Extreme Makeover: Orlando Edition

Dear Emily’s Readers,

My apartment has been having a bit on an identity crisis for the past year or so. It used to be all “I’m rustic eclectic!” and then one day my boyfriend moved in and he was all “I like modern!” Then, slowly, my apartment started to look crazy. Like there would be a Milo Baughman chair next to a rustic crate. Much like sitting Courtney Love next to Kelsey Grammar at an awards dinner, placing a Milo chair next to anything rustic doesn’t end well. So I decided it was time for an update.

Emily and I teamed up with West Elm to add some fresh elements to my previously not-so-fresh apartment. Below are the uber-glamorous results:

gallery wall above navy sofa

In the living room, we switched out our vintage sleeper sofa for a beautiful blue sofa. The new sofa is super comfy and perfect for snuggling, so it’s perfect for a night in watching New Girl, trying to figure out of Zoey Deschanel is good-cute or cloying-cute (thoughts?). We’ve gone back and forth with the gallery wall, sometimes replacing it with giant art, but right now I’m really feeling it so I think it’ll stay for a while longer.

Resources: Rug from Ikea, $299, Dunham Sofa ($1499 in performance velvet ink blue), Abstract Art Piece ($179), Ombre Pillow ($34), Giraffe Accessory ($24)


One thing I love about my apartment, and the reason why I will find it difficult to move, is the great light I get. The giant windows in the living room make me so happy. In order to keep them as open/unobstructed as possible, I placed a low waterfall bench in front of them. I found it at St. Vincent for $60 and had it reupholstered in grey linen for $150.

gallery wall above navy sofa

Another update was this Raw Edge Coffee Table ($399). Like me, the table is both woodsy and modern, gritty and streamlined, rugged and refined. OK, I’m done. The art above the sofa, with the exception of the, like, totally awesome Abstract Art Piece from West Elm, is stuff I’ve been collecting over the years, mostly from art school friends.

gallery wall above navy sofa


I found this vintage terrarium at a thrift store and put an air plant in it. Wanna hear a fun fact about air plants? Anyone who says they are easy to take care of is lying. Mine are SO thirsty. Like they wake me up in the middle of the night crying because they are so thirsty. It’s annoying. If you have air plants you have to soak them at least once a week or they’ll die. I know this from personal experience because I’ve killed, like, thousands of them. Sorry, air plants.

succulent centerpiece on rustic coffee table

I’m digging black and white right now, so I have black curtain rods, white drapes, a black and white rug, and a giant black television. The television color I can’t take credit for, but I will say that having a lot of black elsewhere in the room makes me less depressed that my TV is sitting there staring at me all the time.


 Harmon Kardon Sound Bar System ($799)

I’m big into having people over for dinner, so my dining room is one of my favorite spots. I host dinner parties, laugh with my friends, and discuss important topics like clothes, shopping, guys, and the mall.

dining room with john vogel table

In the dining room, we replaced our awkward rectangle table for a round John Vogel piece. The shape is way better for the space and I’m in love with the asymmetry of the base. Let this be a lesson to all of us: If you have an awkwardly small/pass-through dining room, get a round table. They take up less space and are easier to get around. Also, make sure you can push your chairs all the way in. And get a glass table, it takes up less visual space and reflects light throughout the room making the space look bigger. Like your mom.

The chandelier is one of my favorite things in the world. I bought it at a flea market, installed it myself, nearly killing myself in the process. I feared for my life the entire time, convinced I would be electrocuted. But now every time I look at it I appreciate it more. Because I risked my life for it. Have you risked your life for any of the design elements of your home?


