Happy Friday …

Its been a long week and therefore its going to be a short post. I mean its summer after all …. don’t most companies take ‘summer fridays’ .. methinks yes. My plans … walk and shop with my best friend, write some design posts (I just literally have NO time during the week right now so its all about nights and weekends) and possibly try to get some tone back in my muscles. And the Rose Bowl. Duh.


We’ve been shooting the book everyday which is very fun – it’s really the dream team (with photographer David Tsay shooting and Scott and I double-teaming on the styling front). Plus Sir. Charles has been coming to set which is always VERY fun (for me, at least).



I’ve been on a five-day detox after a very fun (but unhealthy) fourth of July. I’m doing the Chef V 5 day which ends today. I feel good but totally out of energy at the end of the day (thus the lack of post today) and my jeans are fitting only slightly better. The things we do in the name of “health” when really it’s probably just vanity. Fail.

Anyway, enjoy your weekend. And by the way this kid, Charlie, says ‘hi’.


DIY Tree Slab Side Table in Redbook

Welcome to another Team Red DIY. We all know that hairpin legs are having a moment – well they’ve been having a moment for a while but because they are so popular its now really easy for us to make ourselves. I mean this DIY is really just about finding the resources (we give them to you at the end) and drilling in 6 screws. A baby sloth could do it (another thing that is having ‘a moment’). Its a thing.

Redbook August DIY Slab Side Table

But what would a perfect looking DIY be without some chaotic behind the scenes? So here’s how this column works. Every month we send Redbook 5-7 DIY ideas. They take it to their Editor in Chief and 2 of them get approved to move on. Then we hone in on those two, making sure that they are in fact easy and affordable. We source them, order them, find a location for the shoot, make one to make sure it works, buy enough to shoot two (one in progress for the step by step and one that is the ‘hero’). And then David Tsay, Scott and my team style and shoot thing thing.

In this case it was these hairpin legs wood slab tables. Brady and Ginny sourced the legs online and the slabs from the flower market.



redbook bts

In this case we shot it in our studio. On one side of the room we have this perfectly set up shot and on the other its just total chaos. We haven’t started designing the studio yet, well we have but the quotes we’ve gotten for what we want to do are like 7K so thats on the back burner for now. But its convenient to shoot there because it has a good blank wall, decent light and we have access to my hoarding collection of props.


If you are asking why don’t I style these myself its because life is just a little too crazy. That morning i had woken up at 1:30am (yes, you read that right) to do 27 tv interviews in a row. I got done around 9am and headed back home to the shoot. So obviously I couldn’t have bought flowers at 6am like you have to or you know, been functional at all. I just kinda art direct – but Scott and I have been friends and working together for so long that I’m never worried.

We choose the color palette (and run it past RedBook) and then Scott and I collaborate to get the rest of the props. You may notice that pink sofa that we just sold to Ban.do here – its just so photographable. And the rug below was an ‘option’ that we gave RedBook (I believe its from CostPlus World Market).


This is David being all, ‘hey pay attention’ and me clearly RUSHING from behind the desk to come approve the shot.


So you may notice that the rug that we used above didn’t make it in the final version. What did was my persian rug runner from upstairs that you may have seen in these instagrams:

persian rug

Except we used it upside down, because we CRAZY like that. The color was too intense right side up and it took too much away from the table. Upside down it just looked like a flatwoven kilim.

hairpin legs

So there you have it. You might know that i’m not Orange’s number one fan, but I think this color combo is sooo cute and fresh. These legs also come in white, green, blue and pretty much every color. Here are all the resources:

Sofa: Vintage, covered in light pink from the fabric district.

Wood Slabs: We sourced a couple of our options from the flower district, but they are also available online through Save-On-Crafts.

Table Legs: we sourced quite a few for this project and were 100% pleased with all of them but in the end the orange ones made the cut. Both Hairpin Legs for Less, and Hairpin Legs.com really pulled out all the stops to help us with these legs and a big thank you goes out to them for being so accommodating and getting them sent through to us! Their legs are fabulous, customizable and rage from about $12-$40 a leg. The orange ones we used were 18″ in height, and cost about $35 per leg because we went with the powder coated finish.

