Stain-resistant white upholstery fabric

Here was my challenge: I wanted a kid-friendly WHITE sofa. IMPOSSIBLE!!!!. I know. But that’s really what I wanted to make the living room feel as bright and big as possible. I just had to prove to myself, Brian and the rest of America that I could find a white fabric that could withstand some grubby little mitts all over them.

First, the sofa: I found this vintage sofa at Amsterdam Modern in LA and immediately fell in love with it. Hard. It retailed for $2500, which wasn’t cheap but it was exactly what I wanted and is around the price of most good quality home retail stores. Plus it was WAYYY more unique, obviously.

leather sofa in warehouse

The fabric it had on it was actually kinda awesome and I kept the slip covers just in case I wanted them later, but as you can imagine it just wasn’t going to work in this house, so it needed to change.

What happened to my old sofa you ask? Ugh. I had that vintage blue sofa for 5 years (below). Not that long in normal people time but it had been in like 4 magazines and all over the interwebs and I was just ready for a change so when I was offered $3k for it, I took the deal. It was probably worth more as we think its Adrian Persall, but the timing was right and I couldn’t say no to that check because I felt like I was just purging money, buying everything for the house. Plus it was going to be shot for Domino and I just wanted to have something that looked different.

Are there days when I regret not having it? Absolutely. I loved everything about it. It was extremely deep and comfortable and actually had a ton of sentimental value to me because it was one of my first big purchases ($700, I believe) after DesignStar. I kinda wish that I had just hoarded it but honestly that $3k was needed to help pay for the new sofa and the string art, etc. And at some point you have to let go of things.

blue-tufted-sofa

photo by Zeke Ruelas

There she is. I just got so sad again. It also just photographed sooooo well. The only thing that gives me peace of mind is that I know that the new family LOVES it very much. I’m just glad it has a good home.

On to the new sofa!

leather sofa mid century_before

 

What I love about this new vintage sofa is practically everything, but especially the leather arms and the strapping on the back. Its low, simple and modern and pretty much goes with any style, but it definitely has a point of view. I bought it from Amsterdam Modern (and no, there are no others that I know of).

At this point in the living room design I knew that the rug was going to be that beautiful blue rug from Loloi so my options for the sofa fabric were as follows: white/cream, navy, gray or a pattern. I didn’t want a warm color because I wanted to contrast with the caramel leather. I was obviously very tempted by the idea of navy, but I was really trying to stick to my original mantra of ‘bright, airy, light’ so I decided against it. Don’t be shocked if someday I go back to having a navy sofa – I do kinda miss that big block of color in there. There really wasn’t any pattern that I could commit to because then it limits the patterns on the pillows, etc, and well, I just didn’t want a pattern. I thought about a simple pin-stripe, but didn’t find one fast enough so I gave up. Gray is always a good option but white is really what I wanted, I just needed to figure out how to make it kid friendly.

The three best options for stain resistant white fabric are leather (too expensive and could be kinda cheesy), ultrasuede (a good option but I kinda hate the butt marks) and outdoor fabric, in this case Sunbrella, which was a big contender for sure. There are some performance velvets out there that work, too, but we didn’t test them because I didn’t want a velvet on this sofa. And they are hard to find in yardage, although I think that West Elm sells some. So it was down to high quality linen (which I knew wouldn’t really work but I wanted to see how it withstood the stains), ultrasuede and outdoor fabric.

To make sure that I wasn’t making a massive mistake we decided to do a stain test with the three fabrics and many stain culprits.

Sunbrella Fabric Stain Test

We used some of the most commonly spilled items and those that are consistently difficult to remove from fabric: chocolate, baby food, red wine, mustard, tomato pasta sauce, permanent marker. Then we went to town on the fabric.

Sunbrella Fabric Stain Test_Pouring Wine

 

Sunbrella Fabric Stain Test_with food

There you have it – three fabrics with the same 6 stains on them. Can you even wait to see what happened? I was so excited.

Click through to see the winner.  (more…)

Nike Schroeder String Art Piece

We moved into this house 10 months ago, which was probably one of the happiest days of my life, truly. I hate moving out  – the packing, the cleaning out of the fridge (do we take this 2/3rds jar of Soy Vey?), the admitting you are taking all your really skinny clothes to yet another house where they’ll just sit in your drawers, etc.

move-in-day

But, I love moving in. Everything feels so fresh and your possibilities seem endless.  You think to yourself – this is the house that I’m not going to do bad things to. This is the house where I’m finally going to make really deliberate design decisions. Let go of the crazy, embrace the sophisticated. This is that house, right?

