Lake House Post #5

The say that hair stylist and construction workers have the most ‘job satisfaction’ because every single day they start something new and by the end of the day they see a lot of progress, if not finish the project and they never take their job home with them….Unless they are a hair stylist in west Hollywood and the client is hot and the hair stylist is lonely….and the client is easy… and the hair stylist doesn’t have a room mate….and the client doesn’t have very good self esteem….

Every day stylist do this, over and over:

From geek to chic.  From scrappy to sassy.  From disgust to ‘I trust’.    

Satisfying to do, satisfying to watch.  It’s why we watch makeover shows – we, as human racial human being peoples, love us some ‘before and afters’.  

But whoever ‘they’ are that deemed stylist and construction workers with the most satisfaction never renovated a house in 4 months.  

To go from this:

To this:

From crappy to happy. (it took Orlando, Dan and me about 15 minutes to come up with that one and it is totally mediocre i know.  ‘dirty to perdy’ came in second with ‘nasty to rynoplasty’ a close but totally non-sensical third).


We started the installation of all the furniture decor yesterday and by friday we will be about 80% done.

But for now, here are some shots of the clean renovation.  It looks soooooooooooo good. Fresh, white, airy, modern yet classic; casual, yet elegant.  It’s kinda my dream house already – and its still empty. 

The master bedroom.  Where i’m sleeping right now.  (Gray Owl, Ben Moore on the wall, by the way).

Why yes there is a clawfoot tub in the bedroom.  Because these people are into stuff like ‘relaxing’ and ‘calming down’ and staring out the window whilst reading and drinking wine.  You have no idea how hard it is not to christen this tub.  Its all, ‘Hey E, ya tired? oh…ya want to rest your muscles? ya want to secretly soak for 1/2 hour while Orlando is on his 3rd trip to Home Depot?…No one will know…’ And i don’t do it. I don’t. But i want to.  I do.  

But that beautiful Victoria and Albert tub is theirs to de-flower.  And de-flower. And de-flower.

You see we are already sleeping here.  Sounds weird, i know.  We have the week to install and there really aren’t any hotels within 20 miles to stay at so our gracious clients have invited us to stay here whilst working in order to get a ton of work done in a small amount of time.  And in a way this is totally genius and is soon to be a new protocol in Emily Henderson Designs, LLC, INC, ESQ….LOL..

Here’s why:

When you actually live in the space you realize what works and what doesn’t.  For instance, this morning i didn’t have a towel hook to hang my post shower towel on so that went on my list of ‘forgetten things’ to purchase. 

Lets face it ‘door hooks’ aren’t the most sexy way to spend the client’s money so it was kinda pushed aside in favor of flea market art and throw pillows. But in two weeks i would have had to buy the door hooks because they were necessary so in a way i’m making my life easier by solving the problems now.

Then i got dressed and realized that there wasn’t a full legnth mirror anywhere for me to admire my totally trashy paint clothes in.  That went on the list.  I noticed some light bulbs were too bright while others were too dim. I noticed that we don’t really need blackout drapery in the master bedroom because even though it has crazy big windows, it faces south and never gets as much light as early as you’d think – so i can return those kinda expensive (and kinda unattractive and thick) drapes and get pretty simple lined white ones.  

The list goes on and on.  But the process is actually really interesting.  We stocked their kitchen with their old stuff and after using it for a couple days realized that things needed to shift.  

It’s like we are having a test run of their future life.  Can’t tell if its creepy, but its happening. 

Ebay nautical lights ($50 each, spray painted…although we weren’t finished with them when the electrician showed up so they are now all white and gold and touched up) and blue stairs never hurt anybody.  This greets you the second you walk into the house.

I’ve got a pretty sweet cast of characters with me:

First off is series regular, Orlando Soria.  The Orlando-myster. The Orlandonnaker.  He’s Orlandoriffic. The guy who i don’t let leave my side and probably wants to shove a pillow over my face at night because we are sleeping in the same bed and i have crazy spring New York allergies.  

And Lana, who is a recurring character and was the project manager on this job and helped coordinated every single thing that happened and was installed here while i was 3000 miles away (although she is sick today :( )


Guest starring this week is Dan Faires (my friend from Design Star and now real life) that is solving every problem that might involve electrical, hanging of very heavy mirrors and/or chairs, painting, staining, cutting, and just overall giving good advice whilst looking hot.

Things like this are happening:

Why yes, we are painting at 10:30pm.  NOT SMART because you can’t see sh*t. But we touched them up the next day. Look how Orlando and Lana LOOK so happy.  I swear i didn’t make them pose – they simply love painting in the rain and the dark (i was out there, too, don’t worry). 

And if you are wondering it absolutely KILLED me to paint that amazing tole chandelier, but it was just not happening for them (or Orlando or Lana or anybody who doesn’t love ‘grandma chic’ as much as i do) – so all kelly green high gloss it is.  Some people (read almost everyone) can’t handle multi-color floral metal chandeliers.  But  I can.  You can count on me. 

