Our Kitchen Progress …

When we were shopping for a house we were looking for the right combo of  something that can be transformed and designed (not recently flipped) but doesn’t need so much work that we’d be living in dust for a year with a baby. One of the reasons that we bought this house was because it was a project without being a total demo reno. We only needed to paint the walls and redo the flooring in order to live here which was obviously convenient since I gave birth 5 days later (yes i mentioned the birth of my child and yes, i’m ok with it:)). Walls didn’t need to be moved, and the kitchen, while not awesome, was still pretty good. Have a look see:

Kitchen Before Kitchen 07

The layout was great – it was open to the family room so I can watch my stories while I pretend to cook. Plus the cabinets are actually kinda pretty – its a nice wood grain that looks/feels really dry, but just needs a refinish – possibly even just a rub down with some oil. They have a really simple flat front that I’m absolutely on board with.

I’m sitting right there on that counter writing and i’m not bummed at all. Sure, it needs to be properly designed and absolutely updated, but I really like some elements of it. At least it wasn’t a ’2007 that looked like a 1996 redo’ in our rental house (sorry about the broken pics in that post – somehow when i switched platforms that happened and now i’m too busy to fix, but you can still see what our old kitchen looked like and this kitchen looks like an angels pinky compared to that one.)

So here’s what we wanted to do to it:

Kitchen 05

We have already skim coated and painted the walls and ceiling as you can see in the living room and bedroom posts. So that is dunzo. But now we need to figure out how to make this way more functional and attractive. Right now two of the four burners work on that cooktop and neither very well. Luckily every recipe I make requires less than two burners – exactly zero burners to be precise as I don’t cook. So that still works with our “non-meal” plan.

Kitchen 01

The sink is approximately 2 inches deep, which is great to wash around 1 plate at a time; it must be replaced, obviously. And the worktop is a weird formica. I will say one thing about formica – this stuff really does hold up. It is from the 60′s but totally in perfect condition. If only my heart and taste level thought it was in perfect condition then I could just leave it and be done. But sadly the brown faux stone that feels like plastic is fooling no one. Beat it, poser.

Kitchen 04

That oven is shockingly old – literally and figuratively. It shocked my friend Scott so bad that he was buzzing still the next day although he does fancy himself some dramatics. That should be one of the first things to go, but we aren’t totally sure what to do with it; do we put in another small oven or do we put in an oven/stove situation and turn that into storage? If we turn it into storage then do we have to match the existing cabinetry? Do we create open storage? Does Charlie destroy anything in new said open storage? Probably.

Kitchen 06

The hardware is HID(eous), but easily replaceable. I’m thinking something simple and brass – shocking (like the oven) I know.

P.S. Ginny, who is british (someone’s got to sound professional around here), does the graphics/copy on these posts so sometimes you might notice ‘colour’ instead of ‘color’ and I think in this case ‘cooker top’ instead of ‘cook top’. Either that or she just likes saying ‘cooker top’ which I will now find adorable and also make fun of her for. Unless I’m wrong (easily) and its actually not cooktop, but cooker top. I could probably just google that, but i’m rushing as it took us THREE hours to put screaming sir charles to bed so i’m deliriously writing this and can’t digress from my digression long enough to google what that stove thing is actually called.

I’m not totally sure what direction I want to go in. I know that I want it to feel new, fresh, modern, appropriate to 1964 but more colorful and fun with some organic elements:

kitchen Inspiration

And brass. Duh. Wood, white, brass and some blue. Its like the Gwinnie and Chris martin news – SHOCKING to no one, yet surprising to hear. I’m really shaking things up now, I know. But since the house has an open floor plan and I have very specific loves, I want it to feel really cohesive and pulled together, so one of the ways i’m doing that is through a consistent color palette so that each room really flows into another.

But also, now that i’m staring at that inspiration board none of those are quite weird/interesting enough – I still want it to feel edgy and weird so i’m looking for a tile backsplash that really does that – something appropriate to 1964 but nothing too kitchy or retro. Maybe handmade? Maybe I hand make it? Also all those inspiration pics look like they probably cost a fortune and we are on a budget for this job – I don’t want to scimp (is it scrimp? skimp?) but i’m not splurging too hard here as mama wants to put some built-ins in her living room. Also mama should never call herself ‘mama’ again. Maybe it was funny before ‘mama’ became a ‘mama’ but now its just as if she is speaking in the third person … to herself. Bates Motel type of creepiness.

Anyway, that is what is happening up there and we’ll have an update  (we’ve added a roman shade!) – very soon.

Check out our living room progress, master bedroom progress  and deck progress.

The best weekend …

We did nothing this weekend and it was just wonderful. After the Airbnb project (more blogging on that to come, but check out Snoop’s right now) and Vegas we needed a weekend that was just ours. I needed to not have any commitments; nothing except cuddling a certain baby and enjoying our new house which I still never want to leave.

charlie emily henderson

Friday afternoon I had a sitter watch Charlie while I got a massage with my best friend and then had a couple drinks. It was lovely, wonderful and a new friday ritual. Then Brian and I watched the Veronica Mars movie (me for the second time) and went to bed at 10:30 mainly so I could wake up and have the fullest, happiest day possible with one Sir. Charles Henderson.

Saturday I woke up at 7:00, mentally begging Charlie to get up early (he woke up at 7:30)  and then we went on a 3 mile hilly walk where I caught up with my mom on the phone. Afterwards, I instagrammed this makeup free pic where I got a lot of good advice on how to properly wear my baby. Whoops. And for the record he can absolutely hold his head up himself, he was just sleepy in this photo – I’m not walking around with my baby’s head slumped over for an hour, I promise – I support with with my hands, too.

baby-wearing emily

So for our Sunday walk I used my more complicated (but yes WAY more comfortable) Stokke Carrier. So don’t worry, America, Charlie Henderson’s hip flexors are healthy and happy.

To celebrate his hip flexors I bought an awesome antique persian rug. Here’s the deal with traditional persian rugs – I love them in theory but they are often in bad colors. So when I saw this (3′x6′) I knew it had to be in my entryway. Those colors are just perfectly me. Besides, right now I have a lot of new things in the house so this rug is giving everything else some soul. ($1900 down to $350 … I mean, rug dealers are, ahem, challenging …). Not a steal, but a good enough price for how unique it is.

teal persian rug

Oh and then naturally I decided to throw in this rug, too. I hadn’t been out of the house is 5 days (I’m not kidding) so apparently I panicked and was desperate to shop as if it was a post apocalyptic world where the vintage rugs that we own will determine what level in the new caste system we belong to. Don’t worry, Brian, we are in the ‘Very high because you hoard a lot of vintage rugs’ class. I really am useful sometimes.

navy pink kilim

I love this rug, but in retrospect it wasn’t as wise of a choice. I don’t exactly have a space for it … but i do have a bench that is dying for a redo so this bad boy might be on a piece of furniture ($200 for 2×8 at a random rug store on La Brea next to Sycamore Kitchen)

Then I went to my lovely friend Danielle Krysa’s book signing at Skylight Books in Los Feliz. I don’t want to gush but trust me that if she lived here we would be hanging out every weekend – shopping, brunching, playing with our respective ‘Charlies’ (yes both our sons our named Charlie). Plus she is a total humble inspiration.


I look like I clearly took the ‘Lean In’ advise literally as I’m about to topple Danielle over. No matter. I HIGHLY recommend buying her book. In her book she interviews 50 incredible artists and asks them how they get over creative blocks. It’s such a simple but genius idea with a ton of practical, approachable advise.


I think its SUCH a good gift for anyone that is pursuing a creative career or hobby. I’m serious. I LOVE IT and have picked it up over and over this weekend.  Buy it HERE.


Then Sunday morning I went for another big walk and then did a solo shopping trip to Target (my first since I’ve been officially on Team Red, read about that exciting partnership HERE) and bought A LOT of very exciting accessories and textiles for my house.  I was there at 9:30 am, it was so quiet, I got my pick of everything and it was just wonderful. I was there for an hour and a half, went through every single aisle and happily cleaned that joint out.

sofa.com sofa

Meanwhile my family room is coming along (more details on that this week) with my new sectional, pouf, curtains, lamp, blanket and basket. After I played decorator all day (on Sunday)we took the kids to Golden Road Brewery and had such an idyllic Sunday afternoon with our best friends who also have a kid (its a kid friendly joint).

Then Brian and I curled up on above sectional and watched Nate Berkus’ American Dream Builders which I liked for the most part but am dying for more details/photos of the designs (those before/after pans go so fast you don’t get to see so much of what they did).

charlie henderson

And then last night this guy started giggling for the first time. And he couldn’t stop. And I wanted to cry and die and put him in my mouth, chew him up and swallow him so that I can have him near me for the rest of my life. Don’t even bother nominating any band in 2014 for the Grammies; the sound of Sir. Charles Henderson’s laugh has just won all  ’best sound ever’ awards.

And now its Monday, and this is how Charlie feels about Monday:

Charlie copy

photo by LK Griffin Photography

Me, too. But don’t worry, Charlie, Mondays (while definitely the worst) are only 24 hours long and then Tuesdays come along. And Tuesdays are only 4 days away from Fridays. So we are on our way to another very fun weekend.

Thanks for listening to the rant. Sometimes I over think posts (which can take weeks to write) and sometimes I’m like, ‘why not just post pics and ramble aimlessly about my life?’

Clearly I chose the latter this time :) I hope your weekend was full of baby laughter, breweries, shopping, friends, and walks. Thanks for listening, friends. Have an excellent Monday.


Ramblings of a new mom …

Well folks, you may have noticed that i’ve been really busy lately by my lack of posting. Do you know how much time it takes to properly shape the mind of a newborn? So many hours. It includes lots of kisses to the feet, lots of fingers playing air piano on the belly, and making up of some of the most ridiculous lyrics/songs that you want to both tape for posterity and erase from your memory. I’ve been BUSY.

charlie henderson

Then there is the napping on you, napping with you and you figuring out how and when the hell they should actually be napping. Charlie is 10 weeks old now and things are still physically manageable, just emotionally overwhelming. He’s sleeping enough, thank god, but I realized that one of the reasons that women are more exhausted post motherhood isn’t because we sleep less, necessarily, but because during the waking hours we are busy containing our emotions and large amounts of love. I love him so much it truly is daunting and coping with that stress is just mind-numbingly draining at times, in a good way. … See? Thats why they say that people with kids are “less happy” then people without kids. I’ve never been happier in my life to the point that I cry happy tears all the time, and yet I’m worried every second of the day that i’m going to accidentally crack his head open on the stairs, or that every car on the road is going to lose control for no reason at any moment and hit our car. My best friend had a reoccuring fear that someone was going to break into her house and shoot her baby up with heroine because she saw it on the news once. I mean, no wonder there are more women in mental institutes than men. No wonder moms can be kinda batty. This stuff is super intense EVERY SINGLE SECOND of the day.

photo 2

Anyway. I’ve been working a lot but mostly when he’s asleep, with Brian or when he’s chilling and fine just sitting next to me in his bouncer. We moved that little table up into the living room that way I can work from here when I want to be near him, and in the office downstairs when I need to do conference calls, etc. I tried having him in on a conference call and he was rather inarticulate and off message in general.


That was my afternoon on Saturday for an hour which was so wonderful I could have cried. That is until he was like, ‘Oh yeah? You want to cry? Well check this out.’ and he decided to do the crying for me for 25 minutes. Such a baby.

But most of the time he’s pretty mellow. He likes to stick his tongue out like his father taught him, and he likes to hum and growl while he’s eating as if every drop is the most delicious thing in the world (also like his father … only with actual food obviousy). He likes to flail his arms around when he’s frustrated like he’s dramatically typing a letter, which we in turn then audibly narrate – usually pretending it is to the CPS about our parenting skills. “Dear Ma’am and Sir, These people really have no idea what they are doing … “

Having a kid makes every day both really important and really unimportant at the same time. Let me explain: Its really important because the way I drive, every word that comes out of my mouth, every time decision I make effects something so much larger. I watch every step I take up and down the stairs when i’m holding him so that I don’t slip fall and kill one of us. Ugh, its stressful.

But at the same time nothing matters as long as Brian and Charlie are alive. We could lose the house, I could lose my limbs, I could be publicly shamed by something I said taken out of context and never be able to work again, and I would just chant to myself, ‘At least Brian and Charlie are still alive’ and i’d recover. Before I had Charlie when I received bad news about work or a client was upset and refusing to pay for something they approved, I would think, ‘Well, at least I wasn’t a ‘cellar kid‘, referring to babies (yes there have been multiple cases) who are raised in basements their entire lives by insidious parents. It sounds super dark to think about constantly but it puts everything in perspective instantly. Some people never had a chance at a good life. I am not one of those people and therefore have a lot of be grateful for. And now my ‘cellar kid’ is Charlie’s life. As long as he is alive then i’ll be grateful every day no matter what else happens. Or else this is this the new mom hormone talking. Who knows.

Controlling, processing and verbalizing a mothers love is endless, difficult and totally unbelievably wonderful. It’s like every day is a huge surprise party with all of your favorite family and friends. And then Ryan Reynolds, Betty White and Melissa McCarthy show up and do a comedic one act play they wrote just for you. Its a lot of happiness to process. Every. Single. Day.


So thats what i’ve been up to – squeezing toes, rubbing heads, endlessly kissing cheeks and coming to terms with the fact that the obsession is probably just one sided for now.  I just love him so much I want to consume him, eat him, devour him up  … in a good way. I know i’m not alone, right?

Our Deck Progress

Dear summertime in LA (aka, all year round), are you ready for the parties that are about to happen on this deck in Glendale? And by parties I do mean play-dates. This deck is certainly not the typical back yard, but here’s my argument for it: A. we’ll probably only stay here til I’m done redoing the house and then we’ll find a new project/house, and B. children grow up all over the world (New York and SF in particular) without a backyard and they aren’t social lepers and are not allergic to grass. Would it be ideal if we had a backyard, too? Sure. But this deck is killer.

The Deck Before DECK

I’m trying to find the right landscape designer who can work with my meager budget on the project to help me with the vision, but right now I have made some decisions about what is staying and what is going. So, here is what needs to happen:

1. We might need to remove that huge eucalyptus tree. It is dropping on the deck so bad that we have to sweep it daily if we were actually using it and I’m sure it would ruin furniture. Plus its roots are pushing out the retaining wall and probably doing other foundational things. We’ve had a few tree dudes (that’s their technical name) look at it and they all recommend either getting rid of 1/2 of it or getting rid of it all together.

2. Landscape that hill. We want simple, low-maintenance, but pretty and surprising. Not sure what that means. I need a landscape designer.


3. I think i want to try to make it more intimate with a long planter box along the deck with foliage in it – nothing too high that would block the deck but something that would create more a sense of an outdoor room and block the ironwork which isn’t bad, but it’s not awesome.


4. There is that area in the back that we might want to turn into either a backyard for Charlie or maybe a hot tub where i can party with high cut bikini wearing hot chicks. You know that’s what used to happen here. We could get some high quality turf and throw it in there, or some sort of ground cover that is comfortable for my little man to play around. Then I can close it off with some sort of cute fence or something and have that be his dedicated play area.



5. We need a new retaining wall, but do we just face it out or demo and do something new altogether. And what should it be? Wood? Stone? Paper Mache?

6. I want an outdoor kitchen. In case you think that’s because I like to cook I can assure you that it’s the opposite – I like to make food and that is what bbq-ing is: ‘Making food’. Our kitchen is kinda far away from the backyard and you have to enter/exit through our master bedroom which isn’t ideal with the amount of juicy fruit salad and trays of drinks that I’ll be trekking through the house. So I want a bbq area that has a fridge, gas stove/bbq and a sink if possible. Imagine if we had enough out there that we could cook everything up there? How boss would that be?

So not much progress has happened in the last two months barring some demo of the trellis. Now it just has the major beams across without all the other smaller ones making it super dark underneath. Brian had his friends come over right before we moved in and demo that stuff:

The Deck Progress The Deck Progress

When you hold a sledge-hammer, extension chord or caulk gun you prove that you are macho. Slow clap, fellas. Don’t mind Ian on the ceiling looking like a troll who is about to put a spell on us. Thanks, guys, so much for helping. You are strong, handsome and generally Bruce Willis in Die Hard kinda macho.

Where are we headed style-wise?  Maybe here …

Deck Inspiration

I want it to be comfortable/functional, first and foremost. Then exciting, modern, smart, stylish and inviting. I want it to be easy to maintain but warm enough that people can hang out for hours and hours and feel at home. Now that I have a kid and am working so much, I would like to manipulate my friends into making them come to me every night, so this is really just a master ploy so that I never have to socialize outside the house. Let the agoraphobia begin.

Our Master Bedroom Progress

Time for another before and after post; master bedroom edition. The master bedroom was a huge sell for the house. Its big, bright, spacious with huge windows and access to a pretty massive deck. I was just so happy that it existed. Not a bad start, folks and not much to complain about. But naturally there was still a lot I wanted to do …

Here’s where we started:

Master Bed Before

Master Bed Before

At this point you know that we replaced the carpet in the whole house with fresh wood flooring from Build Direct (Yes we are still working on writing how to choose hardwood flooring post, but for now check out what we bought HERE). That was a no brainer. And you probably remember that we had to skim coat all the walls in the whole house to get rid of this crazy texture:

Master Bed 9

I tried and tried to get my mind around why thick plaster walls and orange peel are a problem and I think it’s because they tend to be sloppily done where it looks really fake. And then obviously this house is a mid-century modern house, so it’s just so inappropriate. This house, like my neglected legs, wants to be smooth. We aren’t in a spanish castle.

