Practicing what I preach…

I have a lot of “grand” ideas, most of which I don’t follow up on, either because I’m over it or I end up not having the confidence it will work. But sometimes I really do follow up on an idea that I’ve shared with you in past posts, and I’m happy to report that this is one of them!

OK, well kinda — I should probably mention that the original post on my dining room was meant to get suggestions on wall sconces to flank the mirror. I gave up on that idea after not having much luck, and decided to create my own budget-friendly solution: framing black & white 1970s celebrity photographs, per my post here. I chose the candid, easy-going snapshots of Farrah Fawcett and Mick & Bianca Jagger, framing them in ready-made (and 40% off!) frames/mattes from Aaron Brothers.

Dining Room Update: Farrah Fawcett

She looks so happy, and I would totally do
the same spontaneous little dance too if the mood struck!

Dining Room Update: Mick & Bianca Jagger

I like this one because it looks like they’re having a good time at this YSL party,
and it’s actually really sweet how adoringly he’s looking at her.

Dining Room Update

Still in need of a little extra illumination, I went ahead and added a vintage brass lamp on the buffet. (Its twin is in my office; one day they will be reunited again.) I also moved these two David Hicks La Fiorentina pillows from the living room to add some pattern/interest to the space. I had worked with Melanie from Plum Cushion on them and boy did we wait for that in-demand fabric to be in stock again! But she does excellent work, it was definitely worth the wait.

Dining Room Update: print

One item I didn’t share in my initial post: my very first piece of “original art” purchased from a CalArts photography student many years ago (another great way to save $$!) that I had mounted on aluminum, per her suggestion. I wish I could have gotten the detail in the photograph — her technique is so cool! As you stare at it, slowly your eyes adjust and you can make out palm trees, and wait, are those waves glistening in the moonlight??

home desk

Lastly, thought I’d take a pic of my “home desk” just around the corner. I usually pull one of the black Ballard Design Macau chairs from the dining room over to the desk, but for the sake of the photograph, I pulled this IKEA lucite and chrome chair from my office and topped it with a J.A. pillow. The black faux bamboo desk from Indonesia was a find from a cute little shop on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA, that we’ve used as a bar, console and vanity as well.

You’ll also notice I did in fact end up purchasing and framing the Frank Stella print that I blogged about a while back too. But what you can’t see (and most likely won’t, ever!) is my daughter’s play area to the left. She’s got a white fur rug topped with an orange chair/table set all to her little self. You know, kids’ play areas are just not pretty, no matter how contained they are!

So there you have it, an easy update to a room that felt incomplete. And now you can come over!

***Update, updated: so turns out the husband is not as much of a fan of the Frank Stella as I thought, and liked the way we had it before, with this vintage NYC subway sign I bought from Subway Signs (for $75, can’t beat it!). So I restyled the desk last night with a few accessories from our entry hallway, and swapped the pillow for this Missoni pillow. What do you think? Which do you like better? (And I apologize for the photo, it’s really dark here today, I had a hard time getting a shot.)

home desk, v2


Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. The DR looks great Erika! I am happy you included that amazing photograph in your pics this time. And that is my favorite lamp, I want one for my office so badly!
    I love the home desk shot too, my sister is a hige Frank Stella fan. But I really want to see Leighton’s space too!

    1. I usually have a vintage NY subway sign there for the E train/8th Ave. that I used to take all the time when we lived there. It’s in the bathroom now until we paint it black. It will come back out!

    1. My living room is still a disaster! So I’m not really being that proactive.

      Do you have pics up of your shop? I don’t think I’ve seen any!

  2. hi! i LOVE the shade of gray in the room! do you mind telling me the name/brand of the paint color? thank you! (kaibin@gmail.com)

  3. Looks so GREAT Erika. So many different elements to love.

    What I am curious about is more details on mounting an art piece on aluminum. Did you do it yourself? Did you have it done? How thick was the aluminum? What did you use to adhere it to the aluminum..etc…?

    Thanks for the inspiration!!

    xx – CB

    1. Hi Christina, love your blog! I actually took it a professional. They built in wood framing on the back with braces to mount it on the wall. Way too complicated for me! But it’s held up really well through the years.

    1. Thank you! It’s coming together finally. That lucite chair is such a steal! Got the sheepskin at IKEA too.

    1. Wouldn’t you know it, the husband is not a fan of the Frank Stella! I’ve moved things around a bit, I’ll have to post a new pic of the desk and get your opinion!

  4. Well, you can tell from how many comments there are already that everyone loves it, and I do, too – the pics turned out great! But I am DYING over the brass mushroom lamp and the Lincoln Center print. I have to have them!!
    -e (modern24seven.blogspot.com)

    1. I love that print too! I know, the lamp is so great, I love the one in my office.

      p.s. working on that gallery wall, it’s coming together!!

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog !! Love your blog. Your dining room is amazing. I am in love with the white and gold dishes, especially the gold ikat bowl. Is it from Anthropologie?


  6. Loved the updates, can´t get enought of looking to your dining area and the last update of your desk DIVINE, good changes it is even more chic now, lovely touch of a missoni pillow there
    kisses Chantal

  7. Shut the front door………Love the DR and I am in love with that vintage brass lamp. I think I am leaning towards the fist picture of the desk 🙂 Just for fun…..

  8. I love your dining room, We have a similar style going on , I recently ordered the Triad Large sideboard from Crate and Barrel, your Buffet looks a lot like it, I Love the old Hollywood Vintage feel of the Dining Room, great Job, Your making me want to Haute Hunt again… I figured the bowl to be from Anthropologie as well, Nate Burkus, I love it

  9. Would you mind telling me where the gold picture frames in the dining room are from, the name of them? I love!

  10. Hi – I’ve been thinking about getting those Macau chairs from Ballard Designs for a while now but I’ve seen some comments that the cushions aren’t comfortable. Did you keep the original ones or did you change them out? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

  11. Ericka, our style is so similar and I couldn’t help but laugh when I took a closer look of the framed pic of Mick and Bianca!!! I have one almost identical, but in color framed on my dining room wall too! I’ve had it for years and love it!


  12. Yes, I love the update look better. You have done a great job, the color really adds so much! I thought I would lean towards the original look but I have found as I am getting more “mature” color is drawing me in!

  13. Your dining room looks gorgeous! I also love the faux fur throw & pillow on the chair – very pretty!
    So glad I just stumbled across your blog!

  14. I LOVE your dining room! I’m using it as inspiration for mine. Do you have a rug in there? I’m stumped on what kind of rug I want. Thanks! 🙂

  15. Hi. I absolutely love your dining room! It’s gorgeous. Do you mind sharing where you found those white chairs. I’ve been looking for something similar. Thanks.