Alright people, I’m back. For those of you who are just tuning in: My name is Sara and I work here at EHD. My boyfriend and I recently moved in together for the first time, and we started from scratch in this cute little LA apartment. Last week I shared our living room, and today I’m gonna give you guys the tour of our dining-room-turned-office.
Let’s take it from the top – Here’s a shot from last week’s living room post:
From here you can see that the living room opens directly into a middle room, which then opens directly into the kitchen. We’re pretty sure the middle room is supposed to function as a dining room, but we knew that we would rarely be sitting down to eat at a dining table.
I know, I know. You might be that person who is religious about stopping everything, putting away phones, turning off TVs, and sitting down to eat dinner at the table as a ‘family.’ And I’m 100% supportive of that, especially families with young children. But since we don’t yet have the responsibility of molding impressionable tadpoles into functioning humans, we just want to drag our bodies through the front door at 8pm, cuddle on the couch, eat the Thai food Steve the Door Dash guy delivers, and watch Tom Hardy not wear any pants (side note: did anybody else watch Taboo?? He only wore pants like .1% of that entire show, and it was wonderful). Judge us if you will, but we really didn’t need a whole room dedicated to an activity we don’t really do (for now).
On the other hand, Mac did need some place to set up a desk, and location-wise our options were pretty limited. Above is what the room looked like a few weeks after move-in. We had an Ikea sleeper sofa that we bought out of desperation (we’d been sitting on the floor for two weeks), but ultimately it was too large and bulky for the space so we sold it to a few college kids. We also had cords running all over the ground because out apartment was built in the dark-ages and only has 4 outlets to share between 9 walls. Plus, Mac had a much larger housing case for his computer which had to sit on the floor.
With the permission of our landlord we had a little re-wiring done, swapped out the sofa for something better scaled to the room, hung some art up on the walls, and got Mac’s computer off the ground. Magically, it became a real office. I would say that Mac spends about 40-60% of his home time in here, so it aaaaall feels worth it.
It’s such a simple room, but there’s so much in here to talk about.
Let’s start with that loveseat. It’s another awesome Article piece, and just like our living room sofa it’s totally comfortable, but smaller and perfectly nap-sized for me. Lady tried her claws on it once, but I think my reaction scared her so much she hasn’t tried again since. To quickly answer a few readers questions on last week’s posts about how we keep our cat from destroying everything we love, brace yourselves – we don’t. I think we just got lucky on the cat spectrum, because she seems perfectly happy to sink her tiny yet destructive claws into a $6 Trader Joe’s cat scratcher. She also enjoy using the rugs, but so far they’ve held up to it and I’m too lazy to fight that battle.
Speaking of rugs, that one there is a beautiful vintage Beni Ourain from the Pink Rug Co. based in Morocco. Amber has an awesome selection of vintage rugs (plus a super dreamy Pinterest page), and I knew this was the perfect neutral rug to bring a little bit of character into the space. Up on that loveseat we threw a soft navy, linen pillow from Cultiver, a fun printed pillow from Local & Lejos, and a nice big pillow from Jillian Rene Decor. Those nesting side tables to the side are a perfect matte black powder coat, and made by local LA designer Patrick Cain. Both Mac and I really liked the simple modern look they have and how it contrasted with the vintage rug and mid-century coffee table.
Last but not least our roman shade was custom made by Country Curtains, and looks 100% better than the clunky vertical blinds that came installed on the windows. Here’s what I’ve learned about roman shades – sometimes they go inside your window, sometimes they go directly on top of your window, sometimes they go several inches above your window (ours is installed 9″ above our window), sometimes they are the exact width, and sometimes they’re wider. In short, I’m still very confused about the whole situation and just happy Ginny and Mel were able to help me out.
One of my absolute favorite pieces in this room is that coffee table. Ladies and gents, I found that guy on Craigslist for $200. REALITY IS NOT REAL. I almost pee’d myself when I found it and contacted the seller immediately, telling him that if he sold it to anyone else my life wouldn’t be worth living anymore. It’s a perfect, mid-century, walnut table with 4 tiny brass x’s inlaid on the top. When I picked it up he told me that he and his girlfriend had bought it from a vintage store in Los Feliz, but they’d recently broken up and he needed it out of his apartment, and out of his life. I was more than happy to relieve him of it, and when I looked up similar pieces online I couldn’t find anything for less than $400 (and usually much higher). His grief sale was my lucky day.
But he had a really great dog, so I’m sure he’s doing fine.
Mac and I met at art school and while I couldn’t (and still can’t) draw an apple to save my life, he already had some good ‘ole talent up his sleeve. He still has a whole portfolio of pieces left over from those years, which I think are amazing, but he is super reluctant to display many of them. That mixed media piece there on the left is one of his few favorites, so I was excited to get it framed and up on the wall. We also framed and hung 3 of his life drawing gestures in our hallway, and I love having those personal touches throughout the apartment.
The bookshelf is from Target, and is the perfect place to display 1/8 of our most aesthetic books. Other notable items – the vintage mannequin hand I bought in Round Top (duh), Mac’s encyclopedias of Russian prison tattoos, a very cool photo of my grandpa on the Ellis Island Ferry in the 60s, our collection of vintage matchbooks, my favorite photo booth strip of my mom, little brother, and I from 1997, and one of the worlds best smelling candles (seriously, PLTNC’s “Forest Floor” is what I want everything to smell like all the time. Brady even got one for Christmas last year and wouldn’t stop talking about how good it smelled).
