Space of the Week: A Living Room Feels More Spacious Thanks to a Clever Use of Built-Ins

Jesse DeSanti created seating without the bulk, in a fun shade of fall.

Space of the Week, Living Room With Cinnamon Banquette

Amy Bartlam

Jesse DeSanti, owner of Jette Creative, knew that the West Hollywood home where two doctors and their children lived at least had a solid location on their side when she was hired. “The area is great for walking and doing things,” she says. “So much of their lives is close by, and they love how central it feels.”

And yet, the interior was a different story. The house has a small footprint, and its original layout was far from efficient—which was made to feel more cramped with lots of stone work and dark colors. The living room did happen to have vaulted ceilings, though, it just needed to show them off more. “We knew the doors, windows, paint, and color scheme were going to play a huge role in this project,”  DeSanti continues. “We kept the location of the fireplace and the overall areas of each room, but the owners really wanted them to be better utilized.”

DeSanti and the owners were inspired by the work of designer Jessica Helgerson, and specifically how she uses built-in furniture to make the most out of a room. Since the living area flows into the dining room and separate family area, they thought that strategically placing built-ins on each side of the fireplace would streamline the feel from one “room” to the next, without the bulk of freestanding seating. 

“The family likes being together, so the overlapping of spaces was important,” DeSanti says. “We wanted to create an invisible transition with the ending of the sofa, or a rug, or the fireplace, but not visibly block anything.”

DeSanti’s team replaced the windows with trios of panes within black frames, and contrasted them with light wood floors and bright white walls. Once the built-ins had been constructed, the owner saw a cinnamon-colored banquette at a restaurant and loved it so much that she asked DeSanti to recreate the shade. “I was happy to make that happen,” DeSanti says. The nearby fireplace was simplified with clean lines to coordinate with the beams overhead, and a black marble surround brought in a hint of elegance (while complementing the television too). A wood dining table, black coffee table, and a black-and-white rug act as the finishing touches, ensuring that the cinnamon fabric stands out through it all. 

Since DeSanti began working with this couple years ago, they have hired her to redesign their daughter’s bedroom, add a pool, and lead the charge on updated furnishings. And their living space still looks fresh, thanks to a thoughtful balance of function, comfort, and style. 

“The house works well now, and it’s lovely to be there,” DeSanti says.

Get the Look

Wooden stool with rounded edges


An Elegant Perch

A wooden stool with rounded edges can serve as an extra seat or a spot to set a vase of flowers or a stack of books.

To buy: Soft Edge Stool, $225,

White Opulence Paint by Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore

A Neutral Base

This crisp white paint is warmed up with a subtle hint of pink.

To buy: White Opulence,

Samsung The Frame TV


A TV That Doubles as Art

To avoid a big black box in the middle of your living room's design, splurge on the Samsung Frame TV, which camouflages as wall art when you're not streaming your favorite show.

To buy: $998,

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