A Cup of Jo Editor’s Livable Living Room

A Cup of Jo Editor’s Livable Living Room

A Cup of Jo Editor’s Livable Living Room


Lexi Mainland, Managing Editor at A Cup of Jo


Homepolish designer Amy Row retools Lexi Mainland’s living room helping her untie her mix of vintage furnishings thanks to impactful art and a few tricks of the trade.

Photos by Julia Robbs.

The cool kids at Cup of Jo exude an effortless air while looking perfectly put-together. So when managing editor Lexi Mainland was having a hard time finishing her family’s Brooklyn home, we were honored to help. Designer Amy Row lept to the rescue to help her cross the design finish line.

“Overall, the space somehow looked simultaneously empty and overcrowded,” Lexi explained. The goal: create a space that felt modern, light and airy, was family-friendly, and utilized many of the amazing pieces Lexi already had.

Luckily, Lexi and Amy managed a perfect mind-meld.

“She took all of my opinions seriously, gently guided my choices, and sent hilarious gifs in response to my texts,” Lexi said.

Besides an arsenal of great GIFs, Amy provided the designer’s touch her living room needed. A fresh, lighter palette, anchored by a cream wool rug, instantly lifted the room (ditto for lighter pillows for the dark sofa). 

“Lexi’s style is a wonderful combination of The Apartment by The Line meets Scribe Winery,” Amy said. “High-end SoHo loft meets chic California cozy. There’s a beautiful balance of special vintage pieces mixed with modern new favorites. Her style has character, while also being very current.”

Lexi’s excellent taste meant that many of the bigger pieces were already in play. Amy worked to retool the room’s flow and create more opportunities to hang out

“I like to play with the layout and rearrange some furniture pieces to create vignettes and cozy moments.”

And those moments abound, like new spot to snuggle in front of the fireplace. Lexi admitted she spent last winter sadly sprawled out on the floor in front of the hearth. Now a plush bench from Article offers a perfect place to perch. A vintage chair tucked beneath a brass swing-arm sconce makes for an ideal reading nook. The current kitchen peninsula was retooled into a bookcase (its current barstools had been languishing unused). Antique mirrors and a soothing gray paint job added pedigree and helped the piece feel more like furniture and less like standard issue construction.

Tying it all together, Amy layered in new pieces that would have maximum effect while still keeping the space airy and open. 

To revive the space without buying all new furniture, I like to add fresh, current, meaningful art like the commissioned paintings by Karina Bania and the black and white 35mm film print by Matthew Johnson that we chose for Lexi’s space,” Amy said.

Lexi had been hunting for a painting to fill the empty wall over the sofa, and together the pair landed on Karina’s Instagram. Together they commissioned an original work featuring colors selected to untie the the space. To save money on cross-country shipping, the rolled canvases were shipped straight to Simply Framed for re-stretching and framing. Bold photography, like a striking floral print from 20×200 above her precious pup’s bed, adds even more drama.

Beyond artwork, Amy layered in some living touches (and some not so living touches). She swapped a denser fiddle leaf fig for a wispier olive tree in a rustic planter, proving not all plants are created equal. “Don’t forget that plants bring in a pop of color, so you want to choose one that fits well with the rest of the decor,” Amy said. In the living room, a faux magnolia branch adds rich hues of brown and hunter—without adding something else to watch over.

Now the room proves Amy’s biggest piece of advice: know when to say when.

“If you don’t have the eye, hire someone who does,” Amy said. “You’ll be turning a potentially stressful situation into a fun process of guided transformation. Sounds life changing? It really is.”

View additional photos and sourcing in the gallery below and read more about the makeover on CupofJo.com.