Our new Stu-Stu-Studio

Alright folks. Very exciting news today. Read on.

Six months ago when we moved in to this house, I posted the ‘before’ and ‘progress’ photos of the office/studio. Here it was ‘before’:

Office-141

Then we renovated it, fixed up the walls and floor and moved in. It looked like this, and it looked promising:

Office-8

I was psyched that I finally had a proper home office – separate entrance and all. Well … quickly we filled it up (as we do … I’m not a minimalist as you know):

Office-13

This wasn’t designed, obviously, just how we were actually using the space.

Like a mediocre relationship, you can only stay in denial that it’s not really working for so long. You pretend you don’t need to move on, that you can make it work, that everyone is happy enough. But, all the signs point to ‘GET OUT AND TRY TO BE HAPPIER’. It’s just hard because its such a risk. You keep telling yourself, ‘It’s not frustrating enough, it’s not terrible enough,’ to make you jump out … but now and again you start looking. Your eye wanders. Your thoughts drift …

I’ve had fantasies of what it could be. We did drawings and renderings to help us figure out how it could work. We even got quotes on transforming it which were just so expensive that I panicked.

Click through to see the new space.

Emily-Studio-BTS-1

Above was a hilarious, extra bad, day where we were shooting on the other side of the room, so we took a pic. Obviously we didn’t actually work in that environment.

At first it was just Ginny and I which was fine. Then Brady came along and it started getting crowded (have you seen him? he’s HUGE!! #opposite). And now we have two awesome interns in and out and they don’t have a proper place to work. Meanwhile we have so many shoots (here and elsewhere) which means there are bags, boxes and just piles of crap everywhere at all times. Empty bottles of spray paint. Bags of knobs that need to be returned. Fabric swatches that need to either be organized or chucked. Furniture that is half DIY’d.

Emily-Studio-BTS1

We try to stay organized, but without the proper storage and with so much going on it is actually impossible to put things away. Additionally we have more shoots coming up, for the book and partnerships, that require a larger space to shoot so I’ve been looking for locations and even renting spaces to accommodate the shoots. We have this one particular story coming up where we have to transform the same rooom four times (with four different wall treatments) and logistically that is a nightmare and so expensive to produce … unless you have your own space.

So, after I got home from Portland last Saturday night I started looking on Craigslist, just as a fantasy … like how people in a stagnant relationship might dabble on Tinder. Like, ‘Oh, I mean, I just want to see whats out there, but obviously I wouldn’t ever really make a move’. Every space I found was far away (over 30 minutes), really expensive (over $2500), too raw (where I’d need to spend a lot to fix up) and either up a flight of stairs (terrible for the amount of furniture we move) or not enough light … or all of the above.

Until I found this:

studio

It’s a 1200 square foot creative space/store front only 10 – 13 minutes from my house in Eagle Rock. It has 11′ floor to ceiling south facing windows, with the entrance on the ground floor = minimal schlepping!!

bigwall

It’s a total blank space that I can transform for each shoot. The landlord is a creative dude – photographer/designer/realtor/IT guy and he was like – just do your thing. I don’t have to sneak around. I don’t have to worry that painting a wall would get me in trouble.

bigwhitewall

We can actually properly work/shoot/create without having to go up precarious side stairs to the bathroom where we might wake a sleeping baby, or for me where I might get distracted for an hour from said baby (which is obviously what i’ll miss most). I really hated the idea of not working from home, but if I can just be home in 12 minutes or Charlie (with the accompaniment of his sitter) can come to me in just 12 minutes and visit for an hour then I don’t feel quite so anxious about leaving.

