Room Crush: A Decadent Designer Green-on-Green-on-Green Living Room

Have you ever had a room crush? You know the feeling: you see the photo of a room so enviously gorgeous that it stops you dead in your tracks, and you can’t help but think about it – heck, you’re even talking about it to your friends who care to listen.

Sometimes, the crush is on a room that’s totally on your level; something you can Pin for later and aim to recreate with your own twist. Other times, it’s just something so pretty, so unattainable, so over the top, that it instantly steals your attention. This is one of those times, and this decadent space, designed by Jonathan Rachman for the 2017 San Francisco Decorators Showcase, is one of those rooms.

Room Crush: A Decadent Designer Green-on-Green-on-Green Living Room

Inspired by the friendship of couturier Hubert de Givenchy and his muse, the iconic Audrey Hepburn, as captured in the photograph by Jacques Scandelari, Jonathan created this marvel of a room with Paris in the springtime in mind. “I imagine them returning to Givenchy’s green salon on Rue de Grenelle to enjoy each other’s company while ‘April in Paris’ (duet by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong) plays softly in the background,” notes the designer. “‘Til April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom…’ I wanted to bring the Parisian Spring glamour and romance back, in a fresh current way, airy—not stuffy—fresh and classic.”

Room Crush: A Decadent Designer Green-on-Green-on-Green Living Room

This living room is all at once glamorous, modern and timeless; it’s also a study in how to do green-on-green-on-green in a way that doesn’t feel redundant. And that wallpaper…well, don’t get me started on that! “Silk Tree” is a custom de Gournay commission by Jonathan that took 12 weeks (expedited from the customary 22 weeks it normally takes to complete a similar project) to install and it’s the showstopper here. Hand-painted and embroidered in place, it’s a feat (and of course, a total luxury). It makes the voluminous room feel full, verdant, alive.

I’ll stop myself from gushing further on the walls, and dive into all the other aspects that make this aspirational room totally crush-worthy:

  1. Jonathan accomplished an all-green palette beautifully. The key here was mixing of shades (some warmer, some cooler), textiles (velvets, crushed velvets, silk) and patterns mix-and-match prints on the throw pillows, a faux bois scheme on the rug).
  2. When you’re maxing out on style in a room, then actually max out. Bring in real greenery and flowers to complement the leafy wallpaper. Regular window coverings? Nope, try a full-frame, scrolled valance. Small built-in dining bench? Take it wall-to-wall instead. And, of course, never ignore your ceiling, which brings us to our next point…
  3. The plaster and gold-leafed ceiling of this room could easily steal all the attention, except here, the designer was able to introduce this bold design element in a way that worked cohesively with all the other show-stopping additions to the room.
  4. Velvet, velvet, everywhere. As if an emerald green velvet Chesterfield weren’t enough, the luscious material reappears on a pair of wingback chairs, the extra long dining bench and on the dining chairs.

Empowering Design Lessons From a Stunning Rental Living Room


Isabelle’s house tour is endlessly inspiring to me, for starters because it’s just flat out gorgeous but also because it so clearly illustrates how all of the small choices we make can add up to something wonderfully, personally beautiful. And for those of us who are renting, that is pretty damn empowering.

Ok, first thing’s first: Isabelle’s rental living room is not exactly problematic to begin with. In fact, it has supermodel-level good bones for a rental. Yet what makes it solivably beautiful is the thoughtful and personal way Isabelle has decorated it.

(Image credit: Anik Polo)

While Isabelle’s rental is a great canvas to begin with, like all rentals, it has its quirks, as she notes:

“Since the apartment is rented, I had to deal with original elements that I didn’t like, like the kitchen cabinets, the tiles, the ceiling that is not original. I focus on beautiful furniture and accessories to hide and distract the viewer.”

(Image credit: Anik Polo)

Focus on Furniture & Accessories

Isabelle maximized the room’s organic beauty through her furniture and decor choices. Some of my favorite specific design elements that can be applied pretty universally to rental living rooms:

  • Isabelle’s neutral color scheme creates a balanced, cohesive room (without looking too matchy) that works to accentuate the beauty of her extra large windows and hardwood floors. While we all aren’t on the neutral train, her execution illustrates how effective using (at least a general) color scheme can be in creating a room that looks and feels pulled together.
  • Her use of neutrals with stronger moments of black throughout works to create visual interest and a softly elegant mood.
  • Her extra fluffy Moroccan rug anchors the room from an aesthetic standpoint while also adding warmth and coziness.
  • Her simple wooden decor elements and rattan basket planter perfectly echo the room’s beautiful hardwood flooring.
  • Isabelle may keep her colors neutral but she really plays with texture: organic and modern, soft, cozy textiles and hard molded plastic and wood—all of it works to build a room that is layered and interesting.
  • Her space-saving use of two smaller tables function as a coffee table would while keeping the flow of the room open. It’s easy to see how a traditional coffee table could swallow up a lot of this room.

(Image credit: Anik Polo)

Focus on Timelessness

Isabelle’s living room is not going to look dated nor will it “go out of style” any time soon, and that’s because it’s largely decorated from a personal standpoint. Implementing trends can be fun, and adding in a few of the newest looks is a great way to freshen up a room, but when thinking about the big picture – about how you want to feel day-in, day-out in your living room over a longer period of time – you can’t beat decorating from the heart using a vision that resonates with you personally. That’s a takeaway anyone can implement, renters and non-renters alike.