Day after brain-dead-ness

Ahhhhhh!!!  Thank you so much.  I don’t really know what else to say except that i could have woken feeling like crap today but instead i woke up feeling pretty amazing, although totally tired. My brain is a bit full.  it doesn’t take a lot, its a pretty small brain, but it might be at capacity right now.


I’m not sure if you guys want more from the house, but i’ll just post a couple before and afters here and talk about some stuff that maybe didn’t get talked about last night.

Here is his living room, ‘before’


Here was my inspiration board that i was working with:  Things changed a bit, as you can see, but the general look feels the same. 

Ok let’s go around the room.   The coffee table, sofa, pouf and lamp were all new.  Coffee table ($1300) , sofa ($900) from HD buttercup and standing lamp (anthro $398).  The pouf was $200 from Mosaik in LA.  Everything else is vintage and came from either TINI, Hernandez brothers, 45 three modern and the flea market.  So yes, the coffee table and table lamp were splurges, but i saved on everything else – i mean some of the side tables were $20 and the pillows were just 1/2 yardage that I bought for 10 bucks. 
 I think that coffee table (while i couldn’t afford it) was worth the splurge because it completely grounds the room, makes it look high end next to all the thrift store pieces and is heavy, but since its metallic it doesn’t weigh down the room.  And it has storage.   
Oh and In case you don’t know my feeling on legs,  you should try to have at least one piece of furniture that doesn’t have four legs, whether its a really low sofa, or a skirted sofa or chair or in this case a coffee table, it helps the whole space look more grounded and substantial. I forget who said it, somebody from house beautiful, but a designer said that a room with too many legs looks ‘nervous’ and I totally agree.    
The paint color is BM Smoke embers, and i LOVE it.  
The artwork is controversial, i know.  I think its awesome, while some people think its creepy.  Here’s the thing with artwork on TV shows:  it is super super hard to get things cleared, meaning that the original artist or their family (if they are deceased) has to sign off on it to the network – and its normally super hard to track down who the original artist is – especially flea market art.  (this is not the case in magazines, i don’t know why).   I’m not an artist, so i can’t make my own art (although i do have a few ideas of weird collage-y things that I can do). 

Luckily Ian loves vintage maps, because those are cleared. And he loves antlers, which worked perfect with the FDR look. oh and to the critics who say that antlers are ‘out’, i disagree. Sure, they were ubiquitous a couple years ago, but things that are beautiful are never ‘out’, we just don’t need anymore cardboard antlers or maybe high gloss pink antlers.  Its like how coral was so huge 5 years ago.  Now people are repelled by coral, but coral is beautiful. just buy one natural piece to display, not a bedding set with coral all over it.    

Back to the room.  Here is the more sixties look.
I actually really like it, although it just feels too art directed.  It definitely looks more ‘designed’ which is exactly what Ian didn’t like about it.  
And the shelving was a bit west elmy and cataloguey.  
That rug is from Ikea, i’m sure you all knew that. its pretty great for $179.
And as much as i like the idea of doing something to the back of  shelves, i knew that Ian wouldn’t ultimately want to live with it – otherwise i probably would have wallpapered back there.  

Ok apparently my brain is too tired to blog today.  I mean, what a boring post.  Sorry guys, i’ll try to do a better one tonight.  


  1. Emily – I checked your blog ten minutes ago, thought of something I wanted to say, and came back to a new post! I missed your show last night. Will it be aired again soon?

  2. I'd like to see the first version of the room. Do you have a photo of that. I loved that version. Would have liked to have seen that one with just a little of the sixties thrown in.

  3. hi again. totally agree with you on ignoring trends (current or outdated) and just going with what you like.

    and random question. did you end up not using window treatments at all?

    and second random question. did they make you re-create your apt in your design studio?

  4. Jen

    I agree with Nita…I loved the room you called FDR Chic…can you add some pictures of that room. I would have moved right in! Loved the show!

  5. Just for the record, the "creepy" art was my favorite piece of the entire puzzle. Although, it was a difficult choice as there were so many fabulous things to choose from.

  6. I enjoyed your show! I need that for my house. I like a few different styles and don't like having to stick with just one! And my husband is from India so we have some Indian things too. I'd love to think of my home decor the way you described on the show so that it shows all our different aspects. Looking forward to more! Oh I loved the frames and artwork above the guest bed. I love how the #8 was in a frame.

  7. akemi

    I about fell off the sofa when you started that mini-lesson on 'Old Tippecanoe!" Hilarious (I've been to 2 historic WHH locations and now know more than I ever intended…)!

  8. mm

    I'm glad you brought up antlers and coral and design elements that are seemingly everywhere. Classic, beautiful, natural things will always be that, I agree. Would you take that position on salt-n-pepper cowhide rugs? Anybody?

    Question – What's the convo with the "client" before the styling? Does he get direction on how the makeover is going to progress and is he instructed to react a certain way?

    On Ian – Terribly cute.

  9. Kai

    I als ohad a question about the lack of window treatments – especially in the bedrooms. That was my only real "huh?" part of the show.

    And I love the artwork – especially that it is historical and so large – it really balanced the bookshelves well.

  10. Emily, thanks for the tip on the gray paint color. access to information like that is gonna be a huge advantage for your viewers. awesome.

    also wondered about your thoughts on the windows. I noticed Ian had some gauzy curtains before. Did the 'bare' look suit the room better? Just curious about your take on that. I'm a bare window gal myself.

    thanks! great job…Donna

  11. So beautiful! Love the room and your style!!

  12. Nice job Emily! I think you are on the brink of incredible recognition and success! Not only are you a doll but your style is fabulous. I live in your hood..So, if you ever need a graphic designer (who is a style/int design groupie), I would love to work with you. We thoroughly enjoyed the show last night! My hubbie kept looking over at me through your whole show saying "thats what you always say". I agree with so many of your tips, theories and ideas! Nice work sister!

  13. Chris

    A few have commented on the horns and hides in design. My take.

    Most cow hides are byproduct from the meat we eat. If the hides are not tanned and sold for many uses including decor they would be wasted. Same with deer and elk or any horns.

    I do not have any hides but we do have horns. I did the bead work for the mount on these horns from the first deer my husband shot when he was 12. He is 70 now.

    The horns have been a treasure in our house for years. For awhile they lived in the garage because as a child he painted them in redwood stain. GAG. He kept trying to throw them to the dump.

    I feel by having hides and horns in our homes we honor the animals. They still live and are loved. OK I suppose it might be a pretty weird way to look at it but it is my way. Maybe if some can see it in a different light other then just killing something it would make it easier for them to accept their use in our homes.


  14. Betsy

    I loved your show so much! I got excited when you used a chair that I actually own and love (the wooden, curvy back chair w/ the square seat that is in the big picture window in the LR)because I think your style is so super cool! Hope to see lots more episodes!

  15. Loved the show!! Where did you get that Lakeville baseball t-shirt? Is it Lakeville, CT?

  16. Judy

    I just loved the process of watching how you layered the room. When the client said it looked like maybe he could have done it, I felt that was the genius of your work. I think that is what we all would like.
    Love that you told us the paint color, please continue that.
    Congratulations on a job well done, can hardly wait for next weeks show!

  17. I wish my house had amazing built in shelves like his! Ah well I'm hoping to get some power tools for me birthday.

    Hope the show gets picked up! I neeeeeed more. Really. NEED. Because after your show got them talking, the men of the house want me to incorporate their styles into our home.

  18. I loved the show Emily! It's such a refreshing change for an HGTV show….they're usually pretty suburban, although don't get me wrong, i watch them all the time!

    Love following your show and your blog! Congrats! It's well deserved. Glad we get to see more of your personality on this show…I don't think Design Star really did a great job of showing people at their best, which seems kind of ironic.

    Looking forward to more!

  19. I've never seen a design show I've loved as much as yours. No kidding. Please rest
    And I also have a question or two :) Yes, about the curtains. Why did you ditch them completely? Also where does the makeover budget come from? Does a client has to pay it? portion of it?
    Also maybe a suggestion or rather a small request… about paint color choices. Do you select the undertone based on which side windows face? Like North-facing rooms need a worm (yellow, pink, brown etc) undertone paint colors, and South-facing can bear a cold blue undertone. that sort of thing.
    Thank you in advance.

