the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Going Boom – the pictures

Like the video of our living room explained, I met the owners of the DIGS website back in January at a conference. A few months after that they contacted me and wanted to know if they could help furnish a room. I hadn’t realized how broad their selection was, and then when I saw the Jonathan Adler sofa, I wrote back and said they could totally furnish my butt.

When I realized just how serious they were, I had to get serious. And that’s when I asked AB if she would help. BUT! Then she said she charges money! And I was like, DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH OF A BULLY I AM? I was just giving her a hard time, had planned on paying her hourly fee anyway, but when she sent me the first invoice I emailed her and said, “I REPEAT. DO NOT BUY ABCHAO. Have I mentioned what a nightmare our experience was with ABCHAO? No? A TOTAL NIGHTMARE.”

I think her response was, “Sistah, you best be mailing that check right quick.”

(click here for more, this post just got REAAAAAALLLLy long)

You guys, her hourly fee is so reasonable that I may go on a twitter rampage about it: “Have I mentioned how much ABCHAO charges for her brilliance? NOT ENOUGH.”

I sent her a list of the things DIGS was furnishing, and then she sent me a mood board full of ideas. In the meantime, I was looking at the scale of the two chairs in comparison to the couch and something just wasn’t working. So I called her and told her I wanted to use those chairs for other parts of the room and that we needed to think of something to put in their place. She emailed me a picture of a leather and chrome Milo Baughman chair and said, “Something like this.” AND THEN SHE CHARGED ME ANOTHER DOLLAR.

I headed down to my favorite vintage shop, The Green Ant, and told the owner that I was looking for something Mid-Century, chrome, low to the floor. No joke, he walked over to his computer, pulled up a picture and said, “I have these over at an upholsterer right now.” And they were the exact chairs that AB had suggested. I asked him if he knew anything about Mormons, and when he shrugged I said, well the Lord has brought us together today, BROTHER.

I broke several laws on the way to that upholsterer because AB insisted that they be covered in nothing but leather. And they turned out better than we could have hoped, except I can’t recommend this upholsterer. And I really, really wanted to. But they were so unprofessional, so evasive, almost abusive. Four weeks after they said they’d have the chairs done we’d call and say, hey! Just checking in! And their clearly annoyed response was that it was people like us bugging them that made it impossible to do their job.

Would you look at that restraint? I didn’t even take to twitter!

Now for the breakdown. Let’s start with the entryway:

That’s a Jonathan Adler desk from DIGS. The wallpaper is a hand-silkscreened eco-friendly paper called Wind in Her Hair by Madison and Grow. I framed a seahorse print I got from Amber Alexander’s Esty shop above magazines, vases, and woven wooden balls I already owned. The sconces were already in the home when we bought it.

Here’s a snapshot of the living room from the entryway:

Yes, that’s one rug layered over another. The top rug is from Morocco, a piece we found from My Marrakesh and it’s lying on top of a jute rug I found at Overstock. This is something I never would have thought about doing, and I could not be more thrilled with the look, the texture, and the lush quality it gives to the whole room.

That’s the burled wood coffee table with a bird bowl and a bird sculpture on top. A copy of Decorate by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick sits on top of Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life. The plants are Tillandsia, air plants that don’t need soil, and I got the glass cloche from The Rhubarb Studio.

Two Jonathan Adler lamps sit on a white lacquer console behind the couch that is layered with pillows and a faux chinchilla throw. AB found that pink Moroccan pouf on eBay.

Above the fireplace hangs the hand-carved wood ibex. Before AB arrived she asked if she could spray him hot pink. I told her that I would use him as a weapon and impale her before I let her anywhere near him.

HAND-CARVED WOOD. He smells like the forest.

We traded out the silver sconces for these brass ones we found, and they tie in nicely with the Trina Turk fabric-covered vintage benches AB found at a shop called Circa Who.

Across from the sofa and coffee table sit the leather-upholstered Baughman chairs and tucked in between is the Lola accent table. We killed a large animal, took three of its legs and dipped them in paint. I KID. I might eat a large animal, but I would never kill one.

A table and chairs I’ve owned for several years sit in the turret, and above it we hung an Ikea light that Tyrant spray painted gold. It took him eleven years to finish that project because he spray painted every little doodle thing individually. He threatened to kill me halfway through.

