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Our Happy Haunted House...

How we decorated our house for Halloween

Emily Henderson Target Halloween 20178

Well, we did it. The house has been Halloweened, and in the name of all things blog, we really went for it. These holiday decor posts are meant to give you lots of ideas and inspiration of rather simple projects. It takes me (and a team) days to really shop (4 trips to different Targets – yes all things Halloween are from Target), ideate (create a lot of mess) and execute with the hopes that you don’t have to think about a concept, wonder if it will work or how it will look. Like scientists in a laboratory, we now have our perfect haunted halloween potion….  and, friends, we have been drinking it. 

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I went as hipster witch, obviously. It was September 27th when we shot this so while I could halloween my house, I guess I couldn’t bear to halloween my body… yet. Although beware, there might be a cute costumed kid photo or two in this post …

First up – the style. What would our theme be this year? Last year it was more modern and minimal, and very toddler friendly. And while I thought it would be in the same vein (ha, how many puns can we possibly pepper into this post?) It ended going spookier, and more ‘haunted’ with a heavy dose of ‘happy’.

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Since we live in a 100 year old house with a lot of old-world elements I figured it was perfect to turn it into a spooky haunted castle …. but instead of zombies and a lot of… death stuff, it would have friendly ghosts and pumpkins who give hugs instead of scares. In fact we worked it out where our ghosts are trained to set good examples for our two young kids – they share, use their words, don’t hit/bite/throw things. They eat their (rotten) vegetables and stay in their beds all night despite how often they want ‘new water’.

The elements of this theme include: cobwebs, spiders, crows, googly eyes, spooky fabric, a skeleton hand here and there and lots of happy jack-o-lanterns.

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Let’s chat about color palette first. As you may have read in the living room reveal post, I loved that vintage rug but it was too colorful for me. I wanted cooler tones and less colors in general, and I got ’em. Introducing this amazing rug from Dash and Albert. We used it in a project recently and I was like, yep, this is it. It is plush and soft, and yet medium toned so hopefully it will hold up to my kids. It does exactly what I wanted it to do the room. It. calms. it. down. 

Now you might notice there is no orange in this halloween room and that’s because orange is not my spirit color (thats 3 puns already…please keep count). Now I don’t mind it for others, and I think I’ve used it (maybe once, ha) but for halloween I prefer to bring it in with real pumpkins. Since we hadn’t shopped or carved pumpkins yet, I made the choice to not have orange inside my new calm cooler toned living room. Outside is fine, I’m not a total warm-toned-scrooge. I figure when our kid-produced-not-so-pinterest-worthy-jackolanterns are done I’ll allow them. Listen, until they can produce magazine worthy work it has no place in our home.

You know I’m joking.

We’ll add them in once they are done. Meanwhile I’m LOVING this black/white/gray/blue/sage world.

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Now many of you are noticing the other reason why it feels so calm and less busy – no book spines. Now historically I’ve been ani-this gimmick, because it just doesn’t make sense. In no world is it ok to not see what the book is, and yet keep them so your shelves will say ‘I have so many books’. But for a haunted halloween castle it kinda works, no? Of course I secretly LOVE how much more neutral it is without the spines and it is inspiring a solution, just not sure what it is. I jokingly said that I would have to go out and buy all neutral toned novels (the shelves are not deep enough for big books) and then just use those. But how pretentious would that be? To go out and buy pretty white books just to fill the shelves? (P.S. it’s happening … remember when I was going to get rid of those shelves and then I decided not to because I wanted to keep as much of the original character as possible? Well, now I’m reconsidering again. They really aren’t the most proportional or functional shelves and they do just create busy-ness … unless I put my pretentious angelic new book collection on them … ugh).

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Oh where is my first edition of ‘The Tropic of Capricorn’ you ask? It’s in between ’50 Shades Darker’ and ‘Infinite Jest,’ on the top shelf (true story).

Enough about me. Here’s how we halloweened our life.

  1. We neutralized the color palette so that we could add more ‘stuff’ without it getting crazy. Target had a ton of great white and black halloween decor so we simplified the room (the rug and book conversation that we already had) and kept the rest of the decor that was in our palette. I didn’t get too crazy and buy halloween pillows (although I would if they were amazing – I’m headed down that year-round-holiday-hole.
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Next we added big impact but affordable things like the spooky cloth and the spider webs. You guys, if you want to be lazy and only spend like $30 this is where you spend your money. That fabric says ‘halloween’ and you can store it so easily for next year. It comes 30′ long so one sheet can go over multiple pieces of furniture (or gates). Drape it around and it’s insta-haunt.

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The oversized spider webs might be my favorite thing (I used them last year, too). Big and graphic, high impact but affordable and so easy. We hung them with command strips. Done. We bought ‘friendlier’ spiders for inside because my god there are some terrifying ones.

By the way (because I’m in a blabbing mood) did you guys see my insta-story with Birdie at Target? I couldn’t tell what was really going to terrify her so I brought her shopping to get her honest reaction. I would hold up something and say ‘do you like this?’ and she would either say ‘YES!’, which means uh, yes, or ‘uh.. huh’, which means she is kinda scared, or ‘too scary’ or ‘too spooky’ which was nixed. She was the one that actually pushed me to be spookier. I thought she would be terrified of some things (like the skeletons and all the little spiders) and while she didn’t like the huge skeletons she didn’t mind the hands (which I loved for their horizontal sculptural quality). She tells me it’s ‘no real’ all the time. I know she is just reminding herself. It’s like how she says ‘no eat it’ before she opens a play dough can. She knows she shouldn’t but she knows that her future mouth wants it in there, so she has to remind herself but pretends that she is just letting us know that she knows the rules.

She really liked this bow-tie wearing skeleton. I think it was $5 and you can hang that on a door or window and call that one done. The BOO was around that same price, too and I love how graphic and simple it is. Bang for your buck, folks.

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The stretchable webs (seen below) are easy, cheap and high-impact, too. Spread them over any art and it looks like old haunted, crumbling English castle.

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Now many of you are terrified of portraits of strange old men in your house all year round, I get it, but we Hendersons don’t mind them. This one which is about to be switched out for a more modern piece but had to stay for halloween, no? He is perfect. Of course we amped up the spook factor by adding those googly eyes. If you aren’t into risking ruining your expensive antique oil portraits, think about putting them on family photographs. Equally spooky – or more so if it’s old uncle weirdo with the beardo.

Probably my favorite things (and the biggest investment) are those light-up pumpkins. At night they are amazing and give off such a good glow. We bought them last year and had some left over. If you are buying 10 at a time they can add up, but if you know that you’ll have them for years (like we will) then that helps. Or buy a few this year and a few next year. They come in three different sizes (the smallest ones are battery operated).

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We also added crows wherever we needed a dose of ‘spooky’ without needing to add too much. This corner, above already had a lot in the shelves, so a crow and a gold pumpkin was all we needed. As you can see we kept these books facing a normal human direction because they are in our color palette. The whole universe is curated if you are a stylist.

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My little french cabinet got spooked as well, with that plug-in candelabra (with orange flickering lights), some webs and a dome full of super creepy vintage doll-house furniture that I’ve been hoarding for years (Charlie was uninterested in my doll-house furniture and I’m counting the seconds until Elliot wants to dollhouse all summer with me). This dome haunts my children, not because they are scared by it but because I don’t really want them to play with it and ruin my weird little universe. I’ll do an insta-story and show you what is in it – it was super hard to photograph.

By the way between the lit pumpkins and the candelabras, the lighting at night is awesome – together they create such good ambient light that is even but spooky.

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Over on the piano we did the usual again – we stuck in our color palette (black/white/green/blue), added spooky fabric, spider web,  googly eyes and skeleton. Good advice when it comes to decorating for any holiday isn’t just about keeping it in the color palette but buying the multiples of the same thing. It’s an easy recipe you can repeat over many surfaces and while you can vary it and change the exact styling it makes decorating easy and it looks consistent.

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The kids “helped” us style while we were working, and then they “unhelped” a lot every night by “re-styling” everything. Lucky for me, it’s actually all really easy to put back, because there strangely doesn’t feel like that much stuff. Sure, all the little spiders don’t return to their style birth spot, but otherwise it’s pretty easy. Obviously the candy had to be removed IMMEDIATELY, but not before we got some cute shots (how else do you think we could possibly get cute shots of a 2 and 4 year old at the same time?)

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I dressed them up in Target costumes which really kicked off ‘the season’. 🙂 It doesn’t matter what you put a 2 and 4 year old in for Halloween, they look ADORABLE. Charlie wants to be a ghost, and Birdie wants to be Hulk Hogan. And when I say that “Birdie wants to be Hulk Hogan” I obviously mean ‘Brian and I are playing our last parents-get-to-choose-the-costume card’.  When her hair is down it looks like his and she loves to shake her head really fast (so it was an obvious choice). It’s hilarious. Remember when we dressed almost-2 year old Charlie as Mario Batali? The orange scrunchie, the crocs … it gets me EVERY TIME.

