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Get The ‘Effortless California Casual’ Look For Less

There is a lifestyle conspiracy happening right now on social media and it looks a lot like that photo (from the AMAZING book Surf Shack – they certainly aren’t all shacks but it’s such a pretty book with photography by Brittany Ambridge). Post after post show this look/vibe/style that feels so effortless and simple – just thrown together on a Saturday afternoon, and yet it’s not. No one is trying to deceive anyone and there aren’t any individuals at fault here – instead it’s been this big movement towards people with wealth veering away from garish 24-carat-gold-this and diamond-encrusted-that and instead opting towards artisanal pottery and hand dyed linen. It’s often a great thing as anything ‘fancy’ is deemed ‘ostentatious’ and smaller, (yet, still expensive brands) are  on the rise for everyone, especially millennials. The problem is, just like those ostentatious, fancy homes that used to be in fashion this style that looks and feels effortless and affordable is still generally really expensive to execute. It’s a just a bear with a different coat on.

What beautiful and stunning effortless look am I talking about? This:


This is the house by the owners of General Store in Silver Lake which I explore for inspiration and the occasional splurges. It’s insane and so beautiful.



This is from the book Surf Shack, but I believe it’s Vanessa Alexander’s Home of Alexander Design Build in Malibu.


Tessa Neustadt’s work – above and below (I believe below is also Vanessa’s work).


Beautiful photography full of stunning pieces. It looks easy and casual – and because of that vibe you really want to be there on any given Sunday morning. Which is why it’s so cruel.

I realize that I’m a part of this conspiracy, too. That I, too have become part of that lifestyle mafia that I’ve been enamored with/complaining about for a decade. Of course I try to be transparent about the work/time and amount of money that it takes to pull together even the most “effortless” of looks so it doesn’t feel deceptive. But I know that it still looks easy to pull together. Trust me, it ain’t. Ask my total emotional breakdown that I had on Friday, after months of working on the house, even with gifted stuff and many an assistants helping – I lost it due to exhaustion and fatigue. I’m fine. It’s the first time its happened in 5 years, but apparently the two toddler situation pushed me mentally farther than I could handle.

As a “content creator” you want people to see and feel the joy that you have for your job so that is what you feel proud enough to post. Honestly during the mess and stress of daily life you don’t even have the brain space to share, let alone the desire.  I know that unless you read all of the posts (design mistakes, marriage issues, toddler issues) and watch all my insta-stories it can certainly seem like I’m only showing you the beautiful, easy life of a California family with 2.5 kids.

But it’s not my style that this post is about – mine is far too colorful and full of whimsy and children – it’s this “Effortless-Minimal-Casual-California” look that is so popular right now, one that so many people want (me included) but can be really un-affordable.

I often call it being part of the “Effortless Expensive’ club, with our friend and founder Gwyneth as president and Goop as chief of marketing. This is not a criticism. Curating a high end, casual life-style full of wellness is actually their brand and nothing is wrong with that. They curate it beautifully, telling a story of a life in which many of us love to listen/watch.

But what has happened subsequently is that the ‘Goop’ look has caught on and taken FIRE on social media, provoking many a copy-cat and increasing the expectation of what a beautiful life means. What started for mostly the upper class is now being sold as mainstream, leaving many people burned because they feel sad about the mess that is their life, face, body and home. Every day there are more people talking about wellness, wearing $400 cotton dresses while barefoot, and drinking a smoothie worth $22 in organic vegetables. Not to mention what is in their beach “shack”.

All good things if you can afford it, but if you can’t, it can be a bummer to watch. I love looking at the photos of the life that is projected, too. It truly can be inspiring….but sometimes it’s depressing.


While I’m not Gwinnie, I still often feel like I’m a bigger part of the problem than the solution and recently many of you called me out on it. I do buy some expensive pieces both in fashion and home – pieces that I would not have 7 years ago. I love Rachel Comey shoes, Ulla Johnson shirts (the QUEEN of expensive effortless fashion) and last week I bought a beautiful $110 olive oil cruet for that perfect backsplash “moment” I was styling for the magazine shoot in our kitchen. As you know I also have a ton of Target, Urban outfitters, Ikea, Madewell, West Elm, thrift and flea market finds. etc. I’m not fancy, but yes my budget has increased which could make you think that I’ve changed. And in the 8 years that I’ve been writing this I suppose that I have. We all have. But I don’t feel bad or feel like I need to apologize for my success.

What I do know is the biggest a-hole move is to just silently throw ridiculous splurges in my home as if it’s nothing, as if anyone can have that olive oil cruet on their live edge + marble board with a $60 ceramic salt box peeking into the shot. So I try to be transparent about whether its gifted or not and give a budget roundup version whenever possible. I may still be an a-hole, but I’m trying to be an honest one.

This isn’t me saying that I will no longer buy what I love if/when I can afford it. But that I will try to help find budget sources to substitute any splurges, and give every day sources and ideas to help make sure that people feel like they can have the look and life they want, regardless of their budget. It’s kinda what I’ve always tried to do, I’m just recommitting myself to it.


So let’s break down what exactly goes into this “California Casual Minimalist’ look. What exactly are the key ingredients?

First – all white walls – maybe an off white, but don’t even think about painting any sort of ‘color’ anywhere. Every single piece is neutral in color and organic in nature, with maybe a light blue or sage green breaking up the white on white on wood on leather on white on cream on taupe on wood on leather on white.


More ingredients: live-edge wood, hand-thrown/studio pottery, wicker, rattan, fringe, tassels and linen that has been washed a million times with frayed edges. Mix with some more refined pieces, like the classics (Cherner, Saarinen, McCobb, Alto, Windsor, Thonet – they are all welcome and I’m guilty of obsessing over them all). Minimal modern art with hits of black is invited, and don’t forget a leaning blanket ladder (of which I have 2).


Caramel/black leathers, a ‘minimal sculptural chair’ in the corner, pottery bells, leaning rustic cutting boards and SO MANY WONKY BASKETS are essential to this look. Lastly please collect any and all wooden/organic/string three dimensional pieces and hang them on hooks next to your sun hats and fringed blankets. And don’t forget to put crystals, rocks or shells in a handmade or wood bowl on your coffee table.

Sure, I sound like I’m making fun of this look but seriously, I can write this so easily because I’m both a perpetrator and victim of this trend. I’m VERY into it.


But despite its ease and affordability getting this look can certainly add up.

As I’ve said before – AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT – if you can afford for everything in your life to be made locally, artisanally and sustainably then please support those designers and businesses. I will. Or if you can source these at thrift stores and flea markets, then please do so to eliminate as much waste in the world as possible. I will. But if you want that look, but have a budget that doesn’t support that desire – then TODAY IS YOUR DAY (and mine).

We went on the hunt to find these ingredients, as cheaply as possible and I think we did a pretty darn great job of it. Here you go, folks.


1. Cream Pom Throw Pillow | 2. Washed Linen Beige Pillow | 3. Faux Leather Throw Pillow | 4. Horizontal Striped Lumbar Pillow | 5. Linen Throw Blanket | 6. Ceramic Table Lamp | 7. Matro Dome Stool | 8. Woven Pendant | 9. Sofa | 10. Rug | 11. Coffee Table | 12. Accent Chair | 13. Tree Stump Side Table | 14. Magazine Holder | 15. Ink Wash Painting | 16. ‘Read Between the Lines’ Print | 17. ‘Stones’ Print | 18. ‘Uncertain Place 15’ Piece | 19. Leather Stool | 20. Wood Ladder | 21. Woven Wall Covering | 22. White Planter | 23. Leather Butterfly Chair | 24. Woven Floor Stool | 25. White and Black Short Bell | 26. Tall Black Bell | 27. Rose Gold Flatware | 28. Terracotta Dinnerware Set | 29. White Linen Napkins | 30. Short Cutting Board | 31. Long Cutting Board | 32. Ceramic Pitcher | 33. Drinking Glass | 34. Mustard and Tan Woven Vase | 35. Handmade Ceramic Vase | 36. Stone Dipped Vase | 37. Ceramic Tabletop Planter | 38. Brass Tray | 39. Wooden Rack | 40. Leather Jumprope | 41. Straw Hat (similar) | 42. Woven Basket | 43. Rattan Basket | 44. Black and Wood Chair | 45. Small Wood Stump Stool | 46. Large Wood Stump Stool | 47. Cream Fringe Pillow | 48. Macrame Lumbar Pillow | 49. Black Ladder | 50. Fern Plant | 51. Cane Chair (not available until Fall) | 52. Black Planter | 53. Tall Lidded White Vase | 54. Tan and Cream Throw | 55. Pompom Throw | 56. Cream Crinkle Throw

As I was writing this I found even MORE pieces that fit this particular look, that I love, so if you are into this post let us know and we’ll be sure to break it down even further (aka a whole roundup of those amazing sculptural corner chars that are affordable).

This post wasn’t meant to be a statement, but I think I’d been wanting to write about it for a while. How are you feeling about it all? Are you a part of the lifestyle mafia? Do you feel bad when you are on social media ever? Or do you think I’m just being sensitive and cloying?

The lifestyle mafia just got a whole lot bigger. Welcome, folks. 🙂

****Photography by Brittany Ambridge for Surf Shack 


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337 thoughts on “Get The ‘Effortless California Casual’ Look For Less

  1. This post is GOLD, thank you for writing it! I know I’m way too prone to getting sucked into these well curated lifestyle moments all over pinterest and instagram and end up wondering why I’m not barefoot in fields more often (oh yeah, fire ants). But I love this style and this round up captures it so perfectly. I would (and actually could) buy anything on here!

  2. I’m really tired of the mid century look so it’s nice to see home decor trends changing. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Great post! I have been reading your blog from the start and it was / is fun being part of your journey towards success. You have worked so hard for it! Naturally, you can afford more now than you could have in the early days of your blog. But your character hasn’t changed and since you have always been very transparent – you don’t need to worry. Being in the public eye and and living a pretty fortunate life will always attract jealousy. But remember that there are many more of us that appreciate the hard work you put into creating awesome (and daily!) content – please don’t change!

    1. I’m with Sina: you are a success story, Emily, you worked to a place where you can spend more, get more, all of that. I remember watching you on Design Star, hoping you’d have A Big Career since I liked you so much. And you did! And it’s SO COOL to watch the people you like succeed. I really appreciate you giving us different price points and the transparency of what things cost, but…hey, those of us who have been watching your rise…it makes so much sense that you can buy more than you could. I just want you to help me better arrange furniture and find furniture and accessories with personality since I don’t have the time to find cool stuff. For example, aqua/sky blue/Caribbean turquoise is my favorite color, feel free to feature lots of pieces in those shades, so I know where to buy 🙂 xx

      1. Ditto!! It’s been fun to watch you succeed. Plus I love your taste and you always provide for a variety of budgets.

    2. Amen Sina! I couldn’t agree more.

      You, my dear Emily are very far from an a-hole.

      And, guess what? A good part of your audience (aka me!) is growing up with you… and able to make the occasional big splurge. So I love to see yours! Not to mention, when you’re like me, who can splurge (but also can’t always splurge), figuring out where to splurge is a skill all of its own.

  4. wow, you guys did a GREAT and thorough job of rounding up this style on a budget…thanks for your efforts! i like this style but typically want a little *more* color and slightly more traditional elements mixed in. this is a good idea for a post series…for the next one, my vote would be the modern traditional look (somewhere between rolled-arm furniture and super sleek white furniture)…similar to studio mcgee’s style.

    also, i just wanted to let you know that i think you’re still doing great…i feel like you felt the need to explain everything in great detail due to a few readers’ recent comments, but, just know the majority of your audience doesn’t feel the need for you to justify/explain every little thing. in other words, i appreciate the discussion/explanation above, and i do think it’s welcomed and necessary to an extent, but i don’t think you had to justify your higher-end purchases to that degree (i know you can afford higher-end things than i can and i don’t mind at all…how bored would i be if i read a blog of someone who had exactly my budget? very. some aspirational content is absolutely welcomed and even wanted!). overall, though, i DEFINITELY appreciate these budget posts, so keep them coming!

    1. THIS. Don’t get sucked into justifying anything because of critical comments. It’s going down the rabbit hole!

      1. DITTO. You’ve said you’re not going to change your blogging style (shut down, withdraw) based on negative comments. Don’t let them make you defensive, or second guess, or mom-guilt yourself either. Your blog and Instastories get me (design obsessed mom of twins turning 3 next week – gah!) through each day. We love you and thank you–keep doin’ you!

    2. Totally agree! Some people need to lighten up. I do appreciate the work you all do and loved this post. I also like a bit more color overall in my house but loved everything in this roundup!! Thank you!!

    3. “how bored would i be if i read a blog of someone who had exactly my budget?”

      Potential post: Day 972496139791836178* of living with an inherited sofa in a slipcover because now the siding needs fixed.

      Somehow, I don’t see that getting a lot of clicks.

      (*That number might be a SLIGHT exaggeration, but it doesn’t always feel like one.)

  5. These are nice rooms, I guess, but I find this look boring and generic. It is not my style at all (which is fine; it would be super boring if we all had the same style!).

    I appreciate that you take the time to show us what goes into designing and styling a room in terms of both time and money in addition to design skills. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by Instagram and Pinterest and wonder why your house doesn’t look as good as everything you see online. 🙂

    Also, I encourage people to NOT read GOOP or anything Gwyneth Paltrow puts out. Your life will be better, healthier, and safer if you don’t pay attention to her nonsense.

    1. Agreed on all points (especially the last one). I’m a born-and-bred California girl, and I love California casual, but this look is a bit boring. I need *some* color.

      Also, I’m afraid I’d get a disease from touching some of the pieces in these pictures–they’re not just worn in, they’re worn out. And don’t even get me started about all the dead animals.

  6. One thing to keep in mind with the artisanal look is that when you buy the admittedly expensive items you are buying from artisans, people who are trying to make a living from creating unique objects. Cheap goods are cheap because they use cheap materials or labor. Investing in beautiful things, caring for them and passing them on is not a bad thing.

    1. Agreed. I tried to address that above – that if you can afford the buy locally, and from small designers and artisans you/we should whenever possible. xx

      1. Thanks for doing that, and thanks for your blog, which I enjoy tremendously. There is never anything wrong with creativity and beauty, high or low, and whether or I not I can buy everything you show, I sure admire it, and the fun, interesting way you present it. But you know, I do think about what can take the place of jobs lost to automation, and it seems to me that the marketplace being created on line is a powerful option. Blogs like yours are an important part of that, pointing us to purchase from places we may not have thought of.

        1. Yes, this. Even more than seeing specific pieces, I love to look at where you’ve found things so I know where to look when I’m shopping.

    2. Norine, I agree. As cheap as I am, I agree that artists deserve to be paid for their hard work.

  7. I love this post. (And am posting for the first time ever–even though I’m a long-time, dedicated reader–because I wanted to say that so much.) I was a magazine editor and then PR rep for lifestyle & home brands for a long time, so have an idea of how much work & money goes into these home and pics. Your blog is the only one I still read because the detail & honesty about the time & expense involved in the projects is what makes it interesting for me. (Pretty pictures are fun, but they get boring for me without the practical info.) I too wrestle with the consumerism and superficiality of it all–but I LOVE design and can’t stop. 🙂 So thank you for being honest.

  8. You’re the best, Emily! Never change. And yes, would love more round-ups inspired by this post! I’m regularly drooling over Amber Interiors rooms too, and I feel like she nails this look really well.

    1. Yes, I agree! But she rarely if ever shares sources (aside from her own shoppe), and I’d love to see more! Very much my style. Thanks, Emily!

  9. Please don’t apologize for buying expensive things! I’ve never understood a reader criticizing a blogger for buying things that they themselves may not be able to afford. It’s your money, and your budget. Carry on!

