Ikea office Organization is happening.

When i was little i used to ‘clean’ by shoving things under the sofa, in the oven, behind the toilet. Its a really adorable habit that i haven’t really grown out of.  I don’t like too much visible clutter, but i don’t really put things away properly – i just shove things inside of other things.  

When we moved into our new house I was super excited to have an dedicated office where i can put all the annoying and ugly ‘officey’ things, but unfortunately it had very little storage and what it did have was unattractive.

And i don’t do unattractive very well (which is why i haven’t revealed to you my kitchen or exterior – both needing an insane amount of help that i don’t want to give to a rental).  

I spend 4-10 hours a day in my office – it needs to look and feel good and be functional.    

It has good bones – tons of windows and light and french doors that go in to my bedroom – plus sliding glass doors for clients to have their own entrance.

But it’s still kinda sad:


Don’t you love a good ‘before’ pic?  Ugh. Here’s where it was when we first moved it – pre-organization.  Sexy, i know. There really wasn’t a place for anything.  I needed more storage than those stupid cupboards.   

So i partnered up with Ikea for some organizational ‘consultation’ we’ll call it.  Basically they designed and consulted the perfect storage unit for me.  (yes, in exchange for this post).   

The goal:  an ATTRACTIVE, FUNCTIONAL, storage situation that would make me happy to look at it. PLUS i was dying to have moodboarding space so if it was a clean surface that would be awesome.  

My space was tricky because i needed something narrow in there.  I have a big table that i love and a HUGE desk chair that i can’t give up, so i didn’t want the 26″ deep units.  I went to Ikea and started shopping and there are a lot of options of the Pax unit (which is the name of these closet units).  They have a unit that is only 14″ deep and had a white lacquer front.  

There were a ton of other options –  but i’m a sucker for white lacquer. Plus that gave me a clean surface to have the mood board on the front of it.  Let my mood never been bored, again. 

That’s my thumb…….telling the computer that i approve…?

I was intimidated by the whole process so here’s the rundown:  there are computers at ikea in the Pax section that walk you through the whole process – you pick the size, then the door styles then the components inside. Everytime you add something it changes the price so you always know where you are at. It doesn’t let you add something that is impossible (it only lets you do so many shelves, drawers, etc that work with the unit), it kinda guides you through the process.  It’s super easy, actually.

You can watch your future organizational dreams come true.   

So here we are after installation, AFTER i added some vintage hardware – i had to ‘Emily’ it up somehow.

You ask about the knobs? Of course you did because they are insanely beautiful and you would be an idiot to not wonder where the hell i got them.   I bought them from Rick’s Hardware in the valley – all your hardware dreams will come true there.  They were $30 a piece, which isn’t a steal and adds up to $120, but they are really, really awesome and were worth the splurge.  Oh and i think the whole double unit with all the components cost $1000. The white lacquer is the most expensive option, but kinda the best. 

I mean. Pin that sh*t.

They are the George Clooney of knobs.  Beautiful, but aged; simple but full of character. Unlike George, however, they each weigh 12 pounds.  That’s a heavy knob.

And on the inside? 

Yeah, dawg.  Sooo many places for me to shove things.  

Picture your future paperwork here.  

But here’s mine:


This is real, friends.  It’s not all styled, truly.  Up top i put pretty things that i use a lot for styling. Then boxes full of stuff like ‘random chords’ and ‘headshot/business cards’.  (the navy blue linen boxes are Ikea, too).  Then fabric swatches, then paint decks and wallpaper swatches.  

Oh man.  I’m having an organizational orgasm just posting this.  My life has changed soooo much. 


Check books? no big deal, i got you.

Receipts from 2012? 3rd shelf from the bottom in the bin called ‘2012 receipts’, naturally. 

I always thought that if you use a label maker you may as well wear duck tape your legs together: It’s really the end of your youth and sexiness.  But now i realize how helpful it is.  Its not so much that you know where where to put things, but instead its like this lady:

is saying ‘eh, eh eh…. does that leftover razor blade really go in the box that says ‘camera accessories?”, instead you know where you CAN’T put random things.  

