I’m headed to New York right now. The bad news is i’m only there for 18 hours, the good news is that i scored season three of Veronica Mars at the flea market for 10 bones.  

In case you aren’t on board with VM, check yourself and get yourself to a netflix account because as far as teen shows goes, its up there with the best.  I missed it the first time around so am happy to have 6 hours on a plane to kill.  

So no blue tuesdays this week, perhaps a blue thursday?

anybody else into Veronica Mars? (which by the way i think the reason it failed was its name – it sounds sci fi.) Did anybody watch Lone Star?  it was the new drama on fox that got cancelled after 2 episodes, despite being totally awesome.  I think it got cancelled because of the name, it sounded like a western.  Had Fox listened to me and called it ‘super hot conman has two wives that he’s actually in love with equally’ it would have totally been a hit, cause it was good.  

just sayin

Flea Market Mondays

So I slept in until 7:30 yesterday.  I know. it’s almost as if I don’t care anymore.  The flea market this week was in Long Beach which is about 45 minutes away so I didn’t arrive until 8:30.  The early stylist gets the worm.  So, most of the really big worms were gone.  

But I got some good accessories.  Some i love so much I might just play with in my house until their new home is ready for them.

Like this silver/gold antelope:

It’s all you need for you dining table when not in use, or on top of a credenza.  It’s huge and not cheap, $140, but a lot of bang for your buck in my opinion.

The perfect mid-century woven bench.  lerve.  

yardage of vintage floral.  Like 10 yards.  I’m not opposed to reupholstering something with it (even after I gave the whole ‘use classic fabrics’ tip/lecture last week).  Or drapery.  $10.

adorabel little modern brass lamp.  It’s super solid, not the cheezy flaky brass, the heavy ‘i look good with age’ kinda brass.  Like Ed Harris. 

Awesome trunk that I will turn into a side table.  Well I’ll just put it next to a sofa, no magic involved there. Not so much a ‘secret’ from a ‘stylist’  But as long as you can rest a drink on it, it can be a side table in my book.  $40.

And a bunch more, but some have to remain secrets.  The first 5 rooms/shows are starting to come together and i love all of them equally so much.  Every house is so different, mixing everything from global to industrial to hollywood regency to danish to retro kitch to hippie chic, to glitter and over the top glam to minimalism.  For the series we are layering 2 looks per house, and they are pretty contrasting looks so its super challenging.  We have adorable families, new couples, singles, and a design blogger or two (I’m hoping).  Yep, ones you know.  I love them all so much.  

If anyone can think of a clever coinage for ‘Hollywood Regency’ I would be super grateful.   

Have a good monday.  

OH and by the way, thank you so much for all of your questions and emails. There are a lot that I will address in video blogs, but a lot are going to be in the show as tips, because they are good questions that multiple people asked.  So thank you so much.   And those of you who emailed with specific questions about your home, I am trying to get back to you, i promise.  Brian makes me get off the computer at 8pm so we can hang out (aka watch project runway and cuddle) so the personal emails have to be put off, constantly.  But i’m trying.



Reupholstering thoughts. or tips. or just words about it.

I just wrote a big ‘tips to reupholstering flea market chairs’ post, then my interweb crashed.  Screw those webs.  and the inter things between them.  So annoying. 

But I’ll do it real quick like.  

Here’s what to look for:  good lines, good bones, vintage vibe and cheap. 

The chairs I got at the Rose Bowl on Sunday:

Clearly the color is questionable. I could make them work, but not easily (and I don’t plan on it).  These chairs were $300 for both, so in my mind I figured in $150-$200 each (ended up $180) to get re-upholstered, which makes them $700 plus cost of fabric = $850.  Not nothing.   But they are a good investment because they are:

1. totally unique.  vintage, my friends.  No one else will have one.

2.  They have integrity, good bones, super strong yet simple,

3. modern shape that lends itself easily to an update.  

4.  its a pair…which is worth a lot more than a couple singles, they are worth the investment.  

5. they are comfortable (even though the reupholsterer will replace all foam) and

6.  they are large scale, so are bang for their buck.  

And I love the shape: modern, masculine, high back to contrast with a low-back sofa.  and screaming for the perfect throw pillow.

