME) was purchased for the office originally and it was about 6″ too wide for the dining room. But it was so much better than what I had there so we brought it up anyway for the Domino shoot, and then it was so heavy that we just kept it there. It was (and is) gorgeous but it was too big – both visually and physically. And then chandelier was also too big – which was totally my fault. I wanted it to be a statement but when you sat in that room it felt claustrophobic. The shape/size of this room is just so tricky because its long and narrow and yet it’s very visible from the rest of the house, with really tall blank white walls that you want to fill. But whenever I put a lot of stuff on the walls it gets smaller and smaller.
I found this marble top/brass based table at Jayson Home and it screamed to me. It is much more narrow, but still long enough and because it is white it just feels so much lighter in there. And then those chairs just pop (from Mid-Century LA). The credenza is from the flea market and that beautiful simple hanging lantern is from Lost and Found in LA. It’s so pretty, you guys. I think I’m going to do a whole post on this room to give you the other angles and to highlight the accessories and art (I put some on the other wall) but trust me that I’m finally happy with the dining room. It was a struggle that was my fault, really and a product of me rushing to buy things for a shoot. But not this time. Everything feels perfect for the space.
That same day we filmed a quick video with some tips on how to create fall in your home, too. Check it out, folks.
There are more photos of the space and lots more tips inside the magazine spread – so IF you don’t already subscribe to Good Housekeeping, head on out and buy one. Thank god it’s a magazine that you can actually buy anywhere, so you should be able to track it down at your local grocery. Photos by Mike Garten for Good Housekeeping Magazine. Thank you so much, GH, for the feature and the excuse to change things up even more and refresh my house for fall. Check out their site for even more info.