Tucson vintage finds

We spent the weekend in Tucson and I might have spent some time shopping. Brian and his brother and uncle were at the UofA/Washington game and then golfing so I took a little Emily/Charlie time to peruse the local goods. There is honestly nothing that makes me happier than the possibilities of a whole new city of thrifting and antiquing. The excitement is palpable.

First stop: Toms Furniture Finds.  It was pretty good as far as how much stuff they had, but the prices were closer to LA prices than I wanted to spend.

Toms Antiques

All the things above were pretty great and had they been in LA I might have splurged, but I didn’t have a purpose for any of them right now. That brass Paul McCobb table (in the middle) was tempting. Its $250 which is just too much for a side table that I don’t need (plus shipping) but if you live in Tucson and need a simple modern investment side table, go grab that one.


There happened to be a flea market on that sunday at Brandi Fenton park where I met some very nice readers and met this pretty adorable rug. Charlie wasn’t totally impressed.


Copper Country Antiques was pretty awesome and I specifically loved the enthusiasm of the exterior and signage.

So here’s what I came home with:

Emily Tuscon What I came home with

The lucite/brass folding chairs were from Tom’s and they were $119 for the pair. I’m hoping that shipping won’t be more than $60. I can just picture them around my Saarinen table in the studio (although, man I wish we had four) or maybe I’ll keep them at home for extra seating for the 3 hour bachelor premiere in January. Not sure.  But I have a serious thing for folding chairs which probably stems from my years living in New York. They are in perfect condition (still in plastic) which is hard for lucite and brass which is probably why I snagged them.

That adorable rug was $15. So cute. Then I snagged a couple of adorable baskets ($6 and $8), some brass butterfly napkin rings ($8) and that shawl which has metallic thread in it that you can’t see. I think I might make it into a pillow because its pretty cozy and soft. It was $12 I think.

Lastly that string art is big, like 24″ wide and is going to look pretty dope on my credenza or in my shelving. It came from Copper Antiques.

And that’s what I bought in Tucson. I didn’t make it to Bon Boutique after all, but I will catch it next time, for sure. Thanks so much for all your recommendations. We had such a great time and relaxed very hard.

Which would you have hoarded? Which is your favorite?

Happy Friday + Tucson shopping recommendation?

Happy Friday, y’all. We are headed out to Tucson, Arizon-ey this morning to visit Brian’s brother and his wife, with Brian’s awesome uncle in tow. I’m very excited. There will be a lot of guy time (college football and some golfing) so I’m looking for some good shopping recommendations for my girl time with my sister in law, and Charlie, obviously.


Charlie is specifically interested in the obscure out of the way places. Any Paul McCobb or Milo Baughman are welcome.


In fact when I asked Charlie how he felt about buying more gold or brass, this is how he reacted:


Me too, Charlie. Me, too.

Make it rain, folks. What thrifting/vintage or antique stores can I not miss in Tucson?

Also sorry about the gratuitous charlie/family photos today. I suffer from a syndrome called ‘being a mom that gets easily overwhelmed with happiness by photos of her family and feels compelled to unnecessarily share them in social media’. Don’t worry, its not contagious (or is it?).

* photos by Stephanie Todaro. Steph has a family/portrait photography business and she is WONDERFUL and affordable; holiday cards anyone?

Family Room Update

The family room – the room that we hang out, probably SIXTY PERCENT OF THE TIME, is strangely the last to get finished (well, that and the landscaping and bathrooms). It’s a ‘cobblers kids with no shoes’ situation. But there is an update for you and it has gotten a lot better. So let’s go all ‘time travel’ on the situation and recap to where we were 1 year ago, before we moved in.

Family Room 07

Beautiful. Mauve. Dark. Stupid.

We wanted to make some obvious changes: paint the walls, ceiling, replace the floor and add WONDERFUL INVITING-NESS EVERYWHERE. I loved that it shared the space with the kitchen but that it wasn’t our formal living room so that we could make this super kid friendly and comfortable.

Family room Before

Family room Before

Family room Before

I have dreams of Charlie playing on the ground with beautiful scandinavian-style toys, wearing all organic dye-free, blood-free, diamond-free clothes, while I make a vegan roast, wearing a hand-stitched apron, nude underneath. This is how it should go down on an average Wednesday in our family room. And it does.

But after 3 months it still looked like this – mismatched chairs, stupid everything. Bad, Bad, Bad. But I had just had a baby, and was busy weeping out of happiness or sadness, so I get a pass.