So these guys:

Are effing adorable.  Their scale is small, yet quirky.  They have these cute little pocket/tufting thing on the side that i’m going to pimp pout with some brass buttons. you know it. They were $50 each and at $150 a pop to reupholster they become fairly cheap custom chairs.  They have this adorable cartoon element to them, that when recovered in a sophisticated and masculine color, they will become ‘those’ chairs that people want to sit in.  I mean, can’t you see them as characters in ‘Beauty and the Beast’, their tufting are the eyes, the arms are the..well….arms….

You’ve all seen my sofa:

I saw the lines, i saw the color and I was like BOOM, done and done.  No need to reupholster.  thank god. ANd $900.  holla.

Here’s what I would do to find a reupholsterer:

Take pictures of your piece and shop around.  Go to the fancy places and go to the what looks like kinda shady places.  If you have the time and patience, have the cheapest place do a sampler piece – a bench or stool or ottoman.  Sometimes the cheapest places give you the worst quality and sometimes, well they are just underpriced and give you a great price with great quality.  So you take a risk, but once you find the right place you are set. 

Put everything in writing.  I mean everything.  I’m not talking about contracts, i’m talking about exactly how many tuftings (is that a word?) you want, or what kind of piping you want (all around or just the front or just the back, etc.).  I’ve made this mistake a bunch.   For instance, for Ian I had this headboard upholstered and the bench reupholstered.  The headboard was supposed to have box piping on the front tops and sides, with lots of tufting, not just 10 in the middle (don’t tell Ian, he hasn’t noticed).  And the bench was supposed to have piping around all edges and not so much foam and NOT dark mahogany legs – he was supposed to strip them and leave them natural.  

I got what I paid for.  It’s not terrible, but its not exactly what I wanted. I think in this case the headboard was $350 (including wood) and the bench was $100 to reupholster. 

Reupholster in classic colors.  Sorry, but you’ll regret it.  I love me a crazy pattern, you know it, but I tend to save those risks (at least for myself) for the throw pillows.  Don’t hold me to that, by the way, on the show i might get all ikat on that chair.  You won’t go wrong with grey, white, grey-ish blue, navy, black, charcoal, taupe etc.  I love a hot pink floral, but if you aren’t a millionaire then save your trends for your throw pillows and invest your pieces in simple always-in-style colors and fabrics.  just sayin.

If you guys live in LA, I know that 453 Modern Vintage has a guy that does really really great reupholstering work.  And Staci’s store has awesome vintage furniture and accessories.  She’s on Fairfax, south of Wilshire in Little Ethiopia.  Really fair prices for awesome stuff.  

Pepe’s on Sunset in Echo Park does cheap, and fast but he’s who I had a miscommunication with.  I would still got back to him, but i would put things in writing.  

Diamond foam and fabric is awesome, but a pretty penny.  If you buy their fabric they’ll give you a deal, but their fabric isn’t cheap either.  

here are the prices that I try to stick with  – chairs under $250, wingbacks or large club chairs can go up to $450 (but I try to stay under $400)

sofa’s – $1000.  Can be slightly less or more depending on tufting. And normally chairs take about 6 yards of fabric and sofas 15, so calculate that in.  

If you can get a great chair in the exact fabric you want for under $400 (including the reupholstery and fabric) then its a good buy at a flea market.  Most chairs even at crate and barrel and room and board are around $599 so you are already spending less than retail, and getting something totally custom, that you designed in a way.

Hope that’s helpful.  


brain is filling up fast wednesdays

So last week I went to Barnes and Noble to buy some new home design books (will someone tell me how to get free ones sent to me to review, btdubs?)  and after perusing the Thomas O’brien book (yes, please) and ‘The Joy of Home’ by Naomi Cleaver, which is awesome, I found a little ole book called ‘The Pocket Decorator’.  


What does this little peanut of a book have to offer me.  oh, i’ll just take a peak, just a gander. I mean, i’m sure i know everything that is in this book, but it doesn’t hurt to look.  

30 minutes later.

So that’s what a palladium window is!!  And what is this ‘axeminster’ she speaks of?  fascinating.  Let me be clear, this was not ‘decorating for dummies’, no ma’am.  It categorizes everything very easily and instead of me trying to explain with my hands what ‘interlaid curtains’ are to the seamstress, i can say ‘interlaid curtains’. (which are curtains that have a layer of flannel in between the primary fabric and the lining).  I totally recommend it, not the curtains, the book.  

But checking out with it was rather stressful.  The potential embarrassment was enormous.  The clerk didn’t recognize me, thank god, but what if she had?  What if she was like, ‘oh my god, are you that Emily with a design show on HGTV….wait…what is this…huh..’  

