Utilitarian & Chic #3 – Laundry

For years, YEARS, doing laundry meant schlepping clothes once a month down to the basement and basically spending the rest of your saturday afternoon monitoring said clothes. I would avoid this at all cost, practically buying a new wardrobe to avoid dealing with the dirty one. New Yorkers, you know what I mean.

In the new house we have a washer and dryer which I know isn’t a reason to celebrate to most people, but to us its like that scene in Goonies at the end where they finally find the treasure and gold. Every. single. day. Having a washer and dryer is indeed a luxury. But thtere are a lot of ugly things that go along with them – laundry sorting, detergent, ironing boards and organizing paraphernalia. I could do without any of it, frankly, but these clothes aren’t going to wash themselves.

So here’s one part of my ‘Utilitarian and Chic’ laundry edition. There are a lot of products so you’ll see more later, but what i love about these are again how simple and functional they are. Laundry doesn’t need to be decorative.

Lets (not) get dirty:

Utilitarian & Chic Laundry

Maybe those pieces ill help my laundry room look a little more like this:

Utilitarian & Chic Laundry Utilitarian & Chic Laundry

1. Wicker basket Pretty and simple, plus I use this for plant pots, too.

2. Wool & cashmere shampoo I like the packaging and its a reminder to own more cashmere. I mean, how can I let this soap just sit their unused?

3. Ironing board Its architectural and simple. Now if only i learned to iron.

4. Anchor laundry bag  So cute. Throw it on a hook in your laundry room for your more delicate clothes.

5. Drying rack Its a classic – the fold out drying rack. With its white and wood combo i’m totally into it.

6. Rattan hamper I have one of these in Charlie’s room and it does a good job of blending into the other decor – its just so simple and white.

7. Ironing board cover Fashion for you ironing board. Don’t let your board get caught naked. How embarassing!

8. Clothes pegs they are classic and always in style. Just need to figure out what to do with them …

9. Lavender laundry soap These are the kinds of things that I have to be given in order to appreciate, but whenever I do, i’m like ‘why oh why haven’t I washed my clothes in lavender laundry soap before’. I haven’t tried this one, but the packaging is so pretty. Although i’m sure its not exactly cheap if you know what I mean.

Charlie’s birth video … documenting my pregnancy

That’s right … Charlie’s birth was filmed (and you can watch at ULive.com), which I realize is a sentence that gets a HUGE reaction like this, ‘You … had a film crew in there? OMG.” And that’s when I remind them that no there wasn’t a CREW (although, frankly I would have permitted it). It was one dude. ONE dude, (‘sup, Steve) that I have worked with a ton so he’s kinda a friend and I was comfortable around him (no, not that comfortable but I knew him well enough to know that he wasn’t judging me).  (Oh, and read the birth story to get the play by play)

Besides, when I was in blinding pain do you think I gave a crap (literally and figuratively) who was in the room? I didn’t. Well, that is not true, I wanted him to be there. I wanted someone to document ‘The woman in the most pain ever’ for the Guinness book of world records. I didn’t win, strangely … I was robbed (probably  by a woman who had to withstand that for 24 hours instead of my short birth).

emily henderson birth

Let me be clear  - nothing from the business end will be shown … sadly. Was the business end filmed? I don’t know, probably … hopefully. But, obviously that won’t be online – although to be honest not because I don’t want it to be; I’m proud of what happened down there and yes, its gnarly and insane and might make some/most people uncomfortable, but to me it’s so amazing and I kinda want the world to see it.


Customize It… Jewelry Organizer


I love this DIY. Its one of those that took a bit longer than our normal simple ones, but its so satisfying to look at. And before you think, ‘wait, I don’t love pink and neon’ think, what if it was just wood and brass or black and white string? or even jute twine? so many options, so little jewelry. Lets get into it. Here’s what you’ll need:


1. hot pink mason twine $5.21 2. neon yellow mason twine $5.21 3. cup hooks $3.58 4. screw eye hooks $1.24 5. super glue $5.98 6. scissors 7. self leveling picture hangers 8. hammer 9. square dowel $1.04


1. Take a small amount of super glue and place on the back of one of the dowels before you lay down your twine. Wrap the entire dowel leaving about an inch of room on each end. Finish wrapping the dowel and use super glue to tie down the end and to keep it from unraveling. As you’re wrapping the dowels, make sure to use your fingers to keep pushing the thread together so that it stays neat and even throughout. Repeat step 1 with the second dowel.

