ABM Studio: The Living Room (Before)

Love these unique shelves!Hi friends! It's time for another room dreaming session. This time we're talking living rooms! In our studio house, the living room is the first room you see when you walk into the entryway. We hope to create something comfortable, easygoing and versatile. 

In the above photo (via Lonny Magazine) I absolutely adore the unique shelving. I think a wall of irregular open shelves sounds like so much fun! I love the wall color too!1This first view of the living room faces the front porch, with the entryway to the left. We know that we're painting the trim bright white, not sure about the walls yet. 

Curtains are important. I want something light and airy that lets in a lot of natural light. Since I used lace curtains in nearly every room in my home I am planning to explore new options and branch out from there. Any thoughts or suggestions?2This is the view when you look into the living room from the entryway. This is where I envision the seating. I could talk about couches and chairs all day. Just ask my husband! I love chairs more than any other type of furniture shopping. So, with that said…Leather couch crush!Initially, I'm thinking something leather (or faux leather with this look—via Desire To Inspire) would be fun. It's a versatile style that we haven't played within any of our spaces yet. I haven't found the perfect sofa yet, so I'm open to suggestions. We're definitely interested in a neutral option, but not married to the idea of leather. Secretly, I hope to find an amazing vintage sofa. I mean that's always the goal, but I won't hold my breath!Living room chairsI want to have fun with the chairs in this space, while still sticking with neutral colors. These chairs—1/2 (sold out booo!)/3/4.—all stand out to me as great options. I love the hanging wicker chair we added to my living room at home. It adds so much to the design of the room and it's just really fun to sit in. I also love these leather butterfly chairs. They're so fun and they remind me of my grandmother's cool 1960s ranch oak furniture a little bit. 

Speaking of hanging chairs, don't think I've forgotten about Rubyellen's living room hammock. That might need to happen whether in this room or in another. Too cute!3This wall faces the front windows. The doorway looks into the second living room (which we're planning to use as our group office room). I love the extra large open doorway.4This view shows you the doorway to the entryway. This is where I envision adding a faux fireplace!Simple modern fireplace… in love!Simple modern fireplace… in love!Fireplaces. Sigh. I love em. When we realized that this home's original fireplace had been removed at some point (bummin') I immediately started thinking about options for building some sort of DIY mantel or just-for-looks fireplace. Bricks could be fun. I also love both these images above (via Graham & Co and HGTV Remodels). I have a lot more research to do, but this project is VERY exciting to me. Plus, look at those walls (above) they need a fireplace. They just do4The light fixture went with the previous owner, so the possibilities here are very open at this stage! In case you're curious, yes that weird metal cord cover will soon be gone (or, well, hidden). 

I've never tried a painted ceiling, but I absolutely LOVE them. This room feels right for the painted ceiling. Here are a few that inspire me:Love this painted ceilingLove this painted ceiling(via Apartment Therapy, Indulgy, Kathryn Scott

I realize that third one isn't really paint now, but wouldn't it be cool if it was? I like the idea of stripes. Anyway, a painted ceiling with neutral walls and furniture sounds like a pretty sweet plan to me. 

So many decisions! This room is basically a blank canvas, and I hope we can do it justice. Eeep! I'm really enjoying reading all your thoughts on these posts. xo. Elsie 

ps. For more obsessive daily studio inspiration, follow my studio inspiration board on Pinterest. 

Credits // Author and Photography: Elsie Larson, Inspiration images are linked throughout. 

  • Hi there! I do have a suggestion about the curtains. I work at a Marimekko store and we have a large variety of white-ish fabrics for curtains which let the light get through but still give you privacy. There are many pretty patterns, white on white. My favorite is called “Tuuli”, it resembles a tree with branches and leaves. Worth looking into it! 🙂

  • In our new home we did almost all of the windows with sheer roller shades, kinda like these: http://www.selectblinds.com/images/productimages/rollershades/Carousel/Sheer-Weave-3000-Roller-Shades-0.jpg

    Ours have a linen like finish so they’re a little more textured, but they look bright and airy and let all of the light in without compromising privacy. They’re very modern, and look great paired with drapes as well.

