Home Tours

Joanna’s Living Room, Part 2

Joanna has a beautiful fireplace in her living room. We both loved the look of stacked firewood, so I bought a couple of reams of wood at a nursery (though they sell firewood everywhere – even Home Depot). I had to cut a couple of inches off the length of some of the logs because…

Joanna has a beautiful fireplace in her living room. We both loved the look of stacked firewood, so I bought a couple of reams of wood at a nursery (though they sell firewood everywhere – even Home Depot).

I had to cut a couple of inches off the length of some of the logs because the sides sloped in a little. I’m so happy with this look and think it’s a great way to add an organic/rustic element to any room with a fireplace (especially of the non-working variety).

Another great feature in Joanna’s living room is the wall of built-in bookshelves. All we did here was paint the shelf backs with Benjamin Moore’s Horizon – one of my very favorite blue grays.

We whipped this project out in just a few minutes using this great little tool called a paint edger.

The subtle color really adds a lot to the color balance of the room, I think.

Joanna had this great little captain’s mirror hanging in another room, but it just looked so perfect hung here on the shelving moulding. We tapped in a wall brad to hang the mirror, but 3M Picture Hanging Strips would also do the trick if you’re worried about damaging the surface of your built-ins.

We liked the idea of creating sort of a reading nook in front of the bookshelves. I found this CRAZY heavy and huge vintage swing arm lamp at an antique shop, and thought the scale would be fun and could hold it’s own in front of a wall of books.

I taped up the cord and the bulb inner workings and spray painted it a blue color from Sherwin Williams.

On the opposite side of the room, where you enter the living room, is also near the front door of the apartment. The space was perfect for this vintage brass bar cart, which is sort of dual purpose and acts as an entry console too.

I think every room needs a decent sized mirror to reflect light and brighten a space. The ceilings in this apartment are really high, so we needed a really long and narrow mirror to hang above the bar cart. I found this one for a couple dollars at a local thrift shop.

It looks better than new with a few coats of Benjamin Moore’s Gentlemen’s Gray (one of my very favorite moody colors).

A little tip for painting mirrors: I used to be really intense about taping off the mirror part before painting the frame. It would literally take me three times as long to tape off the mirror as it would to get the actual painting done! And then I would be so frustrated after pulling off the tape only to see the old finish reflecting underneath the edges of the frame. So now I don’t tape anything – I just paint as much as is necessary to cover all the old finish so that it’s not peeking out anywhere. I really dig my brush down under the edge of the frame and the paint usually gets all over the mirror, but I still leave it all to dry for a day or two. After the paint has cured, I spray the mirror down with windex and use a paper towel to clean up the mirror surface. It’s like magic! The paint comes right off the mirror, but stays on the frame. Sometimes if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll run a razor blade around the borders of the frame to sort of perforate the paint before cleaning it up with the windex. Works like a charm!

Next up: the Nursery!

{Again, a HUGE thanks to Karen Mordechai for taking many of these photos above. Karen is a fabulously talented New York-based photographer. You should check out her portfolio, especially if you have a wedding coming up!}

Join the Conversation

45 thoughts on “Joanna’s Living Room, Part 2

  1. I love that little nook you created with the mirror and exquisite bar cart. It adds such charm to the living space, magnifique!

  2. thank you for such detailed posts (that include tips!). i discovered your blog last week and have been going back and reading EVERY post.. i've gotten all the way to last fall, i think. i just can't help myself from devouring every single delicious post!!! :) love your work!

  3. I've loved the idea of the firewood stacked up from the moment I first saw it. I think this should be the year I finally do it.

    The whole room looks great.

  4. The room looks incredible! I love the stacked firewood in the fireplace and the blue paint on the backdrop of the built-ins! The lamp and the mirror look brand new!

    I am a huge fan of the paint edger and I use it every time I have a painting project…it really is a brilliant tool!

  5. Her living room is so pretty and interesting, I adore all your ideas. The mirror looks amazing now! I love greys…and the grey you choose is so pretty

  6. Why does your wait list keep getting longer and longer? Now it's through the summer? Wah! I NEED a little (or a lot?) of Jenny in my life!

    Beautiful room!

  7. I think this might be my favorite yet! Of course, I'm a bit partial since blue is my favorite color! Great job with the mirrors and with balancing the blue/greys and the warm/reds.

  8. what a comfy livable cute space! you have done it again! :) love the wood in the fireplace. i WILL do that to mine this year!

  9. I recently picked up that trick when it came to painting a door with windows on the side! It's great isn't it! That mirror turned out great and the bookcase what a difference! The power of paint!!

  10. Jenny..
    1st – I am obsessed with the red edger thing..no more taping has saved my life:-)
    2nd – I love horizon and almost painted my boys room that color.
    3rd – part 2 is just as good as part 1..love darling.

  11. I love when you post your projects! I wish I had an eye like yours. Joanna is so lucky to get to work with you!

    Love your blog!

  12. Jenny! I'm so glad you posted about the mirror painting trick! I also use tape and it looks like crap! THANK YOU!!

  13. HI, Jenny, I'm so bummed I didn't get to meet you in NY! We were in the wrong room & most of our friends, including you & lots of others were in the other waiting area. So, I missed out on meeting you! One of my friends sat on the other side of Emily though, so now I will look for you on the show.

    Love what you did for this client! That mirror repainted looks so great.

  14. Joanna's living room looks great! But when are we going to see pictures of your new apartment!?!?!?! Dyinggg with anticipation!

  15. It's amazing how much I love this room. There's not much pattern, which I tend to over use. Maybe I need to scale back?

    Thanks for the inspiration!!

    xo, Katie

  16. Congrats on another successful project, Jenny!

    Great work, and as always, appreciate your tips on how to paint/fix/repair things.

    Hope your new apartment is all you hope wanted it to be.


  17. Great work. Our living room in very warm and your post got me thinking about changes. I assume the bookcases are wood? Ours are melamine – complicated to paint the backs?

  18. Jenny –

    I love these rooms, and now that you've brought it up I can't help but walk through my house and think about color temperatures. It's giving me loads of inspiration about what I can change! Thanks for letting us read about your design process.


  19. What a great space! I love all of the bold pops of color. The mirror and lamp makeovers are amazing!

    Mandy @ This Girl's Life

  20. I just love everything you've done in this room! I especially love the book cases, and I LOVE that paint edger! What a great idea and great use for that tool!

  21. First, I wanted to say thank you for all the work you do on your blog! I just spent countless hours/days/weeks reading it from the beginning…and loving every minute!

    Second, we have that exact industrial lamp! I've wanted to paint it forever, but my husband wasn't sold on the idea (it's special to him and he's had it practically his whole life). He was also concerned that a special paint might be needed on the upper portion since the metal acts as a shade (not sure if it gets hot). Anyway, thank you for the gorgeous pic! It really helped him visualize and now he's on board! If you have time, I'd live to know what Sherwin Williams paint you used.

    Sending you a great night from Dallas,

© Jenny Komenda. All Rights Reserved.
Site by