The house felt quiet and simple and I was DESPERATE to keep it like that. But I knew me and I was terrified of me. You see, I like stuff. Too much stuff. My worst enemy was/is myself and at all times I had to say ‘pull it back, use restraint, put that collection of miniature shoes down and walk away‘.

living room-movein

But lets talk walls and art today. The wall space in this house was endless – there was just so much of it. Having a lot of wall space is like having big boobs – everybody thinks its such an awesome thing, but it comes with its own sets of problems. I had 1 million pieces of small to medium pieces of art, that all of a sudden felt bitsy (Don’t worry, I’m making good use of them in other rooms). And sure, I could have done gallery walls, but it could have/would have looked so busy on such big walls and I was desperate for a quiet house.

One of the many huge walls in question was this one, which faces the door as you walk in.

move-in-emily

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: really good, original, large-scale art is VERY expensive as it should be (read my post about how I finally framed my blimp painting).  You can buy awesome prints for cheaper, you can do some really good DIY pieces, for sure. But if you want someone else’s talent, experience, expertise and hard work on your walls, you are going to pay for it. As you should, frankly. But making sure you are buying the best piece can be very intimidating.

And I needed pieces of art.

One of my biggest regrets in life is not going to art school, not because I think I could have been an artist, but because I’m desperate to have met hundreds of artist friends that would have constantly been giving me beautiful large-scale pieces of original art. It would have been worth the tuition alone, for sure.

wall-space

The space above is what is in question today (pics are from 6 months ago).

We needed bookshelves in the house (because where else am I going to display my crazy hoarding collection of things that I couldn’t part with?) and we thought about the space to the right, but figured it would compete too much with the fireplace and that wall would be too heavy. But that landing (the left) there seemed like it could be the perfect focal point so we decided to build it there (read this post about the complete bookcase design and installation). That meant that the space to the right needed to have really just one big piece that was somewhat quiet or else there would crazy  in front of crazy which equals total insanity.

Meanwhile Danielle, The Jealous Curator, introduced me to a wonderful artist named Nike Schroeder. I had used her work at The Fig House and loved it so much. It’s so intricate and compelling but at the same time quiet because the string pieces are just a beautiful texture.

nike-schroeder

One of the hanging string pieces seemed perfect for the space. It was 3 dimensional and kinda like a sculpture which is was perfect since the blimp is a flat piece of art. It has so much movement and makes a statement, and yet (again) it’s just so quiet and elegant.  I called Nike up and said, listen, I probably can’t afford you but are you interested in doing a collaboration with me? And she said ‘Come on down to the studio and lets chat’. Luckily she was in LA.

Nike-schroeder-emily-henderson

So I did. And chatting meant basically choosing my threads which was so exciting and daunting. She had hundreds of them and they all seemed so beautiful. Do I choose something safe and timeless? Do I choose the color palette of the house or do something different so it doesn’t look too curated/designed? Do I go with beautiful timeless colors or one that will frankly get more attention right now? Or do i just pick all my favorite colors together and see what she does with them? Yes. That sounds the most interesting, so that’s what I did.

colorful-threads

Prettty blues/teals with a hit of acid yellow, hot pink/coral, some lighter pastels, golds and even a black in there to give it a bit of dimension. It was stressful but what I finally chose (she helped me, for sure) we were both so excited about. I felt 80% confident. Over the next couple weeks I would look at this picture and ask myself ‘Did you chose the right colors?’ and then reassure myself that I did. I let her completely choose the order of the colors. She’s the artist, I was just the buyer who commissioned it.

But there were times when I thought, maybe I should have done something more sophisticated like this (which was a backup):

pretty-string

I still love that SOOOOO much, but it doesn’t quite hit me in the ‘excitement gut’ like the other color palette. And I fear that it would have been so muted that it would have been hard to really mix with my other more saturated colors in the room. But its tempting, right?

Then came the day that it was delivered (3 days before the Domino shoot) and all my fears were dispelled. It was absolute perfection:

nike install

I was SOOOOOO excited. It made the room come alive, instantly. Also please note that I’m wearing a button up blouse on top and work out pants/shoes on bottom. That’s how we roll.

Oh and we measured the perfect size of piece for that wall, accounting for a credenza underneath, and therefore it was perfectly proportioned.

emily-nike

The house was still obviously a disaster at that point, but that piece? It was down right amazing. Its exciting and quiet, a statement without being busy, and it moves slightly while still having the structure of a rectangular shape.