I hate rules more than most people, ask my parents, but this rule kinda does it for me.  


Everyday tools, magazines, spraypaint, ribbon and fabric. Check, check, check, check and check.  I know where EVERYTHING is.  And i get excited to put things away.  

Hey, Emily, do you know where that yardage of gold sequin fabric is? 

Yeah, dawg.  I do.

You know what that is? An empty brain.  It’s not designed yet, but its soooo clean and organized that i’m kinda tempted to not add anything.  



Everything i need, right on my desk. BOOM. Right there.  

In your face.

And all the stuff on the front of the cabinets is stuff that reminds me to push myself, creatively.  Maybe it’s unexpected color palettes, unpredictable furniture or styling that kills all other styling.  I stare at it everyday and it helps, it does.

I still need to DESIGN the room, don’t think this is a fully designed room, but i feel like i can do it now that i have it totally organized.  

In case you are wondering about the other blue office that i make over HERE, my husband, Brian works out of that one. So now we each have our own.  He liked the blue a lot and i needed more space.  

I couldn’t recommend the Pax unit more.  Custom cabinetry is expensive, it just is – i call it the ‘Wedding’ of furniture making, meaning that the second you say ‘custom cabinetry’ the contractor will quote you 6 times more than they would if you said ‘shelving’.  We are quoting for one right now in Venice for a client and can’t get it under $6000.  But these things were around $1000 for the unit completely.  And its ATTRACTIVE.  And since i’m renting i can take it with me.  

Ikea’s blog has also been documenting it, so please check it out.  HERE. 

So what is your biggest organizational downfall? Do you guys hide objects in your oven ever?


10 sculptural chairs i want to own, but not sit in.

I call them ‘looking at chairs’, not ‘sitting in chairs’.  

It’s a lot of people’s nightmare and often the first thing new clients tell me when we talk about style – ‘i don’t want chairs people are afraid to sit in.’ 

Well be very afraid, people.  Function, schmuntion – i want to own these. 

1. The wooden hand.  

Wait, I do own one of these and guests are constantly asking me ‘can i sit on/in that?’ and i say, ‘Yes. You should be so lucky, it would be your pleasure’.  No, not good for movie marathons, but ones your tiny butt is in that large hand you feel as safe as a kangaroo baby in her mama’s pouch.  

But this is even more incredible:

And in an evironment:

by Kelly Wearstler, naturally. 

I understand the resistance towards these, i do. But then I also understand the resistance towards vampires and i’m still very attracted to them.

2. The sculptural lounge.


Perfect for your one legged friend. Link HERE. 

Look how happy this lady and her one leg are:

3. Vintage Jan Escelius chaise lounge. 


This one is either torture or total comfort to sit in.  I call it the ‘Where do i put my butt?’ chair. 

4. Vintage chair bentwood chair

The perfect low sculpture in the corner.  Such pretty lines.

5. The Wiggle Chair

I’ve hated this chair before but i’m back on board with it….sculpturally.  I’m a sucker for an icon.

6. Beautiful paper chair.

Delicate Paper Chairs

So pretty.  Very flammable.  Or inflammable. You know what i mean.  


7. The Antonio Citterio, J.J. arm chiar. 


Don’t be sheepish, go ahead and sit down!

8. Dohoon Bentwood chair:

Ridiculously beautiful:

artistic bentwood chair design ideas

9. Cloud chair, by Richard Hutton.

Why are you not in brass? You are a beautiful monster that i really want to own.  

10. Retro pink outdoor chair. 

Hold back your men, women. This is gonna be the chair they fight over.  

Ok, i kinda want to sit in this chair, but only cause i look good in pink.

Whats the general consensus? Yeah, or nay or sculptural chairs?

Design Star, Season 7, episode 3

Episode 3:  Making over the Kardashian headquarters in 3 days. 

I’m pretty sure that no one has more opposite style from me than the Kardashians.  It’s contemporary, slick, sexy, minimal and luxurious.  100% not my jam.    