One of the main reasons I added shelving to the dining room was that my boyfriend and I are hoarders and had too many nicknacks to display. Now I can gaze upon them each morning as I drink my coffee, thinking about how annoying it’s going to be to move all of them when I have to dust.

john vogel dining table with abstract art

Dining Room Resources: John Vogel Dining Table ($599), Chairs by West ElmVeneer Sphere ($16), Geometric Vase ($29), Shelves from Ikea, $70 (Everything else vintage)

By day, I’m a designer, artist, friend, and helper to Emily. By night, I’m a rotisserie chicken that rolls around and around and around. I have terrible insomnia, it’s just part of my neurotic personality. Thus, I wanted to make my bedroom a soothing, quiet place. Because if you are going to be freaking out about not sleeping you might as well do it in a place that is beautiful, serene, and inviting.


The bedroom greatly benefitted from the screen my boyfriend found on Craigslist for $100. We drove all the way out to Whittier (a charming LA suburb where I’m told “the girls are prettier”) to pick it up. And it makes me happy every day. I stare at it for hours and hours, thinking about the long walks I want to take with it on the beach, the laughs I’ll share with it whilst drinking wine, and how, no matter what, it will always be there for me.


I’m totally obsessed with these amazing affordable sconces from One Forty Three. They cost $145 each, which is totally a steal for a handmade, unique, elegant sconce. When the State of California makes it legal for people to marry sconces, I will be the first person at the courthouse, marrying these sconces as hard as I can.


Bedroom Resources: Linen Cotton Duvet ($149), Standard Pillow Shams ($29), Euro Pillow Shams ($34), Sunset Throw in Grey ($49), Brass Swing Lamp $145 One Forty Three, Rug from Ikea, $249, Simple Low Bed ($249). (Everything else vintage.)

All in all, I’m super excited with how my apartment turned out. Everything in it makes me happy and I love staring at all of it for hours on end. Which is what I’m going to do now. Bye!



This post was produced and art directed by Emily Henderson, space designed by Orlando Soria and all those beautiful photos shot by the amazing Zeke Ruelas. This post was in partnership with West Elm, but all opinions, designs and words are ours.

  1. tamara

    Did you know that the chandelier you bought at the flea market is probably the Lindsey Adelman DIY chandelier? I made one for my bedroom with my boyfriend. It took us just a few hours! Super fun and cool. You can change the direction of the arms so it always fun to switch up and mix bulbs shapes. The total for all the parts prob. cost around $150

    • Yeah, that’s definitely the L. Adelman diy light fixture–not vintage, but still sweet. But a warning: be SO careful if you try to move the *supposedly* repositionable arms. My dad made this thing for me, too, and there are so many wires jammed in each of those tiny swivel sockets, that one wrong move and you can sever/fry a wire. Then it only looks pretty during the day–at night, you have a single bulb out which will drive you completely bonkers. Tamara, did you modify the L. Adelman instructions? Dying to know how you made it w/o it becoming a HUGE headache!! :)

      • Emily

        Yeah he knew that, but its still a good deal so he didn’t actually have to make it. Its just hilarious that it was already at a flea market. :)

  2. Marti

    Men marrying sconces: exactly what Bill O’Reilly warned us gay marriage would beget.

    Gorgeous apartment!

  3. You are hilarious. Love your apartment. Esp. the bedroom.

  4. loOOve it!
    so clean and refreshing…ohh and the succulents are great especially the GIGANTIC one on the dining table!
    your boyfriend is one lucky guy :)

  5. Gorgeous – love it! Can you tell me where your white TV console is from?

    • Heidi

      It’s an Ikea, Torsby sideboard.

      • Emily

        BUt i just tried to buy it last week and they didn’t sell it anymore in LA, so maybe they have it in others, but i was bummed. Its pretty good. xx

        • Bee Chance

          Just bought two and a half of them, with the chrome stands and glass toppers, last weekend at Palo Alto Ikea. That black and white pillow too. I feel so validated now!

  6. Love your living room! The gallery wall is beautiful, so into the black and white abstract art. Makes such a statement.
    Your bedroom also looks amazing. That vintage Japanese screen is to die for.

    Quinn Cooper Style

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  8. Can I be the lone voice of dissent?

    This looks like it has a lot of Emily (who I of course love) in it. I’d love to see what Milo-meets-rustic could look like. Agnes Martin can co-exist with Georgia O’Keefe. Where is Orlando???