  20. I love that I can learn something from watching your show. Too many of the design programs don't teach the average viewer how to get a designer look working within their budget (with a splurge here and there.) While I love the finished designs, I don't have an extra $50K lying around.

  21. Cynthia

    I really enjoyed your show. I was wondering if your client gives you a budget to work with, or the network. Is the budget pretty tight? I was surprised that the sconce could not be replaced though the edison lightbulbs turned out great. Also, when do you decide to splurge and buy new vs. old?

  22. Mary

    This is going to be the best show on HGTV. I loved it last night. Can't wait to see more.
    Your styling is amazing. You really have a gift.

  23. I loved the artwork, Emily. Not creepy at all. Keep up the good work!

  24. sunny

    I haven't seen your show yet! I don't have cable so I watch shows online and I can't find your's online. boo hoo, I know. So I love these photos and your description!

  25. Emily..the show was great! I love the artwork (and so does my hubs…)! It was so much fun to watch you go through the process. I always feel like I should finish a room once and then it's done. Watching you style Ian's house made me realize that its ok to change your mind! Super excited about your show! Can't wait to learn more from you!

  26. Portraits are SO CRAZY GOOD!! Who is complaining of creey! Not creepy. Matching perfectly is creepy. Is a painting of a faux leaf with some geometric squares in a coordinating color, better? I think not…

  27. Cassi

    Emily – your show isn't online, sad. No cable here, so I will have to figure out another way to catch it. I did however flip thru the online gallery of Ian's makeover and I l-o-v-e the overall color scheme, feel, warmth, and cozy masculinity! In the weird-space-turned-guest-room, I adore that color combo: greige and marigold. What a huge transformation! Ian won't be single much longer, cuz ladies from all over will wanna move in to that home! Fantastic job!!

  28. emily… awesome. i love fdr chic! i think i may need to call myself that from now on! i loved the show. it was a bit raw, but in that raw is awesome way. it's different from the rest of the crowd. which, i am sure is why you won design star! you have totally inspired me! and funny enough, in the bookshelf shot, the little white glass vases… yesterday afternoon i bought those! whoa!

  29. Great show!You are a fantastic addition
    to the HGTV line up. It's amazing that you were able to show great design, have clear and understandable explanations of the theory behind your choices, and do it all without the affectations of many of the seasoned presenters – all in your first show! I loved your Beatles flub, George was the cute one…just saying, as I'm old enough to be your mum!

  30. Monica Bowen

    um, I love the art, one of my favorite things in the room! ;)

  31. I loved it all, especially the artwork! I went to bed last night thinking about the show and can't stop thinking about it all day today. Good work, loved every second of it

  32. really REALLY loved the show. i loved the format—it was so much more "real" to me than other design shows. i liked that you brought ian back in before the room was "done" to get his feedback. it is so much more like real design—the client is a BIG part of it, and is always there to sign off on items and ideas. i have yet to have a client that is like "here's a pile of cash. i'm gonna be gone for the next two weeks. just SURPRISE me."
    yeah. riiiiiiight.
    my favorite quote of the show?
    after your helper dude broke the glass on the sconce:
    "that's ok—it's just a sconce…it's not a baby."
    oooo—weee. that made me chuckle.
    can't wait to see MORE shows.

  33. I just finished watching the show on the DVR and oh my goodness, I LOVED IT!!! It is, hands down, the best show I have seen on HGTV in ages. I loved what you did with the house. It was truly inspiring and I really can't remember the last time I thought that. I cannot wait to more. I hope (or should I say I know) you'll be on the air for a very long time. Well done, Emily! Oh, and did I mention I LOVED IT!!! xoxo, Ally

  34. Seriously, you're genius. I loved the show, and how laid back, accessible, chic, and eccentric your taste is. The final design was awesome, though I totally dug the first one as well. I just can't believe your team painted and repainted those built-ins so many times! Totally paid off in the end, but sheesh . . . that's hard work!

  35. Dorkus Maximus

    Emily, great show last night. I hope it becomes a weekly occurrence very soon. If you need a house to make over, I just happen to own one. My style is a mix of early ebay, modern craigslist, and side-of-the-road freebie.

