Nike Schroeder String Art Piece

We moved into this house 10 months ago, which was probably one of the happiest days of my life, truly. I hate moving out  – the packing, the cleaning out of the fridge (do we take this 2/3rds jar of Soy Vey?), the admitting you are taking all your really skinny clothes to yet another house where they’ll just sit in your drawers, etc.


But, I love moving in. Everything feels so fresh and your possibilities seem endless.  You think to yourself – this is the house that I’m not going to do bad things to. This is the house where I’m finally going to make really deliberate design decisions. Let go of the crazy, embrace the sophisticated. This is that house, right?

The house felt quiet and simple and I was DESPERATE to keep it like that. But I knew me and I was terrified of me. You see, I like stuff. Too much stuff. My worst enemy was/is myself and at all times I had to say ‘pull it back, use restraint, put that collection of miniature shoes down and walk away‘.

living room-movein

But lets talk walls and art today. The wall space in this house was endless – there was just so much of it. Having a lot of wall space is like having big boobs – everybody thinks its such an awesome thing, but it comes with its own sets of problems. I had 1 million pieces of small to medium pieces of art, that all of a sudden felt bitsy (Don’t worry, I’m making good use of them in other rooms). And sure, I could have done gallery walls, but it could have/would have looked so busy on such big walls and I was desperate for a quiet house.

One of the many huge walls in question was this one, which faces the door as you walk in.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: really good, original, large-scale art is VERY expensive as it should be (read my post about how I finally framed my blimp painting).  You can buy awesome prints for cheaper, you can do some really good DIY pieces, for sure. But if you want someone else’s talent, experience, expertise and hard work on your walls, you are going to pay for it. As you should, frankly. But making sure you are buying the best piece can be very intimidating.

And I needed pieces of art.

One of my biggest regrets in life is not going to art school, not because I think I could have been an artist, but because I’m desperate to have met hundreds of artist friends that would have constantly been giving me beautiful large-scale pieces of original art. It would have been worth the tuition alone, for sure.


The space above is what is in question today (pics are from 6 months ago).

We needed bookshelves in the house (because where else am I going to display my crazy hoarding collection of things that I couldn’t part with?) and we thought about the space to the right, but figured it would compete too much with the fireplace and that wall would be too heavy. But that landing (the left) there seemed like it could be the perfect focal point so we decided to build it there (read this post about the complete bookcase design and installation). That meant that the space to the right needed to have really just one big piece that was somewhat quiet or else there would crazy  in front of crazy which equals total insanity.

Meanwhile Danielle, The Jealous Curator, introduced me to a wonderful artist named Nike Schroeder. I had used her work at The Fig House and loved it so much. It’s so intricate and compelling but at the same time quiet because the string pieces are just a beautiful texture.


One of the hanging string pieces seemed perfect for the space. It was 3 dimensional and kinda like a sculpture which is was perfect since the blimp is a flat piece of art. It has so much movement and makes a statement, and yet (again) it’s just so quiet and elegant.  I called Nike up and said, listen, I probably can’t afford you but are you interested in doing a collaboration with me? And she said ‘Come on down to the studio and lets chat’. Luckily she was in LA.


So I did. And chatting meant basically choosing my threads which was so exciting and daunting. She had hundreds of them and they all seemed so beautiful. Do I choose something safe and timeless? Do I choose the color palette of the house or do something different so it doesn’t look too curated/designed? Do I go with beautiful timeless colors or one that will frankly get more attention right now? Or do i just pick all my favorite colors together and see what she does with them? Yes. That sounds the most interesting, so that’s what I did.


Prettty blues/teals with a hit of acid yellow, hot pink/coral, some lighter pastels, golds and even a black in there to give it a bit of dimension. It was stressful but what I finally chose (she helped me, for sure) we were both so excited about. I felt 80% confident. Over the next couple weeks I would look at this picture and ask myself ‘Did you chose the right colors?’ and then reassure myself that I did. I let her completely choose the order of the colors. She’s the artist, I was just the buyer who commissioned it.