    • Emily

      Nothing to do with me, i swear.

      • But you’ve gotten inside his brain. ;-D

  9. patty blaettler

    Black and white is also floating my boat. That bedding is what I’ve been looking for.
    And I never would’ve thought black curtain rods with white curtains, but it’s perfect.
    Are they also West Elm?

  10. I am in love with your blue couch. Like I want to marry it. Wonder which will become legal first?

  11. Lauren

    Your place looks delicious!! Can you pretty please share where you scored that round squat plant vessel on your coffee table?

    • Emily

      I think its CB2, but not sure they still sell it. But its great, right?

  12. Diana

    Wow Orlando – turned out beautiful! I am so inspired by the dining room since we have a tiny, walk through one too. I love the shelving idea… especially since I too am a hoarder…I mean COLLECTOR ;) I would love to know your paint colors.

    • YES! The wall color is Half Moon Crest from Benjamin Moore. It’s a super pretty grey that’s just warm enough without going beige.

  13. gina

    I love the japanese screen. I have a similar one, although much smaller. Can you please share how you hung it on the wall? I’m not sure how to do it without damaging the frame of the screen.

  14. I absolutely love his new place and can I just say how adorable he is? What a cutie.

  15. Just gorgeous! I love your dining room best of all. Not sure why. Love the shelves and that round table (and normally I am a freak for symmetry). Nice to know I am not the only one who kills air plants too! I have killed 6 so far…..

  16. It looks great, Orlando! Just like your mom!

  17. Robby

    I am so glad you served up dinner party realness. I, too, love (and host) dinner parties with similar conversational flow. If you tell me you sometimes suggest retiring to the “media room” to watch either Heathers or Clueless, it means I’m bringing my vintage orange + chrome Herman Miller chair – all the way from Alabama, no less – to crash your next soiree. Love the recast and share your perspective on dusting. I am contemplating taking photos of all of my collectibles, designing them in a collage on Photoshop, and printing them as floor-to-ceiling removable adhesive posters.

  18. gina

    Re: ? on how to hang screen…please ignore. Found it!

  19. Gabby

    I am in love with your apartment, you are brilliant! And you are making me second guess my decision to change out my round table for a rectangular one… I also have a small dining space with a round table in it, but I soooo want a nice long rectangular table to spread out on. Hmmm.

  20. Catherine Soria

    Don’t you just love how changing things always seems to make them better? Every time you redecorate I like it more than before.

  21. Lori

    Can we just talk about how amazeballs that crown moulding is? It seriously rocks my world. Sigh.

    I so want to do a gallery wall in my living room, but I have to be careful; I think I might have too many conflicting colors. I’d love Orlando or Emily to do a post about creating the perfect gallery wall.

    • Emily

      Stay tuned, Lori. We did a video about it that is posting on wednesday!

  22. Vivian

    For a while, I thought Zooey Deschanel was just regular ol’ cute on New Girl. Then she dipped into the I’m-just-oh-so-whimsical-I-can-Barely-stand-it, cloying arena, and I left the show. I have since come back (the boys are THAT awesome), and I feel like she’s headed back into regular cute territory again. I guess I have mixed feelings about her.

  23. kate

    that was hilarious and gorgeous all at the same time. thank you for the incredible designs :)

  24. Tina Cahalan

    I don’t know where to begin. In the living room, I loved the gallery of art and that rug from West Elm. I loved that you combined vintage with new so that it totally looks evolved. The chandelier in the dining room was my favorite as were how you staged the bookcase in there. I too have a million things that I’ve collected and I go around my house saying “where would Emily put this”! I also loved the knobs on the chests on either side of the bed. You have really succeeded with marrying the contempory with the rustic for your design story. Sorry, you can’t sleep at night. It must be your creative mind. Keep a notebook by the side of your bed so you can jot down all of your ideas and thank you for sharing your home. Very cool!