Back to doing something designer-y inappropriately late at night.  




  1. sarah

    this is beautiful. everything.

  2. The blue stairs are incredible. The nautical lights are really perfect for the space. I can't wait to see more.

  3. Merisa

    So airy and open. And the tub next to a big picture window. How nice to peek over into the garden!

  4. Kerry

    Wow! I am loving the before and after pictures. The blue stairs are amazing and the mirror looks great against the white walls. Can't wait to see if fully furnished. Also I totally dig the multicolor chandelier. :)

  5. Christa


  6. I am IN LOVE with the blue stairs. Especially next to the gold lights fixtures. Can't wait to see it all come together!

  7. Kimberly

    I never in a million years would think to do blue stairs and handrail but I love it! I think it looks so amazing in that space. I don't know how you came up with that but that is why you are the designer extraordinaire! I can't wait to see the finished product!!!

  8. I love it! I can't wait to see it continue to come together. I'm dying over those gold light fixtures! And I totes would have gone for the grandma chic chandelier, btw.

  9. LauraLi

    WOW- the stairs are incredible!!! And the combo of the stairs with the gold light fixtures is incredible. I'm so excited to see the last 20%!!! Share as soon as you can!!

    ALSO- when can we get an update on SFAS??? You mentioned awhile back (I think) that they signed you on for 2 more seasons, but I don't think we've heard anything since. Saturday nights just aren't the same. Although I do enjoy me some High/Low PRoject…

  10. Chelsi L.

    I'm so glad you said spray painting that chandelier was killing you too, bc I love it as is. Bring on the grandma chic, I say!

  11. Kate

    The blue stairs are so crisp and classic and pretty. That color is perfect! Love, love, love.

  12. Amanda

    The house looks amazing and I love the giant mirror, but that chandelier, why oh why did it have to be painted? I love the grandma flowers!

  13. Jessi

    Yay!!!! Great job guys! Such a transformation. Can't wait to see it after furniture install!

  14. LauraLi

    Have to say the grandma flowers don't do it for me and I prefer it painted :)

  15. wow. this place looks so awesome. great job. can't wait to see it done. and i am writing this with a similar floral chandelier above my head… in all of its multi-color beauty :)

  16. Erin

    What is the white paint you used?

  17. @erin. Benjamin Mooore 'Bright white ' or 'super white' . or 'super bright white' but basically its their whitest white possible. its awesome.

  18. amyks

    Can't wait to see the finished house. The empty version is already amazing! The blue stairs are great and I love the industrial lights. We have similar versions in our laundry room (bright yellow) and in my son's bathroom (galvanized metal). The ones for the bathroom were supposed to be temporary, but I just loved the way they looked, so they stayed. We got ours at an electrical lighting supply company and I think they were pretty inexpensive.

  19. tina

    What was the color/brand of paint was used for the gold light fixtures? The ones I find at the store are too yellow.

  20. Wow…that's amazing. I LOVE the high-gloss floors, the white, the painted stairs…all of it. Thanks for sharing!

  21. I want to live here!!

  22. Lauren

    so exciting!

  23. GAWD that looks fun. Funny you mention that about hair dressers and construction workers. I was driving back from lunch yesterday behind a truck of construction guys, thinking that exact same thing. They probably never take work problems home, their day likely fluid, moving from one task to the next and at the end of the day- a finished project. My sister is a hair stylist and she is the only person I know that does not complain about work- at least not very often.

    But yours may very well be my dream job. And this may very well be my dream house. Furniture not even necessary. I can't get over the grouping of gold nautical lights with those blue stairs. Just WOW.

  24. Christine

    I can't believe how bright and open the place looks! It looks three times as big also. Wow! Now I just have to wait to see how you Emilize it!

  25. A Casa da VĂ¡

    Wow I can't wait to see it all finished with furniture and styling touches, but can tell already it will be pretty awesome! The idea of spending the night at your client's home is simply genius…

    Wishing you could style my house!!


  26. victoria


    The…blue…stairs. Genius. The tub in front of the window with that lake view is just a killer. These people are going to have a beautiful life in the house you all put together for them.

    Big dreamy sigh for this project.

  27. OH LORD I love me that giant wood framed mirror. And those nautical lights. And THAT TUB. I can't wait to see the finished product… I've loved reading your updates along the way!

  28. Amanda Parker

    I love the way the stark white looks! So beautiful. My husband and I are moving into our new not-so-modern mid century home in a month and it has a dark brick wall like the before pic. I'm so temped to paint the bricks, but afraid I will ruin something original in it. Thoughts? Help!

  29. Julia Reiersgord

    always enjoy your posts! stuck at home with strep throat, but looking at the amazing pictures from that bathtub/sink company's website. OMG beautiful. Now i know that my tub is an 'Edwardian-style original' (the clincher after looking at 25 apartments in Minneapolis). Don't work too hard!

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