But there were times when I thought, maybe I should have done something more sophisticated like this (which was a backup):


I still love that SOOOOO much, but it doesn’t quite hit me in the ‘excitement gut’ like the other color palette. And I fear that it would have been so muted that it would have been hard to really mix with my other more saturated colors in the room. But its tempting, right?

Then came the day that it was delivered (3 days before the Domino shoot) and all my fears were dispelled. It was absolute perfection:

nike install

I was SOOOOOO excited. It made the room come alive, instantly. Also please note that I’m wearing a button up blouse on top and work out pants/shoes on bottom. That’s how we roll.

Oh and we measured the perfect size of piece for that wall, accounting for a credenza underneath, and therefore it was perfectly proportioned.


The house was still obviously a disaster at that point, but that piece? It was down right amazing. Its exciting and quiet, a statement without being busy, and it moves slightly while still having the structure of a rectangular shape.

We shot it for Domino, that you can see HERE, but since we reshot the house a couple of weeks ago (by Tessa Neustadt) with the updated furniture you get some new photos, here:

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Leather Blue String Art

There are other things to talk about (is that white piece of furniture bowing, you ask? Where did you get that massive white pouf) but I’ll get into that next week. This post is all about that piece of art.

Lets talk about splurging on things – I get this question all the time – Where do you splurge and where do you save? I say this: splurge on original, one of a kind, conversation pieces – whether it’s a sofa or a piece of art. Splurge on pieces that will make your house totally unique. You can piece everything else together from thrift stores, flea markets and retail chains, but you need a few statement pieces to make your space look like you.

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Nike Schroeder String Art Bench

There are a lot of people out there that poo poo expensive art (I couldn’t think of a better verb, sorry), but what they need to consider isn’t just the material or the labor costs (I could have done that, or, But that’s just string!). It’s the creative time it takes to conceptualize, prototype and practice that specific piece, let alone the years they spent training, learning and probably earning nothing from it. Its uncountable and unquantifiable. There are some pieces in the world that you wonder if it was just thrown together, sure, but this piece is sewn, thread by thread. And the best part is that you know intellectually the labor that went into it, but it’s so graceful that it just feels effortless.

Anyway. I reached out to Nike to ask if she was comfortable having me tell you how much it retails for and how much I purchased it for (because yes, she gave me a big press discount) but we things its best that you just contact her or her gallery (Walter Maciel Gallery). The retail price range for these (they are all custom) is $2500 – $8,000, depending on the size. Its a pretty penny, but its a pretty (nay beautiful) piece of art that I’ll treasure forever.

Domino Magazine - Emily Henderson House Tour

Some people like to splurge on expensive cars, fancy appliances or high-end sheets. Not me. I’ll take pretty, original art any day.

*After photos by Tessa Neustadt, except for this last one by Brittany Ambridge

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Subtle Updates at Orlando’s

Hey guys, Its Emily, real quick. In case you are new to the blog and are wondering who the hell is this dude, Orlando, here’s a recap of our relationship: Orlando was my assistant/sidekick on Secrets From a Stylist (RIP) and then became an associate designer that worked with me on design projects for close to 4 wonderful years where we became very close (like sleep in the same bed while traveling, close). He used to write posts on the blog but then HE LEFT ME to become the West Coast Creative Director of HomePolish. I threatened to tell everyone that he is gay if he quit, but that didn’t stop him. Clearly he never respected me and didn’t think I’d have the balls to do it! Ha. So everyone, Orlando is GAY.  There. Hope you like your new fancy job.

Anyway, now and again he takes over the blog (I have nothing to do with the design or writing), and he’s practically the only one that I let do this. Orlando has special non-team Emily blog privileges because I love him and he’s very hilarious. So check out his blog, check out Homepolish, read the last post he wrote here, and then read this here post:


Dear Emily’s Readers,

As you may have noticed, my place has been getting constant makeovers lately. By now you’re probably sitting at your computer wondering if all I do is give myself home makeovers and yes, the answer is yes. But also, as some of you know I went through a fun breakup last year and when my ex ran out the door with my bloodied heart in his hand he also took some furniture (because it was his, not because he’s a jerk). Anyway, for the past year my place has been a hodgepodge of whatever random pieces of furniture I could find lying around in the gutter so I decided it was time to spruce things up. Because you can only live like a hobo for so long before you start to feel like a hobo.