We shot it for Domino, that you can see HERE, but since we reshot the house a couple of weeks ago (by Tessa Neustadt) with the updated furniture you get some new photos, here:

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Leather Blue String Art

There are other things to talk about (is that white piece of furniture bowing, you ask? Where did you get that massive white pouf) but I’ll get into that next week. This post is all about that piece of art.

Lets talk about splurging on things – I get this question all the time – Where do you splurge and where do you save? I say this: splurge on original, one of a kind, conversation pieces – whether it’s a sofa or a piece of art. Splurge on pieces that will make your house totally unique. You can piece everything else together from thrift stores, flea markets and retail chains, but you need a few statement pieces to make your space look like you.

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Nike Schroeder String Art Bench

There are a lot of people out there that poo poo expensive art (I couldn’t think of a better verb, sorry), but what they need to consider isn’t just the material or the labor costs (I could have done that, or, But that’s just string!). It’s the creative time it takes to conceptualize, prototype and practice that specific piece, let alone the years they spent training, learning and probably earning nothing from it. Its uncountable and unquantifiable. There are some pieces in the world that you wonder if it was just thrown together, sure, but this piece is sewn, thread by thread. And the best part is that you know intellectually the labor that went into it, but it’s so graceful that it just feels effortless.

Anyway. I reached out to Nike to ask if she was comfortable having me tell you how much it retails for and how much I purchased it for (because yes, she gave me a big press discount) but we things its best that you just contact her or her gallery (Walter Maciel Gallery). The retail price range for these (they are all custom) is $2500 – $8,000, depending on the size. Its a pretty penny, but its a pretty (nay beautiful) piece of art that I’ll treasure forever.

Domino Magazine - Emily Henderson House Tour

Some people like to splurge on expensive cars, fancy appliances or high-end sheets. Not me. I’ll take pretty, original art any day.

*After photos by Tessa Neustadt, except for this last one by Brittany Ambridge

Target Styling Chapter #3 – Setting a Fall Table

Its Target Styling Video #3 today, folks.

Welcome to my Fall-iday tablescape. Also, quick question: did I just lose readers for using the word ‘fall-iday’? And if so then if so then are you saying that I can’t have a signature cocktail called ‘Autumns up’?

I teamed up with Target (with some vintage, naturally) to style out this table for fall and I have to say that I love it. It is super energetic, eclectic, happy, fresh, (affordable) and fun – while still referencing the season. Lets get into it …

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern 1

As Target’s resident Home Style Expert (spokesperson) its my lovely job and privilege to shop there A LOT and figure out ways to style and shoot their pieces in environments that feel unique and interesting – that’s what stylists do. We take pieces that one might think ‘but what do you do with that? And make them look cool by giving them a context and a personality. One of the best things about Target is the fact that it’s in so many cities and online, so its very accessible. But at the same time it could make you worry that if you buy something its going to be everywhere. My answer for that is twofold: A. good pieces sell out and then they are GONE – like those gold ball task lamps? Gonzo. I wish they were everywhere because they are so good, but I can’t even get one more (I have 2 myself, but my clients want them and I’m not parting with mine). And B. even if you know people who have the same piece it’s really easy to style them in ways that make them look unique to you.

A lot of the fall line as you know is so flexible style-wise that while they are stylish, they aren’t specific to one style and are adaptable to different themes, occasions and yes, homes.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern 2

So, in this video I show you how to take really affordable Target fall pieces and style them to create a really unique, personal, stylish, and yes autumnal, tablescape.

Watch (and share? eh?):

For this ‘Fall-iday’ tablescape  I wanted it to feel happy, colorful, young, fresh, ‘party’ and yet have enough warm fall tones and autumnal motifs to make it season appropriate. The whole art direction for this set was bright white with big hits of saturated color, and copper and wood tones to keep it feeling warm and grounded. Oh and throw in an acidic tone, because that’s what I’m doing these days. So that chartreuse from the leaves was perfect and we brought that in the napkins, too.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 5

We found this painting at a prop house in LA – and by ‘we’ i mean that Scott and Meg who were in charge of the sets sourced and showed their favorites to me. Sure I picked it out, but I didn’t spend 16 hours sourcing art like they did. Nice job, guys. Anyway, that painting was the inspiration for the color palette and its pretty darn awesome.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Credenza Copper 3

Sure, it did have some fall colors – the oranges obviously. But instead of the usual warm oranges, ochres, browns, taupes and aubergines I wanted it to feel fresh and more modern so I figured, why not add some hot pink and yellow? I speak more about the color palette in the videos so again, watch it (and yes, i’m trying to get you to watch the video and if you wanted to share it I wouldn’t be mad:))

White and Black Pattern Plates and Bowls: Target | Wood Tray: Target | Cheese Board: Target | Pink and Green Napkins: Vintage | Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target | Blue and White Mini Bowls: Target | Copper Barware: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | White and Gold Spotted Vase: Target | White Credenza: Vintage | Brass Floor Lamp: Vintage | Lucite Table Lamp: Vintage | Art: Vintage | Wood Accent Table: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Credenza Copper Modern

That copper set is pretty epic. I have the shaker and the pitcher and so should you. Its wonderful.

Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target | Wood Tray: Target | Blue and White Mini Bowls: Target | Cheese Board: Target| Copper Barware: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | White and Gold Spotted Vase: Target

 

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Credenza Modern Copper 1

White and Black Pattern Plates and Bowls: Target| Wood Tray: Target | Wood Tray: Target | Pink and Green Napkins: Vintage | Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target | Blue and White Mini Bowls: Target | Cheese Board: Target| Copper Barware: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | White and Gold Spotted Vase: Target

 

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson White and Gold

I love that gold polka dot vase so much. I have two of them and I use them constantly for shoots. Remember last week when I put my collection of vintage arrows in it? Yes, that was awesome. Where else are you going to put your collection of vintage arrows?

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 1
Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 3

I love that shot. The centerpiece consisted of a collection of wood pillar candleholders with the white/gold fruit on top. Then we added a big arrangement of flowers and a collection of smaller ones, peppering down the table.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 4

Very happy, indeed.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room 6 Overhead_cropped

Blue Pattern Platter: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | Green Napkin: Vintage | Orange Prep Bowl: Target | White and Gold Fruit: Target | Wood Candle Pillars: Target | Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target |  White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage | Orange and White Pattern Plate: Target | Glass Tumbler: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target | Dining Table: Target | Colored Dining Chairs: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Orange 1

Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage | Blue Geo Bowl: Target | Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target | Glass Tumbler: Target | White Vase: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Orange 2

My favorite things are these; the gray polka dot placemats (I bought them after the shoot, yes, using my own money :)). I love the rosegold flatware and while there are a lot of versions of those out there, there are none this affordable for how good they are. And I love those white and gold fruit figurines. I never thought I would endorse a ‘fruit figurine’ but alas, I did and will. You could use these fall after fall. They are so simple and timeless. Or if you keep them in a pretty simple wood bowl on your dining table then they can be year round (just make sure you have enough apples and pears so that it doesn’t feel pumpkin-heavy).

Blue Geo Bowl: Target | Blue Pattern Platter: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | Green and Pink Napkins: Vintage | Orange Prep Bowl: Target | White and Gold Fruit: Target | Wood Fall Figurines: Target | Wood Candle Pillars: Target | Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target |  White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage | Orange and White Pattern Plate: Target | Glass Tumbler: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target | Dining Table: Target | Colored Dining Chairs: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Orange 3

Scott killed it on the flowers. I told him hot pink, corals and oranges and he got a mix of dahlias, rununculus, tulips, billy balls and then those huge hot pink (almost red) big sculptural blooms are just a weird form of proteus.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Orange

Glass Tumbler: Target | Orange Prep Bowl: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target | Blue Geo Bowl: Target |  Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Place Cards 3

Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target |  White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Dining Room Place Cards 7

We made place-cards with just cards, some fall leaves and some cute clothespins. I can’t wait for “Billy” to eat my non-food at my beautiful Fall-iday table.

Blue Geo Bowl: Target | Rose Gold Flatware: Target (available in store) | Green and Pink Napkins: Vintage | White and Gold Fruit: Target | Wood Fall Figurines: Target | Wood Candle Pillars: Target | Grey and White Dotted Placemat: Target |  White and Black Pattern Plates and Dinnerware: Target | Gold and White Plates: Vintage | Blue Geo Plate: Target | Glass Tumbler: Target | Acorn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Target | Dining Table: Target | Colored Dining Chairs: Target

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern

Those chairs are Target chairs, and they are awesome. We decided to mix them up with different colors to really push home the eclectic vibe. They are a classic windsor chair in updated colors.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson White and Gold 2

Orange Platter: Target | Blue Geo Bowl: Target | Orange and White Mini Bowls: Target | White and Gold Fruit: Target | Wood Fall Figurines: Target.

