My affordable white kitchen appliances

You all know I love almost anything vintage. My rules are to skip anything used or vintage that goes in your mouth or touches your private parts. Seems pretty reasonable, right? But then again I love and own mid-century flatware and glassware and I’ve been known to buy pin-up style vintage one piece bathing suits (much to Brian’s sadness), but generally its a good guide.

Oh but, wait, there is another category I stay away from – vintage tech. Any vintage machines, tech and certainly appliances.

As you can see the appliances in our kitchen were original to the house (yeah!! right?), so they were ‘vintage’, but totally busted. And I mean that in the ‘that chick is BUSTED!’ kinda way, not just broken.


The cooktop only had 1 burner that worked and it probably leaked gas constantly regardless. The oven literally shocked you if you touched it, so it was totally unusable since the day we moved in (yes we went 6 months without an oven). And the dishwasher and refrigerator were 1980’s or 1990’s upgrades that functioned but they were ugly and gross. Wait, now that I’m remembering the fridge came from our old rental house, I think we owned it, lucky us.


This is what it looked like when we moved in, as you probably know. The plan with the kitchen was to keep basically the same layout and just paint the cabinets and upgrade everything, which is what we did. But that meant that we had to work with the dimensions that were already there to avoid any demo and rebuilding of the cabinetry. Sometimes that isn’t a big deal but sometimes the little easy things end up being big things and weird nit-picky headaches and I just wasn’t interested in that. I figured I’d try to find appliances that fit the specs that we had, and then if we couldn’t then I would consider some sort of boring task-y reconfiguration. Yes, this is the stylist in me, not the designer. I’m sure this kitchen could be demo’d out and rebuilt to be more functional but I wasn’t interested in spending the dough. I wanted to upgrade, not invest.


Luckily most of the appliances were standard sizes. Well, almost – the oven hole was VERY narrow and the fridge was shallow and on the narrow-er side, too. The dishwasher, cooktop and hood were all standard so those were pretty easy.


Shopping for appliances can be intimidating – you must have priorities because you aren’t going to get fast, cheap, good quality, the right size and really pretty. You just aren’t. So my priorities were pretty (white) and inexpensive while still being durable and high quality enough that it would be good for resale and of course the right size so we could just pop them in.

There are some appliances out there that have crazy tech, wifi controlled, triple burning flux capacitor time travel abilities. If I were some sort of super wealthy crazy master chef I would want that, but I’m not so I decided to put my splurge money into the bookcase and the string art piece and get affordable white appliances.

As we started shopping we realized that all the appliances that we were going to buy were by Maytag. I liked some at Ikea but they didn’t have the exact sizes that we needed and Whirpool had some good options, too, but I kept coming back to Maytag. So, like any good/resourceful blogger, I called up their PR team to see if we could get a press discount since it would surely be on the blog and in Domino. They offered to gift them to me (I guess it’s easier logistically for them to do that rather than offer a discount). Rejecting their offer and saying ‘No thanks, I prefer to pay’ seemed insane, especially since we were purging money on the house. This was not a case of ‘well, guys, we have to choose Maytag because they are the only company that offered’ – I chose all the pieces from them before I emailed them. So yes, I received our appliances for free and I realize I’m a very lucky person. Every job has its perks and this is a big perk that I’m very grateful for and I try to be really honest about. Don’t hate me, pleeeeeeeeese.

So this is what we chose and why;


Emily House_Kitchen Appliances Options_her picks

1. Range Hood: $139 | 2. Cooktop (I guess its discontinued on their site but you can purchase here) | 3. Microwave $249 | 4. Dishwasher $599 | 5. Wall Oven: $1,349 | 6. Refrigerator: $1,599

Click through to see them installed in the kitchen.


The Full Living Room Tour

Our living room has been made over, all ‘Hollywood Style’. Well, less like Renee Zellwegger, more like Kim Kardashian –  total improvement in every way, but still recognizable. We didn’t reconfigure the house, no major walls were knocked out, but everything got a ‘face lift’. Lets take a little trip down memory lane before we jump into the ‘after’ shots of our living room, shall we?

When we bought the house (one year ago) it looked like this:

emily henderson house

Lots changed immediately before we moved in: the carpet was ripped up, the false low ceiling was demo’d out,  the rounded stairs were demo’d and the tint on the windows was removed.

emily henderson house

Just lifting up the ceiling made it look and feel soo much better. The walls were skim coated (they had an insane texture) and painted white, the ceiling was painted white, the iron-work was painted white, the new stairs were built, the fireplace bench was painted white. My 8 moth belly was painted white. We painted a lot of things white, apparently. And its wonderful.

