Emily Henderson Header Image Emily Henderson

1 Credenza 4 Ways: California Eclectic

It’s another ‘One Credenza Four Ways’, except this time … she (the credenza is female, obviously) is ‘California Eclectic’. She is the kind of girl who almost shoplifted when she was 16, but didn’t because she was distracted by the cute teller. She’s the kind of girl who you might not want to date your son, unless you want your son to have a crash course in ‘life lessons’. She’s fun, but a little cuckoo.

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As a style schizophrenic, each of these credenzas actually feels like a part of me (see yesterdays ‘Upper East Side Cool’ and stay tuned for the other two coming out).

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This one clearly feels like young a California chick. A chick that obsessively collects weird art and pottery in bright colors, loves high brow and low brow culture equally, and every day wishes she were just a little bit tanner and a lot more focused. She might call herself Emily Henderson, but you’d think a chick who had this art collection would have an edgier name ….  a name like Emily Starke. Now that’s a real bad ass name (It’s my maiden name).

Why this styling works:

1. While there are certainly more than 3 -5 colors here at play (which is traditionally the number to stick to unless you are extremely skilled at mixing colors), white and blue are the stabilizers with pops of other colors mixed in. And all of them feel equally bright and colorful. Mixing in a neutral landscape painting into this would feel accidental.

Click through for more images, tips and a gif of the process.

2. Since the artwork itself is a little cooky, most of the frames recede a bit – no strong thick black frames in here drawing too much attention. The art pops and the white/gold and gray frames kinda disappear.

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3. The placement of the lamp is ‘considered’ in both the color/composition and the balance of the whole collection. You might think – you can’t have a tall lamp on one side and a short horizontal sculpture on the other!!!, but you can, little naysayer. You can. The blue of the lamp is counterbalanced perfectly with the teal painting on the left. And the blue lamp is equally as visually strong of a piece as the dynamic string sculpture despite how different they are. Had it been just a collection of small mediocre pottery it wouldn’t have worked. We placed the lamp first then created the collection so we knew how the lamp would play with the rest of the pieces (even though in the gif it shows that the lamp went last – it didn’t).

4. Normally I say there needs to be something that ‘grounds’ the collection of things on the credenza, but there are no books or trays in this case. It still works because the shape of all the pieces create a collection that really acts as one big piece. They all compliment each other, working with each other’s shapes, colors and textures to create 1 big, beautiful, eclectic collection. Your eye keeps moving over the pieces gracefully landing at the edge of the photo. Your eye just had its own little organism and just thanked you.

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That string art is stupid and represents so much of my personality – blue/white/organic/structured/surprising/mesmerizing. I got it in Arizona at a vintage store and I couldn’t let that guy leave my heart and soul. The blue plate I’ve had for so long – like 8 years and it reminds me when I loved anything indigo, white and patterned -in other words it reminds me of my entire life the last 20 years.

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It’s funny because as we prep for our online vintage store, I look around and there are soooo many things that I’m capable of parting with, but in that photo above, most of them you would have to rip from my cold, dead, sausage fingers. I’m going to have a huge room-sized coffin. Charlie better start saving for that now.  I can’t wait to unnecessarily burden him by me sleeping with my favorite large pieces of furniture, accessories and art forever. You thought you were getting an inheritance?? HA!!!

To help raise money for my future coffin we made a gif. You can make contributions to www.hoardingtilheaven.com (don’t bother, it doesn’t exist until tomorrow morning when I make that happen and hire Bearcat to do the Kickstarter campaign).

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I’m tempted to call that my favorite one, but you have no idea what the last two look like. One involves seascapes and one a really large face. You’ll have to come back to see for yourself.

Credenza: ShopclassLA | String Art: vintage | Pottery: vintage | Blue Lamp: vintage | Wicker Plant Holder: vintage |

Art (L to R): Blue Factory Oil: vintage | Bear embroidery: by Danielle Krysa | Pink Blue Yellow Abstract: vintage| Blue Green Black Abstract: vintage | Abstract Portrait: vintage | Polaroids by Jen Gotch| Ocean Photograph by Tessa Neustadt | Yellow Abstract by Britt Bass Turner from Artfully Walls

See the other 3 Credenzas here: Mid-Century Costal | Bold Mid-Century Eclectic | Upper East Side Mid-Century.