At the end of the video my friend Bri, from Designlovefest, stopped by because she is going to use some of the product to style out a table for her blog today. We laughed and cajoled and generally had a lot of fun. It’s always weird when a friend has to witness me ‘host’ because even though I don’t have a script and I’m just talking about style, I get worried that I look/act like I’m performing.

Target Table Setting - Emily Henderson, Bri Emery Fall

Thanks, Bri. You can Designlovefest all over our videos any time you want.

Next weeks video is all about centerpiece ideas, so stay tuned folks. Meanwhile to check out my other videos with Target see below:

 

In case you missed the first two posts where I talked about Styling your Mantle, and “How to Style with Neutrals” click through to their links for the behind the scenes and the shopping resources.

*Photos care of Target. Hair and makeup by the always lovely Danielle Walch. Wardrobe styling by Jordan Rudd. And per usual thanks Todd, Nick, Chris, Nancy, Claire, Scott, Meg, Ginny, Brady and 70 other crew members for helping make the sets and lighting so fun and pretty. And also my mom, because one must always thank their mother when listing out thank yous, right? 

*This post is part a larger partnership with Target, and all words, designs and opinions are mine, mine, mine. Thank you for supporting the awesome company that enables us to make original style content every day.

My Epic Blimp Artwork Story

Let me tell you about the first large-scale important (to me) piece of art that I ever purchased.

I was 25, living in New York, bar-tending, dog-walking, working retail at Jonathan Adler and paying $1200 a month for rent which left me approximately $600 for other expenses. Art, or any large purchases, weren’t really an option. I was buying underwear at the dollar store and taking the subway home by myself at 4am after shifts because that $35 cab ride was expensive (remind me to never let my single blonde daughter live in New York when she is 24 – I mean, I was fine, but looking back, I was a bit “independent”  – read ‘reckless’). Maybe I was assistant styling at that point, I’m not sure. All I know is that $400 wasn’t something I could swing for a piece of art, but I saw this weird painting and wanted it so hard:

blimp-emily

It’s not for everyone, I realize. But it made me so happy and engaged. Its whimsical with a pulled back color palette. It’s roughly 30″x50″ – so its pretty big and I knew it could be ‘that piece’. The dealer told me that it was painted by soldiers around the Vietnam war, presumably on acid as this is clearly some sort of Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’ homage.

I loved everything about it – the story, the scale, the composition, how it was graphic and yet handmade at the same time. It had so much nuance and energy. Plus there is that amazing eyeball. The whole thing was and is totally fantastic. But $400 wasn’t doable. So I left the flea market and didn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. I went back 3 weeks later and it was still there. The fact that someone hadn’t gobbled it up is insane to me because let me tell you something about art – good, original, large-scale art is EXPENSIVE. It’s a struggle with every client – it’s the hardest thing to find. But I wanted it so bad, so I offered $200 or $250 (I don’t remember) and the dealer said yes.

Here’s a tip for anyone looking to barter at the flea market – just show them how much you LOVE the piece, and that you’ll give it a good home and you’ll get a better deal. No dealer wants a dick to own something that they shopped for, purchased, carefully packed up, and schlepped around every sunday just to schlep it back home if the right buyer wasn’t there. I think the dealer could tell that the painting would make me happier than it would make most people, so while $250 was a big reduction, I like to think that he is proud of what he did. Hardcore flea market barterers annoy the hell out of me. Its uncomfortable and insulting for everyone involved.

Of course I had to schlep it home on the subway, which was a teensy bit dramatic since it was so big, but I got it home and it was mine. At the time it had no glass or plexi and it had a really broken wooden frame. Convinced I could fix the frame (and knowing that I couldn’t afford to have it properly framed) I decided to at least buy it some plexiglass to help elevate it ($80, I think). It didn’t work. It warped forward and fell out of the frame since it and the frame were so thin.

Then as we were planning on leaving New York and moving to LA and I debated selling it at our garage sale but it still really spoke to me and I still loved it. Every time I looked at it I got happy and I could picture its success in a space. I just didn’t have that space yet. So I packed it up and shipped it with the very few things I kept. It was probably like $100 to ship cross-country in that oversized box. Whoops. Man, it’s adding up.

emily-henderson-bedroom

photo by Teri Lyn Fisher

So, we get to LA and I found a spot in our tiny one room studio/guest house in Santa Monica that we rented from friends. I put it up (that’s the original frame, above) and shot it for a test shoot with Terilyn Fisher. Sorry, its blurry because I had to search on google for like 5 hours for this and finally I did, but it was low res. P.S. Can you believe how long I’ve had that vintage floral pillow? Since 2005!!! Thats insane. I still love it as much as I did the day that I sewed it from vintage yardage.