December 2nd of last year (2014) we moved in and it was magical. As you can see (below) I was 38 weeks pregnant and it really just represented such a new fresh life for us. I didn’t care that the kitchen, bathrooms and exterior were in their 1960’s state – that living room with that light and the fresh new walls and floors made everything feel so fresh and full of possibility.

emily henderson house

Even looking these photos makes me tear up. So much has happened in a year, and I’m not just talking about the living room. I remember crawling into bed that night with such an intense excitement – the fact that we were 34 and finally buying our first house, that we were about to have our first baby, that I had purged and sold everything I didn’t want or need so I was stylistically starting fresh. I don’t want to go back because it means that I wouldn’t have that baby, but I’m so nostalgic for when we first moved in. So much possibility, so many projects and it was before I really knew how much it was going to cost or the fact that we had mold, virtually all the sliding doors need to be replaced, that we need to replace the central air, fix the fireplace, and all the other boring/stressful stuff of home ownership. We are making dents in all of them, but the not knowing about them beforehand was just wonderful.

We slowly made progress – I bought a temporary indoor/outdoor rug, we arranged all the furniture, (well, I arranged and re-arranged and re-arranged every day), and while I couldn’t commit to hanging art, I loved just having it all lean for a while. I kinda love that shot on the lower left (above) and we should reshoot  that angle now – it’s just so nice to see the whole room. Meanwhile yes, I miss my sofa. An avid reader purchased it and I needed the dough because I was spending an insane amount before we shot it, and I had already bought a new sofa, so turning down the offer of $3k was too hard. I know she reads this, so dear sofa purchaser, you are so lucky. And yes, I kinda regret selling it now.

Four months ago we shot the house for Domino Magazine (as surely you must know by now). One of my best friends, Scott, teased me for months about how it was if  ‘The Domino Shoot‘ was a major milestone in my life – like birth, high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, birth of first child, The Domino shoot, retirement, death, etc….  I talked about it SOOOO much. It was this looming deadline and it forced me to do some things I wouldn’t have otherwise (in a good way) and to do somethings fast that might have needed more thinking, too.

So here’s how the living room looked, four months ago, featured in the September issue of Domino:


Here’s the deal – a house only gets one feature in a print magazine. And especially for me, who has been documenting/hyping it up on the blog for months I knew that I couldn’t just sit back and have it be mediocre or even just pretty. So we worked hard, we spent money, we splurged, we BOUGHT A 14′ TREE, and we were still painting walls and hanging art the night before.

For this spread we were ‘airing on the side of elegance’ so it was a little more pulled back than I usually am. And that’s cool. In this photo you don’t really understand the impact of that Nek Buddha tree (one of the splurges) and you don’t see the view, but you get the idea – a mid-century Scandinavian inspired space that feels happy and yet quiet – or at least that’s how I see it.

When we shot this Charlie wasn’t crawling yet, so it didn’t need to be quite so family friendly, but as he has become more mobile I realized that I needed to shift some furniture. The coffee table was fine (and don’t worry, I’ve kept it) but Charlie kept almost crashing into the corner which was ruining my morning quiet coffee/play time. So we stored that and instead I stole this large pouf from Joy’s house.

So here is where we are now, as of 3 weeks ago:

Emily Henderson Living Room Blue Pink Mid Century Modern Tree

And I think it looks sooooo much more like us and more inviting. Of course now I look at this photo and I’m like WHY THE HECK DID WE NOT JUST PULL BACK THE SOFA 7 INCHES!!!!  It looks crowded in the room. But at least you can see the leather strapping on the back of the sofa which is ridiculous. Yes, those are leather arms, too. Check out this post for the full sofa post.

How do we actually use the room? Well certainly not with a tray with flowers on that pouf. I didn’t go out of my way to actually style these photos – instead I cleaned the house and arranged things as if my friends we coming over and then asked Tessa to photograph it like that. The toy trunk is in the corner, Charlie’s piano is out. It’s definitely more pulled together than it is on a daily basis but no, we don’t really have things on surfaces.

Emily Henderson LIving Room Playing Charlie

This is where we hang out and play every morning. Charlie has a toy trunk near the window that has enough toys to keep him occupied for our play sessions. Sure, it’s not normally this clean (and normally there are a few plastic standing toys/walkers), but photographing the mess seemed a little too try-hard in a way.

