Even before we moved into our house fifteen months ago, I knew I wanted to work with Interior Designer Katie Hodges on the rooms our family spends the most time in: G's and my bedroom, Sloan's room, the dining room, and the formal living room. Katie's use of warm, neutral palettes, and her knack for making any room inviting, encapsulated the design aesthetic I found myself gravitating toward when I imagined our finished "forever" home.
A lot of the decisions we made in our last house centered on the fact that we knew we'd be raising a baby there. Fortunately, we no longer have to be as mindful of purchasing things like dark couches and wicker coffee tables (with rounded edges at crawling height), with a six-year-old as we did with an infant. In a lot of ways, this feels like our first adult home.
In our last house, the formal living room was merely a place we passed through, a glorified entryway that we constantly felt like we "should" be using more, but was rarely where we naturally landed. In contrast, this living room is collectively everyone's favorite room in the house.
When we were first discussing the space, I envisioned friends draped across the couch after dinner parties that went late into the night. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten a ton of use out of it (read: any) in terms of being able to entertain, but Katie so flawlessly executed a comfortable and cozy space that's been a joy for our small family to use every day.
Although the room is technically our "formal living room," it's anything but formal. You can usually find Sloan and me in front of the fireplace. It's where G and I have our coffee in the morning, when the light filtering through the trees outside is at its most beautiful, and where we gather as a family for games of "Guess Who?" around the coffee table. There isn't a TV in the room, so the room naturally encourages conversations, games, listening to music, and reading. It's a lovely place where we can disconnect from everything and feel truly grounded.
In designing the room, Katie took all of the elements we loved most about the room and emphasized them. Before we even moved in, we stripped the floors to bring them down to their natural white oak, with a very minimal stain, and painted the walls with Benjamin Moore's "Simply White." Like most of the rooms in our house, it's surrounded by views of trees, so Katie drew inspiration for the furniture from the greenery outside.
My progression from color-loving to favoring muted tones is almost comical in the sense that, in our last house, we had pops of neon and bright primary colors in every single room, which felt reflective of where I was at the time. In this room, Katie had to push me on the color of the sofa and the rug, because I worried that the complementing sage greens felt too bright for the space. I couldn't have been more wrong. The color and classic shape of the couch set the tone for the rest of the room, and highlight the surrounding trees, which lends itself to an almost "Northern California treehouse" vibe. (Kudos to Katie for creating this with exclusively cat-friendly performance fabrics.)
The room is one of the first things you see when you walk into the house, so we knew we wanted to make the fireplace a show-stopping moment (similar to the ingle nook fireplace in our last house!). We fell in love with this marble slab, which completely transformed the room. To the right of the fireplace is a window seat, which has always been one of my life goals. Katie had a custom seat built and outfitted with a cushion in the coziest fabric that Sloan and I often cuddle up on when I read to her. G always wanted a dedicating reading chair, so we found a handsome vintage leather chair and reading lamp (that he shares with Rocco, who loves the chair more than anyone).
When you're in the room, it's impossible not to feel relaxed. Every surface, the position of each chair, makes you feel at ease. G and I often marvel that this home is our home—I can't wait to share the rest of it with you this month! x
Chandelier: Apparatus (Similar here)
Sconces: Hector Finch (Similar here)
Art (above fireplace): Karina Gentinetta
Woven Chairs: Lucca Antiques (Similar here)
Sofa: Custom-made, by Katie Hodges Design
Coffee Table: Nickey Kehoe (Similar here)
Art (near window seat): Sam Kupiec
Ceramics/Accessories on Fireplace: Galerie Provenance (borrowed)
Floor lamp: Vintage, from Harbinger (Similar here)
Pillows: Vintage from Katie Hodges' collection
Window treatments: Custom curtains (Similar hardware here)
As a note: These photos were staged for 'House Beautiful' (on newstands now!) so a few of the items pictured here were borrowed from Katie's personal collection (as you'll see in the "Sources") or moved around for photography—scroll down to see what it looks like today, as we use it in daily life.
Here's what it looked like before!
And here's what it looks like today, as well as a few additional, unstyled shots of the space (not much has changed, outside of some furniture moving around and the addition of a few accessories):