Color Palette Helper

We all get stuck on (or off) color palettes and i’m no exception. I love bright saturated colors, blues, greens, whites, hot pinks, yadda yadda.  But for the show i had to come up with color palettes each week that were different and when the show was doing two looks then i had to do two different color palettes EACH week.  That was the one stipulation by the network – make each week as different as possible.  

So Jessica from the blog Design Seeds helped me.  Well, not personally, she doesn’t even know me, but her blog totally saved me at times frankly from searching for hours for new color inspiration.  

She posts a million different color palettes inspired from EVERYTHING – nature, architecture, art, photography, travelling, history, bearcat.  Everything.

So when you are stuck or just looking for new inspiration, maybe this will help.  

architectural color

My favorite ones tend to be inspired by nature because that mother knows what she is doing. 


grass color


frozen hues

color crawl

arctic tones

fresh green

culinary color

spring tones

provence country

crescent color

It’s so beautifully done, and so simple. Everyday its a new photograph with a new color palette.  Boom.

I often take out one of the colors – sometimes i feel like they can get cuckoo, but its such a good starting point that is so well curated.  

Had to share. And have to run.  

Nice job, Jessica.  Check it


HELP. To throw away magazines or not.

Here’s the deal:  its starting to not make sense.  Yes. i’ll keep all the Dominos. And probably the Elle Decor’s. But most of me wants to go through all the Martha’s, Gourmets, Bon Appetits, Blueprints, Canaidan house and homes, ReadyMade, Dwell, House Beautiful, W, Cookie’s etc and pull out every picture that i like and file them by room/theme and then by color in three ring binders (inside plastic sleeves).  


I could have a whole binder for DIY.  A whole binder for ‘Tabletop inspiration’.  My own ‘Entertaining’ inspiration binder……it all sounds so good.  

Yet something feels wrong about doing it. I remember suggesting to my old boss when she moved that she get rid of them and she looked at me as if all of a sudden she had me pegged all wrong – such an absurd suggestion.  And then i remember shooting at the Sara Costell’s house (the style editor at Domino) and seeing her row and row of magazine in awe thinking, ‘god she must just love design’.  In a good way.  It’s like a trophy;  Proof of your devotion.

But, I’m afraid it might also be the same reason why i feel like i can’t get rid of all my Thomas Pynchon books even though i have no intention of reading them again. 

Is keeping every single design/decor magazine (as a whole) actually just for looks?

Will i regret cutting them up? I’m overloaded by magazines and i haven’t looked at A LOT of them for years – i just keep moving them around, house to house just to be in pretty boxes in an office.  BUT, if I actually go through them and pull out inspirational shots then i might actually get use out of them in the future.

But i need help decidiing…..

Vote, please…..


Thanks for the permission. I’m so excited to start this project.  I’m keeping the Domino’s – the enitre magazine is normally great.  Then all the rest i’m ripping and putting in binders.  I may scan a ton, too, but i still like looking through something physical so i love the idea of flipping throug them.  

Plus this gives me something to do whilst watching all of the TV that i’ve become addicted to (we started Game of Thrones last night…oh dear). 

Thanks so much for all the imput.  And some of you had really good digital ideas, too, which i might do as well (the one where you take pictures of them and it automatically files by subject is a genius think that i didn’t know existed.)


White Room Challenge Tonight.

Rebecca, my ex- assistant from SFAS is on White Room Challenge tonight so you have to watch. Not sure if you guys have been tuning into it but its entertaining, if not at times anxiety inducing.  Watching creative people work under serious parameters is both tortuous and fascinating.  The entire time i think ‘what would have i done’ and very rarely do I impress myself.  

I want my socks knocked off like Todd Davis did 4 years ago:

But its a LOT harder than you think.  Being ‘conceptual’ really fast with limited EVERYTHING is hard, trust me…..But ‘thats why they call it a challenge’.  (i came to despise that response)

Our year we only had 1 day to start and finish the challenge – it started around 2pm and ended at 8pm (…i think, might have been 7, maybe 9) but on this show they get two full days so hopefully they are turning out amazing stuff.  

The winner wins $10,000 each week.  That is a lot of dollar, dollar bills y’all.  

Let’s all cheer Rebecca on, please.  

