Episode 12. Emotional breakdown and all.

Man, episode 12, 2 months ago.  Not my favorite week, annd i’m not talking about the family (they were totally awesome and i love them) or the final design (which i like a lot).  It’s what i call ‘the week that Emily von Henderson had her own version of a nervous breakdown in front of her crew who she loves’.  At the time we were shooting 6 days a week, shopping on sundays and shooting a month straight before a week of prep, meaning i didn’t take a day off for a month. (i was asked continually not to work on sundays by my producers, but i did anyway…cause you can’t tell me what to do… no suh.).  

This was week 4 and i was d.e.a.d.  I was so tired, I was designing too fast. Being hasty.  Throwing out decisions without weighing options.  

On tuesday of that week i was told the ratings of the show.   In my mind i thought the show was going to be a total slam dunk, best show in the history of hollywood, Oscars, emmy’s, pulitzers, peobody awards… the president of Show Business would call me and say ‘Congratulations Emily, your hard work has paid off, and ‘Secrets’ is the biggest success in the history of hollywood, and we would like you to be mayor and ambassador to the galaxy’.

i hope you know i’m exaggerating but you get the idea.

But the ratings were totally fine, normal for the network expectations for a new show, but not ‘that’.  No one was worried. There was a lot of ‘its a new show’, ‘keep on truckin’, ‘don’t worry’, ‘lets just change the opening’, etc, but i couldn’t help but be devastated.  That night my DP, Jeff (best camera guy ever) invited us all out to his boat for a drink in Marina Del Rey and I totally lost it.  Sobbing for a couple hours in front of everyone (crews are like family, so i didn’t care, i just felt bad for them).  I just felt so helpless.  You can’t control everything. and that realization can be very very hard to come to terms with.

I’m sure everyone goes through this: you put EVERYTHING into something and if its not perfectly 100% received as the best thing that has ever happened to the world, then you are just devastated. 

So thursday rolled around and i was doing the shopping segment at Weego Home.  I could not for the life of me get a tip out without flubbing a syllable or having a grammatical mistake or looking weird…. i tried over and over and over and over, and became so totally frustrated with myself that I had this pillow in my hand and i remember squeezing it so hard, desperate to strangle it, kill it, every muscle in my body was flexed wanting to bring this pillow to textile death.  

Instead, i dropped it, turned around, went to the bathroom in the back (which was near the backdoor so the crew thought i left) and stared at myself in  the mirror, reminding myself that there is nothing to cry about because i LOVE MY JOB, ITS PRETTY MUCH THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD.  I knew the second i lost it i would LOSE it, as i am a VERY good crier (woulda won ‘crying star’ in a second, that’s for sure) and this would normally be fine, but not when you are on camera, with runny makeup and red, puffy eyes…it holds the whole production up.  So i took really big breaths, in and out, desperate to stop those annoying, unnecessary, cry baby tears.  It didn’t help.  

I totally lost it. Face contortions. Gutteral noises.  Yeah, the ‘pretty’ stuff.  

It’s almost as if I was President of the United States Of America trying to stop a recession, restore the hope of a nation, and find and kill a d*ck head terrorist, whilst stopping child illiteray, etc.  

Yep. just like that.

But here’s the deal, folks,  it doesn’t matter what your job is, how insignificant you think it is, if you are tired and overwhelmed you are allowed to cry about it.  For those of you you who might be thinking, ‘oh poor emily with the tv show, she’s soooo tired, get some perspective’.  I say, officially, ‘screw you’.  i have an intensely good perspective on life, which is why I deny feeling stressed out often, as if  i don’t have the ‘right’ to be stressed because these are not real, actual problems.  These are priveleged people problems.  No one is sick, or dying.  Its just home style and i am very well aware of it. 


When you feel it, you feel it.  

I still feel an intense amount of self-imposed pressure to make it a huge success.  I mean, if i suck at it then the entire crew has to find new work (and hollywood isn’t exactly booming still), then i let the network down, who gave me this incredible job and put a lot of faith in my abilities.  Then i will have squandered this insane opportunity and will forever wonder what i should have done different.  

It would be like meeting the person of your dreams – that guy who you are like ‘Ah!!! Thats it, he is IT, completely and utterly perfect for me in every way, he makes sense to me, i can’t get enough of him, he makes me a better person and i want nothing more than to live the rest of my life with him‘ and knowing that if you lose them, if you mess this up, you will forever and ever, and ever regret it.  

