Oh my goodness i do have big news, yes i do.  HUGE, really.  I’ve been looking for a house to buy for a while. Shopping everyday, scouring the classifieds, dreaming of all the space i’ll have, talking to my realtor and accountant more than i do Bearcat.  There have been a few teases  –  i’ll put in an offer, think its ‘the one’ and sure enough Zooey Deschanel or Parker Posey will end up buying it.  My budget is small, sure, but my heart is full and i’ve been hopeful that the right house would make itself available to me at the right time.  

And lo and behold, dear readers, I have indeed bought a house.  My dream house  It’s in L.A., it has 6 rooms, it needs a lot of work, but its is new construction in a classic style with great bones.  

AND at $299, it was within my budget.  The second i saw it, i knew it was the one.  I could picture my very small children running around and playing in the family room, putting together puzzles, watching The Little Mermaid….. my husband is reading the paper, watching mets games in the man-cave, and then i sit in my huge HUGE closet/dressing room, holding all of my teeny tiny clothing where i powder and perfume myself silly.  It’s all i’ve ever dreamt about and i’m so excited to share it with you.

I know.  It’s simply perfect.  YES, it needs some color, furniture, wall treatments….it sure does, but bless its heart, its my first home and i love every centimeter of it.  The inspector was all, ‘Uh there isn’t any plumbing and it only has three walls’ and i realize that can be a problem, but nothing a little bit of imagination can’t fix.  Brian is a bit sceptical about where the flatscreen will go, but i’m more excited about where i’m going to put my vintage victorian wicker dining set, hang my capiz shell (capiz button) chandelier and cuddle with my mini-bearcat.  

So what exactly is happening, huh? Well, ladies and gentlemen (come one, come all – big and small) here’s the story.  

We are having the first annual:


S’right folks.  It’s a dollhouse decorating challenge.  AND ITS GOING TO BE HUGE!!!!

(you should go ahead and know right now that any and all size references when it comes to this challenge are all intentional, don’t worry).

Let’s talk about the what’s, who’s, when’s, how’s and why’s


Dollhouses are totally underrated, often considered ‘creepy’ but we all secretly like them.  We do. Men love their train sets  (i do too, thats next) because its hard to deny the draw of a miniature perfect world.  But all of a sudden its weird for grown women to play with dollhouses? RUDE!!

So the challenge is to decorate a dollhouse.  You can buy one or make something that resembles a miniature space – it doesn’t have to be a ‘house’ per say, it could be a loft or an industrial space or i’m trying to convince my boxing trainer to do a mini boxing gym.  It can be conceptual or literal.  Whatever you want.  

You can spend as much or little time and money as you want. It doesn’t have to last for generations, and certainly nobody is actually going to live in it.  Unless mini people exist, or fievel and the rat from ratatoiie decide to move it.  It’s a chance to create a mini-fantasy world of your own, don’t worry about function, just bout looks.  It’s more of a piece of art and a diarama in a way than an actual ‘dollhouse’.  


Me, Emily Von Henderson 

Morgan from www.the-brick-house.com 

Erin from www.designformankind.com

Orlando (yes from SFAS) from www.hommemaker.com

Corbett (my LA besty) www.girl-domestic.com

Jenny from www.littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com

Nicole www.makingitlovely.com

and Kirsten from www.simplygrove.com

But that’s not all, we want as many of you, dear readers who are probably also obsessed with mini’s, to join in. Take photos of progress/process, upload to our widgets that will link you to us.  The more people involved the better and we can take over the world.  (read the ‘why’s down there and you will be convinced to do it).

So that brings us to ‘WHEN:

We start this week (don’t rush, you can start next week or anytime really) and we have to be finished by December 15th.  We update weekly, or whenever we want (I’m doing weekly, and a pic a day), but the big reveal of the finished house is December 15th.  Then in January there will be a gallery/party where everyone who can come to the LA area to show their house does so.  And yes, this will be pitched to magazines and we hope to have some of yours in there, too.