Emily Henderson Halloween Costumes Kids Decoration Charlie Elliot

Back to the entry:

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My that piece of furniture is looking more and more baby blue. I really need to paint it a darker/deeper color. But I like the spooky styling on top. We switched out the painting for a dark, moody seascape that I had been hoarding. And then we continued the pumpkin, candelabra, spiderweb theme in here, too. So easy. Once we found the formula we just repeated it and we love how it looks.

Into the dining room.

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Now we have to eat three meals a day at this table so I styled it out like I will for a party or Halloween night itself, not for the month. We went slightly more “adult” in here with the ceramic pumpkins, and real candles. We created different levels with the spooky fabric as a runner, then a variety of sizes of pumpkins, in gold and white, a couple lower candles and a crow to bring a bit of spook in the shape of a sculpture. A spiderweb and spider cover the dining room window, which overlooks the back yard.

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I switched out the painting over the cabinet (which is also Target, by the way and wonderful – the cabinet, not the painting).

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More spooky strangers covered in webs.  For the month we’ll have the webs and the cabinet styled, but the dining table will be blank so we can live.

The kids love it. For the week while we were styling and a few days thereafter they would get so excited coming back from the park or pre-school with a ‘what spooky web is up now?’ kinda look.

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Now that the house is decorated I need to have a party like every single day to make it all worth it. We’ll probably do a pumpkin carving party and have people over that night. Not going to lie, this lady is LOVING having the house change for the season, and so do my kids.

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If you are into what we did (which admittedly is great for specifically young kids) then here you go. Target has more in store than is online so you may have to go check it out for yourself, but as you can see it’s pretty great stuff (and a lot that you can store for years and years).

Emily Henderson Target Halloween 2017 Spooky Black And White Kid Friendly Indoors Get The Look

1. ‘BOO’ Banner | 2. Tall White Jack O’ Lantern | 3. Small Black Jack O’ Lantern | 4. Small Gold Pumpkin | 5. Hanging Spider | 6. Witch Hat | 7. Skeleton Hands | 8. Black Candelabra | 9. Tall Crow Feet Bowl | 10. Giant Spider Web | 11. Large Gold Pumpkin | 12. Small White Pumpkin | 13. Skeleton | 14. Black Candlestick | 15. Plaid Pumpkin | 16. Large White Pumpkin | 17. Small White Jack O’ Lantern | 18. Large Cloche | 19. Ghost | 20. Short Crow Feet Bowl | 21. Mini Critters | 22. Spider Web | 23. Spooky Garland | 24. White Cheesecloth

 

** Check out ‘Our Modern English Tudor Living Room‘ reveal to get the full get the look and the new neutral rug is by Dash and Albert.

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  1. haha look so funny !!! i will try it in the halloween 🙂

    – madalin stunt cars 2 –
    http://madalinstuntcars2.com

  2. Well done! So, can we talk about how so much Halloween decor is breakable? We average one broken pumpkin per Halloween (and one snow globe per xmas). Also, I never thought I’d hear myself saying repeatedly, “Stop dismantling my vinettes!” Kids. Haha. I have very little seasonal stuff and struggle to make it work with my mcm/scandal style… so this post was obviously written for me alone. Thank you.

  3. Great decor! Oh how I wish my religion’s holidays were more commercialized (I’m completely serious). We never have cool decorations like these! I’m convinced designer eyes are needed for Jewish holidays, to inject beautiful, instagram-worthy festivities into more than the dinner table.

    As for the books: When I lived in a teeny-tiny studio apartment I couldn’t bear to see all the different book covers cluttering my space. It felt claustrophobic (I had too many books, obviously). So I went to a craft store and bought sheets of blank newspaper sheets. I spent a day covering all my books with them and writing the title on the spine and front cover with a simple black pen (I might have went fancy calligraphy route on this. It had to be pretty, after all.) The paper is neutral, super cheap, colors with age like all the cheap book pages do, and easily replaced. Eye clutter solved!

    1. YES! Why are there no good Chanukah decorations? I am 100% with you on this! I literally buy blue and gold and silver Christmas ornaments and put them in a bowl in December and try to convince my husband that they are not Christmas ornaments.

      1. My mom always said that Hanukkah is a minor holiday and we really don’t need to make it into Jewish Christmas. She was pretty put off by how crazy Christmas had become and was annoyed when her non-Jewish friends tried to do the same to her holiday traditions. Of course, when I married a Catholic boy, she did really enjoy ornament and glitter reindeer/brush tree shopping.