Photos by TessaNeustadt

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  1. I’m excited for the face.

  2. I’m surprised that I actually like yesterday’s better, despite the fact that I would say my style is much closer to the California version. I really, really like this series too–it has a nice blend of the material girl series and some more practical tips that I can use, even if I’m not gutting a room and putting up all new tile/rugs/wallpaper and paint.

    1. Yeah! Thanks.

  3. The lamp on Credenza # 1 still has my for the overall but I’m excited to see the next two. I thought I was eclectic but this one was disturbing especially at first look it might grow on me.
    Your explanations of why something works or would not is invaluable for someone who would not have the budget for a designer. Thank you for sharing and being so honest.

  4. think you meant orgasm ?

    1. Uh yeah. I think my editor changed. hilarious.

  5. Gah!! Not even sure where to start! That string art is crazy good. So much of string art has the potential to be good but just isn’t. That piece is stellar! Love the crazy combination of colors and textures. I want it all.

  6. Can one of these credenzas have a tv above it that you style around? My credenza looks similar to this one but it will have a tv over it.

    1. check out this post: http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/cup-of-jo-makeover-the-livingdining-room/ there was a very similar credenza with a tv and yes we styled around it. If your tv sits on the credenza I generally don’t put anything else on it, though. it starts to look really cluttered and just too ‘try-hard’

      1. Great link! Thanks!! I think it’ll be mounted on the wall but at this point I haven’t even purchased the tv. And ya know what I love these styled ones so much I might forgo the TV altogether! There is a big one in the family room afterall…The living room of my new house is mostly empty with a stack of collected art (and my own) leaning against the wall and this credenza. Which I got for $15 on craigslist btw. It’s not quite as nice as this one. The top is 60’s wood formica but the rest of it is solid walnut. Haven’t decided what I’ll do to the formica yet. Either paint it white or apply walnut veneer or leave it be.

  7. Loving this series! Both designs have been so good. It’s amazing how the same piece against a white wall can look so different depending on the way is styled and accessorized. Great job!

  8. I freakin’ love this. I also loved yesterday’s. Bravo Emily! I have a record player that looks a lot like the credenza except for the fact that the middle section of the top piece opens up to get to the turn table. Any tips on how to style a piece you can’t put things all across the top? Does that make sense?

    1. Ooh that is hard. how often do you open it? Can you not put anything on it or is just annoying to have to take stuff off everytime? I would probably just do a tray with some pretty things and then you take the whole tray off it, but if you physically aren’t allowed to put anything on top of it, then I’m stumped too!

      1. The tray is a great idea! We don’t use it too often so that might work. The only thing that is really off limits is plants because of the risk of spilling water everywhere. Thanks so much 🙂

    2. You could use a tray, so that it all lifts off easily when you want to use the stereo.

      1. Ha! Looks like we answered at the same time! Sorry for the repeat!

  9. I love this series. I too would love to see a TV one. We are going to be doing our den and this styling just gave me the idea of putting the TV off-center and then balancing it with a lamp/sculpture in a deep color on the opposite end of the media center. That would totally work! Thanks Emily Starke (after all…something this ultra-cool had to come from her:-)

    Nancy

  10. i too like the idea of incorporating a tv in one of the series to get a sense for how to do that with a flat screen…
    but so far i like both a lot…per usual!

    1. What about this guy? http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/cup-of-jo-makeover-the-livingdining-room/

      We already finished shooting the credenza series but i’ll think about how i can do a tv on one for an option.

  11. LOVE this! I really enjoy reading your style tips as well, ie. counterbalancing, number of colors, etc. I love how quirky and eclectic this is!

    1. Thanks, Meg!

  12. LOVE this one. My fave things are the vase w the aloe vera in it and the string sculpture. I will pry both of those from your cold sausage fingers!