I started by swapping out my giant aqua painting for some beautiful drawings I commissioned from Erika Gragg, which I framed using an easy service called SimplyFramed. I also swapped out the rug for an awesome graphic rug (Which we are giving away! Well not the same one I’ve been dancing on, but a new one that looks the same. Enter here!).



I gave up on my hand-wrapped coffee table and swapped it out for a more sophisticated, simple option that allows light to pass through and makes the room feel much more open. Also, I got rid of that orchid because all its blooms went away. Sidenote: What are we supposed to do about orchids? Like mine bloom and then they never bloom again and I keep them around because they’re still alive but they become a huge burden for me, like, emotionally because they never bloom again and they make me feel like a terrible person for not being able to make them bloom. My boyfriend (not the old one who ran away with the furniture, the new one who looks like a Ken doll) bought me that orchid and I felt sad about getting rid of it but he was all “GET RID OF THIS” and so I hid it outside behind a banana plant so that it would still get watered but felt guilty about it like I was abandoning a baby. Anyway, I hate orchids now. WHY AM I STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS?




Pretty obsessed with these 80s inspired lamps from Target. Also look at them side tables HI SIDETABLES.


These drawings provide the tropical twist I’ve been craving lately. And since they were made by a close friend I am reminded of love, friendship, and togetherness. Actually pretty much everything reminds me of love, togetherness, and friendship. Except that song “Rude” by Magic, which makes me want to rip my ears off my head and throw them in a well so I never have to heart it again.



This little area is one of my favorite updates. Basically because everything on that bookcase (and the bookcase itself) is from a thrift store, a flea market, or was handmade (with the exception of the throw and the “It Wasn’t My Idea” print). You can read more about this garbage vignette on my blog. I put that umbrella next to door not because I ever need an umbrella, but because I have not given up hope that someday it will rain again in California. I love rain so this drought is totally bumming me out. Mainly because I love to be inside eating soup, thinking about guys, shopping, and the mall while it’s raining, wet, and cold outside. Oh and also because if it doesn’t rain we are all going to die, skeletons, parched, in the beating dry sun.




I snagged this “It Wasn’t My Idea” print from The Thing Quarterly and it makes my life like a hundred times better every day.



Some chairs want pillows, some chairs don’t. My awesome mid-century chairs were all “no thanks” but I found a nice small scale pillow that they didn’t balk at which makes them look much less harsh and aloof than they actually are.


This crab is an ashtray. I don’t smoke but for some reason I have to stare at it at least once a day or I hate my life.


If you follow me on Instagram you might recognize some of the photos that I carelessly flung (read: maniacally arranged while foaming at the mouth) into a basket.


The rug’s pretty rad. Sometimes when my boyfriend doesn’t pay enough attention to me I nuzzle it and tell it that it’s my only reason for living and that no one understands me the way it does.


This poor mid-century architectural rendering (which Emily and I found at Long Beach Flea Market a while back) was sitting in my closet for the past six months so I rescued it and hung it above my television. Which is awesome except sometimes I get too distracted by its beauty to watch television. In other news all I watch lately is the original “Melrose Place” on Netflix because it’s so crazy and I love all their crazy clothes. Fact: 20 year olds today dress exactly like they did in the 90z. Other fact: All those people on the show are supposed to be like 22 except they’re all like high power executives and business ladies in awesome power suits. This is where I got my ideas about what it was supposed to be like to be an adult. Which is why I was so disappointed not to be running my own advertising firm by the time I was 23.


So there you have it! My new, improved living room! Like Renee Zelweger’s face, the change is subtle, and hard to put your finger on. But it’s different, better, more mature and prettier than it was before, more respectable somehow. Like it went from Tara Reid to Helen Mirren overnight. Okay I’m totally not even talking about my living room anymore now I’m literally just talking about Renee’s face BECAUSE I’M STILL OBSESSED WITH IT. I think she looks awesome. And like a totally different person. Kind of like my apartment. Which looks the same, but different somehow…


PS: Homepolish Magazine is hosting a Giveaway of my new rug! ENTER! >>>

PSS: Full resources and more info on the project can be seen here.>>>

Photographs by Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolish

Target Styling Chapter #3 – Setting a Fall Table

Its Target Styling Video #3 today, folks.