I love the Wegner style saddle chairs in the Domino shots, and I’ve kept them, but I missed the comfort of these safari chairs. I thought that they would be too matchy with the strapping on the sofa, but they aren’t. And they are just so unbelievable comfortable and so kid-friendly. The second they came back the room became wildly more comfortable.

Emily Henderson Living Room Charlie Emily

I love the shot below so much because it gives you a sense of how the house works so much.


That is the entrance on the left and the stairs on the second level go up to the bedrooms. Also please  note our extremely child friendly stairs going down into the living room. The stairs used to be rounded and carpeted and they took up WAYYY too much real estate in the room. So we replaced them with modern stairs and it was fine before Charlie started crawling and now, clearly, it’s a problem. Just yesterday Brian called again about getting a quote to add a banister (which visually I don’t want to do, obviously). Meanwhile we are adding a baby gate at the bottom. Man baby proofing is a massive bummer.

Sofa: Vintage from Amsterdam Modern| Blue Blanket: Vintage | Floral Pillow: Vintage | Pink Pillow: Ikea | Blue Velvet Bench: Target | Teal Tray: Target| Side Table: Vintage | Tree: Nek Buddah from Tropics Inc. | Entry Chandelier: Park Studio Collective LA

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Leather Blue String Art

We moved the collection of pottery on the hearth for obvious reasons – old ‘wrecking ball Charlie Henderson’ would break them all, but also I wanted to add more pillows – again, I just wanted more warmth and more layers. Shocking, I know. That credenza above needs to be replaced because it is bowing REALLY bad (read this post about that).

Rug: Loloi Byron | Blue Velvet Bench: Target | White Pouf: Lulu and Georgia | Teal Tray: Target | Safari Chair: Vintage | String Art: Nike Schroeder | Dining Room Chairs: MidCentury LA | Dining Room Chandelier: Park Studio Collective LA

See, you can see it bowing here pretty bad.

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Nike Schroeder String Art Bench

Lets talk bench cushions. Scott had this old piece of vintage indigo that he had been hoarding and I had a much large piece of vintage indigo that I got in Laos years ago that I had been hoarding, so while they didn’t match, I didn’t care because they are both beautiful. I took them to my upholsterer, gave him the dimensions and he sewed us up these little cushions. Definitely something you could do yourself, but we were out of time. I think they were $120 total to sew.

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Bench Windows

For this shot we moved the toy trunk because it, well, ruined the shot. Not because its ugly but because you couldn’t tell what it was, and it confused your eye and I hate it when my eye gets all confused. Most morning I’m sitting up there or leaning against the bench, playing with little guy. Adding more pillows actually made a HUGE difference in the space. It doesn’t feel busier, it just feels more inviting.

The blimp painting has a lot of sentimental feelings for me. So much so that I wrote a whole post about how/where/how much I purchased it for and the whole framing process. Check it out HERE. 

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Leather Bench Seat Pillows

Art: Vintage, framed by Curve Line Space | Cream Pillow: Target | Cream and Gold Metallic Chevron Pillow: Target |Pink Pillow: Vintage | Grey Pillow: West Elm| Floral Pillow: Vintage | Pink Pillow: Ikea | Blue Triangle Blanket: Happy Habitat | Brass Floor Lamp: Vintage

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Blue Relaxed Bench

Cream Pillow: Target | Floral Pillow: Vintage | Geometric Blue Pillow: Steven Allen for West Elm (no longer available) 

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Leather Blue

Art: Vintage, framed by Curve Line Space | Cream Pillow: Target | Cream and Gold Metallic Chevron Pillow: Target |Pink Pillow: Vintage | Grey Pillow: West Elm| Floral Pillow: Vintage | Pink Pillow: Ikea | Blue Triangle Blanket: Happy Habitat | Rug: Loloi Byron 

Emily Henderson Mid Century Modern Blue White


Emily Henderson Living Room Poof Couch Tree

Here’s what we do when we set up a shot – we find the angle we like then we make sure that every thing looks good – this takes sometimes an hour to tweak. Every time you tweak you take a new picture (because its hooked up to a laptop and you can see it better on the bigger screen). So we took some of the photos/progress and turned it into a gif for you:

Emily Living Room GIF

You might notice yes, some people i it, a bunch of stuff in the dining room, a black box (I think it’s the doorbell box) up on the wall on the second floor, and then yes, we brightened it in post. The magic of shooting and styling a space, right?

This one, below, was more about tweaking everything:

Emily Henderson GIF Living Room Sofa

We started with the blue pillows on the sofa and the empty tray on the coffee table and gradually tweaked and tweaked until the pink floral pillow was on the sofa and the pink flowers on the pouf.