Kim Kardashian's new home

Kim Kardashian home

It’s not bad (this is Kim’s home), and i think a lot of people would like it, but there is not enough life, color and personality for me. I think the designer gave them exactly what they want but to me, it looks like a very expensive staged home.  

So this challenge, while the designers did a totally great job, the client couldn’t be happier, and it was exciting to watch them do it, it was a bit hard for me to get crazy excited about the design itself.  

The designers had 3 days and what looked like a HUGE budget.   I feel like the designers did a really good job of giving them what they want, I just don’t want what they want.  

Britany and Mikkel turned this empty space:

into this conference room:

 It’s good.  Obviously a total overhaul, and everything is tasteful and Kardashion-y.  I don’t want it, but the client loved it, so thats what matters. 

Britany did that mirrored accent wall, and while that’s not normally my thing, it looks good and was a smart move. They didn’t really explain what it was – if it was custom made or something that she purchased multiples of, but it added a lot of life into this pretty dank space.  Mirrored walls can go ’80’s high rise’ really fast, but you can’t deny the functional quality of them.  

Not too much to criticize here.  The chandelier is good, i like those gray shades and the accent wall is totally appropriate.  There is enough bling to say ‘Kardashian’ but its not tacky.  

Plus these two are KEEEEUUUUTE.  I would watch either of them, i think.  Their hosting was scripted, but nothing that i thought was unfixable.  It takes some practice to know the right balance of being yourself but being ‘big’ enough for camera. I’m still working on it.  The rule that i like is to be yourself plus 25% – you can’t change your personality or you’ll be fake and hosty, but just be 1/4 bigger.  I think these two could do it.  

OK, into the kitchen.

3 days to turn that piece of crap into this:

Sure it seems like a staged house or office, and there is actually nothing in here that i would own, but it seems totally great for the request of the client.  Again, its Kardashion-y without being tacky.  

Danielle and Hilary did it, and i really like both of them. 

Contemporary and kinda boring, but its such a massive improvement. 

The judges were freaking out about how the wallpaper mess up was covered up by paint and then curtains and i kept thinking how in the real world that would have been easily fixed and they knew it was a mistake so who cares.  

No red flags, i’m just bored. 

i like both of them. Hilary is inching towards the top for me – i like seeing her host, her personality totally pops.  

Then we have these two:

I like Miera Melba – i’d like to hang out with her. She’s not gonna to win, but i like her.

They took this space:

And turned it into this space:

The wallpaper is good. Those countertops aren’t my jam.  That mirror breaking up the wallpaper pattern is good….overall its totally fine and such an improvement.  

I don’t know, i’m not personally into bedazzling my shaker cabinetry, but i think it works for the Kardashians.  

I can’t wait til these contestants can go to an antique store or a thrift store…i need some style and unpredictable moments into these spaces sooooooo bad.  But again, there are no major flags (except the buckets of oranges…..?)

Khris and Melba did a good job, they did. But i’m not watching Khris’s show unless he has a personality make over – he’s too ‘know-it-all-y’ for me right now. 

Fine, whatever, i’m bored. Thank god for the wallpaper on the other side. 

Ugh, but there was this….

I’m assuming they did this out of desperation.  Don’t do this at home.  It’s super ‘2005’ and gimmicky.

I’m predicting one of them is leaving us next week.  But i’ve been very wrong a couple times already, so what the hell do i know. 

OK. Stanley and Rachel turned this:

Into this:

FINALLY WE HAVE SOME COLOR.  I’m not exactly the biggest fan of that color, but this room is the most exciting for sure.  I love having wallpaper on more than one wall, and i like that wallpaper…i do – it read very well on camera….plus they had the advantage of having those interesting-ish windows.  Oh, Liberace called and wants his drapery back.  

Stanely designed and made this desk. And its good. I’m still not on the Stanley train, he’s still coming off boring,  but thats a good desk for this space. He won for it.  

I ike the chandy hanging off to the side. That coffee table is too small, but they probably knew that.

Then Stanley made this wall sculpture that was inspired by rhinestones.  I think its weird, but i totally get why he did it.  It doesn’t offend me, but i would never do it in my house.     

