The living room is the area that homeowner Richard Long considers the introverted area of the house: This is where the family goes for quiet moments: listening to or playing music, reading or pausing for a minute of reflection. It adjoins the dining room, which is painted a dark gray for a cozy feel. “Our goal is to have an art collection,” says Richard, “so we wanted a color that would fade into the background and let the art stand out.” Simple but glossy moldings and creamy walls are set off by the rich textures of leather, jute and wood in the living room.
You would expect a lot from the master suite closet of a $35 million dollar Beverly Hills home, and you’d get it here. More spacious than some people’s entire apartments, this closet features a flat-screen TV, a fireplace, bathroom fixtures, a small refrigerator and a grand leather chaise. An overhead skylight lets in natural lighting, while recessed lighting and a modern, crystal-draped chandelier provide illumination at night. Light wood floors and dark wood shelving give the feeling of a luxurious retail showroom rather than a closet, befitting this 15,500-square-foot mansion just a stone's throw from the luxurious Beverly Hills Hotel. Shelly and Avi Osadon, the husband and wife duo behind SEE Materials and SEE Construction, created the home.
No luxury feature is spared in this incredible custom kitchen, right down to drawer and cabinet compartments lined with leather. Spot the carved lion's head above the custom mural, which depicts the homeowner's own house among vineyards. Rich oak cabinetry built in France covers side-by-side Sub-Zero refrigerators, four freezer drawers, and two dishwashers beside the apron sink. Flanking the mural are two pilasters where the homeowner hangs her kitchen towels and hides her dish soap. In the island is a second sink, a Kohler Pro Cook, which doubles as a pasta cooker. For the grand-kids, a flat-screen TV pulls down from above the cabinets.
After a few cocktails and plates of food, your guests will want to rest and take a seat. Proper seating is essential for any party. Don’t be afraid to pull your chairs from inside. These leather chairs are from my office and are comfortable and match the color scheme. If you are feeling adventurous, add a small couch or love seat from your living room to create distinct and comfortable seating options for your guests. If your chairs need protection, fabric covers are a solution that can upgrade your current pieces while also keeping them clean while outdoors.
Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorne, who host the podcast One Bad Mother, stash snacks everywhere they go. “I have them in my car, my purse, diaper bags, under the couch cushions, everywhere,” says Ellis, whose go-to snack is granola bars. “I keep a stack of Trader Joe’s fruit leathers in my purse for emergencies because they’re cheap, lightweight, non-perishable, take up no space and my kids love them any time,” says Thorne.
Consider your own comfort as you garden, and invest a good pair of gloves. Nitrile coated gloves wash and wear well (toss in washer, air dry in a few hours) and come closest to bare-hand gardening. Top-quality nitrile gloves allow you to feel stems in your fingertips. Search to find a brand you love, then buy a few in multiple colors. Leather gloves are a must for cold- or wet-weather gardening, as well as dealing with roses or other thorny plants. Other comfort tools you’ll grab again and again include a broad-brimmed hat to keep you cool, waterproof boots and shoes, and knee or kneeling pads.
My practical approach to dining room design is to choose amazing chairs with an understated table or just the opposite so that they aren’t competing to be the focal point. Here we selected a classic double pedestal table to compliment ten plush chairs with metallic woven interiors and soft white leather backs. The drapery is as clean as the chair’s design and the bar cabinet is intentionally white to allow the 72”x72” abstract painting to become the star of the show. It was one of the pieces from our client’s existing collection that I insisted we keep. This room is also an example of how well classics and contemporary marry. The chandelier, inspired by the painting, mimics the repetition in the panels and is shaped like the table to which it’s perpendicular. Harmony is a key ingredient to successfully designed rooms.
As seen on HGTV’s Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott designed this living room to match the homeowner’s bright personality. The original cement flooring was stained a warmer color and dark gray paint was added to the walls, while the one wood-clad wall was kept as a feature. The large metal storage unit resembles an old set of lockers, which brings an industrial feel to the space. Two vintage side chairs and an old leather sofa were reupholstered in bright colors and prints, and a star-shaped light bulb installation was mounted on the wall as a finishing touch.
A basic wood cube is cheaper than buying an upholstered or leather ottoman. So Atlanta designer Rachel Greathouse did a quick and easy fix. She covered the top of a cube she bought from a discount home decor store with a piece of sheepskin, which creates a comfy spot for feet to rest. You also can find faux fur at a fabric shop and buy just enough to drape over the top. For even greater savings, you can build your own ottoman out of plywood.
Once a raw, industrial space, designers brought in glitzy design details to create a unique residential space. First, they raised the ceilings from eight foot to nearly eleven, creating a more dramatic space. Then, they installed a luxurious black and white tile floor and complimentary copper pendant lights that became the focal point of the space. Finally, they brought in rich, leather furniture and installed a glamorous wet bar to the space.
Favorite feature: The lighting, which is a custom installation of multiple pendants sourced on Ebay, is definitely what catches most people's eye —it’s the conversation starter that gets all the compliments. That design element set against the truly amazing view of the Long Island Sound and the New York City skyline make for a stunning visual. The custom bar is also exceptional with its luxurious materials, from the antique mirror in the back to the exotic wood cabinetry and beautiful Saint Laurent marble on the counter.
“This room has some really beautiful moments: the bold, striped fireplace commands attention; the combo of zebra, white leather, mirror and crystal set against a moody black backdrop is pure Hollywood glam; simple, two-tone damask patterns add a sense of tradition and comfort that tempers the sharp lines of the very modern wall and floor patterns,” says designer Candice Olson. “However, I think this is a case of both too much and too little. Too many patterns — stripes, checks, zebra and damask — all scream for attention. Undertaking such an ambitious painted floor with very little time prevented Design Star contestants NataLee and Tashica from really finishing this room, and it shows on so many levels, from the shredded bedding to the perplexing mirror/aquarium placement in the fireplace. I would have simply let the striped fireplace graphic be the star; painted the floor white to contrast the black and yellow walls and brought in a large zebra-patterned carpet for interest in the center of the room. This duo's predictable perimeter bed placement reminds me a bit of summer camp — a little more swanky, mind you. I would like to have seen a few beds dressed as sexy daybeds positioned in the center with cocktail tables beside and a spectacular chandelier above, very LA-luxe (in much less time).”
Spend an afternoon in a furniture store or browsing online and you’ll quickly realize that sofas come at all prices, from a few hundred to many thousand dollars. The good news is that you can get a great sofa at every level. “Quality is not necessarily indicated by price, contrary to what people may believe,” says Cindy W. Hodnett, Upholstery and Style Editor for Furniture Today. “You can find an affordable, high-quality sofa—and the exact opposite is true as well.” Part of what determines the sofa’s price is the type—a sleeper sofa, or one with “motion” capability or leather upholstery could cost more—but you should also consider how you’ll use the sofa when deciding how much to spend. “A sofa you plan to make the centerpiece of your living room in your dream-house might be worth more of an investment,” says Max Bar-Nahum, director of custom upholstery at Dr. Sofa, a furniture services provider that offers disassembly (and reassembly), upholstery, repair, and custom design and build. “On the other hand, if you know your tastes change often, you’ll be moving in a couple of years, or if it’s the sofa you’ll put in your playroom for your kids to hang out on, you might not want to spend too much over your budget.”