As you walk through the front door there is a little reading nook to your right. That’s where we stashed one of the Addie chairs, the Radcliffe Étagère, plus the Brandy side table. That’s a vintage map of the world hanging above the chair, and the black lamp is a Jielde zig-zag lamp from Horne.

In terms of accessories we used a lot of things that were already in my home, some vintage items we found around town, and a couple of brass urchins from Furbish. I also got a book about Tord Boontje from DIGS.

Across the room sits our upright grand piano.

The prints hanging above it I bought from Valero Doval’s Etsy shop. Flanking those pieces are two vintage Rococo gold gilt candle sconces from Valerie’s Vintage Home.

To the right of the piano is a giant plant we found in town and a framed print of an early Degas drawing.

At the back of the room is the formal dining room. That’s where I put the other Addie chair plus the George Nelson Tripod Lamp and aqua lumbar pillow.

On the dining table that we already owned I gathered up all the vintage turquoise glassware I inherited from my late Granny Hamilton plus a set of antlers we found at a local antique shop.

Or maybe Anna Beth hunted that deer down herself. She’s eating Paleo, too, SO YOU’LL NEVER KNOW.

  • Birdy

    2011/08/24 at 3:59 pm

    House envy! It’s simply gorgeous. I stand all amazed. 😛

  • erinmcd

    2011/08/24 at 4:08 pm

    I love all your artful tchotchkes, but doesn’t that stuff collect a lot of dust?

  • marthajoyous

    2011/08/24 at 4:12 pm

    The layering of the rugs is probably my favorite idea to “take home” from this room, but the whole room is so amazing. I’ve watched the video too many times.

  • DTDorrin

    2011/08/24 at 4:25 pm

    Such a beautiful room! Love the pops of color and, well, just about everything. Such a great mix different styles, but pulled together beautifully.

  • twinsmomma4

    2011/08/24 at 4:26 pm

    My favorite thing in the room is the thing that didn’t have a link. I love that chandelier from IKEA. So pretty.

    The whole room is amazing and I’m totally jealous. Also totally jealous that you scored those pieces from DIGS….so expensive! sigh (i live in the ghetto so i live the good life through you!)

  • tokenblogger

    2011/08/24 at 4:32 pm

    And not one damn word about the artichoke?

  • Essembee

    2011/08/24 at 4:37 pm

    Still love it. The photos somehow make it seem warmer than the video though… but I did miss the opera vocal (and imagining it was Heather singing with joy).

  • filmlady

    2011/08/24 at 4:43 pm

    Beautiful beautiful BEAUTIFUL!!!

    All that beautiful stuff wouldn’t last 5 minutes in our house before it got broken. I bet you’ve really got everyone tied up in the basement with the mythical bobcat, and you only let them out for picture times. Yup, dogs too.

  • playrawkstar

    2011/08/24 at 4:45 pm

    i know exactly who reupholstered your chairs – they’ve had my couch for 6 weeks and nada! that aside, your room looks gorgeous – congrats!

  • sombelo

    2011/08/24 at 5:14 pm

    LURVE-LY. What a great room! I had just recently discovered “air plants” myself, now seeing them here, on Fab and at a local restaurant… love it when that happens.

  • EliBailey

    2011/08/24 at 5:24 pm

    Beautiful! I love the couch, the chairs, the wallpaper, the shelves, all the color and accessories, etc, etc. Also love that Ikea light, and when we first saw it my husband thought it was some other kind that is way more expensive. We are in the process of buying a house that needs to be completely remodeled and your house has provided lots of ideas and inspiration for what we want to do.

  • Adrasteia

    2011/08/24 at 6:01 pm

    I totally thought the title of those journals in the hallway was Communism Arts… But that is what happens when you’ve been in a lab for 12 hours a day. Wait, what month is it?

  • LynnB

    2011/08/24 at 6:02 pm

    I am way more jealous of your room than I would be if you had had your way w/ anyone (or everyone) on my “top 5” list from earlier this morning. Sigh. #youwin

  • klvisme

    2011/08/24 at 6:26 pm

    Not to add to your Jonathan Adler obsession too much, but I work at HSN and Jonathan has a line of home decor products there – you should check it out, he has some pretty cool, inexpensive stuff.

