My Guest Room Makeover

Alright. This is a dooooooooziiie of a design post, including ‘before’ shots, the process, an EPIC FAIL, the remedy, the ‘after’ photos, resources, ‘get the looks’ and a VIDEO. Tell your boss that you ate bad salmon and that you and that you need to go to the hospital for an emergency surgery, possibly even a C section or kidney removal. Something that could take hours. Then go home, grab a cup of coffee, diet coke or wine (I like to give you options) and settle in to read the epic guest room make-over post.

Here goes: The guest room is FINISHED thanks to a partnership with DutchBoy paint. Dunzo. Like President Obama and Michelle could randomly show up at my door for the weekend and all we’d have to do is add some flowers. I mean, for them of course we’d have to get REALLY beautiful flowers, probably open garden roses flown in from Holland, watered by the tears of angels, but other than that, this room is good to go. Finally.

But before I show you the ‘after’ you must suffer through the process. Because I had to (and because the process is what this blog is all about).

We moved into this house 9 months ago and started fixing up this bad boy. BEFORE we moved in the room looked like this and I blogged about its needs HERE:

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To recap: disgusting pee carpet, gross painted ceiling, lovely ‘vintage’ ceiling fan, etc. Oh and you can’t tell but there is an insane texture on the walls – as if it was a gothic cathedral in Prague in the 1700’s. Like serious texture.

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So we skim-coated, painted the walls, put down new beautiful hard-wood flooring and it started looking way better.

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TA DA!!!!! Isn’t it beautiful, you guys? It only took 9 months, 2 design assistants and 3K to do that.

Kidding. This is what it looked like after we moved in and unpacked and it clearly wasn’t designed or even thought about. It was good enough for the parents to come and sleep in for the holidays but needed some serious considering.

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We lived with it like that for about 6 months while we worked on the rest of the house.

I’ve gone back and forth about whether I like that brick wall thing ever since we bought it. But dry-walling it sounded annoying and expensive, so I wanted to try to work with it and it seemed like a good opportunity to use the grid of bricks in an interesting way.  So one night, 3 nights before the Domino shoot I decided to grab some beer, put on Season 3 of the OC, grab 18 different colors of paint and see what the beer tells me to do, because that’s how real designers design.

In my defense I will say that this idea was endorsed by Ginny, Brady and Scott and we all picked out the colors together. It was kinda thought out, but we all had our doubts.

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What I did to that wall was a G.D. masterpiece. I’ve since decided to quit styling and dedicate myself to my true passion – tipsy public performance painting. How do I create such beauty, you ask? Well, how did Mozart compose such melody, or how does Sara Silverman think of a joke?

You can’t explain it, the genius is the true miracle.

Also I did have some inspiration pics/references to work off of, these weird 80’s color blocked buildings, but sadly the wall never really came to resemble them at all.

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I started with just a few colors and kept them looking more ‘water-color-y’ without hard edges (especially since there aren’t any hard edges – the bricks were rough). Then I was all, MORE, I NEED MORE NOW AND COLOR MORE COLOR FAST HURRY I’M SOBERING UP!!!

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But then that looked like a drunk monkey took over painting the wall with those crazy pops of color. So I decided to have it be more tonal and just do these kinda weird pastels together (the last photo). And then it looked like Easter threw up on my wall. It was terrible and incredible all at once. I hated it in an aggressive sort of way where it actually made me angry. It’s probably because the rest of the house is open and white/bright so all of a sudden when you caught this through the doorway your eyes were bombarded with these annoying colors, challenging your controlled temper, making you want to do violent things to helpless animals. It was that bad.

Click through to see the afters …

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Bloggers loving Target – A roundup

Today is like my wedding + christmas, but for my career. Well, that might be a bit superlative but its a big week, folks. I am shooting a bunch of styling videos with Target the next six days with some of the most creative, smart and generally just lovely people from Target and their Ad agency, Partners and Spade. When I saw the set on Saturday (which i can’t wait to show you – its BEAUTIFUL) I had kinda the same feeling/nerves that I had when I thought about walking down the isle – all those people are going to be looking at me? But it was quickly followed by, total excitement – not because they are looking but despite it. Its going to be super fun.

Obviously you’ll hear all about it and I’ll be instagramming all week some behind the scenes, but I figured it was a good time to share with you some things that some of my favorite blogs have been doing with Target as well. Target challenged the best design/diy blogs to use one Room Essentials piece, and style it out three different ways in their space. I’m only posting one way so this post isn’t like 15 pages long, but click on the link to see how else they used the piece. I have a decent amount of the Room Essential line pieces at my house because they are just super simple, sleek and modern looking and yes, flexible pieces – you can kinda use them anywhere which is what all these bloggers demonstrated so well. Nice job, friends. Take a gander.