And yes, you can believe he’s coming every day we are there. If there is one good thing about running the show (there are a lot of less good things about it, trust me) it’s that I get to have my baby on set whenever I want. Don’t worry, he’s strangely well-behaved. And either Ginny and Brady are really good actors or they genuinely enjoy a visit from Sir. Charles (but I’m their boss, so what are they going to say? Your baby sucks? Nay, probably not).

concretefloors

Meanwhile, there is a tasteful kitchen and bathroom back there with an adorable little outdoor terrace that we can eat at and throw mini parties in.

ehstudio

The windows are so pretty – not too ‘lofty’ (so that if we want to add flooring and have it look like a more traditional house we could), but so much light. You never need to turn on the lights during the day and there is no harsh sunset light that made you need to wear shades and a hat indoors (like we got in our old place)

emilystudio

pretty windows

It doesn’t look like much but its one of those spaces that is so simple that it’s just a total blank canvas for us to do our worst/best on.

studio-kitchen

As you can tell I’m in the ‘Convincing-myself-that-I-made-the-right-decision’ phase of this relationship. I mean, I’ve gushed enough about it, right?

studio

I emailed about it on saturday night, saw it sunday morning, said “I’LL TAKE IT, I LOVE IT. ACTUALLY, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, AND I’LL HAVE YOUR BABY UNLESS YOU DON’T WANT ANOTHER BABY AND THEN MAYBE I COULD BUY YOU A COFFEE??” immediately. I didn’t get a second opinion from Brian, Scott or Ginny/Brady. I didn’t think about it for even 5 minutes. It was so perfect for what I was comfortable with right now. That’s right. Its not perfect. But its perfect for my comfort level. Right now.

whitewalls

On monday morning I told Ginny and Brady that I wanted to take them to a fun lunch to catch up …. and then I surprised them with the new studio space. I was as giddy as a Josh and Andi were being in public together for the first time. Like, FINALLY. I just couldn’t wait and they must have thought I had lost it, especially since normally on Mondays i’m riddled with anxiety and in the worst mood of the entire week. But this monday I was sooooo happy.

They were so surprised, shocked and happy. They loved it and we moved in the next day. How quickly you can not only move on, but then HATE what you had before. We went back to the old studio that day and all of a sudden every flaw was totally in our face. Truth is, I think it was in their face for months but they are too nice to say anything and I was riddled with too much fear/denial to do anything except make fun of our situation and promise that it would change.  Someday.

Well, it’s changed. When its right its right.

emily-henderson-studio

The purpose of the studio is to have a creatively inspiring space that we can transform easily for shoots to create content. Flexibility is key. We won’t be painting walls (at least not with intent of permanence). No wallpaper will be splurged on or pasted up. We probably won’t even put down or paint the floor. Why? Because since its mainly for shooting after we shoot a particular paint color/wall-paper we will be done with it and need to move on. Its a design/photo studio … well, kinda.

That being said … it still needs to look REALLY inspiring for us on a day-to-day basis – shoot or no shoot. We are expanding and possibly hiring another lead designer to accommodate design clients  so yes, it’ll need to also function as a design office. Everything we do to the space needs to be able to be moved/wheeled around/removed/rotated, etc. It’s an interesting challenge. No built-ins. No heavy furniture. Flexibility is the name of the game and having everything on castors is the first part of winning it.

Its terrifying, but I already know that it’s the right thing to do. It will be so much better for everyone’s morale. Thank you so much Ginny and Brady for dealing with the previous office the last 6 months. It’s all changing.

I’m turning 35 in a month, but this, folks, makes me feel VERY grown up indeed. Wish us luck.

  1. i fear i’m becoming slightly obsessed as i was the first to comment on the last post too (i’m normal, i swear!!!) but this is AWESOME!!! I’m so happy for you guys and what a lovely light filled space. i’m sure it will be great to have more room to do your thing. congratulations!!!

  2. Sarah

    Congratulations!
    I’ve been following your blog since brass petal, my admiration continues!
    I wonder if here, or some future storefront, could offer a retail section, maybe certain days of the month, for selling props/reduced hoarding??? It’d be such a treat for your super fans, like me, who can not yet afford your services, but still want some of your Midas touch.