Overall its the best space.  I think.  I’m so glad we had some color.  For a second i thought my tv was stuck in black and white.  

Rachel is cute, Stanley is growing on me.  

Next up, Bex and Luca with this showroom:


Obviously this is an improvement, but there isn’t really anything too exciting to talk about.  

Ooh…. a closet. 

That island is too small, as Vern pointed out.  And while i like the idea of those built in shelves, i wish they were more the same size and proportion and not scattered all over the walls.  That little ledge is weird.  I wish there had been like 10 of them in a grid. But its super easy for me to say….i know.  

And then the best quote of Design Star season 7:

‘I’m a phenomenal muralist and artist’.   – Luca.  Who the hell says that about themselves?  And ‘PHENOMENAL’!!!! You think you are a ‘phenomenon’!!!!!!  

Kinda like this, the Aurora Borealis:

The Most Beautiful Natural Phenomena

Or this, Red Tide:

The Most Beautiful Natural Phenomena

These are phenomenons.

Whereas this:

Is just an abstract painting. Without the red, it actually would be fine.  It’s not that i don’t like the painting its that i don’t like people that say ‘i’m a phenomonal artist’.   I didn’t understand how the judges thought that it was inappropriate for the space, though.  Why not?

I thought Bex got a teeny bit screwed, but at the same time I don’t think that she was going to win, so it was just a matter of time. 

And then we say goodbye two both of them.  It was kinda the worst space and i wasn’t suprised, but Bex would have probably lasted a couple more weeks if she hadn’t been paired up with this guy:

Down to 8.  

29 Best Father’s Day Gifts

Skip the cardigan, again.  Instead here are my father’s day gift pics that will manipulate him into thinking that you are the coolest kid (or wife), which is really what fathers day is all about.  

1. DollarShaveClub Membership, $1/month…and this video is excellent, a must-see

Basically they send you high quality razor blades every month for $1.  You can get even better quality razor blades for $6 and $9 a month, but regardless its a. a fun gift and b. economical.  Plus that video is hilarious. 

2. Nike Fuel Band, $149…

 Because every dad needs an athletic bracelet?  Basically what this guy does is track your activity all day every day – counting calories, miles, dancing with coworkers. Being the kind of girl who secretly wears ankle weights whilst shopping and heart monitors whilst cleaning the kitchn, I want one badly.


3. Remote Meat Monitor from Brookstone, $69.99, 

Baby monitor for Beef – that could be a really good band name.  

4. The Hungover Cookbook by Milton Crawford, $7.92

My dad would decidely not like this or understand it, but maybe yours would. 


5. Man Plans Moleskin Set, $24.00…includes “Man Plans,” “Shop Thoughts,” and “Grill Logic”

 This may never get used, but its a clever present to open and looks cool on his desk at work.  ‘Cool’ being the operative word. 

6. Birchbox Man, 3 Month Subscription, $60.00

Give him the gift of hygiene.  Your mom will thank you.  

7. American Apparel Duffle Bag, $48.00

For the hipster dad. (bag not for babies, more for gym shoes, ankle socks, walkman, etc).   

8. 12 Photo Desk Blotter by Pinhole Press, $29.99

You are only allowed to gift this if you promise to put funny, candid photos on this blotter.  Ideas:  you and your siblings as kids playing in the mud, crossdressing, mooning eachother, etc.  Give him stories to tell his coworkers.  

9.  Warby Parker Eyeglasses/Sunglasses, $95 (non-prescription)…free shipping for fathers day if ordered by Tuesday (today)…also have this kind of awesome colonel monocle 




Colonel Brooklyn, in the kitchen, with a monacle.  It’s hipster, but hilarious. 



10.  Home Depot Head Lamp, $34.97  (this picture isn’t of the exact one but i wanted one with a man in it)

No, don’t give him a Tanning Chatum look alike picture, but instead give him this headlamp for camping, hiking, caving and general nighttime tomfoolery.   I don’t know why i find it so entertaining. 

Wait…. this is my assistant Bonnie’s dad playing wicked witch of the east demonstrating when headlamps come in handy

Super handy, folks.  I hope he survived.

