Emily Henderson

Introducing My Living Room

vintage living room

That’s where all the magic happens, folks. The cat cuddling, the reality tv watching, the foot massaging, the partying (single tear, things have NOT been the same since Emily Jr starting growing in the belly), and generally all the Livin’ and being a baller.  It’s a happy room, for some happy beings.

Lets just talk about my style for one second – I love EVERY single style. Name one, and i like it. There are good pieces from every style, truly, but there are some that I consistently want to be around more than others. I think this includes the 70’s California and 19th century victorian (although i am curbing that because Brian isn’t into my english grandma cat lady vibe).  But since both of those styles can be really ornate and busy i juxtapose it a lot with simple mid-century (like the sofa and coffee table).  And then since i want to be in the 21st century I bring in modern art and keep the color palette on trend.  AKA, just because you love 70’s California doesn’t mean that you have to have it all be desert tones (although, Morgan does a fantastic job of that).

But that’s how I feel this week.  And things change A LOT over here, especially depending on the projects that i’m working on. I’m kinda chameleon (or a polygamist) like that.  Right now i’m working on a 1920’s Spanish Revival meets industrial meets mid-century house and its totally influencing me.  Designing is weird like that.

mid-century vintage platner

I guess what i consistently love is color, whimsy and vintage.  It’s REALLY hard for me to pass up a lamp like the one on top of the campaign dresser for $15 from the flea market. He’s all, ‘Sir, SIR!! I am a very proper british lamp’.  And yes, its perfectly ok to put a really pretty dresser in your living room, as long as it fits size-wise and style-wise.  It’s also really hard for me to pass up a Platner side table on Craiglist for $175. That beauty turns my crazy into acceptable. I think.

cognac leather chairs

Nothing really dudes up a kinda feminine room more than leather chairs. If these chairs were seniors in high school about to graduate, they would be named ‘Most Popular’ in a heartbeat. And maybe ‘Most beautiful’ as well as definitely ‘Most Comfortable’. I got them in Utah after Alt Summit last year for $900 for the pair, which is a lot of money, of course, but these sell for $4000 for the pair (if they are vintage and Anthro has repros for $2200 each).

white lacquer media unit

The TV is an eye sore but you know what else it is? My best friend, so it wasn’t going to leave the living room. But I did want it to feel less important than it truly is, so I decided to flank it with these simple white West Elm Parsons shelves and fill those bad boys with my favorite things.

I went back and forth between splurging on some vintage brass shelving units, but ultimately i have so much vintage and crazy lady that having all of those crazy accessories on some simple white shelves kept me and the room looking sane.  The media unit is a cheapo from Ikea that I put on vintage brass legs (sorry you can’t see, but they are the same as the coffee table) but like the genius that I am I didn’t really think about the weight of the tv on the piece, so the second I put the tv on my invention it bowed so bad, so I was forced to mount it which I couldn’t be happier about now.  (Seriously, if you are on the fence about mounting, do it, it cost $80 for the mount and then probably $200 for the labor, but if you have the funds its totally worth it).

Resources:  Dhurrie Pouf, West Elm, Parsons shelving, West Elm. Black/gold blanket from Happy Habitat. Blue Vase, Jonathan Adler. Soundbar from JBL, Sheepskin from Ikea and gold pillow West Elm. :)

styled shelving

I mean, where else am i supposed to put my collection of heads or vintage gold shoes? And they are the perfect height for art in them – which obviously takes up a lot of real estate and adds so much dimension and depth to the shelving.

Resources:  West Elm Parsons shelves, West Elm Souk Rug, vintage rosewood safari chairs, vintage saarinen table (you can buy new at DWR).  Soundbar from JBL. 

pink peonies vintage collection

Yes, those are 14 karat gold monopoly pieces on the second shelf, thanks for asking.  Right next to my mid-century gold miniature chair. I’m certifiable.  (and notice the gold bentwood rocking chair in the dome…. I CAN’T STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!). And for the record, is that sculptural head creepy or awesome? Sub-question does it look like Orlando even a little bit?

styled shelving

Porcelain and lucite owl? check. Chair in dome? check.  AWESOME paintings? got ’em.