    Maybe on your next show (or here on the blog) you could address the issue of paint, specifically for furniture. I tried to distress a piece I'd painted with basic interior latex and it was awful. The paint stretches and tears like plastic. So what should I use for painting furniture? Oil-based? Enamel? Something else?

  36. What was your carpenter's name? Tyler Bob Rose III? Is that for real?

    I started thinking that maybe when you asked for gray suggestions a while back that you were just looking for paint colors to use in this home. Love them all, by the way. I'm especially a fan of how the addition of mostly cooler colors still makes the space feel warmer. Mind.Blowing. I also have a collection of frames, etc above a guest bedroom bed that I need you to arrange.

    Can't wait for more! I hope you get to address a couple's collective style soon. We'll see how well your little diagnostic works on that one.

  37. can't even BEGIN to tell you how much i loved the show!!! can't wait for your season (when? when?!), and can't wait to be able to take a quiz on your own hgtv site to narrow down MY style (ahem.). and hey – i'm building in the spring; want a client in minnesota? just think: blank slate! ;o) (oh … and terilyn fisher took your earlier pix??? love that. she rocks.)

  38. Laura

    I really enjoyed the show. Your communication style is really refreshing. I loved watching the process the living room went through. They all worked great but it was fun to see how you made it work best for the client. I have spent my day trying to see all my junk through your eyes. HA!

  39. I think that was kind of amazing book case focal wall to work with. Your show was unique in the three layer idea. I can't help but wonder how much time did they give you?
    Restrictions, advantages. Did you have fun?

  40. Loved the show! I felt like I learned a lot more than I do from watching most HGTV shows so keep the info coming. Also, I really liked when Ian came in after the second "round" and got to say what he liked better between the two– most of the time you just get a big reveal with little client input, so it was nice to see you working with the client throughout. Please keep that part of the process in the show in the future! My question, since you're addressing them– can you talk about the placement of the bed in the master? Would it have fit on the wall with the dresser or would that have killed the room? Good luck and keep up the good work!

  41. This is amazing!! I absolutely love this room and wish I could pick it up and drop it straight into my house. Wish we had your show here in Australia :)

  42. Rebecca27


    I LOVED your reaction when the sconce broke! (Just a sconce, not a baby.) Way to go in keeping things in proper perspective! You'd already found a place in my heart prior to that, but your comment sealed it for me!

  43. Nuit

    I love it!!! the art and shelves are my favorite. The colors and the masculine approach is to die for. I am a VERY Proud follower of your blog :)

  44. Peggy

    Emily – congratulations on the Design Star win. You were my favorite from the first week! Honest. I actually liked the minimalist, carefree monk look and your non-chalant irreverance.

    I loved your show. I am a pottery junkie and my absolute favorite thing in the room is the black oblong vase on the coffee table. Source please? And BTW – that coffee table is fab too. Loved to have the source on that too if not too much trouble.

    You go, girl. Hope you do a pink room soon. xxoo

  45. I finally managed to see this episode thanks to fixing their crazy video problem. I absolutely love seeing the process and hearing the ideas/ reasons behind each choice. I also love the fact that you show us how to combine differeent styles, which is something I've been fretting about for a long time (even though I don't have my own place). I always imagined that I'd have to have a few different apartments/houses to be able to accomodate all parts of my sense of style. (natural woods, 60s mod/popart and modern industrial – what?!)

    Also, would love to hear how you became a prop stylist. I'm really interested in seeing if I have what it takes.

  46. Anonymous

    Very good show, and I've already told my design-y friends to watch it. I would like to see pictures from the FDR chic layer, which, to my mind, was the best one.

  47. Anonymous

    LOVED your show! So refreshing! I'm hopeful that the next show is sooooooon. The way you mix periods, old, and new is so chic!

  48. Hi Emily!

    I LOVE your blog and am finding myself quite inspired by your taste and ideas! Thank you so much for sharing all of your thoughts with us!

    Can you tell me the name of the darker grey paint color that was used inside of the bookshelves in the first look?

    Thank you!

  49. tw4M3Q I really liked your article post.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

Leave a Comment

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>