2. Next, take the self-leveling picture hangers and hammer into place on the backside of the wood dowel. If you’re going to hang heavier necklaces (as we did) skip this step as the dowel will lean forward on the wall since the jewelry is too heavy. Use them only if you plan on hanging dainty necklaces and lightweight baubles.

3.  You can use eye hooks or cup hooks depending on your style preference. We mixed it up and used eye hooks on top for earrings and cup hooks on the bottom dowel. Using the tip of the hook, you’ll find you can part the thread and then screw each one in by hand. Space them out any way you like (our preference was about an inch apart for each).

4. I found that it was tricky to make the twine even on both sides by trying to loop the entire piece all at once. Start with the top dowel and wrap just as you did in step one (making sure to glue down the string on the back side). Pull up enough thread to make a triangle for hanging purposes and wrap the dowel on the opposite side. Continue down with the same twine and space out the dowel as much as you like. Since we were hanging earrings on the top, we didn’t need a ton of room in-between the two dowels.

5. Cut off about a foot of twine and wrap the opposite side to finish up the design, again using super glue to hold it in place.

6. Next, take the pink twine and wrap around the yellow twine in a tight fashion leaving a little twine left over underneath so you can cut off the excess. Use a small nail to display your hook and dowel jewelry organizer.

hanging jewelry display

Now hang those necklaces, bracelets and rings, friends. Don’t embarass your jewelry by keeping them in a box, NAY, hang them on display! That was strangely Dr. Seuss but you know what I’m going after.  Thanks Bneato for collaborating again on this project. See some of our other collaborations  -  bracelet towers, hanging lucite filing folders, and jewelry blocks. All big hits. xx

Thanks Tessa Neustadt for the pretty pics.



Trolling Craigslist… Milwaukee!

Trolling CL Milwaukee

Well folks, today we are trolling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and its worth trolling. I know NOTHING about this town, truly, but now I want to go there. These pieces can’t hoard themselves – i simply owe it to the world, and to my heart, to seriously consider a trip out to the midwest. Picture this – me, Charlie, Scott, Orlando and Corbett (all my favorite shopaholics and 1 budding shopaholic) in an airstream that pulls a huge trailer, stopping at every thrift store, auction house, estate sale, garage sale, and antique mall from here to Portland Maine. Brian would probably leave me, but I’d have my vintage collection of furniture to keep me warm at night, right?

trolling craigslist milwaukee headboard and set of chairs

1. $395 Set Of Chairs Yes. I LOVE these. I actually could use these right now in the ‘mancave’ that i’m doing for The Fig House. Imagine them in a blush linen or emerald green or really ANY color because that shape lends itself to really any color. It makes me want to put them around a Saarinen table and play poker where I will subsequently win hundreds of thousands of dollars that I can blow on more vintage chairs.

2. $150 Vintage King Headboard Its girly, no doubt. But its also super stylish. Maybe it could be on a wall that has a simple pin-stripe wallpaper, with midcentury style wood or ceramic lamps – you could butch this headboard up for sure. Or maybe its your guest room and you redo it in white and the tufts are different pastel colors … oh that would be VERY cute, indeed.

trollings craigslist milwaukee vintage chairs and free sofa

3. $40 Pair of Mid Century Windsor Style Chairs These remind me of Paul McCobb planner group chairs, which they probably are not but they are definitely well designed and made. A pair of these chairs can be hard to incorporate into a house  - but if you have a credenza that needs flanking, or a breakfast table that needs some seating – these are your gals.

4. $35 Vintage Chair Its a cute little side or desk chair – nothing that is making me go crazy, but ‘dude’ and cute and has personality.

5. FREE Sleeper Sofa You know how I feel about midcentury sleeper sofas – they have a way better frame (less chunky) than most contemporary sleeper sofas. To redo the innards its $700 and then to redo the exterior its probably $900 – 1200 including fabric so that does equal about a $1800 sleeper sofa – but its still cheaper than most new ones.

trolling craigslist milwaukee vintage lamp and tables


6. $25 Rattan Hanging Lamp Man, this is perfect for my closet.  A little girlier than I should go but the rattan and the modern glass shade would be so cute in there (i’m searching for one right now). Thats a pretty cheap price for a cute little swag lamp. Just make sure you have a modern enough space for it – these can go really granny and thrifty if its combined with traditional furniture.