This one shows you how we started, how we style it when guests are over, fully styled out and then how we have it every day (in other words with nothing on any surfaces):

Emily Henderson GIF Living Room

So that’s our living room all madeover. As of right now I want to change a few things (the white bowing piece needs to be replaced) and I’m still grappling with the fireplace surround (which is another post coming up), but I pretty much love being in it. Its feels good in there and while I’m sure I’ll change it, the morning play/coffee time with Charlie and the sunset occasional happy hour is pretty wonderful.

For related posts check out the story behind the string art piece, the blimp art piece, the sofa (and its white stain-resistant fabric), and the design of the bookcase. 

We put together a ‘get the look’ board, but a lot of the pieces are vintage so we did our best to find replicas:

get the look living room


1. Brass Chandelier: Park Studio Collective LA | 2. Blue Triangle Blanket: Happy Habitat| 3. Wood Hand Chair | 4. Blue Velvet Bench: Target  |  5. Woven Textile Art: Jane Denton | 6. Glass Agate Tray: Target | 7: Safari Chair: Anthropologie | 8. Wire Table: Target | 9.  Pink Pillow: Ikea | 10: Blue and Purple Wool Blanket | 11. Blue and Green Floral Pillow: Etsy | 12. Hand Sculpture | 13.  White Pouf: Lulu and Georgia | 14. Byron Rug: Loloi | 15. Gold Foil Pillow: Target  | 16. Copper Barware: Target

Photos (except the Domino magazine shoot which was by Brittany Ambridge) by Tessa Neustadt. Thank you Tessa!

Just joining and curious about the other rooms? Check out the family room, kitchen, nursery (final not posted yet), the built-in bookcase, our guest room, our master bedroom (new update coming soon), the deck, and the unfinished bathrooms. 

Family Room Update

The family room – the room that we hang out, probably SIXTY PERCENT OF THE TIME, is strangely the last to get finished (well, that and the landscaping and bathrooms). It’s a ‘cobblers kids with no shoes’ situation. But there is an update for you and it has gotten a lot better. So let’s go all ‘time travel’ on the situation and recap to where we were 1 year ago, before we moved in.

Family Room 07

Beautiful. Mauve. Dark. Stupid.

We wanted to make some obvious changes: paint the walls, ceiling, replace the floor and add WONDERFUL INVITING-NESS EVERYWHERE. I loved that it shared the space with the kitchen but that it wasn’t our formal living room so that we could make this super kid friendly and comfortable.

Family room Before

Family room Before

Family room Before

I have dreams of Charlie playing on the ground with beautiful scandinavian-style toys, wearing all organic dye-free, blood-free, diamond-free clothes, while I make a vegan roast, wearing a hand-stitched apron, nude underneath. This is how it should go down on an average Wednesday in our family room. And it does.

But after 3 months it still looked like this – mismatched chairs, stupid everything. Bad, Bad, Bad. But I had just had a baby, and was busy weeping out of happiness or sadness, so I get a pass.

Family room Progress

Family room Progress

So now, as of November 2014, we are better but not done. I’m working on it but the progress is S.L.O.W.

emily family room blue grey 1

We have an awesome, very comfortable sofa (in the best configuration possible). The ottoman is rad and insanely kid friendly but it doesn’t work with the sofa, stylistically. The rug is awesome (a CL find 5 years ago for $75) but it’s too flat for the chunky sofa – although it does hide dirt, etc, really well. There is no art on the walls, but a family photo wall is planned. Its going to be a wonderful room, it’s just not there yet.

The gold chest of drawers is from a vintage store, and its rad. The standing lamp is from Chairish and its weird and wonderful. Oh and that weird white laptop table is GENIUS because when I was breastfeeding I could put my water on it without reaching forward towards the coffee table. Its kinda ugly but totally great (it slips under your sofa and acts as a very convenient side table).

Things are fine but not awesome.

