Editor’s note: Our friends at @westelmuk worked with Jess, a former flight attendant and founder of The Layover Life blog, to make over her living room with the West Elm Design Crew in Kingston upon Thames. Read on to see how it all turned out!


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Five months after we moved into our new home in Kingston, we finally have one completed room. Hurrah! It feels like such a victory getting a room finished. We moved into our Victorian end of terrace in March, and while it could be defined as liveable, it absolutely wasn’t our taste. It was a landlord’s dream: magnolia walls, brown carpets to hide all manner of stains and plastic grey office blinds in every room. Eventually we are going to do a major refurb and open up the labyrinth of small rooms on our ground floor as well as creating another bedroom on the first floor, however, for now, we decided a little spruce up of our living room was in order. We wanted to take on a project that was manageable and also would be finished for when we start the major renovations. The aim was to create a cozy yet luxe hideaway for when the work begins.

At first it didn’t seem like monumental task. It was just one small living room – how hard could it be? Aside from taking up all our weekends, my husband streaming the football from his phone in bed and hosting guests only at the kitchen table for the foreseeable four months, it was an absolute breeze. We worked on the room slowly, partly because we had a wedding to organize and partly because we’ve come to learn contractors will let you down at every hurdle. However, it is finally finished thanks to help from the in-laws also sacrificing their weekends to help us paint, plaster and panel and also a little magic from the West Elm Design Crew.

I tried out the free interior advice service at their Design Studio in the Kingston West Elm. I worked with designer Maggie to create my dream room. First up we discussed the size of the room, the color scheme I was going for and the overall look. While I am very good at envisaging a look I like, I struggle majorly to put it into words others can understand. I showed Maggie some images of some looks I liked and told her I wanted a balance of cozy, mid-century, luxe, light and airy. Good luck, Maggie!

The Design Crew was SO helpful when it came to creating a look I loved. They were patient and understanding. We went through a number of changes throughout the process. I met with Maggie twice in the Kingston store, first to bring her the dimensions of the room, discuss the look I liked and have a wander around the store where she showed me pieces that would work well. At this point we had already panelled our alcove walls, installed the cast iron effect radiator, stripped the wooden floors and painted our wall a very dark blue.

At our second meeting, Maggie had created a blueprint of our living room and mocked up a number of different color schemes based on the palettes I’d told her. If you want to see more of this process you can watch our before and after vlog of the room below:

The process was SO easy and enjoyable. While I can sit and pour over Pinterest for hours, when trying to actually piece together a look for one room I can feel quite overwhelmed. Maggie really helped take away this stressful part of the process.

I am so pleased at the color of the feature wall. (The closest Sherwin-Williams color match is SW 6992 Inkwell.) It was a risk, but we were excited to experiment more with color this time. We played it safe in our previous flat and kept all the walls white. It makes the room feel grown up and timeless. I absolutely LOVE the dark blue wall against the soft pink velvet of the Valentina arm chair. Details of brass and greenery from the plants just completes the color palette.

My favorite piece of furniture in the room is the Mid-Century Pop-Up Storage Coffee Table. I use it as a desk in the day and once the office hours are over the desk pops back into a coffee table. Our house is too small to accommodate space for an office so this is the perfect piece for a flexible working and home environment.

The accessories we chose for the room also help complete the look. OBSESSION is an understatement when I try and describe my love for these Agate Book Ends. The detail is so interesting and they definitely add a touch of luxe to the room.

This is our first house, and having left our flat that we lived in for a year and a half, it really does feel like a step up being in this home. My style has evolved quite a bit and I wanted to go for a timeless look that we would still enjoy in years to come. I also wanted to be much more daring with my color choices, textures, patterns and shapes. I am so thrilled with the result and even though it’s 100% my style, I would never have been able to put it together like this!

Photography by Brooke Harwood

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