7. $125 Pair of Mid Century Modern Side Tables I can’t get enough of these kinds of tables/stools. Thats not true – i actually have too many of them because I hoard them constantly. These are the pieces that you can set next to a chair in the corner that instantly creates a vignette, or finishes off a reading corner. OR use them as a plant stand since they are so simple and small scale.

Trolling craigslist milwaukee vintage chairs and table

8. $30 Vintage Bamboo Side Table Not amazing but totally cute in a ‘Golden Girls’ kinda way. It would work on my patio, for sure – with some cute plants on it and sitting next to a vintage wire chair.

9. $60 Chrome and Leather Chair A great chair for a corner or a desk. I love that leather and that price. Get ye to that chair.

10. $25 Vintage Folding Rocking Chair I have to admit i’m intrigued. I don’t totally know how this “rocking chair” works but I really like the idea of it. Its perfect for your (my) bohemian deck, rocking with Sir. Charles Henderson. That fabric is interesting to me and so is the architecture of it. It had me at ‘fringe’.

Where to next??????



The time that “Emily Henderson” got (or didn’t get) “Emily Henderson” in a web-quiz

I found this quiz in my inbox two days ago and life imploded in a tiny little meta poof. Its all over. Read my borderline narcissistic, over analyzation of what getting or not getting “Emily Henderson” did to my mental stability. But first take the quiz.

which decorator gets you

Lets go through my thought process when I saw this quiz:

Thought #1: #$%&*@!!! Even if it’s just this authors selection (although the PopSugar site is HUGE) and even if it’s just for this quiz, I am just so flattered to be within spitting distance from Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler, the Property Brothers and Nat Berkus. And without getting all J-LAW on you and virtually tripping down my blog stairs, just know that I’m psyched to be up there. Very.

Thought #2: Well, most of these people have influenced my style greatly so even If I do get ‘me’ a lot of it is due to ‘them’, so by getting ‘me’ am I really just getting ‘them’? Its starting to get weirder. I’m uncomfortable but in the same way that I was uncomfortable before my first sloppy kiss in front of a crowd of junior high kids behind the school dance in 7th grade – embarrassed, yet excited enough to go through with it anyway.

Thought #3: What if I don’t get ‘Emily Henderson’?  There was a strong chance that I could get ‘Nate Berkus’ who I love dearly – personally and stylistically. Or ‘Jonathan Adler’  - who I used to work for and whose whimsy definitely influenced me. Or ‘Kelly Wearstler’ whose style is so over the top but I fantasize about it all the time. The ‘Property Brothers’ I know and love (personally) but they are two straight dudes and are way more contemporary, masculine and rustic than I am so I kinda knew that it wouldn’t be them (although ironically that’s who Brian got).

So I started taking the quiz.

(SPOILER ALERT – I analyze  how to get ‘me’ or ‘Nate’ or anyone else in this post, so take the quiz first so you aren’t influenced by my ramblings and then come back and read about how crazy I am).

Here’s the first question:

house options

No problem. I love New York but I’m from a small coastal town. I love Europe but ultimately can’t be away from friends and family. I don’t ski nor am I ever perceived as someone who is super ‘outdoorsy’. So I’m choosing the top right. I’m from the Oregon coast so they might be assuming that I’d choose the bottom right, but the ocean is cold, scary and full of monsters and swallowed up planes, so I’m a river, lake and meadow person. The bottom left might be Oregon but I’m a green grass/sun person not a winter Oregon person. Jonathan Adler and Nate are probably NYC, Kelly is probably Paris and the PB’s are probably  the snowy mountain or the bottom left because they are Canadians. Not sure what is more “Emily Henderson” but I chose the top right.

drink options

Ha. So this is tricky. I think they think “Emily Henderson” drinks either bubbly or margaritas because those drinks are the most”fun”. What they might not predict (or maybe they really do know me) is that for a bar cart on a Saturday night, I’m a whiskey girl – manhattans, old fashions, and many other trendy ‘ye olde-y meets 2012′ drinks out there. So this was one where I was nervous. I chose ‘whiskey’ but knowing that it might not be “Emily Henderson”.