  • Laurie

    2011/08/24 at 8:20 pm

    This article took me forever to read and I loved every minute of it. Gorgeous pictures. Can I steal your layered rug idea?

  • Catmollins

    2011/08/24 at 9:09 pm

    I want to steal your elephant for my mom, she’s been collecting them for years.

  • Wint3rhart

    2011/08/24 at 9:10 pm

    I am IN LOVE with the wallpaper. It’s so swirly!

  • MustangSally

    2011/08/24 at 9:14 pm

    I’d love to see a close up of that ceramic bottle on top of the piano. The room is gorgeous but I’m gonna be honest… after that skit from Portlandia I just can’t see any cutesy bird accessory any more without thinking “Put A Bird On it!!”. Even adorable birds.

  • reymiland

    2011/08/24 at 10:04 pm

    I don’t think she has to worry about dusting..I would think the maids would do that at least twice a week.

  • mightymarce

    2011/08/24 at 10:38 pm

    Ok, so I love everything here, it’s all GORGEOUS and looks like it came out of a magazine…

    …and all I could think of as I scrolled through the pictures is, “Wait, this is your house? Don’t you live with Rambo Baby?! How the hell do you keep it looking this nice?!?”

    *enter major inferiority complex*

  • VickyNguyen

    2011/08/24 at 10:40 pm

    House porn!! So so love it. Thank u for all the pics.

  • Reem

    2011/08/24 at 10:44 pm

    Amazing photos … i love the old vintage look… mix with a little modern.

  • skyediaz

    2011/08/24 at 11:54 pm

    Your place is sick. ;P of course, in an awesome way! Why do you show these gorgeous pictures?! Not cool for someone who lives in a tiny townhouse for a family of 4 with friggin toys jammed in every nook and cranny!!

  • maticki

    2011/08/25 at 2:07 am

    ok, the room is nice BUT what I DONT understand is how do you keep the place so tidy and clean with TWO DOGS???? i have one (hairy) dog and am struggling to keep the (much smaller) place hair free (and he is not allowed on the carpet or a couch and they are still full of hair)!!!

  • Brent

    2011/08/25 at 3:27 am

    You mean you have furniture inside your house? Furniture and knick-knacks?! How bourgeois!

    Seriously though, this looks like it came straight out of Decor magazine. I’m still slobbering over the Jonathan Adler desk in the entryway.

  • austinscott

    2011/08/25 at 4:59 am

    I admit to reading just a portion of the post, and skimming over the photos. But be honest. This is a celebration of your awesome success of this blog, is it not? No envy here. I applaud you. A fine example of true capitalism, and free markets, at work here wouldn’t you agree? I think it’s wonderful. Only in America! (Unless your a dictator in a third world country) You earned this, in a free country, where liberalism hasn’t taken over. Wonderful! What a great place we live in, eh? I applaud your success. Your an inspiration to me.

  • Jessamaka

    2011/08/25 at 6:30 am

    Dust is the reason I limit the knickknack collection in my house. Also, I can’t imagine what it’s like to pull sea urchins and air plants out of a toddlers mouth all day.

  • joyyost

    2011/08/25 at 6:49 am

    Gorgeous! But I have to ask…Does Marlo actually leave all of your beautiful nicknacks alone? It’s not like we 100% baby-proofed our living room when our son started walking, but the taller he gets the more I’ve started moving things around. He’s great most of the time, but then out the blue he decides to grab that awesome piece I got when I was in India and I freak! I can’t imagine him doing well in a room as nice as this. Just wondering how you do it with baby rambo on the loose!

  • subjectivitis

    2011/08/25 at 7:13 am

    Love it! My parents used to have a vintage map before the US was all divided in it’s current form. They only got rid of it like two years ago. The paperclips to hang them are cute. Is that a permanent fix or temporary?

  • elwyntan

    2011/08/25 at 7:18 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! I wish I had the stones to design like that.

  • ChickWhitt

    2011/08/25 at 7:19 am

    every time I see that Ikea light fixture in someone’s home I think, that thing just always looks amazing for Ikea. NEVER would have thought of spray-painting it! My soon to be renovated new office just might be the reason to buy it now 🙂

  • Regency Romantic

    2011/08/25 at 7:33 am

    I’m going to have to move into your reading nook now. Sorry for any inconvenience…
    That chair! It looks like something from Alice in Wonderland! I love it!

  • Maladroit

    2011/08/25 at 7:49 am


    what? it had to be said. nobody was paying it any attention 🙁

  • annecat

    2011/08/25 at 8:30 am

    All well and good, but I’m still dying to know where the bright floral rug came from that’s in…the playroom, maybe?

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    2011/08/25 at 2:20 pm

    proving that **some** people with money actually. have. taste.

    i admit i scrolled through at mach 29 1/2 because it makes my eyes hurt. so lovely, so nice, so sigh-inducing. alas, back to stepping over the piles of theeengs and turning that useful blind eye …

  • MarchelineB.

    2011/08/25 at 3:04 pm

    LOVE: Grandma’s turquoise glassware.

    MOVE: Ibex into the dining room (where he can graze), and put something fabulous over the fireplace! That space is just begging for some color, some art, some pizzazz.

  • ConstanceBlizzard

    2011/08/25 at 9:05 am

    It’s all very pretty, but my head hurts just thinking about all that… stuff. Knickknacks? Trinkets? Gewgaws? Books placed beneath plants hurt the most, and as a design trope, seems almost blasphemous.

    The piano, however, is beautiful.

  • harugirlie

    2011/08/25 at 10:06 am

    LOVE IT! Did you say where you got the grey rug in the entryway? I love it a lot.

  • PantsPie2000

    2011/08/25 at 10:13 am

    UH. MAH. GAH. So incredibly jealous.

  • tothemoon2

    2011/08/25 at 10:26 am

    What is that… $18,000 worth of free furniture from DIGS? You couldn’t have come up with something else that was more worthy of $18K than your own living room? I’m all about design, but to “spend” that much money seems a bit ridiculous to me.

  • edgyveggie

    2011/08/25 at 11:03 am

    I have serious decor envy. Also: how the hell-ass do you keep everything so nice with two kids and two dogs?!!?>!?!111

    You’ve inspired me to actually do some room-tying-together in my apartment. Maybe it won’t look so much like a college dorm and more like a young adult married couple live here.

  • whomajigi

    2011/08/25 at 1:10 pm

    A little excessive for me, but hey, this isn’t for me. I’m insanely jealous of people like you who have such an eye for design. My idea of decorating is finding a nice picture and putting it up. I wish I could do something of this magnitude. I guess this isn’t something you can teach…pity!

  • prestonk9

    2011/08/25 at 1:15 pm

    There is so much I love about this, but especially that awesome turquoise glass and how it goes SO well with that pillow on the Alice in Wonderland chair in the background. That’s a lovely picture. The elegance, fun and simplicity around the fireplace is really nice too. Nice work! One day I hope to own a pouf…

  • jan001

    2011/08/25 at 5:29 pm

    Congratulations! It was a lot of work but it got done!

    I have realized that my favorite part was almost certainly there all along. I love the balusters on the staircase. They have a very Art Deco look, IMO, and I do love my Art Deco.

    Now all I need is stairs.

  • kfkirsch

    2011/08/25 at 6:00 pm

    Heather, that room is so f-in fabulous its no wonder Chuck lost his bowels in there. But yeah, bad dog. Bad, bad dog.

  • labsnabys

    2011/08/25 at 10:48 pm

    I can’t even focus on the individual items or the general look and feel of the room because all I can think of is the hours and hours of dusting that all of those knick-knacks require.

  • Erin Human

    2011/08/26 at 11:36 am

    I don’t get the commenters’ obsession with ALL THE KNICKNACKS… I’m a minimalist and even I don’t think there’s all that much *stuff* in this room.

    I am just burning with envy looking at how stylish the room is. The balance of neutrals and color is masterful… it ain’t easy to make a big white room with modern furniture look warm, but you’ve done it.

  • NolaMomma

    2011/08/26 at 9:56 pm

    The room is stunning. Extremely inspirational. Jobs well done to everyone involved!!

  • nomi

    2011/08/28 at 11:27 am

    Just had to chime in on this. I LOVE DIGS. I visit at least 6x a year just to look around. Sadly, my budget isn’t quite there yet. But, I love getting in there and thinking how cool it is to visit a store where you love almost everything in it.

    When we went on Monday, I did almost get these salt & pepper shakers. Adorable.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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