Rug: Vintage from the flea market

Pillows: Target

Art: Jamie Derringer

The gorgeous after shots are photographed by David Tsay, and styling was done by Scott Horne.

You can check out our other DIY projects we did for Redbook by clicking through these links: Side Table Ikea Hack, DIY Towel Ladder , Embossed Velvet Heart Pillow, Office Wall Pockets,

Material Girls #3, ‘Contemporary, Masculine Glam’

If you follow me on instagram you might have seen my Materials Girls post today. To recap – its a series where we shop/style/shoot a bevy of interior design materials that we would use for pretend clients. Fantasy clients. Clients without a budget and that let us have full control.

So todays material board is very glamorous and yet contemporary in a kinda masculine way. Its actually totally not my style, but its a good excersize in how I would do styles outside my wheelhouse. ‘Contemporary’ is never really a word I love, but at the same time there are a lot of good contemporary design elements out there. So here goes:

She lives in Beverly Hills, wears skinny jeans and stilettos, and likes her place really clean and perfectly styled. She doesn’t buy vintage, she likes things with character, but she prefers texture over color, and loves a strict color palette. Like so:

Black and gold materials board


1. White tile | Porcelanosa 2. Flooring Birch Metallic Collection in Platinum by Vanier | Build Direct3. Gold fabric swatch Home Fabrics4. Tan leather scraps Michael Levine 5. Black pebbles Bourget Bros 6. Rectangular cream tile | Porcelanosa 7. Metallic wallpaper | Astek 8. Black and white fabric on left Rain in Slate, Clay McLaurin | Nicky Rising 9. Stone Scraps from the stoneyard 10. Black and white stripe wallpaper Horizontal stripe in Onyx | Sydney Harbour11. Black and white knob | Anthropologie 12. Leather | Edelman leather 13. Leather | Edelman leather. 14. Black and white fabric on right Edo by Clay McLaurin | Nicky Rising 15. Tan leather scraps Michael Levine 16. Silver textured tile | Porcelanosa 17. Black, white and grey pattern swatch (top Home left) Fabrics.

In case you missed the last two Material Girls, here they are. click on the photo to go to the post with all the resources.


Click HERE to see the post with resources.


Click HERE to see this post with all the resources.

photographs shot/styled by me. 

Styling with matching pieces of furniture

Well folks, when we asked for reader questions we got them – over 400 to be exact. We received questions that ranged from how should i arrange my flowers, to should i paint my bathtub, to how can i incorporate my old dorm room furniture into my existing space without it feeling like a dorm. So to say that it took a little while for us to sort through them is a bit of an understatement. I have tried to gather a few of the most common questions that I feel could help anyone improve their space.

A question that came up a few times is:

How do I Incorporate my matching furniture set into my living room so that it does not look like a showroom? Its ironic because I also get the question “how do I make disparate styles work together in a room to make it look cohesive?” which has a different answer obviously, but I know that so many people are in the same boat – they bought a set on sale, and now it doesn’t really represent their personality and are struggling to make the room look as interesting, fun and full of personality as they are.

matching living room furniture

These photos are from readers’ homes (Molly, Jessica and Tiff) struggling with matching furniture. Let me first say that having some matching furniture is not a bad thing. Do you want your sofa, loveseat, side chairs, tables and coffee table to all match? Nay, but some of them could and it can help make a space feel cohesive.

living room matching

I mean, I don’t necessarily feel that bad for this house below, clearly they have some awesome stuff (sofa/coffee table, etc).

living room with sofa

Unfortunately we do not all have unlimited budgets (myself included) to go out and buy all different pieces that juxtapose but work together to form the perfect little family of eclectic furniture in our living rooms. A lot of you wrote in and said that you bought a matching chair, couch and ottoman set, while your local furniture store was having its semi-annual sale or have had the same set for years that matches and now don’t know how to make it look fun and eclectic. Thanks to Molly, Jessica, and Tiff for sending in your questions as well as some pictures.

There are a few things to mix it up and make it feel fresh that can easily be done on any budget.