  10. I know you weren’t trying to be funny, but I laughed out loud! (Same feeling I get when I read GOOP). Kinda of cool look, but it’s a fine line before it becomes a parody of itself. Your round-up of items is nicely curated, thanks! IMO, that hanging owl in the top photo is creepy!

  11. We all have egos, and social media provides us a new realm in which to have our egos stroked or bruised. I think the main and only guideline to coveting, capturing, and posting beautiful or Gwyneth-like things should be – Do I truly like this (vs. am I just trying to fit into a certain current trend/clique), and am I buying it or blogging about it because this genuinely makes me happy and thus might make someone else happy? – – Then the ego is removed from the equation and the endeavor isn’t tainted by desperately or hollowly trying to be adored, liked, shared, reblogged, and ego-stroked. The designers and artists I follow on Instagram, when I peek into their beautiful life and products, it doesn’t make me feel bad or poor, it makes me feel happy and inspired – which is exactly what the artists and designers of these surf shack white-painted rooms filled with funky ceramics probably want us to feel, really – happy and inspired!

  12. Keep doing what you’re doing, you are doing it right. About this style: I love it, but I feel it only works when fully styled for a shoot. Doesn’t it look empty and unfinished on the day to day basis?

  13. This might be my favorite post ever, for both your style commentary and personal honesty. Well written!

  14. I think this post is SO relevant … many times I find myself inspired by the design online but just as many times I sigh out loud because I know I can never have that .. but ‘that’ is just an image someone created … I quickly snap myself out of it and think of the millions of people that are trying to just survive out there, let alone have the luxury to peruse the internet or sit in a home with a full belly of eggs, toast and coffee…. on a lighter note… I appreciate you realizing that style and taste have nothing to do with budget and to give us affordable options when you can…

  15. Emily, you are fantastic. I’m one of the ones who has felt like things have been getting a little less approachable. We just bought our first home and I’m dying to put statement wallpaper on one gigantic living room wall, but it’s not in the budget, and seeing you redo your kids rooms a few times over was especially hard (because I totally get it – of COURSE if you have the cash you should make your house into whatever makes you happy!). For me, too, and I think a lot of others, it’s not just about money but also time. My kids are the same ages as yours and without some serious help that I don’t have, I’m not going to be able to ‘curate’ a look of eclectically sourced furniture and vintage decorative objects from SoCal flea markets, though I’d love to. So every time you post a roundup like this and reemphasize that your job is a JOB and not a lifestyle, I love it. And if you want to post a roundup of, say, an affordable deep sea bedroom for a 3.5 year old aspiring marine biologist, I’d love that too 😉

    1. HA. So glad you commented and we’ll get on the marine biologist thing 🙂 And a Charlie room update tomorrow (if I can finish writing it in time). I know that in my case my job + my lifestyle are blurred for sure but thank you so much for your comment and good luck with those two kids. xx

      1. I think this is a great point! The difference between lifestyle and job. I recently read an article on Goop (maybe Architecture Digest / Elle Decor? Can’t remember?) And there are these shots of the working kitchen in the Goop office. It is truly beautiful. But the rational behind the space was something like, we want this space to feel like home, b/c we spend so much time in it. And I thought, but, it’s your job. Not your home. It’s almost like the space is meant to trick the employees into forgetting that they are still working! Feels like almost too big of a sacrifice to the work / life balance.

    2. This was a beautiful and beautifully honest note, Sophia. I admire you for putting it out there. I am in a different place (older, different resources), but I was once there and can remember those pangs of envy (and sometimes jealously, if I’m totally honest). I was in a Mommy + Me group when my eldest was a newborn and I was the only in our group of six who not only didn’t have live-in help, we didn’t have any help of any kind at all, and we (my husband and I) thought “wait, you mean we’re not normal?” And no, we weren’t (for that area). At all. A couple of the mamas had (have) private jets, I mean it was a remarkable disparity! I know it’s not specific to American culture this keeping up with mentality, or noticing what we don’t have in comparison to our peers, but it feels bad. It left me feeling bad.

      Anyway, Sophia, I just wanted to thank you for your lovely note.

  16. Yes Emily. Thank you for this post. I have grown wearing of gazing at interiors where I can’t afford one piece of decor in it. This post. Your thoughts. The subsequent budget finds……mad me sigh in relief. Someone gets it. Thanks!!!

  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am consistently amazed by your commitment to authenticity and your empathy towards those of us with shallower (read: empty) pockets. It is such a breath of fresh air to have your style expertise alongside your rational voice telling us what’s worth it, what isn’t, and why.

  18. I really appreciate your honestly and this post in general. Of course you’ve changed. You’ve achieved a great deal of success in the past 8 years. Don’t be ashamed of that. Being a woman in this world and “making it” is an accomplishment unto itself. So good for you!! As for the expensive pieces, I may not be able to afford some of the things you post but that doesn’t mean I don’t draw inspiration for my own spaces. And I love that you mix Target pieces in with the more expensive things. I have a feeling you’d do that even if you didn’t work with Target.

    I for one don’t LOVE the California casual look. I appreciate a little more color. Having said that, I do still draw inspiration from it. Some of the pieces would still fit into my more colorful home. So thank you for that list. Some of the “inexpensive” pieces are gorgeous! 🙂

  19. Thank you for staying this. I’ve painted my entire house white and I’m feeling my inspiration and budget run dry. I feel afraid of color now … sad situation. Thanks for shining a spotlight on how expensive this trend is and some pieces to match. I think I’ll take a design chill pill now and start buying accessories that make me happy without worrying so much about the final (unattainable) design.

  20. Emily! You’re so damn likable that even as I type this from my builder basic subdivision home in TX and I’m basically foaming at the mouth with jealousy at any and every effortless CA lifestyle/home blogger I catch on social media, I still love you and would never consider you an a-hole, even an honest one! Obviously with this style comes the idea and overarching theme of authenticity, which is where many of others lose me, but I do believe you nail it and that’s why you have such a loyal following despite your growing budget/new digs etc. I recently bought the Surf Shack book as well and I WANT IT ALL, but I have trouble translating it to my life/home for a few reasons… the main one being EDITING. Omg how do they do it?! I have more side tables and occasional chairs than any one person should, meanwhile they’re using a wobbly milkmaid stool from the 1800s as a bedside table and it’s one of 4 total items in the whole room yet somehow it’s perfection. I personally (even unwillingly) lean towards ‘more is more’ and for that reason I may never obtain the elusive effortless look, but if there is any way you can give us a post about thoughtfully editing our homes to lend ourselves to that casual style, I would be all about it. Maybe SFAS style… show us your current room as style number one, the pared down California casual as look number two, and then how you would combine the two to make it more liveable and realistic as a home with a family living in it. I realize your home is already basically that combination, but just throwing that out there. Great post and round up, team. Ima go put 5 of those things in my cart now…

  21. How you spend your money is your business. Sure, I’m guilty of (enviously) reading yours and many other blogs who post $100 natural oil skincare/$300 shoes/monthly exotic vacations/etc and wonder how the hell they afford that lifestyle, but then I smack myself and realize that this is not the norm nor the standard to which I should be holding myself to. You’re probably one of the most transparent bloggers out there so please keep it up. Haters gonna hate.

    1. THIS ☝? I never thought about it, but you’re right: part of the reason I love EHD is because it HASN’T turned into another pricey, pretty lifestyle blog. This is good shit, right here. ?

  22. Love this post and am looking forward to more roundups of this style. Olive tree growing out of a rock? Yes please! I’ve got a black thumb but I dream of having big, healthy plants.

  23. “I may still be an a-hole, but I’m trying to be an honest one.”

    Oh Emily, thank you for being you! The truth is we’re all guilty of this at some point or another. I love your blog and, honestly, I see nothing wrong with buying finer things. You work hard, you’re successful and should enjoy it. All of the naysayers & people who wag their fingers at others should invest in a mirror and really take a look at themselves.

    1. Agreed. This post reiterates why I’ve been fan-girling Emily since she won DesignStar, and have been in love with her since. Not only can she design her balls off, she cares about the bigger picture of her place in the world. She’s the full package, y’all.

      Haters gonna hate. Let’s spread the love and help them get past whatever their issue is, if we can… because 99/100 it’s a problem they’re facing personally. Which goes back to Emily’s post about empathy. When we can lift up our neighbors, we all benefit as a society.

  24. Please please please do a round up of affordable sculptural corner chairs!

    Love your transparency, as always.

  25. One of the reasons I read your blog (as opposed to just following on pinterest or instagram) is how upfront you are about the process, about your feelings in the moment and about the cost. The way you approach design and the way you balance where you were and where you are gives us all access to good design whether we are wealthy or not and that makes me want to keep reading. I love that it isn’t all budget because sometimes we want to splurge, and also I think it can increase our design sensibility so that when we can identify fantastic pieces at estate sales or vintage shops or flea markets or local makers. I also love that you mix in pieces from accessible shops and stores like Target and Ikea because I can snap up something with beautiful lines without having to scroll through 30 pages of lamps or rugs to find something great. Please do expand on this post. I’d love to see more of your finds. (Also, you aren’t an a-hole and I am sort of flummoxed that anyone would say so. )

  26. First, THANK YOU. I love elements of this look and actually pinned a few items that work perfectly with my plan for my living room. But I’ve been thinking about your blog lately and have really been uncomfortable with how judgmental woman have become in the comments. It’s been really disheartening to me. Mostly because I’m really afraid you are going to tell us all to go to hell and just stop blogging. Hopefully there are enough benefits to this job for you as a trade off for putting up with all of the vitriol from a few people. But it’s also sad to me why people would continually visit a site that they feel so comfortable with attacking for just the stupidest reasons (bunions, really? I have them too, as do a lot of women, and my God! what a terrible thing to point out to a person). I’m guessing the traffic is mostly women and I’m just disappointed that we can’t all be a bit more gracious and kind to one another and find beauty in our different perspectives. I’m not an idiot, of course I have noticed that you can now afford more expensive items but is that something you should apologize for? Absolutely not. (Also, anyone who has followed you for any period of time should know that you have increased in popularity and expanded your credentials and as women, we should CELEBRATE that you are being rewarded for very hard work.) You give us a TON of very accessible options too but don’t we all visit this site, in part, for the inspiration? I love finding items I can pin and buy immediately because it fits my budget but I love seeing spaces that INSPIRE me to find my own things. Lastly, this is your space. Yes, it is created for an audience but it has your voice and your perspective and if people have grown not to like that perspective, then they should quietly leave. All in all, I think you are a very gracious, kind person who doesn’t owe ‘us’ a damn thing.

    1. Thank you. Besides a few truly mean comments most of the commenters are just doing that – commenting and I definitely invite it. I think when multiple people are saying the same thing it is something to be listened to – even if I didn’t initially agree with them. I know that those commenters aren’t just upset with me, they are upset with what I’m talking about above – how everything looks easy and beautiful on social. I actually feel like I do a great job of being transparent about it generally, but I get it and don’t mind addressing it. Its interesting that people think i’m apologizing for buying expensive things …. i’m going to reread the post now and edit because I didn’t mean to sound apologetic. Heck … maybe I will forever apologize for buying some things that I KNOW are ridiculous to buy and regardless of how much I feel like I ‘own’ the purchase, subconciously i AM embarrassed…. who knows 🙂

      1. i didn’t read it as you apologizing…but you did include a little more “explanation” or “justification” than you usually do. i think the majority of people commenting here just want you to know you can feel free to write the post however you normally would, without feeling the need to justify and explain in such detail (as it seems you might be inclined to do in light of recent comments). or, if you prefer to explain in such detail, have at it 🙂

    2. Also I haven’t read the comments in the closet post from friday because of anxiety so you might be talking about them. 161 comments on a closet post means something is up … and I was very fragile on friday so I didn’t read them. I probably will in a few days … xx

      1. Do not read them!! It’s a bunch of women fighting about how many children they have and what constitutes an actual busy mom. It made me sad to read them. I have one and I lost it this morning because he threw my iced coffee on my California cool ivory shag rug. It’s all relative! I think you’re probably busier than any of us could imagine. in the time wasted reading those comments you could have time to put on a face mask and just BE for 10 minutes.

      2. Do not read them!! It’s a bunch of women fighting about how many children they have and what constitutes an actual busy mom. It made me sad to read them. I have one and I lost it this morning because he threw my iced coffee on my California cool ivory shag rug. It’s all relative! I think you’re probably busier than any of us could imagine. in the time wasted reading those comments you could have time to put on a face mask and just BE for 10 minutes.

    3. Natasha: best comment. I feel the same about these nasty and useless comments and am afraid that Emily will stop blogging some day because of some jealous women that seem to be raised by wolves.
      Keep doing what you do, Emily. Greetings from Germany

  27. Thank you so much Emily. I love hearing your feelings on this type of trend. It’s hard when certain looks take over the internet not to be pulled into them. I admit that I get a little envious people with these homes, even though they would not necessarily fit the context of a New England home/winter.

    I second the other commenters feelings. I think you are doing an amazing job. People should be allowed to grow and change, you included. Don’t stop doing you!

    Much love from Boston. <3

  28. Soooo here’s my question…… Aren’t these all a little more #hygge than anything? I do see west coast vibes on a lot of these images, but it seems that the overall “feeling” is that cozy unpretentious vibe I associate with Hygge.

    Then again none of these look particularly Danish… is that a requirement? Or is it just about the feeling?

    Is Hygge just a buzz word used to lump all of this together?

    Am I totally missing it? Should I get back to work? Probably to both.

    Great content, thanks Em!

    1. Elyse, as a Dane I’m always a little disappointed about how hygge has become a trend. For Danes its part of our culture. At some point most people will probably move on from it. But it’s something that transcends design style, it can be in every home whether it’s designed in a Scandinavian style or not.

      I live in LA, which isn’t always an authentic and inviting place, so I see why hygge is attractive. Hygge has been a way for me to bring comfort, family, nostalgia, long drawn out dinners, fireside chats, and on and on into my home. You’re right on target, hygge is a feeling. But it’s also a way of creating your environment to inspire that feeling.

      1. I always associate hygge with the Dutch concept of “gezelligheid”, which wiki defines as: “a Dutch word which, depending on context, can be translated as convivial, cozy, fun, or nice atmosphere, but can also show someone belonging, time spent with loved ones, the fact of seeing a friend after a long absence, or the general togetherness that gives people a warm feeling.”

  29. Haha you crack me up Emily! You are not an A hole for buying expensive, good quality olive oil! You work so hard in all aspects of your life it seems so you can by a 9ct gold encrusted toilet brush if you want! No guilt necessary. Your content is forever humble, enjoyable and inspiring! Meg Australia

  30. Great post, particularly because of your candor. I follow many Instagram accounts that showcase this look on a regular basis. Lately, I’ve felt a vague sense of discontent or depression as I scroll through my feed rather than inspiration. I think it’s because all of this looks so effortless, yet I still feel like it’s not even remotely attainable. As an interior designer, I am well aware of just how much work this look entails and how much it costs.

  31. It’s not just the “Effortless California Casual” look that gets expensive. I’m actually not a huge fan of the look, mainly because white walls will always read dorm room or rental to me.

    I think what makes things expensive is having pieces that aren’t a matching set. I like my furniture to look like it was collected over time, but that’s an expensive proposition if you want the look without the “over time” part. I’ll buy an individual piece or two from the local furniture mart, but since I’m not content with a living room or bedroom set from my local bulk furniture store and I can’t afford custom or curated antiques, I have to take my time watching craigslist and other thrift stores for the perfect piece(s). It takes longer, but it’s really rewarding when it comes together,

    Love this post, Emily and I’ve always felt you were very upfront about costs. I have had my bug-eyed moments – the concrete outdoor tile! But it’s nice to know what it would cost to get the look, because it’s easier to decide BEFORE I’m completely in love with it and set on it that it’s not in the cards for me.