I mean, I would have had to explain how I know what the eff i’m doing, just some of the terms are more foreign to me than others.  I probably would have started talking really really fast, faster than normal, if you can believe that.  I would have said speedily ‘yeah, well i know what fleur de lis and arabesque are, but no, maybe i don’t know what ‘cartouche and singerie’ mean. and that’s ok, i’m not ashamed.  It’s fine, it’ll be fine.  

Besides  ‘it was for my new intern’.  

Or I probably would have ran, leaving Tom and Naomi on the counter and booked it through the Glendale Galleria.  

All that stuff can be learned.  It’s just words that you put in your brain with definitions behind them and visuals attached to them.  But I’m pretty happy to have learned them.  And not above filling my little brain with as much useful design information as possible right now.  I’m learning hard and my brain is feeling the punishment.  

it (the brain) is getting full real real fast.  too fast to capitalize or put commas where appropriate.  sorry.


Flea Market Mondays

Eight years ago my Sunday mornings included riding the subway home after partying all night until 5am, passing out in my crappy 1 bedroom, to potentially not awake until dark.  I had an insanely fun twenties, a bit reckless at times, but crazy fun.

But now, my Sunday mornings are watching the sunrise at the flea market.  And I couldn’t be happier.  I was there before the crowds, before people completely set up shop and before the sun created the 90 degree heat, which was todays.  I was by myself, which is the best way to shop – I tend to take more risks when my friends, who already think my style is a bit nuts, aren’t watching and asking, ‘why?’ when i buy a gold crushed velvet sofa with the sickest lines i have ever seen for $150….

Allow me to indulge a bit in my emotionality…ness.

I remember one of my happiest moments in New York was when I had just moved in to an apartment by myself in Spanish Harlem. Brian and I broke up for a year, I was 24 and on my own.  I was walking dogs during the day, bartending at night, taking classes at Pratt, etc and I felt like life was getting really really good.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but at the time I felt like things were coming together.  I felt young and motivated and so lucky to live in the best city in the world.

One day I was walking dogs on the east river,  the city looked extra beautiful that day; it was fall, all the leaves had turned all these insane oranges and reds…ah… anyway, as i was walking Casey and Misha (a lab and terrier) I stood in Charles Schultz park on the Upper east side and started crying because I was so so happy.  Just a little bit of crying, not a weird ‘why is this girl weeping’ situation, just a few happy tears.  Was I emotionally unstable?  I don’t really think so, just super sentimental. And genuinely happy.  p.s. i’m a cryer.  i cry a lot. it sucks.

Anyway, I had my LA version of that feeling today. I watched the sun rise at the Rose Bowl, coffee in hand, feeling really happy and strangely grown up, in a good way.  I’ve adjusted to LA (after many tears and years) and now, lo and behold …. I am super happy.  Maybe it’s an age thing.  My 20’s felt awesome and super fun, but my 30’s are feeling right.

So here’s a bit of what I bought.  I don’t want to spoil too much from the show, but here’s a taste:

Awesome shape.  Both for $350.  Not an insane deal, but a good one.  They look modern and simple, but are vintage obviously, so they are still super unique.  They are super comfy and large in scale (which the men keep requesting) They will have a facelift by the time you see them.

i’m in love.  It’s such a great chair.  It’s plycraft, american made ’60’s and the upholstery is flawless.  $300

2 of these.  Super cute. Small and with some interesting detail which you can’t really see.  $50 bucks a pop.  I’m assuming that reupholstering will be $150 –  each, so they’ll end up still being inexpensive good quality chairs.

I bought some smalls, but they are still packed deep within my car – i’ll take pics tomorrow.  Along with a Milo Baughman chair and 2 sofas.  yep.  Don’t worry, when they reupholster they strip down everything, all the foam and batting is new. Vintage pieces just have the best lines and ultimately are cheaper and more interesting than current retail.

In other flea market news, I ran into Antonio (who I had never talked to off camera, we exchanged pleasantries on camera on DS, but have never really hung out) which was awesome.  And then my friend (and this years DS third runner up) Casey joined me.  So it was a big DS HGTV reunion.

The bad news is that I got super burnt.  Antonio’s friend (and coworker on the show) reminded me that i was butt-a** white, and should probably reapply lotion.  But I didnt’ have any.  So now i’m all about the aloe.  Sucks.

Have a good monday, folks.  After 9 hours at the flea market (yep, 6am – 3pm) i’m tired and off to bed.