    2. YES! India Hicks did something similar with orange craft paper decades ago and it has aged beautifully. Google “India hicks orange paper books”

      1. INTERESTING. That is not a bad idea at all. I actually love the texture of the pages and having them be different shades of white. I’m going to think about this ,….

        Also re Chanukah. I know. There is always an endcap at Target that is great. But maybe for the holidays I’ll do at least a ‘Hanukah get the look’. Hopefully there isn’t any weird backlash about appropriation. I think a lot of whites, metallics and yes, blues would work but it could be a fun post if you are into it?

        1. YES EMILY! My mom goes nuts every fall going around and buying anything remotely blue, silver, gold, or Hanukkah-ish. I even promise to read it beforehand and proof it for you to make sure it’s not offensive 🙂

        2. Yeah! I’ll also add that since it’s just the festival of lights, I think just general lights, white and metallic colors would be really pretty (no blue needed), and then it’s Hannukah or non-religious-winter-season celebration and then it’s not even appropriation-y.

          1. Sidenote, the festival of lights theme also covers Diwali for us Hindus, or rather, Hin-Jews as we are calling it now, since my husband is Jewish. When we first got together, I thought if we were celebrating Hanukkah, there would be more to decorate with. Turns out not really. I’d love to see what you come up with! We do blue and clear lights, and of course, chalk rangoli designs outside.

          2. YES I always say we should be doing the outside lights because it is the festival of lights! Can’t get my husband on board though!

            Would LOVE to see what you come up with Emily!

    3. A link to this showed up in my inbox today, and I remembered this comment thread. A lot of good Hanukkah decor

      https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/76639864?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u6403&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery13&newsletterId=6403

  4. Love all the spooky decorations! If that were my house the kiddos would be re-hiding all those spooky critters for me to find (& give me a scare) in unusual and strange places

    1. We’ve been doing ‘spider hunts’ many nights. They hide I find, or vice versa. Its amazing how you can be surprised of a plastic spider that you previous hid yourself 🙂

  5. So. Much. Fun!
    What a fantastic job, and I LOVE the new rug in the living room! I was very much into the Persian, but you were of course right, and it does look so much calmer in there.
    I am also on the side of a solution to the bookshelves. I realize that this is slightly controversial, but it looks so much calmer in there with the spines facing the wall. I completely agree that this isn’t a good permanent option, because who can live like that? However, I am all for a revamp of those shelves or for filling them in. Your first home with those custom shelves with closed storage on the bottom, my word they were stunning. These are… meh. I get that they’re original, but as you said yourself, they’re not terribly functional, and I think you’ll be so much happier with the room once you deal with that area.
    I’m also on your side for repainting that entry console/dresser. The shape and scale is outstanding, but I agree I think it needs a darker hue.
    Overall, I’m loving the direction, the halloween styling is on point, and your kids in their costumes are adorable! Keep up the fantastic work as I know you will!

  6. Two quick comments. One, I believe there is a store in New York that sells book collections by color of spine! Not kidding. Two, what about painting the entryway table the same blue as the demuline (?) table in that last photo???

    1. Yes!!! that is what we are going to do (paint entry the console). Glad you agree 🙂

      1. Totally agree! I’ll send you my design bill. Lol.

  7. Seriously snorted at “new water”. I remember those days (nights?) so well!!

  8. I love the lamp atop the cabinet in the dining room. Who is that by?

    1. Oh sorry! its from Rejuvenation. I love it too 🙂

    2. I came here with the same question! I would love to know.

  9. Hi, Emily
    Love the new rug! The other one was great, but this new one makes the living room more calm and in sync with the rest of the house. I know you intend to take a more traditional turn in this house, but when it gets too busy, it’s just not you anymore. I love how calm the dining room, kitchen and the bedrooms look. I’m excited to see the living room going in the same direction!
    One (honest) question: do you think a mix of styles between the furniture (like traditional sofa, antique furniture and art x coffe table, charis, modern art) can contribute to a busy look?
    Thank you and sorry about my poor written English

    1. YES it can, especially if its not in a cohesive color palette. That’s why I want to reduce the colors, because I want to keep the mix of styles. The more contrast in color, pattern, texture style, shape an size you have the busier it is (and the more interesting it is). So i’m hoping that if there is contrast in texture, style and shape, and I reduce pattern and color, that it will give me that interesting room that isn’t busy. At least thats the goal 🙂

      1. I LOVE your style, and agree about the new rug! Can I ask where you purchased it?

      2. You are nailing it. Goal achieved!

  10. I love it! Great job doing spooky but not scary. I have little kids too and I will be for sure stealing some of your ideas.