Read her blog and then hire her if you are in the Vegas area, and if you don’t live in that area she does digital design as well.   

Plus she’s pretty and has my dream hair.  

Go REBECCA!!!!!!!!!

Tonight at 9pm EST, on HGTV.  

And you can audition HERE. 

In other White Room challenge news:  I‘m doing it againand the first one (DS season 5) didn’t go well.  AT ALL.

Oh dear.  Just look at that look of utter despair on my face.  If i could have snuck out and put myself on a plane home i would have.  THANK GOD I DIDN’T.  Not my best moment. 

HGTV has asked me, Meg and Antonio to do the challenge again live (but not televised), in Nashville during the CMA fanfest the weekend of June 8-10).  I questioned whether they meant to call ‘me’ but they said they did.  

When someone says ‘Nashville and CMA Fanfest’ i say ‘yes’ and reach for my boots. But then when they say ‘white box challenge’ a teeny bit of acid falls from my throat into my stomach and flashes of an ‘prison cell for a Monk’ (Vern’s infamous critique of mine) start floating around in my head.  ‘prison cell for a monk, prison cell for a monk, prison cell for a monk….’

But i at least have mental preparation this time….

I don’t know what i’m allowed to tell you except the design has to be based on a country song (i’ll tell you mine as soon as i know its ok to reveal), and we have 3 hours to do it (but with some  prep time).  You can watch the whole thing live if you are free June 9th in Nashville (and are a sadist.) Kidding….i’ve started planning and i think i might be fine this time.  BUT i’m under promising. Don’t get too excited….. Antonio is a conceptual killer – he worked for David LaChapelle for years, so that dude can bring a game that i’ve never played…i mean, i worked for Martha….

Anyway, maybe i just need some closure…. (says my therapist)

SO please….if you are coming to Fan Fest in Nashville that weekend come and say ‘hi’ on June 9th at the HGTV barn.  I’m not sure where it is but i think its going to be huge and well publicized.

Once i have more information i’ll post about it.  

But watch Rebecca tonight.  Pretty pretty please.  HGTV 9pm EST


Best Gray Paint Colors according to Ryan Gosling

Hey, girl.  Wanna sample some low VOC paint swatches with me while we drink crystal light and i play Twinkle Twinkle on my ukelele?


What. He’s from Canada so he really appreciates the sophisticated yet understated power of this multi-toned neutral. It’s nuanced. It’s both masculine and feminine.  It’s thought provoking, intellectual and yet totally simple.

But, paint colors are incredibly tricky, truly, and i’m not an expert on picking the perfect color the first time, AT ALL.  But i have painted around 50 rooms in the last two years so i’ve definitely made some mistakes and learned a few things.

For instance:  what looks good in a picture can look different in a can, different on your walls, different at night and then different when a blue sofa is next to it.   It can be 100% baffling.  I’m sure if i had gone to art school i would be better at it, but I didn’t so it was a lot of trial and error (and instinct) for me. And i’m finally getting the hang of it.

But its a lot like finding the right guy for you:


Some are great to party with, some perfect for your family, some that just feel like ‘home’, some that make you look really good when you are next to them and some that you have a super unhealthy addiction to and you really don’t want to see them anymore but you can’t help the attraction and you try again and again to make it work and then you swear them off forever but end up slipping up and trying them out again only to be disappointed AGAIN…(this is me with ‘teal’….i am always so attracted to it, but i can’t seem to ever actually live with it on my own walls.)

So here are my favorite go-to’s for GRAY paint colors, a la Ryan. Some of these i’ve used only once and LOVE them so much, and some i’ve used 3 – 4 times and can’t get enough of them.

1. Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.


This gray can do no wrong. Ever.  It’s my favorite and best go-to gray of all time.

It’s like this Ryan:


Super classic and sophisticated, but not boring AT ALL.  It’s a very, very warm gray – meaning that its still a cool tone because its gray, but has more yellow in it than blue so it doesn’t feel crazy blue.  Most of you who have experimented with gray’s know that they go blue very, very fast – often you think you are choosing a blue-ish gray and then when its up on your walls it looks like you are welcoming your first son. In 1992. It goes so ‘baby’.