Resources:  Girl painting by Kiki and Polly (its so awesome, splurge on an original if you can afford it). 

mantel styling

There is the mantel with some usual suspects on it – the miniature wingtip wood shoe that i’ve hoarded for 4 years now from Inheritance, the gold and white footed bowl that i’ve had since my early assistant styling days in New York with many a chip in it, and a collection of brass English beer measurers – they say 1 QT, 1 PT, etc on all of them. And they nest. And when anything beer related nests inside each other then its really, really cute.

The bear collage (its a photo with embroidery) is by none other than the Jealous Curator, Daniell Krysa and I love it.  This is one of the few pieces of art that Brian was excited about, i think because dudes loves bears, even if pretty thread is coming out of their ferocious mouths.

white and brass sconce

The vintage birdcage ladder (AGAIN WITH THE MINIATURES!!!!) also came from Inheritance and i have no idea why i like it, it just makes me smile – which is clearly the answer – if you make me smile I like you.  I imagine that little bird crawling its ladder up to its second story in its victorian birdcage, into its little bed, with its little bedding and teeny tiny alarm clock. He puts his tiny head on his little pillow, watches vintage Felicity on his tiny laptop……AHHHH. www.calmdown.com

vintage neon arrows

Those are the vintage arrows that I got from a thrift store for $1 a piece that i’m obsessed with. I love that they do what flowers do – add height and softness, except Bearcat can’t eat them and puke them up and then eat the puke.  Although she tries, yes she does.  The scones got updated as you can tell, and are wildly better (and these guys are like $80… i know… run don’t walk).

Resources:  Sconces from OneFortyThree, Bear art by Danielle Krysa, wood shoe from Inheritance.

shelf styling

The painting up on the top is something i’m going to blog about this week; its a portrait of the house we live in now, but reintepreted all cute by Danielle Krysa. Stay tuned for info on that.

vintage gold

And thats where we tip over the edge of crazy; the miniature gold shoe collection. I can’t explain it, so I won’t.  The piece of art behind it is one of my new favorites, by Hagar Vardimon-van Heummen and its amazing, and $200 (unframed) which I think is very reasonable for original modern art.  See more on that piece HERE. 

capaign dresser

Oh he’s VERY proper.  And that abstract art is one of my favorites. Its vintage from the flea market and was kinda  splurge at $150 but the colors are so good. The campaign dresser i’ve been hoarding for a while and finally got it lacquered white ($300). I keep almost selling it, but its just so god damn perfect for me and that space. So fresh and white, but detailed, and beautiful proportions but quiet…..

blue gold room

You can book Bearcat at www.cutestcatintheworld.com where you can see her portfolio of blue steel eyes, tail whips and general Cleopatra imitations.

blue tufted sofa

Besides the Souk rug, which I love, that is all vintage, folks, mostly from the flea market and almost all VERY cheap.  The tapestry was $80, the victorian wicker chair, $60, leather pouf $40, and that amazing brass and white glass mushroom lamp is from Portland but I shipped it down because I love it that much, $180.  His finial is like a little Yamakah.  It’s a ethnically and religiously friendly living room, don’t you worry.

Well, there you have it. Its been styled this way for a month or so now and so far i’m not changing it, which says a lot for me.  I can’t tell you how nice it finally is to have a pulled together living room; long time coming.  It’s happy and colorful and bright, with enough leather and wood t make Brian happy, and enough crazy to make me happy.  Somedays I long to be someone more sophisticated with really refined taste, and then I find a victorian baby rocker on the side of the street and decide that its perfect for my baby.  So there’s that…… Happy Friday, folks.

Is it too crazy? Or just me? Sub-question, are those the same thing????

Shoot produced/styled/art directed/designed – Me, Emily Henderson (and the always lovely Orlando), Shot by Zeke Ruelas.  In partnership with West Elm.


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  1. Emily
    I won’t lie I COVET those chairs! I have been looking all summer for them. Can you please help me know the brand name do those leather chairs…are they Arne Norell? Thanks for the info so I can finally find them!!

    Stephanie Vanderbilt