about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

    For partnerships, contact: dailygarnishads@mediakix.com.

    Looking forward to chatting with you!


    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Home Makeover: Front Burner Edition.

It all started with something as innocent a coffee table…

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Ever since we moved into our beautiful house in Old Town, Casey and I have worked hard to make this a warm and inviting space that makes us happy.  Working from home, we spend a lot of time in our house!  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m antsy from being laid up for the past two weeks, or maybe it’s our turning-30 crisis – but we’ve been talking a lot lately about wanting to replace some of our old junky furniture with nice “adult” pieces.  Clearly an expensive project that would need to be done piece by piece over time.

Yesterday afternoon Casey posed the question, “what would you say is the worst piece of furniture in this house?”  Without even thinking, we both immediately knew the answer – the coffee table.  If you can even call it that.  We had two cheap glass-topped side-by-side tables that I hated the minute we assembled them.  No matter what we tried, the glass was always filthy and the tables were always out of line.  They drove us crazy.  (I see glass-topped tables everywhere – HOW do people keep them looking sparkly and nice?) 

We decided it was time to invest in something nice, something made of real wood.  After a LOT of online shopping, price comparisons, and phone calls all around the DC metro area, we found ourselves at the Tyson’s Corner Pottery Barn last night, purchasing this beauty – the Hyde Coffee Table.

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And of course as I talked circles around Casey discussing the ten million different options for what we could change in the room, we decided we also needed something on the wall behind the TV.  A trip to Z Gallerie later, two gorgeous wall sconces were heading home in the back of our car…

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Can I just add that it is really nice to have a husband that actually gets involved with decorating?  For the most part I get to make the final decisions, but I love that he actually shares opinions and make suggestions.  It makes the whole experience so much more fun!

Now I know it probably seems like we just moved in and decorated our new space.  But the truth is, we’ve lived here almost two months now.  I think with any new space, you have to set something up, feel it out, and adjust it to work better as you grow into it.  From our first living room tour, here is the before image with the dirty glass tables…

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And here is the gooooorgeous after shot!  Complete with new coffee table and fantastic wall sconces above the couch.

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Perhaps you are thinking, wait a minute – what happened to those DIY wall hangings that they made for the empty spot over the couch?

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It turns out the sconces looks much better there than the wall hangings, so we swapped them out.  Don’t worry, you’ll see where they ended up in a minute!  Now the living room makeover isn’t totally done yet – we will still want to get a few colorful couch pillows and some decorative coffee table items, but I wasn’t willing to wait another day to show you guys.

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Once we brought in the coffee table and the sconces, we were totally in love…with the left side of the room.  Having such nice, pretty furniture on one side really made our Ikea bookshelves stick out like a sore thumb on the opposite wall.  We still liked the shelves, but the color and texture contrasts were just too much with the new setup.  We started thinking about ways to mix it up.  Here’s the before…

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And the AFTER!  Ahhhh I am in love with this space!  And the best part is that with the exception of the tall floor vase, we made-over the TV area using only items we already had. 

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Here is the before shot of the bookshelves and TV, as you would see them from the couch.  (Bookshelves were repurposed upstairs in our bedroom!)

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Aaaaand the AFTER – clean, creative, and much more appealing.  The wood structure is actually the bench to our dining room table, which we are currently using in the office as a double desk.  The painting came from our bedroom, and the floor vase was an awesome find in the sale section at Z Gallerie (great store). 

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As for the books, this was an idea that we played with for quite a while.  To be honest, I don’t think the pictures quite do it justice – I absolutely love it.  We took all of our books and cookbooks and laid them out like bricks, overlapping in rows that were relatively even in height. 

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Because of the overlap, they are actually pretty easy to remove individually without disrupting the whole layout (because after all, books are for reading!).  I tried to keep the ones I reference most often towards the top to make it easier.

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Our cable box is cleverly perched inside the wall of books (with just enough room to ventilate), so that you don’t even really notice it.  We’re planning to get some sort of wooden shelf to hang above the TV, but other than that I think it looks great!  Our original intention was for the wall sconces to be on this wall, but we quickly realized they were much better suited behind the couch.

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One more angle from before…

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And now AFTER!

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And do you see the old wall hangings still tying into the living room scheme?

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They are bringing some life to our staircase now.  Cascading up the steps and bringing a wave of color with it…

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Looks great looking down from above too.

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So there you have it – our living room makeover!  A few pillows, a shelf, and a few table items will make it perfect, but for now I’d say it’s pretty darn close.

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The older I get (can you tell 30 is creeping up on me?) the more I realize what a homebody I have become.  I think having a warm and peaceful personal space is so important to feeling calm and centered. 

I’m pretty new to playing around with decorating and design, and I definitely still have so much left to learn.  But I do know one
thing – I have smiled every single time I’ve walked into my new living room today.  And for today, that is enough.  :)

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106 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jodi     at 12:12 pm

It’s beautiful Emily – Nicely done! I look foward to the day that i can decorate my space as well. it really does make a difference in your mood when you’re at home!


Caitlin     at 12:34 pm

Oh my gosh. This is one of the most amazing re-do’s I have ever seen! The sconces are gorgeous! I love how something simple with candlelight can bring warmth to a room! This definitely looks cozy.

Also the “bricks” with the books – genius! I am bookmarking this for when I get my own place!


Brandy     at 1:06 pm

Oh my goodness that wall sconce is BREATH-TAKING! Great taste! :)

I hope you’re feeling a bit more your cheery self. And don’t fret over 30. My 30s are pretty rockin’. I just married the man of my dreams and life is so fun. I don’t miss my 20s an ounce.


missy     at 1:32 pm

love it! i think the wall hangings look great in the stairwell too. :)


Nichole @ Flirting with Food, Fitness & Fashion     at 1:51 pm

Looks fabulous!


Tracey     at 3:20 pm

I couldn’t agree more about the glass tables. I have them in my living room and dining rooms and I can’t wait to get rid of them! They are such a pain to keep clean. I love the new look of your living room though! Great job!


Nic     at 4:28 pm

I love re-purposing peices from one room to another! It gives the peice and room a fresh look! Very creative with the dining room bench :)


Dynamics     at 4:41 pm

It is amazing how changing simple items with color makes such a difference. It looks amazing.

Why are you not hanging the TV on the wall. I see this a lot. I am trying to decide if I want to hang my TV or not.

I LOVE that you hung the wall hangings on the stairs.

I have to say, when I first saw that you stacked all the books on the floor, I was like, wow, why did she do that. After seeing the closeup picture on how you bricked them and getting a closer look, I was like Wow, Emily sure has a great eye. I might try that look on one of my bookcases.

Watching a house become a home is beautiful.


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

We have mounted the TV before, but I hate how the cord hangs down. NOT worth it!


Jean@RoastedRootsandPumpkinSpice     at 4:54 pm

What a difference itty bitty changes can make! Your home looks really beautiful. I really like the sconces. Where did you get them?


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Z Gallerie!


Dee     at 5:46 pm

WOW! Gorgeous picks! Everything looks so earthy and classy. I love it!


LC @ Let Them Eat Lentils     at 6:56 pm

I love the wall sconces. And the wall paintings up the hallway.

I would think about getting flameless candles for the sconces. They look so nice lit up, and just thinking of fire hazards, seems like an easier way to go.


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

The candles are enclosed in glass votives, so they are very safe.


Meagan     at 10:57 pm

I LOVE the new look. You guys did such a good job!


Kristine     at 2:21 pm

I love it! So inviting and warm!

And P.S. I know the antsy near-30 feeling. I turned 30 TODAY and the closer I got to the big day, the more reflective I became. :-)


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:



Emilyeatsclean     at 10:08 pm

Looks great!! I love the brick stacking book idea…..great use of piles of books!


Stacey     at 10:52 am

I love it!!! Very creative :) I really want to hang wall sconces on our bedroom wall (the kind with candle holders) but Jason is worried about them falling and catching everything on fire! Was this a concern for you? I think it’s great Casey puts in his two cents! It’s much more fun when it’s a team effort :)


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

The candles are all in glass votives, so there is no chance of dripping or accidental arson. :)


Caroline     at 8:39 am

Your apartment looks great! I’ve loved wall sconces like that since I worked at a coffee shop with smaller versions.
My husband and I are finally living without roommates so when we moved in August we really made a point to buy more decorative items. And a whole new living room set. So much better than our hand-me-downs! Now I just need to find photos to fill the frames we bought…


Robyn @ Wannabe Writer Runner     at 6:44 pm

Your place looks amazing!! You have such great taste.


Jessi @ Quirky Cookery     at 2:32 pm

I know I’m a bit late responding to this post, but I saved it in my RSS reader to come back to later. I loved the bookcase brick layering so much that I didn’t want to forget. Did you guys come up with that yourself or borrow some inspiration from somewhere?


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

We came up with that one ourselves! Thanks!


melisa     at 12:02 am

Your couch looks awesome! Where did you get it?


Home Makeover: The Bedroom Gets a Facelift. | Daily Garnish     at 11:58 am

[…] Glad you guys like the office makeover!  I promise to talk about food again soon – please indulge me for one more home decorating moment.  In the last year or so, we’ve been trying to save money and look for deals – replacing our old worn out furniture with nice quality pieces one by one.  Most of our efforts so far have been concentrated in the living room.  […]

Marathon Monday. | Daily Garnish     at 2:41 pm

[…] set up a camp in my living room, along with my laptop so I could tweet furiously through the race.  (Side note: aren’t my […]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Our Living Space: A Photo Tour.     at 7:43 pm

[…] When we moved into our place in Old Town, we had NO furniture for our living room other than the TV.  We sold all of all our old things when we left Charlotte, and eventually piece by piece built a really cute living space.  […]

pebblestone tile     at 7:13 pm

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Tealight Wall Sconces Continued     at 8:23 pm

[…] all the photos above via: cb2.com via: decorpadWhat a difference!? see before & after after adding the wall sconces via dailygarnish […]

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