Blue Rug: Vintage | White Floor Lamp: Vintage from Chairish | White “C” Table: Container Store | Blue Blanket: Target | Grey Couch: | Tan and Cream Pillows: Vintage | Blue Striped Pillow: The Citizenry | Leather Ottoman: Vintage from Amsterdam Modern | Brass Side Table: Vintage | Table Lamp: Schoolhouse Electric | Shades: DecorView

Its great that we have a room that is open to the kitchen, indeed, but its a little awkwardly shaped.

emily family room blue grey 2

Pendant Lights: Vintage from Shopclass LA | Blue Rug: Vintage | White Floor Lamp: Vintage from Chairish |White “C” Table: Container Store  | Blue Blanket:Target  | Grey Couch:  | Tan and Cream Pillows: Vintage | Blue Striped Pillow: The Citizenry | Leather Ottoman: Vintage from Amsterdam Modern | Shades and Drapes: DecorView

Meanwhile on the other side of the room we have this:

emily family room blue grey_kitchen copy

The TV and the pack ‘n play. Charlie actually likes being in that pack ‘n play. Its not like he’s dying to go in it, but once he’s there its big enough that he plays for like 15 minutes at a time. Thats not bad, friends. I can pretend to cook or check my instagram, while he’s in there sticking a spatula in his mouth.

The TV feels kinda small that far enough away from the sofa. We have a projector that we could use there and just get rid of the TV but you can’t watch projectors during the day, which is kinda fine because how often do we actually watch tv during the day, right? But Brian is a massive college football fan so at least for these few months there is some daytime watching to be had. So our options are a. get a larger TV, b. use the projector screen and c. mount the tv to the wall opposite the sofa (on the far right) that you can see in this picture:

emily family room blue grey 1

Then it would be a really cozy TV area, but I wouldn’t be able to watch TV while I cook and I am actually cooking at least 3 nights a week now, plus making Charlie’s food, etc. But I could always just watch on my laptop or get a little counter tv. I feel like i’ve been talking about my tv situation for like 3 paragraphs. Geez. But its important and it just doesn’t feel right yet.

Blue Rug: Vintage | High Chair Seat: Stokke | Pack and Play: 4moms | Barstools: Vintage | TV Console: Vintage |Pendant Lights: Vintage from Shopclass LA  | Abstract Painting: Vintage | Wood Bowl: Target | Black and White Tray: Target

So, when we shot for Domino we quickly set up this room even though it wasn’t on the shot list, and I think none of us were that psyched about it (which is why it didn’t run in the magazine). The thing about these kinds of sofas is that you shouldn’t try to make them look ‘hip’. They are crazy comfortable, inviting and pretty but not cool. So in this photo I think we tried to make it look cool and instead its a little over-styled. I like everything in this shot and I like how the photographer took it, but I don’t like how we styled it to the camera. There is just a little too much stuff and the styling makes the sofa look suburban when it really just needs to look simple, comfy and cozy.

Emily Henderson Family Room Gallery Wall

I think it actually works best when pretty neutral pillows are thrown on in and it looks super casual and flop-on-able.

So that’s the family room update. My questions to you guys are: A. should I do a wallpaper in here? (I mean, I know what you are going to say, ‘YES!!!”), or just do a massive family photo wall? OR do both, if I choose a more subtle patterned wallpaper? I could do one similar to the one in the bedroom – just a simple metallic texture (posting soon, I promise).  Maybe that’s what I’ll do. But I also don’t want it to get super busy because this area is a bit cramped and there are often a ton of toys and computers laying everywhere.


Thoughts on what to do on the walls and what kind of ottoman/coffee table (remember it has to be kid-friendly) I should do are very welcome … Weigh in, folks.

Thanks to Tessa Neudstadt for the ‘pre-after’ photos and Brittney Ambridge from Domino for the photo that never ran.

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.


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…)

Subtle Updates at Orlando’s

Hey guys, Its Emily, real quick. In case you are new to the blog and are wondering who the hell is this dude, Orlando, here’s a recap of our relationship: Orlando was my assistant/sidekick on Secrets From a Stylist (RIP) and then became an associate designer that worked with me on design projects for close to 4 wonderful years where we became very close (like sleep in the same bed while traveling, close). He used to write posts on the blog but then HE LEFT ME to become the West Coast Creative Director of HomePolish. I threatened to tell everyone that he is gay if he quit, but that didn’t stop him. Clearly he never respected me and didn’t think I’d have the balls to do it! Ha. So everyone, Orlando is GAY.  There. Hope you like your new fancy job.

Anyway, now and again he takes over the blog (I have nothing to do with the design or writing), and he’s practically the only one that I let do this. Orlando has special non-team Emily blog privileges because I love him and he’s very hilarious. So check out his blog, check out Homepolish, read the last post he wrote here, and then read this here post:


Dear Emily’s Readers,

As you may have noticed, my place has been getting constant makeovers lately. By now you’re probably sitting at your computer wondering if all I do is give myself home makeovers and yes, the answer is yes. But also, as some of you know I went through a fun breakup last year and when my ex ran out the door with my bloodied heart in his hand he also took some furniture (because it was his, not because he’s a jerk). Anyway, for the past year my place has been a hodgepodge of whatever random pieces of furniture I could find lying around in the gutter so I decided it was time to spruce things up. Because you can only live like a hobo for so long before you start to feel like a hobo.