You thought Google was big? Nope.  You thought Nike was huge? Not really.

The ‘I’m a Giant’ challenge is about to be the Walmart of all internet frenzy, the Proctor and Gamble of the blogland.  Or totally overhyped by yours, truly.  Either way, a total blast. 


Melissa and Doug are giving you a discount if you click the link HERE and use the code DH15.  I have the Lisa Kay  (above), which i love but there are a lot of rooms to furnish, so i unless you are gun-ho i would get one with 4 rooms.  They come unfinished which is great (even on the outside), and they are solid wood so sure to last.  I shopped around for a while and you will be absolutely hardwood floored at how expensive they can be.  So, theirs seem the best for the price for the amount of detail you get (i.e. the windows and stairs were the selling point for me.)  

But you can use anything you want.  Used dollhouses, vintage dollhouses or even just wooden crates or wooden boxes.  Orlando is building his from scratch out of foam core.  ANYthing works.  I will tell you this:  it can get very, very, very, very, expensive, so making things or repurposing what you already have is a good idea (AKA i am using a big wood button as a serving tray, and an Alexis Bittar big flower broach as wallart, etc). Think craft store, hardware store, fabric store (aka a large free ‘swatch’ is probably enough for bedding) and notions.  And obviously thrift stores and flea markets. 


Um.  This seems like a highly unnecessary question, but fine, here’s why:

1. I have a serious love for miniatures, always have and always will.  They are very small and I…. AM…. A…. GIANT!!!!  I Like to hold them in my very large hands, pretend to drink out their very small cups, and imagine a world where the details of our world exist, just sooooo much smaller. It’s a fantasy world, nay, a fantastical world for me to be creative beyond constraints of money and function.  The space plan doesn’t need to be perfect, the tile doesn’t need to be water resistant, its just whatever you want to satisfy your craftiness and creativity.  

2. I don’t have a house and don’t know when i will, but i’m dying to really, really decorate my dream house.  If that sounds pathetic to you, then screw you, play with your adult sized dolls, i don’t care.  I love the imagination that can go into a project like this, the detail and obsession.  And i love to craft and its been wayyyy too long since i did something like this for me.  

3. I want something that i can pass down to my children, and they can pass it down to their children. I love all dollhouses, but yes, they can be very victorian, granny, predictable, and even creepy.  Mine is going to look eclectic, modern, vintage, colorful with lots of wallpaper, brass, florals, graphic patterns, a mix of old-timey wingbacks (reupholstered, of course) worn leathers, and regency furniture….with a little big of laid-back country in there, too. This is not your grandmas dollhouse, no siree, bob.  

4. Because its something to do together.  Whether you are doing this with your daughter (or son) or with your friend (like we are in Corbett’s garage which was going to be the ‘man-cave’ but is now the ‘dollhouse-cave’ much to the ‘mans’ severe, and understandable, dislike); or online with all of us – its something that we can all do together, talk about, swap stories, compete for furniture on ebay and not feel ridiculous…..together. 

It’s like a virtual Quilting Bee.  Just a bunch of people crafting together and not making eachother feel weird. Lets not be ashamed of having a ‘hobby’.  Let’s not be afraid to love the detail that goes into miniatures, the workmanship, the obsession.  It’s a forgotten craft that we are going to give its full and due respect.  

So here’s a sneak peak into mine:  

I’m just starting my mood-board and general plan now, soon to be revealed.    

I’m like a little kid.  In a little house. i’m so excited.  And i can’t wait to have you all over to visit for the weekend, although pack light, …..there isn’t a lot of extra space…

So dear readers, bloggers, magazine editors, family and friends…..

WHO IS UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?????????  Who wants to make something that will not only be passed on to the next generation but be a detailed sculpture for you to enjoy now?  The more the merrier.  Tell your friends, tell your bosses.  Blog, tweet, facebook and link it the eff in.  