  32. That’s sort of why I started my blog. These looks are beautiful–and expensive. Not all of us can afford or desire to spend the amount of money it takes to achieve them. Similar (and less expensive) options ARE out there. You just have to know where to look. Sure, there’s a quality trade off, but for hundreds less I’m willing to make it in most cases. That’s why I love your budget/cheaper options posts.

    With that said, you should never ever apologize for having nicer items in your home. It’s your home. Everyone is allowed to grow up, change, and/or reinvent themselves. Don’t we all long to eventually “make it” and finally allow ourselves to buy nice things? I realize your blogging platform makes your position different, but I would hope all of us readers are all aware enough to realize this (I realize they are not). Thank you for always striving for transparency. It doesn’t go unnoticed even though (I assume) a lot of happy readers don’t comment.

    Anyway, great post. Idea for future post: Scandinavian home design. Or I’d love to see one about wallpaper. I’ve seen so many beautiful wallpapered rooms lately, but don’t know much (anything) about it, so I’m hesitant to go there.

  33. I think it’s a challenge to be inspirational for people of all financial backgrounds while also excelling in your field, which tends to require a greater budget. I personally like blogs and Pinterest and IG for inspiration, not to carbon copy. That frees me from feeling the pressure of spending money I may not have on certain pieces but still have a lovely home I’m happy and proud of. We know the mental and emotional advantages to a well-designed space but it can’t carry so far that we tie our value and worth into material things. Tempting, for sure, with the more is more is never enough press of society. Emily, you do a good job of not just showing a higher-end finished product, but explaining the reason and methodology behind your decisions so others can take that advice and create their own space with budget-friendly or already-owned pieces if that’s where they’re at. I love all the finished projects you show, they are lovely! And knowing how much things cost and where you shop is great. But I also appreciate your candor about being able to afford more today than 8 years ago, or than some of your readers. This is your livelihood! Of course you’re going to invest a lot in it. Certainly doesn’t make it wrong, and certainly doesn’t make anyone who can’t afford it any less. So again, I thank you for the inspiration you provide, not the expectation that we become cookie-cutter copies.

  34. Great post Emily! I have been following you from your HGTV days, your blog/instagram/insta-stories, etc. and I do think you do a really great job at being transparent and honest (in both timing, budget, etc). I also think you do a good mix of Target, Flea Market and expensive well. Obviously we all grow and change and there is nothing wrong with that. I, too, am guilty of getting sucked into the “perfect life” through images I see online whether it be the perfect room or perfect body or perfect lunch. 🙂

    If I’m being honest, I found myself so sad and in such a “poor-me” state after watching your insta-story on all the things that were gifted to you for mother’s day (cashmere robe, goop products, etc). Although I get how marketing works… you have a lot of followers, companies want you to show off their products so more products are sold, etc, etc…. it just felt a little off-brand for you. And because I would have loved any and all of those products, and I am an exhausted mother of 3 small boys who works my butt off, I fell into the “why not me” trap. But I came to realize, albeit not as quickly as I would’ve liked, that it’s not about you and you should TOTALLY show off the amazing stuff that people send you…. it’s completely about me and my insecurities. I needed a good ol’ slap in the face and take a look around all that you got moment.

    You can’t please everyone in your posts or designs, but if it’s coming from a good purposeful place that is true to you then go with it.

    1. T, I was so worried about that and I actually felt a little gross when posting. But i didn’t know what to do! These companies were so nice to send and I want to make them happy, too and they deserve a thank you. I had my crew watch and tell me if it felt too braggy and they didn’t think so, but i’m so sorry. ugh. As a mother of three small boys you deserved all of that 🙂

      1. A great way to combat that is to ask them to send one to give away to a reader, or offer a discount code you can share. Or simply endorse what you like and then give it away to a reader.

      2. Do NOT apologize…. my point was that you shouldn’t feel bad. It’s your stuff and you should be proud of what you’re gifted or what you buy for yourself, your home, your children, etc. Social media is still in it’s infancy and hard to navigate. I adore what you do. The fact that you’re in the position you’re in while having this interesting conversation, and also not oblivious to all walks of life design-wise, is fantastic. All props, honestly.

        1. I wasn’t upset on the mom day gifting, but I do love the idea of giveaways sometimes. My guess is you don’t always want all that stuff you get. Also, maybe you could do a version of Oprah’s favorite things…the favorite things you received you could rebuy and give away as well as links to find them.
          Girl, this is the second reference to you/Oprah here….you’re doing gooooood!

    2. T, I think your comment offers some important insight. I don’t think the negativity is *all* about jealously. I think some of it stems from a real frustration and wounding about inequities in our society, and how some people are rewarded more than others. I want to be very clear that I know how hard Emily has worked for her success, and I know she had many lean years before getting to where she is now (I’ve followed her since her Design Star days). But the reality is, her success is not just hard work, it’s a constellation of factors, including the fact that she’s a conventionally attractive white woman. Do you think GOOP would be sending her products to show off on social media if she was, say, fat? My guess is no. There are many women of color who work just as hard who do not enjoy the same level of mainstream success. And I think there’s also frustration with the fact that lifestyle bloggers/Influencers make so much money for essentially promoting consumerism, and in the process perpetuating this idea that we can buy our way to happiness, or that we’re not good enough as is but we can fix this problem or that issue with a product, etc. There are so many people out there toiling away as adjunct professors, teachers, childcare workers, nursing aides, civil servants, etc., that won’t ever see even a fraction of the money some “influencers” are getting. It feels shitty to a lot of people. I say all of this as someone who loves design, and reads a ton of design sites, and I truly believe that the state of our homes directly impacts our peace-of-mind and well being. But there’s a line between helping people make the most of their spaces and being reasonably aspirational, and promoting stuff just for the sake of promoting stuff for financial gain. I happen to believe that Emily does a pretty good job of keeping a balance. I know it’s not her “fault” that being a pretty white woman comes with privileges. I also empathize with the desire for nice things, and to show off those nice things. And I know that when you rise up in the echelons, your points of comparison change, and things that seemed luxurious before become normal. All of that is very, very human, and Emily seems to be aware and even struggles with it herself, as her reply to you shows. She also does a lot of altruistic work, and expresses gratitude for her good fortune frequently and genuinely. I think that’s important. It’s also important, though, to keep in mind the very real inequalities in our society, and to understand that sometimes frustration is going to be vented at people like Emily despite their best efforts to not be a-holes. Your feeling bad about that Insta-story wasn’t entirely about your insecurities; it’s also about a very real unfairness that permeates our society. And it’s ok to acknowledge that, and still totally love Emily and be truly happy for her success at the same time.

      1. Very well said Jen! I agree… I think that was the overall feeling I felt at the time of the mother’s day post… why do some people get rewarded while so many other well deserving folks don’t? And like you said, I guess I felt torn because although it brought up these feelings in me, I wouldn’t want Emily to not have those things and she’s also very well deserving and I’m truly happy for her success. It’s the same thing as celebrities, who already live excellent lives and can afford so much, are gifted with these extravagant gift bags at award shows worth thousands of dollars.

      2. THIS 100%!

        Thanks for so eloquently expressing how I’ve been feeling, that I haven’t really been able to put into words!

  35. I love this post. It’s honest and offers your unique POV, and ultimately that’s why I read EHD 🙂 And while I’m not quite on your level of purchases yet, I really enjoy being introduced to new brands and styles, many of which aren’t all that far from reach, I.e Rejuvenation and Schoolhouse light fixtures are approximately 8000 times more beautiful then the Home Depot varieties and a justifiable kind of splurge in my book. And Doen clothes are so lovely and local and I will own one of their pieces. And if we’re all being honest, who hasn’t bought their own version of a $80 oil cruet or circus blouse splurge? we all make our own choices on the value of what we love. You do you!

  36. Very nicely done.
    Decor content as well as the recognition of the fact that many of us out here cannot afford to spend $200 on a throw pillow!
    Yes please, bring us more of this – love it!

  37. Great post! Love you and your blog, you are doing a great job! Please keep it up

  38. Hi Emily,

    First I want to applaud you & your team for your realness. I love how you change your mind again and again, can be candid with your clients and followers and have a breakdown just like the rest of us. I can relate and so I return religiously day-after-day.

    Although social media and beautiful design books are a god send of inspiration they can also create a whirlpool of self doubt and personal indecision for followers and designers alike. Add to the mix the absolute perfection always displayed…it’s enough to drive a chick insane!
    Personally, I struggle with the fact that so often we do not see the shit show that is just outside of the perfectly filtered frame. Or, the fact that the perfectly styled moment is just a speck of sanity amidst a home that looks like a clown exploded. On a personal level I find knowing this refreshing. It shows a vulnerability that I think few share but I also respect and accept it as that person’s reality.

  39. Emily, I l loved you on Design Star, I watched your show, I’ve read your blog since the beginning. This post was so good on so many levels. Thank you for your transparency, for explaining the thoughts behind the process, and for sharing. I have learned heaps from you. That being said, I did have that vague feeling of discontent/despair when I think about how to execute the look and have a taken a tiny step back from social media. But I love design and what you do. Thank you for this post, for not being an a-hole at all 🙂 and addressing the elephant in the room. I wish women in general weren’t such mean girls, but we all are at one point or another. You go Glenn Coco!

  40. Emily, I love this roundup. I am the queen of the desire to copy cat without the time or budget, so posts like this are appreciated. I am, like you, spending more the last few years than I ever did the first 15 years of marriage. I desire the better quality and yet still appreciate a “look for less.” It just isn’t a priority for me to spend more for the sake of spending more. More spent to support a local business – yes at times. I am sad you had a bit of a breakdown on Friday, and I really hope it was not motivated by comments, rather your own desire to face something/change it/whatever it is exactly. B/c of some of your posts, I can guarantee you that we two are on opposite ends of lots of issues, but I love that you love. I appreciate your desire for honesty, fairness, niceness, and I’m pretty sure we would have a great time and some great conversations over a glass of vino or three despite our differences. I am shocked that you are feeling like maybe you could be more transparent. You are practically see-through for crying out loud. You seem to always or quite often state when something is sponsored or gifted. Never feel you owe an apology for having something great and wonderful. Most people are genuinely happy for others and feel inspired by great talent or wonderful ideas. But again, I did enjoy the round up and look forward to more.

  41. All I can say is…..I LOVE you! Like seriously, love,love, love you! Perfect mix of style mafia and sweet open Girlfriendiness. Please never stop being and doing you!

  42. Oh my god, I love that you used a-hole in this post. Seriously, haters gonna hate! It is your job, you are a designer, and if readers can’t figure out how to recreate looks to fit a budget -that is not on you! Life is a constant compromise. If you live within your means, you may have to work harder and longer to find sources that work for your home. You do great work and I’m inspired by your team. The work you all do to create round-ups and design posts are essential for home owners, such as myself, who do not have a budget to hire a designer! THANK YOU!

  43. Hi Emily,

    Thank you so much for writing about this. This post feels like one of those evenings when you finally get to talk and reconnect with your husband after weeks of craziness with the kids. I’ve been a loyal reader, emily style student since 2008.

    I also live in LA and know how seductive this place can be. I love everything you create, but in recent years, as I’ve seen the prices on your blog rise or a lack of transparency over sponsorships (not lately, thank you so much) I worry sometimes if you’re changing too much.

    Deep down, the main reason your blog is such a place of inspiration and joy for me is because of the essence of you — that down-to-earth, humble, bubbly Oregon girl. I really hope LA, price tags, name brands, etc. never dims that in you.

    Please know that this city goes beyond far beyond the glitzy stereotypes and materialism. You have Sylvia in your home. Let her show you her LA one day. I’m Latina and my husband is Armenian. Go to the Eastside — not Silver Lake, Echo Park, but the REAL Eastside, east of the river in Boyle Heights and East LA and explore the art and craftsmanship and food. Come to our house and we’ll stuff you full with pupusas and baklava.

    I think so much of staying grounded here has to do what your state of mind and who you choose to look up to. You’ve been blessed with incredible taste and vision. It’s a gift. I hope when I’m old and gray you’ll still be here sharing this gift with us — whether we’re well-heeled or can only afford to buy our shoes at PayLess.

    “This isn’t me saying that I will no longer buy what I love if/when I can afford it. But that I will try to help find budget sources to substitute any splurges, and give every day sources and ideas to help make sure that people feel like they can have the look and life they want, regardless of their budget.”

    1. Thank you ES. So nice to relate to another Angeleno and advice as to how to stay grounded is much appreciated. Thanks so much for reading so long and being so loyal through the ups and downs. ANd yes, I need to go more to the real east side. Los Feliz is certainly a bubble … xx

  44. I love your blog! I’ve been following you since your Design Star days and I’ve enjoyed watching you evolve through your blog. I respect your honesty with design aspects as well as the challenges of becoming a parent. I can relate in many ways as a mother who has been trying to create a beautiful and safe home for my family. I’m definitely mixing in the high and the low. I just wanted to thank you for your inspirational blog and for persevering even through the negative comments that must be hard to read. You and your team are doing a great job!

  45. Thank you for this post Emily. We live in a country of consumption and many people have bought into the idea that if you have these beautiful expensive things it will make them happy. However, things will not bring you lasting happiness. I posed a question to you about this topic awhile back when you asked for feedback on the blog over a year or so ago. If there are beautiful less expensive alternatives out there, why not shop that way? If we spend less on ourselves and can still create a beautiful home environment, then we will have more to give to others in need. If we don’t spend $80 on a cruet, but instead spend $10, we now have $70 to buy another ticket to Ana Huna (Miry’s List) and we have the potential to improve the lives of others while still having a beautiful $10 cruet. I guarantee you will find more happiness in giving to others than giving to yourself. I’m not criticizing you for buying the $80 cruet or telling you or anyone else how to spend your money, I’m just giving another perspective. I see the flip side too when you buy these things you are helping local artists. Thank you for being brave enough to write about this topic.

    1. The problem with the $10 cruet is that it is being made in sweatshops and maybe doing more damage that your donated $70 will counter. If we must buy things, why shouldn’t the people who make them be paid fair wages and live with fresh water and food and afford to keep their children and live a normal life span? Whether you buy imported or local, cheap rarely means fair. We budget-conscious people are in our own bubble…just because cheap is available doesn’t mean it’s a smart or humble or kind option….usually it’s the opposite.

      1. Anon, I appreciate that perspective and do see your point of view. I am not an expert on sweatshops and won’t claim to be one. I would say probably the average person can not afford some of these higher priced items and therefore will almost indefinitely purchase them from big box stores (I know I do). Even if I chose to buy the $80 cruet, it doesn’t mean sweatshops will go away because other people will always buy the mass produced items because they are affordable. I think it is safe to say we are both in favor of helping people . If you can afford the $80 cruet and want to support local artists and therefore not support sweatshops, I think that’s great. I also think you are doing good if you buy a less expensive product and use the money you saved to help people in other ways. The point is both sides are trying to make a difference and you have to start somewhere. There are also other options too rather than just buying from big box stores (which I do). A good portion of the things in my home have come from thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, etc. Sure some of the thrifted items I find may have also been produced in sweatshops, but I’m also trying to do good by buying used. I think sweatshops are horrible and wish they didn’t exist, but I also don’t think its fair to say that ALL mass produced items from big box stores come from sweatshops. Again, I’m no expert on this, but when we use terms like “all” we are talking absolutes. I love Target, but I don’t have any idea where each piece was made. Are all target products produced in sweatshops? I doubt it. Maybe we all need to be more aware of where our “stuff” comes from. Thank you for the message though, I do see where you are coming from. I think we would both agree though, people come before things.