11. Custom Stamped Leather Luggage Tags from OfTheFountain Etsy, $13.40

Or you could just put his name on it with the phone number, but this quote works, too.  Also all dad’s love anything that says ‘Best Dad Ever’ so thats a good option, too.  

12. Wild Man Beard Basket, $34.99

 Ooh, i love a good scruff – the kind that exfoliate your face whilst kissing (if you are his wife or luva, not his child, obvi).  So give him the gift of beard beauty.    

13. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, $13.48…great nonfiction read, bestseller, great story of survival WWII

Such a good pick, actually.  Lots of dads love books about war, my father-in-law included.  And apparently this one is really, really good.  

14. “Hair of the Dog” Flask or by Izola, $22.00

Again, not one my dad would appreciate but maybe i can convince him to put diet pepsi in it and bring it to church.  

15. Inflatable Player Mascot, $119.90

He’ll be the coolest dad (with arrested development) on the block.  

16. Halex Select Deluxe Croquet Set, $39.98
If Brian were a dad i would get him this – its perfect for an easy competition whilst bbq-ing and brings out his inner Gatsby.  

17. Golfshot: Golf GPS for iPhone and iPad, $29.99…”38,000 professionally mapped courses worldwide”

Yep.  For Bob Henderson.  Done. 

18.  Beer Butt Chicken BBQ Roasting Pan from Pampered Chef, $39.50…”For super-moist chicken, put a 12-oz. can of beer or soda in the detachable can holder and place the chicken on top to barbecue.”

I don’t get it, but its beer and meat and grilling and that seems ‘dude’ and ‘dad’ enough to go on the list.  

19.  Ally Cappelino Rucksack, £160.00 and Despatch bag, £164.95

I may not call it a rucksack to him, but every grown hipster dad needs a cool bag to bring to the playground. 

19.  Portland General Store Whiskey Aftershave, $18.00

Of course Portland would invent this, naturally.  Don’t put it on whilst driving at night – might be hard to convince the cop that you simply put on whiskey aftershave….a totally sober thing to say. 

20.  Schoolhouse Electric Co. Hammer Screwdriver Combo Tool, $20.00

Hell, yes.  I want this. 

21.  Proper Cloth Custom Shirt, $80.00…Refinery29 is having a Proper Cloth Special Deal here

He won’t appreciate it til he puts it on and then he’ll be extremely excited.  Custom shirts really do make the man. 


Almost as much as his hot sauce collection:

22.  Hot Sauce of the Month Club Membership, $56.85 (also bacon or bbq sauce, you can peruse others here

I don’t get it, but i don’t cook.  Maybe its how women love fancy salts or pretty socks? No one really notices, but it makes us feel grown up.   



23.  Team Logo Toaster, $39.95

This is totally 100% owesome.  I want it, for U of O Ducks.  Hilarious.  


24,  State Pairings Prints by JHill Design, $65.00 (unframed)

for the well decorated man-cave, or his hip graphic design office.  It took me a while to understand it, but i think you give them your state and his state and his initials and they make this print for you.  Huh.  

25.  “My Cape is Invisible” Tshirt, $24.75, also with matching kids’ “My Cape is in the Wash” Tshirt, $19.75

Because Brian has ‘Batman’ dreams at least a couple times a month.  Usually its Batman asking him to take over fighting crime in Gotham.  He gets stressed. He knows its a big job, but he’s up for it.  

26.  Burger Press, Mini Sliders, $19.99

OOH, i love a mini, and sliders are trending, folks.  Get him this guy.  



27.  Sculptees T-shirt, T-slim, tee makes you look buff, $78  “provides moderate compression to make your biceps and shoulders look broad while slimming the waist”

Spanks for men?  Yes, please….although i wouldn’t pitch it to him like that.  Maybe say ‘hot dude t-shirt’ or ‘muscle defining t-shirt’. Yes, they’ll like that.  

28.  Bosca Leather Toiletry Kit, $185

It’s expensive, i know. But maybe you love your dad that much.  He could put his $1 a month razors it in.  

