Ginny Macdonald | INTRO // 1939 TRADITIONAL // LIVING ROOM
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Hey all, I’m bringing you another room intro at the 1939 Georgian house we’ve been working on over at EHD. The other week I talked about some of the changes we’ve made to the Sunroom, and today I’m going to talk about our plans for their formal living room. We often talk about which of our client’s houses we’d want to live in and this one falls high on our list. It’s spacious without being obnoxious, and has lots of lovely moments throughout, all which make it such a fun project to work on. Give me a bay window, a cup of tea and a good book and I’d be a happy camper any day of the week.




When we first met with the clients they’d only moved into the house about 6 months prior, so they hadn’t really got that far with the decor. They’d started to place orders on a couple of pieces (the two blue sofas which you see in the picture above and a Beni Ourain style rug) but they needed extra help from us on pulling it all together and adding elements to finish the room. Initially our scope of work was to focus on the Sunroom and Master Bedroom, but as we got further into it and got to know the clients better, the list started to increase. We were more than happy about that since this house is a total beauty and we love working with these clients!


I know some of you will ask once you see the below pic… so in case you were wondering, the holes in the walls are for vents. They had just taken the covers off for maintenance access before we got there and these pics were taken.




In addition to the new pieces they had ordered, they brought over a few items from their old house including the brown sofa, which happened to be their dog’s favourite place to lay down. This was only there as temporary measure and we eventually got rid of it… sorry Mabel! We wanted to replace the couch with a credenza so we could add some art and lighting on top of it. Lighting the room proved a challenge, as there were no ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures to work with. So we needed to design around finding the areas of the room best suited to house a lamp or sconce when the sun went down. We tried to talk them into adding a ceiling light but they didn’t want the fuss of breaking through walls and ceiling in order to get power up there, and I don’t blame them.




We convinced them to add sconces on both sides of the fireplace. Lucky for us, they had two power outlets below that we used to chase up the wall, essentially creating new junction boxes. The original marble fireplace is beautiful and ornate – but subtle. Maintaining it’s simplicity was something we were all on the same page about.  Before they moved in they did have all their floors replaced with this mid-tone walnut which is stunning. They have a TV/family room in another area of the house so the double sofa facing each other works particularly well in here. It’s also a large room, so having lots of little bitty pieces of furniture would have felt quite fussy in here.




Behind the sofa (and where you come into the room from the entryway) is a large expanse of wall space. As soon as we walked in we knew this area was crying out for a built-in bookcase and artwork on the walls.




The bay window in here is pretty big (they popped the red sofa there temporarily since there was no where else for it to go) so we loved the idea of making that into a cute reading nook area with two chairs and a side table between. The rug they ordered felt too small in here, you can see that the back of the sofa is only just on it, so we had them return it and get a larger one sent over. I say that like it was a quick job but let me tell you it wasn’t. Luckily for us, but unfortunately for our client, it took months & months of correspondence between them and the etsy dealer to get the new rug delivered. Granted it was custom made overseas but it does show that you can’t get things good, fast andcheap – instead, pick two! The new larger rug is gorgeous though, and very soft and spongy under your feet (yes I did the test). Since there are two doors (into the sunroom) essentially flanking the sofas we had to be careful not to let the new rug size bleed into the walkways.




We tried a couple of chair options in the window. I loved the blue but they did feel too formal and we wanted to bring some edginess to the room. We were generally going for traditional meets vintage 70’s mixed with Italian mid-century. Quite the style right? We found the white leather strapped chairs at House of Honey which added that touch of whimsy we were looking for. I spotted the exact same chairs last week at Mid Century LA in an olive green suede. Someone please snag them up fast and tell them Ginny sent you! They are totally not my style but I’m kind of in love with them and wish I had the perfect spot for them.




There was some debate about what style of coffee table should go in here. They already had a circular coffee table for the family room so they ideally didn’t want to do another one in this room. With the sofas being on the boxier side, we liked the idea of a round or oval table or something more organic feeling, so tried out a few options (the glass and brass being one of them). This didn’t feel right because the lines on the rug clashed with the bars on the table base. It also felt kind of airy with the glass top. The clients really didn’t love the idea of an oval, so in the end we settled on a ridiculously beautiful live edge wood coffee table. You’re going to have to wait for a sneak peek into that one, but trust me it is good!




Much like the built-in banquette in the sunroom, we wanted the bookcase to feel in-keeping with the house style. We made sure the carpenter copied the baseboard moulding to match the one adjacent, and added a rounded edge top that also had some ornate detailing to it to give it a more traditional feel. He did such a good job and it feels totally original to the house, while adding some storage.




We didn’t really do any progress style moodboards for this room because we knew we wanted to find one-of-a-kind pieces. The snap above is a little insight as to where we’re at with the space. We found a beautiful Milo Baughman style credenza in burlwood and chrome which you see on the side wall. We also painted out the walls in a very light grey and installed a gallery wall above the entry bookcase. The larger rug came in and is feeling so much better in the space. The new chairs you see in the foreground are stunning with their finely woven caned back, chocolate velvet seat cushion and aged brass detailing. If any, these are the chairs that the kids, pets or crazy drunk co-worker should not be allowed to sit on… I saw the price tag!


In the background you also get a slight look at the amazing wallpaper we did in the dining room. We are introducing that one next so stay tuned.


We’ve yet to fully style and shoot this house but we’re very excited for the reveal. If you’re into the look of the living room we’ve pulled together a final moodboard with links below. Let us know if you have any questions!




Wood Framed Chairs (similar) // Credenza (similar) // Brass Table Lamp // Blue Sofa (similar) // Coffee Table (similar) // Rug // Mirror (similar) // Sconce // Dotted Stripe Fabric // Yellow Fabric // Diamond Fabric // Planter // Leather Strap Chairs or Leather Strap Chair (similar) // Hide Rug (similar) // Accent Table (similar) // Glass and Brass Table Lamp // Draperies


* Design for Emily Henderson Design

** My role: Lead Designer

*** Assisted by Melanie Burstin

**** Sneak Peek by Sara Tramp