    • Emily

      We’ve totally thought about it. Maybe some sort of quarterly sale? could be so fun. xx

      • Vintage Revivals does something like this annually in Utah, called the Hoard Sale. http://www.vintagerevivals.com/2014/06/the-hoard-sale-2014-2.html
        It’s reached humongous proportions, so you should start one of your own in L.A! ;)

        Oh yeah, and that office looks AMAZING – great find! Living in an attached row house, I’m starved for natural light so I’ll just be daydreaming about that front room for a while.

      • Mar

        Yes! I live 10 minutes away and would LOVE this!

        • Deborah

          Agreed! I live in Glassell Park and would love to incorporate a little Emily Henderson magic into my house.

  3. kmb

    Congrats! Only one point of disagreement – you said “it’s not perfect.” Actually, it kind of is. Beautiful, but very savvy from a business perspective — just what you need without a huge financial outlay for an oversized, perfectly done-up space that would divert resources from other aspects of the business. Smart, lady!

    Those concrete floors would be gorgeous polished. We had it throughout our house at something like $4 a square foot. They took up the old carpet glue but left the texture of staple holes. It was money ridiculously well spent. Just sayin’ — perhaps future project.

  4. Suz

    What a great space! And I love the idea of a future storefront selling former props and such.

  5. Nancy

    I LOVE IT and since it felt so right instantly, it was a great decision and I am so happy for you and the growth in ALL areas. It is nice for your home to not be work also. Wishing you tons of inspiration and success in your new space. xo Nancy

  6. Jess Hartnett

    I love the space! It looks so transformable! Sometimes I wish my house was that transformable to fit my current design fetishes.

  7. Jen N

    Congratulations. It looks like a great space, but my biggest question is: What will you do with your former studio? I love the layout of your house and am intrigued as to how you will repurpose the space. Thanks!

    • Emily

      I don’t know! i think storage. Or brian might work down there,whatever he wants, really. Its his turn :)

  8. Love the new space! Sound like you made a great choice. Can I ask you where those white desks are from? And did ya’ll build the wooden shelving? We are about to move and I would love to know more about both of those things! Thanks. xo

    • Emily

      Oh honey, its ikea all the way. simple white tops, legs and those shelves are Gorm with rubber castors on the bottom. :)

  9. kelly

    You move at lightning speed and its so fun to read about. Love this decision! I second the comment about a sale/retail shop. Speaking of… when will your home accessories be available for purchase at TARGET?!

  10. Esme

    Hi Emily, Congrats! Please tell us: where are those shelves from? I’ve been looking for something just like that, on casters, for months. Thanks so much!

      • Emily

        Yup. And we just put them on rubber castors that way if we want to shoot on that big wall we can just roll them away.

  11. I am also looking for something like this in Pittsburgh. What search words did you use?
    Love this BTW!!!!!!

    • Emily

      I think i put in ‘studio space’ with my zip code. then ‘commercial’ with my zip code

  12. Victoria

    Congratulations. You will probably spend lots of time when home still thinking about work and doing computer work since that is what owners do and I imagine creative minds are never to far from the on switch but how calming you and Brian will find your home minus the chaos and clutter of your hectic work life. How fun to have play and/or lunch dates with Charlie.

  13. Deb

    Timing is everything, and this new workspace is definitely made to order for you and your team, Emily; hearty congrats and continued inspiration in your lightfilled studio!!!

  14. Abbey

    It’s awesome!! Congrats on everything. Love following along while you and your team do your thang. :)

  15. OOOO! I love the great light in your new space. Congratulations on such a wonderful find and moving forward! Can’t wait to see what comes out of this studio!

    http://poshpurpose.blogspot.com

  16. I love this space! Congrats! The southern exposure and light are A-MAZING (at least in pics!)! I love a workspace where I don’t need to turn my lights on during the day! Can’t wait to see more!

    • Emily

      :)

  17. Kristin

    Love this and so excited for all of your upcoming projects!!

  18. I’m just so happy for you! It is super obvious that you made the right decision just in the way that you wrote about the space, and the pictures knock it out of the park! Good luck!

  19. Wendy

    I wish by designer you meant graphic designer, because I would be SO IN. Good luck with your new space! Love those yellow doors.