        1. Alison, I appreciate what you’ve written, too, and apologize for sounding like I was lumping all big stores in together. I’m no expert either and haven’t researched how bad which vendors are…but if something is fair trade or similar…you can bet a company is going to label it as such. Having done a bit of searching for the “good” places to shop…it’s astonishing how slim the pickings are. Which def. makes me think twice when shopping, and feel guilty when I go ahead and ignore my own advice. I’m expecting that this will become more of a topic people are interesting in, and pressure will be put on the industry to give us kinder options. West Elm sure surprised me with their fair trade efforts! Although I have to temper that excitement because their sister/mother companies don’t have the same commitments. Still, it’s a big step in the right direction.

          If anyone wants an insight into what cheap costs, here’s a good documentary on fast fashion:

    2. I truly find joy in everyday, beautiful items…everything from can openers to pillowcases. I appreciate them and feel connected with the artists who put their heart and souls into them or the designers who perfected them. I am a stay at home mom, and have found it even more important to be surrounded by things that fill my soul on the very long days. I only buy what I need and I only have time for quality items that will last for many years to a lifetime.

      1. Johanna, I’m the same way – SAHM, committed to the beauty and quality of well-made, long lasting items, but as our budget is stretched thinner with growing kids and changing needs, I’m finding myself looking at threadbare, ripping sheets and realizing that to buy the long lasting linen means going into debt (and mending is great, but some are getting beyond the mending point!). We’ve been living without furniture in half of our 1800sf home because we can’t afford any (downsizing would be great, but it costs money to move, and we want our parents to be able to stay with us when they visit instead of spending hundreds of dollars for a city hotel). So, though I used to turn up my nose at most big box purchases, I’ve started eyeing them and I’m understanding what people mean when they say that a lot of folks can’t afford ethically, well-made things that support artisans, no matter how much they might want to. There just aren’t quite enough pennies to pinch!

  46. Man, your blog is so refreshing and I am constantly impressed with the level of reality you keep bringing to your posts. It is rare to see a blogger acknowledge the fact that these beautiful pieces are not the reality for many of us. Thank you for saying it, and thank you for showing both sides- the luxury and the more affordable. You work hard for those nice things! Hats off to a job well done, and thanks for remembering there are so many perspectives in the world.

  47. You are VERY kind and gracious in your response to the recent tone of the feedback and in spite of your mentioned emotional meltdown. You “heaped burning coals of kindness” on their heads. Great character quality.

  48. This isn’t my style at all, but you make me WANT it to be my style. Lol. Great writing, as usual! ??

  49. You’ve never given any a-hole suggestions or vibes. You’ve been transparent and likeable. reYou’ve given us budget options and aspirational ideas. You address criticisms graciously. You apologize for being in a bubble, but you came from pennies in NY, worked very hard and made good choices. Yet didn’t lose sight of a smaller lifestyle, and I’m stumped by people who think you have. You are honest about challenges (you don’t even need to be!), and uplifting with humor and sweet moments. Of course you make frequent changes in your home–that’s your job! I’ve never seen you suggest that other people should constantly re-invent your rooms. Although you’ve said that re-arranging frequently is nice (and you’re a stylist, and no one can blame you for that desire or ability).

    I can think of other bloggers who indeed give an a-hole impression (giving super budget grocery lists without taking food deserts into account…gentrifying slums by evicting the very poor and labeling it as a way to bring religion to them)…and even these bloggers are likely just uninformed in their own bubbles and not intending to in-helpful or cruel.

    You consistently are sensitive and open and trying to stay informed. Thank you, and please don’t stress about it. No need to feel guilt for doing your job well, reaping rewards. You do success really graciously already…taking on what someone projects isn’t helpful for anyone! <3

  50. Great post. We are all so starved for beauty and authenticity! Your work provides both. I sympathize with your recent meltdown. Just part of the life pattern of an artist, no? Don’t be hard on yourself. Enjoy your talents! The rest of us do!! And we thank you.

  51. I’ve read your blog for years (from back when I was in a dorm to now my first house!!) and have found more accessible information here than anywhere else. I love your style, of course, but I also love the variety of content (round-ups, design mistakes, what your team is up to, etc) and especially how much of your own life you share with the world. I think that’s scary to do and it’s brave! I think how we view things on the internet is a matter of perspective too…when I see a photo of a room I love, even the California casual ones, I recognize that I’m not going to be able to replicate that entire room. I wouldn’t even want to! It stops being a place that reflects you if it’s just a copy of someone else’s style. I do like to see though how things come together, and what looks good where (plants by chairs, lamps on a bookshelf, whatever) and try those techniques or color combos or whatever in my house. So maybe it’s just a matter of reframing it. Anyway, you do really wonderful work that I’m grateful for!

  52. As a financial situation changes so does the way money is spent. It’s really that simple. I don’t even understand why it really matters. Listing the source of some amazing vintage find doesn’t make it accessible to everyone, or anyone, a lot of that stuff can’t be found. Is an expensive sofa or pillow really any different? If you’re inspired by something, you do your best to recreate what ever feeling it was that was invoked. You don’t go out and copy it perfectly and exactly. While I really appreciate your transparency, and occasionally mumble something facetious at something I can’t have, I don’t come here because I want you’re life to be my own. Do what you do. There is obviously an audience for it.

  53. Awesome! While I’m not completely into this neutral of a look there are some elements that I do love.

    People tend to forget that you’re a designer with high end clients and there are plenty of other designers that unabashedly do their own thing regardless of whether the “little” people can afford it or not. They’re not trying to appeal to anyone but their target bracket. Posts like this and other roundups of items sets you apart from the other designers.

    I can appreciate that you and your clients can afford more expensive things than I can but while people complain about those specific things they gloss over and forget the work that you and your team put a lot of effort into to provide alternatives.

  54. I like the look a lot because it does look achievable and put together. I saw several things in your round up I liked. (And by the way, that owl looks as though it’s made out of paper?)
    It does surprise me that so many designers/wealthy west coast types go for the same look though? why?
    How long will this trend be popular? And how is it related to the white modern farmhouse trend?
    And, now that the British purveyor of all things neutral white has come to NY, does that mean this is going to be even more popular? I would like to know how long these trends last before I become too invested. If only there were design meteorologists.

  55. P.S. When you wrote about having 2.5 kids, I first read that as meaning you were pregnant. Apparently misread. whew

    1. HA. I was afraid of that. I just meant that it all seems so ‘perfect standard family’ with the average 2.5 kids. I think that Brady edited that out this morning (the .5) and i wondered why so I put it back in but I definitely don’t want people to think i’m pregnant because i’m not!!

  56. Love your post Emily, you have nothing to apologize for in what you spend on yourself or home. Your house is stunning.

  57. THANK YOU! I use these round-up posts all the time when i’m sourcing for clients on a budget. I feel like this style has peeked its way into every style in little ways. I love it! Because I am a student of interior style, achieving this isn’t as intimidating to me because I know what goes into it. But what gets me is the clothing and body expectations represented in this style. Tan washboard abs, and expensive clothing, perfectly messy hair and lots of traveling. These are the things that make me feel utterly inadequate.

  58. Emily, I hope you wake up every day feeling calm and charmed. You are successful b/c you have talent and the ability to relate to your readers. I read the comments most days and I sense that your readership is across a wide demographic. For me, design blogs are meant to be aspirational and inspirational. Yours achieves both. And yes, we expect you to change as you grow older, as we all do. I am happy that the posters I hung in my 20s were replaced by prints in my 30s and now my home is filled with authentic art from trips we’ve taken all over the world. Each piece reminds me of a very happy moment in my life. My home is curated just as I would like but it has taken decades to get here! No one can accumulate treasured items and an eclectic look without living it. I think part of your appeal is that you give us YOU…in all your glory, meltdowns, and figuring-it-out-as-you-go ways. What more could we ask for?

  59. Wow, loved this so much. I loved the poking fun and self-awareness =)

    Thanks for the transparency and not taking the lifestyle image/content so seriously. It’s obvious you love what you do and it’s so wonderful to see all your hard work pay off. And thank you for bringing affordable options our way, it’s very much appreciated.

  60. First, this effortless style is stunning!

    Second, I think part of the problem for many people is that even what you mentioned as more affordable options like West Elm, Urban Outfitters, Madewell, etc. are still at the higher end of our budgets. That being said, people should buy the good stuff when they can. Instead of buying cheap things and replacing them season after season, year after year, we should buy beautiful, well-made items with the intent to use them until we need to repair them. We should buy what we love the first time. It’s important to buy straight from makers, artisans, artists, designers (are these words for all the same people???). It shows that we value the products they are creating…even if the world copies and mass produces these designs. For content creators like yourself, it makes sense to have things come and go from your home. No need to feel guilty. Also just because things are cheap, doesn’t mean they aren’t well-made or worth investing in. Good design comes at all price points. But like many others, my eye and heart is always drawn to the expensive, most beautiful pieces.

  61. Oh my God! I was laughing/crying while reading your description. I kept thinking… Shit! That’s my house! And I’m pretty sure no one will care that it’s been that way for six years, painstakingly gathered and collected. I thought I was so cool! Emily, you just blew my stuff up! So much for originality…

    I guess I am part of the lifestyle mafia. But don’t be crazy! I’m very, very frugal. I am also an avid thrift-shopper and garbage -picker, not to mention happy hand-me down-taker. We have cobbled everything together on a teeny-tiny budget, over several years. I always thought…hey, we can do this on a budget, but not quickly. Now…I guess i’m not as cool as I thought I was!

    1. Ha. you are! I think the best way to make this look work is indeed thrifting for it over years and years like you did. In this case you are actually the president of the lifestyle mafia – it probably looks beautiful but doesn’t feel fancy. That is exactly what people are trying to create overnight. So kudos to you 🙂 and no, i don’t think that any individual pieces (that are authentic) are going to go out of style. The knock-off versions of it will, but my M Quon pottery bells will always be beautiful.

  62. Thank you for this post. I’ve actually been collecting these types of items since I was introduced to danish design while living in Amsterdam for 5 years. (I was lucky to get to travel…a lot). People come into my home and then what me to help recreate it for them, which I would LOVE to do, but secretly I know they have no clue how expensive, and time consuming it is to do.

    With that said, I have a ton of IKEA, including my couches and a rented house, so I’m not able to do everything, but I have committed to it and have spent years “perfecting,” and I am proud of my home. So I think I was also one of the people with raised eyebrows at the amount of new things that were presented on the blog and IG. I have spent so much time and love on my spaces I think I did feel a little discouraged because there is just no way for me to buy a 4,000$ couch or spend $$$$ on tile…even though they are BEAUTIFUL.

    Anyway, your honesty is appreciated and a good balance is what we can all work toward! ?

  63. Now that I’m thinking about it, the only thing that makes me uncomfortable here is that cheap items are being shown and linked. Not sure why people feel there is not enough of that. I think any of it is too much, when cheap means cruel. We need to be more responsible as consumers of affordable things. It’s not a fun reality to accept, but if we emulate high-end rooms with cheap alternatives, we may be wrecking the lives of others. How much money is going to the little guy? There ARE littler guys than us, no matter how little we feel.

    1. I have been on board with that line of thinking for years, but now our budget is tiny and we can’t afford to furnish our smaller-size apartment. SO. What would you suggest someone do if they don’t have a budget to buy even basic, “not cheap” furniture to supply a small space (+ let’s not forget clothes and the ethics/cost there and the intensity of that equation when you’re clothing 4 bodies), and don’t have time to scour the free listings on Craigslist bc every adult in the house works two jobs? I realize this comes across as snarky – maybe I mean it to? I am 100% on board with your concerns and I share them, but I also recognize that it’s a privilege to be able to be totally ethical in one’s purchases – a privilege of time and/or money and/or fewer caretaking responsibilities to fill – and so what is the ethical/beautiful/economical solution for people who don’t have those privileges? I’m really asking.

  64. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I love this look and these price tags don’t absolutely terrify me!

  65. I love you for this post. I want EVERYTHING that Amber Lewis and Nickey Kehoe sells but can’t afford. Your resources help me get my look for less. Matter of fact, your resources are always on point. I purchased the wooden beads from Target that you sourced in your patio post. xoxo

  66. YAAAASSSSS! Emily, you’re great. Thank you for addressing this issue and keeping it real. If anyone begins to feel disenchanted by you due to the (totally human!) fault you pointed out in this post, kindly direct them right back here and remind them why you are superwoman.

  67. Hot damn! Haven’t even fiinished reading but have to say….i’m LOVIN it!
    In addition to the eye candy it has that “you too can do this even if you’re not $$$$$” vibe that I adore about the em hendo of yore. Thank you.

    1. Wow! I just read on…
      1. I am so thrillled for your success and happy you can afford expensive things
      2. They was you describe looking at the goop look as “sometimes depressing” is also how I feel looking at your expensive things. Unfortunately (divorce), my spending abilities have gone down, not up over the last 8 years.

      Thank you so much for your understanding and commitment to bring us a long for the ride, regardless of how much we each can (or can’t spend).

  68. Wow, this post is so good. Thanks Emily for pushing the limits to make beautiful spaces, for breaking down the mystery behind why they’re beautiful, while never forgetting those of us on different budgets. Love what you’ve created here and excited for your re-commitment to keeping it real!

  69. Emily – please accept my virtual high-five from Canada. Your honesty, humility, and self-awareness (along with your amazing style, of course) make your blog posts one of my favourite parts of the day. I have kids the same age as yours and bought a new house around the same time as you did, so I know how tough it can be just to get through the day sometimes. I’m constantly amazed by how hard you work, what a great Mom you are, and how good you are at your job. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your life and thoughts with us!

  70. There are already so many comments on this post, but it speaks to me so here goes! I love this look and am totally into the “California coastal casual” look. Keep it coming!

  71. The color palette looks soothing to me, but I never think these effortless rooms look that comfortable. They are also always so damn perfect that I imagine anything that doesn’t fit in to the mold stands out horribly.

  72. I will ditto that this is not my style, but I love exploring ALL styles. While it may not speak to me in total, there are many pieces you featured that cross over design and style lines that I can mix with my own eclectic style. Love this stuff!!! Great ideas! Thank you!!!

  73. Life is too short!

    ****we owe it to ourselves to buy what we love, and surround ourselves with the people we love.


  74. Boy oh boy this post is spot on and necessary!!! Thank you for your transparency Emily… it ain’t easy telling it how it is ???

  75. Thank you! Now the only thing we need are those amazing Target chairs to actually be available on their website!

  76. Nail. On. Head. I think we tend to over think this look though. It is very affordable if you are willing to thrift and create. The white walls are the easy part, and one rule I prefer to break 😛 I don’t think you have fallen into to the “Goop Trap”, you have curated your own look and style and should be encouraged to include splurge pieces. While all of this is your business, we are still discussing YOUR home and wardrobe. Don’t ever apologize for being authentic in anything you do! And, yes, we want more of this look, and more of its more colorful boho cousin, and, and, and… Its why we all keep coming back.

  77. I admit to liking and wanting to replicate this look to some extent, other than it can veer towards really BLAND.

    Also, I have to wonder, what are kids’ lives like in these homes? All the white and linen is not kid-friendly (or in many cases, husband friendly).

  78. I’m noticing a trend among some of the bloggers who’ve been writing for a while. Their tastes and budgets have changed and some readers are going off on them about it. If this is an outlet for you to express your current lifestyle and reinforce your brand, then what you write should be an accurate depiction of who you are now. And that’s probably different than who you were 5 years ago. If you can afford the $300 shirt, buy it, wear it and feel good. What’s the point in doing any of this if you’re going to put a fake version of yourself out there to appease the masses?

    As someone who sells the $150 “effortless” washed linen at the PDC (I seriously turned my chair around to double check the price), I get the relaxed look don’t come cheap. But you’ve done a nice job showing that it’s possible to get a similar look without spending the same amount.