Its totally bazaar and happened to me a few times before i learned my lesson of erring on the side of a warmer gray (or just going darker and steering clear of anything that is even close to a pastel).

I painted Ian’s living room in gray owl:


And then i just painted the bedroom of the lake house that same color:


They are both like warm cozy gray hugs and i couldn’t be happier with them/him.

2. Benjamin Moore Oyster Shell:


This one is blue-r but its not ever ‘baby’.  It is just a happy, light, soothing, calming, and fresh neutral.  Like him:


My office and master bedrooms are both in this color.  And then i also painted a room in the Lake House and room in a client in LA’s house this color as well.  Everybody has loved it.


See? It’s blue without being too blue.  And the light reflects off it perfectly.

3. Farrow and Ball ‘Lamp Room Gray’.  More sophisticated than the first two – and a bit moodier:


I don’t remember when i used this but i remember loving it.


They look different, but they aren’t.


DO NOT look at me like they, R, you scare me. So intense yet elegant.  Sensual yet approachable.  It’s a good color….but its not playful or fun, definitely more dramatic and sophisticated.

Farrow and Ball paints are expensive but they are also very complicated paints – meaning there are a ton of different pigments in each color so they are never ‘flat’ and instead have a lot of ‘movement’.  That sounded crazy ‘decorator-y’ but basically the more colors in a paint the more subtly interesting it is – its like secret texture.  You can’t stare at it and see the different colors, but instead you’ll notice that it looks different in the mornings than it does in the evening, and it changes so much based on what colors you put next to it.

4. Sherwin Williams, Silver Mist


This one is beachier and greener than the other grays.  It has a frenchy-country thing happening with it that i love.  Such a good neutral for a fresh all white kinda house.


There is a good chance Ryan and I will use this in our french cottage. With white shutters…and an art studio for me that he has cut out like 100 paper arrows and put them on the floor to show me where it is. He wakes up at 3am to do it every day.  It’s weird that i can’t just find it, that i hadn’t already stumbled into it, but the house must be just enormous.

5. Benjamin Moore, Gray Timber Wolf:


This one is a darker and definitely ‘cooler.’  It’s a dudes’ ‘gray’, for sure.  Masculine and intense…but still with some youth.


If you put this in your living room make sure to combine it with warm woods or warmer colors because it can feel cold. But, it is also super masculine and modern – very little yellow in it, so when done right it is beautiful. I’ve painted three rooms this color and i’ve loved them all – just add ‘wood’.

6. Serious Gray by Sherwin Williams (for HGTV).

This one has a slight purple tint to it.  I guess if you had gone to design school you might say it has more ‘red’ in it.  It is definitely very cool, but also very interesting and way darker than the others.


This shot is totally awesome.

And so is this one:


That was when we were in Oregon together…..Meeting my parents…oh those rainy nights.  We played a duet on the baby grand, drank some diet coke, and watched some early ‘Waiting for Guffman’ style family dinner theater performances.  He fit right in.

And Yes, The Notebook was on ABC family last night and i might have watched it.  Again. It wasn’t my fault. The TV was on and the remote was 6 feet away.  I couldn’t change it even if i wanted to.  And i didn’t.

So those are my (our) favorite grays.

And if these aren’t enough than the blog ‘A Perfect Gray‘ has a whole list of favorites.  Click HERE.

Now tell me (us) yours….. What grays have you used that you love? Or not?

Lake House Post #5

The say that hair stylist and construction workers have the most ‘job satisfaction’ because every single day they start something new and by the end of the day they see a lot of progress, if not finish the project and they never take their job home with them….Unless they are a hair stylist in west Hollywood and the client is hot and the hair stylist is lonely….and the client is easy… and the hair stylist doesn’t have a room mate….and the client doesn’t have very good self esteem….

Every day stylist do this, over and over:

From geek to chic.  From scrappy to sassy.  From disgust to ‘I trust’.    

Satisfying to do, satisfying to watch.  It’s why we watch makeover shows – we, as human racial human being peoples, love us some ‘before and afters’.  

But whoever ‘they’ are that deemed stylist and construction workers with the most satisfaction never renovated a house in 4 months.  