  11. Just wanted to say, the new rug and styling of the shelves have made this room a million times better in my opinion. So great. The room was too busy for my eyes before. This is so calm and inviting to me, while still honouring the style of the house. Well done.

    1. Thank you for being ‘Team Calm’ 🙂

    2. Totally agree! Even I breathed a sigh of relief at the new rug, so I can only imagine how it must feel to live there. SO MUCH more peaceful and serene feeling now! Love it, love it, love it.

  12. When my husband had to have his hardcover books on my bookcases in the living room I spent a couple of hours making book covers out of white parchment paper. They looked lovely on the bookcase, would blend in with anything, but if you got up close you could still find whichever Tom Clancy novel you were looking for. Sigh.

    Also, my son is 11 and I still get instructions to get ‘new water’ but “from the fridge!” as if I’d forget.

    1. Birdie insists on coming down with me in the middle of the night, and she has to be the one to put ice in it. If she weren’t so cute doing it I would say no, but she picks out each cube very intentionally, counts to 3 or 4 herself and then shuts the fridge all while in her sleep sack. Its adorable. she goes right back to bed so its fine (and she genuinely drinks her first full sippy cup til its gone so i know she’s thirsty). But Charlie just wants ‘new water’ because he wants an excuse to prolong the middle of the night attention 🙂 HELP.

      1. Weeellll, seeing as you ask for help, if it were me it would be a no to all night-time activity. Plenty of time during the day for water! I’d be telling Charlie especially that you’re are now denying all requests during the night. Yes, if he needs you for reassurance of course you’ll be there for him, but only to lurk boringly in his doorway with no talking or lights on or fetching anything. And you have to mean it and stick to it, which is the hard part but you’re not doing him any favours by not helping him learn to sleep. He’s learned that you’ll do stuff for and with him during the night, but you need to change that lesson! And you guys seem like you need some sleep too. He’ll have some tantrums, but don’t let that sway you! You are the grownups, you are in charge. What worked for me with tantrums really easily was NOT TO ENGAGE. I don’t mean completely ignore. I mean, don’t try to reason with him (there is no reason), don’t cajole or shout or distract or discuss. I would just sit nearby and offer a hug whenever I could get a quiet word in edgewise, and eventually they’d get a hug (and you have to make it a good one) and calm down. And the tantrums stopped soon after, I guess when they learned to come get the hug they needed BEFORE they started freaking out. HTH!

    2. Hahaha this comment reminded me – every morning my girls (3 and 4) say ‘don’t forget milk!’ as we make their weetbix. We haven’t forgotten in four years, kiddos 😏 hahaha

      (Also I too am Team Calm – I love the new rug and unfortunately I too like the spines facing in 😂 haha. ALSO, and I may be the only one…. I think there should be no picture at all above the fireplace! I love love the sculptural quality of that fireplace, and I think if there was no artwork above it, the shelves would be just fine as they are! 🤔 and it would let be fireplace speak to the room as is ☺️ Just my thoughts – love your work Em!)

  13. The new rug looks so good! I love the look of the room with that rug!

  14. If ever there was a time to use the black cat as a prop, this was it. Perfect.

  15. What about writing out a numbered list of all your books then just putting the number really small on the book some where inconspicuous. …Or, draw a diagram of where everything is. You could view your books quickly and easily on your drawing. 🙂

  16. The single crow in the bookshelf corner is my favorite part! Birds! I LOVE BIRDS!
    The ghost garland comes in a close second and brought back childhood memories of making ghosts out of tissues, cotton balls, yarn and black sharpie. I’m going to have to pull together a ghost-making session for my kiddos! (I think i’ll use fabric instead of tissues…)

    Also–the piano stool. It’s BEGGING for something subtly spooky. I don’t know what, but the texture of those legs and those feet…it needs a tiny, unexpected something-something. The skeleton’s hand cracks me up!!

    I downright dislike the blood/gore/dead stuff at Halloween, but I enjoy the pretty/spooky/creepy/haunted mansion type stuff. And you nailed this. It’s spooky, whimsical and classy all at the same time.

  17. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new rug so much it hurts. Crazy how changing out one thing, albeit a very main big thing, can change the entire look of the room. It looks so great! (And I love all the Halloween decor to).

    Also, I have bookshelves on either side of my fireplace too and have such trouble styling them without being too cluttered and busy. It drives me crazy! About a year ago I completely rearranged and changed it up, taking away about half of the items and books; and I liked it and it felt so much calmer. But now that time has passed it looks too busy again. I’m at a loss.