  • I love that mustardy wall with the open shelving, and also the emerald ceiling. So gorgeous, seriously.


  • I love the painted ceiling idea 🙂 Can’t wait to see the finished place 🙂

  • Such potential! I love all your ideas. Also, thought this might interest you– there’s a show here in Australia called The Block (a renovation show), and one year a team did a kitchen with glossed floorboards on the ceiling instead of the floor, and it looked amazing. Here’s a link, if you’re interested: http://homes.ninemsn.com.au/theblock2012/galleries/237029/the-block-2012-room-reveal-mike-and-andrews-kitchen.slideshow


  • There is something about looking at an empty room that excites me! Like looking at a blank canvas!
    I’m in the process of renovating my entire house, I’m suffering with “idea overload” and I don’t have the budget to keep up with myself! I think in the end you should just make the room a place you want to relax in, your sanctuary, where you feel comfortable and at home. Sometimes following a decorative theme or being too matchy-matchy can make a room feel stiff, less inviting or not so comfortable – so just roll with it. Have fun!
    GREAT Blog by the way!
    Rachel Emmilee 🙂

  • What an awesome playground! I realize that dreaming of a spacious studio space is on my to do list. Dreams come true, sometimes. Although it should be very close from home, too…

  • I too am a lover of fire places. I would suggest adding a pellet stove, stove fireplace or something similar. It is relatively inexpensive and simple and can look really great. Generally you add a small patch of tile for the stove to sit on and you have a small hole cut into the side of the house or in the roof to run the tube chimney out of for ventilation. I have also seen them run through a window where one of the panels had a custom hole cut for the chimney. My favorites (and some of the most expensive kinds) are Esse stoves and Rayburn stoves. These brands also feature cooktops.
    Oh and these are amazing

    check out this beaut http://bloodandchampagne.com/images/bloodandchampagne1639.jpg

  • The Stockholm sofa from IKEA (which you may or may not be aware of) comes in a gorgeous light brown leather – very similar to the one in the picture! http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00245045/#/20245049

    And the Anywhere Fireplaces might be a nice addition to your faux fireplace idea! One of the wall mounted ones with a cool vintage mantel framing it!

  • This house looks in great shape. I can’t wait to see the lighter brighter version of it.


  • i LOVE the idea of a painted ceiling! the turquoise color is fantastic



  • I am feeling a lot of house envy right now! You guys are going to have so much fun decorating this space!

  • So many options waiting to see the end result. Fingers crossed.


  • Hi from Spain Elsie! (and sorry for the grammatical errors) I want to show you a Valencian school of languages (the town were I live) which has a very inspiring design:


    Just look those beautiful walls!
    I wish I had a place like yours for doing something like this.
    I hope you enjoy it and found it as inspiring as I do.

  • Hi Girls, my name is Luciana and I am from Brasília, Brasil.
    So, forgive my english mistakes…and my typewriting too.
    I’m a follow of ABM… i just love everyhomemadething, so just love yours.

    As you sugested I took a look at you on printerest and I found I little mistake about an artist reference…

    When se see a beautiful white and blue moisac wall and you say thats is Oscar Niemayer, it’s not. It’s Athos Bulcão. He’s a very important brasilian artist and my city, Brasilia, is full of her mosaics every where.

    Hope help.

    Kisses, Lu

  • I love the curtains at Urban Outfitters. They’re inexpensive and nearly all of them are light & airy with dreamy colors, patterns and textures. They’re great accents to have!

  • We recently bought the leather sofa pictured. So glad we purchased it as it is amazingly comfy and looks great.

