Iron Man. Falcon. Black Widow. The Hulk. They all have their strengths and their special powers. They’ve got distinct backgrounds and fighting styles. They’re various sizes, genders, ages, and colors. Taken separately, it’s hard to see any unifying thread that runs through them. But once you put them together, they form The Avengers. Well, in my ongoing struggle to define my design style, I’m going to try a new approach. I’m putting together a team of all my favorite pieces and aspects from all the different “Emily Henderson-Designed” homes I’ve lived in throughout the years, and maybe… just maybe, they will form some sort of super team, and I’ll finally be able to define my style. So I can stop writing about it.
I’m Nick Fury and I’m putting together my team. But it’s actually much harder than you’d think for me to be the Nick Fury of our past furniture because we’ve had so many pieces rotate in and out over the years! I have a hard time remembering what was there. Or like, what was temporarily there for just a photoshoot. So I’ve started going through the projects on this site to look through everything. Which is a totally normal thing. For a person to have to check a website to see what furniture he’s had in his house.
First Member of the Team: The Natural Wood Coffee Table
Super Powers: Brings in raw wood, which makes me feel manly. Has a cool, unique shape which makes me feel special. Thick and chunky, which again, manly.
Weaknesses: It kinda wobbles. Not great to put your feet on, or if you have a small child who wants to lean on it. I do wonder if I’d like it more if it had four legs. Probably.
Next Up: Duck Man
Super Powers: I mean, do I have to point them out? Look at him! He’s vintage, he’s hilarious, he’s holding a duck and a ticket to something? What’s that ticket to? Doesn’t matter because he’s so happy! He brings in an old-timey vibe while reminding us that there were drunk weirdos even back then too. I love this guy.
Weaknesses: I guess if I had to nitpick, I’d say he could use a little more color, but that’s coming later.
The Big Guy: Our Mountain House Kitchen
Super Powers: So this isn’t so much a “piece” but it’s one of my favorite rooms ever so I’m using it as a big guy like the Hulk. I love the integration of the wood from the floor into the cabinets. I thought it was gonna be too much wood but I love it (Hat tip to Ross and Georgie over at Ross Alan). It’s cozy and warm without feeling stuffy. I think the angles help with that. If it was rounded edges I don’t know that I’d like it as much. I also love the big black island. If that hadn’t been painted it would have been too sterile for me. The pendant over the island is like my favorite light we’ve ever had. It is very hard to beat that one. It’s got leather, manly, and a really unique shape. I love it.
Weaknesses: Risk of splinters.
Sleeper: Mountain House Bed
Super Powers: Low to the ground, sturdy. Not too fussy with little spindly rods or dainty little details like some of our other beds. This one is wide and comfy, with a simple fabric headboard that is calming and anchoring. I like how it looks like one piece.
Weaknesses: If you spill some morning coffee on the fabric, you’re kinda screwed.
Silver Surfer: The Vintage Mirror from LA
Super Powers: It’s old and a little run down, like me. I love the shape and the details in the frame. I like that it’s messed up, like wavy and spotted, but still functional enough to see yourself after you pee and wash your hands.
Weaknesses: You may walk out of the bathroom with something on your face, it’s not a perfect mirror.
Brass Stuff in Bathroom Man
Super Powers: I feel very fancy when I use aged brass faucets. I like them a lot, because I like to feel fancy. But they’re not too fancy. Like, they have a certain strength to them. And I think adding brass pulls to drawers is cool. This vanity wouldn’t be as cool without all the brass.
Weaknesses: You have to actually clean them. Ugh.
The Weirdo: Little Side Table from Glendale
Super Powers: I have no idea. I just like it. It’s not functional, you can only put three little things on it, but I like the shape and how it’s odd.
Weaknesses: I may end up hating it the more I think about it.
V is for Vignette: Glendale Flag and Dresser
Super Powers: Striking color, blue, which I love. It goes really well with the vintage dresser. I really like the unique handles of the dresser. The light blue pieces are much more fun than if it was all just white.