  13. Really like this one – out of the two so far, this is my favorite. Now, I’m a guy and I know you said this was good for a “California chick”, but I don’t see it is overly feminine. In fact, I think if you simply changed the 3 items out on the right side (lamp, vase, and white decorative ceramic piece) to slightly more masculine pieces you could completely swing the look of this setup. In either case I really like this look. Looking forward to the next 2.

    1. You are right, and thank you for being a man and reading the blog. I love you.

      1. ha! You’re welcome – that made my day.

  14. I second the idea of a tv above the credenza! Getting that to look good would be so helpful and a challenge.

  15. Well, I guess I just learned I’m a “California Eclectic.” Huh. Anyway, this just screams ME, so it gets my vote.

  16. So far this one is my favorite. Can’t wait to see the other two!

  17. LOVE IT! but i think it could use a little more of the low brow. Its so put together and not in a “i want it to look accidental that i look this good” way. I mean when I read the description before seeing the pic I was expecting something a little more edgy-cool like it needs some boob art!

  18. Love the art mix on this one! (yesterday’s paintings were also very cool but the frames/placement was so traditional – I need weird). I always describe my taste as a mix of highbrow and lowbrow. I call it “unibrow.” 😉

  19. Oh dear. Poor Charlie is going to need to build you an Egyptian pyramid to store all of your stuff. He can maybe mummify your cats in those little cat sarcophagi to go in there too?? This just got strange and gross.

    I love this one, BTW. I remember the post that you did when you bought that string art in AZ and wondered where in the world it would go. And there it is, all perfectly placed on that fabulous credenza. String art home run.

  20. Can you please tell us what frame you used for the Polaroids?
    Love it?

  21. i DOTE on how the string piece matches the strings in the flowers on the plate and the big string squares on the bowl. oh god. that sings.

  22. I LOVE this one. These next two are going to have to be some kind of crazy awesomeness to top it for me (which is totally possible knowing Emily Starke/Henderson)!!

  23. I LOVE this one! I think my style has changed over the years, and I think you have been a big part of that. What you do just resonates with me! I can’t wait to see the next two!

  24. I like this look a lot however I find the blue vase beside the lamp very similar In size, scale and colour and wonder what happened to its shade and then the blank space behind the lamp disconcerting as I have visions of the lamp falling off the credenza (maybe being pulled off by a little person 🙂 and this gaping space with that poor other picture floating by itself on the right side. Probably weird and I’m the only one who feels this way 🙂 by the way how do you manage dusting all these things? That’s one reason why I keep stuff on surfaces to a bare minimum I hate dusting 🙂

  25. I can already tell you that this one will be my favorite. It would be really hard to top this. That string art, I am melting. I must figure out how to make that!!! The only way to out do this is to have a huge large pink dinosaur on your next credenze.

  26. I’m getting confused….things are moving now. yesterday is option one? and today another?
    I usually read blogs in the evening…with a glass of wine…(I live in Napa, for godsake, don’t be judgy)
    so at the end of the however many days, I’m letting you know which I fancy most?

    I’m thinking back to that survey you did (we did) not so long ago and did we vote for all this, uh, movement?

  27. What I’d really like is the amazing art from look #1, the string art, with all these amazing white vessels/ceramics, and the blue lamp/vase switched out for some neutral and brass/gold objects…BAM. “Heart eyes”. 😉 can’t wait for the other looks. And, only cause I’m a first time commenter, please, more Craigslist trolling, I know others voted against it…but I loved seeing what you’d pick! I consider myself a cl junkie, and have gotten VERY lucky, but it is still very overwhelming sometimes. Seeing your gems and making a mental note of them makes sifting through the pages a bit easier, and makes me see things in totally new ways sometimes!

  28. The jury’s out, I’ll wait and see the other two before I make up my mind. I like no 1 so far, but I like this one too which looks more like a display of a ceramic enthusiast, very organic so I like it too as well as the art…waiting ….

  29. I already *loved* the previous one, but the combo of items here is SO PLEASING, and then about three of the paintings are making my brain MELT.

  30. It’s like you saw my gorgeous-but-badly-styled mid-century credenza and wrote this series just for me. Fine, I’ll fix it already!

  31. Wow! I really love this- everything is gorgeously mixed and the string art- oh my! I die!