Let’s talk a little more about art, because we’re about to get into it…
This is our gallery wall. Let’s also address how good at styling drawer labels I am! So good.
It’s possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever worked on (the gallery wall, not the labels). We had to 1.) pick art we both liked that, 2.) all felt cohesive together and, 3.) would all fit on the wall (some pieces only came in certain sizes) all while, 4.) staying within out tiny budget. If you can think of quicker way to torture or test a happy couple, that doesn’t involve children, I’d love to hear it. Because by the end of this process I felt like we had really gone through something together.
To try out different arrangements we mocked-up each version of the wall to scale in photoshop. This was a two week process at least.
Then we finally, FINALLY settled on an arrangement. The fog lifted, the clouds cleared, and angels were heard on high. The Thursday before the shoot, we had all our pieces framed and sitting in our living room waiting to be unboxed and hung. I must have scaled something wrong in photoshop, because as we laid each piece out on the floor to double check our arrangement we quickly realized that some of the pieces were bigger than planned and weren’t going to fit together. Cue my 11pm meltdown. But Mac re-worked it all while I hyperventilated next to him, and proceeded to stay up until 3am with me carefully measuring, leveling, hanging, and then re-hanging every piece (sorry neighbors).
So what’s the key to easily hanging the perfect gallery wall? Don’t ask me, because I might burst into spontaneous tears. BUT LOOK AT IT NOW! (I’ve gone ahead and re-inserted the image here so you don’t have to scroll back up)
I’ll run through some of the pieces quickly, because so much effort went into picking each one.
Top left is a screen print poster for my favorite band, STARS, that I’d been holding onto for a few years (I also framed two other STARS screen prints in my childhood bedroom). The ceramic piece is a very cool Totem from The Great Escape Studio, who I found on Instagram. We picked up that black and white photo print of 1920s Los Angeles and the original ‘Angels Flight’ at the Long Beach flea market and saved it from moldy, water logged doom. The piece in the center of the wall is an amazing oil painting by fellow Otis graduate and fine artist Kohshin Finley, which Mac had been wanting for several years. When we finally had a place to hang it he decided it was time to pull the trigger and buy it. Right above it is a huge 20 x 32 Gia Coppola print from Tappan Collective. I picked up that vintage Danish flag in Round Top. And finally, the bottom right piece is our third piece from artist Anna Ullman (we have two others in our living room).
A huge shout-out to Framebridge, who framed every single photo or piece of art in our entire apartment. We use them pretty often here at EHD (because it takes practically zero effort on our part – we fill everything out online, they send us the packaging and labels, we mail it off, and then it comes back to use perfectly framed), and we’ve never had a bad experience.
The desk needed to actually be functional but we wanted it to look good, too. Luckily Mac has a rolling drawer tower, where we hide most of the office supplies that would be visually assaulting to style-savy eyeballs such as yours. But up top we did keep a tray with easy to access writing utensils, a little mail organizer, and my vintage hunter green and brass desk lamp from Round Top (sitting on Mac’s copy of ‘William Shakespeare’s The Complete Works’ obviously).
Funnily enough this little tray encompasses two of Mac’s biggest pet-peeves about me. First, notice the lack of scissors. We own 4 pairs of scissors. Where are they? I DON’T KNOW (that’s a lie), but I do know that there is a pair of kitchen scissors in the kitchen that work just as well as normal scissors for just about everything. But Mac hates it when I use the kitchen scissors for non-kitchen related tasks, and so I’ve taken to using them as quickly as possible and preferably out of Mac’s eye-line. It also turns out I’m really REALLY bad at opening mail, so the mail organizer is often filled with mail addressed to me, which Mac will eventually just put on top of my computer/pillow/dinner plate so I’m forced to go through it. Ignorance is bliss.
So, there you go. An office that we actually use. And we DO use it. I’m chilling in it right now as I write this. It’s awesome. If you’re into it, here’s the ‘get the look’ below and stay tuned for ONE more post next week – the bedroom (which is possibly my favorite).
1. Black Cast Letter Holder | 2. Brass Photo Stands | 3. Brass Wire Cube | 4. File Cabinet | 5. Desk | 6. Desk Chair | 7. Brass Trash Bin | 8. Ceramic Wall Hanging | 9. “Untitled VI” Print | 10. Clock | 11. Black Tray | 12. “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains” Painting | 13. Cream and Gray Striped Pillow | 14. Navy Pillow | 15. Roman Shade | 16. Candle | 17. Matches | 18. Polaroid Double Frame | 19. Loveseat | 20. Table Lamp | 21. Nesting Side Tables | 22. Wood Bench | 23. Rug | 24. “Black and Tan Abstract” Print | 25. Desert Oil Painting | 26. Leaning Bookcase | 27. “Criterion Designs” Book | 28. “Type Player II” Book | 29. The Polaroid Book | 30. Fringe Woven Basket
**Photos by Tessa Neustadt