    • Emily

      Always looking for more graphic design help :)

  20. Molly

    Love it!!! You are moving on up, lady. What an awesome space, and congrats on your growth!

  21. patty blaettler

    Your stars are certainly in alignment! That space does seem perfect for your needs. And the landlord? DREAMY….
    Best of luck to you in your new space.

  22. New studio looks great.

    Eagle Rock = So fun! You have to try Cacao Mexicatessen for lunch some day!

    • Emily

      Yes. its delicious

  23. Congratulations Emily!!! (and team) This is so exciting… with you all the best!

  24. Congratulations Emily!!! (and team) This is so exciting… wishing you all the best!

  25. Jane

    Emily,
    FYI great lunchy places in Eagle Rock: ( the iconic) Casa Blanca Pizza, Oinkster, Little Beast, Coffee Table, Swork

    Take a trip to Sniveling Sibbling (actual Spelling) for a well-edited trove of delights
    Best of Luck on the Grown up thing,
    Jane

    • Emily

      OOH, i didn’t know about casa blanca or sniveling sibbling. very exciting. thanks.

  26. Sweet news! What a find. So excited for you all. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  27. Judy H.

    You DID do the right thing! Great, blank canvas studio space, 10 minutes from home, baby friendly, you hit the jackpot!

    • Emily

      xx

  28. Shane

    On to bigger and better things! This is awesome. We can’t wait for what you have in store

  29. kim

    My sister and I had our small business in a garage for YEARS before making the big move to a separate studio. To this day, we both believe the move helped us grow our business. It’s a big step and a calculated risk. That seems to be how growth happens. Congratulations! It’s definitely the right move at the right time.

    • Emily

      Yes. its terrifying but such an obvious YES

  30. Laura

    One Question. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DINO MURAL PRE MOVE-IN?? It’s spectacular.

    • Emily

      Ha. it was a painting and they took it. it was NOT as awesome as it looked in real life although we could have done something amazing with it :)

  31. Melissa

    AND a citron door? Man.

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  33. kim b.

    Congratulations Emily! Looks like I’m late to the game re comments, but wanted to chime in. It’s always scary taking the big, important steps, but those are the ones that make life more exciting. It’s especially scary moving from a small, one person show (basically – sorry all the helpers past and present) to a big business. If this is where you’re headed, it was definitely the right move and your gut instinct was 100% right. I would go a step further and add office space, especially as you’re seriously considering another designer. As I’m sure you know, it’s pretty difficult to do the general office work, be on a phone with a client or even meet with a client while chaos is ensuing in the background (setting up/shooting/taking down/storing). Just a thought.

    • Emily

      Yes. indeed. Its all so hard. I think this is a step in the right direction plus we have a terrace in the back for private meetings. :)

  34. Lisa

    Congratulations Emily, Ginny, and Brady! Looks like an awesome space. I went to college in Eagle Rock and second the above food recommendations for Casa Bianca, Swork, and Coffee Table. Also there in Eagle Rock you are so close to TARGET!!

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  36. Kelleigh

    Not to be the nit-picky paranoid person that I may in fact secretly be, but if those shelves are all on casters, what happens in an earthquake? Yikes!

    On a less paranoid note: CONGRATS!

  37. Laura

    In the old place, do you know how the white ceilings were painted? Looking to do this in our basement

    • Emily

      I think they used oil paint, although they did a pretty bad job, honestly. it was mediocre at best. I suggest hiring a good painter for this kind of stuff (google my posts about it)

  38. emily

    looks amazing! so fun to watch your hard work turn into more and more success. congrats on the new space!

  39. Congrats – movin’ on up! I’m sure the team will be happy. I used to work for The Novogratz, and we would work out of their house sometimes – which was great because they have LITERALLY the coolest house in the world. But it was also super crazy and chaotic, and I much preferred working in the separate office so I could really focus and get work done.

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  42. Susie

    Just love your blog emily. It’s so amazing to watch you and your career/business evolve step by step, project by project while you build your eventual design empire!! All the while watching Charlie grow through his pictures is really a treat!

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