  25. Azure

    I have to admit I’m a skimmer. I *completely* thought this was Emily writing, until I got to the mom joke. Only Orlando does mom jokes.

    Is Emily mad that you copied her signature blue velvet couch?

    BTW, I noticed on the last video that your name is actually Or-LAHHHn-do, not Orlando. I will try correct this in my mind.

  26. we need answers here! beautiful, classy, well done, expensive looking apartment with undefinable style. super jel. any chance you can tell me the paint color? it might be the perfect gray. ps. i love the crown molding too, lucky lucky!

    • Yes! It’s Half Moon Crest from Benjamin Moore. I love it more and more every day.

  27. Gorgeous! Love it all. Can I please move in? I’ll clean your crazy amazing windows and dust your shelves and knick-knacks anytime you want! ;)

  28. Erin

    Love everything about this! Can you tell me where the black and white rectangular pillow is from on the sofa? Thanks!

    • Emily


      • Erin

        Thanks! I see an Ikea trip in my near future!

  29. Oh Orlando, I used to hate you because you get to work with Emily all day long. Every day. But now I hate you even more because of your fabulous apartment.

    P.S. Feel free to substitute “hate” with “love” for a friendlier tone.

  30. Suemi

    A handsome place indeed and comfortable too! I do wish you and Emily lived closer! Where is the sofa from? Thanks for all you do for everyone!

  31. maurice powers turner

    love orlando s design. when will you have your show back on tv. i dont care which network its on, i just want it back. i can t watch any of your episodes on hgtv because they dont care…..cant watch much of anything on their website. anyway, i miss the show, miss you and orlando. all the best, maurice

  32. Candice

    Gorgeous all around. I just went online to marry [buy] those sconces and now wonder what kibd if jedi mind tricks I’m seeing. Did you photoshop the cords or did you get them hardwired? My preshistoric junction boxes are way larger than base of the sconce…..hmmm?

  33. Absolutely lovely spaces! Just lovely! I really need to get to the thrift stores and flea markets soon. So many rooms need accessories!

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  35. jdmc

    well, done. love it all. such a great example of how mixing in some vintage can really elevate retail purchases. is the paint color the same in the bedroom as living room?

  36. BridgetG

    Lots of “marrying” inspiration — I’m engaged to the pair of teak chairs in the living room! :)

  37. Well done! I love the mix of Ikea and flea market/collected pieces.

  38. Kozak

    Where are the wooden/fabric lounge chairs in the living room from?

  39. Mikala

    I love everything about the space, especially that killer dining table!

    Can we get Orlando his own blog? The wit, also killer.

  40. So cool, love it. Strange thing is, it is kinda like looking at my own apartment, lets see, I have the stockholm rug, same room layout, similar gallery wall, white curtains, mid-century armchair, indoor plants… I just wish I had such a lovely dining area too. I love it!

  41. It’s freakin awesome!

    Did I miss the info on the mouldings????? What the hell? That’s awesome!

    I am getting over gallery walls, but this one is so darn good! My fav piece is the B&W abstract, sorry art school friends. Yours is all great too! Sometimes mass produced art is still awesome. I am jumping for joy because Saint Louis is FINALLY getting a West Elm!

  42. Lee

    Can you please share- where did you hide the cords on the bedroom
    sconces? I looked at them in the store and think they are just right for my project, but really like the clean hardwired look that you have going on better.

  43. I am no plant master but I managed to keep my air plant alive without ever soaking (which sounds like an annoying thing to have to do). My trick is to buy a pretty spray bottle/old antique perfume bottle that is nice enough to leave out on the table so that every time you look at it you’ll feel compelled to give your thirsty plant a little drink. I’m still a failure at keeping the succulents alive, loving all of yours!

  44. Becky

    Love it!!!!

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  46. Ok Orlando’s place is as amazing as I would have guessed. LOVE.