To go from this:

To this:

From crappy to happy. (it took Orlando, Dan and me about 15 minutes to come up with that one and it is totally mediocre i know.  ‘dirty to perdy’ came in second with ‘nasty to rynoplasty’ a close but totally non-sensical third).


We started the installation of all the furniture decor yesterday and by friday we will be about 80% done.

But for now, here are some shots of the clean renovation.  It looks soooooooooooo good. Fresh, white, airy, modern yet classic; casual, yet elegant.  It’s kinda my dream house already – and its still empty. 

The master bedroom.  Where i’m sleeping right now.  (Gray Owl, Ben Moore on the wall, by the way).

Why yes there is a clawfoot tub in the bedroom.  Because these people are into stuff like ‘relaxing’ and ‘calming down’ and staring out the window whilst reading and drinking wine.  You have no idea how hard it is not to christen this tub.  Its all, ‘Hey E, ya tired? oh…ya want to rest your muscles? ya want to secretly soak for 1/2 hour while Orlando is on his 3rd trip to Home Depot?…No one will know…’ And i don’t do it. I don’t. But i want to.  I do.  

But that beautiful Victoria and Albert tub is theirs to de-flower.  And de-flower. And de-flower.

You see we are already sleeping here.  Sounds weird, i know.  We have the week to install and there really aren’t any hotels within 20 miles to stay at so our gracious clients have invited us to stay here whilst working in order to get a ton of work done in a small amount of time.  And in a way this is totally genius and is soon to be a new protocol in Emily Henderson Designs, LLC, INC, ESQ….LOL..

Here’s why:

When you actually live in the space you realize what works and what doesn’t.  For instance, this morning i didn’t have a towel hook to hang my post shower towel on so that went on my list of ‘forgetten things’ to purchase. 

Lets face it ‘door hooks’ aren’t the most sexy way to spend the client’s money so it was kinda pushed aside in favor of flea market art and throw pillows. But in two weeks i would have had to buy the door hooks because they were necessary so in a way i’m making my life easier by solving the problems now.

Then i got dressed and realized that there wasn’t a full legnth mirror anywhere for me to admire my totally trashy paint clothes in.  That went on the list.  I noticed some light bulbs were too bright while others were too dim. I noticed that we don’t really need blackout drapery in the master bedroom because even though it has crazy big windows, it faces south and never gets as much light as early as you’d think – so i can return those kinda expensive (and kinda unattractive and thick) drapes and get pretty simple lined white ones.  

The list goes on and on.  But the process is actually really interesting.  We stocked their kitchen with their old stuff and after using it for a couple days realized that things needed to shift.  

It’s like we are having a test run of their future life.  Can’t tell if its creepy, but its happening. 

Ebay nautical lights ($50 each, spray painted…although we weren’t finished with them when the electrician showed up so they are now all white and gold and touched up) and blue stairs never hurt anybody.  This greets you the second you walk into the house.

I’ve got a pretty sweet cast of characters with me:

First off is series regular, Orlando Soria.  The Orlando-myster. The Orlandonnaker.  He’s Orlandoriffic. The guy who i don’t let leave my side and probably wants to shove a pillow over my face at night because we are sleeping in the same bed and i have crazy spring New York allergies.  

And Lana, who is a recurring character and was the project manager on this job and helped coordinated every single thing that happened and was installed here while i was 3000 miles away (although she is sick today :( )


Guest starring this week is Dan Faires (my friend from Design Star and now real life) that is solving every problem that might involve electrical, hanging of very heavy mirrors and/or chairs, painting, staining, cutting, and just overall giving good advice whilst looking hot.

Things like this are happening:

Why yes, we are painting at 10:30pm.  NOT SMART because you can’t see sh*t. But we touched them up the next day. Look how Orlando and Lana LOOK so happy.  I swear i didn’t make them pose – they simply love painting in the rain and the dark (i was out there, too, don’t worry). 

And if you are wondering it absolutely KILLED me to paint that amazing tole chandelier, but it was just not happening for them (or Orlando or Lana or anybody who doesn’t love ‘grandma chic’ as much as i do) – so all kelly green high gloss it is.  Some people (read almost everyone) can’t handle multi-color floral metal chandeliers.  But  I can.  You can count on me. 

Back to doing something designer-y inappropriately late at night.