Exotic Contemporary Comfort, Episode 21

Here we are folks,  Exotic Contemporary Comfort.    All pretty pics by Mark Champion.  Every time i say his name the song starts up…..

Michael Reisz is a writer (Boston Legal and In Plain Sight) but you might recognize him from Star Trek Next Generation and Days of Our lives.  Just dropping names. What? what do you want? for me to not tell you how cool my clients are?  I live in Hollywood, baby, this is just how it happens here.  But i remember the Marlena being possessed years and totally recognized him.  He’s totally rad, hilarious, adorable, and we got along super well.  

He also has really good taste, but his house before was small, so all his furniture was way out of scale for this new extremely large house.  Making a living room feel this cozy is a total challenge, not gonna lie.  Everything has to be big, and big is spendy, my friends.  So I went for vintage, but reupholstered.  i found the navy blue sofa for $75 at Good Will, but i saw the lines and the scale and  I was all, ‘yup this is actually a designer sofa with insanely awesome architecture that just needs a facelift’.  I don’t know who made it but trust me, somebody good.  

It cost $500 to redo and $150 for the fabric so the entire sofa cost $725.  Not too shabby my friends.

And when you reupholster you should know that it comes standard to strip it down to the bones, get rid of all fabric and foam, so don’t worry, its all clean and new and fresh. 

This sofa was also a deal.  $750 for the whole sofa and huge chair in the corner INCLUDING reupholstery.  We bought it from Pepe’s on Sunset and he said if he we hired him to reupholster it he would sell the whole thing for $700, although if it was anything complicated i would NOT have hired him because he’s burndt us in the past.  (his ‘lacquering’ job is always just spray paint, i swear to god)  But this was a deal we couldn’t say not to especially since it was so simple (no tufting, etc).

Let’s talk awesome rug-age.  From West Elm, $799 for an 8×10 and its super cozy.  Buy it HERE.   The lamp is from Crate and Barrel, for $399, (I know, a splurge, but its a good lamp)  Buy HERE

Little stool was from the flea market, $80.  He’s so cute. I think his feet are coming out of his throat.  



Alright the drum and those three dressers that i put together to make a credenza came from Lankershim blvd, (there are four stores in a row there, all awesome).  I think the dressers were $250 each and they are kinda awesome.  They are plated with metal and then at places scraped down and rusted.  I think they were used on a film, meant to look super old and industrial, but i loved how they looked – although since they aren’t that old they actually are just super functional.  The drum was $100.  The scale on top is from Wertz Brothers Antique mall for $160.  The dining table is from HD Buttercup, on sale for $1500 i think…..still pretty great deal considering how genius it is (watch the episode and you’ll know what i mean). 

Orlando made the pendant and how now posted on his blog how to make it,  learn how you can yourself by clicking HERE

I LOVED this crazy painting that he had.  I don’t know much about it except that its huge and looked like bubble gum. and i love bubble gum.  

Baskets get a bad rap.  And sure they can be totally dusty and gross, but Michael had a pretty good collection of antique handmade japanese baskets that are really beautiful, and we added to them.  


Alright the drum and those three dressers that i put together to make a credenza came from Lankershim blvd, (there are four stores in a row there, all awesome).  I think the dressers were $250 each and they are kinda awesome.  They are plated with metal and then at places scraped down and rusted.  I think they were used on a film, meant to look super old and industrial, but i loved how they looked – although since they aren’t that old they actually are just super functional.  The drum was $100.  The scale on top is from Wertz Brothers Antique mall for $160.  


I LOVED this crazy painting that he had.  I don’t know much about it except that its huge and looked like bubble gum. and i love bubble gum.  

Baskets get a bad rap.  And sure they can be totally dusty and gross, but Michael had a pretty good collection of antique handmade japanese baskets that are really beautiful, and we added to them.  

The coffee table was from HD Buttercup and I think it was on a massive sale for $250.  Insane, i know.  Normally i think was around $600.  

 Let’s talk drapery.  So here’s how i keep it from being 10,000$ because as most of you know, custom drapery (or even Pottery Barn) is super expensive.  I use this company called ‘Grey Lines Linen’ in New York.  I have their swatch books and i order straight from them and ship it to my seamstress.  Most of their linens are 7$ a yard, and in this case i think we needed  4 double panes at 25′ each = 200′ = 67 yards, and then you have to include at least an extra yard per panel for double hemming on the top and bottom.  So i think we had around 75 yards.  So that is $525 already, plus labor and hardware and lining? I don’t remember what it was but i think we kept it under $2000.  In a space like this though, unless you have filtered windows, make sure to get a light colored fabric, because the sun is going to bleach it out on the edges.  This light grey had a lot of texture and color variance in it, so even if it does fade, i will look natural and organic.

While the drapery looks kinda thin here, it wasn’t. Each panel was around 10 feet, its just scrunched a bit too much.  Huge tray was from Pottery barn.  

God i love that sofa.  1970’s chunky, comfy goodness with arms you could rest a plate on.  

With Exotic Contemporary Comfort basically means that its clean lined and masculine in shape.  But mixed with some pieces from around the globe and making sure that its totally comfortable at all costs.  

So heres’ a funny story: I had planned two huge custom sisal rugs for this space, for a couple of reasons, 1. i love a sisal, i love the way it feels under my feet, i do.  2. It brought in that warm but ‘exotic’ thing. 3.  its affordable for a space this big.  I think we got 1 that was 10×12 and 1 that was 10×10 and they were each around $350 with binding.  and 4. i hadn’t done them before so it was showing the audience something different.  

I normally have one final meeting or at least a phone call with the homeowners about 10 days out as a ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ on ANYTHING they might really want or really not want.  They don’t have much of a say in the end, but of course  the happier they are the more fun it is and the better the show.  We had this convo, nothing came up.  

Then during the diagnostic Michael said, ‘Oh i learned that i HATE sisal rugs.  I hate how they feel, look, everything’.  I was all, ‘uh huh, sure’, but the look on my face told him everything.  When you customize rugs, there is no way to return them.  (oh and did anyone notice how i said i was getting the binding that was the same color as the sisal and then it came white? yeah….a  total bummer, their mistake).  

Anyway, we both started laughing and it was a running joke all week.  I ended up keeping the sisal under the dining table – because obviously no one really lays down on the ground under the dining table – at least not til they are drunk enough that they won’t care that its scratchy.   But West Elm saved the day with the other rug.  They shipped it in in two days and he loved it.  We sold the other sisal on Craigslist for $200 i think.  

And that amazing orb pendant that ‘Orb-lando’ made  will be explained (is now explained, step by step) on his blog this week.  He made it from scratch, it was awesome, but he can give you all the details.  Check his blog, yo.  www.hommemaker.com Click HERE for that very detailed post

The only thing that i’m on the fence about is the custom art piece that we made.  In my mind it was going to look rad, but we ran into many problems.  What did you guys think?


Winning!!! Pendleton! $400+

 ***this giveaway is now closed***

OH ladies and gents.  You are in for a treat.  I can’t say enough good things about this company.  100 year old, family run, Oregon based, crazy high quality and with a chic-ness that doesn’t go out of style and a nice-ness that surpasses any big box store.  There is an integrity about this brand that I love.  My grandma wore it, all my uncles wear it on the ranch in Wyoming and now i’m wearing it.  

And luckily,  Native American style is hot right now, and one of you (I might enter myself) will be the lucky recipient of my favorite blanket, above.  

And if you haven’t seen the Portland Line (fashion) get ready.  Because it is amazing.  I’m debating moving into cooler climate just so i can wear their wool year round.  

I know.  And that is just some of the pieces (there are a bunch of men’s as well).  I have one of the jackets and the shorts (will post fashion post next week, not shown above) and i LOVE THEM.  I think it will be available at Anthropologie, Barneys, etc.  Get yours before they sell out. 

But back to the blanket.  This is a very, very, very, good giveaway if I do say so myself.  You’d be crazy not to enter.  

Giveaway Entry Info:

  • Prize: One (1) TAOS IKAT BLANKET from Pendleton in Twin or Queen with Shams. MSRP $414-$494
  • How to Enter: Pick a current product you love, or tell me about a vintage Pendleton piece in the comment section below.
  • If you want to be fun (extra entry): Tweet: Snuggleing up with Pendleton and @Em_Henderson for a $400+ cozy giveaway!
  • Giveaway Ends: Friday September 23rd at 11:59pm EST
  • How Many Lucky Winners?!: One! (1)
  • Ships to: US Only
  • Also: Please be kind and only enter once, unless you used the extra entry option, you can enter twice. I will select the winner using random.org and will notify the winner by September 26th via email. You will have 2 weeks to respond with your info, or we will select another winner.  



Matters of business:

1. Set your DVR’s for HGTV’d (saturday nights i think at 8pm ets) because its my episode. It’s in Austin, with the best family ever, and such a ridiculously fun week.  Then again Secrets from a Stylist is on at 9pm est.  That’s double the Emily.  It’s like ordering a double Emily and tonic, its bound to get you drunk on secrets.  

(just pretty pics mixed in with all the boring content)

2. Mad hiring for Interns.  Blog/interior design/graphic design/social media.  You know all those 22 year olds that come out of college with mad design and internet skills? Yep, we need 2 of you.  (not for the show, yet, anyways).  So email through the contact form and Orlando can set up interviews (for next week).  We need 20-25 hours a week, live in LA, can drive and knows photoshop, some sort of floorplan program, and is savvy enough with the internet to help me blog, etc.  Oh and isn’t entitled, won’t make me feel guilty for asking you to do something and WANTS a career in Interior Design.  

3. There is still ad space available for the holiday guide.  Because its the first time i’m doing this, and therefore ‘unproven’ the ad space is dirt cheap.  The full pages are $250.  I know.  And that’s all we have left to sell (we’ve expanded). So click on the ‘advertise in our holiday guide’ icon to the right and Lana will get back to you asap.  

4. give yourself a hug.

5. i tweeted about a blogger challenge coming up, and i’m announcing it next week (just finishing the details).  Its one of those that all readers that want to can do it with us.  Hint:  ‘Honey I shrunk the brass drum table’.

Gotta run.  But i saw music so good last night i cried. Sure, my tear ducts are constantly 7 months pregnant, always eager to birth happy tears, but man Fleet Foxes ruled last night. 

My current mood-board Plus a mid-week giveaway

You may have noticed that icon/sponsorship to the right, right? The 3M Couples Speak.  Well that bad boy is a big contest where you send in a video of you and a friend/partner/lover/dog having a funny DIY moment NOT using their product.  Enter to win $5000, people.  I’m working on my video with Orlando next week.  

But to promo it some more they are doing a giveaway of all of these products, and i got my little sample pack a while ago.  

But here’s the thing, i’m not a reno person, barely a DIY person…..so you want to know what i use my 3M blue tape for?


S’right. My moodboard.

So here’s the deal with my moodboard.  I know you are supposed to use bulletin board or masonite….wait thats not the right word, whatever the stuff at home depot that is toxic to cut, but you cover it with fabric and its awesome.  But unless its wall to wall then i’m not satisfied, i like to go a bit cray cray with the moodboard, i don’t like limitations.  But i don’t want to be pinning constantly into the wall and creating even more holes than already exist.  So i’ve always used 3M blue tape.  No lie people. Yes they are an advertiser but the thing is that you knows i loves me some blue, right? So why, oh why, would i opt for white, green or black tape when this stuff is the most utilitarian and easy to find.  

So i like my moodboard to be crazy and fun.  I want to wake up, grab a cup of joe and sit down at my office to stare at something that reminds me to be less tame then i’m supposed to be.  You might recognize a hot pink Ban-Do up there, an Oh Joy wallpaper swatch  (separate links for blog and wallpaper) and yes a brass heart. that i’ve had for years.  

What? so i won some red and blue ribbons at the Coos County fair when i was little.  They remind me of being a kid in 4-H and making fun things. So i figured why not throw them up here. And no moodboard is complete without some ball-fringe.  Gurl, i love me some ball fringe.  I realized that i’ve been hoarding it. I have white, black, navy and hot pink.  A little excessive but it makes me so happy.  

So in this case, i started the moodboard with a huge piece of fabric that i’m obsessed with.  I think its Catherine Malandrino from last year.  I bought the yardage to make a pillow or a dress or just to cuddle with and now its kinda the foundation of my board.  I honestly do really like how the blue tape (and brass tacks when i need it) are a through-line throughout the whole mood board.  It’s peppered equally everywhere and kinda gives it a cohesion.  Probably not what most painters use it for, but i’m not most painters.  Or even a painter.  

Obviously i’ve used the tape before.  Here’s what happens.  I force Brian to help me paint. He says, ‘Why? its a rental’.  I say, ‘Yeah, i know.  But we’ll make it a fun day! We can put on This American Life, music, at the end of the day have some beers, you know, like a party!!’.  He agrees, because he knows he has to.  Then the taping starts, you know, with none other than the 3M blue tape (again, i’m not kidding, its all we’ll use for this because i’ve gotten burned buying the cheap stuff).  Whats a bummer is that the taping takes like hours.  It’s fun at first, then a total buzz kill.  I wish you could hire someone just to tape off the room. We are terrible at cutting (edging) so we have to tape carefully.  Anyway, then the ‘fun’ begins.  So fun for the first coat.  Then i want to be done and i really wish i had just hired someone for $150/day.  BUT why? when painting is the easiest thing in the world.  That was a stupid story, but again you get the idea.  

And before you tell me how ugly that chair is know this:  first off, its worn caramel leather from the 70’s and 2nd, i have never in my life sat in such a comfy chair.  I can curl up in it, indian style, which i am right now and little Bearcat sits on my lap and blog my heart away.  

So to the giveaway:



Here is a list of the products that will be included in the giveaway/sample pack: 
2 3M LeadCheck Swabs 
1 Roll of Scotch Blue 
3 Stages of Sanding (green, maroon, gold sandpaper) 
1 gloves, respirator, eye wear 

In order for users to participate in the product giveaway you must:
1) Participate in the translation sweepstakes being hosted on the 3M Framework Facebook Page (you have to Like the page as well in order to participate).
2) Post a comment on my post saying that you participated.
3) The comment must include your translation.
So what’s a translation? Here are two examples:
“Are you sure that’s going to work?” = “That’s not going to work.”
“That looks interesting.” =  “You’re doing it all wrong.”
Come up with yours…… mine are:
You are super good at painting = i’m outta here to go shop and i’ll leave you to do it on your own.
Wow, you look hot when you put together furniture = i’m outta here to go shop and i’ll leave you to do it on your own.
You get the idea.  
Wanna win all this stuff?
And don’t forget, just because its for home projects doesn’t mean that you can’t wear it as fashion.  Like so:
Blue tape  = bangles.  Safety glasses = sunglasses.  gloves = well, gloves.  And the mask is for pure mystery. Keep the gentlemen guessing, ladies.  Whats under there…a mouth, nose, lips?  ooh, she crazy.   
I couldn’t figure out how to wear the sandpaper, but if you have a good idea, let me know.
(and the chevron wallpaper swatch is by Kreme, by the way).
I know the giveaway isn’t glamorous, but these kinds of things totally add up and are really annoying to buy, you end up buying generic and then regretting it, then having to go back to the store at 10pm and buying the real stuff anyway.  So just enter and win all this stuff so you have it the next time you want to DIY something….or go out on the town.