  47. mariana

    i’m trying to find a way to say i really see emily in this design without taking credit from Orlando, but blue (indigo, yes emily, indigo) couch, vintage screens, scones, graphic rugs ( i never used the word graphic until i got acquainted with emily’s design) but then again you work together and from what i see and read seems like the two of you have gone through some kind of symbiosis, a really good and smart and stylish one…i want to be friend you both ;)

    having said that…i like how it’s much more masculine (or gender neutral) to use suculent’s instead of flowers, i like it a little better also because they are low maint. you don’t have to buy new ones every week, and the design doesn’t suffer if you procrastinate buying new ones :/

    on an other note…any chance you guys coming to mexico? my living room and bedroom need some of your magic. I think i am “playful nordic retro” :D but can’t seem to get it 100% right and take ridiculous amounts of time deciding on stuff. so, mexico? pretty please with hot sauce on top?!

  48. Oh swoon, I love it. The gallery wall is amazing — brings so much layering and texture to the room!
    I suffer from terrible insomnia too! I think if I redesign my bedroom, it will help. You know, for my health’s sake. *wink

  49. Lisa

    Everything in this post is so beautiful it hurts. THOSE NIGHTSTANDS! I can’t handle it. Also, how do you hang up sconces and get them to work if there isn’t any electrical wiring built into that space?

  50. I organized my book shelf – Now it needs those personal touches. Thanks for the ideas!

  51. Jihane

    Yep, let’s marry sconces and round tables and blue sofas and live happily ever after ! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful home. Emily and you make a great team.

  52. Jennie

    The apartment is gorgeous. I especially like the way natural elements are incorporated to add richness among the graphic modern pieces. You wouldn’t think it would work together, but somehow it does. Very skillful blend. I also like the way simple pieces like the Ikea shelves look so high end because of their styling. The wall color is a good neutral, and not cold like so many grays. I love the gallery wall, and it works so well with everything else in the room.

    My husband is a rotisserie chicken as well, so I can empathize. What has helped him recently is discovering that before electricity, people would sleep in segments, and be up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, so he doesn’t stress about it any more. He also has read books (such as Desperately Seeking Snoozin) that have helped him. I couldn’t sleep without 5-HTP, a natural product that works well for me but not for my husband.

  53. randi

    I love your home as much as I love Zooey and that’s really saying something.

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  55. Dude…dying over everything, of course, but especially your dining table! It’s perfection. And as much as I adore your chandelier (it’s killer), I’m still a sucker for the ORBlando. I need one in my life. Sidenote: I am not an insomniac so I have no idea what you go through in the middle of the night–I’m sure it’s torture–but I just read an article about biphasic sleeping (I can’t find it online, it was in a magazine I had lying around) but here’s some info that may help you :) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783

  56. Bill Nicholau

    Your proud Mother sent your blog to me and I found the entry on Fran beautiful from two perspectives…one, the excellent, artistic and beautiful results of your design work and two, the warmth and love you pass on to the elderly comes through bright and strong. I knew your grandparents and they were as proud and compassionate as you appear. Keep up the great work and enjoy life.

  57. I am in love with this space. It turned out beautifully and I need those golden pig bookends in my life. Love the blue sofa too. Popping over from “Inspired By Charm”‘s feature.

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  64. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video
    to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence
    on just posting videos to your site when you could be
    giving us something enlightening to read?

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  67. Laura

    Where the drapes in your living living from?

    Thank you!

  68. laurel walter

    love! where is the gold pillow from on the bed? thank you!

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  72. Your entire space looks amazing. Are you enjoying the sofa from West Elm. I am considering buying it for our main living space and I live in a three generational home with two grand kids under six. Do you think it will hold up. I love watching you and Emily create beautiful rooms.

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  80. kate

    i seriously love every single detail! Is the living room rug from ikea? i couldn’t find it on west elm, but saw one very similar at ikea. thanks!

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  83. Looks beautiful! The picture-wall and the wooden armchairs are definitely my favourites!

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  86. Just Gorgeous look.Its look like a comfortable place for living.I also like this black & white carpet.

  87. Sarah

    Would LOVE to know where that tiered side table next to the couch is from! Anyone know?

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