But then we realized that you don’t HAVE to live two people to a 1 room studio in LA, no matter how charming it was, so we packed up and moved – bringing Sir. Blimp, of course. Meanwhile 2 years later I ended up making over that studio in an episode of my show (RIP) Secrets From a Stylist. (Please ignore the lack of photo formatting – it was 2 blog platforms ago and it gets pretty ugly that long ago).

Anyway, we moved to Los Feliz and I attempted to ‘Blimp’ again. Broken frame and all – you just can’t tell in the photos. So here is was, 5 years post purchase:

blimp-drawing

Photo by Teri Lyn Fisher

It was fine, but kinda meh on that wall color and in that space. I mean, that whole space is ‘meh’. Then I left for DesignStar and when I returned, I insisted on painting all walls a CRAZY POP OF COLOR – COLOR! COLOR! COLOR!!!!!!

Most of you haven’t been on a design reality show I’m presuming but upon your return you are kinda messed up – unable to relate to anyone, life feels soooo boring, and every wall simply must be donned with a BRIGHT SATURATED COLOR!!!!! Read that post if you want to really make fun of me.

turquoise dining room2

I appreciate my risk taking, but I could also use an advil just looking at it. Or a Zanex. Or a blindfold. Truth is it was actually kinda awesome in a way, but we had a small space and it was so jarring that I think I painted over it a couple of weeks weeks. Calm down, blue wall. Shhhhhh.

The saga continues: still awake?

In our next rental house I decided not to ‘Blimp’. We didn’t really have the large wall space and it started looking really dirty to me. When we moved into this house, 9 months ago, I kinda felt the same way. I remember thinking ‘maybe I can get an artist to trace it on pretty white paper’ because it was so dingy and brown.

When it came to design the living room in the new house I realized that I didn’t want a gallery wall in there – I wanted it to feel more quiet, simple and intentional; remember this was the art direction. I wanted a few well-appointed, large-scale pieces of art in the living room, then I’d do the gallery in the dining and family rooms. So I pulled the blimp out of storage and reassessed my love for it.

emily

Thats me, actively assessing said love. It’s important that when one is assessing something that you wear no makeup and purse your lips in a way that makes you look like you wear dentures. I tried to blur out my face in photoshop as if I were a background person in a reality show that hadn’t signed the release forms, but alas I have no idea how to do that. Maybe that is something a fancy graphic designer could do (or literally anyone who graduated from college post 2005).

Here’s what I told myself – you either commit and invest, or its time to donate. Its been 10 years and it was a big hoard. Time to pony up or go home. I was torn, but Scott, Brady and Ginny reminded me of my love for it and we decided to give this weirdo the wall space (and importance) it deserved.

So, I took it to Tim at Curve Line Space in Eagle Rock. There are a lot of good framers out there, but Tim is good to me – he has good taste, can turn art around fast (don’t tell him I told you that, he might just do that for frequent shoppers) and if you are someone who frames pieces often with him, he’ll give you a good price. Plus he’s in the neighborhood and he’s not a big old chain full of poorly trained framers. He cares.

blimp-painting

Here were the things I had to think about when framing Sir. Blimp:

1. Did I want him to try to restore it (which would be WAY more money)? I decided that I wanted it to look like a relic – that it was found. So while he did put a piece of cream paper behind that big rip, we didn’t try to get the tape marks out or anything. Why try to make it look new when it just isn’t?

2. Did I want it matted like a window where the art is behind the mat, or floating on top of the mat?  I wanted to see the ripped/water marked edges so I chose the float. Also just generally floating is always more fun.

3. How many inches of matting? I wanted big, like 5″ all the way around. Tim was on the fence about that, but he agreed and then agreed that it looks really good when he was finished. I just figured that I had this huge wall to fill so I may as well make sure it feels proportioned to the wall. So we added 12″ in width and height (including the frame) so it ended up being like 72″ x 50″. HUGE.

4. Obviously I had to choose style and profile, but I wanted it to be a. cheap (It wasn’t, but you know, not Charlie’s freshmen college tuition) and b. simple and modern. Many people would have chosen a black frame to help bring out the black in the painting, but I wanted the painting to pop out on its own and not have a big black box distracting my eye. My eye gets VERY distracted VERY easily.

mid-century-scandinvian-living-room

Photo by Brittany Ambridge, C/O Domino Magazine

So there he is, folks – commanding that wall, teasing me with his fantastical whimsy. Being perfect all the way around. (Of course now we’ve changed the living room a lot, but check out this post for resources and stay tuned for the new updated living room).