Step 1: Coordinate pillows so that they look good together (on both pieces), but contrast off the sofa.

Most furniture sets come with pillows these days but for the most part they aren’t awesome so chuck those loose pillows and grab a few solids, coordinating patterns and smatter them around the room evenly. My rule is usually 3-4 pillows per couch (1 or 2 in each corner) I also try to get a couple of solids mixed in with a stripe or a pattern to add depth/texture and interest to the space.

mismatch pillows 1

for more pictures of our makeover with Cup of Joe click HERE

mismatch pillows

 for more pictures of this living room makeover click HERE

Step 2: Add throws to break up the monotony of the sofas.

Its such a good trick. You can really transform a couch by adding a throw, blanket or tapestry fabric to the back of the couch. You can drape it over one side, you can fold it up and lay it nicely, or you can even open it up and spread it across the entire back of the couch so that it covers the majority of the cushions.

couch blanket

 for more images of this living room click HERE

You don’t want to necessarily try to fool people, or hide the sofa by throwing the blanket over the whole sofa, but it can really break up the solid back or cushion of the sofa. Just make sure to bring the color of the throw onto the other matching piece.

couch tapestry

 for more images of our makeover with Oh Joy! click HERE

At Joy’s house (above) I put one on the bottom (mainly to be kid friendly) but something like that could totally work to break up a set. And the throw that I used below was a vintage camping blanket which added a lot of interest to the long simple sectional.


for more images of this living room click HERE

Step 3: Add something weird/vintage.

So you have your matching larger pieces of furniture and now its time to bring in some vintage/eclectic/weird pieces to help shake it up. Add in a vintage side table, a crazy piece of art, some weird lighting, etc.  Your side tables can match each other, but they shouldn’t also match your coffee table. Make sure the scale works – if you have a large set of leather sofas like the middle reader pic then get larger scale tables, too so your big matching pieces are dwarfing everything else and making them even more glaring.

Below you can see how I added some ‘weird’ pieces which always throw off furniture, in a good way. Its like, ‘oh so you thought I was all predictable?’ Well, boom, that vintage painting of the worst president ever definitely shakes things up.


for more images of this living room click HERE


for more images of this living room click HERE

A gallery of eclectic/vintage art definitely draws attention away from any boring furniture and makes the room look instantly interesting. Also I realize that these rooms have awesome furniture as well, but you get my point.


for more images of this living room makeover click HERE

Now its tricky  because you don’t want a piece to be jarringly different to where it looks like an accident or worse, really ‘try-hard’, but keep the color palette consistent, keep the pieces in scale and follow those tips and your matching set will just look cohesive and meanwhile all your pretty pillows, throws and accessories will make the space look interesting.

I think next reader question i’ll try to address one particular readers problems with pictures attached and pretty much redesign the space, so send your questions with as many pics as possible to brady@emilyhendersondesign.com

Kitchen backsplash tile design – a fail

Ok y’all. Its update time (although no reveal, sorry!).

To recap:

When we moved into the kitchen it was OK, considering it was from the 60′s with very few updates (thank god). We planned on refinishing the cabinets (boy was that a mistake, more on that when we’re allowed to show the pics) and I knew we would get these beautiful handles from School House Electric to update them, so everything was pretty simple, clean, and classic midcentury so far. The place that I could go crazy and do something interesting was the backsplash. So the amount of hours I thought about this stupid backsplash was ridiculous.

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like when we moved in:


A pretty great layout, simple cabinetry and just needed updates on appliances, countertop. sink, faucets, lighting, etc.

Designing for yourself (and fast) is actually really difficult when you have a large audience that is going to see it, share it (or not) like it, hate on it, etc, etc. Here is what i’ve been battling:

I want to do something amazing, but also something that is a “good idea” and something that might inspire other good ideas in you – aka I could have just called up some super expensive and beautiful tile company and gotten tons of handmade tile for free (and yes, I was tempted), but what is the ‘idea’ in that? Its like “here’s a tip, folks!- spend 5K on your backsplash tile!”