I don’t use the word ‘passionate’ lightly.  I previously reserved it for things like my family, Brian and my friends. I think the word i passion is totally over-used.  But i feel completely passionate about this show.  

Woah, drama much, Emily?

Anyway, so after the mini-meltdown in the store, i came out of the bathroom (the director had taken off to try and find me) and with a huge grin i said, ‘Well, here’s a secret….. i’m having nervous breakdown’ and we all laughed – cause we are all friends and as much as i’m sure i can annoy everyone by telling them which angles i think are best (the art director in me has never died) and the order of content and tips, i know they care about me a lot (and vice versa) and they were worried.  It was announced later that day that i would have more time to prep (total coincidence, actually) and then two weeks later i found out we were going down to only one very layered look for second season.  Not because i had a nervous breakdown, nobody really even knew about that, but because the show would be better, more info, more styling, more time for personality, etc.  And now, god, things are soooo much better.  Ratings are great, i’m getting better at it, i have more free time, and i am confident that this is what i should be doing, meltdown or no meltdown.

And that’s my episode 12 min-melt down story.  Which is why i chose that hideous carpet for first look.  I ordered the carpet in five minutes based on a small swatch and i couldn’t see the pattern, because the pattern was bigger.  When they rolled it out, i was like, ‘oh no.  no. no. no.  what? no. no. no. no.no. mom. mom. mom. mommy. mommy….help help help.’  

I hated it.  it hated me.  I got permission to replace it and yeah, i did.  I would have paid for it out of my own pocket.  I would have sold bearcat, whored out Orlando, or sold my blonde locks to make that problem disappear.  

That being said, i loved this family and still had such a great time with them and designing the space.  It was just mentally a whirlwind of emotions that will actually make it one of the more memorable weeks of the first season. 

So no, i did not plan to repaint and re-carpet.  Not at all.  This is my biggest mistake so far.  But remember: being a good designer (and person) doesn’t mean being perfect all the time, it means knowing and admitting when you’ve made a mistake and fixing it.  Life’s all about how you react to things.  

Yes, i also write copy for after school specials.  This special would be called ‘Just because you win a television show doesn’t mean you know how to handle the pressure’.  

Starring, yours truly, Emily Von Henderson. 

I love you guys, by the way.  Thank god for this blog. I know i don’t have the time to get back to everyone and thank them, but i truly truly truly appreciate every single email and comment that i get.  Honestly.  Its incredibly moving and makes me feel so so so good, and i know that because of you this show now has great ratings, keeping the hgtv core audience and adding a whole new demographic.  So, thank you.  So much. 



L.A. Times Review, also how does radio shack stay in business?

Well folks, Its offical.  Secrets from a Stylist is ‘underrated’. Before you start thinking that is a bad thing its from the LA times article ‘Underrated/overrated’ and basically it broke down 5 pop culture things that you either need to start watching or you are over watching.  We got ‘Under-rated, which is awesome:

That screen grabbed turned out small, so here’s the content:

Underrated / Overrated

Secrets From a Stylist’ on HGTV: If the many cooking shows on TV constitute food porn, think of this as home decorating porn. Starring the preternaturally perky Emily Henderson, this show reliably offers budget-minded inspiration for elevating a room beyond blank white walls and whatever Swedish-designed furnishings were on sale. Plus, with the show based in L.A., it offers an intoxicating hope that TV people could come over to do these things for us.

‘HOME DECORATING PORN’.   ‘Sup. Finally i have a reason to go into all of those 24 hour video stores,  i had no idea that there was a ‘home decorating porn’ section.  How very exciting.  I’m curious who else is in there… And i suppose that means that if i star in one, then that might make me a….. big fan of home decorating.  (yes, my mother reads and i’m pretty sure its never funny to a mother to joke about being a pornstar)

Also ‘Preternaturally perky’ means ‘extra naturally perky’ by the way.  Thank you very much, wikepedia.  And while i cringe at the word ‘perky’, its slightly hard to deny considering that the definition of perky is: ‘Having a buoyant or self-confident air; briskly cheerful’ which does kinda sounds like me, except i’m also intensely self-depricating, annoyingly scattered and plagued with a snaggle tooth that makes everyone tell me i look like Kirstin Dunst or Jewel.   But i’ll cut you if you call me bubbly. i can handle one, but not both.  And now that ‘perky’ is out there, ‘bubbly’ is forever forbidden. 

