Venice bedroom, before and after

I love a bright and airy bedroom. Mine isn’t — it’s more like a big warm cave that I love sleeping in — but there is nothing more inviting than a bedroom that feels like you are sleeping up in the clouds. This room is wall to wall, floor to ceiling, east facing windows. They had just moved in, although they had all these pieces of furniture to work with. They wanted it to feel really fresh and clean, but with a “modern traditional” bent. They like things that are traditional but with an updated feel, less granny.

Here we are before:

It’s one of those cases where they had the major pieces, but wanted me to bring the “style.” The “pizazz,” may I never use that word again. Do you think that “pizazz” and “funky” are best friends? Because if so, shall I never be invited to that party. Although word on the street is that I’m “preternaturally perky,” so that pretty much means I’m going to be the host of that funky party. Perhaps I’ll even be bubbly, if you are unlucky.

On the other side of the room, opposite the bed, there was a dresser with a TV above it and an unaddressed window nook next to that. It’s dying for one to read a romantic novel involving vampires and paranormal teens on it. But instead it’s full of random things. Clearly a need for storage.

So I made this mood-board:

We wanted to keep it quiet, so not a lot of color, instead using more textural contrast and some pattern mixing. I obviously kept their headboard, two nightstands, two lamps, the bench at the end of the bed, and the dresser. Basically all we needed was wallpaper, a rug, some pillows, a window seat, and curtains to add softness, and dare I say, “romance.”

I figured a metallic wallpaper on the headboard wall would be the perfect way to bring interest and texture and pattern, but SHHHHH, be very quiet. That’s the thing about metallics — they are actually just neutrals. They aren’t really a color. Instead, they warm things up (gold/brass) or cool things down (silver/chrome). We decided to bring in a wallpaper that was more gold than silver, but it wasn’t crazy gold — much quieter. 

Ahhh. It’s crazy relaxing. Every time I walk into this bedroom I just want to get rid of every beloved tchocke and knick knack I have and just relax in the sunlight that is California.

Yes, it’s pretty different than the mood-board, but that happens sometimes just based on taste and budget. In general it still “feels” the same, but even quieter.


– nightstands, already owned by homeowner, from West Elm

– lamps, already owned by homeowner, from West Elm

– bed, sadly I don’t remember.

– bench at end of bed,  Room and Board, custom color.

– Rug, Rugsusa, sisal. We loved the fringe on this, and the bleached out color was still so light and beachy (since we were near the beach).

– metallic pillow, West Elm

– linen sheers, West Elm.  And don’t worry, we kept the blackout shades, just added the sheers for softness and a light/privacy filter during the day.

Yes, that is a lot of West Elm. And while I love West Elm, it’s better to mix it up. But I know what happens when you move into an old space; you get rid of all the furniture you don’t like so you kinda have nothing to actually sit on when you move in. So you go to West Elm and buy everything. I totally get it. All of these pieces were easy to work with, but in a perfect world those lamps would be large table lamps that were really unique, to kinda shake things up a bit.

photo by Bethany Nauert

Wallpaper: I got it from Astek, but sadly it is only to the trade and I couldn’t figure out where else one can buy it. If you are a designer, you can order from them and it’s item #ET30003. It was very affordable at $60 a roll, which came to $300 total. This picture simply doesn’t do it justice:


I really wanted to do the wallpaper in this silver peacock wallpaper by Genevieve Carter, but it was a bit feminine for him, which I totally understood. But, man it’s beautiful:


This side of the room turned out so pretty and quiet, as well:

photo by bethany nauert

We had the window seat custom made for around $1000 (including labor) and it has hidden storage so it lifts up and you can shove all of your unsightlies in it. The cushion was custom made for $200. We gave my upholsterer the dimensions of the seat, three yards of linen and he sewed it right up. It’s simple grey linen with piping. We chose a light color because, yes, it’s going to fade over time. Then the homeowner went to Room and Board and got a pillow made of the same fabric as the bench to tie everything together.

That pretty footed candle with the gold polka dots is from Illume. They sent it to me and normally I’m anti-scented candles, but this one is just so pretty and smells so good that I’m addicted to it.

photo by bethany nauert

They bought the chandelier on their trip to Venice (yes, they live in Venice CA, and they only vacation to Venice, Italy) and we decided to swag it instead of installing it to take the seriousness away. Just as a general note, men don’t like swags, women do. It’s hilarious. Every time I propose it or a woman proposes it, the husband quickly responds as if we just said that she’ll forever wear a muumuu to bed. It’s not that big of a deal, it’s just a swag, gentlemen. It created such a pretty reading nook.

I’ll have more on that entrance shot next week.

All those lovely “after” photos are by the lovely Bethany Nauert.

Well, what do you think? Are you more “simple, white, hotel style bedroom” or “eclectic, interesting, dramatic bedroom?”