Welcome to my Fall-iday tablescape. Also, quick question: did I just lose readers for using the word ‘fall-iday’? And if so then if so then are you saying that I can’t have a signature cocktail called ‘Autumns up’?

I teamed up with Target (with some vintage, naturally) to style out this table for fall and I have to say that I love it. It is super energetic, eclectic, happy, fresh, (affordable) and fun – while still referencing the season. Lets get into it …

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern 1

As Target’s resident Home Style Expert (spokesperson) its my lovely job and privilege to shop there A LOT and figure out ways to style and shoot their pieces in environments that feel unique and interesting – that’s what stylists do. We take pieces that one might think ‘but what do you do with that? And make them look cool by giving them a context and a personality. One of the best things about Target is the fact that it’s in so many cities and online, so its very accessible. But at the same time it could make you worry that if you buy something its going to be everywhere. My answer for that is twofold: A. good pieces sell out and then they are GONE – like those gold ball task lamps? Gonzo. I wish they were everywhere because they are so good, but I can’t even get one more (I have 2 myself, but my clients want them and I’m not parting with mine). And B. even if you know people who have the same piece it’s really easy to style them in ways that make them look unique to you.

A lot of the fall line as you know is so flexible style-wise that while they are stylish, they aren’t specific to one style and are adaptable to different themes, occasions and yes, homes.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern 2

So, in this video I show you how to take really affordable Target fall pieces and style them to create a really unique, personal, stylish, and yes autumnal, tablescape.

Watch (and share? eh?):

For this ‘Fall-iday’ tablescape  I wanted it to feel happy, colorful, young, fresh, ‘party’ and yet have enough warm fall tones and autumnal motifs to make it season appropriate. The whole art direction for this set was bright white with big hits of saturated color, and copper and wood tones to keep it feeling warm and grounded. Oh and throw in an acidic tone, because that’s what I’m doing these days. So that chartreuse from the leaves was perfect and we brought that in the napkins, too.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 5

We found this painting at a prop house in LA – and by ‘we’ i mean that Scott and Meg who were in charge of the sets sourced and showed their favorites to me. Sure I picked it out, but I didn’t spend 16 hours sourcing art like they did. Nice job, guys. Anyway, that painting was the inspiration for the color palette and its pretty darn awesome.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Credenza Copper 3

Sure, it did have some fall colors – the oranges obviously. But instead of the usual warm oranges, ochres, browns, taupes and aubergines I wanted it to feel fresh and more modern so I figured, why not add some hot pink and yellow? I speak more about the color palette in the videos so again, watch it (and yes, i’m trying to get you to watch the video and if you wanted to share it I wouldn’t be mad:))

White and Black Pattern Plates and Bowls: Target | Wood Tray: Target | Cheese Board: Target | Pink and Green Napkins: Vintage | Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target | Blue and White Mini Bowls: Target | Copper Barware: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | White and Gold Spotted Vase: Target | White Credenza: Vintage | Brass Floor Lamp: Vintage | Lucite Table Lamp: Vintage | Art: Vintage | Wood Accent Table: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Credenza Copper Modern

That copper set is pretty epic. I have the shaker and the pitcher and so should you. Its wonderful.

Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target | Wood Tray: Target | Blue and White Mini Bowls: Target | Cheese Board: Target| Copper Barware: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | White and Gold Spotted Vase: Target


Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Credenza Modern Copper 1

White and Black Pattern Plates and Bowls: Target| Wood Tray: Target | Wood Tray: Target | Pink and Green Napkins: Vintage | Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target | Blue and White Mini Bowls: Target | Cheese Board: Target| Copper Barware: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | White and Gold Spotted Vase: Target


Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson White and Gold

I love that gold polka dot vase so much. I have two of them and I use them constantly for shoots. Remember last week when I put my collection of vintage arrows in it? Yes, that was awesome. Where else are you going to put your collection of vintage arrows?