  • what a wonderful blank slate you have there! i have a suggestion for curtains, if you’re still into ombre. target has ombre curtains that go from light to dark, top to bottom. it comes in coral, tan-ish, gray, and blue. i think it would work pretty well with natural light. the coral ombre curtains are even on my wish list :D. here is the link: http://www.target.com/p/threshold-ombre-stripe-window-panel/-/A-14287104?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=%7C14287104&CPNG=Home+Decor&kpid=14287104&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=14287104&gclid=CILQmfWn0boCFSZBQgodlAIAdQ

  • I really like what Trixie & Johnno did with the shelving in their living room on The Block (totally awesome renovation show in Aus). It offers function and is also eye-catching and a bit different…

  • That fireplace is STUNNING.

    Followed you on bloglovin’!

    With Love From Hollywood,
    Fashion Addict LA
    Recent DIY: DIY Lucite Perfume Clutch
    Recent post: Camo & Love, Preview

  • I want to work with you guys! Your office is going to be so beautiful! Need a writer (who commutes from Toronto)? 😉

    I have to put my plea in for a non-leather sofa. Save the cows. 🙂


  • Wow! Love looking at all these photos of your new place- and can’t wait to see all the developments!
    So fun to create new space and to make it a place you love and enjoy!
    My soon to be husband and I are going to be moving into a TINY little apartment after we get married….so I will be looking for cute, space saving ideas here on your blog!

  • I LOVE my Room and Board sofa. I have a Jasper sofa, but the Anson Leather sofas seem right up your alley. I also love their labor & business practices. Definitely worth a website browse if you haven’t before 🙂 http://www.roomandboard.com/rnb/ In terms of fireplaces… some architectural salvage warehouse may have them really affordably if you are willing to put in a little rehab love. I always swoon over them at Community Forklift out here in DC.

  • I always love the look of brightly patterned curtains. maybe even a diy – out of an airy cotton voile print from Amy Butler? That would be my pick. Can’t wait to see what this becomes!
    I love the idea of a painted ceiling too. yellow’s always my first choice. 🙂

  • Great ideas! I have a suggestion for bright and airy curtains: I actually love lace curtains, but decided not to do them in my entire home, so I looked for other options. My living room has darker walls, so I opted for a white semi shear curtain from ikea. Not only were they cheap (I have 7 windows in my living room!), but they let in so much light and are machine washable.


    Good luck!

  • Wow! Such a big open space and how exciting for you all to have a group meeting room!

    Lulu xx


  • world market has sheer curtains in fun colors / patterns — the style is called “crinkle voile” (http://www.worldmarket.com/search.do?query=crinkle+voile+curtain). i have the porcelain & yellow ones myself! they add a fun pop of color, while still letting in a lot of natural light 🙂

  • I’m excited to see what you guys do with this space!


  • How exciting! That living room has SO much potential!! Love it and I can’t wait to see what you do with it! 🙂


  • Ah,love the painted ceiling idea!we made our curtains with pure linen, they are lovely and the sun shines so gently through them, you can get an idea here 🙂 http://bubbleandthedusky.blogspot.com/2013/07/grass-and-gravel.html?m=1

  • I love that rug!


  • Inspired by the light, airy lace curtains in your home I got a real light weight white swiss dot fabric for mine and I love it, since my husband didn’t want lace everywhere. That would be adorable here, I think, curtain-wise. They still let in light and have a great texture to them, but a neutral one

  • Hi Sarah!
    Good question. I’ll share more details in a future post!
    🙂 elsie

  • I’m a total lurker, but I just thought I’d let you know that I am loving these posts on home interiors! Inspiring!

  • It’s always so much fun decorating and designing a new space – love these ideas. Good luck!

  • Just be careful because a painted ceiling can make a room look smaller and I am sure you wouldn’t want that in a room that already looks kinda small and dimly lit. When I first moved into my home our bedroom had a green painted ceiling and once we painted it white the room felt much more open and welcoming. Not a fan of painted ceilings unless it is in a wide open space and done correctly.

