Materials Girl #4; Wild, Strong and Earthy

Welcome to another ‘Material Girl’ post.

This chick… she be wild. You know in Dirty Dancing when whats her name (‘Baby’, I’ll presume) screams “You’re Wild!” after Patrick Swayze’s character breaks his car window with an exterior light post thing on the way to the water/lift scene? Yea. Wild like that. By the way after a lot of time, effort, thought, and serious analysis I’ve determined that Dirty Dancing is indeed my favorite movie (I’m serious). Between the story, production design, casting, entertainment value, acting and hip thrusting, it’s just really, really good and I can and have watched it over 20 times. Footloose and The Notebook were strong contenders but I actually think that Dirty Dancing beats them out on a couple of categories.

Anyway, the girl that we were ‘designing for’ in this materials board, Nicki, is a bit fiery, but with some restraint – like Patrick Swayze’s hip thrusts.

materials board

She is a creative TV executive, in charge of many men, confident in the way she controls them, while holding a little bit back. They like her because she doesn’t have to prove it all and lets her actions and past speak for her. Design-wise she can handle some pattern, but grounds it with earthy-ness. She can handle some color but grounds it with neutrals. She loves to layer textures, and always adds a bit of metallic.

The more I stare at this (I created/shot it like 6 weeks ago so its been a while since I stared at it) the more I actually really want to be this chick. To use red and pattern so confidently, and combine it with softness and earthy-ness, is indeed very enticing.


1. Red & gold wallpaper | 2. Blue palm wallpaper | 3. Blue fabric | 4. Tile |  5. Wooden tray – vintage | 6. Stones | 7. Red & white striped fabric | 8. Blue leather | 9. White leather | 10. Grasscloth wallpaper | 11. Leather remnant | 12. Paint swatches | 13 Brass cabinet knob | 14. Stone

Material Girls #1, #2, and #3.

Photos shot and styled by me, with the help of Emily Lyn for gathering resources. Thanks, Emily! (Lyn, not me:))

  1. Love this! Love the addition of fiery reds! beautiful.
    Emily, where do you begin when making a mood board? do you start with a tile or wallpaper you love & build around that, or are you inspired by a photograph and try to recreate the mood? What is the process? Thank you!
    all the best

  2. Becca

    Emily this is awesome! The best one so far. Pinning right now …

  3. Zoe Royall

    Could watch that movie on repeat for the rest of my life. And now I want to be Nicki too. FWIW, Good Bones Great Pieces does “Dream Schemes” that I’m obsessed with – they pick fabrics that all go together and then tell you what they would be used for (sofa, drapes, pillow). I would love to see a little bit of that in these posts. Like, what goes where, or how does this come together in reality? I feel like that’s not really the point of the Material Girl series, but, my square edge self sort of would like it to be.

  4. patty blaettler

    That is the first movie I ever went to with my husband!

  5. Amanda

    I really LOVE reading your blog for lots of reasons, but these material girl posts really bother me. Maybe because they just don’t seem real or applicable. I really wish I loved them, but I am always disappointed and wish it was a different post.

    • Emily

      Ah, good to know. I find them to be visually fun and easy to look at, but i appreciate your feedback. Not every post can be a makeover, but maybe i can figure out something more exciting. xx

  6. Julianne

    This is hilarious. I love it!

  7. Martina

    Very cool mix! I think it should be “You’re” wild though.

    • Emily

      God, i’m so annoying. for the record my brain knows that, obviously, but my extremely fast typing fingers don’t. SOOOO ANNOYING!!!!!! Thank you :) changing now.

  8. Fariha

    Emily, when you first mentioned the “Material Girls” series, I didn’t quite get it, but they have quickly become one of my favorite series. I love reading about how you select materials to reflect an (imaginary) clients personality.

    • Emily

      ahn, thanks!

  9. CS

    “By the way after a lot of time, effort, thought, and serious analysis I’ve determined that Dirty Dancing is indeed my favorite movie (I’m serious).”

    LOL, I’ve known Dirty Dancing was my favorite movie since I saw it when I was 6(I’m 32 now) and it came out on video (no joke). I’ve probably seen it two hundred times and when I was 10 I knew every single line and I use to have my sister quiz me on it (no, I can’t remember Johnny’s license plate number anymore…but I could then :). 26 years later and no serious analysis needed, it is still the best movie ever!

    • Kristin


  10. Jess

    Love! Using this as inspiration as I love both red and blue and really want them to work together in my space…I love every photo in your portfolio that has the mix.

  11. jaclyn

    This is pretty tame. Especially for a woman that loves color and print. I would have included this image because I think it fits your gal!

    Please make some pillows with a crazy pattern magic pattern! I have been telling myself for years I’ll do it and I never do.

    BTW- I love the post before this one so, so, so much. I love the before/after transformation and really really really like the styling in the last photo! <3

  12. Rebecca

    I think these posts are fun – it’s just like playing make believe when you are little. Instead of BEING the make believe person, you are designing for them. (So I guess that actually makes you 2 make believe people or a split personality…..)

    And what about the HILARIOUS Saturday Night Live skit/spoof Patrick did with Chris Farley. The funniest skit EVER!

  13. Adrienne

    I love it! I think I want to be her too! What about a Material Girl named… oh I don’t know… Adrienne ;) She likes to shop at the Farmer’s Market, knits, loves vintage things, and spends her weekends with her husband and rambunctious boys. She is very feminine but also likes to incorporate things into the house for her men. She is the ultimate romantic. Just an idea… ;)

  14. This is, by far, my favorite “Material Girls” post to date, and I can’t (totally) explain why. I guess I just like things a little fiery–which is probably why I am currently in love with my orange Egyptian cotton sheets (600+ thread count)! They remind me of one of MY favorite movies–Uptown Girls. In some ways, I think Molly (played by Brittany Murphy) would have a whole lot in common with your wild friend Nicki.

    PS: I think these posts work simply because they aren’t real or applicable. Since the concepts are imaginary, we all get to be Nicki (and all the others) without worrying about how it would fit into our homes, budget, etc. Thanks for offering some creme brulee to distract us from our meat-and-potatoes lives! ; )

  15. I agree. Why is it so hard to be confident with red? I feel like every other color I design with, I can add a little bit and it whispers, “color.” With red, I add a little bit and it’s like, “HEY, I’M HERE! AND I’M RED.” But I really do like your materials and it proves red can be done.

  16. Joanne

    Nicki’s awesome! But, I don’t think I would like her if you didn’t give her the earthiness. :-) But, as far as movies go….FLASHDANCE remains my all-time fav! :-) How about an Alex material girl?

  17. Love the material girl series! Red is the one color that we don’t have a lot of in our home, but I kind of want to be this girl too. :)

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