Master Bed Before

The fan is ugly but I have to say that I might be pro-ceiling fan these days. I apologize to all of those who live in the rest of the country with “seasons” where its “cold” and “snows” but here in La la land, we still have 70 – 80 degree January days and it gets HOT up in here. It doesn’t help that we removed the window film, but I’m a sucker for natural light and I insisted that it flood in. But to combat the heat I’ve ordered blackout romans from Decorview that have a duel function so that during the day, when the sun is streaking through, it can filter that light, too. They are being installed in a couple of weeks and I’m VERY excited. For now we are using temper paper to combat the early morning light, which is so beautiful but so tortuous these days.

You are probably going to ask what we are going to do for the top windows which are angled and therefore the options for them are not awesome. After debating for HOURS what to do we decided on these hunter douglas sheer honeycomb shades that can be made in that shape. It’s not 100% ideal, but that sun must be blocked and there were no other options. I actually think its going to look fine, quiet and modern, but it was a hard decision. I promise I’ll give you more on that, but I it needs its own post.

Master Bed Before

New window treatments all around coming at you. And by you I mean me. The dresser will go under the window and my summer parties will go on out that door (deck info coming up soon).

Master Bed Before

The bathroom redo is yet to come – meeting with my contractor tomorrow actually to start the process. And the closet needs help but thank god I’ve hired Beth from BNeato to do it all up – post to come.

Master Bed Progress

Master Bed Progress

Painting the walls and ceilings made a MASSIVE difference. We used Benjamin Moore Super White which is basically the whitest white you can get without going cold. Behr ‘ultra bright white’ is good, too, and honestly most paint companies have one really bright white that has no pigment at all in it. So while I do love Benjamin Moore, I think that many less expensive brands could work for such a simple color, too.

I about wept with joy when I walked into that space. There are times, my friends, when this room is almost too bright and that makes me VERY happy to write. Seems impossible, I know. (which is why we ordered the dual shades – black outs and day time filter). Meanwhile in that photo above you can see the difference between the window that has the film still on it (on the right) and the one that doesn’t (on the left). Crazy, right? Again to have it all removed and all those windows washed it was $600, which took two full days.

Master Bed Progress

Here we are with the flooring replaced, and it’s just so beautiful. We have yet to put backboards in this photo (and right now we have only done them 1/2 the house … silly baby kinda halted those nail gun plans).

Master Bed Progress

This was the day that we moved in. I can’t tell you what happiness I felt moving into a clean white box. I’ve never had a bedroom I’ve been psyched about going into. NEVER. But I tell you, with this pretty light and my crazy blue headboard, all I need is some white bedding and we could call it a day.

Here are some sneak peeks into the bedroom a month ago. Since these shots I’ve gotten new night stands and lamps, but it hasn’t changed too much beyond that. This room is actually probably the easiest room to do because I don’t want too much. I’m searching for the right piece of art above the bed, and can’t wait for the window treatments but really Its going to be a very simple room.

Master Bed

For the bedroom, like the rest of the house, I want it to be that combo between calm, quiet and relaxed and yet with enough style that I’m not living in a white box. ‘Relaxed with a side of weird’. Here are some of my inspiration pics that we threw together. It’s not there yet, but I’m loving the direction it’s headed in.

Master Bed Inspiration

I’m on the search for bedding that doesn’t wrinkle really bad but is really soft (and no, i don’t really care if its 100% cotton, i’m so sick of my pillows sham flanges being so wrinkled that you can’t even iron them flat. They look dirty and used even when they aren’t. Unacceptable. I might go back to my favorite linen duvets but Brian isn’t the biggest fan of linen (even though I am). Can anybody recommend some decent soft white sheets that don’t wrinkle too much?

That’s my linen rant for the day.

Oh and i’m getting this rug  (the white quilted hyde rug in the middle below) which I’ve been obsessed with ever since I used it in The Lake House. You literally can’t believe how pretty it is in person. It reflects the light so beautifully AND its indestructable. I mean, if I tried I of all people could probably do some damage but I figured since its the only doorway to the outside patio we needed a rug that could withstand some wear

serenaand lily hyde rug

Check out my instagram for other sneak peeks and as soon as the window treatments are in i’ll take some proper pics…

Meanwhile, going to sleep in this here bed is just a dream. Pun intended.