Two summers after my husband, son and I moved in, our Brooklyn apartment was finally feeling like a true family home. We’d painted, changed out old light fixtures and found a place for all the toys. But the living room still needed some love. Why is the last 10% of any project always the hardest? For help crossing the finish line, I recently turned to Homepolish, the interior design service. Here’s the before and after, if you’d like to peek…
First, the before shot. Our charcoal gray rug (layered under a smaller one) was invisible against the new apartment’s floors, and our dark sofa and lounge chairs weren’t looking great. Also, we’d given up on our coffee table, with its kid-unfriendly glass top. Overall, the space somehow looked simultaneously empty and overcrowded.
To help, Homepolish set me up with Amy Row. As soon as we started swapping ideas, she felt like my design fairy godmother. She took all of my opinions seriously, gently guided my choices and sent hilarious gifs in response to my texts. “We reached decisions together, but the space really feels like yours,” Amy told me. “I had so much fun working with you, and my relationships with clients are a huge part of why I do interior design. It’s an incredible feeling to have an impact on someone’s home.”
Paintings: Karina Bania. Framing: Simply Framed. Sofa: B&B Italia. Throw pillows: Hedgehouse. Rug: Armadillo & Co. Credenza: Organic Modernism. White chair: Lulu & Georgia. Coffee table: DWR. Blue ribbed vase: West Elm. Urn-shaped vase: The Maryn. Purple jar: Nalata Nalata. White wall paint: Farrow & Ball All White.
On lighter colors: One of the biggest changes Amy made was brightening up the room’s color palette. For example, she recommended a light rug (its speckled wool and low pile make it easy to keep looking clean) and pale linen throw pillows to soften the dark sofa.
On choosing artwork: I was already hunting for a painting to fill the empty wall over the sofa when Amy and I got started. We scoured artists’ Instagrams together, and I really loved the work of California painter Karina Bania. We were able to tell her which colors would work best and which paintings in her portfolio were most similar to our vision. Shipping large paintings across the country can be pricey, but Karina was able to roll up her canvases in tubes and send them to Simply Framed, which has discounted pricing, for re-stretching and framing. We’re thrilled with the end result — commissioning original paintings was much less intimidating than I had imagined.
On everlasting flora: One of my favorite things in the room is the magnolia branch in the corner here. It’s faux! My best new trick is to turn the vase over and watch friends’ faces as they realize the “water” doesn’t spill. It looks so convincing. As Amy says, “It’s unreal. Literally.”
Print: Matthew Johnson. Wall light: OneFortyThree. Throw blanket: The Citizenry. Side table: vintage from EBTH. Gray chair: vintage from RePop. Mustard pillow: similar.
On creating vignettes: Since we wanted to keep most of the big furniture pieces from our last apartment, it was a challenge to figure out how to reorganize everything. Amy was a genius at editing and pushed to make the room airy and open even as we added a few new pieces. “When everything has a place and purpose, a room will have a lighter touch,” she said. “Instead of over-decorating, we considered the function of each seating area and created sweet moments like the wall light, black-and-white print and reading chair.”
Chandelier: Etsy. Dining table: DWR. Chairs: vintage from eBay, Etsy and flea markets; similar. Window shades: The Shade Store. Candlesticks: The Maryn. Carafe and glasses: Ikea.
Olive tree and planter: Terrain. Tall cabinet: Urban Outfitters. Brass tray: Schoolhouse Electric.
On choosing house plants: Amy thought our old fiddle leaf fig was too heavy looking for this corner. To change things up, she recommended a wispier olive tree with a rustic planter. “Don’t forget that plants bring in a pop of color, so you want to choose one that fits well with the rest of the decor,” she said. “This soft tree is perfect for your room.”
On woven furniture: I love the rattan Urban Outfitters cabinet we found — the quality is great — and there are some other woven furniture touches in the room, too. (This pretty cabinet from Ikea was a close contender.) Something about the open weave of these pieces makes them feel light and relaxed to me.
Mirror: CB2. Bench: Article. Vases: Canvas. Brass lamp: Schoolhouse Electric. Throw blanket: Parachute. Sheepskin rug: Jenni Kayne.
On fireside seating: Before, there was nowhere to sit and enjoy the fireplace. Last winter, I would lie down on the floor in front of it every night (basically on the hearth) to warm up! Now, we use this new Article bench constantly — it’s the perfect little perch. Our three-year-old son loves to lie on it with his hands behind his head, relaxing like a boss. I’m excited to make this my spot once it’s fireplace weather.
Framed print: 20×200. Child’s chair, left: vintage from EBTH. Child’s chair, right: Vintage Fine Objects.
On the mayor of our home: One thing we didn’t change is Bowie’s dog bed and its exact location in the room. He watched from this position as the project unfolded around him. (At 11 years old, he and his bed are our version of Marty and his chair from Frasier.)
Wood glove mannequin: vintage from EBTH. Green dachshund: Brimful. Tool kit toy: Amazon. Antique mirror panels: Walter’s Mirror. Gray paint: Farrow & Ball Lamp Room Gray.
On transforming an unused corner: Finally, we tackled a small construction project. The living room side of our kitchen peninsula was outfitted for bar stools, which we didn’t need. So, we turned it into a bookcase and swapped the frosted glass cabinet fronts for antique mirrors. After painting everything gray to complement the stone countertop, we love how it feels like a great furniture piece that helps separate the kitchen from the living area. It also softly reflects light back into the living room.
I’m so happy with the final result. What to do you think? I’d highly recommend Homepolish if you’re thinking about redecorating. They have hundreds of top designers nationwide who can take on projects soup to nuts, ranging from simple room refreshes (starting at $130/hour) to full-on remodels involving architects and general contractors. They also offer by-video design, so you can work with a designer virtually wherever you are. The best thing about Homepolish is how personalized their service is, from the moment they match you with a likeminded designer to making sure you’re totally satisfied with the final result. You can check out all their services, portfolio and beautiful design magazine here.
Thank you so much, Homepolish!
(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo. Styling for the photos by Elizabeth MacLennen. This post is sponsored by Homepolish, which makes decorating projects easy and fun.)