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 1
Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 3

I love that shot. The centerpiece consisted of a collection of wood pillar candleholders with the white/gold fruit on top. Then we added a big arrangement of flowers and a collection of smaller ones, peppering down the table.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 4

Very happy, indeed.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 6 Overhead_cropped

Blue Pattern Platter: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | Green Napkin: Vintage | Orange Prep Bowl: Target | White and Gold Fruit: Target | Wood Candle Pillars: Target | Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target |  White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage | Orange and White Pattern Plate: Target | Glass Tumbler: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target | Dining Table: Target | Colored Dining Chairs: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Orange 1

Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage | Blue Geo Bowl: Target | Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target | Glass Tumbler: Target | White Vase: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Orange 2

My favorite things are these; the gray polka dot placemats (I bought them after the shoot, yes, using my own money :)). I love the rosegold flatware and while there are a lot of versions of those out there, there are none this affordable for how good they are. And I love those white and gold fruit figurines. I never thought I would endorse a ‘fruit figurine’ but alas, I did and will. You could use these fall after fall. They are so simple and timeless. Or if you keep them in a pretty simple wood bowl on your dining table then they can be year round (just make sure you have enough apples and pears so that it doesn’t feel pumpkin-heavy).

Blue Geo Bowl: Target | Blue Pattern Platter: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | Green and Pink Napkins: Vintage | Orange Prep Bowl: Target | White and Gold Fruit: Target | Wood Fall Figurines: Target | Wood Candle Pillars: Target | Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target |  White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage | Orange and White Pattern Plate: Target | Glass Tumbler: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target | Dining Table: Target | Colored Dining Chairs: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Orange 3

Scott killed it on the flowers. I told him hot pink, corals and oranges and he got a mix of dahlias, rununculus, tulips, billy balls and then those huge hot pink (almost red) big sculptural blooms are just a weird form of proteus.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Orange

Glass Tumbler: Target | Orange Prep Bowl: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target | Blue Geo Bowl: Target |  Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Place Cards 3

Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target |  White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Place Cards 7

We made place-cards with just cards, some fall leaves and some cute clothespins. I can’t wait for “Billy” to eat my non-food at my beautiful Fall-iday table.

Blue Geo Bowl: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | Green and Pink Napkins: Vintage | White and Gold Fruit: Target | Wood Fall Figurines: Target | Wood Candle Pillars: Target | Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target |  White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage | Blue Geo Plate: Target | Glass Tumbler: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target | Dining Table: Target | Colored Dining Chairs: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern

Those chairs are Target chairs, and they are awesome. We decided to mix them up with different colors to really push home the eclectic vibe. They are a classic windsor chair in updated colors.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson White and Gold 2

Orange Platter: Target | Blue Geo Bowl: Target | Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target | White and Gold Fruit: Target | Wood Fall Figurines: Target.

At the end of the video my friend Bri, from Designlovefest, stopped by because she is going to use some of the product to style out a table for her blog today. We laughed and cajoled and generally had a lot of fun. It’s always weird when a friend has to witness me ‘host’ because even though I don’t have a script and I’m just talking about style, I get worried that I look/act like I’m performing.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson, Bri Emery Fall

Thanks, Bri. You can Designlovefest all over our videos any time you want.

Next weeks video is all about centerpiece ideas, so stay tuned folks. Meanwhile to check out my other videos with Target see below:


In case you missed the first two posts where I talked about Styling your Mantle, and “How to Style with Neutrals” click through to their links for the behind the scenes and the shopping resources.

*Photos care of Target. Hair and makeup by the always lovely Danielle Walch. Wardrobe styling by Jordan Rudd. And per usual thanks Todd, Nick, Chris, Nancy, Claire, Scott, Meg, Ginny, Brady and 70 other crew members for helping make the sets and lighting so fun and pretty. And also my mom, because one must always thank their mother when listing out thank yous, right? 

*This post is part a larger partnership with Target, and all words, designs and opinions are mine, mine, mine. Thank you for supporting the awesome company that enables us to make original style content every day.

My Epic Blimp Artwork Story

Let me tell you about the first large-scale important (to me) piece of art that I ever purchased.