But at the same time I really wanted it to be amazing and generally anything that is common and relatively inexpensive is just not amazing. And I wanted it to be simple and mid-century because a. we are going to sell the house in probably in a year so as much as I wanted to bring in a weird color palette, its just not good for resale. And b, I don’t want to get sick of looking at this thing because its attached to the family room so its the room that we spend most of our time in.

I even met with ceramic artist Bari Zipperstein because I love her work and thought I could commission tiles from her but again the tip is ‘collaborate with an amazing artist that is going to give you a deal for exposure!!’

And then part of me was like,”just do whatever you want and screw the fact that it may or may not be pinned for the rest of eternity!!!!”

Anyway, to recap, here’s what I wanted: 1. something midcentury-inspired, 2. a good ‘idea’ (in other words do something creative with something common), 3. something relatively inexpensive (EVERYTHING was just adding up so I really had to think about budget), and 4. something that you/I haven’t seen before (but still good for resale).

No pressure. Here’s are some patterns that I LOVE that helped get the inspiration going:

Tiling Inspiration

My first idea was to create an interesting pattern/design with penny tile or small 1″ square tiles (which is super common and cheap). I thought about doing a watercolor effect in tile, something organic and soft, but ultimately there just weren’t enough different soft colors of penny tile to make that look good.

So then I thought maybe its all about a graphic pattern. Stripes seemed a bit uninteresting (although classic), but something diagonal could be cool, I thought. I really wanted to bring in ‘Oregon’ somewhere since Brian and I both have ties to it. So my first idea that I really pursued was doing a mountainscape along the back wall. It would be mainly white, taupes, grays, blues and gold tile forming the shape of the mountains. Maybe there were multiple colors in each mountain or maybe each mountain would be a different tone. A la so:

mountain motif

So we ordered a sheet of each color that we kinda liked and started playing:

Kitchen tiles

Hmm. It was looking bathroom-y and just kinda bad. So what if it was just the outline of the mountain and what if it was more abstract? I thought … So we turned to our blue tape friend and just taped it up.

Kitchen Tiling

I liked that, I did … in the blue tape. So we tried taping up tiles … Sure, you can spend hours on renderings or you can just sample it.

Kitchen Tiling

Meh. I also wanted more of a solid color in the tiles – not where the edges are lighter (I actually don’t mind that normally, but i wanted the line to be more solid and look more like one piece). So I went out tile shopping again. I found a lot more tile options (some awesome, some not) but it still wasn’t there. My camera was FULL of tile photo after tile photo.

tile options

And then I started thinking that triangles (a classic geometric shape) are having a moment right now and I was scared that it would look super “2014″, and while I don’t mind things referencing the era that they are designed in, I didn’t want it to be “Emily’s Super Hipster Kitchen” redo.

Besides, the installation of this could be really difficult to relay properly to our tiler who doesn’t speak perfect english (I mean, it was difficult to explain to Brian) and the idea of doing a rendering for this sounded so daunting and boring and I don’t know how accurate it would be anyway because you have to account for grout lines and just normal irregularities. The tile dude at Classic Tile thought that the installation for that small wall would be around $1500 and thats just the installation. Ugh.

Kitchen Tiling 05

I couldn’t seem to pull the trigger on it. I just didn’t feel confidant about it and it was risking too much money (and the horror of it being hideous) to just go for it. Some people who I trusted agreed that with the right tile it could be awesome. And some other people were against the idea completely. I felt like if I could find the perfect carerra marble tile (or sheets) for the background and the perfect gold and gray tile or strips for the mountain scape that it could look amazing, but time was running out and finding those elements (and making sure their depth and size matched for installation so they really needed to be from the same company) was proving very difficult.

So on the way home from the tile place I got the idea, THEE IDEA, that we ended up doing, one that I felt extremely confidant about immediately. Unfortunately (I know its annoying, i’m sorry) I can’t reveal what it is until it comes out in Domino (september issue, comes out mid-august) but I will say that I’m 98% in love with it and i’ll show you how you can do it and avoid that mistake and make you 100% in love with it.

But again … when the magazine drops in August. So rude, I know.

For now, what do you guys think of the mountain scape plan? Can you see how it could be amazing if done right? Or are you terrified?