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Emily Henderson

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by Arlyn Hernandez
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design by jessica helgerson design | photo by aaron leitz | via remodelista

We’ve reached that point in the year where it feels like if every post isn’t about the upcoming holidays, we’re failing to be “timely” and “seasonal” and “helpful.” And while I promise we have SO MUCH great festive content on deck, today, we’re taking a little bit of a break from all things merry and bright to oohh and ahh over some good ol’ fashion design…in the form of room makeovers and house tours that have crossed our eyeballs lately that we’re very, very into right now.

Come back later today for all things trees and trimming, but for now, scroll through for a sweet (calorie-free!) visual treat:

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design by jessica helgerson design | photo by aaron leitz | via remodelista

Pacific Northwest design darling Jessica Helgerson is good guys. I’ve seen the sitting room (to the left with the green velvet built-in sofa) numerous times on Instagram, but I never saw the house it was in, and oh man, what a mistake that was. There have been many versions of a “dream house” my brain has cooked up over the years, but today, right now, this takes top billing. Besides, any home with a sunroom that gets that kind of light is worth a double-take, in my book.

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design by jessica helgerson design | photo by aaron leitz | via remodelista

I don’t know what to discuss first here: that chandelier, that curved sofa or those armchairs? Why pick…they’re all glorious and statement-making enough to keep the eye interested and moving around the room without being TOO showy and stealing attention from the others. Bravo.

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design by jessica helgerson design | photo by aaron leitz | via remodelista

This bed is otherworldly. It’s like a bed alcove without having to cut through the wall, and the combination of dark, luscious velvet combined with that stunning wood detailing is enough to make my knees buckle and collapse…right onto that mattress. Anyway, be sure to go see all the photos over on Remodelista.

Next up is a far, far more attainable project by Sarah from Room for Tuesday, who updated her family’s laundry room as part of this fall’s One Room Challenge (Julie dished on another ORC room crush she had in this post from the other week). When I first saw the “afters” (head here to see the super relatable “befores”), I thought “man, marble slab and marble mosaic on floor and walls…pricey!” Until I read through her post and quickly realized she took a far more budget approach to the redesign.

Rftlaundry Room Makeover On A Budget
design and images via room for tuesday

What looks like marble slab on that left wall is actually marble contact paper. The floors? Peel-and-stick tile and some more marble contact paper cut to size. Oh and the marble mosaic is also peel-and-stick. GUYS! Maybe in person it would be more noticeable, but it FOOLED me on camera. Also, to keep it even more budget, she opted to keep her existing cabinets and counters…she just painted them both and swapped out some hardware.

Rftlaundry Room Makeover
design and images via room for tuesday

If you read her post, you’ll learn that her original budget was a brave and daring $300, but ended up spending just over $500 because she underestimated how much of the “mosaic tiles” she needed. I also wanted to draw attention to the newly added shelf and bar for hangers that feels like it always should have been there (it wasn’t).

One more One Room Challenge for good measure because I’m always SO impressed by what the participants get done in such a short period of time (mind you, I still have dining chairs stashed in my bedroom that I’ve been “reupholstering” since 2015, so…)

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This one comes from Jenni of I Spy DIY and it’s just so dang charming with that whispy garden-y wallpaper (a custom design she had her friend at Chasing Paper print for the project), that inky blue paneling (Behr’s Chimney) and that very dreamy window (which wasn’t there…ALL of this is new…the befores are downright SHOCKING).

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I also wanted to show you this bathroom because she used a black toilet and I was dying to hear what you all thought about it. Non-white toilets are totally controversial in the design world, I know, but I gotta tell you, I don’t hate this in here. In fact, I love it, because it “blends” in more to the dark walls and lets the free-standing tub be the stair it deserves to be. There is the very real but very gross factor of never really being able to “see” what, ahem, ends up in there (good grief, I’m sorry I just said that) but my mother-in-law has a black toilet in a powder room and the first time I came across it, I was like “hmm…interesting.” ANYWAY…let’s continue.

Now, it’s time to flip flop back to pure aspiration because we love to torture ourselves.

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design by studio giancarlo valle | via architectural digest

I first spotted the below oxblood-walled library sometime…last week? I then proceeded to send the above dining room shot to Jess because I know the girl appreciates things like random curved wood walls for seamingly no reason, chucky-legged everything and stone pedestal tables, and she screamed through our Slack DM RYANN HAS TO USE THIS IN THE LINK UP SHE MUST. Ha, too bad Ryann, I found it first.

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There are SO many stunning photos from this home on the web-exclusive Architectural Digest feature but these three, in particular, have given me that cardio pitter-patter in my chest. I don’t understand what that fabric on the bench above is, but man do I love it and want it. The satin-y red walls, whoa. I always think I’m not bold enough to do a red-wall situation, but THIS, this convinces me that maybe in the right room, with the right furniture, it can be done.

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The bedroom show has chartreuse wall-to-wall carpeting, and—I can’t believe I’m saying this—I’m CONVINCED. Plus, tassel pulls? Alright, I’m done now. Let’s move on so I can resuscitate myself.

I was SHOOK when I saw Erin from Apartment 34 post a carousel side-by-side on Instagram of the before and after of her San Francisco Victorian. Honestly, I straight up could hardly believe the transformation. Here’s the after (but go to her Instagram to see what I mean):

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design by erin hiemstra | photo by seth smoot | via domino

Featured in Domino’s Winter 2019 issue, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy to see MORE of this house. Her styling and material choices are just so, so good a bit cool-girl Parisian meets California casual in a way that doesn’t feel like a hodge podge of styles.

Apartment34 Side By Side

Erin, you’ve done good…THAT CHAIR…THAT WAVY PENDANT. What an eye on that one, hm?

Another designer with a serious eye is Sarah Sherman Samuel. I’ve been following her home renovation since she moved to Michigan last year and the transformation is finally here:

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design by sarah sherman samuel | photos by matthew williams | via domino

I WILL be picking up the Winter issue of Domino to also see this, the cover story, because there are far more images than what I’m getting online and I’m ravenous to see them. It’s fun to see how she uses her own products in her home, but also sourced from places like Wayfair and Target (the light fixture in the bathroom above was from Leann Ford’s collection earlier this year and the tub, stool, fixture, and cage pendant are from Wayfair).

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design by sarah sherman samuel | photos by matthew williams | via domino

The brass kickplate behind the island brings a serious glam factor to the more rustic ceiling, and I always love seeing a “stove nook.”

Now for something a little different in style, this home from Clever.

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design by fabrikate | photo by jonathan van der knaap | via clever

The design on this one doesn’t scream EHD but once my eyes landed on that window cut out by the bench (and kitty), I was sold. I love how the custom bench curves right into the same surface (just clad differently) as the media console. And the little fireplace and flume…darling. I really appreciate when the design of homes have little moments like that that you don’t really see in other houses.

Clever Bathroom Side By Side
design by fabrikate | photo by jonathan van der knaap | via clever

And also, this bathroom is so, so great. I love the glossy subway tile juxtaposed with the matte cement tile (plus the organic, scattered pattern of the tile is ::chef’s kiss::).

AND FINALLY…

I saw Julia of Chris Loves Julia share this super budget bedroom makeover recently, and I thought you guys would like it!

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design and photo by julia marcum of chris loves julia

The “before” of this room is your basic tract home bedroom, but they added so much interest and character just by DIYing some molding and using a large area rug to cover up most of the beige wall-to-wall carpeting.

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design and photo by julia marcum of chris loves julia

I love seeing a room that is very, very much attainable and doable for mere mortals like me, so thank you Julia for the inspiration!

And that’s it! Eight house tours and room renovations on our radar right now. I’m curious though…what do you prefer to see from us? More of the real-life home room makeovers or the purely aspirational stuff? I’m guessing it’ll be a split in opinions between the two, but maybe not? Let me know!

  1. I live for the MOTOs and real life makeovers – you guys have such great voice in your writing and really capture all of the details.

    1. I’m with Ashley here 100%!

    2. Yup agree 100%

  2. To answer your question – I like both! Expensive professional renovations and decor are beautiful and inspirational, but they get tiring when that’s all there is because it’s so out of reach. Jessica Helgerson is amazing.

  3. Good morning!
    Love these types of posts, gives a breather from holiday stress, for sure! Thank you for sharing, as always.
    Say, not to be a stickler, but the laundry room post you linked from Room for Tuesday was NOT actually their ORC fall room, but a standalone budget friendly “flash” makeover.
    Room for Tuesday has a separate (beautiful and in progress) Fall ORC room, their formal living room, which deserves to be called out even though it is not finished, especially since they’ve been giving updates to the interwebz despite time challenges.
    Have a wonderful day!

  4. I totally have that faux marble contact paper!! I used it in a rental a few years back that had these AWFUL linoleum countertops. It took forever to apply the contact paper without any bubbles, but man did it look great after. And I’ve been hoarding the leftover contact paper ever since for a fun project, so this might be the inspiration that I needed to dig it out of the basement!!

  5. I’m so convinced I want to move now. LOL!

  6. I like both! But I always prefer real-life. Not many of us can afford to spend $100,000 on a room! Good design is good design, no matter the price tag. Thanks for the eye candy today!

  7. I love the aspirational content because I love being able to pull elements from it to add to my home. Budget-friendly stuff is great, but I feel like it can all end up looking the same after awhile. The aspirational posts are a breath of fresh air and inspire me to try a new color scheme or shape that hasn’t already saturated Pinterest.

    1. Oh good! Yeah that’s how I see that, too. Obviously, a penthouse apartment in Manhattan with custom everything isn’t realistic for most, but there are so many inspirations to pull from those designs, be it color palette, layout ideas, something I can maybe kinda possibly DIY?

    2. Agree 100%, Hannah.

      A lot of the DIY rooms are people doing the same look, and it gets boring. Professionals are brave enough to do things I’d never think of, and that inspires me. Then, one can use their budget-saving techniques to incorporate those ideas.

  8. One person’s real life is another person’s aspiration, so a mix of both is probably good. If “super aspirational” I find more value when you provide more affordable options for some of the key items and/or commentary on the principles behind the aspirational design that could be used in more “real life” makeovers of varying budgets.

  9. Thank you for stepping away. however briefly, from the holidays! I know it’s how all the bloggers make their blogging nut, but the wave upon wave of gift guides (what to buy your… pet! random stranger! 3rd grade PE teacher!) got really old really fast, and I pretty much haven’t been clicking on any of my favorite design blogs for the past couple of weeks.

    *This* is really refreshing!

    1. I am so with you! All the gift guides have been driving me nuts! Nice to see something that’s not pushing me to buy!

  10. I love the aspirational. Budget bores me. I take inspiration from the high budget and incorporate some elements and go budget on others.
    “Get the look for less” would be a fun series- how to capture the essence of a high budget space.

  11. I love both high end and attainable designs. I think both provide inspiration, even if it is as simple as “I can do a bold red bookcase.” Thank you for the great mix. I loved something about each of these.

  12. OK yes love this content BUT WHAT ABOUT DANIEL’S BUDGET KITCHEN MAKEOVER WITH THE PINK WINDOW

  13. I died so many times throughout this post. Jessica Helgerson’s work is absolutely bananas.

    1. HA I KNOW.

    2. I prefer the real life makeovers. That way I can afford to emulate them. What about Get The Look For Less posts? That way we could choose fm the high or low end design sources! And thumbs down on the black toilets! However gross, I NEED to see what’s in there to clean it well.

  14. Love that black toilet!!! Great post 👍

  15. Where would I find the rattan chair with the comfortable cushion that Erin used in her picture?

  16. So well said. I’m also obsessed with the kitchen in the first home you featured, and can’t afford that whole look right now. BUT, I CAN afford a similar looking sconce in my kitchen, and now I have the guts to go for it! Seeing what a professional does with a huge budget at least gives me a fun, inspiring direction to aim for. It just takes me a lot longer to piece it together with sales, hand-me-downs, DIY, and elbow grease. I also agree that only seeing DIYs gets repetitive (since us non-professionals have a harder time coming up with fresh takes on our own).

  17. Dear Emily, I am curious how people use the wood floor in the bathroom without making it wet? isn’t it going to ruin the wood floor ? thank you !

  18. Sarah at Room for Tuesday did (is still finishing) her living room for the Fall ORC. The budget laundry room was an additional project. She is a very talented lady. Thanks for showing such a wide variety of ideas–both design and budget wise.

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