    Interested in seeing what you do to mimic a fireplace/mantel in the house. My house doesn’t have a fireplace (don’t really need one in South Texas), but I miss having one to decorate and what not. I agree that a fireplace is more aesthetic to the eye than a plain wall.

  • You should be able to find a fireplace mantle at a salvage place and restore/modify it to your needs

    I did the same thing as seen here:

    I had planned to build my own then was given this.
    when that was done it was kind of a nice base to build the room around (starting with repainting that pink thing haha)

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with..

  • That Urban Outfitters chair is surprisingly chic! And I love love that large leather couch and red fireplace too:)

  • well, me too:) so nice. hope you’ll make the best out of it!
    and the idea with the couloured ceiling is nice, too.

    by the way: i really like your blog.
    greetings from germany 🙂

  • I love the painted ceiling look! We finally finished putting the wood floor in our spare bedrooms and one of them will be my craft room/library/office. I’m thinking of white crisp walls with a sky blue ceiling and some fun light fixtures…! 🙂 Painting ceilings is so much work but I really love them!

  • Wow what a beautiful home and such lovely period pieces. Oh for curtains I would probably do a semi sheer bright with a tone on tone pattern on them.

    Allie of Dressing Ken

  • West Elm has a lovely Dekalb leather sofa, it even comes in a sectional. Check it out! We just got a West Elm store in St. Louis, if you are ever in the neighborhood you should stop by.


  • ohhhh, the painted ceiling idea would look so great.
    and i think i’m in love with that leather couch.

  • Loving the Fes Swing Chair, the all white room with the fireplace, the yellow ceiling, and the shelving space in that first picture (and the color of that wall!)

    CanNOT wait to see what this all turns out to be!


  • You have lots of great ideas. I love fireplaces too, I just dream of having one in my apartment! A DIY one could be so much fun!

  • Haya, I love your style and inspiration picts, they all have a very warm feel.
    In regards to painting the ceiling, it always sounds a very cool idea to me, but by my experience, every time I have tried at home I felt it was suffocating.
    Even though it was beautiful and original, it defined the space in a restrictive way…
    a bit oppressing really, so I finally resumed to only ever paint just one or two of the walls in a room, the rest of them left white.

    Well, I have to admit that Barbie pink all over all the walls in a small kitchen might have not been the best idea!…

    Looking forward to seeing the result.
    Good luck,
    Monica xx

  • Wow! The studio is so spacious, hence comes up with many options too. I believe a workplace should be comfortable enough, especially in terms of seating. The options you mentioned are gorgeously comfy :). I know, the best will come to you and your selections has always amazed me. Keep going gals, good luck.

  • I love this!!! I think a painted ceiling in that space would be brilliant. It can be daunting dealing with a blank canvas, but I know you will bring it to the most inspiring space.
    I am doing the same in my home as well right now, slowly working through room. Looking forward to seeing more! Here is what i’ve learned through my renovations, if any of this helps!

  • dreaming about spaces has become my favorite thing to dream about. i can’t imagine how exciting this project is- a whole house full of projects for your job sounds like the most amazing thing ever.

  • TWO living rooms! Just like The Simpsons – hehe. You gals are so lucky to have an extra home to totally get creative with – on top of your own lovely homes!

  • Hi Elsie,
    in my opinion it would be better to have white walls and a coloured ceiling, so you’ll have a very bright room. Anyway, I know the final result will be amazing as everything you girsl do!


  • The house is gorgeous. I love that old historic vibe it gives you! I am sure you guys will make it look fab!

  • I love the character of that second living room. I can’t wait to see what you do with those windows!

  • That leather couch is to die for, it kind of looks modern and vintage at the same time.

  • wow! what an amazing space. i was like a little kid trying to peek into the other rooms, because a photo would definitely allow that. haha kind of jealous of this house i have to say. 🙂

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