Design by Rivers Spencer. Photos by Sara Essex Bradley.

Room tour: A sweet and sophisticated formal living room

A barrel ceiling and a clear line of sight from the front door through steel windows overlooking the backyard make the formal living room of the 2021 Ivy House Designer Showhome a unique canvas for furnishings by New Orleans designer Rivers Spencer. Her soft color palette of white and blue with touches of ginger give the space an ethereal glow, drawing the eye upward as natural light fills the space.

“Formal living rooms have always been my favorite type of room to design,” Spencer explains. “Because this room is the heart of the home, I felt it was necessary to make a room that was functional yet elegant.”

Starting from handpainted Chinoiserie mural panels that were applied throughout the space, Spencer brought in fabrics including custom silk and furniture styles that speak to a romantic and feminine version of elegance. However, the space is grounded with antique pieces like a one-of-a-kind Danish console that sits behind the sofa.

“I also love playing with modern pieces and mixing them with beautiful antiques,” Spencer says. “The mini Maggie ottoman was so much fun to do! It was my first time doing a twist on my Maggie ottoman, which is a part of my collection made in New Orleans.”

The acrylic legs on the tufted ottomans that sit in front of the fireplace give that necessary dose of modern without looking out of place in the room. The clean lines of the coffee table speak to the same goal, while an abstract work over the fireplace drives home the effortless coexistence of the two styles. “Kevin Gillentine is one of my favorite artists,” Spencer says. “The piece we used added a contemporary take above the mantel, which is to die for.”

Click on the photos in the gallery below for a closer look at this room: