Orlando’s Dining Room Comes Full Circle


This post was written by Mr. Orlando Soria, himself. Please check his blog for general hilarity and good design.


Dear Emily,

I’m sitting here, writing on my computer, thinking about all the things you taught me, all the things we learned together, and all the things I learned from ogling all your beautiful designs. One thing I learned from you (in addition to looking happily into the camera as I pretend to type this post), is to always be adventurous and inventive when designing a space. This is what gave me the idea to paint a big ol’ circle on my dining room wall.

My dining room was actually kind of okay before, but I was getting bored of the black metal bookcases and the art I had in there so I decided it was time to pep things up a bit. Add some color. I’ve always been a fan of wall graphics but I thought my style was too simple and paired back to use one in my own space. Which is exactly why I decided to do it. Sometimes, when you’re scared of doing something the best thing you can do for your own sanity is just to do it and see what happens. I mean, like don’t go trying crystal meth or heroin or anything, but if you’re just painting something, HELLO YOU CAN ALWAYS REPAINT IT CALM DOWN.


So that’s what the dining room looked like before, and now it’s all:


How’d I get from Point A to Point B, you ask? Paint. Like basically all I did was paint everything. Which is kind of a testament to how awesome paint is and how transformative it can be. Also, I studied painting in college (HAY PRACTICAL MAJOR!) and so my first instinct is to just paint everything. Like if I could paint over that one time my aunt told me Santa wasn’t coming because I opened a gift on Christmas eve I totally would. Oh my god, Christmas is coming in like three months I am like so excited. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, paint. Here’s what it looked like when I repainted my shockingly well-priced Ikea bookcases:


Don’t let these pictures fool you. Painting these things took like five hours and burned off the top 13 layers of my skin. Just kidding not really, but it did take way longer than I expected. Going from black to white with spray paint takes lots of layers and LOTS of patience. So put on a Cranberries album, drink a Snapple, and get into the groove of spray painting because QUALITY TAKES TIME PEOPLE.

And now it’s time to trace your mega graphic onto the wall:



To trace the giant circle shape onto the wall, I hammered a nail into the center of the wall and attached a string with a pencil tied onto it at the radius I had determined beforehand. This sounds confusing but it’s not. Basically tie a pencil onto the wall on a piece of string half the length of the diameter. Do you get what I mean? WHY IS THIS CONCEPT SO HARD TO EXPLAIN I CAN’T TELL IF I’M MAKING ANY SENSE!!! HELP ME.


Once I’d repainted everything, I did a little shelf styling and kept it lighter and airier than it was previously. When placing bookcases in front of a hyper graphic, you have to keep the background shape in mind when composing the shelves.


So there you go. Now go out there and paint some big ass shapes on your wall and it they look like garbage paint over them and start again because you only live once and a life without shape is a life without purpose!



PS: For more pics, tips from Orlando on shelf styling, and full before/after shots read more of the story on  Homepolish Magazine!

Photographs by Sean Gin courtesy Homepolish

DIY Towel Ladder in Redbook

I have a thing for ladders. Not ‘standing on ladders’ but instead ‘looking at ladders’ and ‘hanging things on’ ladders. I feel like there is always a narrow vertical space in a house that needs to be filled with something shallow – either a really tall piece of art or … a ladder.

Redbook July DIY Towel Ladder

So we made this one with just rope, wood and a little bit of paint. We styled it to be like your outdoor shower house … you know …. by your lagoon like pool. If it had been for a winter issue we would have styled it with blankets and put it in a living room or bedroom. And last option, friends, is to put it in a reading nook with magazines over it (although i’d recommend a round dowel).  Other options to think about: you can do a really, really long one, play with the lengths and widths of the wood, you could put brass or copper sheeting at the end (that was our original plan but the paint was more approachable).

The uses of a vintage wood ladder – or in this case your very own rope and wood dowel ladder is pretty much endless. Put a ladder on it.

*photos by David Tsay, Styling by me and Scott Horne and project assisted by Stephanie Todaro

DIY Gold and Marble Cheese Plate

I rarely take reader submissions mostly because I think i’m a control freak and want my blog to be mine, MINE, MINE but when Morgan from PepperDesignBlog sent this to me, I thought, “This is so simple, cheap and cute that America just must see it”. The whole project costs $6 and would be great for a party. You could even paint wood blocks and stack them (like they are tiered) OR paint the wood on the outside many different colors colors (or a black and white stripe?). So here you go, and thanks Morgan for the submission:

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

Marble cheese plates perched atop kitchen countertops or set out casually for an outdoor party make pretty appetizer stations. Here’s a diy project to make your own for about $6. The tile options that could be used for a project like this are really endless, but we chose a marble today because, paired with gold, the combination is so classic and pretty.

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

Materials needed include a 12×12 piece of sample marble tile from your local home improvement store, two 1/4″ x 36″ long wooden square dowels (found right next to the round ones in the lumber & finials aisle), gold spray paint, a hand saw, sanding block and wood glue.

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

To prep your dowels, cut them into to four 12 1/4″ lengths. The dowels are so thin that a hand saw is all you should need. Sand the edges with your sanding block until smooth and spray paint gold in a well ventilated area.

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

Once dowel lengths are dry, apply wood glue along one edge of one piece and firmly press to the side of the marble tile. One end of the dowel should be flush with the tile, the other should overhang the tile by 1/4″ so that the next dowel has something to butt up against.

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

Repeat on all four sides and allow to dry.

Serve with your favorite cheese, fruit and crackers. Create multiples to build tiers or to stagger down a long table for a full spread of yummy appetizers. Enjoy!

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

And you are done. I know that there are a lot of cheeseboards out there and I also know that this one will not last for years, but I love that for a party you could make a lot of these and have the decor be consistent – you could even have 6 in a grid with different cheeses on each of them.

Thanks, Morgan!

DIY table runner

Hey y’all. You want a crazy easy DIY do you? Like one that you can practically do in your sleep … if you are a sleep seamstress and if you are VERY adept with needles.

Well, try out this hand-sewn tassel quilted tea towel runner. Even Charlie could do it.

tablecloth DIY

tassel DIY

Read the steps above, but basically its like the easiest DIY ever and so cheap its weird.

1. Buy these Ikea tea towels (four for $3.99),  grab yerself some yarn and a needle. You are practically done already.

2. Sew it. We chose to do some x’s because we thought it would show up more than just a solid straight stitch. But you can get crazy with it if you want.

3. Make your tassels (see direction above). You can use multiple color yarn, or contrasting color with the stitching.

4. Attach said tassels.

BOOM. Y’all.

diy tassel tablecloth

And there you have it. The easiest thing that has ever happened to your life aside from not doing any DIY at all, but then what kind of person are you? Kidding. duh.

My friend Scott styled this, photographer David Tsay shot it for Redbook, and Stephanie Todaro assisted on the DIY. They are all awesome.

Resources: footed glasses from Kate Spade Saturday, Beverage dispenser from Target, and the footed bowl and vase are both from Anthropologie. 


Circus Cupcake Holder …

I had no idea that cupcakes needed holders, but you guys they NEED holders. Right now, holder-less, your cupcakes are just sittng there, nude, vulnerable, all their parts exposed, just begging to be subjected to jokes and ridicule not to mention unnecessary and inevitable shrinkage. Save your cupcakes, America! Don’t embarrass them for one more day, and instead make my Circus inspired cupcake holders.

Cricut Cupcake

Before I get started you might be wondering where I got all the different colorful papers and the answer is that we buy 1/2 or 1/4 yard of fabric and have them color copied (yes, just on a copy machine). My friend Martha Stewart taught me that. Thanks, Marty!! This is such a good secret if you are doing multiples or if you want a lot of variety because a. beautiful paper (that you are going to cut up and then put with cupcakes) is VERY expensive, often $5 a sheet, and b. there are just way more fun fabric patterns than there is paper patterns out there so you have more options.  For this DIY we had them copied onto card stock and you could make like 3-4 per card stock (11×17).

Cupcake Table Ginny

Heres what you need:

Cricut Machine and Tools This is obviously a real purchase so I would recommend this machine to someone who really loves to DIY and make things – the mom who entertains a lot, who throws a lot of parties, or if you are a maker selling your wares on Etsy then this is extremely useful as it cuts so many things in ways that you just can’t with any other cutting tool. Its accuracy is insane. You don’t want to buy this machine just for one party or one cupcake holders, obviously. We have found that we use it a ton and once you get comfortable with it it’s so easy to just pop out simple projects so fast.

Cricut Light Grip Cutting Mat

Cricut Gold Metallic Vinyl 

Colored or Patterned Cardstock 

…. and CUPCAKES of course!!!! Oh, and a very pretty hand model, Ginny. I mean you know those aren’t my sausage fingers all over this post …

cupcake instructions

Once you are connected to Cricut and buy this particular pattern/design it pretty much just walks you through the steps and it’s obviously very easy. The most difficult part is peeling up the Strongman because he is so detailed. Obviously you could do the vinyl in any colors and the holders themselves could be solid or all one pattern, etc. LOTS of options, friends.

Cricut Cupcake Variety

Cupcake Table cupcake

You know how much I love a gif. Standard photos are just so … still …

Now go dress those naked cupcakes RIGHT NOW before the pastry papparazzi catches them and publishes their photos all over the internet a la Britney and the ‘getting out of the car’ scenario.  You can find those and all the rest of the projects at Cricut.com.



Check out the leather coasters, mobile and the original Sip ‘n See post HERE. 

And for all the templates, supplies and the cricut machine you can get it all HERE.

And if you want to see the Sip ‘n See and how the Cricut actually makes these things, here you go:

Photos by LK Griffin Photography, Video by Sharkpig.