Family room Progress

Family room Progress

So now, as of November 2014, we are better but not done. I’m working on it but the progress is S.L.O.W.

emily family room blue grey 1

We have an awesome, very comfortable sofa (in the best configuration possible). The ottoman is rad and insanely kid friendly but it doesn’t work with the sofa, stylistically. The rug is awesome (a CL find 5 years ago for $75) but it’s too flat for the chunky sofa – although it does hide dirt, etc, really well. There is no art on the walls, but a family photo wall is planned. Its going to be a wonderful room, it’s just not there yet.

The gold chest of drawers is from a vintage store, and its rad. The standing lamp is from Chairish and its weird and wonderful. Oh and that weird white laptop table is GENIUS because when I was breastfeeding I could put my water on it without reaching forward towards the coffee table. Its kinda ugly but totally great (it slips under your sofa and acts as a very convenient side table).

Things are fine but not awesome.

Blue Rug: Vintage | White Floor Lamp: Vintage from Chairish | White “C” Table: Container Store | Blue Blanket: Target | Grey Couch: sofa.com | Tan and Cream Pillows: Vintage | Blue Striped Pillow: The Citizenry | Leather Ottoman: Vintage from Amsterdam Modern | Brass Side Table: Vintage | Table Lamp: Schoolhouse Electric | Shades: DecorView

Its great that we have a room that is open to the kitchen, indeed, but its a little awkwardly shaped.

emily family room blue grey 2

Pendant Lights: Vintage from Shopclass LA | Blue Rug: Vintage | White Floor Lamp: Vintage from Chairish |White “C” Table: Container Store  | Blue Blanket:Target  | Grey Couch: sofa.com  | Tan and Cream Pillows: Vintage | Blue Striped Pillow: The Citizenry | Leather Ottoman: Vintage from Amsterdam Modern | Shades and Drapes: DecorView

Meanwhile on the other side of the room we have this:

emily family room blue grey_kitchen copy

The TV and the pack ‘n play. Charlie actually likes being in that pack ‘n play. Its not like he’s dying to go in it, but once he’s there its big enough that he plays for like 15 minutes at a time. Thats not bad, friends. I can pretend to cook or check my instagram, while he’s in there sticking a spatula in his mouth.

The TV feels kinda small that far enough away from the sofa. We have a projector that we could use there and just get rid of the TV but you can’t watch projectors during the day, which is kinda fine because how often do we actually watch tv during the day, right? But Brian is a massive college football fan so at least for these few months there is some daytime watching to be had. So our options are a. get a larger TV, b. use the projector screen and c. mount the tv to the wall opposite the sofa (on the far right) that you can see in this picture:

emily family room blue grey 1

Then it would be a really cozy TV area, but I wouldn’t be able to watch TV while I cook and I am actually cooking at least 3 nights a week now, plus making Charlie’s food, etc. But I could always just watch on my laptop or get a little counter tv. I feel like i’ve been talking about my tv situation for like 3 paragraphs. Geez. But its important and it just doesn’t feel right yet.

Blue Rug: Vintage | High Chair Seat: Stokke | Pack and Play: 4moms | Barstools: Vintage | TV Console: Vintage |Pendant Lights: Vintage from Shopclass LA  | Abstract Painting: Vintage | Wood Bowl: Target | Black and White Tray: Target

So, when we shot for Domino we quickly set up this room even though it wasn’t on the shot list, and I think none of us were that psyched about it (which is why it didn’t run in the magazine). The thing about these kinds of sofas is that you shouldn’t try to make them look ‘hip’. They are crazy comfortable, inviting and pretty but not cool. So in this photo I think we tried to make it look cool and instead its a little over-styled. I like everything in this shot and I like how the photographer took it, but I don’t like how we styled it to the camera. There is just a little too much stuff and the styling makes the sofa look suburban when it really just needs to look simple, comfy and cozy.

Emily Henderson Family Room Gallery Wall

I think it actually works best when pretty neutral pillows are thrown on in and it looks super casual and flop-on-able.

So that’s the family room update. My questions to you guys are: A. should I do a wallpaper in here? (I mean, I know what you are going to say, ‘YES!!!”), or just do a massive family photo wall? OR do both, if I choose a more subtle patterned wallpaper? I could do one similar to the one in the bedroom – just a simple metallic texture (posting soon, I promise).  Maybe that’s what I’ll do. But I also don’t want it to get super busy because this area is a bit cramped and there are often a ton of toys and computers laying everywhere.


Thoughts on what to do on the walls and what kind of ottoman/coffee table (remember it has to be kid-friendly) I should do are very welcome … Weigh in, folks.

Thanks to Tessa Neudstadt for the ‘pre-after’ photos and Brittney Ambridge from Domino for the photo that never ran.

Brass and Marble Backsplash

emily henderson brass and gold backsplash_circle

Ok, friends. Welcome to the backsplash post. A lot of y’all have been asking, it just took a while to collate all the info.

