Renovation Update: Living Room Inspiration

As the temperature drops and I spend more time inside I am aching to nest and start decorating even though every last cent I have is earmarked for our amazing kitchen renovation which starts in the next month or two.  As I said before designing for myself is SO hard, but I’ve committed to making this home a study in neutrals as to keep it feeling light, calm and cozy.  I spent a good chunk of the week in LA speaking to women about designing their homes and repeatedly told them that the most important thing is to have patience and wait and save for ONLY things you absolutely love.  Of course picking up super affordable basics is a big part of design on a budget, but make sure that there are lots of pieces with character and patina layers with those items.  I need to take this advice MYSELF and wait for things like a lucite and brass coffee table like the one below. I also have been obsessed with the Mitchell Gold Major chair in leather with stain brass since it came out and so I think that might be something I start sacking away for.

sofa/ rug/ chair/ side table/ floor lamp/ tulip table/ coffee table/ art/ sconces

blanket/ pillow fabric/ candle/ shades/ tray

Proof that vintage pieces that you fall in love with don’t have to be pricey- this console was $75 at a estate sale YEARS ago and I still love it. I’ve painted the interior cubbies two colors so far and am about to change it again to a grassy green and find a finish carpenter to make wine racks on the inside to store a few bottles.  I’ve been stumped as to what to put in those little cubbies forever and finally have found a great purpose! This area will be great once drapes are up- I am LOVING my Ballard Designs/ Suzanne Kasler antlers I put up on either side too.

Benjamin Moore Forest Moss

And I can’t believe I’m doing this after I was like, a zillion percent sure this was going to be my sofa for the next 10 years but I am selling my navy velvet sofa. Our new home HAS to have a sectional with chaise or else Andrew and I might kill each other.  The dogs take up 75% of the sofa and so my 6’4″ husband and I are relegated to basically sitting on the arms crunched up and pissy. Email me [email protected] if you are interested. Pick up ONLY.

(fabric is darker than appears in this pic)


  1. Not the blue sofa! Well, these things happen. We just moved and I am storing our beautiful camelback and pulled out a (free) tuxedo sofa that I’m getting reupholstered. With nailhead trim of course. But I secretly want to change course and upholster it in navy… with nailhead trim…

  2. Erin, where are the drapes from in your inspiration board? I am currently on the hunt for cream or white pinch pleat drapes myself and these look perfect!

  3. Um, if I could make it there from DC, I would so be there to pick up that sofa. I love it! Speaking of, any advice on finding a nice, but affordable, sleeper sofa? I have a 1-br condo, so it’s a necessity, but I really don’t want to go the pottery barn/crate & barrel route. My style is more the tufted, tailored look than a slipcovered couch. Thanks!

  4. Do you have any idea where to get a fig tree, like the one in your inspiration board, in the boston area? I would love to have one, but haven’t had luck looking around.

  5. Please provide insight on how you’ve kept your dogs’ white hair off that beautiful, navy velvet sofa. I have a similar problem.

  6. I second the request for a sectional feature (same predicament- we’re tall and our Westie somehow always gets most of the couch “I’m so cute, don’t make me move, I just want to cuddle with you, look how sad my brown eyes look”).

    Are there affordable yet super-comfy sectionals out there?

  7. I’m not sure if it is, but if that tree is a fig tree I just want to mention that they are extremely temperamental trees (I saw a comment where someone called it a fig tree, although I’m not sure if that’s what it is). If it’s fake, then you can stop reading my comment. :)

    If real, remember that placement is of utmost importance to these trees who will shed leaves like crazy and ultimately die if they aren’t in an ideal situation. They like to be in the sun, but not in direct sunlight. They like to be free from drafts – so not close to doors or vents. These are all things to consider before buying – make sure you have a spot that will make this bratty tree happy. Unfortunately we did not and it didn’t end well. :( Still kicking ourselves for not being more conscientious before buying the fig tree.

  8. Yes it’s a fiddlehead fig, and yet it’s a brat. I killed my last one, but we lived in a basement and so it was pissed off. I also watered it WAY too much- with this one the less I water it the healthier it is! Once a week only, and less than a gallon.

  9. Love the sea urchin fabric! I have the ivory on some throws on my baker reverse camel back sofa (one of my absolute favorite things in my house). Love what you’re picking so far! I second a sectional post, I want to replace my Michael Weiss one – not comfortable and the cushion fit annoys me.

  10. Erin, I am in LOVE with that rug! Do you know if there is something similar I could find for less? I see it’s now on sale but unfortunately is still out of my price range :( I’m diggin’ that sectional – would love to see a post on those as well!! Thanks!

  11. Do you have the source for that lovely lamp? Love it all and actually just bought the urchin fabric but in blue!

  12. love our Jackson sectional from West Elm. It swings both ways which is great for people who like to switch or move things around!

  13. I poured over those comments about the fig tree–where do you buy a good fake one? And good fake toparies for that matter? I’m far too self-aware to venture the real deal again, but I’m wary of purchasing online since they can be so pricy (which I have no issue paying if it’s awesome) but so often it seems the color and texture is doofy in real life. Have you vetted any places? :)

    Always love posts with the little inspiration collections, btw!

  14. It really is coming along nicely and I love some of the pieces you have chosen. I just completed (almost) a huge kitchen/house remodel and it is definitely a study in neutrals with a pop of gray and mustard thrown in for a change. And I am loving the return of brass. Look forward to your continuing progress and all I can say after barely surviving it is, yes, be patient.

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