  79. I really appreciated this post. My house is really nice (I’ve spent countless treasure and hours on it) but it’s never going to look like the photos I see on Instagram because well, we live in the house. The other thing that makes me kind of crazy is how trends ebb and flow so quickly. I know that’s how businesses stay in business but I had to replace a bathroom tile, from a bathroom we tiled 5 years ago, and the tile store person said, “oh, those aren’t really in style anymore?” Am I supposed to re-tile my bathrooms every 2 years? First world problem, sure, but most of us don’t re-do basic, foundational items like floor and tile every few years.

  80. I’ve stopped reading pretty much all blogs, partly because the blog writers started shifting in a way I didn’t enjoy (only posting ads, and being very fake doing so), and partly because I have no free time to aimlessly read blogs anymore. But yours, Emily, I come back to every single day. Because you are REAL. Sure, you have ads and sponsors, but you’re still YOU behind them! I’m totally fine with you spending a ton of money on things, or vice versa- this is YOUR life. If people don’t like it, they can move on. They have that choice. You are being you, I adore you being you. Your authenticity comes through in everything you do. I’m one of those that just eats up your more personal posts! I love it all. I think at this point we all know the “perfect” pictures on social media are complete messes behind the scenes in some cases. And I wish instead of people getting their panties in a bunch about the assumed perfection (or whatever else they’re upset about), they’ll just move on if they don’t like it, and let people live their lives the way they want to. We all get that freedom, but it’s up to us to individually make the effort to do so.

  81. I am a long time follower-on all platforms. This is one of my favorite themes. What looks effortless rarely is. What looks easy, casual and relaxed is often layered, staged and EXPENSIVE. You did another post like this awhile ago about design mistakes in your own home that equally resonated with me. I think you as a designer are supposed to have the home we aspire too. I don’t care if you spend a lot of money on a funny ruffle blouse (although that one was not my favorite;)) It is your money and I can always choose to NOT read if your choices bother me to distraction. I don’t get why everyone doesn’t get that? Anyway I appreciate the sources for more frugal choices-but don’t feel bad about the inspirational pieces. Everyone should have stuff that truly makes them happy-no matter what the price point. And our price points will all be different. My favorite quote is about the things you take for granted, other ppl pray for. But I don’t get the impression you are taking them for granted so I appreciate your honesty and openness.

  82. What kind of drapes would you do in these rooms? I would think you would do white, flowy drapes, but then that would be white on white walls.

    I LOVE this style, and I would devour any posts you did in this style!

    1. A lot of the rooms in this style that I’ve seen keep the windows bare if they can get away with it. Otherwise, roll-down fabric shades or long flowy curtains in white or a light neutral seem like popular options. There’s lots of white on white on white 🙂

  83. OMG, I love this blog post! Yes, the lifestyle mafia can definitely make me feel bad, as I would love this look. I literally need to start from square one, and I’ve been married for 36 years and am 56 years old!! Lol! I have completely changed our homes design twice now, but somehow it’s never been as extreme as this change, yet to be done, feels. Am I imagining this? I cannot understand why it feels so overwhelming? Thanks so much for this real, amazingly honest and funny post!

  84. I really enjoyed reading this! This trend is all over and while in my own home I’m going towards an updated mid-century modern style, I think that this style is taking over because, as you said, people want effortless. When our lives are filled with so. much. stuff. all. the. time., it’s nice to come home to a calm/relaxed/not-fussy atmosphere. There’s less “serious thoughts” going into this trend, not saying that they aren’t thought out, but if you find an awesome chair at a rummage sale or flea market, it works because all of the other stuff in the space is mismatched.

  85. Excellent post. It’s clear we all appreciate your honesty and transparency! And yeah, in college I had a friend who’s dad was a big theatre producer and had lots of money, thus she had lots of money and opportunities that the rest of us didn’t have. She was lovely and I found that the best way to look at things was why would I begrudge her those opportunities? I certainly wouldn’t want someone to do that to me if I was in her position. The difference here is that you’ve earned all your opportunities yourself. So good for you! Enjoy it.

    My other comment is that I cannot WAIT for this style to go out of fashion. When I first started reading your blog, it was because I saw photos of the Fig House on pinterest. So much color, so much fun! Quirkiness, weirdness, etc. I am a maximalist. All this beige makes me sad.

  86. Love this! Thank you so much for the affordable options and for being transparent! I appreciate everything you post. As for a round up of sculptural chairs, I AM ALL IN.

  87. I love this post! I love how genuine and raw you are (your Instastories are my favorite). As a mom of three on a budget, I appreciate this roundup, but I want to be inspired as well by high quality and unique pieces. Many times (if not most), you get what you pay for. Contentment isn’t your job. (People need to find that themselves.) Keep inspiring, keep being open (sooo refeshing), and thanks for giving us some great options for less!

  88. I love, love, love everything about this post, and I am so appreciative of the courage, honesty, and candor it took to write.

    I happen to love this style- I think because I’m an early childhood educator and this is absolutely the the way classrooms that speak to my educational philosophy have looked… but rather than insanely expensive think child created vessels, dyed materials, artwork, etc. A very simple back drop with many natural items and materials. And very organized.

  89. Love this round up. I made a decision a while ago to bring these vibes to my home, my way, with my budget. I’ve gotten pretty good at the high low finds too. Thanks in part to you, Emily! Also, so glad to see #8 pictured here, I’ve had my eye on it for a while.

  90. Love it all – I have been copying the Surf Shack book for a few weeks now, and my entire house is Urban Outfitters and Ikea, because they seem to be the only ones with affordable, pale wood and wicker furniture right now. Then I add in the super expensive tiny detail pieces. Great post!!

  91. I also wanted to say that I think you do an amazing job of giving us a balance of high-end, vintage, 2nd hand, and budget.

  92. Love this post! Hopefully I can incorporate at least a few of these pieces in our new home! I love the look, but it’s so hard to stick to the neutral palette.

  93. Thank you for addressing the recent comments head-on. I do love the beautiful (more affordable) items you featured here, and will use them as inspiration. The truth is, even though my husband and I are two professors trying to get rid of our grad student furniture and make our house beautiful, we still cannot afford a lot of things you post recently, which makes me wonder what tax bracket the intended posts are for, since I consider myself upper middle class. I think a lot of it has to do with rising inequality in the country, which is not your fault at all. NY Times had an eye opening op-ed this weekend- “Stop pretending you’re not rich”, which I think every commenter would benefit from reading.

  94. Thanks so much for this post! I love this style, and I would love to see more products that you find that fit into it. I have always appreciated the mixing highs and lows on your site. I would also love it if you could help show how to design and style this look for other areas of the country. I live in Portland, and although I love this look, it just seems a bit too beachy for the weather in the PNW.

  95. I LOVED this post. And it was so awesome that you listed so many affordable options to achieve this look. I think it would be fun to see a comparison also. Sort of like the rooms with three different budgets. Its just curiosity (nosey?) on my part, but now that you mention it, I am curious how much some of the items in the photos would cost. The fancy wall hanging vs. a budget wall hanging. Maybe thats just me.

    Thanks for a great post!

  96. Thank you! I can’t imagine what it’s like to post your life/work for a huge public audience every single day, and I admire the honesty, thoughtfulness and sweetness with which you do so. I’m a relatively new reader and first-time commenter (really, on any blog!)… here’s what motivated me to do so: last week during your crazy shoot, you posted a short video on Insta that showed you trying to drape a blanket over your chaise like six or eight times. It was hilarious, honest, and a breath of fresh air. Little moments like that remind me that what you are doing is incredibly demanding. You’re so honest, perhaps people forget how many hours and years have gone into developing your expertise. Seeing that perfectly draped ‘moments’ are not actually how you live helps me remember that *no one* lives (or should live) in a photograph. That you continue to show us your daily life and process even after some unpleasant feedback is brave; that you ALSO seem to have taken the feedback about budget so seriously is impressive. It’s a big heart that can sort through all the noise, use what is helpful to make their work stronger, and shed the words that miss your mark. Thanks for lifting the curtain, and for the warmth with which you let all us strangers in!

  97. I am a very loyal follower of yours! Have been for years! THANK YOU for writing this, I love it when you open up and your honesty. I’m not a huge commenter (I don’t think that’s a word, but whatever), but I follow you on instagram and watch all of your stores. The fact that you don’t clean up the background of your stories (for example clothes on the beds) to convey perfection has done my heart so good. You’re an example that all of the beautiful stunning photos of homes I see on instagram are not always that perfect. Real life happens in those homes, real kids live in those homes and the takeaway for me should be that those shots can bring me joy (I am a creative and artist at heart and I get so happy/inspired seeing beautiful spaces) but I don’t need to expect myself to keep my home to those standards, after all I have 4 kids ages 10 and under and I work almost full time at home. You’re a rockstar and I appreciate all of the content….. high end, low end and in between that you put out for us to enjoy!

  98. YESSSSSS. Thank you for writing this and shining light on the truth of this look. Sticking to a budget can be frustrating especially when the special stuff (like that cane chair from Target) sells out so fast and re-stock potential can feel like a total mystery. Speaking of that, thanks for the insight on when that chair will be re-stocked!

    I love this look and while I can’t commit to it fully as I love to infuse small pops of color here and there, I so appreciate this round-up (and all the ones you do for that matter). You help me discover those fabulous pieces that I can truly afford and leave me feeling encouraged for choices I previously made (like the Ikea woven pendant which I have and absolutely love in my master bedroom).

    Seriously you rock. Thank you for being funny, honest, and kind yet unashamed about your desire to splurge on some pieces. You have worked so hard and you’re killing it – you should reap some of the rewards for all of that! You have been and continue to be one of my most favorite sources of inspiration.

  99. First, I’m glad you wrote this. Its easy to fall into the trap that what we see on social media is all realistic, or effortless, or what others should be aspiring to. Second, I don’t think you should be remorseful about buying more expensive pieces. That’s a sign of the success you’ve built. That you’ve worked extremely hard for. I think about how my parents told me that when they first got married they had all hand-me-down furniture. They worked hard, and eventually, they were able to afford the things they wanted in their home. Albeit, across several decades, but they did it!

    I appreciate that you still want to show us more affordable ways to design and style our homes. I also appreciate that you are showing ways to elevate our style or aspire for more. I know there are plenty of readers who look at a vintage $2000 dresser you bought and think “I could thrift something similar” or “I could buy a cheaper one with a similar look”. That’s part of the fun in using your designs to inspire new designs of our own.

  100. You are awesome! I love that you always include the prices and tell us when things are gifted. It doesn’t offend me when you purchase expensive home/clothing pieces as you absolutely should if you love it and can afford it. I just appreciate that you still think of other more affordable options mixed in. I think it’s great 🙂

  101. Love this post. Love your blog. Love your real insta-stories. Love round-ups too. (I’ll stop before this just gets creepy.) One request though! Is there anyway you can include the sources of all the round-up pieces in the post or made visible when you scroll over them – so if I’m curious about the source, but don’t actually want to go purchase, I don’t have to click through?

  102. Wonderful, wonderful post! Emily, your voice and your transparency are what I come here for. You are NOT an a-hole! You cop to your missteps, you are honest about how frazzled you can be, and best of all you are showing how to achieve a certain look on a huge or smallish budget! Truly, you’re one of the best blogs out there. You highlight the aspirational *and* the realistic.

    And I’m sure I’m an old fogey (the fact that I just used that term proves it) but if Instagram and Pinterest are making your readers depressed, maybe they should just take a little ‘vacation’ from them. Being of an older generation I’m mostly over the feelings of envy, or FOMO, or whatnot. It can be freeing to realize that the ‘perfect home’ might house unhappy people. You don’t know what’s going on in others’ lives. Also, the chaos and clutter of one’s own life are the things you might one day cherish, looking back.

  103. I’m looking around my white bedroom with linen curtains, a handmade antique carved wood bed, handwoven off white wool carpet, baskets everywhere, handy thrown pottery lamps, basically everything you called out and thinking this all very ironic because while I (as a Californian) love this look- I live in Ethiopia and here it’s seen as a cheap look- for someone who couldn’t afford to buy imported stuff!

  104. WOW babes I am FLOORED ❤️❤️❤️ I recommend my STYLED book to everyone I know, because one of my favorite things about Emily (besides her killer taste) is that your recommendations and advice are so doable for the average homeowner. Love this post, am WAY impressed at how budget-friendly these pieces are AND how comprehensive your list is (you did real good, guys), and for sure look forward to more subversive styling posts in the future. ?

  105. Love this look! This is a great post: Good job and thanks for owning your tastes and not apologizing for being able to afford what you want.

  106. I love seeing you summarize new and different styles. I hate this style. I can’t imagine laughing in these rooms. But by reading about the style, I’m learning why I hate it and on the flip side, what I love. GIVE ME COLOR, lots of color. And don’t even make it match. Keep the plants. Keep the pottery, especially the thrifted and heirloom ones *that get used* and have an element of wabi sabi.

  107. I love this post, its super inspiring and incredibly helpful. I just bought my first house by myself as a single lady (yay!), but I have been driving myself crazy trying to find affordable options to all the beautiful styles I love out there. As an designer, I would love to support artisans for everything (and do if possible) but I also am trying to be realistic as to what my budget is and stick to it. All of your budget series have been helpful and make me feel like I CAN have the style I want without breaking the bank! Keep them coming!!! Also, thank you so much for showing the mix of high end and mass market options in your own home, it has truly been helpful. If possible, I would love to see a post where you share what pieces of furniture you feel like are good to splurge on the more expensive, higher quality options (if possible) and what pieces you should/could consider more budget options. <3

  108. I never would have described my style as “California Casual” but guess what? You get me. This is totally my vibe. More. More. More!

  109. This post is wonderful. I love the mix of honesty and inclusion. Not to mention the actual value and style content herein. I also really like posts like this that include your commentary on current trends, what makes them different, difficult, attainable/not, where they come from, and your take on why they’re exploding. Stuff that says, “yes, this thing you’re seeing is actually A Thing and here’s why”. I would LOVE to see more posts both like this and like you mentioned the one about the chairs.

  110. You are a brave woman to put this out there and call yourself an “a-hole” . LOL! You are the exact opposite. I think you’ve highlighted the problem with the internet and social media in general. I don’t know where I read it but I’m always reminded of this quote; “The problem with social media is you are comparing your “behind the scenes” with everyone one else’s “highlight reel”. Think about it! So true.
    Keep it real girl! And thank you for the great content.

  111. I feel you! I work for a small oil company in KS. and I tell you what – I totally get sick of having to stand up for my job. Everyone shouts “buy local” from the rooftops yet the independent I work for is not seen as a local producer and job creator. I’ve stopped making excuses for it and instead educate others to stop picking what is and isn’t local. Your success is because you have talent! You deserve to buy that $100 bottle if that’s what makes you feel special.

  112. Love this post Emily. Have been looking all over the internet for a roundup with this style. Could you share how to do a bedroom in thus style too? Thanks!

  113. I appreciate this post. It represents well your signature self-awareness. I so respect that you are excellent at what you do, work hard, stay authentic, take risks and take opportunities to give back and to support and promote smaller, more ethical companies. That said, I can’t help but really want to suggest you check out my friend Meadow’s pottery. She’s a fellow Oregonian, Ph.D. chemist turned potter and volunteers to give talk about climate change. You can check out her gorgeous hand thrown porclein pottery here: I promise I have no personal stake in promoting her work. I’m just a friend and a fan of hers and would love to see her do well. Plus I LOVE her pottery and think it fits perfectly with this whole casual California vibe.

  114. Emily, this is such a fun roundup! I love that you mix both high-end luxe products and more affordable options in your content. As many have said above you should not have to apologize for being successful and all that affords (ha!) you. Your success is inspirational and truly I think that there’s no reason why you can’t share both the things you want for yourself (lifestyle) and the things you’d recommend for clients of all budgets (job). We get tremendous value as readers out of both.

    Someone alluded to it above regarding your Mother’s Day gifted palooza — which you totally deserved — and I find what makes me feel sad sometimes reading the posts where most of the products are gifted is thinking about someone like my mom, who lost her spouse of 50 years (my beloved dad) last year after a long, expensive medical journey and could really use some new appliances but can’t afford them. Meanwhile these brands are throwing free fridges, washer/dryers etc at design blogs but can’t be bothered to respond to customers in need. My sister and I have helped instead. I am not mad at *you* about this, but it leaves an icky taste in my mouth regarding the brands that do this most often. I’m much less likely to buy from those brands.

    I know that you have done series where you give back to home owners in need. As a consumer I personally feel a lot less swayed by a brand paying for promotion on a blog because it’s popular and much more swayed by bloggers picking products that are the ideal solution for them. Sometimes I understand those two things overlap. Anyway, this is not a problem for you to solve, more my take on a common-place issue.

  115. Laughed when I read this b/c I was just saying to a friend this morning that I wanted to try “that hot cocoa made from mushrooms that I keep seeing on Instagram”. Would love to see more affordable pieces like the ones featured here. Such beautiful spaces – so much inspiration.

  116. You have tough job, because on the one hand we as readers love seeing new content, new styles, new stuff, day in-day out…but on the other hand, some may be reacting to consumption at a rate that either seems wildly unaffordable and or mass-produced and unsustainable. The fact is, we can’t really have it both ways, can we?

    As I reader, I think you do a great job of sharing your talents with the world. For me the design process and eye candy are inspiration and usually nothing more–I certainly don’t feel I need to own everything you present on your blog, nor do I feel bad when I can’t afford it all.

    The effortless expensive California casual look seems like it could be relatively attainable from a DIY and thrifting perspective. Apart from the light-filled lofted ceiling space that is…

    Find some interesting driftwood, sew up some floor cushions. Heck make yourself that wood arm sofa.
    Keltic knot pillow

    (This is not to say that EHD should be a DIY blog, but just that people should realize that there are ways of achieving this “artisanal” surf shack look without breaking the bank).

  117. A-hole or Nah? NAHHH!!!

    Not an a-hole at all Emily! To repeat basically what everyone else has said, love your posts and your honesty. And I totally get it – you’ve worked long and hard so if you’re financially able, why not splurge?

    And I totally get the need for higher-priced handmade items vs inexpensive big box stores. I’m a potter (well, amateur), and everytime I make a piece so much time, sweat (literally), thought, and creative effort goes into it! So of course, I understand pricing items that are one of a kind at a higher pricepoint. At the same time, I know it’s not affordable nor feasible for everyone, and just because you can’t afford a pretty piece of pottery does not mean you don’t deserve to have it in your home via Target etc.


  118. Hi Emily! I thought this was a great topic & I always think you do an awesome job showing readers how to get the look for less. My mantra has always been to buy the best that my budget will allow, and collecting a look over time, rather than putting together an instant room. As a result, some of the rooms in my home are not complete yet, but I would rather sacrifice the completed look & wait a little bit longer to save and afford buying a step up in quality. I used to work in a high end furniture showroom, and after learning about things like kiln dried frames and 8 way hand tied seating, I really want to make purchases that will last with time and wear! Also, as my husband is a furniture maker, I understand the time and effort that goes into making something beautiful, and the costs associated. Many times, the people making these beautiful things are living on a budget themselves!

    As far as the casual California look goes, I am having a love/hate moment with it. I absolutely love it, but I hate that it has become so ubiquitous! Thanks for exploring different styles and breaking it down for us – you do make style attainable for your readers!

  119. love this post– and your blog, content, and insta stories!!!

    i think one benefit of insta stories in this “lifestyle mafia” problem/weird state of life today is that many designers show the photoshoot “behind the scenes” where you see 3/4 of their objects stuffed into the kitchen (and you do this too!!) i think it’s so refreshing because it reminds me– oh right, they have keys and random water bottles that aren’t glass with cork stoppers and dog poop bags that need to go somewhere, too!!!! it’s not just me!!!

  120. SO IMPORTANT, Emily! You really hit the nail on the head when you explained how the oppulent look weighs on on-lookers less because it’s like “um yeah, of course its beautiful but its like a gazillion dollars”; whereas, this effortless look is like “this looks so simple why cant I quite make it work”.

    Social media is awesome for so many things- inspiration, collaboration, keeping up with old friends; however, at the same time, damaging to ones self-esteem. It’s only natural, right?–to look and ‘ooo and ahh’ at all the pretty things but also feel a litte envious / less than. That’s why it’s important for us all to keep it real. Especially those who are influential and have a greater impact on people, so thank you, for keeping it real while also keeping us inspired! Xx

  121. I’ve been following you for a long time and I think you are amazing. I love the content in this post but don’t apologize for your success. If you can afford a $110 olive oil cruet, go for it! You’ve worked hard for it. The reason I keep following you is that you still keep it real and offer lots of great content for all budgets. Someone’s budget doesn’t make them a better person or a worse person. You always have and continue to be one of my favorite bloggers/social media stars.

  122. Thank you SO much for this post Em!
    We just bought a California-esque ranch that is near the actual state of California , and I’ve been so overwhelmed and yes, sad, any time I log on to the interwebs and see all these crazy beautiful images of what I *think* the house should look like, the sadness part kicking in when I thus realize how impractical and unattainable it may be. I have two young boys..all white and wood? Ahahahahaahahahahahahahah. Hilarious. My wallet thinks so too once I start checking out sources.
    So thanks for calling it out and bringing us all back to Earth. And for this amazing budget version! I’ll definitely be snagging some of these!
    Also? I’ve been following for forever now, and I want to thank you for always keeping it real.

    1. Ugh. First time posting and so many errors. Like our California ranch being *nowhere* near the actual state of California. I feel dumb. I fan-girled. Whatevs. We’re all human dammit! 🙂

  123. Most of your things are outside my budget but I appreciate how real you are about it all and I have loved following your journey. You deserve the success you’ve made. I often find myself sucked up in this whole social media effortless thing and then I just sit back and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and go back to goodwill. Thanks for being such a genuine role model and source of inspiration to me and thanks for not being afraid to have the conversations! Acknowledging the whole fantasy world is the first step. I love following your insta stories and seeing how real and non magaziney (I mean that as a compliment) your life is!

  124. First off, I just want to say a big YES to this style. I will read as many posts on it as your team is willing to write. My husband and I like a mix of contemporary, midcentury, industrial, and earthy bohemian. BUT this style wins – and also allows us to pepper in pieces from those other styles without total chaos. The white walls, natural elements (plants, wood), and layered, textured neutrals just feel so calming.

    What you are also 100% right about though, is this stuff is pricey (the accessories alone often = a furniture budget) and living in that meditation-level-effortless-cool kind of space is pretty unrealistic. I often think it’s like designing a show room vs designing a home. Actually living in a space – watching tv, sitting on couches (that yes, I really want to be comfortable), and having pets/ kids makes the designing and splurging a bit more fraught. I continually appreciate your transparency, and really enjoy the “1 look 3 budgets” type posts.

    And yes, I have totally lusted after those ceramic wall hangings, perfectly clustered indoor plants, and insanely gorgeous leather chairs. Until I win the lottery, I’ll do the best I can with sale finds, thrifted items, craigslist, and more approachable brands.

  125. Thank you! This is a very helpful post for unpacking and understanding this trend. I came out “zen” on your style quiz, and I think there’s a lot of overlap, so I can see why it’s so appealing to me. And certainly plenty of catalogs pitch it too – especially this time of year with their “summer” looks. The thing I find so perplexing is that all of these houses look like they don’t even need or have electricity, much less anything like an appliance or *gasp* a TV or computer. It seems in some ways a backlash against the very technological and device-oriented world we live in. But that contributes to the artificiality all the more. However, I really appreciate the reality check on just how staged and expensive this all is — not to mention the cleaning bills for all that “white” decor!

  126. This post was hilarious and helpful. My favorite recent post by far! I love this look but I’m definitely not in Gwynnie’s tax bracket, so next time I get to shop for my home I’m going to look this up again.

    Also, this:
    “But I don’t feel bad or feel like I need to apologize for my success.”

    YES! I love that about you. You obviously work and have worked very hard, and I love that you are enjoying your success and also still intentional and aware of your audience and their differing budgets. Keep doing what you do!

  127. I LOVE THIS POST. You found a few affordable options to items I have been looking for for YEARS!
    Thank you!

  128. Please keep going with this one. I’m so into it and have been for years. As far as affordability goes, I think that’s different for everyone and no one should ever feel bad for having more than someone else, so long as they don’t think it makes them better than them. I would LOVE to shop at Madewell, but can’t afford to, so I shop for similar styles elsewhere. I couldn’t afford a Wesr Elm dresser I wanted so badly for my son, so I found one from a seller on our local classifieds, and am almost done taking it from all black to white with matte black bar pulls and a medium brown stained bottom. I think if you want it enough, you can get the look you’re after within your budget. You just have to try.

  129. I’m amused and intrigued by what you had to say. I’ve noticed that you’re spending more on your wardrobe and home, but hey–you’re rich and famous and I’m not. No biggie. I’m able to go to the thrift store whenever I want and love hunting for treasure.
    I like your style in clothing quite a lot, so I often try to find a cheaper version of some of the things you wear. For example, on Monday I wore those b & w checked capris from Target, oxfords, and a chambray shirt. You’d be proud of your little minion.
    I’m quite opinionated re home design, so while I read your blog every day, I sometimes don’t care for your choices–but again, you do your thing and I’ll do mine. This deep thought occurred to me a few days ago: we often talk about fostering a diverse society–and diversity is not just about race or color or creed or sexual orientation. Diversity also refers to ideas, opinions, and yes–even design choices!
    Re this California Casual stuff, I like some of what I see, but I’m not going to get depressed if I can’t afford such-and-such a cruet. “A fool and his money are soon parted.” (ahem) And as much as I’d like to have a tree growing out of a boulder in my living room, it’s just not going to happen.
    I think what is depressing in consumerism in general, not just the expensive style du jour.
    …But I still like to shop!!!

  130. I don’t like or want mid-century style or furniture, nor do I care for the effortless California cool, but I still read your blog every day. While you may not have something I rush out to buy every day, I still learn about styling and how to choose furniture that works together. I learn something new every day. No, I can’t afford to purchase expensive, custom items and take a chance of them not working together but I can apply “leggy, sculptural chairs” to my preference for more traditional pieces. Learning WHY something works or doesn’t work applies across styles and budgets, and how to style a mantle/bookcase/coffee table allows us to apply this to what we have, or to just purchase one additional item to make it sing. You do that beautifully, Emily, thank you!

  131. You go, friendly price point girl! You often give us the look at three different price points … which I appreciate. Often times, I love the bargain brand the best. And sometimes the pricy item steals my heart.
    I do realize that artlessly perfect is neither “artless” or perfect, but obsessed over and nitpicked and fidgeted back an inch or two for that ideal shot. Just like I realize many bloggers pick out clothes from stores just to be photographed and returned. It’s no more real than stylized photographs of food propped with the perfect strawberry.
    Real life is messy and cluttered and wrinkled with crumbs and fingerprint smudges. But I get reality at home, I don’t need it in magazines or online.
    So go ahead and show us some design porn. Hey, that’s what pinterest is for, isn’t it?

  132. THANK YOU!!! I love this look and have been searching for an affordable round wood coffee table for months! I am so excited to buy several items from this list!

  133. Great post! I agree with all the other commenters- your honesty is refreshing and appreciated. Keep doing what you are doing.

    Some of my favorite content is your get the look posts (with all ranges of prices) and product round-ups with lots of options because that is how I approach design for myself. I take the inspiration offered by other bloggers/magazines and find a way I can bring a piece of that into my home in an affordable way. I would love seeing more of those posts and getting the benefit of your massive experience sourcing products.

  134. Thank you for the honesty. Right on, dead on and all the rest. Will rant on. Have lived for a long time in the East Village of NY, (and LA for awhile too) back when there was no internet and now when there is, giving me a perfect chance to muse on what is fashion and what is style over the years. I feel bad for the people trained by the screen to measure their life by the media, web, and social media, always presenting. Trying to be authentic and hip and fabulous and just right a la Goop and the celebs yet walking in style lock step striving to be cool and attempting to make it look effortless. Young people used to be able to experiment and evolve on their own. Same with all of us for that matter, now it is all “curated.”
    This look and its variations have all evolved out of what used to be an “authentic” bohemia and real style. Do not mean to be so negative because I too love this style. Conundrum? Yes. Worthy of a phd thesis? Absolutely. What I love about you and your site? Honesty, self awareness and reality with a real glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain, to borrow a phrase from The Wizard of Oz.

  135. I just have to say that I absolutely LOVE this post. I’ve been following along with you on social media and your blog for many years, but have never written until now. I actually even saw you out at Round Top, but didn’t want to bother you by being a fan-girl. I chatted with Tessa (who was lovely beyond measure), because one of her prints still remains the only piece of art in my house currently.

    100% agree with what you’ve written here, and I certainly appreciate a blend of high-low items in my home, which is why I enjoy your content so much. I love supporting artisans, and I bring in some designer pieces, but I love rounding it out with Target finds. You produce content that inspires, so whether I can afford it or not, I still appreciate it. I think you do a wonderful job of being transparent, providing pricing, and then offering alternatives. So thank you!

    While I can certainly understand why people turn away from these types of items in this round-up, because they crave color or less empty space, I adore everything you’ve shown here (and already own some of them). I’m guilty of the colorless, neutral home with a California vibe… so, I’d personally adore another round-up of specific items along these lines. Bring it on 🙂

  136. Wonderful post and lovely to see my own thoughts put into words! Please do continue with this! And I do agree, if you can afford to support those amazing local makers/artists or sustainable products go for it (and don’t feel guilty)!

  137. Yes! Really loving this post!
    Thank you so very much for including beautiful items the working class can afford.
    Would you consider one with more bohemian/eclectic/colorful decor?
    Thanks Emily!

  138. While the look of casual California with just a hint of color is beautiful in pictures it leaves me wanting more color and whimsy. The affordable options you provided are very nice though.

  139. The post was fine – but worried about your emotional well-being!! No breakdowns allowed! You curate “stuff” for a living – and that’s great – but keep in mind that it’s just stuff, and those babies and your family and your LIFE are what’s most important. Stay healthy emotionally and mentally – no one, at the end their lives, regrets a purchase at the Rose Bowl. I can have this perspective now because I am 15 years older than you! xxoo

  140. You are not an a-hole, shallow, or part of the design mafia! I too watched you on Design Star (and I never watch reality TV, but for some reason I caught part of that show) and love watching your success. You are so down to earth and transparent. Don’t ever worry about becoming jaded or out of touch. I’ll be 60 in a few weeks! and I find much to enjoy in your posts even though you are in a totally different place in your life than I am. I send your baby/child posts to my nieces and now my daughter in law with a brand new 6 week old baby. I read about your baby/toddler issues so I can be a better aunt, mother in law and now grandmother!
    I read your design posts because I love good design and I find your style very lovely. I’m a clinical social worker and was deeply touched by your posts about your marriage and how to keep it alive and well. Oh and I cannot forget how funny your writing is. Makes me feel as though I would love to hang out with you on that fabulous stone patio of yours and visit.
    Stay just as you are! Doesn’t that sound like something to write in the senior high school year book!!!

  141. Love this – and love the transparency of what we all present on social media vs real life. I’d love to see an expanded post, possibly including how some of these elements can be found affordably or updated to get this look (small diy tweaks).

  142. Emily, it’s posts like this that keep me reading your blog religiously. I find your honesty refreshing. Yes, most of us can’t afford those splurge pieces, but I love how you always break it down and then give us cheaper options. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED AWESOMENESS.

    This look isn’t 100% my cuppa tea, but there are elements of it that I like.

