Weekend Makeover| Mid-century Eclectic Artist


What do you get when you take a 3-person design team, 2 days, about 3K in funds, a living room with a ton of potential, and homeowners that have good style? A pretty satisfying weekend living and dining room makeover. This one even impressed us. When we started the project, I actually wasn’t sure how well it was going to turn out – we were on both a time and budget crunch. But it truly turned out to be one of my favorite makeovers to date. It mainly just involved using what they already had, adding some Craigslist and thrift store pieces and supplementing with Target furniture and accessories.

before & after living room

A lot of people can be unsure how to incorporate new things into their own home with what they already have, and many people are skeptical about buying home goods from major retailers. Back in the day, big box stores sold cheap, generic looking garbage, but these days, this stuff is really, really good. Especially from Target, if I do say so myself.

So click on through to see the whole makeover, but when you have a second, watch the whole makeover on this video. At one point in the video I do a headstand and Charlie Henderson has a pretty adorable cameo in it.

I typically write more about the process, but that video kinda sums up how it went down (so sorry about that totally weird thumbnail of the video, something is up with YouTube and we can’t change it right now. So annoying …)

Click on through to get the breakdown, resources, links and all the before/after photos.


Spanish California Home – The Kitchen

California Country_Kitchen_Emily Henderson_before 1

Before I got involved with this kitchen, it was about to get RHONJ’d. In case you don’t speak ‘Bravo’, that means ‘Real housewives of New Jersey”d  where faux Tuscan shiny wood and tumbled tile reign suprem-o. They had just installed the cabinets and in FACT it was even worse than this. I didn’t take photos of the kitchen when the top cabinets were installed, too but trust me that it felt dark, small and dated. As you know (back story here) we were on a massive time and budget crunch so we couldn’t start all over and get new cabinets (especially since they were brand new – chosen by the contractor that was flipping it). This kitchen is in a 1916 Spanish Style home and it needed some old world charm with some modern amenities/technology.

California Country_Kitchen_Emily Henderson_before 2

We only had a few days to be able to pick out the finishes – the tile, flooring, etc. So we went to the valley, where all the tile places are, and found some that we both really liked that weren’t out of control expensive. I spoke about the flooring in the dining nook post, but they really weren’t expensive and if you have an old world style house these cement tiles are kinda perfect (just make sure you seal them properly which will add a bit of a sheen but its worth it).

California Country_Kitchen_Emily Henderson_progress 1

Shana wanted open shelving on top for a few reasons: a. it looks good, b. she had lots of pretty dishes to show off and c. the kitchen was smallish and we didn’t want to open it up and make it open concept because based on the layout of the house it wouldn’t have really worked and we would have lost a lot of the beautiful architecture. I was ALL FOR IT. Open shelving is a bit controversial because yes, you have to keep it neat and nice in order for your kitchen not to look like total chaos daily. She knew the risks and she accepted them. (I was at the house yesterday for a playdate with our kids and I’m happy to report that they still look really pretty).

California Country_Kitchen_Emily Henderson_progress 2

We chose this black and white handmade tile that was really going to be the focal point, the big splurge. The floating shelves were made just from simple wood and then lacquered the same wall color (BM Swiss Coffee). The brackets were found on overstock I believe for $6 each.Not bad. Same with the farm sink – I think it was around $600 on either Overstock or Wayfair. I’m always surprised at how expensive farm sinks are but this one was not a bad price for it.

California Country_Kitchen_Emily Henderson_progress 3

One of the things we knew we were going to do was paint the cabinets a dark tealy-blue. We tested out some greens (above in the samples) but they were too bright and it needed to recede a little more than that. You guys are going to KILL me though because we made the decision verbally and there is no record to show what color this is. I should hire a detective to comb through all my emails and paperwork to see if they can find it because I’ve spent what feels like hours looking – it was just 2 years ago, before we moved, I was pregnant, the contractor was constantly rushing us for decisions, so I a lot went undocumented. I’m so sorry.

But what I’m not sorry about is how this kitchen turned out. It’s a modern Spanish kitchen, with an edge, that is so fun to walk into every single time:

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I love this color palette – the blues, warm grays, black white and then some color to make it feel more collected and welcoming. A lot of people think that old world color palettes have to be all warm tones – taupes, creams, beiges, browns, burgandies, etc, but as long as the materials ‘feel’ old world the color palette can feel more updated and fresh. And I don’t even mind the detailing on the cabinets. I might not have been our first choice but once painted out, it’s totally works, especially with the addition of the black hardware (which I think was just from Home Depot – it was a great place to not spend too much money).

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California Country_Kitchen_Emily Henderson_BEFORE AFTER

Here is how Country Living shot/styled it. They replaced all the Heath Ceramics with Vintage Ironstone on the shelves, which I do like, but who doesn’t love Heath Ceramics? Nobody. The color of the tiles are also a bit warmer, the outlets magically disappeared and the rug was replaced with that pretty blue/white kilim (which I believe is from Loloi).