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A Merry Mishap I mean, that desk is very chic.

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Oh Happy Day – Naturally Jordan Ferney killed it. And that coat rack is ridiculously cute, too.

View More: http://morganashleyphotography.pass.us/target-room-essentials-high-res

Darling Magazine, these accent tables are so versatile

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The Design Confidential – I have two of those standing lamps. So good. (Nesting Table | Standing Lamp | Mug)

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Justina Blakeney My friend, Justina, never disappoints.

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Little Green Notebook Duh. What can’t Jenny do? P.S. did you see her house in Domino? So lovely, but I want to see more!!!!!

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Smitten Studio What a hideous bathroom. #opposite. (ottoman)

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Studio DIY Curious is those are temporary or permanent ice cream handles. Either way, very cute. (Kitchen Cart)

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SF Girl by Bay Victoria used hers as a barcart, too. There is something so utilitarian and simple about that cart. (Kitchen Cart)

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Making It Lovely Always lovely. That wall color is awesome. (Desk)

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Design Mom Gabrielle knows anything that has to do with kids, as she should with 6 of them. (Metal Cart)

Nice job, ladies. And good job, Target. You guys are going to freak out at some of the fall and holiday stuff that is coming out that I’m styling with this week. It’s AWESOME. Stay tuned and happy monday!

A Simple, Inexpensive Makeover at Orlando’s Apartment

Welcome to a special guest post by my dear friend Orlando Soria of Hommemaker blog and now the creative director of the L.A. Homepolish team. 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.

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Dear Emily,

Remember when we met each other and we were, like, not yet fully formed adults? Like I always accidentally called Brian your boyfriend because I forgot sometimes grownup people get married and you lived in a cute little apartment instead of a giant glamourhouse? Well strangely over the past few years we’ve grown from playful party animals to people who are starting to look more and more like actual grown humans. Which is scary and BORING but fun because HAY NEW GROWN UP SPACES.

Recently, I awoke abruptly from a terrifying nightmare (about a terribly styled coffee table) and realized my bedroom needed some tweaking. First of all, the slightly blue hue of the wall was was a bit colder than I wanted (it was Pale Smoke by Benjamin Moore) and it was making me depressed and annoyed. Second, because I move my art on a daily basis my walls looked like swiss cheese. Finally, I felt the space could do with a bit more structure, a bit more sophistication. So before my bedroom was like Kesha, I wanted it to be more like Taylor Swift, freshly emerging from the gym, perfectly coiffed.

My bedroom was still pretty much the way I had it with my ex and not very different from when I moved in so this was the first time I’d really tried to reconfigure everything to make it my own. Now that I’m dating someone new I thought it was definitely time for a change. As the old adage goes, NEW BOYFRIEND, NEW BEDROOM! I actually don’t think that’s an old adage. But it should be. Which means that I would have decorated my bedroom like two times because I am virgin who can’t drive.

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So here’s my new bedspace. I know, I know! You’re probably like “WHY DID YOU GET RID OF THAT AWESOME SEASCAPE?” And I get it, it was really fun to have it. But, I found it kind of busy for a bedroom and wanted my updated space to be much calmer and more relaxing because I tend to wiggle around in my bed instead of sleeping in it. So I was all “SHHHH PAINTING YOUR WAVES CRASHING IS KEEPING ME AWAKE IF I DON’T SLEEP I’M GOING TO DIE!”

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One of my favorite additions are these ticking stripe and shibori quilted pillows my mom made. They give the room a little pop of navy while also being organic and nautical, which was kind of my goal for the whole room. (For full resources see Orlando’s how to/resource guide here).

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I made myself a simple organic wash painting for above the bed. I wanted it to be an abstract version of a seascape that also looked a bit like a Rothko painting. I framed it in a super cheap DIY frame (check out my how-to post) which makes it look much more finished and considered. The headboard was also a DIY project and cost practically nothing. Check the Homepolish Magazine site for that step-by-step soon…

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Pretty much everything in this picture came from a flea market, aside from the mirror from Ikea which is a total steal. Like it’s so cheap everyone should have one. I tell everyone. And so should you.

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I’m obsessed with this little watercolor. I found it at Rose Bowl last time I ventured there and it makes me so happy to stare at it every day.