    No, I don’t have sadness on Instagram or blogs. I know what I want and I keep trolling Craigslist and thrift shops in search of the perfect pieces. Now that I know what it is I want, I just have to wait for it to appear at the right price. It’s part of the fun.

    I recently wanted a refresh of my living room and couldn’t really afford any of the rugs I was finding online. So I just kept on Craigslist day after day. And eventually, I found a gorgeous wool rug in the perfect size for only $50. I was THRILLED. And in the process of waiting, I was going through your archives and dissecting all the rugs–their sizes, colors, and placement. It was SO helpful.

  143. What a post! Thanks Team EHD!

    Can I put in a request for a post down the track… Where the sources for a room/look is available globally (or as globally as possible?!)

  144. Hi Emily! This is one of my favorite posts you’ve written (and I’ve been a reader for over 5 years)! Thank you for always being open and honest. AND giving us a SWEET round-up!

  145. Kudos to you, Emily. I love your blog, your style and your honesty. I sold my 1930’s English Tudor cottage and moved into a midcentury home 2 years ago and looked to your projects for inspiration. Now you’re back in the style of my first home and it has me longing to get back to that older school architecture and warmth. Ignore all the nay-sayers…you and your staff are fantastic!

  146. Love you! You’re amazing and honest, as always. I’m so f-ing tired (but still obsessed) with this look. Can someone let me know when the look (for those with kids) is Magna-tiles + Barbies + Dump trucks + Crayola markers + Dress up capes + Chicka Chicka Boom Boom + a million other toys strewn about the room?? We can totally throw a filter on it to get rid of those icky, bright colors?! Ha. Keep doing your thing, Emily… YOU. ARE. THE. BEST.

  147. As always, you express real and relevant thoughts and feelings in a kind, generous and genuine way. Thank you! Today’s post is just another reason why I enjoy reading your blog. Here’s hoping you keep being you – self-aware, funny, sensitive, on point and a tad vulnerable. All of which is vey much appreciated, by many of us.

  148. I loved this post. We are moving soon and after reading your post I realize this style has been the source of inspiration for our new place without me even realizing what it was. I love that this post shows us how to get the look for less. It sucks when you look up a piece you love online and then the price is insane, but I also know there are good finds out there I just haven’t found them yet. More posts just like this please. Everything you picked out is so great!

  149. I am part of the mafia, but I can’t afford to be. So it’s all in my head. But man, this post made it so maybe I can be a real-life mafia member and not a daydream one. Probably one of my favourite posts to date! Thank you Em and team:):)

  150. I LOVE this post! I appreciate your honesty. I too look at GOOP and gawk at the $600 sundress and wish she had more affordable options for those that don’t have her budget, well I guess she doesn’t have a budget, hahaha.
    I often take breaks from Instagram so I don’t fall into the trap of being envious of all the beautiful things people have. I reminded myself “comparison is the thief of joy.”

  151. Emily, you ROCK!!! I was one of those posters who gave feedback re: everything suddenly feeling really expensive. I love how well you listen to your readers (and generally just seem like a super open, not defensive person). This post is awesome ?!

  152. I’m new to your blog and Instagram, I’ve been following for a few months. I spend a lot of time trying to curate and research the perfect California cool for my home. It’s been so refreshing to see that you live the dream of so many but are so humble. You share the ups and the downs and you make it ok to not pretend like everyday is amazing and wonderful. I’m so tired of the perfect California cool and the photos of people staring off in the distance with no expression in the most amazing outfit. I just love learning from your information and actually feeling like your a real person. You deserve the success you’ve worked hard for so don’t let the haters on here make you feel like you need to explain yourself. You are awesome Emily! Keep up the good work!

  153. Some of the comments over the past year or so have been so unkind they made me want to throw up. So, I can totally see how it’s given you some anxiety lately and I’m so so sorry that’s happened. You are incredibly generous to your readers and nobody deserves to have their work dumped on.

    I went through a little patch of anxiety​ in my career too at point. It helped me to have a few little mantras in my head….this may sound silly but one of them was “karma” and another was “just be nice” when some colleagues were being truely a-holes. Take care of yourself Dear Emily, your readers don’t want to lose you!

  154. Thank you for all of this – the effort to find beautiful, affordable pieces, the honest thoughts. It’s the best lifestyle/design post I’ve read in a long time. You have so much kindness, integrity, and thoughtfulness in you.
    I struggle with the look-but-can’t-have a LOT, to the point that I’m pretty sure I need to take an internet break (bc we don’t have money, basically, and I deeply love beauty and good design, and mourn my own unfurnished, unstyled home). At the same time, people like you have introduced me to artists and designers that, if someday our income increases, I would be delighted to “fund” ;). I would hate to only ever see big box recommendations just to keep things relatable, bc I value the craft and materials and business practices that often go into these smaller batch, thoughtfully designed pieces. I’m glad, though, that you let us see the “less than perfect” and the effort and money that goes into things. I was bemoaning my sad backyard the other day and then it struck me, hey, Emily hired a designer and a whole team of people to make her backyard happen. I have me and my tiny budget and I’m still making it more beautiful than it was before, and also…I can’t expect to pull off what an entire team of professionals pulled off. It takes money or time.
    Anyway, all this to say YES PLEASE follow up posts!

    1. PS Also, if I had the money, yes I would hire someone to redo my edging and plant stuff that will def look good and not die. So I didn’t judge you – I was like, yeah…that makes sense.

  155. Love everything you’ve said here. You are wonderful and interesting and so smart and relevant.

    As an aside, what about putting something like what design sponge has on their commenting area to remind people to think before they type? “Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.”

  156. Oh Emily, this is such a great post!
    And I feel utterly sick that you’re waking up with anxiety!
    I think the general rule for comments should be: ‘Would you say that to your Mother In Law or best friend?’ If no, step away from the keyboard and check yourself!
    And hey, a style that is everywhere at the moment is ‘Jungalow’. It looks easy but is hard.
    Perhaps some day a post on how to nail it?
    Love your work!

  157. Emily, I just bought my dream house after over 15 years of hard work and saving and I want to thank you for keeping me sane as I try to create this look. I’m in Chicago but love visiting California and want so much to bring some of that casual coastal airy breezy linen-covered world into my new place. I love that you have your own spin on this look that incorporates more color and vintage finds. I also LOVE how much you share sources and give high/low options. You do an amazing job balancing it all and no one should be upset with you for treating yourself. You don’t seem like someone who has let success go to her head at all.

  158. LOVE this post! I’m totally into the effortless Cali cool look, and I have been looking for the perfect affordable corner chair that makes a statement… but doesn’t. Thanks so much!

  159. Loved the post and your work in general. I also started out on a budget and now in my 30s have the ability to splurge, which I did on a recent product that Orlando linked to (and I love it!). The curation is great.

    This might be controversial, but have you thought about disabling comments on the blog? It doesn’t seem like there’s much of a “community” being cultivated (just people posting I love it/I hate it), and it sounds like it’s causing you and your team (and us, as readers!) more stress than anything else. No one should be feeling the need to be constantly validated by online commenters, it’s a product of our social media world and so not healthy. (Do I sound like Goop yet?!)

    It feels like you’re moving into Young House Love territory, which makes me nervous – I don’t want you to shut down the blog like they did! Maybe try disabling comments on the blog and insta for a month or two, and see if it changes your outlook? No one (including readers) needs all this extraneous commentary in their lives!!

  160. Emily, two things…first, I love this look and have for a bit! So happy you did a “Get the Look” post about it. Thank you! Second, don’t apologize for showing or buying expensive things for yourself and your family. People come to your blog for inspiration and ideas because you’re a “designer”, not a DIYer! You do a fabulous job of mixing in the high, low, designer, and thrift store style. I understand it’s hard to get negative feedback, but please don’t change how you write and do things because of a few people’s opinions. You are successful, that should tell you something.

  161. Never do I ever comment on blogs but this was just too good. In a weird “the internet controls my life” way, this post has softened my need to be and create this lifestyle. It’s impossible to maintain, and every day doesn’t need to feel like a cozy California cat nap. Back to the color and chaos. Thanks for your honesty…don’t hold back!

  162. Literally painting my house “Dove White” at this very moment ?. But damn it looks good!

  163. Long time listener, first time caller… This might be my favorite post ever, although I don’t know if anything could truly top Birdie’s gender reveal.

    This post was so thoughtful, honest, and yet still respectful at the same time. So happy you pushed yourself and took this risk, it totally paid off!

    Now I’m going to go watch the gender reveal video. And yes I know how creepy that sounds…

    Also I can’t stop thinking about the Russians hacking you..

  164. As usual you hit the nail on the head. I remember probably two-ish years ago obsessing over Courtney Adamo’s London home, trying to figure out why my house didn’t look anything like that, and reading the comments, in which somebody wrote “problemes du riche,” and I was like– OHHH. They’re rich. Ah ha. Well why didn’t they just say so?! 🙂 Once I realized it was really a high-budget place my envy went away. As it does with your house.

  165. I don’t know if my comments have been posting (I’ve been getting an error message after), but I love your High/low mix and your honesty. I like that you are successful and I hope that my readership contributes to your success. I live in Marin county, so I am surrounded by this look. I also lived in Silverlake, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, so I know this well. I think this was one of your best posts of all time. I just bought the sinnerlig light from ikea for our Carpinteria rental condo. I have really similar outdoor furniture that I bought from a Tiburon family on craigslist (all teak and crazy good quality).

    So–I like how you break down what the look is. It was really helpful how you said “all white walls” and pointed out the color palette and the natural elements. I understand the look a little better. I have that gray neutral paint up in my house now that is probably on the way out of trends but that I love. I grew up in So Cal with all white walls and I now find it oppressive. I was so excited to get out on my own and paint some walls which was forbidden in my household.

    I want to add that I was at the Container store last week in the hook section and they had a smaller but cheaper shaker peg rack. I have also seen bigger ones for way less in local hardware stores.

    Thanks again for doing what you do. I enjoy seeing you spend money and also mix in vintage and target. I hated when everyone beat you up for admitting your design mistakes in this house. Also–you should splurge as this blog and the magazine shoots are how you make money. It’s your job to curate nice things.

  166. Ehhh I definitely agree with what you said about this style ending up a parody of itself. Especially translated into a McMansion in some suburb. Bunch of wooden beads hung all over with floor pillows. Gonna end up looking back and laughing at it like you would laugh at geese being a decor trend in the 80s. I like the white walls but I lean towards the Scandinavian side of things. I like how they use inherited furniture from different eras and color. Seems like an iPad or a husband wouldn’t be out of place. I can’t imagine trying to live in any of these spaces in the pictures.

  167. This post is amazing. I’ve been trying to achieve this look for months and months but my budget only allows thrift/flea market prices ! I enjoy the hunt and collecting unique and different items. And of course ALL the wonky baskets ! Love your transparency and even though I’m a new reader, I’ve been loving what I’m reading !

  168. What an amazing post!! I love this style of house – I really like the minimalism look but feel it’s a bit too plain for me so, this Californian style is the perfect medium. I love how it’s filled with neutral colours and organic objects, it just gives it a majorly earthly vibe which I love 🙂 I plan on decorating my first house like this (a lot more budgeted though) and I will be coming back to this post to get some tips.

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Chloe @

  169. yes yes yes, love this look life style want to want around in flowy linen and drink smoothies and wash my face with everything natural while sitting my the sea so so so much,and feel 100% crap about my life! just had a juge conversation with someone about all the people i follow n instagram,u answered some questions! (Yoli & Otis) Thank you, want more info on this look…how to get a similar vibe not all white,,,,i have 4 kids!

  170. I love this look. The mix of textiles and textures is particularly lovely, and I adore the color palette.

    It’s kind of you to remind your readers that blogs and instagram accounts are curated versions of real life, funded in some part by sponsors and business. It’s easy for people to forget and get depressed that their “real” life doesn’t stack up to the perfection they see online 🙂

  171. Thank you, once again, for being so honest. I think you might be the ONLY designer who is saying, “Look at this –. It’s cute but costs $–. Isn’t that crazy?” It’s to the point where all other bloggers sound either pretentious or clueless to me, because no one else seems to acknowledge the time, effort, budget, or brain space.
    So thank you! Keep doing what you do!

  172. I don’t think you need to defend your house purchases – and the “splurge” like that olive oil thing is not that much money (I wouldn’t really call that a splurge purchase). Obviously you spend more on your house than I do, as your house is your blog content. Honestly though it does feel a tad insulting when you are like this 100 dollar item is a splurge or your clothes are. Lots of us wear the same things and also like nice things in our houses, and we have the budget for it. I would say just you don’t need to apologize for the price of whatever it is you have and like. If I want something cheap, I’ll look at ikea. I’m not coming to your site for cheap things.

  173. These are not really my style (I need color in my house!), but I LOVE this post and how upfront and honest you are with your readers. I’ve been “with” you from the beginning and I love seeing your success and growth. You deserve it!

  174. Can you please suggest some white paint colors for walls & cabinets that go well with this look? Love this look and have been overwhelmed with narrowing down white paint choices – again a simple look that is so complex when you get down to it! ;()

  175. This is such a lovely honest post. I didn’t read it word-for-word but maybe instead of showing us cheap options, suggest how we can repurpose things so we aren’t bringing more cheap stuff into the world. How to use things in a variety of rooms, DIY’s. That sort of thing.

  176. So I was just watching The Today Show, and my 14 year old daughter comes down and says, “Is that Emily??” It was Gwyneth Paltrow sitting on the couch on that show. 🙂 My daughter sees me looking at your blog all the time or watching your Instastory….

  177. Thanks for this post. I often have disagreements about what home decor purchases are “necessary” with my frugal husband. I have a lot of guilt about buying too much and do try to find sales and deals with each purchase. It’s the best when I can marry form and function. What’s great about this blog is that you offer options and some affordable picks. All that said it does seem a little strange to criticize another tastemaker/personality when it’s so close to home and both parties are involved in the business of buying/shopping/selling etc. I LOVE interior design and do feel it is def a luxury for most people around the world, but by it’s nature can be materialistic. I’m guilty of it, too. On the contrast, the way a space looks changes moods, brightens up a home and can create calm, so I see it’s value more than my hubby. I think most people following any style blog or design instagram sees it for it’s aspirational quality, fantasy, and the occasional accessibility. The fact that we have the luxury to worry about design problems really shows how lucky we are.

    1. Amen! to your entire post, but especially to that last sentence. I too love when form and function can be married (preferably at a non-eye-watering price), and believe that surround oneself with things that are pleasing aesthetically, can influence one’s mood/state of mind. But I’m well aware of how lucky I am to get to feel that way. I grew up in a non-first-world country, and while I’m now fortunate enough to afford almost all the things bloggers routinely shill for, its hard to override my upbringing and justify the prices sometimes and generally try to pick and choose what I splurge on. I almost never compare myself to anyone else, because everyone’s circumstance is different, and as long as my and my family’s basic needs are met, I can’t really envy or begrudge someone else’s situation or choices. But seriously how lucky we are to even have these problems.

