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The Farmhouse

A Current Tour Of Our New Rental House In Portland

The rental market in the neighborhood we wanted to be near was slim pickings and trying to secure one, sight unseen, from Lake Arrowhead became Brian’s daily mission (and source of stress). Moving states, during a pandemic, and not knowing where we were going to actually live made everything feel unsettled (and our kids were nervous about re-entering schools so we REALLY wanted to not couch surf for the first couple of months and instead make it feel like home asap). We originally got an adorable little bungalow closer to our school, but once we came up for a visit (after we had movers move a lot of our stuff in) we realized that the lack of yard and the proximity to heavy traffic was something that would be really hard for me (and the pups). After 2 years in the mountains, I need outdoor space without cars whizzing by (LA has permanently scarred me).

So we looked for a new one, and it was HARD (the first one got re-released quickly thank goodness – HUGE SHOUT OUT to my brother for spearheading coordinating with movers AGAIN to keep everything in storage until we found a new place). I think everyone who had a rental property last year wanted to take advantage of the insane market and sell at the top of it. So we feel lucky that we found one that is in a beautiful neighborhood, near a big park, near two of my best friends that is clean, fresh, and with good natural light. We rented it sight unseen which is always tricky but we have settled in with a lot of our things that have made it feel like home.

So let’s just say we are here for 8-9 months, investing in this house doesn’t make sense, at all. And while the old me would have designed all the rooms in the name of “creating content”, the current me is really trying to not waste my time, energy, and any planetary resources unless it can be taken to the farm as well. Don’t get me wrong, if you are renting for years – MAKE THAT HOME ONE THAT YOU LOVE, but it simply doesn’t make sense for me right now, when I have a whole farmhouse to design, book to finish and promote, blog to run, new city to explore and settle into, and kids/husband to stay connected with. So I have two goals – A. Make it functional for our family needs, and B. make it super comfortable, cozy, and fun for the darker winter months. And even though we brought up a lot of our furniture from our LA home, we sold a lot with the house or left some pieces at the mountain house. Needless to say there are some gaps that need to be filled in the meantime.

By moving in here I’m reminded of the temptation to just check boxes – buy a rug for the bedroom because waiting to find the right one could take weeks/months and right now it feels so cold without it. Order a cheap media unit until we find the right one. It’s SO tempting, but I’m trying to best to make do with what we have until I either A. find something used off Craigslist, or B. find something that I love that could also work at the farm.

Let’s take a tour though, shall we?

The Living Room

The upstairs has the living room, dining room, and kitchen all open which we love and has made nighttimes and mornings really pleasant. It gets good natural light and I’m enjoying cooking here while the kids play legos or draw at the table. This is by far my favorite area of the house and really the one I enjoy being in the most.

We brought over the sectional we’ve hoarded for years from Article. As you likely saw on my insta stories it got pretty water damaged in storage (our fault, we didn’t know the movers would drop off without any protection and didn’t ensure they were putting it in a protected area) but we’ve covered it with blankets and it’s working well enough:) I can’t say enough good things about the versatility and the comfort of this sectional, BTW. We originally used it to stage our Glendale home 5 years ago, then used it at the mountain house before we renovated (and post-renovation before we got the vintage sectional) then played with it in the LA living room – and every time Brian’s like “wait, why don’t we just use this?” and it’s because I always want something that is super unique and more of a statement sofa. But this one is just so comfortable (both for loungers and sitters) and the color is easy, the fabric historically cleaned up well, it’s stylistically so versatile, the seat depth is perfect, the arms are low, etc. Anyway, I’m so glad that we moved it up here because the delays on furniture are so long and we would have just sat here with nothing for a while had I not continued to hoard it. It’s a good one, water damage and all.

The rug is our rug from the living room, too, and I was tempted to sell it to the buyers of that house who wanted it, but I’m SO glad I didn’t. I love this super plush rug and wish I could find a duplicate online (I got it at HD Buttercup). It’s massive and fits this space so well. This house was just renovated and has mostly blank white walls and windows so we need coziness.

I secretly love this built-in bench/sofa in the living room. Even the color of the cushions is good! We might need some morning curtains/shades because the sun blasts if you are sitting on the sofa, but mostly we just move and read the paper at the dining table when that happens (it’s just a bummer on the weekends).

For now, we are using the base of the Katy Skelton bench as the media stand (for that massive new Frame TV, which we wasted no time getting) and then using a woven leather bench from the Rose Bowl I had been hoarding as the coffee table. Brian wants a more solid coffee table so I’m keeping my eye out for a vintage one, but it’s not a high priority. The custom upholstered Target trunk from our bedroom houses legos and we brought up my favorite 3 legged table from Chairish (here’s a super similar one if you are in the market), a Schoolhouse Electric lamp and we are pretty much calling it a day in this room. If I were staying here more long term I’d likely find a big credenza to put on that blank wall, art above it, and lamps on it but unless I find a piece I can take to the farm then I think we’ll just live more minimally in this room. But who knows, the needs might change and we might want more storage (the shoe situation isn’t ideal, IS IT EVER???). I added throws and pillows to make it cozy and good lighting for nighttime.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is lovely to be in – good natural light, a nice blue in the cabinetry and it checks all the boxes.

The dining area is all good, except the overhead light is that super bright/cold LED that this mood-lighting lady can’t handle. So we might either A. replace it with something softer or B. buy an arch lamp that we sneak into the corner. Brian also really wants a rug in here which I historically don’t do, but agree with him here – the space is kinda cold and loud (floors creak, chairs creak, things echo) and a rug would solve most of those problems (especially for winter months).

Upstairs there are three small bedrooms. One that will likely be my office, one that the kids are sharing, and a guest room.

Kids Room

We got two kids full beds from Ikea which I am tempted to do a DIY to (upholster the back and sides, so they are kinda corner day-bed-y things. But I think we all know that first priority is the window coverings. Right now they mainly just sleep in here since there’s a lack of toys and space, but I need to get on the shade situation. The window is up high and 10′ long (with three divided windows) which is a hard window situation to tackle – curtains would gather on the bed, shades would have a decent amount of light leak and very few roller shades or cellular shades are that wide (they tend to be too heavy). So I’m tempted to do individual shades, then maybe figure out how to do a chic cute cafe curtain. Do you guys remember when I did that at Joy’s nursery? I feel like my mission in life is to solve the world’s “light leak” situation. Newer windows make this so much easier, but older frames/houses often just have a lot of blackout window problems.

I don’t mind the blue and doubt I’ll paint it, but I might see if I can find some sticker decals to make it fun for them. Also, that vintage dresser is going to be the vanity in their bathroom so in a couple of months that will need to be replaced. And right now we definitely need more storage in the closets – everything is just on the floor and it’s a real bummer to keep things organized. I like that massive sheepskin in between the beds but am looking for an area rug for the room (again, rugs and textiles are your best friend to make a home cozy, especially in rainy/cold months). As I’m writing this I’m getting slightly more excited to design this room and put some effort in. Besides, as we possibly make new friends I can’t really have people coming into their room for 9 months thinking that this window treatment situation is acceptable. I am an internet-famous design mom after all. LOL.

Oh and yes their bedding. We bought these duvets from Ikea that I already regret (too hot and strangely stiff) and wish I had just waited to order Brooklinen. Same with the mattress – we bought these from Ikea (which are definitely too firm for me) and wish I had the patience to order more plush ones from Tuft & Needle (the kids were just so depressed sleeping on thin twin mattresses on the floor and we wanted them in beds before school started). Or more accurately Brian and I felt so guilty/ashamed that they were on the floor – they were probably fine. So yes, this room is going to get some love at some point…

Small Office

The office is a white box and I think I’m just going to put my Ikea pedestal table in there and a laptop. I need an office chair and might just buy the World Market chair that I loved at the mountain house, unless I can find something vintage that is comfortable. We have a lot of art but as of now, I don’t feel like hanging it up just to bring it down. What I might do is start a mood board for the farm on the days where I need a little pick me up. And I’m sure in winter I’ll want better lighting – a nice warm lamp. Who knows, maybe I’ll be motivated to do a cute window treatment and round rug. Again, right now it’s bright and sunny out, but as the winter comes (the great dark!) I may need some color, pattern, and coziness in here.

Upstairs Bath

The lovely owners of the house hadn’t gotten to this room yet to renovate when they got transferred to a different state, so this bathroom could use some more extensive updating. It’s totally fine for the kids and they like the shower and tub being separate as Charlie has reached alone showering age, and Birdie still likes to play in the tub. I can’t imagine I’ll do much in here unless we have a party and I had cute styling.

Basement

The owners just redid the basement last year to make it a functional space. Down here we have a media/toy room, a big open area (maybe for workouts? or for a craft table?), and laundry. This space in the summer is fine, but I’m thinking that for the winter I’m going to want to make it more inviting – more color/textiles and warmth. I’m so glad I kept that massive Serena & Lily rug and the memory rug pad from the living room. While this area isn’t getting enough use right now I know that we are going to want it. In a perfect world, I’d paint it a cozier color and put in another massive rug (this is why I love wall to wall in a basement). The ’70s knew what they were doing – wood paneling and wall-to-wall is really cozy and inviting. Priscilla and I just finished one of my best friend’s basements with yes, wood paneling and wall to wall (but done in a modern way) and it’s SO AWESOME. Stay tuned:)

We have, yes, another massive TV that we didn’t think we would use here but then realized that the kids watch annoying shows on the weekends and having that upstairs was a bummer. So we just send them down here to listen to Pokemon or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I don’t know what color I would paint if I end up feeling like it – the wood vinyl flooring is gray so a blue/green would mean two cold colors – I think I just need to spend more time here and see what it wants. Maybe it’s just window treatments and art around the TV? I actually really like that little secondary paneling detail.

Again, I’m glad we shipped up this sofa. It’s clearly too big to be here but it’s a super solid, comfortable piece, and it’s not like the kids care. We bought that stupid gray rug on an impulse at Ikea because we needed a rug “RIGHT NOW”. We didn’t want a super shag because toys/food would get stuck in it but wanted something cozier than a flat weave. But now I think we need a plushier rug in a fun pattern to liven this place up. I keep being Facebook marketed by the Jonathan Adler Ruggable collection which is very tempting.

Primary Bedroom

They put the main bedroom in the basement last year when they updated the house. It’s big enough, just needs some/a lot of warmth. I have not been sleeping well in here as-is and while I didn’t want to invest time in making this cozier and more inviting, I think I need to in order to physically sleep better. We accidentally put the bad mattress down here and the good mattress upstairs, which we are switching (the good mattress is latex and virtually impossible to move – it folds up like a taco and is insanely heavy). I also left all of our best bedding at the mountain house thinking that I had shipped some up here but I didn’t. So we are sleeping with the worst mattress, sheets, pillows, duvet cover (that has way too much texture for us), and no headboard. Shocking that I’m not sleeping well. We bought this rug at Ikea for the kid’s room (likely a mistake) and put it in here for now but I think it needs a massive rug – almost wall to wall to take away the “storage room” vibe of a renovated basement.

There is also this odd area where the dresser is that we need to address. Not sure what that becomes or what need could be filled. Again I don’t want to bring over a bunch of accessories and art just to pack them back up in 8 months, but this area is making me sad and I have cute stuff in storage that could help. It’s also very cold down here, physically so we might need to buy some space heaters. Ideally, we’d paint it a cozier color, we’ll see.

There is a bathroom down here that has a big shower, but no bath and yes I’m missing my bathtub a lot (I would bathe most nights even just for 15 minutes) but I’ve been using my Sauna Blanket on the sofa as a nightly ritual.

So there you have it. Our home for the next 8 months that we are honestly very grateful to have. And again, who knows? Maybe I will do some fun easy projects that aren’t wasteful but only time will tell… likely in the winter:)

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2 months ago

Just adore that vast openess in the living room! I’m still not done reading, but one quick suggestion about the kids beds. Use the duvets (that are too hot anyway) as padding on the bed ie under fitted sheet. I do that with my winter duvet to make it more comfy and soft it also elimates having to store it during the summer.

2 months ago
Reply to  Michele

Also, comment basement bedroom, as a Top Notch Interior Designer, you gonna do/think of this as well. ‘cos we are just coming out of winter and looking at pic. I would do an almost full wall ‘headboard’, so slightly padded with a nice warm fabric (thinking subtle floral) maybe same with a gentle blind on window. Cozy bedside rugs and some nice big comfy pillows against headboard. Cant see dresser situation, but what about propped up artworks, plants candles. Happy playing!!

Susan
2 months ago

Looks like a great home…I know it’s your job to over analyze spaces and their aesthetic/utility, but I got anxious reading about all the brand new Ikea stuff you are buying and disliking. Maybe something to file in the back of your head next time you are about to impulse buy a cheap, temporary fix – better for the environment (and your wallet) to hate the cold, rugless floor for a few weeks than to hate the cheap Ikea rug you bought to cover it. An induction oven can only offset so much of your carbon footprint, lol.

Stassy
2 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Ikea fan here – Ikea in Europe is introducing a buyback program of their used inventory – (maybe the US will have that one day too!) & you can usually sell Ikea furniture on Facebook marketplace or Craigslist or donate it to goodwill – you can also return Ikea furniture to the store — they have a 365 day return policy.

Karen
2 months ago
Reply to  Stassy

Yes. I think IKEA buyback just started in Philly area here

Rachel
2 months ago

If I may be so presumptuous to speak from the perspective of not an internet-famous interior designer BUT from the perspective of a practically professional basement dweller (last rental was just a bed in the basement for husband and me so kids could have the two bedrooms…this house it’s a proper room with a closet and bathroom and everything…faaaancy), here goes: I tried lots of different things to make our basement bedroom cozy and appropriate for an aged couple in their 40s and not just look like, well, a room in a basement. What worked: painting the walls my house standard (BM White Dove. OC-17 for lyfe.), adding a huge vintage and bold kilim rug, keeping 90% of the furniture vintage (some painted by moi), and adding antique oil paintings and charcoals to the wall. I picked those up from my parent, so between lugging free and inexpensive vintage furniture from curbs and the art on the wall, the biggest expense was the rug. Thanks to international sellers on Etsy, that was a steal. I worried the white walls would feel clinical, but with the other touches it feels classic, collected, and cozy. The other half of our bedroom is… Read more »

Sheila
2 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

I totally agree with hanging art. I love the art that I’ve collected. Every piece is something that makes me happy to sit and look at or makes me smile when I pass by. I’d hang some up even if it were only for a couple of months.

Vera
2 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

Ahhh Rachel thanks so much for sharing your basement bedroom formula! This makes so much sense. I literally just copied and pasted it into my notes so I can refer back to this for the rest of my life. You are brilliant!
One more idea that I think I read on EHD: if you can’t add (natural) LIGHT, add LIFE (plants).

Vera
2 months ago
Reply to  Vera

Oh and totally agree about BM White Dove!

Val
2 months ago

Thanks so much for sharing this space with us! I imagine it’s a bit vulnerable since it isn’t totally yours and isn’t 100% styled to you usual standard, but I think it looks lovely already. One crazy idea I had while reading was the one room you didn’t show us, the current guest room upstairs, which I presume has the good mattress and also your kids and a bathtub adjacent to it — I wonder what it would feel like for you guys to try sleeping there?

Rebecca
2 months ago
Reply to  Val

Totally agree with this idea — as a portlander myself, my experience is that basements get significantly harder to sleep in during the rainy months. 🙂

Karrie
2 months ago
Reply to  Val

I was thinking the same! Don’t move the good foam mattress down to the basement – relocate the master BR to the upstairs guest room. So much better for everyone. We lived in a split level home for about a year a while back, the bedrooms were all in the raised basement area which had windows at just above ground level – so so so depressing to sleep down there – not to mention making it feel cozy. We moved!!

Kate
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Why not make the downstairs space your guest room? You will be sleeping in your bed in that house every night, while the guest room will be used for very few nights – you should spend your time in the warmer, cozier room. Then you won’t have to change the mattresses as the previous poster suggested! Better that you have a comfortable bedroom than worry about unused space!

Elise
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily

I would make the guest room (with the good bed and mattress) the primary bedroom. Who cares if it just fits the bed. It’s just for sleeping. Don’t you want to be on the same level as the kids? And just let the space downstairs be. It’s a rental and you don’t need to fill up every room. You definitely don’t want to sleep in a dark basement in winter.

Susan
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily

No law saying a space must be used just because it’s there. Leave it as is for a guest space and sleep near the kids

Lisa
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Go for the little cozy master up by the kids. Embrace pulling together a winter capsule kit for yourselves and your house. You may enjoy the simplicity of “camping” while planning and creating your home at the farmhouse. It’s a good opportunity to show your kids your flexibility and perseverance through transitions.

Elizabeth
2 months ago

Looks great already!

Speaking as a military spouse… don’t skimp on making a house a home, just because you won’t be there long! There are tons of ways to do it with decor and such that you take with you.

Pinny
2 months ago

Congratulations on relocating! Sounds like you are prioritizing what makes the most sense for you in terms of time, money, and environmental concerns. I know you are not a DIY-er, but this might be a fun chance to do a blog series on using low dollar, high impact projects to trouble shoot a pain point (shoe bench/wall with hook rail; headboard as someone else mentioned; window treatments in the kids room..). Even if they are fails, you can post what you learned or how to fix it. One per month? Your readers are full of opinions and could make plenty of suggestions, and the comments would light up! People really respond to “relatable.”

Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Pinny

What a great idea!💡

Sarah L
2 months ago

I’ve been in a transitional rental- with an infant and a full time job and a renovation in progress no less, and highly recommend taking the time to hang some art that you’ve lived with before- it’ll make an unsettling situation feel more familiar and it’ll take like an hour to hang half a dozen pictures. Take the time to invest in the space enough so that your mental health won’t suffer- y’all are going through a lot of change (not to mention that whole pandemic) and living in a sad neglected space will make y’all feel sad and neglected. You can totally triage projects- I agree there’s no need for full on magazine quality styling but for sure carve out a few hours to add the touches that will scream HOME! to you and your family.

Also, thank you for calling out all your IKEA impulse regrets- I’ll be furnishing some new spaces in the next year and don’t want to fall into that trap! Finally, I love your bench-as-coffee-table and I think it’s a much better temp solution than an $80 pile of particle board and regret/climate guilt, so strong work there:)

Renee
2 months ago

I really enjoyed reading this and how you’re handling a rental situation. And, I gotta say, I’m a big fan of wall to wall carpet in a basement also! Basements are just so cold and, unless the floors are heated, need as many warm elements as you can pack in!

Rusty
2 months ago

Gosh, I imagine you’d be right out of your comfort zone not having all your lovely things with you to spread the coziness around in big brush strokes! Little, tiny, elephant steps will get you there. 🐘 Hendo Rental House wasn’t cozied in a day. You’ve done the priority stuff, like beds for the kids before school started. Don’t be hard on yourself, you “internet-famous design mom”! 😊 I think the hardest thing for me would be the windows with no blinds or curtains. This is my weak point when it comes to decorating and all those empty windows would do my head in, especially if it was temporary. Yikes! For me, paint is magic! It changes a room instantly and is so cost effective and relatively easy (if you don’t mind painting, and I don’t mind it at all). 🎨🖌 I thought about your sleeping arrangements, with parents in the basement and kids upstairs. This’ll be a good tester for thd farmhouse when the kids will be upstairs and you guys downstairs…happy accident/bonus. 😊 I reckon your next priority HAS to be your bedroom….You’ve gotta be able to sleep well! So important.😴 I’d love to hear an update on… Read more »

DeniseGK
2 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Seconding the interest in Buttercup’s and Oscar’s moving experience. BUT, I know there’s a real chance it was awful and everyone feels bad about it, so don’t tell us till you’re ready, Emily & Brian. Hugs to you all, this was a major event and you did it, everyone’s alive and having fun!

Julie
2 months ago

Hi Emily where are your insta stories located? I see your instagram, but nothing about the damaged sofa story. Can you send a link. I am moving from California to Oregon and have been following your journey and advice.

DeniseGK
2 months ago
Reply to  Julie

Julie, I was so confused about this for the longest time too. If you have an account, sign in & it will take you to your “home” page. There will be a rectangular area with all the people you’ve clicked Follow for in little circles. THAT is the stories. Only people who’ve recently done a story, or added to a previous one will show up in there. I’ve had an instagram account for a year and just figured out the stories thing a couple weeks ago. I always thought the little window of people was to go to their home page – like quicklinks. There’s no fly-by text when you mouse over that tells you what it is, Instagram need to work on that.

CH
2 months ago

Welcome to Portland! The rental looks great. Thanks for sharing this imperfect space and your winter nesting thought process.

Do you think that with all the difficulties with the master bedroom, you might be more comfortable sleeping upstairs with the kids (and moving the guest room to the basement)? You would save the trouble of moving the mattress, save $$ on heating in the winter, could use the tub in the evening. Since I moved back to the PNW from CA I’ve really enjoyed sleeping near my kiddoes in the dark of winter. Being close together at night might also help everyone feel cozier in a new/different place, during a time of transition. 🙂

Anna Charles
2 months ago

Finally an update on the farmhouse/Portland move. It’s so refreshing to see how a real house is styled with thrift finds and Ikea something that someone can do on a budget

Gina M Thomas
2 months ago

Ahhhhh…the Made Goods nightstands! I have been stalking those for a long time and trying to rationalize spending the money. They are just the perfect size for our small primary bedroom and so dreamy with the leather. But dang! They are so expensive!

anon
2 months ago

You may want to try Forearm Forklifts when it’s time to move big/heavy/bulky things (especially when there’s a size difference in the people doing the moving), such as for your better mattress.

I got those for my big move across country and it was so much better to move things out the door and down the stairs, e.g. mattresses, dressers, etc. and then back up the stairs to the 2nd floor at the other side of the move. I’ve lent mine to several friends over the years when they moved. https://www.forearmforklift.com/

Siel
2 months ago

Maybe give a shot at Orlando’s diy curtains? The system is roughly the same as what you came up with, but more eye pleasing?

2 months ago

This house is such a great find! I can see how it’s not feeling totally like home, and how you don’t want to be wasteful of time/resources, but I do have a couple of thoughts.

-Like others have said, maybe switch the guest and parents’ rooms and give up on basement living.
-I also thought of Jordan Ferney and how she would cover/take down all the weird art and add their own touches when they were traveling and staying in AirBnBs. I know you’re working from a blank slate, so it’s not exactly the same, but I think adding in your own art to the space would really help aesthetically and mentally. This is what command strips were made for, yeah??
-I know you guys generally defer to other contributors for the “relatable” content, but so many of these dilemmas are ones that readers who aren’t designing their space from the ground up are dealing with. Maybe there’s a way to tackle some of these concerns in a content-worthy way without buying a bunch of mass-produced stuff?

Kim
2 months ago

Emily, I look forward eagerly your styling, as well as hearing about your life and how you are faring as a mother, wife, friend, sister, etc. I noticed twice in your narrative your mentioning significant sensitivity to sound. Have you considered you maybe dealing with misophonia and/or hyperacusis? It would explain the feelings you have when triggered by certain noises (traffic, airplanes, lawn tools, and even listening to others eat, nail filing and so on). There is research suggesting it may be neurological in origin then later psychological (conditioned response). My point is to remind you to be gentle with yourself as you experience reactions which may seem out of proportion to the stimulus.

Patti
2 months ago

I’m ready to pull the trigger on the Article sectional but the care instructions say dry clean! With our propensity to occasionally spill a little red on loungey sofas I worry about the dry clean issue. Anyone have this piece and have recommendations? Buy a different sofa? Lol!

SK
2 months ago
Reply to  Patti

Hi Patti! I have this sectional and for minor spills (including a glass of red) have found some soap and warm water dabbed on the stain and blotted out as well as good old fashioned oxi-clean have worked wonders.

Rose
2 months ago

Omg. The two nightstand propping up the TV! My spouse and I used two boxes to prop up our TV for months in a temporary rental. This made me feel so seen – love the relatable content.

DeniseGK
2 months ago
Reply to  Rose

That basement TV photo made me literally laugh aloud, in the best way though! Like, that is something I would totally do when overwhelmed and dealing with a huge move (in a pandemic)! I felt very seen, but in a supportive way, so thank you, Emily, for including it. And anyway, those nightstands as really great.

Maia Illa
2 months ago

Love Jonathan Adler and no doubt the collection does look great but… I should warn ruggable rugs are even flatter than a flat weave and aren’t cozy at all.

Ruthann
2 months ago
Reply to  Maia Illa

I totally agree with this observation – they are great for messy areas, but are not cozy!

Emily Honeycutt
2 months ago

This is so refreshing to hear the good and the hard. Thanks for keeping it real!

Danielle
2 months ago

Welcome to Portland! It’s been so fun to follow your journey back to the NW. I know you are from the area and probably have loads of friends, but if if you ever need a new thrifting buddy, hit me up! My kids are the same age as yours and back in school. I suddenly have all of this new found freedom during the day and love to go antiquing.

why is this so relatable? we just moved a few months ago and still feel like we’re in limbo. so that’s probably why. a few thoughts. i still love that 3 legged coffee/side table so much. if i were you, i’d stay upstairs and use the basement room for the guest room. i’m sure your kiddos would love to be closer to you. and then you don’t have to move mattresses. the comments on the wood paneling and carpet in the basement. our new house has really nice wood paneling (like, real wood, not fake) and wall to wall carpet. it is DEFINITELY a cozy basement. BUT. moisture in basements can sometimes happen, and when it does, you do not want carpet. in our last house, it was carpeted. and we had a fema-level flood years ago. and it was a disaster and we had to cut it all out and haul it upstairs and outside. i swore i would never have a carpeted basement again. then. after 2-3 years of looking for a house and wanting an unfinished basement, we found our new house. wood paneling and carpeted basement, but i was so sick of looking for a house… Read more »

Kathy
2 months ago

Even though you feel your basement is bare, I love your sofa! I have been looking around for months and want one just like it but I cannot find one like that. Is it still available somewhere (I hope!)?

Pat Godfrey McRee
2 months ago

On a day like this – 9/11 – we all are so aware that life can be gone in a flash. My advice would be to surround yourself with things you love right now. Set aside a few days to fluff up your room much like you do for others in the quick updates shown on the blog.
Have some fun on Facebook Marketplace and at the local thrifts. You can always sell or give things away once they’ve served your purposes. [One of the most fun things I did was line up furniture and design giveaways along my curb at the time parents were taking or picking up their kids from school. Such fun to watch the excitement from my window!]
Most of all I would say to hang your art. Art pulls your eye outside the spaces that don’t feel like “you”. It and good lighting will change everything. Especially ditch the LED overheads. Oh, and get some books stacked all over the place!

Trudy
2 months ago

Oh Emily – this is one cold and sterile house. Please do not live like this for the next 8 or 9 or more months. That is a whole school year for your children – they should have a home that feels like a home during that time, and so should you. Please invest some time, energy and resources in making a home. That, by the way, would make for great “content.” You need color and better lighting on the main floor. I would move the blue rug and sofa up from the basement and add a few lamps for incandescent lighting. Add a chair or two for more seating and the sculpture they provide. Send the Article sectional to the basement. Yes to a rug under the dining table to better define that space and warm it up. Put up some art. Drape some textiles on the railings around the stairs or hang them as art. Add plants! Let the kids bring some toys up from the basement just for the color and to fill some of that empty space. I would take out the LED chandeliers and replace them temporarily with giant round paper lanterns for softer light… Read more »

Zoe
2 months ago

I really want to hear more about the sauna blanket!

DeniseGK
2 months ago
Reply to  Zoe

She did a post about it a few? several? months ago. Just do a websearch. site:stylebyemilyhenderson.com “sauna blanket” (you have to run the first bit all together like that to search only on her site, then put sauna blanket in quotes to make sure you don’t get something about just saunas or blankets)

Zoe
2 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

Thank you, Denise!! Must have missed it <3

Cris S.
2 months ago

That large tv propped on two small pieces is stressing me out. So dangerous. Gah!!!

Roberta Davis
2 months ago

You do realize that probably a majority of Americans have houses that don’t look this good! But thank you for sharing the unvarnished truth about your current situation! Somehow it makes me feel better when I look at areas of my house that are uninspiring. (Hey, at least my basement has wall-to-wall carpeting! But it still needs a space heater.) The living area is very nice and pleasant. To me, it seems very nice for a rental house. Having so much daylight is great. And you have lots of fun design work to do and the time will fly by and you’ll be in the new house before you know it!

Suzanne
2 months ago

What a lovely start! Wishing you all the best in figuring out what to do next to create a happy, comfy, and cozy space as the cooler months arrive. Had a quick question about the Tuft and Needle mattress. It looks like the Minted is the version you recommend? Have you used them before? Looking for a set of twin mattresses for a guest bedroom remodel for grandchildren, but may also be used for adult guests as well. Having trouble figuring out the best “fits all” type of mattress to choose! Thanks so much, best of luck, and thanks so much for sharing your ideas and inspiring us all! XOSuzanne

Christa
2 months ago

This house is so cute, and you’ve already gotten most of it dialed up. The basement bedroom just needs some oil paintings, brass lamps, a wood/natural low headboard and a vintage rug. Gives you something to look for when thrifting. Here’s wishing you and your family a happy year in the rental.

Andrea
2 months ago

Emily, I would love a post on how to keep a vacuum from smelling like disgusting old dog hair if you have pets. I feel like I’ve tried everything – baking soda, those Tums-like discs that you’re supposed to crush and vacuum up, cleaning all the parts, having it professionally cleaned – still doggy. Now I have a Dyson thinking with no bag it surely couldn’t keep the dog smell, but it does, even after I’ve cleaned the filter. Is there a cure? I find myself making sure I don’t vacuum within 30 min of having company for fear that gross smell will linger. Help!

DeniseGK
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrea

If your vacuum smells like the dog(s), it is almost certainly from the body oils on the hair you vacuum. Get an enzymatic cleaner that is for spraying on clothes/upholstery (I use Resolve spray, in a red bottle), spray the inside of your canister, let sit a few minutes, and rinse and dry. If you have a removable & reusable filter, separate it from the canister and do the same thing, being sure to rinse it with lots of water and squeeze it out before laying it out to dry. The plastic, um, thingy that holds the filter in place should also get a wipe down with a rag or towel that is very damp with the cleaner spray. If you do this after each time you vacuum, you should see a significant reduction in smell. Over time, you’ll be able to do it less often, but first you have to remove all the absorbed and built up oil.

Elaine
2 months ago

Congrats on your relocation! Having made the ‘big move’ from Dublin to West Cork last year I get the stress, the excitement, the anticipation and the feeling of needing to make a rental feel homey, even for a short while. I also have most of my stuff in storage, but instead of buying IKEA I shopped what I own (which in my case meant paying to access my storage container, renting a van and driving my stuff to Cork) but it was cheaper than buying new stuff, it made my rental feel like me and it meant I didn’t feel the need to buy ‘gap-filler’ furniture. Like others said I also brought my art with me (yes, I nailed into the walls but I’ll fill and repaint when I leave). I also changed the lighting and curtains! For what it’s worth, I agree with other suggestions above, no need to use a basement bedroom as your bedroom just because you feel you should. Do what suits how you live. Leave the basement as a spare room for the time being. Good sleep is just too important to sleep in a room that isn’t conducive to peaceful slumber. You’re writing a… Read more »

Julie S
2 months ago

If you don’t have the bandwidth to spare for taking this slightly bleak rental up a notch, would it be too strange to hire your own team to do a weekend makeover sort of deal on it? I’d love to see that happen!
I agree that you ought to give the upstairs cozy comfy bedroom a shot and make the downstairs one the guest space (which you can still use yourselves from time to time if extra parental privacy is desired). It’s a real novelty to see you in a rental!

Vera
2 months ago
Reply to  Julie S

OMGOSH! Amazing idea. A whole new kind of MOTO. Your team knows you so well at this point, I think they could absolutely do an amazing job. And afterward every time you look at one of their special touches it’ll be a happy memory for you too – like having your kids’ art on the wall in the mountain house family room – that kind of feel-good factor!

Erin
2 months ago
Reply to  Julie S

YES! This!

Erin
2 months ago

I love the honesty here – particularly about the stuff we (because I have absolutely done this too) buy quickly to fill an immediate “need”, only to realize we should have waited for the thing that would actually meet the need long-term… I furnished an entire house last year, post-divorce and early pandemic, and the only choices I regret are the ones where I tried to rush or save by buying semi-disposable things (like Target furniture… sorry!). Particularly for home furnishing… there are so many things that I look up suddenly and I’ve had for ten years, so better to get it right the first time. I’m not a Cuyana consumer, but their motto is so right on: Fewer, better things.

Julie Marquez
2 months ago

RE: Downstairs master bedroom. I lived in the basement of a similar era (1950s) house in Seattle for a year, and was sick with a slight sore throat and stuffy nose for a year. I believe there was mold in the basement not making me feel well. It wasn’t condemning the entire house, but that’s just what wet climate old basements have going for them.

Beautiful home! I love all of the windows and natural light. Some sheer curtains on those front windows would give you just a bit of privacy while also allowing in all of that glorious sunshine.

aussiebushgirl
2 months ago

STOP Em! It’s a rental. There are no returns. Any updates you do to this rental is money you could be spending more wisely on the farm. Remember that you are merely ships passing in the night, and believe me, 8-9 months will fly past in the blink of an eye before you know it! Besides, the farm is going to take up most of your time, so channel your energy into that project instead. Kids are resilient and adaptable, and for them this temporary time away from home will give them something to look forward to when you finally move into the farm. Apart from the minor issues with window dressing, all your needs look to be covered, for the short-term. That’s the point. This is only a short-term solution, so please don’t get too comfortable. Save the best of your creativity for where it matters most. Just my two cents’ worth, as usual. : )

Amy M
2 months ago

I love that you did this post. I love that you’re talking about restraint in terms of not buying just to fill a void. I think the process of trying to make a space work with what you have for the mean time speaks to a lot of people’s reality. I love the polished and aspirational content, but it’s nice to have this too. Somehow you have managed to make yourself even MORE relatable Emily! I think ikea purchases/regrets are the norm for a lot of us with kids and a desired aesthetic (ie we search at great length for vintage but sometimes just need a project done!). And the shoes? DEAR LORD, the shoes.

Margaret
2 months ago

I can’t tell you how happy I am that #1, you got such a great rental in such a tight market, and #2, it doesn’t look perfect in the first few weeks. After seeing all the finished products, I can get disheartened that it takes me so much time to even make a decision, and a lot of the time, I send stuff back because it didn’t work. It’s good to know that even your rooms look unfinished! Have fun doing what you do best!

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