Ready for your close-up Mr. Blimpy?

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Leather Bench Seat Pillows

The framing ended up being $800, which ain’t nothing, but frankly you have VERY few inexpensive options when framing something so big. You could DIY it, like Orlando and I did for this piece of art – but that was a canvas that didn’t really even need a frame. Blimpy was a thin piece of paper that had been spray mounted on a thin piece of foam core (by me – big mistake). So it needed a proper frame. Ready to do the math? (#killme). The piece was $250 (or $200), bad plexi was $80, shipping was $100 and reframing was $800 = $1230. Part of me is nauseous and part of me knows that clearly its a piece I care about. It reminds me of my 20’s in New York. It reminds me of some dudes, hopefully having fun painting it while in or recovering from Vietnam. It reminds me that sometimes my obsessions are deserved.

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Bench Windows

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Whats the lesson here – spend $800 framing a $200 piece of art? Nay. I guess the lesson is (need there be a lesson?) that sometimes it takes years to properly invest and appreciate something you love, but when you love something so much, when you bring them with you as you move 5 times, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about splurging. Easier said than, done, I know. But in this case doing a cheap framing job would have been criminal. Remember the Oregon poster that I did in my guest room? Well that one was a print (many people have it) at $54, so it wasn’t something I wanted to spend too much on. GRANTED, I spent $300 on the framing, but I wouldn’t have spent $800. That wouldn’t have made sense.

But Sir. Chancellor Blimpy Von Henderson … now he deserves to be on that wall, looking like that.

Geez. That turned into quite the personal epic story. Thanks Tessa Neustadt for taking those pretty ‘after’ photos.

Do you approve? What is the most you spent on framing? Do you have a piece that you are really sentimental about? Do dish …

Full design Studio Tour

You have probably already checked out the studio tour on Domaine Home, but there are one million resources/links/ramblings that you probably didn’t know about. And like Banksy’s real identity (kinda sad, right?) or the revelation of Oliver Queen as Arrow (how did I JUST start watching that show? …you all have failed me), they simply must be revealed.

Emily Henderson Studio_ Brady Ginny

Resources: Wallpapers (L to R): Floral Fabric | Pineapple | Diamante Red | Blue | Vintage Floral | Metallic Triangles | Blue Loopy Lines | Blue FloralOrange Floral ||| Desk | Chairs | Brass Task Lamp | Rug: Vintage | Cobalt Velvet Bench: Vintage

First: the wallpaper panels. In the name of total flexibility (we need white walls, and need to be able to move furniture for any photo shoot) we decided not to do anything to the walls but instead to hang wallpaper panels from the ceiling for visual stimulation without commitment. Woah, that might be my favorite thing I’ve ever written ‘visual stimulation without commitment’If I were on ‘Style-Tinder’ that would be my byline. Emily Henderson – I love visual stimulation without commitment.

Right now all the panels are down because we shot on that wall four times in the last two weeks (including huge blocks of painted color). We are prepping a ‘how and why we hung the panels’ post, so stay tuned. But so far it has worked out and its so fun to have these crazy patterns around but not on the wall.

Meanwhile on the other side of the room we have my reason for living – healthy hoards of pretty things that I style and restyle daily as if I were Golum looking for the ring. Picture me, quietly whispering to myself ‘miniature gold monopoly toys look best under domes, wicker goes in ‘organic land’ and why would anyone put the hot pink coasters in the teal world???? I’m a living sh*t show when it comes to organization and yet I like my pretty things looking styled at all moments.

Emily Henderson Studio_Shelves and Table

That is the table where we intended on eating our delicious organic artisanal lunches and gabbing about whether or not eyelash extentions are weird or WONDERFUL (have yet to try) but instead this table is often just full of stuff that is either coming or going and we eat grocery store sushi at our desks. Those chairs are from Target ($80) and we had them recovered in some pretty awesome fabric from The Fabric Store (1/2 yard each and labor was $40 each). They are very comfortable and totally cute. We pasted that fabric on one of the panels as wallpaper and loved it so much that we figured we could use it on the chairs, too. Plus we had extra fabric laying around and 2 days til the shoot so decisions were made fast = MY LIFE IN GENERAL.

That amazing photograph of the woman with eyes up there is by the photogapher Stephanie Vovas who is wonderful and will do custom portraits for you. I’m eager to put it in our house, just waiting to figure out the perfect spot. I’m thinking dining room. Its specific (aka, it can’t go over our bed) and totally captivating.