I was 25, living in New York, bar-tending, dog-walking, working retail at Jonathan Adler and paying $1200 a month for rent which left me approximately $600 for other expenses. Art, or any large purchases, weren’t really an option. I was buying underwear at the dollar store and taking the subway home by myself at 4am after shifts because that $35 cab ride was expensive (remind me to never let my single blonde daughter live in New York when she is 24 – I mean, I was fine, but looking back, I was a bit “independent”  – read ‘reckless’). Maybe I was assistant styling at that point, I’m not sure. All I know is that $400 wasn’t something I could swing for a piece of art, but I saw this weird painting and wanted it so hard:


It’s not for everyone, I realize. But it made me so happy and engaged. Its whimsical with a pulled back color palette. It’s roughly 30″x50″ – so its pretty big and I knew it could be ‘that piece’. The dealer told me that it was painted by soldiers around the Vietnam war, presumably on acid as this is clearly some sort of Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’ homage.

I loved everything about it – the story, the scale, the composition, how it was graphic and yet handmade at the same time. It had so much nuance and energy. Plus there is that amazing eyeball. The whole thing was and is totally fantastic. But $400 wasn’t doable. So I left the flea market and didn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. I went back 3 weeks later and it was still there. The fact that someone hadn’t gobbled it up is insane to me because let me tell you something about art – good, original, large-scale art is EXPENSIVE. It’s a struggle with every client – it’s the hardest thing to find. But I wanted it so bad, so I offered $200 or $250 (I don’t remember) and the dealer said yes.

Here’s a tip for anyone looking to barter at the flea market – just show them how much you LOVE the piece, and that you’ll give it a good home and you’ll get a better deal. No dealer wants a dick to own something that they shopped for, purchased, carefully packed up, and schlepped around every sunday just to schlep it back home if the right buyer wasn’t there. I think the dealer could tell that the painting would make me happier than it would make most people, so while $250 was a big reduction, I like to think that he is proud of what he did. Hardcore flea market barterers annoy the hell out of me. Its uncomfortable and insulting for everyone involved.

Of course I had to schlep it home on the subway, which was a teensy bit dramatic since it was so big, but I got it home and it was mine. At the time it had no glass or plexi and it had a really broken wooden frame. Convinced I could fix the frame (and knowing that I couldn’t afford to have it properly framed) I decided to at least buy it some plexiglass to help elevate it ($80, I think). It didn’t work. It warped forward and fell out of the frame since it and the frame were so thin.

Then as we were planning on leaving New York and moving to LA and I debated selling it at our garage sale but it still really spoke to me and I still loved it. Every time I looked at it I got happy and I could picture its success in a space. I just didn’t have that space yet. So I packed it up and shipped it with the very few things I kept. It was probably like $100 to ship cross-country in that oversized box. Whoops. Man, it’s adding up.


photo by Teri Lyn Fisher

So, we get to LA and I found a spot in our tiny one room studio/guest house in Santa Monica that we rented from friends. I put it up (that’s the original frame, above) and shot it for a test shoot with Terilyn Fisher. Sorry, its blurry because I had to search on google for like 5 hours for this and finally I did, but it was low res. P.S. Can you believe how long I’ve had that vintage floral pillow? Since 2005!!! Thats insane. I still love it as much as I did the day that I sewed it from vintage yardage.

But then we realized that you don’t HAVE to live two people to a 1 room studio in LA, no matter how charming it was, so we packed up and moved – bringing Sir. Blimp, of course. Meanwhile 2 years later I ended up making over that studio in an episode of my show (RIP) Secrets From a Stylist. (Please ignore the lack of photo formatting – it was 2 blog platforms ago and it gets pretty ugly that long ago).

Anyway, we moved to Los Feliz and I attempted to ‘Blimp’ again. Broken frame and all – you just can’t tell in the photos. So here is was, 5 years post purchase:


Photo by Teri Lyn Fisher

It was fine, but kinda meh on that wall color and in that space. I mean, that whole space is ‘meh’. Then I left for DesignStar and when I returned, I insisted on painting all walls a CRAZY POP OF COLOR – COLOR! COLOR! COLOR!!!!!!

