Graphic designer Bri Emery, 27, has a passion for typography and images, but when it came to decorating her new duplex in Silver Lake, she was at a loss. "I didn't know how to put it together," she said. "I needed someone to push me to spend money and buy things that would last."
Enter good friend and interior designer Emily Henderson. After she purchased a vintage pouf on Craigslist for the new pad, Emery suggested a trade: The graphic designer and founder of the site Designlovefest would make over Henderson's blog, and in exchange Henderson would give Emery a new dining and living room working on a budget of $12,500.
The two women hit the ground electronically. They started Pinboards for each other on Pinterest. They posted pictures on Instagram and sent alerts about inspirations. They tweeted, they texted, they shopped, they scored.
And at the end of three months, Emery had her new living room and Henderson had an updated blog.
"I wanted young, fun, modern and masculine," said Emery, who loves to travel and teaches Photoshop to bloggers. But she also wanted her new living space to be professional enough to entertain clients at home.
Henderson responded by creating a "jungle" of potted plants at a sunny end of the long, narrow living room. Elevated on a white, streamlined Blu Dot coffee table, the plants are a nice touch in a room filled with saturated colors (witness the couch reupholstered in aqua blue linen), accessories in black and white geometric patterns, vintage furniture in warm wood tones and golden-hued decorative accents.
"You want different levels and layers with plants so it looks collected but intentional," Henderson said. "So this table acted like one big plant stand, but way sexier than that. It's clean and simple, so it's easy to up-keep, but it still adds interest and something architectural."
Emery's redesigned living room also embodies the makeover she gave to Henderson's website: functional, attractive and sharable.
"I wanted a grownup place to live and she need a grownup blog," Emery said.
Added Henderson of the makeover trade: "We are both type-A perfectionists, and it didn't ruin us."