Kitchen tile

I really love this kitchen, every time I walk in it I feel so happy with how it turned out. So just in case you all want to recreate this look – here is a ‘get the look’ and a ‘look for less’/

Get the Look Kitchen_Combined

Get the Look:

Floor Tile | Faucet | Kilim Rug | Black Canister | Plates | Wood Bowls | Cabinet Paint Color | Hardware | Farmhouse Sink | Cutting Board | Ceramic Mugs

Look for Less:

Floor Tile | Faucet | Kilim Rug | Black Canister | Plates | Wood Bowls | Cabinet Paint Color | Hardware | Farmhouse Sink | Cutting Board | Ceramic Mugs

*All photos EXCEPT the Country Living shot (by Max Kim Bee) ,by Tessa Neustadt. 

See the rest of the project here: Living Room, Reading Nook, Guest Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Dining Nook, Nursery (coming soon), Dining Room (coming soon) and Master Bedroom (coming soon).

French Industrial Dining Nook

When I first met this dining nook (see back story of project here) I was so excited to get my grubby little hands on it. It’s just so special. You know how on makeover movies (Can’t buy me love, She’s all that, 50 shades, etc) we are all supposed to think they are ugly at first but its all so obvious that they just need some bangs, a cute top, mascara and they’d be beautiful? It was like that. The architecture already made it beautiful, so it was going to make my job look really easy.

The entrance into it (right off the kitchen) wasn’t just an arch, it had these really interesting sharp almost geometric lines to it, which is pretty rare for a Spanish style home which tend to have more curves. The wrought iron on the two windows was so pretty and the ceiling was beamed.


California Country French_Dining Nook_Before

It was obviously under construction when I started, but it was still a happy space that was easy to visualize.

There wasn’t a ton to do – paint out the moldings in this dark gray (BM Deep Space) to match the rest of the house, paint the walls (BM Smoke Embers), and paint the built-ins (which I think were painted brown). The beams were also painted  white since they had previously been painted brown  – NOT stained, but painted and that is a massive difference. Never, I say, NEVER paint your beams the color of wood. You are fooling no one. Paint them white, gray, white wash them, stain them to bring out their natural color, OR strip them and leave them raw. Brown-painted beams are a deal breaker for me (and extremely hard to strip).

Click through to see the ‘afters’.


Jack Be Quick: A Boy’s Room Makeover

Welcome to another special guest post by my dear friend Orlando Soria, the creative director of the L.A. Homepolish team and the founder of Hommemaker blog. We don’t work together every day anymore but our addiction to each other hasn’t waned. So, every now and again we simply must collaborate even if its just a guest post by him here on the blog. Take it away, Landy.


Dear Emily,

When I was a little boy I constantly redecorated my bedroom. I painted it blue, then purple, then white. I forced my mom to make me Mickey Mouse curtains to match my Mickey Mouse bedspread. Basically every year I gave my room a makeover that made it unrecognizable. But I learned recently that not all little boys like to redecorate their rooms every year. Some little boys hire fancy interior designers with hard-to-pronounce names (like me) to come in and decorate their bedrooms. And you know what, thank God. Because little kids’ rooms are so fun.

You saw my megatransformation of the girl’s bedroom at my La Habra Heights clients house a few weeks ago. Today I’m sharing the makeover I did on the same family’s little boy’s room, which is actually what started the whole kids’ rooms makeover process (a new “big boy” bedroom was his birthday present”… I know, this family is so cute it like hurts my teeth to think about how sweet they are).


I tried my best to make these before pics look garbagey, but honestly the bedroom was pretty cute before we started. Yes, the color scheme lacked direction and was full of my least favorite color (red), but I would have LOVED this bedroom as a little boy. The only issue is that the bed wasn’t a big boy bed, and the rest of the furniture needed some updating (don’t worry, the family donated all this furniture, so some other happy kids are using it now).

Click through to see the afters


15 bedrooms – You Choose

The other day I was googling myself, as you do, looking for an old project to reference, when so many other old projects popped up – projects that I’ve even forgotten about!  Ginny and Brady were like, ‘You did that? We’ve never seen it before!’ Some of them I’m proud of and some of them I’m really not. Since a lot of you are new and probably haven’t seen 1/2 of them I figured I’d do a roundup of some of my favorite bedrooms that I’ve designed – and see which one you would live in the most, if any (poll at the end). Some of them are a bit controversial and there are definitely some things that make me want to shove my hand through the photo and change, but all of them I really like for different reasons. It’s incredibly hard to be objective about your own work, though. Also my feelings towards the client always effect how much I like/dislike the space.

I’m very curious about all your thoughts – so here you go:

Vintage romantic Canopy bedroom (from 2011):

emily henderson bedroom makeover 5

This one was from Secrets from a Stylist and while I could lose that intense orange, I just love that bed and that bedroom so much. See full post here | Photo credit: Bethany Nauert

Hollywood Regency Master bedroom makeover (2013):

emily henderson bedroom makeover 6

Sometimes I seriously regret selling them those teal rams head lamps. I’m doing another project for them soon so I might, you know, steal these for myself. See full post here | Photo credit: David Tsay

Curbly’s bedroom makeover 2014:

emily henderson bedroom makeover 2

The Curbly makeover is still one of my all time favorites – and YES, that is a Target bed. So good. See the full post here | Photo credit: Melissa Oholendt

Click through to see 10 more.