    1. Yes! This rug situation exposed my biases against persian rugs. I thought this was the worst room you’d ever done and couldn’t fathom how you thought it was “done” Nothing seemed to jive with anything else. (Sorry, I’m a meanie) Fast forward to new rug today and this room is SINGING! I see the vision, I see how perfectly all the furniture goes together, I see the choir of angels…

      What a great illustration of how styling can make or break a room (And I know a ton of people were team persian rug.)

  18. I love the blanket on the back of your couch! Could you please let me know where it’s from?

  19. Your house looks amazing (as usual). Thanks for all the spooky, yet kid friendly ideas. I’m loving your sweater/striped turtleneck/flowy pants combo. Can you source your outfit too, pretty please?

  20. Where is your cute mid drift sweater from??

    1. I think i got it from Steven Alan last year. No longer availalble 🙁

    2. Yes, outfit details please!

  21. Fun post! Love that new rug.

    I think it’s an awesome decision to revisit the fireplace wall. I can see that whole wall taken up with shelves in a dramatic way.

    One issue also is that your vibe is English Country but the fireplace reads more Spanish Colonial. The arch, however, perfectly suits the look of English fireplaces with their cast iron surrounds. I’d have the chimney rise in a straight line from there. Add a new mantel with details to match other molding, etc, and it would look awesome.

    Your kids are adorable!

    1. Meant to add, we had just such a cast iron surround made for our own home for a cost of about $500 CDN. We were replacing a horrid white stone fireplace facade someone put in our bungalow in the 70s. Looks much better now.

  22. I’m so glad you linked the rug. I spent an entire nap-time stalking your instagram and older posts looking for the new rug. Buuuuut–the website says light foot traffic and not for children?! Your pictures with it are so much better than their website, this is what makes buying a rug so difficult!

    1. This was my question as well! I really love the rug in this room, but it says that it is for barefoot traffic with light walking. I would ordinarily shy away from that in my living room. I also understand that viscose is harder to clean so I have been looking solely at wool rugs. I’d love to hear your thoughts on D&A’s description of this rug – even a whole post about your rug choice would be amazing as I have been struggling with finding a living room room for a long time now (toddler and cat friendly, less than 3k, and 9×12 size…argh.).

      1. INTERESTING. i honestly did not read that. So far so good, but maybe its because a lot of their other rugs are more indoor/outdoor so they wanted to make sure? I will say this, our cats claws are a huge problem that I don’t know what to do about. If you have cats that claw at anything, don’t buy this rug. Can I spray something so that they aren’t attracted to it? We clip their claws and its not even WICKER???!!!! So frustrating. Little loops that are clawed all over it. I think i can fix it for shoots, but i’m worried they will eventually ruin it. The kids are great, though. We do take off our shoes on this rug whereas we didn’t need to with the old rug. But its SO WORTH IT.

        1. Just a thought – vets here generally don’t clip cats claws because a) they need them for self-defence in the cat world, so b) they will spend even more time trying to sharpen them again by clawing at all your stuff

          1. Interesting. we’ve clipped them every couple weeks since they were kittens otherwise they get literally caught places that they can’t get out. Also with two small kids (and one cat that we don’t 100% trust) i’m not risking it. But I hadn’t heard of the sheaths!!
            They stopped clawing anything except our wicker baskets recently – no sofa or chairs, so i’m like WTF?? Why this rug????

          2. Our cats are in the pretty-good-about-not-clawing category, which it sounds like your cats are too with the exception of this rug. For my cats, from time to time it’s the sofa – when they want to scratch it, I spray it with Feliway (which I can’t smell but REALLY turns them off) and they magically leave it alone. The effect lasts for a week or two, then you respray. I would say it’s definitely worth a try.

            We also clip our cats’ claws every few weeks, I don’t think it’s a big deal. the other thing is to make sure they do have some cardboard or sisal cat scratchers here and there where they CAN scratch to their hearts’ delight so the rug or sofa or whatever is less tempting! (of course that’s not very stylish though!!! but more stylish than a shredded rug! Ah, pets!)

        2. Watch how the rug wears over a few months. Dash and Albert has excellent customer service. However, if they are saying this rug is for low traffic areas, I would be very cautious. They have beautiful products but I have not been happy with how our three rugs have worn (and they replaced two for us). We have specifically had issues with their PET rugs which are indoor/outdoor and feel like soft wool but pill terribly. The rug Is really pretty though!

        3. Emily – you could try applying, or have your vet apply, the sheaths/covers for your cat’s claws. We haven’t gone this route (yet), so I can’t vouch for it. Good luck!

        4. So my father has a room in his house that he keeps his cats out of by using an electric fence. In his case, he ran the wiring under the floor by attaching it to the ceiling of the crawl space below. You could probably do the same by placing the wire under the rug. (Some people object to electric fences, but honestly a pet only has to get shocked one time to learn. I tried the shock out on myself to see what it might feel like for my 90 lb dog. It was unpleasant but not awful by any means). And I have to say that when we visit my dad it is really nice to know there is ONE room with no cat hair.

  23. Love the decorations! We also bought a 100-yr-old craftsman last year and have been using your home as inspiration in how to decorate an older home. My biggest struggle is that the previous owner chose custom orange curtains for the entire downstairs. They are really nice quality and blackout and have some character, but I also do not love orange, and they are the wrong length by about a foot, but I don’t think I will be able to change them out anytime soon because “they work just fine.” So I have to live vicariously through you and feel very vindicated when I see an orange-pumpkin free house and a neutral bookcase 🙂

    1. Could you dye them somehow?

  24. Emily…I LOVE your style…but…but…please don’t take out the book shelves. We don’t wn. Tv…our small townhouse is full f bookcases……I love every one. Let your children have that richness…..it’s important…warmly, jay

    1. I agree! As a kid one of my favorite things to do was to go stand in front of the bookshelves in our house, perusing all my books (I had the lower shelves), deciding which one to re-read next, changing my mind….we had walls of books in my parents’ home and we have them now in mine, they are calming because of what they are and the hours of quiet enjoyment they represent, not because of how they look! When styling trumps that, you’re losing something important. I understand wanting a calm room but turning books around or getting rid of them is just…ridiculous to me. I’m sure it sounds pretentious and dramatic to some but I truly think living in a home where books are treasured and given pride of place is a great gift you can give a child.

      1. I know!!!!! I literally got my degree in english. I was a huge literary book worm until the internet took over my life and now I read whatever blockbuster novel is out there. So the two sides of me are stumped. HELP.

  25. The googly eyes on the portraits are HILARIOUS.

  26. The black cat on the chair is my favorite Halloween decor. 🙂

  27. And just where is the link to toddler Charlie as Mario Batali? You can’t reference something like that and not give us a link! I want cheesecloth and stretchy cobwebs and light up pumpkins in several sizes … and I also heard some bloggers found velvet pumpkins in the $1 bins (checked online and they’re sold out). Unfair!

    PS I saw you as a Scandi-witch, but hipster could work too.

  28. Love your new rug!! I just ordered the same one because I think it looks awesome. I have been looking for a blue rug and its so nice to be able to see it in a room before I bought it!!!! Happy Halloween!

  29. I’m obsessed with this modern Halloween look but even more obsessed with your pants, where are they from!?!?

  30. Rug looks great, as does the entire living room! I am not finding anything decorative in those plastic and synthetic extremely cheap-looking disposable Halloween “decorations”.

  31. The spookiest thing in this post is the piano stool. Man that thing is so odd and cool!

  32. I know this isn’t the point of this post, but WHY DO THEY ALWAYS WANT NEW WATER WTF IS UP WITH THAT? “Mommy, I need some FRESH water.” Yes. Definitely.

  33. Love the halloween decor!

    I have to mention that it isn’t “less colors” – you want to say either “less color” or “fewer colors”

    1. ha. you are correct 🙂

  34. Emily, your piece in the entry would look sooo much better with different hardware!!! Nice brass contemporary handles would make it look more like an entry piece and less like a child’s bedroom chest.

  35. Add me to team calm! I really love how this room has changed with the new rug. I also love that you are considering ditching the shelves even though I know they can be useful and they are original to the house. But books can go other places, right? Not like your signing up to be a book-free home by removing them. Without the busyness of the shelves, I think the fireplace would finally stand out as a focal point and everything would be elevated.

  36. How did you adhere all the little black spiders on to picture frames and etc? I have the same spiders but not sure how to attach them to the frames in my house. Also where did you find all the crows? I’m always looking for non demented looking black crows.

    Your house and decorations are amazing. Please note I bought half your list up there from Target. Please tell your Target people that your collab with them is working well (this is not the first time I’ve gone on a Target shopping spree after one of your Target styling sessions (see also your backyard patio makeover). 😉

    1. Ah, thank you 🙂 I hope they read the comments. So they sell the crows, too, but we coudn’t find them online. And we used blue tack to adhere all the spiders, although i’m sure museum wax would work, too. KINDA worried about the googly eyes on the portraits …

    2. this may be the best phrase I’ve read all day : “Non demented looking black crows.”

  37. Love the googley eyes on the painting and the piano hands😍. Great job!!!

  38. Hi Emily,

    May I ask where the 2 layer oval coffee table and the curved front black entry table are from? They’re both gorgeous and exactly what I am looking for. Really appreciate it!

  39. What happened to that scary cat your daughter loved from your insta-story?

    1. It’s outside in the back because bearcat REALLY didn’t like it. So its still around, but not “living” inside. We also had to turn it off as it is TERRIFYING.

  40. I love the idea of getting rid of the book shelves. It will calm the room down a lot.

    1. I just asked Brian again this morning and he said ‘what? no! it would be so boring!’

  41. WOW I loooooove the new living room rug. Everything makes sense now!! So beautiful.

  42. Looks great Emily! I live the new rug and I believe the coffee table is new too or does it just look different with the rug? Way to keep Halloween classy!

  43. Such a fun post! I nearly fell over laughing at your “new water” comment, having a two and five year old myself…

  44. I love the blue couch! Where is it from!? I need two of them for my living room!

    1. Its custom made from Cisco home, called ‘The Henderson’ 🙂 But you can purchase it.

  45. It all looks so nice!!! Loved the fact that it’s not too scary and that ghost garland is so cute (in a scary kinda of way) ha ha! And your kids look fantastic in their costumes!! By the way, I vote yes for repainting the entry console to a deeper color for more impact.

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  47. I SO wish we lived closer to a Target! I was following your insta-stories with Birdie and would love to do that with my 3 year old! He very much wanted to decorate his room for Halloween (no prompting from me) and I’m totally into it! I’ve always loved Halloween and you inspired an online Target haul with said 3 year old! We always buy a little bit each year for the holidays to eventually have a full arsenal of decorations.

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  49. The house looks absolutely wonderful! Also, I love the way you listed the buyable things at the bottom of the post so I can try (and fail) to recreate this decor.

  50. I’m in the camp that believe covering books or turning them around is the height of foolishness. And yet, I often sit on the sofa staring at my books on the shelves and ask myself, “WHY do 80% of my books seems to be orange or red?!?” I have so many orange and red books it’s not even funny. *Le sigh!*

    1. I DO TOO! I think all the penguin classics are orange and red and they are some of my favorites, but as you know, orange is NOT my spirit color. UGH. I think there is an ‘Ask the audience’ happening soon ..,.

  51. I’m so glad you got the blue D&A rug. As much as I love Persian rugs, it did not seem to fit with what you were doing. Then you brought in that new coffee table. I just didn’t get it. Was the house going for antique? For mcm?
    The mix seemed off. Now it feels like EHD, where all the pieces and colors flow together effortlessly.

    Love the “hipster witch” outfit.

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  52. If the Interesting Man Portrait is going to replaced, would he like to move to Houston??

  53. I’m sorry but those googly eyes on those old portraits are HILARIOUS. awesome.

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  55. Can I just say, Halloween décor aside (which is fun by the way), I like this version of your living room and dining room so much better. I agree that the new blue rug was so necessary…a little more calmness to the bookshelves…and a little more interest added to the corner in the dining room. Love it!

  56. I’ve got very similar built-in bookshelves in my living room that I’m annoyed with making the room too busy. But I won’t take them out. They are great for resale. Everybody loves the built-in’s! Sigh…

  57. Her little toes peeking out of the costume – adorable 😀 <3

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  60. Hi Emily,

    I love the new rug, and how much calmer and more cohesive the living room is looking now.

    About the bookshelves, I think you should not get rid of them. Age/character is the only thing you cannot replace (you told me this, while weeping over your trees) and I think maintaining the integrity of this detail is worth, at the very least, a lot more design sleuthing before you make a call like that. Further, you sacrificed a lot of lovely details during the reno on things that couldn’t be worked with (I’m thinking in particular about whichever upstairs bedroom had that so adorable, so tiny, closet, and also the master bath); I think this is a case where, with more effort, you can make the original stunning.

    About the books, I agree that turning them isn’t functional, and buying all new matchey books, or spending hours covering them, isn’t how I like to spend my time/money and doesn’t feel genuine. Have you thought about limiting the books that you keep in this room to those you already have which have spines in more refined palate? And once you only have books in here in a few tones, grouping them in to like tones can further reduce the visual clutter. I’m afraid Jest would probably find itself relegated to a less visible bookshelf (that teal!) but I think by doing something like this you may be able to make the shelves more cohesive using only what you already have. There is a downside, which is that you’d have to look for your books in two (the other one closed/less visible?) locations, but that seems manageable to me.

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