Posted on

As a food and lifestyle blogger (and of course, YouTuber) my home is frequently the backdrop to many photographs and videos, so I wanted it to feel “me.”

Thankfully, Havenly helped me accomplish that and blend my modern, minimalist, Scandinavian and SoCal-influenced style into one cohesive living room space.

I’m beyond thrilled to finally unveil this little design project I’ve been working on for the last few months. If you follow my Instagram stories you’ve seen the play-by-play as I’ve purchased, installed and arranged all the furniture and decor in my living room.

And last week, you also witnessed my inner “Tim the Toolman Taylor” as I proudly wall mounted my new TV all by myself (with the help of some strategically piled cookbooks!).

But let’s take a few steps backward. When I moved into my new apartment, it was a big, blank slate. And as is the case with most apartments, I had one typically boxy living room.

Instead of moving into this apartment like most do, with a truckload of furniture, I only had the bare minimum (and let’s be honest, it was mainly kitchenware). That’s because I’d sold or donated most of my furniture as I previously lived overseas for 6 months.


So here I was with a cold and drab living room and a Pinterest board that contained my interior design dreams, yet I was no interior designer. As luck would have it (and thank goodness for divine timing), I learned of Havenly, an online interior design company from a fellow blogger.

After perusing Havenly’s website, I quickly realized that I could hire a professional interior designer for $200. And get a 3D rendering of my room. Amazing, right? Though the cynic in me wondered if it was all too good to be true (spoiler alert: my gorgeous living room proves otherwise).

The process with Havenly is extremely easy, just watch the video above. One detail I don’t mention on the video though is that you have the option to select your own designer or be matched with a designer. I picked my designer, Asia, because her modern, minimalist, Scandinavian and slightly boho-style matched mine perfectly. And she’s been awesome to work with.

There were two main pieces of furniture that really solidified my design. My modern white sofa from Interior Define (I’ve chatted about buying a sofa online) and my woven leather chair from Wisteria (which, I was obsessed with). Bright white and warm camel – the tones I was craving.

My designer Asia noticed that many of my Pinterest inspiration images had double-layered rugs, so we decided on a plush champagne-colored rug from Crate and Barrel (I loved the subtle lines) and layered a warm, beige cowhide from West Elm on top. It’s a stunning combo, if I do say so myself.

Because my sofa is extra-long (at 112″) I needed a large coffee table to match the scale. But I didn’t want anything bulky. I had my eye on the frame coffee table from Crate and Barrel for quite a while and I loved how open and airy it is.

To make the sofa extra cozy, we also accented it with these throw pillows from Crate and BarrelCB2 and Amazon.

The media unit took a little extra searching, as we were initially looking for something white. But nothing felt quite right or fit the dimensions of the room. But then I found this buffet from West Elm and loved the mid-century modern look and brass inlay. Asia loved it as well. Done and done.

Because we didn’t opt for white on either the coffee table or media unit, I definitely wanted white on the dining table. Something simple and Scandinavian-looking. I also knew I’d likely do some overhead food photography on that table, so white would be the perfect backdrop.

Asia found this simple, modern dining table from Wayfair and I was sold. I also immediately loved the grey velvet dining chairs from West Elm that she selected. Not only are they super (super) soft and comfy, I loved the brass legs. On top of the dining table, I have two vases from Crate and Barrel, the Adra vase and Rati vase and the small one is from a local plant nursery.

If I’ve learned one thing throughout this process in working with Asia, it’s to mix and match a lot more. It’s okay to mix metals and textures and to not be so matchy-matchy. Working with a Havenly designer is definitely a collaborative process, but I was thrilled to have Asia steering the ship.

Alright, let’s jump into some of the decor. Even though I love modern and minimalist design, I definitely didn’t want a stark, black and white living room. I wanted my home to feel cozy, warm and inviting. I also wanted a little bit of that SoCal influence to shine through.

So we pulled in those SoCal vibes through the artwork from Minted. With a pop of turquoise color and calming, ocean themes, my blank-canvas apartment was transformed into a warm, happy and inviting home. The artwork we selected included Stepping StonesStormy PalmsBlue Monday and Leaf.

On my minimalist kitchen video I mention that I like clean surfaces. They make everything feel less cluttered. Which helps me feel less cluttered. But a living room is meant to be lived in, so wanted a few little decor items that had meaning.

Because I’m originally from New Zealand (yep, I’m kiwi-born), it seemed very fitting to display this kiwi bird from Crate and Barrel on one of my marble side tables from West Elm. On the other side table, I have a sculpture of bronze seagulls, which was my grandmother’s.

My grandmother had a little beach cottage in Laguna Beach and displayed these seagulls and alabaster grapes in a curio cabinet. So today, every time I look at them, I’m reminded of how lucky I was to spend my youth at the beach and have an amazing grandmother who influenced my life in more ways than I can count.

When I started this interior design project I made one thing very clear from the get-go – even though I’m moderately minimalist, I wanted tons of greenery. As in, load up my place with *all* the plants.

Real indoor plants have heaps of health benefits. So much so, that I’m sure I’ll do another post/video on that in the future. Therefore, you’ll notice a variety of plants, from Fiona, my tall fiddle leaf fig, to my new schefflera (who still needs a name), to my philodendron, succulents and orchid. It makes my home feel alive….and I love it.

The baskets and planters include this 3-tiered planter from West Elm, these large baskets from Pottery Barn, this woven basket from CB2 and this white belly basket from Amazon.

Alright, a few final pieces that I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet are this overarching floor lamp from CB2, this column table lamp from West Elm, these white linen drapes from Pottery Barn and this drapery hardware from West Elm. Oh, I also bought this new 55″ TV from Samsung. If I’ve missed anything, let me know in the comments below.

Now that my living room is done, I’ve excitedly moved on to designing my bedroom. And because I was so thrilled with Asia and the Havenly process, I’ve teamed up with them again. If you’d like to see that room when it’s done, let me know in the comments below. A beautiful, sweet, dreamy, calming bedroom….I can’t wait!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *