Over the weekend, I announced on my Instagram that I’m officially starting my second book. If you are like anyone in my family, you might be asking:
A. What took you so long?
B. Why are you adding this to your workload?
The answers are connected. For a few years, my publisher has been politely begging me for another book. Styled was a success so the natural thing to do next is another book. But my answer was always “Listen. I want to in theory but I have no time, too many young kids and more importantly no new ideas.” The amount of work/time/effort/resources/energy and ABSOLUTE PASSION it takes to write and publish a good book is unfathomable. Besides, I write every day! What do I have left in me???
So then why pitch another one? Why, masochistically, add this to my already very, very full plate?
Here’s how it went down: I was taking a shower on a Sunday morning, feeling so overwhelmed by the renovations of 2018 (mountain, Portland) and subsequently feeling really stupid about the mistakes that I had made (and had to pay to fix) and wishing so bad that I had one resource, ONE BOOK that I could reference instead of every single day googling “how do you design a _________.”
And I stopped. and said OH SH*T, THAT’S MY BOOK.
In that second, I knew I had to write it.
I wrote the 3-page pitch that day, sent it off the next day and a couple months later we are OFF.
I’m very excited. I have a pretty clear vision for it that I didn’t even really have with Styled and frankly, I’m just so excited to read this book.
I don’t want to put too much out there because frankly, I don’t want someone to steal my ideas, but I still want to know what you guys would want from a design book, and what you feel is missing out there.
Okay. I’ll say no more. Please send suggestions of some of your biggest questions, struggles, things you literally have no idea about in terms of renovation and design and heck, if they don’t make it into the book, we’ll log them as suggestions for the blog.
Also, we are looking for homes that are interesting and have something special about them. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just special either in architecture or decor, with ideas that people can learn from. We’ll come in and style it out (for some houses, we are adding furniture, but most we are bringing a ton of accessories and pillows) and yes, you’ll have the chance to buy them (unless it happens to be something personal of mine that I can’t bear to sell). You’ll get a copy of the book (duh) and credit on the page of the book (different than Styled). You can be a designer, an architect, a dog walker—I don’t care, we just want pretty spaces, with good light and a lot of ideas that we think others should or could learn from. Some houses might be PERFECTLY designed and others show a good way that they broke the rule and why we all love it.
We went on a scouting mission throughout LA last week to some homes I knew could work for the book, and Sara snapped some shots from the day (you know I love a good sneak peek):
For house submissions (ideally in the greater LA or SoCal area…we’ve already had a ton of submissions elsewhere), email email@example.com with the subject line EHD BOOK 2 HOUSE SUBMISSION + your name and location, with some shots of your home for consideration inside.
And leave all your book tip requests below. Tomorrow, we have a huge 8-hour brainstorming session to finalize the outline and I’d love to integrate as many of your requests that make sense so ASK AND COMMENT AWAY.
I would be excited to hear some strategies for how to create/follow an overall plan when you can’t afford to do it all at once. How to stay on mission and not get caught up in a bunch of impulse choices along the way. And also how to make it keep looking good while you build towards your dream space.
I second this. Also, as a serial renter, I’d love ways I can go bold and make it my own without making it permanent. I LOVE interior design. But depending on the house I can’t make much change past painting walls.
I’m with her. I need rental advice too.
Another vote for this!
I second this!!!!! Move to my house 15 years ago and have changed my plans multiple times and have demolished and changed things at least 3 times…. is hard to keep yourself in tuned with what you really want and do it. Example: needed to decorate my family room… nothing… happened to be at Pottery Barn and got pillows, curtains and rug… all coordinated. A few weeks later I realized my huge mistake!
Yup, I was going to say this.
Yes! My plans have changed ump-teen times bc I can’t afford to do the project all at once…so I have bits and pieces from every design I was enamoured with at the time.
Totally into this idea, and Korin’s and Irmarie’s!
+1 ! and I would also like tips to create a timeless background (kitchen, bathroom) instead of trendy décors. Thanks !
same here! I’d love advice about a timeframe as well. And please don’t spare us – I’m sooo tired of one more perfect Instagram makeovers that took no time (as if), made no mess (right) and somehow started with a perfect vision that just settled into the space like a cat on a blanket.
Please give us the version where you have a long list of things you want to change, a limited budget and decision fatigue from day one! So excited about this Emily, congrats to you on your hustle!
Oooh, yes to this for sure. I get paralyzed by the thought of updating a room b/c I don’t have unlimited funds, so I don’t know how to do it gradually, sticking to an end vision, without it looking wonky throughout the process.
So many kitchen island questions! Specifically when you can fit an island and how to size and rotate the island. Plus island seating? Should you put your cook top or sink in the island? I have a million questions!
Ooh good one. yes!
This. But also just general reno measurements: how high should my vanity be, how much space do I need between the island and the cabinets, measurements for getting your faucet right, how big should my light fixture be for the size of my room?, etc
I second this. That discussion about the height of the wall mounted faucets at one of the renovations (can’t remember if it was Portland or Mountain) was weirdly eye-opening for me in terms of understanding how technical design is. I’d love information on things like that.
For this, since you can’t wait for Emily’s book, I liked Vern Yip’s “Design Wise.” There was actual math in it. If Emily wrote the same book but in her voice with her design, it would still be fabulous an unique. But I think she has something more special in mind…
I second this very hard. A page of “Standard Measurements and Distances” would be an incredible resource for people like me, first time-home owner and renovator, to understand as I try to train my eyes into knowing what looks right, wrong and why!
That was brilliant Rachel! Yes yes yes !!
Yes! I struggle with light fixtures– I obsessed over a light for my dining room for so long and ended up with a boring $50 flush mount from Home Depot because I couldn’t figure out what size (both diameter and drop) would work in a fairly small room where it wouldn’t be centered over the dining room table. I am currently paralyzed by the thought of renovating my bathroom. I have no idea where to start since I need to move some things around to maximize space. I think I need to hire someone to do the plans, but I don’t have any idea if that is too small of a job for most designers/architects or if it would cost a fortune. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on ‘resale value’. I’d really love to rip out my tub and only have a shower since the one bathroom in my house is too small for a satisfyingly spacious tub, but everyone tells me that would be insane since people want tubs. I don’t care about a tub, and I don’t plan to sell anytime soon, so should it matter? I also think I am generally good at picking paint… Read more »
Yes ot kitchen island questions!! Do I need a real table if I have an island in the kitchen etc? Perfect height etc.
Emily, I please please please need a quick answer since I will move in the next month and plan a kitchen island.
Particularly, when to add pendant lighting! And how many? 3? But I have three chairs….too matchy?
Maybe the ceilings are too low anyway? Maybe just recessed lights?!
Sink, yes. Cooktop, no. haha
-how to decide, prepare and committ to built ins (shelving, closers, ect.) what to look for in a contractir and how to know a space would be good for built ins.)
A how to section about fixing terrible DIYs in a home done by a previous owner or identifying these mistakes (i.e. bathroom, kitchen, plumbing, tiling.)
Section about appropriate flooring for different kinds of rooms and what wears well over time
section about choosing fixtures for bathroom/kitchen (materials-wise what is a good investment or pros/cons of different materials)
Pros/cons of choosing different materials for different parts of home
@jessica – we are on it. such good questions.
Oh yes for pro con lists since so rarely is there one right answer. Also Pro cons of different types of paint vs wall paper vs tile in different rooms.
Also cool architecture in rooms is beautiful but sometimes when I see it in magazine it seems unattainable. Even with major Reno most people don’t have space for a grand staircase or two story fireplace
I struggle with making major design changes to my home (structural changes that affect layout) and finding an architect/contractor to validate and quote them. Who do you hire for what job and at what step? If you’re not financially ready, can you still engage in some design feedback? I want to begin discussions on what is an appropriate layout for our home but have NO CLUE on the first steps. I would buy your book if it meant I could learn how to start preparing for a renovation.
I can’t second this enough. We have some major projects that we want to do, both interior and exterior, and I’m stuck in this paralysis mode. Who do I call first? Do I start with an interior designer? An architect? A landscape architect? Do I need all three? How do I make sure I’m not wasting money doing Project A first when it turns out Project B is going to require me ripping out half of Project A?
Yes to these EXACTLY!!! We bought our first (and hopefully forever) home and it needs work but we can’t afford to do it all at once. We can tackle the first project – our master bathroom – but have literally no idea how to begin. Who do we call? Will a designer be enough or do I need an architect? What’s an appropriate budget? What’s a reasonable amount of time for this renovation to take? How long should it take between engaging a designer and beginning construction? Etc etc!
Yes to all of this. I have 2 tiny bathrooms and a kitchen to do and hopefully making our basement a usable space at some point but everything feels like a domino. If I touch one thing, will it disrupt something else in another room and where’s the most logical place to begin. If I knew the correct order of operations for the projects that I want to do to our house one day, I think I would feel a lot more confident talking to a contractor and feeling like I’m going to end up getting what I want without making expensive mistakes that will have to be addressed when I move on to project 2 and 3, etc. If you can figure out how to put that into a book, you’re a genius! (I already think you are though).
Yes to all of these questions and then a sort of side question. How do you know what design styles are appropriate for your home i.e. our home is just a house built in the 1960’s with no obvious house style. How do we create a house style without major renovations and how do we know the smaller renovations will work together?
This is my question too! How do we get started? Do we need to talk to a contractor first or an architect? And should we always use the builder/contractor that the architect recommends (and vice versa) because we can assume they work well together? How do we vet these folks? And when do you know when to fight for your choices and when to compromise? My parents hired the wrong contractor for their huge remodel, and my mom still gets so fired up about some of the things she wanted, but he told her it couldn’t be done. Turns out, IT COULD, but she didn’t know what she didn’t know. Which leads me to: how much do you question and interfere vs. letting the pros do their jobs? Even on smaller things like installing floors, I was told something couldn’t be done and then found out it could, after it was too late. (Doing a herringbone pattern with engineered hardwoods.) And from a design side, is there a good app or website that we civilians can use to see everything together in a room, like how the designers create a board for the space? I bet that most of these… Read more »
I would also like to know how you maintain the power of FOCUS and finish a space when you don’t have an unlimited budget. I feel like I’m always trying in my apartment to design different rooms but just end up overwhelmed, with a pile of picture frames shoved in a corner.
So.Much.Stuff. The order of things – why you can’t change your mind on a vanity unit once the tile has been put up (I mean, duh, I know that must be true logically, but would have appreciated an order of things from SOMEONE in the midst of losing my head over our bathroom reno last year); like, you need to have x committed before y can be decided. Why you need to know the way the joists run to see if a certain shower tray is feasible, what relationship there is between the boiler and the water pressure, why certain glass shower screens look exactly the same as others but cost twice as much, whether ceramic tile on the floor is good/not good, is teak ok on the walls or for units or does it really rot, what if your bathroom designer suggests something he’s never done before (is this a flight of fancy on his part or can you really trust him to work it out?), what if you think half way through that you’ve made a mistake (do you hold your nerve or alter it now?), are wet rooms really workable in reality or just a nice Pinterest… Read more »
Yes! Why does no one have a checklist!
YES YES YES to everything in this comment! “It doesn’t seem obvious to me that z comes before b which comes before y etc etc.”
Another vote for the order of things!
Yes- order of renovations for each room!
A GREAT IDEA.
Another vote for the order of things!
I am in the heating business. I can answer your question on the pressure on the boiler. The autofeed (the part that controls the water going into the boiler) is rated for a certain amount of pressure. If it is too high from too much pressure from the street it will blow the pressure relief valve (you will find a puddle of water on the floor). If you just change the relief valve and not address the water pressure from the street it will keep blowing the relief valve on the boiler. Have a plumber or a heating person test the pressure from the street. It should be around 80 psi if it is around 100 psi it is too high. If it is too high they need to add a pressure reducer and then you will be all set. To install a pressure reducer it is around $300-$400. Not a sexy way of spending your money. I get it because I love design and tell all my new homeowners I will try to make your heating system last so you can redo the kitchen. 🙂 I also built my home. You can’t cut a joist. You can’t have the… Read more »
God, thank you, Julie – wow! “You can’t cut a joist” – this is exactly the sort of thing I hope Em’s book tells me (assume I know nothing, by the way, Em). We did spring for the super fancy glass in the end and I was wondering if we got conned by our designer, but am reassured by your feedback 🙂
Thank you for the shower glass info!!!
If this does not go in the book, can you blog about it? Chandelier ideas for 2 story foyers!
I second this! How do you measure the current chandelier? How does a new one get hung? Who do you call to do it? So many questions beyond the styling!
Third! Not too fancy but big enough. Blog post would be great!
I vote for this as well. We have 2 separate staircases in our 3-story townhome, that are completely open to the level above it, so suggestions on how to treat this would be super helpful.
LOVS THIS! Congrats and can’t wait! As I move forward on renovations this year, some questions: how to arrange furniture (in big and small rooms – like literally why put a couch there vs somewhere else); what to consider when buying a rug (how do you know it’s nice/well made and worthy of the big bucks); how to select tile in the bathroom (pros and cons of different types like cement vs porcelain, grouts, etc); how to select countertops (pros and cons of different types like marble vs granite); when to splurge and when to save when renovating; what to consider when deciding room paint colors, trim colors, etc; how to make your renovations beautiful but family friendly and practical
Hard-wired lighting placement! In a construction or renovation, you have to choose the location of sconces and pendants way early in the process, before you really know how you’ll furnish or use the space, both of which influence lighting type and location. We’ve had to move and cover up sconce wiring because of making decisions at rough-in that we then changed, and I now am trying to choose bedroom sconces without knowing the height of the bed we’ll eventually get. This is hard!
I second this. Especially for bedrooms and bathrooms. I find myself wishing I had Candice Olsen and Chico – they always seemed to know just what to do. How many watts am I going to need?, etc. Will pot lights help, or will they be a hot mess? How many bathroom sconces? Above or beside the mirror? Ack!
Yes! This is what I was going to say!
I don’t know if these are two small but my questions are: 1) where do you buy good fabric? Ie stylish fabric for curtains or ottomans. We don’t all have a closet full of samples or access to mood and we can’t all afford $150 a yard.
2) Where do you buy affordable art? Affordable can be up to $1000 for me – it doesn’t have to be a Minted print, but those are nice too.
3) is it possible to have a seating arrangement that works for conversation and TV? Or is that a pipe dream
Emily (not EHD), as for your first question ……
I’m totally biased in that I work for Smith & Noble, that said Smith & Noble is great resource for custom drapery. Free samples can be ordered from the website and everything is curated to work together. You can also buy yardage in case you have seats you’d like to cover in the same or coordinating fabric.
Re affordable art, this frustrated me so much for years. One solution I found was to travel to NYC to the “Affordable Art Show”…seriously this exists. We ended up buying two pieces there that allowed us to finish off our foyer and living room. I did not want Minted or a print and that show really helped.
Re art: check out Juniper print shop, created by designer Jenny Komenda. https://juniperprintshop.com/
Affordable art for your walls is easy to find if you broaden your definition of art to include 19th century birds-eye views and maps, of your area or someplace dreamy; silk scarves; blueprints and architectural drawings.
I have such a hard time finding good playroom layouts (and why). So many look the same with the box cubbies, or so sparse that I assume their child owns nothing that’s brightly colored plastic.
Yes. I struggle with this too!!
My kids playroom is in our living room. Half of the room looks good with the sectional, lights and pictures. The other half with all the toys looks really bad.
Yes!!! This!! I’m totally stymied by the playroom!!
I’m very excited for you and us! Congratulations. I am interested in a section on upkeep / maintenance – for example how to freshen hard wood floors w/o getting new ones, how to freshen cabinets (tips on choosing paint for painting cabinets), cleaning rugs, cleaning upholstery – of course I want all the other stuff you mentioned but I think a section at the end about maintenance and working w/ what you have would be super useful, perhaps some what to DIY and what not to tips. All the best on this journey.
Sconces. Where to place them during construction and WHY especially when you intend to rearrange rooms frequently bc you like rearranging!
Oh my goodness–so excited for this book! Can’t wait to read it! 1. (Some people have already said it, but it bears repeating) Order of operations and what must be decided when. 2. Where to save and where to splurge, sometimes the best splurge is behind the walls. 3. Energy efficiency–building envelope, appliances, HVAC, windows. I know this book wouldn’t be a technical primer on those things, but would be great to see resources and advice from a few experts from Green Building Advisor, or somewhere similar. 4. Questions to ask a contractor so you seem well informed, knowledgeable and on top of your game, even if you’re not totally there yet. In many towns, it is difficult to find a good, trustworthy contractor. And sad to say, but some jerky contractors prefer dealing with men, and make that fact known by being dismissive of women’s opinions. You have to stand your ground, be proactive and direct, and act like the boss you are! 5. On that note, a quick cheat sheet for the most often used technical building terms so that people can speak with more knowledge to their contractors. 6. Jobs that you may be able to hire… Read more »
Yes Yes Yes to 4 & 5!
An actual sequential list for say…designing and remodeling a kitchen. We are doing a lot of the work except plumbing and electrical, with help from some friends in construction biz. And of all the things, this would be super helpful.
Also, maybe a spot in the back of the book that is only for measurements. Like, if you need 2 people to be able to work in an aisle, whatis the measurement for that? How much space do you need around a table in a dining room, what about chairs?
And…millwork. Some basic, or not so basic stuff on designing millwork. Maybe do a chapter with Metrie or something? (Our 1900 farmhouse had ALL the original millwork taken out and 1980s oak put in. ) Every room is 4 walls, a floor and a ceiling. The windows and millwork can make or break a room.
EVERYTHING ON THIS LIST!
Yes!! To all the above, this would be amazing!! Also ways to afford the updates! Do banks loan money for renovations? What about a him you are buying and want to update.
Ahh so. many. good. ideas.
Omg SO many things! First, budgeting! How do you lay out your renovation budgets per room (for those of us who have to take it room by room…while maintaining continuity throughout the home. We recently bought a lovely midcentury ranch that has had little renovations throughout…bathroom reno in the 80’s so all the speckled square tile, kitchen in the early 00’s, living rooms still stuck in the 60’s… how do you bring these things all together? Also, and this is a big one… how to deal with a previous renovation that is just fine… super bland, contractor grade fine, but you want to punch it up a notch to make it special. Adding SPECIAL is a big one! And lastly, I’m so interested in exterior changes to our home to add impact. I’d love to see y’all do varying styles of homes in different parts of the country too… we don’t all live in So Cal! So excited for what you have in store!
Yes! I will take all of the tips on creating continuity that EHD cares to provide. Like, I would buy a whole book on this topic.
Yes- I agree!! It would be nice to see how people renovate a typical early 90s home in the middle of the country for example- so many of us have them!
I too would love to see some typical homes renovated, both inside and out. I am starting a remodel of a 60’s ranch and need exterior ideas. I would love to see homes throughout the US at various price points. Can’t wait for the book??
Ditto on continuity! E.g. How far up the stairs/into the hallway do we take the design of our cold and bleak entry room in our 1930’s S.F. house?
When and how to pick a designer vs. architect vs. design-build firm vs. GC.
And I totally agree with the other comments re: phases/stages, what to do when and how to live with what you’ve got in the meantime would be great!
Yes, I came to say this – how do you find an architect? How much should you budget for an architect?
Yay! Congrats and what a great idea! I don’t know what I’m doing, hence my readership of design blogs, so I think a book like this is definitely needed! I always appreciate lots of photos of inspiration, things done well and most of all: what not to do. I have a difficult time visualizing how finishes/features will work together in a home, but if I see examples of something done “wrong,” I can either immediately spot it or feel in my gut that it’s not right, and then go from there. I live in the Midwest and there are a lot of new developments full of cute little ranches. A builder nearby did a custom home, so my friend and I peeked at the pictures online. The home was nice with pretty modern finishes, but the walls and cabinets were all stark white, with grey accents and grey floors. We immediately thought the home needed some warmth by swapping out those floors for some wood, but had it been my home I was building, I never would’ve thought to “mix it up.” I think maybe all that grey got chosen because it’s a million little decisions at the same time… Read more »
I would love to hear your approach on the details people don’t necessarily think about. To wit, when we renovated our farmhouse we had to rebuild the front porch and put in new railings. My contractor, who was amazing and does have an eye for design, and I kept talking about it. But I didn’t realize until the railings were up that I never gave any direction to the style of the porch railings. They are basic and work fine, but if I had thought about that detail would I have directed different? Maybe. I would guess this is the kind of thing I would pay a designer to think about but would love to get a perspective on some of the common things people don’t think about it or would realize they care about… until they are installed!
We are getting ready to install a porch too, so thank you for this helpful tip! This project is way more difficult than I thought it was going to be…
We have been renovating our 1905 farm hours for 6 years now, and some decisions we made early on I now wish we had done differently. I would love some advice on how to make long-term decisions in the short term, or how to prioritize what decisions to make first.
I’m interested in distances! Especially in small spaces.
Living in a small flat / apartment, I want to know how close can the oven go to the fridge and to the sink and when is it better to have a kitchen table vs. an island vs. a peninsular if there is no separate dining area. What is the best layout? L-shape, galley etc.
In a small bathroom, how much legroom is required for the toilet and how close could say a sink or shower be next to it? In an urban, one bedroom flat is it better to have a bath or a shower or a bath/shower combo if having just a shower provides more space? Should I get a hanging / floating sink because it makes the room look bigger and put my stuff in a medicine cabinet or should I go large under the sink and just have a mirror on the wall instead?
What is the best layout for furniture and what tip and tricks can be used to make the space look bigger?
I live in a 100-year-old house with plenty of quirks. Our main issues:
1. Tiny bathroom and renovating it for resale value but also being kid friendly
2. Electric–we only have one three-prong outlet upstairs. Info about grounding outlets, where to put outlets, where to put TV or phone line acces
3. How to design around an ugly router that has to be in the center of the home!
4. What to do when your entire house has literally one closet
5. Furniture beyond IKEA that can be reassembled to move into places with wonky staircases (this is the second house we can’t move a sofa upstairs or down. We had to saw our box spring in. half.
6. Decorating around giant pipes that sprout from the middle of the floor into an adjacent room (heat vent) as well as through the ceiling (vent). I want to built a cabinet around them, but they aren’t aligned. WHAT DO I DO WITH THE WEIRD STUFF, EMILY?
7. I’d love to see a chapter up front about accessibility, for disabled or elderly readers and caregivers. Stylish but accessible bathrooms, kitchens, floorplans, and more!
OMG this. My house was built in ’26 and I SOOOOO feel you!
I second the idea of a section on designing for accessibility! Please do this!
Yes to accessibility! My parents have been discussing redesigning their bathroom, but they want to do it in a way that won’t present obstacles when they’re older and less agile. I think it would be a very useful and interesting topic to cover.
Yes to universal design, which makes houses accessible to all, such as kitchen tables rather than islands, at least one bathroom that is designed to work for a wheelchair – no cabinets under the sink, lower sink, space to pull a wheelchair up to the shower or tub for a transfer from the wheelchair, etc.
Eradicating bad designs from the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000s – stuff like refinishing oak floors to make them less orange, addressing dated arch windows, making a choppy house more cohesive, etc. Also, designing homes to compliment the architecture, such as colonials or victorians. I feel like colonials are such a common style in the US but since you are LA based they are not showcased as often. I’m in the northeast and surrounded by colonial homes 🙂
I agree with Jody – How do I get rid of the 90s from my 1991 home? Orange wood flooring, built-in desk with cubbies, medallion “flourishes” on the crown moulding and built-in bookshelves, wet bar cabinet next to the fire place… but *on a budget* (or done in priority). Sure, I could hire someone to revamp and redesign the whole place, but that’s not practical for me. I’m much more likely to take on small projects for a few hundred or thousand. How can I make it the best I can, considering?
What a fantastic book idea! A couple requests – 1) If the title is going to be “How to design a ______”, I would expect a lot of very specific details. For example, “How to design a luxurious-feeling bathroom on a budget.” I would expect to find information on things like: Where to splurge (steam shower? micro-bubble bath? pros/cons of each). Where to buy fun tile. What is going to end up costing the most $$$ (and therefore might be avoided on the “on a budget” plan.) How to live with the builder-grade vanity that is fine and not totally mood-killing because it’s greener to use the materials that are already built in. What steps do you plan the renovation in post-demo (start with flooring? start with tub? how exactly do you measure your doorways & space to make sure a tub will fit through the door before you buy it?) etc. etc. etc. 2) My other request is a bit counter-intuitive. First of all, MOAR PORTLAND PICTURES! I am drinking up everything you’ve posted on the Portland project. Second, PLEASE more affordable house pictures!! Staring at gorgeously unattainable design is exhilarating and depressing. I think it might be wonderful… Read more »
Yes to “look for less” in your book. Please, please, please showcase high/low design. It’s ok to show cle tile if you have some target and vintage touches around.
Good point re going very specific. I like that 🙂
Small landing areas with like 6 doors leading to other rooms? Why oh why? does that happen and how do you style places with LOTS OF DOORS and no wall space.
Room Checklists? They motivate people – by people I mean me 🙂
dark countertops and huge dark tiles in bathrooms that you can’t afford to retile and replace countertops. (cabinets painted creamy white to try to offset)
But seriously some chapters on problem areas….and how to solve for..
SO excited to read this book!
I’d love to know how to add character to a house in a way that is timeless. We just bought our forever home, but it’s SUCH a fixer-upper and needs a lot of love. I can think of a million things I want to do to the house but I am terrified that in 10 years it will feel out dated and I’ll want to redo it all again (to which my patient yet practical husband will definitely say no 🙂 ).
This is basically exactly what I was going to say too! We’ll be building in the next couple of years, and we plan to live in that house FOREVER. I’m torn on how to select finishes that are classic and timeless, yet updated and fresh.
I’d also love recommendations on the best countertop options. There are so many to choose from. But what are the pros/cons of each?
1) What to (possibly) DIY vs when to (probably) hire a pro
2) When to save vs splurge
3) How to make choices that will be more permanent (layout, floors, fixtures, finishes, etc) — how to figure out your personal tastes and preferences and weigh those against what’s timeless or trendy. Is it even possible to create something you will love today, you will love in a decade, and the next buyer will also love?
Your blog so very able-y helped me with 2 full bathroom renovations in our DC row house last year. Truly could not have thought about designing it smartly and ordering everything myself (and executing/overseeing it with a “meh” “award-winning” contractor who checked out after bigger projects came his way). So glad your blog helped truly prepare me when he checked out in so many ways. So, getting smartly prepared to really “own” your project even with a GC on hand could be a helpful part of your next book. Picking through years worth of blog entries on your site certainly helped prep me for what I didn’t think would happen to me- but did. Our projects ended up stylistically being a eclectic mix- Wes Anderson meets Stephen Alesch- not so straightforward to easily mimic. So, I had to quickly learn how to mix metals (your blog was so helpful), learn to mix cool colors with warmer room elements (again, your blog was so specifically helpful), pour over websites to find just the right style knobs, pulls, shower curtain, curtain rods, hooks (not towel rods) to pull everything together. Then, to layer with art, plants, trays, to bring it all together.… Read more »
Please, those of you that are renovating kitchens, consider moving your outlets above your counters to strip outlets that sit flush under your cabinets! So much better than the beautiful backsplash that you splurge on not even being seen because the ugly but functional outlets draw the eye. BUT, both houses that I have done this in we were doing renovations and not all new construction (ie, keeping or only modifying the cabinets not putting in an all new kitchen). So, I had to have the contractor add a trim piece to the bottom of the cabinets to hide the strip outlets. In both cases, the contractor was able to match the stain on the cabinets even though they were years old.
Please include some reno approaches for budget friendly options!!
I know the trend is open concept. I have a three year old home that is open concept with soaring two story ceilings in the main living areas. Lovely right? Sure except its REALLY hard to place furniture when there are essentially no walls. And dont even get me started on how to decorate/adorn two story HUGE walls. I have been looking/scouring for years on how to make it seem cozy. Nada. New modern layouts are wonderful but can be really hard to deal with day to day. Would love tips on layering/styling these new spaces that are ALL OVER.
See, I’ve read the opposite, that open is out – it’s fine for maybe 2 years while you’re watching your baby like a hawk but after that you don’t necessarily want to see/hear every single thing that every person in the home is up to. I had open concept & it was so dang loud with kids in the house. My old home is very broken up with all the traditional spaces & I love it. I don’t have to see the mess in the kitchen when I’m at the dining table, for instance. I also, do not have children in the home anymore so that might be part of it, lol. The other things is that you can really define spaces if you want to, my kitchen/living/dining don’t all need to be designed in a single scheme. My sunroom has pink in it, which I do tie into my living room with a pot here & there, but it’s not like I need splashes of pink everywhere for it to look cohesive. It’s more forgiving.
First of all: can’t wait for this! I love a good styling book as much as the next girl but a real guide that gets into the nitty gritty decision making behind the scenes? Sign me up. Some things I would love to read about: how to work with builder-basic homes and make them feel custom (small architectural changes that can then be finished and styled uniquely to make the house feel like yours). High impact changes for all budgets. How to phase a renovation project (prioritizing certain spaces or doing everything to a mid-level of completion and why). Diving into the different people you’ll need to work with on a variety of construction projects; from hiring a plumber for a bathroom reno to building a house with an architect and all the subcontractors that come into play. For me, being young and wanting good design now but also thinking about the future, I want a book that I can reference at every stage of life and budget. I feel confident that there are things you can do beyond paint and pillows when you have limited funds, it’s just hard to know where to start and how to get the… Read more »
I’m seconding the builder-home request. In my (very expensive) town we dropped more than half a million dollars but still could only afford something built by a builder. So many square windows and white walls, so very little character. I love the blog entry you did about adding character to walls. Are there other ways to add character that are more on the ‘takes a few weeks and a few thousand bucks’ end of the spectrum? It honestly feels like every cute home I see elsewhere is relying 75% on their architecture.
I want you to try and explain to everyone how much time and effort and thought actually goes into designing a space/ home/ construction project etc. In our instantaneous culture I feel people really can not comprehend how much research, time, sourcing, talent and pure hard work etc goes into a full design and renovation.
If during your writing you can somehow convey the actual amount of hours decisions took to make I think that would benefit everyone.
Excited to read it!
yes! such a good point
Congratulations Emily! I love Styled and I look forward to the next book!
I live in a 1926 bungalow and the rooms are impossibly tiny. It’s impossible to follow today’s style rules because of this. How can I make my tiny/awkwardly shaped rooms work?
Congratulations on book 2! What I struggle with most is visualizing changes I want to make in my own space. Pinterest and inspiration photos just don’t cut it sometimes – I want to be able to manipulate my space digitally so I can really get a glimpse of what I’m thinking about. I want to see a genuine mock up before I take a leap! Problem is, if you’re not a pro with access to sophisticated apps and programs (that obviously take time and skill to learn), how do you do this?! Is there no app or resource that could help casual consumers like myself? I’d love to know what options are out there and easy to use for this purpose!
Oh, that’s a really cool idea! What if there was an app that you could download with the book that came with a basic layout designing tool? Or if that is too elaborate, maybe paper cutouts in the back of the book for doing a layout on graphing paper?
Yes to this!
I actually used Modsy design service and they send you a 3-d mockup of your space (all to scale) and design it completely. It’s pretty neat!
I use Sweet Home 3D! It’s free and pretty simple to use and it’s super helpful with visualizing the changes you want to make. Lots of furniture options, especially if you download the user-created models from Sweet Home 3D’s website. Been using it for years and can’t recommend it enough!
That line of questioning is what has brought me to your blog and instagram more and more! My husband and I bought a traditional styled semi-Georgian 2 story brick home a year and a half ago and merged our stuff into one household (married 2 years this March). My style has been more mid century eclectic, his more utilitarian contemporary. He’s okay with pretty much whatever I want to do, short of demo’ing or painting the dark wood built-in in the living room or painting the brick fireplace, staircase, kitchen island… oh and did I mention we have 6 kids, ages 11 to 21? I’m trying to merge furniture and decor from two different styles into a traditional house, maintaining functionality, and breaking it down into small enough projects to finish in a weekend or spread out over time to defray the cost. Right now, I’m tackling my bedroom. It has two small windows on either side of the bed, a skylight over the bed, so it has a good bit of natural light. The furniture is more MCM, medium wood tones. I need a place that is a retreat for the two of us, but also handles multiple kids… Read more »
I’d love to see tips (in the book or on the blog) for how to upgrade a builder-basic home- ways to add architectural features (maybe a sliding scale of expenses- board and batten to built-ins to stone fire place). After living in our home with a very awkward and basic family room for 8 years, I just decided that our bare 20’ long wall behind the TV needs board and batten, and the room is finally starting to make sense to me.
I’d like to know more about lighting plans. Especially if you are going to use can lights and where to place them and where not to place them. I feel like many homes (including my own) where I live use way too many can lights in the ceiling.
SECONDED!!! My house came with only like 3 lights. Same question.
I’ve been working on my new house for six months and I honestly can’t tell what I like and don’t like any more. I can argue either side of anything. The answer is probably to do the style/feeling/palette work you describe up front and then focus on adhering to that when my realtime compass is exhausted. You’ve said that before, but maybe if you put it in another book I will get it through my thick skull. **looks accusingly at new stair runner that may or may not good**
My main questions revolve around labor – how do you know which things to hire a contractor for, how do you even begin the search, will they get offended if you don’t hire them after their initial quote (esp if it’s a small job). I think someone has already said this, but just ALL THE CONTRACTOR QUESTIONS.
Also – THIS IS A BIG ASK and not ideal for book format, but I have always wanted to find an Excel budget template that has various budgets based on type of renovation, line items to consider, input your square footage and the price of the tile you’re buying, etc etc. Maybe this is something that could be given as an add-on to the book, like submit your proof of order and get the workbook emailed to you?
I’d love tips for rentals — like what can you do if there’s carpet and the landlord won’t let you tear it out? And what if the landlord made terrible decisions like ruining a gorgeous bathroom with vintage tiles with a terrible fake black marble sink? Also, when you’re house hunting & looking for a fixer, what are the “good bones” you should look for? What are the things to stay away from? How much do things cost — when I’m house hunting, I never know what we’re going to be able to afford to do? Do we have to move out while we or can we live there while we renovate? How long do things take? And why does it take long with contractors? Why do you always have to double the time estimate & is there any way around that? How do I find a good contractor? Tips to manage them? How do we know what’s a good investment for resale and what will be a money pit? How do you build a home that can grow with style changes over the years & still feel inspiring for decades?
* How to find and evaluate contractors and designers for these projects!
* Pros and cons of DIY vs general contractor vs design shop vs architect!
We’re DIYers. We beginning to plan for a kitchen renovation. There are so many things to be done and we need to live in our house during the renovation and, use the kitchen. Every time I sit down to map out the job, it’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve even Googled for a checklist without luck. Where do I begin? What’s the order of operations if you will. Actually, this would be a great blog post for me. I’ll be ready to start the renovation in a couple of months. 🙂 Thanks, can’t wait for the new book!
Where things go that are permanent. For example we just had to gut our bathroom and I thought I had a good design plan in place but then where do the outlets go, how high do we want the scones, how much lighting is needed, how high to make the tile wainscoting. I was able to splurge a little on some of the finishes because we were the overall contractor and managed the different trades people. So something that empowers me as a home owner to stretch my dollar further.
My biggest struggle has been how to decorate my living room. I have hardwood pine paneling (unpainted) and broken teracotta tile terrazzo (think big pieces) that are reds, beiges, and browns. Do I match our furnishings and decor to match the tile? What do you do when your house has very bold features?
How to plan and choose lighting! Including placement, size of the light fixture, and wattage. Ideally with some examples from smaller homes and tricky spaces.
I would include what parts of the process you worked with specialists, such as, architects, structural engineers, kitchen and bathroom designers, etc.
I am in the throes of planning a master bathroom remodel – out with the 90’s jetted tub, 30″ coffin shower stall, and child-height vanity…in with a walk-in tiled shower, functional yet pretty vanity, and updated fixtures. My challenge is doing this with resale value in mind – this is never going to be my dream home, but I’ll live here for another 5-10 years until my kids are grown. So, where can I save money and where do I need to go all-in?
I love this book idea! In 2014, my husband and I took a huge leap of faith and bought a fixer upper in our dream neighborhood. Working with just our contractor, we rehabed the entire home (every wire, pipe and ceiling is new) on a tight budget. It was nuts and also exhilarating but, like you, we had to do a ton of Googling and reading to figure out what the heck we were doing. I feel like what’s missing out there is the guide and confidence boost that people need to feel comfortable taking on big renovation projects. So many of my friends are too intimidated and, thus, end up buying flipped homes with very little charm and that don’t match their taste. I want someone (YOU!) to tell them, you CAN DO THIS.
I’d love to know your thoughts on justifying changing something that is already nice, but not your taste. For instance I just bought a house ( beautiful/ mid century) and the previous owners just paid for a new kitchen. They however chose the worst speckled black and brown granite countertops. I feel terrible thinking of removing them and replacing them, but I walk in everyday and hate them.
Additionally any guidance or realistic budgeting and tips on where to splurge and save as well as tips / reminders to not price yourself out of your neighborhood worth the renovations and updates you make.
+1 on when to demolish something new but tacky
I would to see how people have worked with non-resident buildings converted into homes like churches, factory conversions, etc. how they’ve incorporated those interesting architectural details and features into their house (or worked around them).
I’d love strategies for adjusting builder grade houses in planned communities. What are things you can ask for (and the builder would actually agree to) during the build, what you should upgrade later, what design choices you should say yes to during the build, what are the best choices to make when you have to choose from a set number of options, where to upgrade, etc…??