Anyhoo while i would prefer to be ‘properly rated – you know, high ratings due to great content, etc’, its a good sign that a major newspaper is deeming it ‘under-rated’ as opposed to ‘overrated’.  But at the same time you want to be the ‘Seinfeld’ or ‘One tree Hill’ of decorating shows, not the Arrested Development’ or ‘Veronica Mars’.   Underrated doesn’t always mean you’ll last.  So keep spreading the word, my dear lovers.  

Wait, I mean, can we talk about this….how the eff does ‘One tree hill’ stay on the air? I’m a sucker for anything with pretty teenager being sad and kissing, but i don’t get it. It’s like Radio Shack.  I mean, WHO SHOPS THERE!!!!????  Every time I see one, i get angry and i want to go in and say ‘hi, how are you.  Can i ask how much exactly are you guys grossing every month, no seriously, how much? $40-$50? What is your profit margin, how do you pay your employees and most importantly Why would i shop here? Why would i not go to Best Buy or Fry’s or go online for my electronics instead of a store that has no more than 60 products and is 20% more expensive?  Is anyone with me on this one? 

(in truth, i’ve only watched like 3 episodes of One Tree Hill, so its not totally fair for me to  bash it, just compared to all the good ones that have been cancelled i get a little upset.)

So that’s my saturday for you.  

Always yours,

The preternaturally perky home design pornstar, Emily Von Henderson. (i’ve added the ‘Von’ to get better tables at restaurants and its totally working.)

Latest obsessions, books and wallpaper

Alright folks.  Time for some ‘From me to You’ Emily Von Henderson recommendations:

Here’s a bunch of what i’ve bought and why books:

First off, i know a lot of the folks in here (or know of) cause they all be stylist, but its just great read with pretty pictures and lots of fininshing touches.  Plus even that cover would have done it for me.  When i saw Lilli’s house in Domino a few years back it stood out as the style that was closest to mine that i had seen.  Crazy english florals, mixed with worn leathers, vintage portraits, all loose and effortless.  Buy the book here. 

And this guy: ‘Undecorate: A no rules approach to decorating’. 

Whenever you say ‘no rules’ i’m in.  Ask my parents.  Wait, don’t. 

This book is awesome, though.  Done by Christiane from Dwell, whose stuff i can’t get enough of.  Buy it here

And then this guy:

Another good one full of amazing photos by one of my favorite photographers, Debi Treloar, and written by Holly Becker of Decor8.  It’s awesome. Buy it here. 

I spent a disturbing amount of money buying style/shelter books the other day, I’m desperate to get hooked up with one of those ‘we send you books for free’ programs.  It’s like I need every single decorating book that has ever existed.  I read them in bed like novels, giant, heavy picture filled novels.  

And my latest wallpaper obsessions:


They can do any color, too.  You just give them a pantone chip or Benjamin Moore color and they match it.  It’s pretty awesome.   www.kremelife.com  You’ll see them in upcoming episodes as well as my studio (the chain motif, which i love)

Lastly Pottok Prints.  When i first saw their ‘All of Us’ pattern (the one with all the black and white drawn people) i died.  Literally.  

It’s super incredible.  Check out there stuff here.

That’s it for now. Trust me when i say that i stand behind these folks’ products 1000%

Episode 11, Second look sources, yo.

All pics by Laure Joliet (except the bad one that is poorly lit down there). 

Yup.  That bench was hard to give up.  I got it at the Rose Bowl for $100 then had it reupholstered for $150 and it turned out kinda perfect.  

here she was before:

It doesn’t look as bad as it was, totally dirty, etc.  But she had good good bones. I’m looking into being a bench maker because they are really just wood, legs and foam/upholstery.  Structurally they are the easiest thing to make then to a simple side table.  

Then there is this chair.  Equally awesome.  I bought it for $40, and had her reupholstered for $150.  That desk came from Tini $250, the awesome Rug is from Garnet Hill, $328.  Their rugs are kinda awesome for how cheap they are -flat woven but much cheaper than a lot of more modern rug makers.  And i’m slightly biased because i’ve worked with this product a lot and i know their stuff, but their sheets, bedding and textiles are all kinda rad.  Plus last winter they sold these boots:

They kinda have secretly good stuff.  Just saying.

