Ideas + Advice

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Behind the Design

Redecorating After Renovating

By Christine Lakin

Christine Lakin is an actress, television director and choreographer. She also hosts the podcast @worsteverpodcast, but her favorite role is wife and mom. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Brandon, and their children Georgia and Baylor. 

Three years ago, my husband and I embarked on a project to renovate our home in California. After nearly 15 months of planning and 16 months of actual construction, we were so happy to be back in our new space, which felt familiar, yet completely reimagined all at the same time. It was our dream come true. However, as with most major construction projects, there were lots of unforeseen issues and problems we had to navigate (like the full indoor emergency sprinkler system the city required us to put in… SMH) and bottom line, we were also now house poor.

We moved back into this open, loft-like space, having gotten rid of most of our furniture before our last move (Truth: it was nearly 20 years old, and one of the couch arms looked like it had been attacked by wolverines). We spent about 6 months with one ratty old couch. One day, upon some kid spill, my husband took off the cushion to wash it and the zipper broke. We felt it was finally a sign- we were due for new furniture, stat.

We started saving up and looking at what we could afford — while also evaluating what we needed for where we are in our lives now. We have two small kids. Two crazy dogs. We like to entertain, have friends over, playdates and game nights… that majorly expensive white sectional was definitely off the table! We needed furniture that felt comfortable and looked elegant but was secretly durable. Stuff that was reasonably priced (we needed bang for our buck) but wouldn’t break down in a year. Honestly, that really started to narrow the options.

We looked at catalogues, walked through showrooms, had numerous disagreements about design aesthetic, and finally ended up at Living Spaces. I was so impressed — and thankful! They have a never ending array of inventory and so many styles; it was really helpful for us to find things we agreed on. Plus, they have these amazing designer collaborations — it’s like you’re walking into a designer TV showroom. Plus, you can actually sit on everything, feel it, and make sure it’s the right color. I’m such a tactile person; I have to know that chair is going to be something I want to sit in, or that rug will be comfy enough to lie on and play with my kids. The prices were reasonable and the options were plentiful, so we started to pull the trigger. I must disclose- we hired our friend Wayne Hueners (@_wayneframe_) to help us pull it all together. I’m one of those people who know what I like when I see it, but I fully admit, I need someone to have an overall vision for me and help with color, and he did an amazing job.

Our family room has a semi retro feel to it, yet it’s modern and neutral. We found two gorgeous chairs at Living Spaces and had them recovered to match our palate, and they are so comfy. I also love our tripod lamp; it makes for a perfect reading spot with my daughter, and it’s a warm accent in the evening. I loved this Aztec style rug but we couldn’t find one that was big enough for this huge space — so we bought two and had them cut and sewn together by The Persian Rug Company (hello design hack!)! Our old, soft leather coffee table got some new legs and we rounded out the room with some custom pillows. It’s the perfect space to play, entertain, and kick up our feet. It’s pretty but not precious — just the way I envisioned it!

For our living room space, I wanted to define it as slightly more elegant. It borders this really cool custom bar we had built under the stairs (yes that is a kegerator and yes we have beer on tap… my husband is from the Midwest! What else could I get him for a 40th birthday gift!?). Wayne designed the curved couch, which I’m just in love with, and we paired it with this incredibly soft, medium pile rug from Living Spaces. Being that it was the first thing you see when you walk in, this setup was pretty important and I wanted it to feel luxe without breaking what little bank we had left.  

We added a plant and a circular cocktail table with storage (bye bye kid crap!) and it’s become a great afternoon space for Georgia to work on puzzles and Baylor to crawl around. It has beautiful natural light at all times of the day, and the cherry on top is the gorgeous art piece my husband painted that hangs on the staircase wall (see more of his art at @artofbroshaka1). I’m always so awed by his talent and of course, having an artist in the family doesn’t hurt when you’ve got some big walls to fill :) Our friend Dustin made the floating frame to color match the legs on the couch and table and I couldn’t be happier with both the look and function of this room.

Last but certainly not least (in my opinion!) is our master bedroom. We joke that this room was the whole point of what became a two-story renovation, because it’s really all we started out wanting to build. I absolutely love it. It sits above the canyon in the trees and we included some custom features like wood beams and a wet bar with a coffee maker. This is my getaway space. I joked that I wanted it to feel like a fancy hotel room so we always feel like we’re on vacation when we come up the stairs, and I think we did pretty well! It’s where we go to meditate, read, or maybe play a game of backgammon. I found the most gorgeous blush velvet chairs and textured rug at Living Spaces, which perfectly set the scene. With all the chaos of life and kid stuff that ends up overtaking our house on a normal day, it’s important to have a space that’s just yours. Brandon and I love having a quiet night up here, turning off the devices and watching the sunset, and I love sneaking away with a girlfriend to sit on the “rose chairs” and catch up.

We keep adding little personal touches here and there, and it’s starting to really feel like a home. Summer has been the best time to start breaking it in with friends and BBQs. Big thanks to Living Spaces for helping us bring our house to life! What do you think?

Follow Christine on Instagram at @yolakin.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.