Most of you haven’t been on a design reality show I’m presuming but upon your return you are kinda messed up – unable to relate to anyone, life feels soooo boring, and every wall simply must be donned with a BRIGHT SATURATED COLOR!!!!! Read that post if you want to really make fun of me.

turquoise dining room2

I appreciate my risk taking, but I could also use an advil just looking at it. Or a Zanex. Or a blindfold. Truth is it was actually kinda awesome in a way, but we had a small space and it was so jarring that I think I painted over it a couple of weeks weeks. Calm down, blue wall. Shhhhhh.

The saga continues: still awake?

In our next rental house I decided not to ‘Blimp’. We didn’t really have the large wall space and it started looking really dirty to me. When we moved into this house, 9 months ago, I kinda felt the same way. I remember thinking ‘maybe I can get an artist to trace it on pretty white paper’ because it was so dingy and brown.

When it came to design the living room in the new house I realized that I didn’t want a gallery wall in there – I wanted it to feel more quiet, simple and intentional; remember this was the art direction. I wanted a few well-appointed, large-scale pieces of art in the living room, then I’d do the gallery in the dining and family rooms. So I pulled the blimp out of storage and reassessed my love for it.


Thats me, actively assessing said love. It’s important that when one is assessing something that you wear no makeup and purse your lips in a way that makes you look like you wear dentures. I tried to blur out my face in photoshop as if I were a background person in a reality show that hadn’t signed the release forms, but alas I have no idea how to do that. Maybe that is something a fancy graphic designer could do (or literally anyone who graduated from college post 2005).

Here’s what I told myself – you either commit and invest, or its time to donate. Its been 10 years and it was a big hoard. Time to pony up or go home. I was torn, but Scott, Brady and Ginny reminded me of my love for it and we decided to give this weirdo the wall space (and importance) it deserved.

So, I took it to Tim at Curve Line Space in Eagle Rock. There are a lot of good framers out there, but Tim is good to me – he has good taste, can turn art around fast (don’t tell him I told you that, he might just do that for frequent shoppers) and if you are someone who frames pieces often with him, he’ll give you a good price. Plus he’s in the neighborhood and he’s not a big old chain full of poorly trained framers. He cares.


Here were the things I had to think about when framing Sir. Blimp:

1. Did I want him to try to restore it (which would be WAY more money)? I decided that I wanted it to look like a relic – that it was found. So while he did put a piece of cream paper behind that big rip, we didn’t try to get the tape marks out or anything. Why try to make it look new when it just isn’t?

2. Did I want it matted like a window where the art is behind the mat, or floating on top of the mat?  I wanted to see the ripped/water marked edges so I chose the float. Also just generally floating is always more fun.

3. How many inches of matting? I wanted big, like 5″ all the way around. Tim was on the fence about that, but he agreed and then agreed that it looks really good when he was finished. I just figured that I had this huge wall to fill so I may as well make sure it feels proportioned to the wall. So we added 12″ in width and height (including the frame) so it ended up being like 72″ x 50″. HUGE.

4. Obviously I had to choose style and profile, but I wanted it to be a. cheap (It wasn’t, but you know, not Charlie’s freshmen college tuition) and b. simple and modern. Many people would have chosen a black frame to help bring out the black in the painting, but I wanted the painting to pop out on its own and not have a big black box distracting my eye. My eye gets VERY distracted VERY easily.


Photo by Brittany Ambridge, C/O Domino Magazine

So there he is, folks – commanding that wall, teasing me with his fantastical whimsy. Being perfect all the way around. (Of course now we’ve changed the living room a lot, but check out this post for resources and stay tuned for the new updated living room).

Ready for your close-up Mr. Blimpy?

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Leather Bench Seat Pillows

The framing ended up being $800, which ain’t nothing, but frankly you have VERY few inexpensive options when framing something so big. You could DIY it, like Orlando and I did for this piece of art – but that was a canvas that didn’t really even need a frame. Blimpy was a thin piece of paper that had been spray mounted on a thin piece of foam core (by me – big mistake). So it needed a proper frame. Ready to do the math? (#killme). The piece was $250 (or $200), bad plexi was $80, shipping was $100 and reframing was $800 = $1230. Part of me is nauseous and part of me knows that clearly its a piece I care about. It reminds me of my 20’s in New York. It reminds me of some dudes, hopefully having fun painting it while in or recovering from Vietnam. It reminds me that sometimes my obsessions are deserved.