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I had fun with my paint job, using oversized borders to help define the space and make it look a little more formal. Because my apartment lacks crown moulding and I didn’t feel like adding any, I added a 4″ border around the top of the wall and it thrills me in an irrational, almost scary way when I look at it every day. It’s a great solution for anyone who wants to paint their ceiling a different color than the wall but also wants to do something a little unique.

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The best thing I did in the room is flip the orientation so the bed now faces the windows and looks out onto palm trees, power lines, and fancy Hollywood Hills houses. Speaking of Hollywood Hills houses, there’s an open air tour bus that passes by my apartment like 30 times a day. The guide is always screaming that Katy Perry lives across the street in a spanish revival house with a giant picture window. Sometimes, when I’m home alone watching “Katy Perry: Part of Me” on Netflix, I look out the window hoping that Katy will look down and we will lock eyes. Then, she will fall in love with me and buy me, forcing me to live in the chicken barn behind her house.

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Emily gave me this bench a long time ago, I’m don’t really remember where she found it but I love how it’s rustic and outdoorsy, just like I pretend to be!

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My parents moved out of our house in Yosemite recently and they had an old manzanita branch that fell off a manzanita bush that was in our back yard. It’s old and aged and I love it so I decided to hang it from the ceiling above my dresser. It’s one of the more controversial elements of my makeover but I have to say I love it. Sometimes, with design, you have to allow yourself something super weird. Even if it terrifies all your neighbors as they pass by, looking in your window, gasping loudly as they clutch their pearls.

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So yeah, that’s it. My whole goal with this makeover was to make it as elegant as possible without getting too fancy. I’d say I spent around $500 and now feel like my bedroom is a lot more grown up and elegant (like Emily and me). Finally!

Love,
Orlando

PS: Wanna see more process shots and get the resources? Check out Orlando’s full DIY Write up on Homepolish Magazine!

Photos by Sean Gin, Courtesy Homepolish | Portrait of Emily and Orlando by Tessa Neustadt Courtesy Homepolish

Reader Question: Objective Advice on Living Room

Oh sure, I LOVE being objective. Just remember, you asked :)
This weeks READER QUESTION is more like a few questions, but here we go. (‘Reader’ is in green, i’m in black)

I’m hoping for a little objective advice on my living room… I’m attaching some not-so-great iPhone photos, and hope ya’ll can get an idea of my space + stuff.

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I’m not sure how to describe my style….comfortable modern, a little minimalist? I love mid-century stuff, but more importantly I like a mix, and I’m worried that this room is getting too mid-centuryish.  We use this room a lot-kids practice piano here, we read in here, play board games on the floor.  

QUESTIONS:
Fabric for sofa reupholstery? bluish tealish from the rug? keep in mind out 100+ pound dog and two elementary aged kids and that I hate being careful with things all the time.
First off – you are in VERY good shape, here. You have awesome furniture and I don’t feel sorry for you at all. But choosing a sofa fabric can be scary – especially kid-friendly. I would know, i just did it. I really like the idea of pulling the teal or a dark green out of your rug – its kid friendly and it’ll work with the room and contrast nicely with the teak chairs with the light upholstery. I secretly like that plaid, but I know it’s probably dated in person – that sofa is just so awesome. I recently redid my new sofa in Sunbrella fabric (outdoor) and they had a pretty big range of colors. It’s not as soft as most fabrics, but its crazy durable, has a decent weave that kinda looks like linen and you don’t really have to worry about it. A good polyester velvet or linen that has a lot of polyester in it will hold up nicely, too. But that sofa is a gem. It reminds me of an Adrian Persall or my former sofa  – I can’t say ex-sofa, I just can’t … it was sooo hard to part with it!!! I’m still mourning its loss (but sooo loving my new sofa).

What should I do for pillows?
The shape of this sofa is super beautiful – you could probably get away with just a couple of pillows and a throw and nothing too big or bulky. Maybe this is where you can bring in some other styles that you like to help it not feel too midcentury (your words, not mine, I love how midcentury it is).

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(Clockwise from top left: Etsy pillow, Target chunky knit throw, West Elm Pillow, Target chevron pillow)

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I’m thinking about redoing the plycraft chair in caramel leather…it’s seems like there is too much fabric in the room now with the non leather sofa. Or I can redo it in any other fabric-so easy and I’ve done a bunch of them so it only takes a couple hours!
Um, what are you? Some sort of upholstery wizard? You can just reupholster a plycraft chair in a couple of hours? Amazing. Move to LA. I’ll board you, and you can just be my personal upholsterer.

I totally agree with you about the leather. I don’t mind all the fabric necessarily but I think the upholstery on the Plycraft should be more classic and caramel or black leather is just so fitting for this chair. This chair is like Kim K – it doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles, It already has a lot going on, so its best when its simple and you just show off those pretty lines.