Chairs | Table | Agate Tray Concrete Vase | Footed Bowl: Vintage | Clip Lights: Hardware store (we painted the shades)

Emily Henderson Studio_ Prop Shelves Accessories

Its upsetting that these things aren’t near me at all times but its comforting to know that they are at the studio, organized, waiting for their next instagram. Also i’m a freak. Hi.

Emily Henderson Studio_ Black Accessories

Emily Henderson Studio_ Wood Accessories

Emily Henderson Studio_ Brass Accesories

Now you see those miniature 24K gold monopoly figures? Next to the gold mini shoe collection and the brass wrench? You’d be crazy if you didn’t think that they deserved to be under a dome. Like Lord Beyonce once said, ‘If you like it then you shoulda put a dome on it’.

Emily Henderson Studio_Velvet Bench

Our little window wall. Technically these colors are more saturated in the photo  – that bench is actually a chartreus-ey acid-y green, not gold. Its wonderful and exciting in person. It looks like it has white piping here but it doesn’t – its the same velvet (from Mood).

And yes, that is the most popular house plant in the world that I’m still not sick of: all hail the fiddle leaf fig. It was $90 at our local nursery probably because it was close to death. Luckily I’ve tasked/commanded Brady to keep it alive and he has succeeded. Its like one of those weird hostage movies where the second he lets the plant die, the last leaf will fall releasing a bucket of mud that fills into a weight scale that overfills, propelling a hatchet from the ceiling to plummet chopping off his … pink shoelaces. He knows how does it works (yes, that last sentence full of weird grammar is a private joke … sometimes this blog is for us as well as you).

Blue Floral | Leather Butterfly Chair | Rattan Basket | Bench: Vintage | Curtains: Custom with Fabric from The Fabric Store

Emily Henderson Studio_Lists Board

There are a lot of DIY’s up there for you – the benches and the whiteboard. Stay tuned. The colors are saturated – the floor is actually gray and the pink is actually blush. I wish I could go back In time and remove that floral pillow. There was enough already in that shot. Enough. In person this corner is pretty and fun – not try-hard and insane like that photo is all of a sudden looking like. Ha.

White Sconces | Blue Velvet Benches: Vintage | Pillows: Vintage | Leather Pouf: Vintage | Rug: Vintage | Lucite Dry Erase Board: Custom | Floral Fabric | Pineapple | Diamante Red

Emily Henderson Studio_ Bar Cart

No creative studio is complete without a barcart full of CRISTAL. I think I might have bought the barcart just to display my one bottle of Cristal that someone gave me for my 35th birthday (#killme). Since the opening party we haven’t drank from that cart yet, but we will, folks. We will. Only Cristal, Alize and Dom. But mainly Cristal.

Bar Cart | Wine Rack: Vintage | Glass Tumblr Cups | Copper Barware | Marble Dish: Vintage | Blue Pottery Vase: Vintage

Emily Henderson Studio_ Conference Table

Wallpaper Panels: BlowfishFloral Fabric | Pineapple | Dots

Chairs | Table | Agate Tray | Concrete Vase | Footed Bowl: Vintage| Cube Planter

Emily Henderson Studio_ Sitting

There I am. Thats me. Doing my ‘golly gee sweet’ pose which directly follows my ‘you don’t know me or maybe you do’ flirty pose. Just posing away.

Woven Ottoman | Leather Butterfly Chair |

Emily Henderson Studio_Desks Chairs Office

We used ikea desks that we already had, and bought two more – they are just so simple and since they come with the option of wheels they are easy to move around, etc.

Desk | Chairs Brass Task Lamp | Bar Cart 

Just for a bit of fun, and since we all know I love a good GIF, here is one we put together to show the process that we started with to get to the final desk image above. It takes a lot of adjusting and moving but that is all part of the styling process.

Emily-Henderson-Styling-Studio-GIF_resized

Emily Henderson Studio_Desktop Accessories

Blue Agate Coasters | Tray | Stapler

So there you have it. The studio. I’m sure it will change as it always does. I have a few follow up posts about it that we’ll post soon, but let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Emily Henderson Studio_Emily Ginny Brady

Paint Colors: Dutch Boy Coral Echo, Dutch Boy Evening Blue, Dutch Boy Zany Lime

For the full Domaine Tour and Story click HERE. All photos by Chris Patay

To see this place in action click HERE or watch the video below

Thanks so much Domaine Home for the feature, and Chris Patay for the lovely photos. xx