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Bench Windows

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Whats the lesson here – spend $800 framing a $200 piece of art? Nay. I guess the lesson is (need there be a lesson?) that sometimes it takes years to properly invest and appreciate something you love, but when you love something so much, when you bring them with you as you move 5 times, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about splurging. Easier said than, done, I know. But in this case doing a cheap framing job would have been criminal. Remember the Oregon poster that I did in my guest room? Well that one was a print (many people have it) at $54, so it wasn’t something I wanted to spend too much on. GRANTED, I spent $300 on the framing, but I wouldn’t have spent $800. That wouldn’t have made sense.

But Sir. Chancellor Blimpy Von Henderson … now he deserves to be on that wall, looking like that.

Geez. That turned into quite the personal epic story. Thanks Tessa Neustadt for taking those pretty ‘after’ photos.

Do you approve? What is the most you spent on framing? Do you have a piece that you are really sentimental about? Do dish …

Reader Question: Picking A Rug for My Space

Its been too long since I’ve tackled a reader question – so here goes. This one is from Kate in Stockholm:
This living room of mine in Stockholm needs a rug. Here is the question: Do I go dark to draw the space together, or lighter? Fluffy or patterned?
I have a mixture of earthy yet clean style but I love midcentury-mod and want to bring more of that in. Any thoughts overall for this living room?


photo 1msd

Ok, you are off to a good start – great gallery wall (I appreciate that it isn’t just a dinky collection right above the sofa) and your sofa/coffee table are really simple and easy to style with.

photo 2

So you have a few choices and it really depends on a few questions/answers:

1. How energetic do you want the space to feel? Right now there are no patterns, which is absolutely fine because you do have a lot going on the walls. But if you want the space full of energy then bringing in color/pattern would definitely achieve that. But if you want it to feel less energetic, more calm, then keep to a solid.

2. How low maintenance are you? I love a light rug, truly, but I’m not, well, clean enough to deal with them. Lighter rugs definitely make a room feel bigger, and this room doesn’t look that big to me so it could help. But going even more medium toned will be so much easier to care for. I have a white rug in my guest room that is BEAUTIFUL and far away from outdoor spaces, and isn’t used often, so its fine. And then in my master bedroom, where I REALLY wanted a light-colored rug I bought this quilted hide because cowhides are pretty much indestructible. You just wipe them off with a wet towel. They are also not terribly cozy, as you can imagine, but they reflect the light in such a pretty way and allow you to have white without the maintenance of white.

So here are some that I like that could look really nice in your place – some more affordable than others. Again, if you like a big high contrast pattern then these might not be the right selection, but I think that in a small space with all the art on the walls that a big high contrast pattern would make the space look small and busy.

The first group is soft texture without much pattern (so easy to hide dirt/stains, but not busy:


1. Safavieh Denim Jute, $199- $299 | 2. Vines Wool Rug, $169 – $999 | 3. Pencil Stripe Rug $195 – $895 4. Harper Denim Rug $195 – $945

Then if you can handle a bit more pattern, I’m pretty into these guys. Again, not toooo busy but busy enough that it adds more energy into the space:


5. Threshold Criss Cross rug $74.99 – $249.99 | 6. Painters Rug $595 – $1595  7. Beaded Rug $149 – $289 | 8. Loloi Rugs, Anzio $139.00 – $539.00 | 9. Scallop Rug, $99 – $199 | 10. Multi Pixel Rug $249 – $999.

Finally, if you want to splurge on a white cowhide, I love these guys very much:


11. Natural Hide Rug  $695 – $1900 | 12. Scallop cowhide $495 – $2950 |  Bristol Cowhide $713 | 14. Jasmine Cowhide $549 – $976

There you go, Kate! Hopefully you still read this blog because I can’t seem to find your original email. If anyone knows Kate from Stockholm tell her that I’ve finally answered her reader question.

To submit your reader questions, email them to  (also, hint, the better the photo and the more specific the question the easier/most likely it will be to get picked!)