Don’t Do it Yourself

Photo by Kylie Fitts.
wishbone chair oiled oak hans j wegner carl hanson & son

In 2014, after feeling paralyzed by indecision when it came to furnishing their own homes, sisters Lee Mayer and Emily Motayed started Havenly, an interior design website that pairs real people (i.e., the 99 percent) with online interior designers. They recognized that, at anywhere from $100 to $300 an hour, traditional interior designers are cost prohibitive for most. At the same time, however, the average person is too busy to sort through the noise of Pinterest, HGTV, magazines (cough), and style blogs to find the right couch for their living room.

Design the Home You Love (Ten Speed Press, 2021) compiles years of knowledge gained from helping Havenly customers discover what they like and don’t like—as well as what they need and don’t need—and is filled with tips on how to get started on your own dream project.

Take the dining room shown here, a multifunctional space I would love to reproduce in my own home, down to the accessories. “We find that a lot of our clients are moving away from having a separate dining room in favor of more casual seating,” states Havenly’s cofounders. The case is made for white walls, clean lines, and classic minimalism, a place where one can eat breakfast and dinner every day but still host ambitious, well-executed dinner parties. Mayer and Motayed love a solid-wood dining table that will stand the test of time, surrounded by modern, easy-to-clean dining chairs, like this combination of bistro chairs in rattan and woven plastic. They also advise clients to avoid choosing furniture from the exact same set. “Mixing a more classic dining table with Scandinavian or modern chairs can make the room feel a little less expected and certainly far more interesting than just buying a set from a furniture store.”

1. Sandstone & White Speckle Dinner Set //
2. 11 Tote in Saddle Brown //
3. Riviera Dining Chair in Black & White //
4. Addy Double Dresser in True Blue //
5. Beech Wood Peasant Bowl //
6. Fjord Dining Table in White Oak //
7. Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair in Oiled Oak //
8. Sinnerlig Pendant Lamp //
9. Granada Diamond Rug in Black //

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