Should I get rid of one or both of the ottomans and get a coffee table?
I do think you could use a coffee table – I could see one of these in your space:

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If you don’t want to commit to a whole table I really like those little gold stools from Crate and Barrel (or you could get two). The midcentury oval table (top right) would be totally appropriate and seamless. The raffia wrapped Serena and Lily table is pretty amazing and i’ve wanted it for a few projects (although its $1200 price tag is hard for clients). The bentwood table would ground the seating area nicely and add some heft to all the leggy chairs. And the mid-century inspired Target bench is a super affordable option ($150) that is simple, pretty and would work seamlessly in there as well (and you wouldn’t have to be so precious around it).

I have pretty thick skin, so all critiques welcome, too!
The only thing I will say (and I hate unsolicited criticism although you did email me :)) is that in these shots it seems like you could lose a chair. I LOVE your chairs, but the mid-century chair next to your sofa seems a bit crowded. You could either face both mid-century chairs opposite your sofa or put one in another room and pair the other with the eames chair. Again, I love them all but I wonder if that would still provide a lot of seating and help open up the space. Also maybe try putting the fig tree in the corner (to help draw your eye to the corners which makes your room appear bigger) and then put the money tree where the fig tree is.

I hope I answered all your questions (well, I know I didn’t answer a couple, but I kinda ran out of time so I deleted them. Sorry!)

GOOD LUCK!!!!!

I have approximately 400 of these to answer, but if you want yours to make it to a post be sure to take good big pulled back photos (of different angles), ask very specific questions (not just ‘how can i make it look better?’ but more, ‘what color should I paint my wall and should I burn that ugly chair or recover it?’. And original questions that I haven’t addressed before are better – like since I’ve done ‘how to style a mantel’ video, I probably won’t do another post on that.

But bring ‘em on.

To submit your reader questions, email them to brady@emilyhendersondesign.com

We be thriftin’ – our newest finds

When we were shooting the show we would shop with clients in mind but also we would just buy whatever was awesome because we needed so much for styling every week. So every pretty box, vase, vessel, piece of art, sculpture, etc we would hoard. But I’ve had to curb that joy and be more discerning I would end up spending way too much money, hoarding too much and not needing enough of it – it’s just too wasteful … even though it fed the addiction.

Well now that I’m shooting the book and have gone through my inventory I’m back into that mode for the next month and it’s terribly exciting. So last night after we got finished shooting we stopped by a thrift store and CLEANED UP!!! Here’s what we got (some pieces I bought over the weekend, too), with rough prices.

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This thrift store isn’t cheap, it’s actually kinda over priced. But it’s still cheaper than new pieces and mostly more unique.

wicker vase $15, painting (that is actually from ShopClass that I purchased over the weekend, it was $90 but I LOVE it), black/brass horn $10, woven placemat $8, wood pedestal $16, basket trio $4, the camera bag was actually a gift from my best friend.

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Large paper mache camel $50  – this came in VERY handy today where we happened to need a large whimsical global object – as you do. so WHAM, we had it.

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Footed pedestal thing (from ShopClass), tray $12, pot $3, roll of hand-dyed fabric $60 – from the flea market and its about 12 yards, wooden bowl $10, green napkins $8, basket $15, little wicker basket $2.

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Little pottery tray $7, white and blue stripe bowl $15, brass lamp $30, little vase $5, tall white vase $18, huge blue vase $40, vintage blue/gray/striped patchworked fabric is from the flea market and was $110, same dude/dealer as my new pink runner. Expensive, i know, but they come sooo in handy as a tapestry on the wall, tablecloth, throw or rug in a shot. So when its pretty, i just buy right now.

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White lamp $40 (overpriced, but such a good unique shape), wood vessel $12, ceramic pitcher $18 (way too much, but again it came in handy today), wood/brass boxed $5, pottery vessel $18 (overpriced), little ceramic bud vase $7, hand colored photograph of ship, $15.

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Brass lamp $40 (we got them down from $60), painting $160 (total splurge from Shopclass but I love it and i’ll keep it after), 3 bowls $6 each, little blue vase $12, white vessel $8, weird wooden hammer $5.

So there you have it. My hoarding for you blog reading pleasure. We shot these with our iphone on set yesterday while we were shooting the book. Double timing it over here. And the only way that we can afford to purchase so much for the book is knowing that we are gonna have a massive garage sale at the end. Get prepared, folks. I’ll keep you updated on the deets.

So which is your favorite? Which one do you wish that you had scored?