For those of you just joining (welcome), here is what our kitchen looked like when we moved in. Workable, but not awesome.

Emily Kitchen Before copy

I knew I wanted to upgrade the cabinet finish, put in a backsplash, new appliances, new counter, etc, but not demo it out because the configuration was pretty good. Most of the decisions were fairly easy to make – Caesarstone countertops, pretty white appliances (post coming) but the backsplash? I sprouted four new gray hairs trying to come up with a backsplash that was both simple but interesting; not using crazy expensive materials, but not boring. Also it needs to always be good for resale, but at the same time ‘pinnable’ for now. Its hard. At first I tried this insane mountain scape idea that I still think could work with the right materials, but it also could have looked like amateur garbage.

I love carrara marble (I’m not alone right now in that, clearly) but I’m too irresponsible to have it as my countertop. It looks good aged in a more traditonal style house but ours is midcentury. Besides, I knew that if we had one get together with red wine it would be over. So I wanted to figure out how to bring it into the kitchen and obviously the backsplash is a good opportunity to do that. You can buy it in bricks, squares or in larger tiles that are wildly less expensive that slabs. So I opted for the 12×24 tiles which are roughly $5.50 a square foot and cost us $451 to do the whole lot – we bought 20% overage since we were cutting them (and when you cut you get some casualties) and that price included tax and shipping (shipping is strangely expensive at $80).

brass and marble backsplash details


But the brass? Yeah, thats not a normal backsplash component. It’s typically used at a ‘floor junction’ in between carpeting and tile – like at the threshold between the kitchen and living room, or bathroom and hallway. Its solid brass and slides underneath the tile – but you get 1/8″ brass strip in between the tile, looking like brass grout. The tile guy thought we were nuts (not for putting it in a backsplash but for opting for brass at all). That side with the holes goes UNDER the tile and the larger brass side (the profile) is butted up against the next tile, so what you see is the top side that is 1/8th inch.

The brass edge trim was by Schluter Schiene from Westside Tile and Stone at a cost of $32.00 per 8′ length.  I believe we ordered 12 8′ lengths and had 3 left over. We didn’t really know how many we needed since we were doing a weird pattern (oh and we ordered like 2 days before install and it came from the East Coast so yes, we ordered extra just in case). One of our concerns was the potential of the brass tarnishing but the manufacturer thought it would be ok and said we could polish it as long as we avoided getting the polish on the marble which could potentially damage the surface and take the shine away. So far so good.

We thought about ordering a slab of carrara so that we didn’t have any joint seams and also to try to save on money and material waste but the slab would have been too thick for this application. Our installer ordered the tiles from Discount Tile Center on Venice.

carrara tile

The one on the left is the way the trim is supposed to be installed, but its only 1/8th an inch, which is pretty narrow. The one on the right is flipped, which looked WAY better (1/2″) but we would have had to cut each piece vertically and the install would have been a nightmare. So we installed it properly, but I do regret it not being bigger.

Meanwhile I didn’t want to just use the tiles as is, I wanted to do stripes with them with varying widths. First we tried more of a brick pattern:

Kitchen Tile

I like it but we thought it would have looked too busy. Now I don’t think so and I think it could look awesome because the brass trim is so subtle. It would have been more expensive to install (because way more cuts) but looking back it might have been a better option. We also had the stripes vary in size from 2, 4, 6, 8″ which would mean that every single one of them would have to be cut down from the 12″. Again, more cuts = more expensive install.  Kitchen Tile

So we opted for the above pattern, which were just simple stripes, at 4″, 8″, 12″ widths. It was a challenge conveying what we wanted so we drew it on the wall itself:


Click through to see the reveal.


Target Styling Chapter #4; 3 Easy Centerpiece Ideas

The fourth Target Video is up, folks, and its all about really easy centerpiece ideas, co-hosted by my side-braid that I’ve been trying to recreate for 6 weeks now (thanks to Danielle Walch). This video is meaty – with three different ideas, color palettes and styles but they are all super easy, I promise.

About centerpieces – we aren’t really talking about what you do for a dinner party, nay. You can always have flowers and candles for that but these ideas are more about composing simple, affordable things in ways that look fun, pulled together and inviting in between dinners. It doesn’t always have to be a bowl of fruit – or if it is maybe its a more interesting way to display said bowl of fruit.

gold and wood centerpiece

What did we do on this table? Well, just watch the video and then keep reading for some tips, photos and some more gratuitous shots of my side-braid.

We came up with three centerpiece ideas: 1. Earthy and Seasonal. 2. Neutrals and Organic 3. Whites with Greenery…. All using just Target product (or some pieces you might already have)  and some flowers/plants and fruit.