Weaknesses: I couldn’t handle this all over the house, just in one statement somewhere. We’ve lived in both splashy and conservative homes, and I prefer the latter, but I think there’s room for “little pops of color” like HGTV would say.
Fly Guy: The Blimp
Super Powers: Vintage, simple, trippy. I feel like one of my fellow Deadheads came out of a show in like ’71 and drew their experience. It’s such an awesome piece. It’s enormous, so it definitely makes a statement, but the fact that it’s just black and white makes it easy on the eyes.
Weaknesses: It will drive you insane trying to make heads or tails out of all its meanings.
Abstract Man: Painting from Commonwealth
Super Powers: This abstract is one of my favorites. Bold colors but not overwhelming, calming yet interesting. The little hits of yellow make it really amazing. It can put up a fight with any piece of art it’s up against and win.
Weaknesses: May feel a little aggressive depending on what room it’s in.
Comfy On Toes Man: Rug from LA
Super Powers: Neutral tone, keeps me feeling calm. Super soft, great for laying and wrestling. Thick pile but tight, good for bare feet but not shedding.
Weaknesses: We put a huge rug pad under to make it even softer. Not sure how it would feel without it.
Trio of Terror: LA Chairs and Trunk
Super Powers: Those chairs were by far my favorite out of the twenty thousand that cycled into that spot of our living room. The design was cool, nothing fancy but definitely not boring. And they were actually comfortable! Imagine that! Having chairs that you actually enjoy sitting in! And the trunk is dope. It’s a great vintage touch for a table.
Weaknesses: The chairs are kind of tied with the darker vintage version below, I could be swayed either way. I like the angles and color of the dark chairs and they were comfy. I guess they’ll have to get locked in a room and fight it out to see which set gets to join the team!
Trim: Mountain House Wood
Super Powers: The thin wood trim around the windows and doors at the mountain house are modern and rustic at the same time. Ooooh, I think that’s a close version of what my style is – modern rustic. I like how unfussy they are, but how grainy and natural they feel. This picture in general is pretty great, the mix of leather and wood is nice. Maybe a little heavy.
Weaknesses: I just wrote it, a little heavy. Also maybe could use a little color?
Power Twins: LA Paintings
Super Powers: This photo has my two favorite pieces of art in our past living room. The blue abstract is just messy enough to be engaging without going too crazy. It’s a dark blue, that is soothing, and you can see the brushstrokes which make it one of a kind. The black and white graphic piece is a mind-bender – it seems very simple at first glance, but it’s a trip, and very striking.
Weaknesses: Size. I wish they were both a bit bigger.
Wild Card: The Sofa should be like the Captain America of the team – the leader, the anchor, the one who takes charge and gives the orders…
Unfortunately, I’m not sure there’s been one true Captain yet. We’ve had lots, and they all had their pros and cons, but I’m not comfortable awarding a top slot to anyone. Here are a few of my top contenders.
Powers: Color and scale. Traditional shape.
Weaknesses: The legs are too frilly, and it wasn’t that comfy.
Powers: Dope shape. Vintage and has attitude. I like the look of no legs and how low it is.
Weakness: Not the most functional, the backs move on you and the components move too.
Powers: Good shape and color, low to the ground. Sectional for lounging. Simple.
Weakness: Could be more of a statement.
Powers: Love the shape and style. The color. The mix of wood in there.
Weaknesses: Not robust enough (Emily is considering trying to buy it back).
Ok. Phew. I think that was the longest I’ve ever spent looking at furniture online. I don’t know how you guys do it. I think maybe there’s a pattern starting to form? Not totally sure. I’ll leave that to the expert. We’re planning on doing an old-school Style Diagnostic on me this weekend so I’ll keep you posted. Until then, keep your eyes out for the new elite fighting team on the block – The Style Squad. Oh, and stick around for my post-credits scene, featuring the main villain…
Opening Image Credit: From: Trying Out Reader Suggestions For What To Do With My Living Room (No Shelves? New Layout?)