29.  Anthony Logistics Grab ‘n Go Travel Kit, $35.00

Super practical for the traveling dad.  

WAIT.  I have one more.

The best show ever.  You’ll win the best child/wife award and most likely get better birthday presents forever.  Plus then you can borrow it and rewatch Kyle Chandler being the biggest and best DILF of all time.  Buy HERE.  

My White Box Challenge, 2.0

Nashville, y’all.  Last week was crazy fun, full of boots, blondes and booze battered fried bologna sandwiches.  I love the South, i do.  People just know how to have a good time and everybody is so nice. Men touch their hats when they shake your hand, little kids call me ‘Miss Emily’, and small-town small talk runs rampant.  Sure, we can’t talk politics, i never excersize here and i immediately gain three pounds but other than that, I love it.  

 HGTV built this barn in the middle of the street festival and had promo events there all week, including my white box challenge that me and 2 other dudes (Todd Davis and Sparkle Josh) designed.  It wasn’t a competition, thank god, just a promo thing.  

The space itself looked like this:

Here was the story:  We each designed the box based on a song that was nominated this year at the CMA’s and i chose T-Swift’s ‘Today is a fairytale’, because i wanted to do something super, super, super girly and over the top whimsical.  (and becasue i love T-swift). 

Here’s my moodboard i made for it. (yea, i know, i have terrible moodboarding skills – getting better as soon as i take Blog Shop).

We were allowed to prep beforehand (Thank you Orlando, Bonnie and Natalie who made all the flowers) and had 3 hours to install them with 3 assistants in the space (thank you so much Karrie, Laura, Caleb and Brad).  Totally doable.  


photo by Sara Kauss/Getting images

Photo by Sara Krauss/Getty Images

photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images

photo by me.  

photos by me. 


photo by me. 

photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images

photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images.

Lets get to some resources:

Bedding – pintuck from Target, or grab the West elm version for $30 more dollars. 

Gold stripes??? While i want to keep it a secret because this stuff is good, i’ll give this resource up….. Link HERE.  

It’s basically gold contact paper, made for the walls. It comes 18″ wide and 50′ long = $90.  It’s 100% easy to use, repositionable, doesn’t stick to itself easily and while i had a lot of bubbles because i was in a HUGE hurry, its actually easy to apply without bubbles.

Its going to change my life.  I can’t wait to do it in my bathroom when i get home.  Or my hallway. Or my Car….or my CAT….i mean, i want it everywhere.  

Ceilings? yes please. Headboards? probably.  Tops of tables? why not?  

The paper flowers were made mainly by Natalie Shriver and Bonnie Donaldson.  I gave them this art direction:


They turned out great, so thank you so much guys for helping me.  Bonnie is my new assistant that is killing it and Natalie is the ‘making shit’ genius (and stylist) behind Bri’s (DESIGNLOVEFEST’s) DIY’s.  Click here to see all of them.  

And that amazing geese is made by Tamar Mogendorf.  www.tmogy.com  She is crazy talented and makes these amazing sculptural stuffed animals – these guys aren’t for kids, though. They are totally beautiful and yes, expensive, pieces of art.  

Photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images

In general i kinda loved the room. I’ll always have criticism and wish i could make more changes, but it’s my inner fantasy princess bedroom.  So much gold, hot pink, flowers, but with the whimsical touches that tickle my little princess bone.  ( that’s the first and last time i’ll ever write ‘little princess bone’, by the way.)

OH and the hanging bed!!! It was made my a great carpenter at Scripps, Brad, but it wasn’t made to be functional so i can’t tell you exactly how to make it or hang it.  I’m sure you could find a contractor to make one by showing them the picture of the one in my mood board. 

photo by Sara Kauss/Getty images

What do you think, friends?  Did i redeem myself from the disasterous Design Star white box challenge two years ago? (if you all say yes then i promise never to talk about my first white box challenge again…..).

ALL PHOTOS (EXCEPT 2) BY GETTY IMAGES/SARA KRAUS Link to her work, HERE.  Thanks Sara, so much.  

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