   And the rolling shades were $$500 for the whole room from Blinds Chalet

And lets talk about the sofa.  I found this sofa on Craigslist.  I knew i needed something that people could sleep on, but i didn’t want a big old chunky sofa sleeper that are rarely that comfortable unless they are over $3000.  This bad boy was from Craigslist:

For $150.  $150!! s’right.  Yes it did cost i think around $1000 for reupholstering/foaming of the entire sofa and mattress.  

And now look at her:

I used blue cotton velvet (because it was $10 a yard – i needed 10 yards, and its super cozy, comfy and relatively durable.)  Shoot, we should talk upholstery fabric.  Here’s the deal, really good upholstery fabric starts at $30 but those are normally boucle’s and i hate the weave.  So yes, i know that the cotton velvet will probably be slightly worn in 12 years, but you also will probably want new upholstery in 12 years.  


I had it stuffed with feather wrapped foam to make it much more comfortable, and gurl it was, but it did make it poofier.  Stupid form and function, always trying to not work together. 

That lamp was West Elm,  and i love its proportions because its low enough that you can’t see under it, the perfect little table lamp.

And that armoire was from Craigslist for $200 i think. Armoire’s are under rated by the way. I’m bringing them back. 

I want to shove those three objects together so bad on top of that armoire.  In general i’m a huge fan of two overlapping to give depth and one standing slightly away to give the collected feel.  Alas.

That stool was from Wertz brothers Antique mall in Santa Monica, the huge Flatiron photo was from Santiago’s on Lankershim, and the huge glass vessel is from Potterybarn. 

the table is from MIX, i think it was around $300.  The stool we got on Craigslist for $100, and the apothocary jars were from Empiric which is one of my favorite stores in LA.  It’s where i shopped for the second layer and the owners have an amazing eye…er eyes.

Again with Garnet Hill the rug. And you all recognize that West Elm dining table and i kinda wish that i had kept it in there because it was super cute. 

Pretty pretty photos by Laure Joliet.  Thanks, Laure.  YOU are rad.  And that’s no secret. 

First look details,

Alright.  Lets talk Modern Urban beach.  First of all i’ll tell you that these kids are my friends and that i actually lived in that guest house for 6 months when we first moved to LA.  The reason i said it was ‘fancy’ when i walked in was because they had completely renovated it – new flooring, kitchen, clean paint, etc, so it did look much much fancier.  And i love this space, its all open and airy and bright.  When i lived there there was white wood paneling which i LOVE, but it wasn’t insulated so they had to add drywall, etc.  

The style diagnostic was funny because Josh is a total ham. And by ‘ham’ i mean, hilarious and couldn’t get enough of the camera.  He was totally mugging.  Where Josh and Sarika are from has a huge part of what their individuals styles are and unfortunately most of that got cut, so you didn’t find out that she is from Hawaii and he is from Brooklyn and Queens and she moved out here for the beach and he moved out here for her (and the lifestyle etc,) but misses New York, which is why i brought in so much New York stuff.  

So lets talk first look:  Modern Global Beach:

Sorry, i took these pics and they are bad.  Things weren’t totally styled yet, i was just taking them for reference but then i realized they are the only ones i really have.   The coffee table i got from Mix, i think it was $695.  It’s on La Brea and is awesome (you guys might remember me shopping there for the pilot episode). I rented the daybed there too. This was a case of ‘how can i show the audience something different, but have the client not really want it so they like the second look more’ scenario.  (we don’t have that problem anymore, with the one look new situation for second season, yeah!!!) So i figured no one really wants a wood sofa in their tv room.  I love this piece and want it outside under my pergola in my figi summer home, but not in my tv room.  I shopped at Andraianna Shamaris for the first look.  It’s a store in Malibu and New York and is awesome.  That brass and leather cuff i wear all the time is from their as well.  They have great global pieces, but pretty high end.  This table was around $1000 i think, and i knew it was just a first look rental because we couldn’t afford it.  

The rug was West Elm, i think, , natural jute. The boxes are west elm, target and the vessel behind was from HD Buttercup.  The lamp behind that was left over from Antonio’s show and i think it was from Pier One. Pillows are West Elm, Urban OUtfitters and CB2.  

OK, gotta run.  Sorry i didn’t link. will do tomorrow.


Love always,

Veronica Mars.