Sadly, I think I’m both …



99cent Hula Hoop DIY hanging light

Not sure when the last time you hula hooped but I had the misfortune to try it recently (when I bought these), and I looked like an Amish teenager watching their first hip-hop music video and trying to mimic the dance moves. It wasn’t pretty. But you know what is pretty?


99cent (so yes, $4.96) hula hoop light fixture.

Oh and it’s easy. I did this 99 cent DIY story for HGTV.COM  recently (check out the doily bowl and the copperleaf candle as well). I love me some 99cent stores because they can sell a lot of really simple items that you can elevate to look all fancy. Not like Pippa Middleton kinda fancy, but still fun, easy, and inexpensive.

Here’s what you do.

1. Buy five hula hoops from your local 99 cent store, then resist the urge not to thrust your hips round and round.

hulahoop before

2. Drill a hole (with a normal wood bit) through opposite ends of said hula hoop (one at a time), and insert a short screw …

.. like this, except these were too long, so get shorter ones. (I had to cut them down.) Get them around three inches.  They are machine screws because they don’t have points so therefore less dangerous.

3. Continue the process with three more hula hoops — drilling holes then threading them through the screws on the top and the bottom. You’ll layer and maneuver.

hulahoop 4

Keep going …

hula hoop light fixture

Full hula hoop. All evenly spaced. Then screw the nut on it and tighten ‘er up so they don’t move.

Look at it go. It’s like this puppy in the wind:


4. Then spray paint it gold, two to three coats, rotating it as it dries to make sure you get all the underneath sides.

gold hula hoop light fixture

5.  Buy a light kit. In this case, I used the gold chord kit and socket, and a big pretty bulb, instead of a smaller one. I basically just rigged the chord around the top area.

hulahoop light fixture

 Let me be clear, this is not meant to be something super high end looking — it’s more like a cheap and fun piece. It would be great for a loft party, or so fun for a kids’ room. You could paint it white for something more modern, or paint it black if you are goth … or just into black. Obviously you could stripe them, glitter them, dip dye them … endless possibilities. The whole project cost around $10 because I already had the spray paint.

hulahoop light fixture

Do it. It’s fast and easy. And check out my doily bowl and my copperleaf candle.

Next week? I make a 99cent flux capacitor. I’m just that crafty.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

I just got back from speaking at the Epcot Center International Food and Wine Festival on behalf of HGTV for the second year in a row. If any of you haven’t been to Disney World, you are missing out on quite the experience. It’s like Disney on crack, except crack that a really happy princess makes in her pink kitchen.

Everything is just super happy and fun all the time. They don’t skimp, they don’t cheat, everything is as authentic as possible. For instance, the waitresses at the Sushi restaurant at Epcot are one-year exchange students from Japan. The French servers are from France, etc. I had a tour guide that gave me so much fascinating information about Disney that I’m currently an expert on all things Disney. For instance, did you know that the The Magic Kingdom in LA can fit entirely inside the overflow parking lot of JUST the Magic Kingdom in Disney World? And that’s just one of it’s five parks. It’s huge, 47 square feet miles of huge, to be exact.

I stayed at Animal Kingdom, which is all safari themed and looks like a huge African lodge.

animal kingdom

And outside your window all day are giraffes and all sorts of animals.

Oh good morning, Giraffe. You have a VERY long neck.

Everyday I spoke at the Food and Wine Festival on this stage:

epcot audience

My presentation this year was all about “Taking, sharing, and styling holiday memories.” I’ll definitely be blogging about it, don’t you worry.

Check out my Madonna mic. I felt like one of those dudes that sells Slapchop or really sharp knives that are constantly chopping impenetrable tomatoes. (And yes, what you’ll see up there are a bunch of Blurb and PinHole Press photo albums and gifts … my review and recommendations to come later).


This is some of the audience one day. Look at them just laughing away at my jokes. “Ha ha ha,” they say … also because I asked them to act like they were laughing at my jokes.

Then afterward I just hung out and talked to people, answered questions, etc:

Jenny and Steve were celebrating their second anniversary. They came two days in a row, which was so nice of them. Plus, they got all my jokes. Not that my jokes are complicated, but you know, senses of humor are nuanced and mine can be tricky, and by tricky I mean often silly and stupid.

Look at that princess. SOOOOO cute.

This family drove in just to see me. So thank you SOOOOO  much.

Then afterward I got driven around in a carriage. Then I married Prince Charming.

This is from last year since at the last minute Mr. Hendo couldn’t make it this year, but I never blogged about it last year so I’ll throw some of those pics in so I don’t look so lonely.

Last year Brian got his face painted like a duck, because he’s a massive Oregon Ducks fan. But then he had to spend the rest of the night like that and because of his scruff he kinda looked like he was a criminal. And not the kind of criminal that robs people … like sociopathic kinda crimes.

My favorite park is Animal Kingdom:

I climbed Mount Everest with that annoying smirk on my face.

We watched “The Lion King” show, which was fun for kids, but mainly I liked all the pretty costumes.

So pretty.

Last year I made it a point to meet Ariel and Eric due to my love for “The Little Mermaid.” The only problem was that there was a huge line of princess toddlers to meet them and I was due back on stage so my tour guide had me cut in front of all these little girls. I apologized profusely and I only took 15 seconds with them, but it was hilarious. Of course some of the moms recognized me and then I over-explained like crazy, blabbing on about needing to speak, in a hurry, I know every lyric to the cartoon, etc., etc. I was mortified, but it was hilarious.

Then Brian and I got put in jail for cutting in line.

And then we went on a safari.

Last year with Brian was crazy fun, but without him this year was a bit different. Still very fun, but going on rides with your favorite person clearly trumps going on rides by yourself:

emly and brian henderson

Quick recommendations:

1. Flying Fish restaurant on the boardwalk — delicious.

2. Animal Kingdom is awesome for families, and I will definitely stay there with kids or a group, but I was by myself this time so it was kinda isolating. I would stay at the Boardwalk where you have access to tons of restaurants at night if you are a couple or by yourself.

3. Jico, the restaurant at Animal Kingdom, is DELICIOUS.

4. My favorite rides are: Everest, Space Mountain, and Rock’n Rollercoaster.  Although classics like Pirates of Caribbean and It’s A Small World are always really fun.

5. The Grand Floridian is super pretty and undoubtedly up my alley design-wise. Get the Cobb salad at the restaurant, it’s soooo good.

6. Go during The Food and Wine Festival because everyone felt entitled, nay, expected to be drinking all day, so while I wasn’t because I was working, it was a fun atmosphere to be around.

epcot drinking fountain

Also, I recommend these drinking fountains because they are VERY pretty.

So thanks HGTV and Disney for the trip. It was a blast.

Info on the 2013 festival is HERE. 

Also, just in case you didn’t get a good peek at this picture, I’ll leave it with you:

Would you let this man babysit your children? Methinks, no.

Go DUCKS!!!!!

Best Thanksgiving Tablescapes

It’s that time of year where we put turkeys on everything, including our hips. I’ve been trolling for good DIY stuff but then I kept coming across all these beautiful not-so-DIY tablescapes, which I figured never hurts to share. A turkey can always dream, right?

For the first one all you need is:

A prop stylist to prep it for three days (around $500 a day, some more, some less), a food stylist for one prep, one shoot @ $500/day, $500 in food, $1500 in props, an exotic location rental @ $2500/day, an amazing editorial photographer ($1500 a day at LEAST), two PA’s, an art director and photo editor.

DIY it!!!

From Gourmet Magazine. May it rest in peace. Still one of my most favorite magazines even though I didn’t cook. Their spreads were just insanely beautifully shot and styled.


She-n-he photography

This one is WAY more approachable. It’s burlap (which is under $5 a yard) with pretty brass candlesticks that you can get at thrift stores across america for $1 to $3. Still rustic and warm and all thanksgiving-y.


styled by Scott Horne

 You don’t need to orange to say thanks. This table, styled by one of my best friends Scott Horne, is all moody and cozy and beautiful with the dark purple and black accents on that rich wood table. Yes. I’ve loved this shot for four years and I continue to love it. Shot by Kate Mathis, who is amazing.

via Bon Appetit

Green, orange, white with hits of black? I wouldn’t have thought of it, but YES, it’s beautiful. The natural elements keeps it feeling warm while the modern elements give it an edge.

via Elle Decor

Those white gourds are simple and fresh, but still say “thanks.”  This one needs some warmth, candlelight, or another dark color but it is BEAUTIFUL.

I’m rounding up the best DIY thanksgiving decor right now, which is why and how I found all these very much not-so-DIY Thanksgiving tablescapes. So stay tuned for all the ideas you can actually do. Meanwhile, which one would you do?

Gold Porcelain clouds, obsessed

Because no self-respecting dreamer should be without a gold porcelain cloud.

I found these on Etsy a while ago and fell in love, so I had Opensky commission a bunch to sell in my store. They are handmade by an artist in cast porcelain, signed on the back, and each totally unique. The back is a matte porcelain and the front is this super glammy shiny gold. There are some imperfections here and there that make each one extra beautiful.

You can buy them as a set or individually.

Large cloud: $66 roughly 9 1/2″ x 5″ x 2″

Medium cloud: roughly 7″x5″x2″

Baby cloud: roughly 5 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ x 1 1/2″

I own and love them all, although I have them spread out.

I even have one in my office as a paperweight. This is the large, but the small or medium would work even better, actually.

They are SUCH good gifts. $36 for a handmade gold cloud? Yes. I want to hoard them as gifts for all my girlfriends. Put it just by itself above a crib, lean them in bookcases or on your mantel.

The thing about gold clouds is that they can pretty much go anywhere. Except a man cave. Unless it’s a very glamorous man cave. A glam cave. I bet Elton John has a fabulous glam cave.