paint options

Alright. So for this question I just had to go with my first impulse  - the top middle gray/blue. Orange and brown were obvious ABSOLUTELY NOTS, and the mint is a great trendy color but ultimately I’ve not been on that trend train in my own house. Are they associating me with gray? That seems VERY unlikely as I generally use a lot more color. Or maybe the baby pink? Out of all the us I would say I’m the most ‘baby pink’ and yet not. at. all. So I chose my top middle gray because it’s what I would put on my walls and it was my first instinct. It’s not what I want on my body (this pink skin looks practically dead in gray) but i don’t think that’s what they are asking. Had there been a navy or teal that would have been obvious so I appreciate them keeping us guessing.

gift options 2

TRICKY TRICKY TRICKY. The new ‘Japanese mid-century Scandinavian with a side of weird’  ”me” chose the bread board. It’s actually what I need. But I know that what ‘Emily Henderson’ would give would be that brass pineapple and they aren’t wrong. But they asked me what I want and right now I want that bread board because its such a happy circle in a pretty tone. Jonathan Adler is the animal coasters (I want), Kelly Dubs is the bottle opener (which I love), the white/black box is from Nate’s collection at Target (which I already own) so I’m assuming that’s ‘him’. I guess the Property Brothers are the rustic jug or the board. Again, I chose the board because its warm and yet graphic and modern … but I could be wrong …

pillow options

Ok, folks. This one is the hardest one because I know what they are thinking that “Emily Henderson” is that heart pillow. And if it were in a different color palette they would not have been wrong, for sure (White with navy? sure, shove it in my mouth). But orange and light blue are tricky for me. I thought to myself, whilst nervously chewing and swallowing my own hair, “if I don’t choose this pillow then I probably won’t get Emily Henderson and then I’m probably a total failure!”  So I panicked and chose it. Keep reading.

wallpaper options

Easy. Hands down the chinoiserie with the birds and butterflies (middle bottom). The rest of them are hard to pinpoint “who” they are, but I’m assuming the property brothers are the wood wallpaper (which is what Brian chose) and the monkey wallpaper is probably supposed to be Jonathan Adler, but the other couple I’m not sure. Maybe the floral is supposed to be ‘me’, but I’m not sure. I’m starting to be very unsure what is me or not.

chair options

For this one I knew it was down to the tufted teal chair and the tall Charlotte Perriand stool. Both are pretty “me” (but are they “Emily”???) I do love some tufting and certainly that color, but I’ve blogged about that leather chair/stool for years and just sold 12 of them on Chairish so they are certainly not off brand. One is my cozy granny side the other is my mid-century dude side. Ultimately I chose the teal because It’s also comfy and classic which takes the win.

Anyway. After all those questions and lots of really meta thoughts, I got “Emily Henderson”. THANK the digital lord.



Then I went through it again and changed up the  teal chair to the leather stool, the heart to the dot pillow (even though I knew that was Nate’s from Target) and got “Nate Berkus”. Happy but immediately paranoid, I got obsessed and took the quiz like 27 times and either got “Emily Henderson” or “Nate Berkus” EVERY OTHER TIME. And then I was like, “Who “am” I? Emily or Nate? What does “am” mean? And is it more ‘me’ to be more Nate or is it more Nate to be more me? Am I more attracted to Nates style than I am my own, or am I more into “my own” than I am into “me”. Is “ME” an orange heart is or that just the perception of me to myself? Am I perceiving myself as a brand or a person or both? Am I half “Emily” and half  ”Nate?”  Do I have a penis? Do I even want to be “Emily Henderson”? Am I more “me” because I like pineapples? Is that what “me” means? PINEAPPLES AND HEARTS!!!!???????

And then I took a bunch of unlabeled pills and slept for 9 days having Fear and Loathing style psychadelic dreams about tropical fruit and meadows and graphic floating hearts. Jonathan Adler called me ‘Petal’ again, Kelly Wearstler drank so many green juices, the Property Brothers playfully argued over who does more work (while we all know its Jonathan), meanwhile Nate and I spooned for hours and I felt like I was just hugging myself, unsure of whose leg was whose but not caring.


So … who did you get?

Leave it in the comments, and please, dear god, let there be at least some “Emily Hendersons” out there. Although I hear that she is certifiably N.U.T.S..

Subquestion, and possibly the most important question I’ll ever ask myself: am I, Emily Henderson, actually Nate Berkus?


Nate Berkus