Before even moving into her then-new home, Ruffled founder, Amanda Nistor, decided that the living room needed to be among the first to get a facelift—she also decided that it was the perfect opportunity to enlist professional help with the design. To assist in bringing her vision for a cozy, boho living room to life, Amanda ultimately turned to Havenly, and today, she talks about what it was like to work with a pro designer. Take our tour of the finished space below and learn about a few of the family-friendly and personal details that made the cut!
Describe the process of working with a design service. How did you and the Havenly team go from concept to finished space?
Because we were moving to a new home, we weren’t sure what existing pieces would fit in the new space, so we essentially started from scratch. Our main criteria was to have a comfortable and child-friendly space where we could have grown-up visitors, but also have playdates without compromising the look.
What piece in the room (or aspect of the space itself) served as the jumping off point?
We had originally started off with a rug I had purchased in Morocco, but it looked too dark in our living room, so we made a few adjustments while keeping the white slipcovered sofa. I brought the rug we originally had in our master (Abacasa Myan Rug) from our previous house and everything fell into place. From the sand and blue tones from this rug, we found these metal chairs from West Elm in an aqua fabric and they look like they were made for this rug!
Got any tips for working with a designer?
Be open-minded! A designer will see your space with a fresh perspective, and will suggest things you haven’t thought of before—embrace it because this is the best thing about having a professional help you.
Being a mom changed how I see home design. It’s now so much more than just looking pretty. It’s also about accommodating someone else’s needs.
What are your favorite sources for vintage home goods?
I am always scouring Craigslist for unique vintage pieces, but also Etsy and eBay for specific vintage items.
Do you have any kid-friendly living room design tips to share?
Velcro has been my BFF since having our daughter! We use velcro on fragile items and table lamps and everything else she might be able to reach. Goo Gone is my other BFF for when I need to clean up the sticky part.
What about the made-over space makes it work functionally for you and your family?
We love the large coffee table for playing and drawing and how surprisingly practical it is to have a white slipcovered couch. All of our upholstered furniture takes into consideration being easy to clean, like our Chesterfield sofa and zippered cushions from the metal chairs.
Our main criteria was to have a comfortable and child-friendly space where we could have grown-up visitors but also have playdates without compromising the look.
How do you balance work and family?
I didn’t really understand what ‘Mommy Guilt’ meant until I had my daughter. This is a real thing! I usually like to try to get most of my work done when my little one is either in school or still sleeping, so those precious early morning hours tend to be super productive. When she’s home, she has all of my or my husband’s attention (who also works from home) if either one of us is still in meetings or have to finish up work.
Could you let us in on any mistakes you might have made in the space throughout the design process?
I had my heart set on a deep red Moroccan rug for the living room, but without having one and not having keys to our new house yet, we had no idea it was going to look too dark for the space once we got said rug and moved into our new house. So looking back, I would have chosen a store-bought rug I could return in case it didn’t work.
What do you always have on your coffee table?
Books! It’s the one thing that easily makes a room look polished that’s also child-friendly. Now that our daughter is a bit older, we can breathe easier having vases and plants, but that might change again once our second baby comes.
Tell us about the envelope print on the mantel!
We had this envelope from Matt’s grandparents enlarged because it represents so much to us. This was a letter that his grandfather sent to his yet-to-be wife while he was in the Pacific during WWII. The contents of this letter never arrived at her destination, and it wasn’t until 2010 when a professor doing research on soldier survivors of WWII found the envelope on eBay. He was just as elated to hear that both of them were still alive, as Matt’s grandparents were to have that envelope returned to them. It’s an amazing love story with real love letters and history, all in one.
What were some of your must-haves for this living room makeover?
Bright and airy, but also practical and easy-to-clean items. We kept our leather Chesterfield from our previous house and we love how it looks in the space.
A designer will see your space with a fresh perspective, and will suggest things you haven’t thought of before—embrace it because this is the best thing about having a professional help you.
How has being a mom changed the way you decorate your home?
Being a mom changed how I see home design. It’s now so much more than just looking pretty. It’s also about accommodating someone else’s needs that I had never thought of. To us, that now means no glass surfaces, no towering bookshelves without having a way of securing them against a wall, but I also feel so much more practical about decorating. We used to have a fluffly antique Beni Ourain rug in the living room before having a baby, which is now in our master, away from crayons and juice spills. We now have a flatweave rug instead that’s easier to clean and I won’t worry about ruining it or sending it to a rug cleaner!
Learn a little more about the process of designing the space (including more resource links!) on Ruffled.
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