I started by swapping out my giant aqua painting for some beautiful drawings I commissioned from Erika Gragg, which I framed using an easy service called SimplyFramed. I also swapped out the rug for an awesome graphic rug (Which we are giving away! Well not the same one I’ve been dancing on, but a new one that looks the same. Enter here!).



I gave up on my hand-wrapped coffee table and swapped it out for a more sophisticated, simple option that allows light to pass through and makes the room feel much more open. Also, I got rid of that orchid because all its blooms went away. Sidenote: What are we supposed to do about orchids? Like mine bloom and then they never bloom again and I keep them around because they’re still alive but they become a huge burden for me, like, emotionally because they never bloom again and they make me feel like a terrible person for not being able to make them bloom. My boyfriend (not the old one who ran away with the furniture, the new one who looks like a Ken doll) bought me that orchid and I felt sad about getting rid of it but he was all “GET RID OF THIS” and so I hid it outside behind a banana plant so that it would still get watered but felt guilty about it like I was abandoning a baby. Anyway, I hate orchids now. WHY AM I STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS?




Pretty obsessed with these 80s inspired lamps from Target. Also look at them side tables HI SIDETABLES.


These drawings provide the tropical twist I’ve been craving lately. And since they were made by a close friend I am reminded of love, friendship, and togetherness. Actually pretty much everything reminds me of love, togetherness, and friendship. Except that song “Rude” by Magic, which makes me want to rip my ears off my head and throw them in a well so I never have to heart it again.



This little area is one of my favorite updates. Basically because everything on that bookcase (and the bookcase itself) is from a thrift store, a flea market, or was handmade (with the exception of the throw and the “It Wasn’t My Idea” print). You can read more about this garbage vignette on my blog. I put that umbrella next to door not because I ever need an umbrella, but because I have not given up hope that someday it will rain again in California. I love rain so this drought is totally bumming me out. Mainly because I love to be inside eating soup, thinking about guys, shopping, and the mall while it’s raining, wet, and cold outside. Oh and also because if it doesn’t rain we are all going to die, skeletons, parched, in the beating dry sun.




I snagged this “It Wasn’t My Idea” print from The Thing Quarterly and it makes my life like a hundred times better every day.



Some chairs want pillows, some chairs don’t. My awesome mid-century chairs were all “no thanks” but I found a nice small scale pillow that they didn’t balk at which makes them look much less harsh and aloof than they actually are.


This crab is an ashtray. I don’t smoke but for some reason I have to stare at it at least once a day or I hate my life.


If you follow me on Instagram you might recognize some of the photos that I carelessly flung (read: maniacally arranged while foaming at the mouth) into a basket.


The rug’s pretty rad. Sometimes when my boyfriend doesn’t pay enough attention to me I nuzzle it and tell it that it’s my only reason for living and that no one understands me the way it does.


This poor mid-century architectural rendering (which Emily and I found at Long Beach Flea Market a while back) was sitting in my closet for the past six months so I rescued it and hung it above my television. Which is awesome except sometimes I get too distracted by its beauty to watch television. In other news all I watch lately is the original “Melrose Place” on Netflix because it’s so crazy and I love all their crazy clothes. Fact: 20 year olds today dress exactly like they did in the 90z. Other fact: All those people on the show are supposed to be like 22 except they’re all like high power executives and business ladies in awesome power suits. This is where I got my ideas about what it was supposed to be like to be an adult. Which is why I was so disappointed not to be running my own advertising firm by the time I was 23.


So there you have it! My new, improved living room! Like Renee Zelweger’s face, the change is subtle, and hard to put your finger on. But it’s different, better, more mature and prettier than it was before, more respectable somehow. Like it went from Tara Reid to Helen Mirren overnight. Okay I’m totally not even talking about my living room anymore now I’m literally just talking about Renee’s face BECAUSE I’M STILL OBSESSED WITH IT. I think she looks awesome. And like a totally different person. Kind of like my apartment. Which looks the same, but different somehow…


PS: Homepolish Magazine is hosting a Giveaway of my new rug! ENTER! >>>

PSS: Full resources and more info on the project can be seen here.>>>

Photographs by Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolish