Behind the Scenes at EH designs
First of all, I better introduce myself before you all think that Emily’s blog has been hacked by a male blonde impostor, who doesn’t dress, style, or write quite as well as she does. My name is Brady, I work for Emily and as she puts it “He is tall, blonde, from Utah, full of skills, creativity, brawn, enthusiasm and very nice necklaces.” I would personally add to that list of characteristics, “awkward, gawky, inappropriate, mildly (but not usually) funny, and a real good time”.
Its been just over a month since I joined the Emily Henderson Design team and let me tell you it has been so much of what I expected in some ways and completely opposite in others. When I went through the interview process I honestly thought my chances were slim to none. Yes – I went to school for architecture, Yes – I had worked for a slew of interior designers, YES on the fact that I can thrift and DIY like a mo-fo, but I also knew that there was extreme talent out there and at that point I was just grateful to be in the mix of those that applied. Now, I have to take a moment and confess (in this extremely personal and close format) I had met Emily years ago before I initially interviewed with her. I was browsing around at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and I had a major “fan-girl” moment.
I’m sure I looked a bit like this:
Quickly followed by this:
***** completely accurate representation *****
She was with Orlando and they were doing their typical “we are cute, fun, and shopping for vintage finds” routine, but I mustered up the balls to go and just tell them how much I loved both of their blogs and how inspiring I thought they were and I was waiting for the “bitch, please – who are you, get out of our space” look that many people that are too busy for the average joes give, but it was far from that. They both insisted on taking a picture, they both asked about myself and they both were completely NORMAL human beings. Emily warned me before she put her arm around me by saying “sorry if I’m sweaty and gross and smell like nasty B.O. its been a long day in the sun.
It was like I felt like I was their friend for that brief thirty second moment we shared. Flash forward to a year or so later and now I am sitting in a little coffee shop down the street from Emily’s house nervously sweating and pitting out and obnoxiously late to the interview because of traffic on the 405. I walk in, take my seat and she totally realized that she had met me before. The interview went well apparently and I got the job.
I approached Emily a couple of weeks ago when I was just a fresh young baby chick at EH design about doing an ongoing series on her blog which would go a bit behind the scenes so that we can actually get a REAL look into what makes this design company tick.
When i approached Emily about writing a behind the scenes series of posts I did it because I thought it would be interesting for the reader (for us) to really see what the day to day life is and to see what happens in between the frames of each of those beautifully curated after photos. The day to day here at Emily Henderson design is never the same. The only consistency that we have here is change and that we generally enjoy and make the most of every step of the weird journey together – Emily has asked me never to use the word ‘journey’ but this is my post and therefore I will journey us when ever I want to 🙂 As I’m sure you all know there are three people that make up the trinity of what we have come to know as Emily Henderson design.
That’s US! In all our striped and spotted glory – (and pardon my “homeless-doesn’t look like he has a job-or cares about his life” mustache – someone very special told me it was sexy and cool. So when someone special (and very sexy) tells you something like that you tend to listen 🙂
There is Emily – who you all know, and who is also sporting a severe lazy eye in this photo, and a very demonized face (we love you Em).
There is Ginny – the amazingly talented dame from England who can do no wrong in our books, and who I am constantly asking to repeat herself cus she says things in a much more polished way than my crass american tongue does and therefore I miss about every other word.
Then, there is me Brady – who you can always find with the largest Dr. Pepper in hand and some sort of snarky comment in tow, and a DIY project list that stretches about as long as my slightly receding hairline does
We definitely all get along as well as three very awkwardly adopted children could in one big foster family of design. We recently finished up work on an amazingly rewarding project with Sunrise Assisted Living and on today’s behind the scenes you’ll get a little bit of a glimpse of what made all of that possible. So the stage is set: the clients have picked their winner for the contest, we have consulted with them briefly over email, and we have sent through a couple of different mood board options which you can see HERE. Things seemed to be going smoothly and all we had left to do was head to Columbus, Ohio and install the room. We had all done it a million times so you would think that it would go off without a hitch. But, let me stop you right there before I get too ahead of myself by saying that it went as seamlessly and as smoothly as it could have. Everything on Sunrise’s end went off without a hitch, the administrative team that we worked with in Ohio was out of this world accommodating and fantastic not to mention that they were willing to assist in any capacity possible. The real trouble ensued from every other external source. The dresser we had specifically picked for the space did not arrive and it was an hour and half trip each way to pick up a new one, (which doesn’t sound terrible until you factor in that we had to paint, wallpaper, hang art, assemble all the other furniture, accessorize and put everything else together in about a 48 hour turn around time, not to mention that it was raining cats and dogs which would have slowed down our commute tremendously). So, it was a mad dash for a new dresser. Ginny and I went on the hunt running from store to store finding something that would work well for the space and for the needs of the clients, while emily scoured craigslist to see what treasures she could find. About 30 stores later and with an empty gas tank, Ginny and I rolled into one last antiques store and stumbled onto the perfect piece. I snapped a pic of it, sent it off to Emily who at the time was 33, 000 feet up in the air and she made her best judgement. In the end the dresser worked even better than the first one we had picked and it brought just the right amount of vintage and antique into the space! (you’ll have to pardon the iPhone pics – but when we are on the go sometimes that is as good as it gets!)
I wish at this point I could end the post and say that the behind the scenes all went of without a hitch other than this but I mean come on guys would that make for a good and interesting and drama filled post? I think not. Problem 1 was conquered, now it was on to “situation” 2-20. The wallpaper which we had custom made did not arrive with enough overlap to hang it properly (so we had it made and overnighted), the hotel that Emily had booked over the phone which she thought was just minutes from the clients was actually in fact 45 minutes each way, the bed frame that was sent was the wrong size for the bed that we had ordered, the recliners that the clients wanted to keep were much larger than we had anticipated and called for some unexpected rearranging of the space plan, some of the pieces that we had planned on purchasing in Ohio had mysteriously gone out of stock when 12 hours earlier were completely and amply in stock! Oh and on top of this all of our credit card companies decided to put a security block on our cards because we were out of the state and making large purchases 🙂 It was a lovely day to say the least! The list could go on and on, but all in all we always pull through and the clients loved it. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few secrets to share. As the room started to come together Ginny and I set out to grab some accessories so that Emily could finish styling out the room and making it feel less like a glamorous over budget makeover and more like an actual place that someone would love to live in. We jumped around from store to store grabbing a few things here and a few things there. To say that furniture shopping and finding good vintage accessories in Columbus was hard is a total understatement. Now, don’t get me wrong Columbus – we did fall in love with your city and would definitely go back again but for two newbies to the city that had less than 12 hours to find all the best places to shop we STRUGGLED. I mean when this is a mirror option at the local furniture store then you know you are in for a rough night of scouting.
By the end of the night though we did get a carful of accessories and we were both very proud of our curated collection when we returned that evening to meet with Emily. Unfortunately our curated collections that we spent so much time picking out in each store was not up to snuff for Emily and she sent us back for more options. She taught us both a very valuable lesson that night! Always overbuy when it comes to accessories. Styling out a space takes options and we had not given her enough options to pick from. When you are in a space it is hard to really tell what accessories or finishing touches are really going to bring the room together until you finally have them in the space. We learned our lesson and the next morning we definitely brought Emily the “options” she was asking for. We packed that SUV rental to the brim 3 times with things and I made poor little Ginny become a storage surface in the commute back and forth from the mall to the clients location. (she was loving having a new coworker at this point that threw just about everything possible on her lap).
If there was one design team that kept Target, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, and Anthropologie in business on that very rainy day in Columbus, Ohio it was definitely us.
Yes my dear folks, that is a receipt from West Elm that is just about as tall as my 6’2″ frame. Ginny and I felt like we were on Supermarket Sweep grabbing and throwing things at the poor unsuspecting West Elm workers as we hoarded just about every mirror, lamp, and accessory in site.
Now… don’t start thinking that we just have unlimited budgets and we get to hoard all of these beautiful homewares. No my friends unfortunately it is the opposite. We over buy so that Emily/we can curate the best few items to use for the room that really fit the best with the space, and are functionally the most appropriate and then all those beautiful little treasures go back to their rightful home at the mall. Ginny and I felt a little bit like Ariel did when Ursula finally steals her voice in the little mermaid and she is left under the water and voiceless clinging onto the things she once had. At the end of the day we all love what we do. We all treat each other like brothers and sisters. And we all have the best time doing it (except for when Emily forces me to iron the sheets while she just gets to throw pillows around in a gleeful manner.)
So far it’s been totally crazy (more than expected), but in a good way. With lots of drama, but mostly the good kind. There are far more stories to tell and far more blog posts to write so be sure to stay tuned for the next episode of Behind the Scenes at EH Design.