I partnered with Eternity Modern, an online-based mid-century furniture store with a showroom in Irvine California. And look what happened! My formal living room has been transformed by their Mario Bellini sofas and I’m so excited to share the results with you. I generally redo my rooms about every five years. But only because I have the itch. And I don’t mean that kind of itch. I mean the designer itch to redo things because my soul requires it.
I’m sure you’ve seen Mario Bellini sofas time and time again. I tend not to decorate with items that are ubiquitous, but I have to tell you, I have loved these sofas for an eternity. And they’ve been around for at least 80 years, and are not going out of style any time soon. They might be less prevalent in five years, but that’s when I change the décor anyway. I don’t decorate to follow trends. I do it when my heart is full, meaning if I love something. I don’t care if it’s trendy or non-trendy, I just go for it.
What I love about these sofas (which are covered in cotton velvet) is that they are composed of modular pieces, sections that you can literally arrange in a way that you feel will have the most impact. You can tie them together, you can separate them, there’s an ottoman, there’s one with arms and one without arms. As an interior designer, this is the sofa I present to clients over and over again because it can be configured in a hundred different ways. It’s the ultimate in décor flexibility and, hopefully, a good idea for those of you who are designing the living room in your own homes. Not to mention you can get the sections in a variety of different colors, giving you even more latitude for high design. You could, for instance, have your sofa’s middle piece in a rich brown and the one next to it in a creamy ivory. I thought about mixing colors but ultimately decided to go plain, simple and neutral because I want other elements in the room to pop as well. I went for ivory/beige.
What’s also great about these pieces is that their backs and arms are tied together with rope and have rings and carabiners, which allow you to create the perfect setting you’re going for.
Living room layouts are hugely important and they’re where I see the most problems. In fact, they’re rooms where you could usually use an interior designer. Because you can have amazing taste, but if your layout is wrong, the room will never work. You must have an idea of exactly how and where you’ll place the pieces because otherwise you end up with a room you don’t like.
We did a 3-D visualization of my living room with the sofas in it so I could configure the sections in a way I knew would look great before they actually arrived. We did the layout on the computer, placing and replacing the pieces in positions until we found an arrangement we liked. And it wasn’t easy. This room is big, yes, but believe it or not, it’s a little tricky because we have openings on the corners, steps that come down, and things that jog in and jog out, so laying it out can get a bit complicated.
I gave this room a complete makeover. Not only did I switch up most of the furniture but I also brought in a black olive tree from Plant Daddies which provides unique and exotic species of plants with the finest lines for the home.
These are legit, mid-century Zanuso chairs. They came all the way from Italy and they’re covered in a fabric from Kravet which feels like cashmere, though it isn’t. They’re very old, definitely built in the 50s but their legs haven’t rusted. Yay! I just love having history in my pieces. And remember, you want to mix old with new. You can’t just buy all new or all old. Good design is the artful arrangement of different styles and textures. If you’re going to have new, you also have to have vintage and these are my vintage pieces.
This coffee table was gifted to me by my parents, who bought it in 1978 from a store in Italy called Design Due Mille. Three weeks ago, when I was in Rome, I hunted down Design Due Mille. They don’t have a showroom anymore but they do have an office and my mom and I went and knocked on the door. The young gentleman who had helped my mom was now an old gentleman and he didn’t remember us. Until, that is, we gave him our last name, and when he heard that, his memory came back, and it was such a great moment of connecting with him. He told us most of the circle of people at the design firm had passed away, which was so sad, but showing him a picture of my coffee table, how it’s center stage in my home, made him happy.
The art in this room is from Tom Sachs, a limited run from a very interesting artist who incorporates everyday brands into art. In this piece he’s got Chanel, Cup of Noodles and the Trojan labels together. His work kind of mocks our modern society. I haven’t committed to where I’m putting it just yet. I tend to lean my art against a wall and live with it a while until I decide where I want to put it permanently. I love that the colors work with my new living room, and frankly, I prefer a pop of color in my art than in my furniture. When I buy colored furniture I always regret it. I know some of you have also told me you have regretted putting furniture in bright colors in your rooms. The reason? Because eventually you get sick of it. I’m never going to get tired of beige or ivory. What about you?