  178. I LOVE this post. Like LOVE LOVE. My husband and I just splurged on a west elm leather recliner and sofa – our first real furniture purchases (we saved for months and then waited for one of their big sales)! For the first 3 years we’ve been out of college we had been using hand-me-downs from family members and build your own Target furniture. The dresser we use is one that I found at Salvation Army, stripped, and re-stained myself. It has been so difficult trying to capture a vibe and then finding pieces that fit that AND our budget. All the pretty things feel so expensive… What you’ve done is recognize (in other posts and instagram stories) that life isn’t as pretty or together as a set of pictures would have you believe AND that you have the ability to try several different options while most people can’t. Your transparency is so refreshing! I’ll continue to use you and your home as my inspiration and always look forward to your budget posts – at least until I can help support local designers and artisans 🙂

  179. just saw your instastory (which i love – you are so real and cute and i love the mix of house/outfits/personal stuff/etc.) and hopped over here. you’re the best and this is so helpful. i love love love goop and gwyneth, but it IS so stressful to feel like you just can’t get it all together and everyone else can, so effortlessly. i was just thinking this yesterday when i read yet another effortlessly fabulous mogul talk about how important it is to meditate twice a day and i was thinking, “how do i not have my life (with three kids, a job, and a very limited budget) together enough to meditate?!?” haha. thanks for being honest about the complexities of lining up your deep desires, values, and aesthetics, with your life realities – it’s tough, and you’re doing a great job of it. <3

  180. Wonderful post Emily! I am a long-time reader and I’ve always appreciated your commitment to addressing all budget levels consistently through the years- you just posted about budget sofa options recently! Who is arguing that you’ve gotten too pricey?- thank you, and your team, so much for all of the hard work and inspiration! You should not be feeling guilty at all. The truth is that you are not just starting out; you’ve been working at this for some time and I would only expect to see this reflected in your home and style.
    The above look is exactly me- with a lot of dusty blues and greens in the mix. When we moved into our home seventeen years ago I started searching estate sales/eBay/flea markets/Craigslist for what my husband called “that Big Sur hippie commune look”, and today that’s exactly what we’ve got. I think our place looks great- finding those budget pieces takes time, but they are out there, and your site truly helped me find them! Another upgrade that comes with time is that my kids are older and we no longer have giant rainbow colored toys; this is huge. And now I’m headed to Target to look for that fringed pillow! Keep it up!

  181. Love this post and would love to see more. It’s the age in which we live in that social media has taken over, and it is so easy to get suckered into it and feel that maybe you’re not “keeping up with the Jones”. I enjoyed a new, fresh and affordable take on this design style. It’s relaxing, welcoming and comforting.

  182. This is the story of life; someone will always have more/be able to do more than you. You and your team do an amazing job of presenting ideas and suggestions for all of us in the general public to use to help us decide how to arrange our space. You are all very forthcoming that you aren’t saving the world one caramel leather pouf at a time, but you obviously love nice and beautiful things. Don’t we all in some form or fashion? My preference is to save up for the super nice things and forego the pretty, but lesser quality items. Therefore my house looks like a dump after living in it for 11 years because I spend all my $$$ on my horses. We all have our priorities! However, we are planning to gut it and do a refresh next year. Your blog has been SUCH an inspiration! This is how I found DeVOL of whom I am OBSESSED. I’ll plug a request here (if there is any chance you still read comments a day or two after a blog post). I have yet to find a design blogger that addresses a for reals FARM house. I have 8-10 dogs coming and going in my house on any one day. My husband and I live on 10 acres and we go in and out a lot (when we aren’t at work) and we need our house to WORK. I can’t have fancy vintage rugs for fear of motor oil or dog poop. I can’t have white walls because they are dirty from about 2′ down (ask me how how I know). But I want that lovely California surf style crossed with English farmhouse crossed with French hunting lodge. I’d love to see a post or two about finishes/paint/style that works for a durable house. I don’t have human kids. 🙂 Thanks for all your hard work and for sharing your visions with us!

  183. Hi Emily, I’m a fan from Italy and you’re totally right. I’m not rich and I’m not poor, sometimes you make a crazy buy and sometimes you have to opt for the more economic version. It’s important to be aware of what you can effort and what not. Houses in the USA are so much bigger than here in Europe, most of us only have a simple apartment (mine – 80 square meters) – of course I will never be able to style my home like you are but I can get INSPIRATION and that’s the most important thing . INSPIRATION!!! Tanti saluti (which means many greetings) from Italy

  184. Em, this couldn’t come at a better time. Decorating & thrift store shopping is my passion, passed down from my parents who have a gorgeous home that has evolved over 30 years living there. I feel like that’s missing from so many interior posts: it’s start-to-finish in a matter of weeks or a month. To me, the fun of decorating is the gathering of appealing objects over time and the evolution of a space as you and your life changes. It’s about your personality and likes, not solely copying what you see other people doing.

    The effortlessness is so misleading, as there is cleaning, moving, BIG messes and often light construction involved in even minor projects.

    The goopification of things is nuts and though I used to be a fan of Gwyneth and was on the fence about her brand, I’m really disappointed in the recent story about their convention of overpriced and downright wacky items. I’ve unsubscribe and won’t support goop as I think it’s irresponsible to be haphazardly dispensing medical and wellness advice with little to no research backing it up.

    Thanks for being accesseble, down-to-earth and REAL. You kick ass!

  185. Wow! This is great! I’d love a further breakdown, too. Thanks for being honest. 🙂

  186. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS POST!!! I am redecorating my bedroom as we speak to copy this exact style! 🙂 Love that you always post sources! It’s so nice to see something you love and know where it came from! 🙂

  187. A big yes to everything you said. And btw don’t ever apologize for your success-you worked hard for it.

  188. Hey Emily!

    Thank you so much for this blog post! I was actually really invested in designing my new apartment into this style. Mainly because I wanted my place to feel comfy and lived in. But at the same time, I’m fighting internally cause I’m so drawn to pops of color. This post has helped me come to terms to what would really make me happy. Your honesty is so greatly appreciated.

    I do greatly wish that you could do some post about dos and donts when it comes to rentals. I also need advice on how to style a windowless/small bathroom. I’m having a hard time being able to make it into something that fits the rest of my rental style because there’s no sunshine and I can’t change fixtures and so on.

    Thank you again for being such a constant inspiration. I watch all your Instagram stories and I’m constantly telling my boyfriend I would want you to design my dream home one day.

    – Jocelyn

  189. Interesting post. I appreciate your honesty. I have not ever felt snarky or negative if/when something costly appears on your website, but then, I’m at an age when I can easily accept that, hey, one gets a little older, one gets a little more financially stable. (Ideally, at least). Nor do I get overwhelmed by lifestyles. In fact, if I do get snarky, it’s because so much of the lifestyle stuff strikes me as so ‘done,’ so ‘styled,’ so lifestyle-y and not enough life). Where I DO find myself getting discouraged is seeing things on your and others’ sites, getting all inspired, and then realizing again my lack of access — because I’m not a designer (in ‘the trade’) in some cases, and because I live in a small town far from a big city full of independent shops, vintage shops, design districts, etc., in others. I’m not yet daring enough to make really big purchases, sight-unseen, online! Hmm. I’ve meandered. What was the question again?

  190. I love your blog and instagram SO much! Thank you for your honest posts about the creative process and what goes on behind the scenes. You do incredible work and I absolutely love following it!

  191. Emily, discovered your blog pretty recently (needed inspiration for decorating my new-ish home), and I have to say how much I love it! I appreciate your candor, warmth, and clear empathy for your readers. As a busy working mom of two kids myself (who is trying to make a beautiful place for her family to live), I love all of your practical, beautiful ideas and budget finds. Keep up the wonderful work, and thank you for all of the inspiration — you are fantastic.

  192. Um, THANK YOU. That $400 dress barefoot smoothie sentence was a reminder to me I should immediately stop instagram stalking (and therefore coveting) those seemingly-effortless lifestyle curators. I love the brand Doen and at one point would have immediately bought one of their dresses if it was in my SAHM budget and I didn’t have a one-year old’s peanut butter fingers all over me every damn day. I can’t help but think of their brand though as part of the problem when they give dresses away to all the lifestyle “influencers” out there and make every middle-America mom feel as if she is less for not owning one. Truth is, those “influencers” (maybe even you) were gifted those and instead of being drawn to Doen’s dresses I’m now annoyed and over them after seeing 20 different instagram-celebrities in them. BTW, Doen is just an example here so insert any brand that is playing by these rules. Either way, this was a long rambling post to say thanks for pointing out the obvious.

  193. I gave up Facebook about 4 years ago because it made me feel bad about myself. I get that sometimes social media and peoples edited lifestyles can make you look at yourself under a microscope. It was a great decision for me because I knew it said more about me than what anyone else was posting. That being said, aren’t we reading design blogs and following designers on social media for the inspiration not to compare ourselves to them? Do people read Elle Decor and write the editors and tell them they’re out of touch because they advertise a sofa that’s $10,000? These social media accounts are mini magazine spreads. They are edited and styled and have teams of people behind them at times. I don’t get the expectation that designers on social media are held to some higher standard than a shelter magazine. They do the same thing. So going back to my first sentence, if it makes you feel bad and not inspired then you should get off social media or only follow the people who don’t make you feel bad. You’ll be much happier trust me.

  194. I love your blog because you cover all of the bases without going too upscale so no need to apologize to anyone. Having followed you since Design Star, you have always stayed true to yourself and you deserve the success you worked hard for. If people don’t like it, they can go elsewhere to find decorating advice. Now, I’ve been decorating along these lines for decades (maybe because I’m a native Californian) and the great thing about it is it can be very inexpensive. Baskets – thrift store, wood stump tables – ask a neighbor or tree trimmer to save a stump or two (give them the height and diameter) next time they cut down a tree, find a beautiful piece of fabric and hang it from an interesting stick, collect sand and put it in thrift store glass containers. I made linen coverlets for my bed and when holes appear, I patch them, either by hand sewing or machine, and these fixes actually bring more character to them. If someone wants this look, think outside the box on sourcing.

  195. just had to send some love and gratitude for this post – I come for the design, but get so much more than that….

  196. I love this post and your self-awareness, truthfulness, generosity with your knowledge, design taste SO MUCH, Emily! Thank you.

  197. I appreciate this post so freaking much! I’m in the middle of a (very expensive) move and I’m trying to be so intentional and frugal about how I set up my new place.

  198. All these voices. And now I’m adding mine into the fray. Oh goodness! You’re enormously talented and absolutely lovable. Thank you for putting yourself out there. Sadly this internet can be such a vicious place. Opinions. Egos. Not a single one of us is 100% right about any of it either. All any of us can do is the best we can. You help make the world more beautiful. You add value to my life and those of many others. Your blog is tremendous. Showcasing a variety of price ranges for similar items is practical and helpful for readers. I appreciate your transparency and willingness to listen and connect with fans. Just take care not to let the poison in. One way to do this is to imagine the troll in their underwear. I wish you light, happiness, health and continued bounties of creativity.

  199. I loved this post! I have ALWAYS thought to myself “HOW and where do they get all these awesome pieces, how do they get them to looks cohesive but not intentional?!” Thank you. More please!!!

  200. This. post. It’s all so real. As I try to edit and hone my first floor (in the Boston area no less — NOT California), I keep opening the post for Mel’s living room as inspiration because it’s so neutral and gorgeous. I would LOVE to be able to support all of the artisans out there doing beautiful things with natural materials, but it’s definitely too rich for my blood. I try to strike a balance between DIY-ing the look, going finding things on Overstock, Wayfair and the like, and supporting local shops.

    I’m SO grateful that you called this out, telling it like it is, and that you always pull back the curtain on these details in your own home. I appreciate it and I think we’re ALL trying to do the high-low juggle, but to varying degrees. You do you, Emily, and keep sharing with us! And yes yes yes, 25+ more posts like this with round ups, please 😀

  201. I absolutely love this post. I agree, especially as a consumer of design/lifestyle content, that it can create a sense of what life/our homes/bodies, etc. “should” look/feel/be like without truly including the work/cost/general craziness of real life. I LOVE that you are talking about it and that you share some of the more real aspects of your life. Thank you for that.

    I do love this look, like looove it. Like you said, it feels simple, effortless, collected, and the fact that it is super designed and curated is a great reminder. I vote for more round up posts on specific elements. As always, superb job. Thanks for being real and sharing your journey.

  202. Your brilliant!! And thank you for this. I envy the look and the wallet that is needed to get it. Thank god for DIY. My life is more colorful than this but the elements work in that scenario too. Social media definitely can be depressing. I really appreciate you writing this piece and can’t wait for the further breakdown.

  203. Emily, thank you always for your honesty and for your thoughtful consideration. Design may seem frivolous to some, but there are big ideas about our cultures in spaces and in objects! You are not only a smart-cookie but a super hardworking one. You’ve truly nailed the look and essence of this whole California Casual vibe. It’s a look that also sells an idea that in itself can be frustrating– the illusion that life is simple. The handmade goods that appear so humble are now expensive and out of reach for many people.

    Perhaps I’ll write you a letter about this at some point, but I’m so grateful for this particular post at this particular time… I work in interior design and love it for what I imagine are the same reasons you do. I love the creativity, problem-solving, attention to detail, creating compositions and incorporating beautiful work by other artists and designers. I think there’s a real value in making spaces beautiful and inspiring people to think about aesthetics and culture. However, I live in San Francisco, and my career is possible because of the amount of wealth and privilege here, which has also really hurt a lot of people in this city. It’s a source of conflict and pain to pass the sidewalk tent cities as I walk into design shops to buy expensive furnishings for clients. I also feel some pressure to shop too much myself to be part of this cult of lifestyle. I worry it is changing me too, just as you worry success has changed you. Sometimes I think of getting out of the trade and doing something that would better benefit all people (and oh man, that doesn’t even start on my conflicts about design and environmental issues.)

    You have always done a great job explaining your thought process, and I wonder if you could share more of your feeling on design as it intersects with privilege, social justice, environmental concerns and so on. I know that’s asking a lot, but I’m sure you have some strong feelings on this topic too! Thank you so much.

  204. this is awesome. keep it f’real, sister.

    but, errrmm, #50 Fern *Plant*? is that like Tuna *Fish*? 😉

  205. I love this post. It’s so true, it seems like the cookie cutter IKEA staged home look is out and people are looking for unique handmade finds instead. I love this shift, but it can be costly. I would LOVE more posts like this, with more affordable style finds like this post.

  206. Emily – you are most definitely not an a-hole! Anyone who makes you feel bad – out of meanness, pettiness, jealousy – those are the a-holes. You are real, and talented, and nice. Those things come through loud and clear in your posts. No need to apologize for anything, in my opinion.
    Question – I love this look! but my house (urban, very close to neighbors, victorian, small, dark) just can’t support it. Any suggestion for a paint color that might work in such an environment, (besides white – not enough light) if one wants this artisanal, earthy, California vibe?

  207. I realize I’m late to the party so maybe you won’t even see this comment.

    This was an excellent post and very helpful. I’ve been coveting elements of this style for some time. I’m nowhere near being able to afford the looks in your sample photos but at the same time am looking for nicer and a bit pricier long-term pieces (less Ikea, more Room&Board price point).

    My dream would be for you to do the same roundup but at a slightly higher price point!

  208. On the one hand, I think it is no one’s business what you spend, OTOH you have made it our business. I don’t resent success, but I am stunned how rich people spend their money. I was looking at a backyard fireplace thing the other day. I saw some for around $90 and some that looked more plain for $400 and I thought to myself, “Rich people would buy the $400 for the brand name even if they are not getting anything any superior to the ‘inferior’ branded product.” That’s dumb. Just being honest as well. I buy fantastic second hand chairs for $40 at Salvation Army that a rich person would “need” to spend $400 on just to feel like it was high end. That’s dumb. But there you go. I find it funny that you put a lumbar pillow for nearly 100 bucks in the category of “affordable”. Affordable is buying a $10 insert and covering it with fabric for $10 or something along that line. I just think as you get richer, ala Gwyneth (who has never know lack) you lose sight of common sense. imo.


  209. Oh my gosh I LOVE THIS POST. So honest and helpful, not to mention funny of course! I think you’re doing a might fine job here.

  210. I loved this post! Seemed like a toughie to write, and you did it beautifully! I’m afraid to add (since I think of it as my decor secret sometimes,) but H&M home has a lot that fits this style at the moment (textured linen bedding, terra cotta pots, and all kinds of baskets) at very affordable prices. I didn’t click through all of your incredible links, but I didn’t recognize any of your pics as H&M… 🙂

  211. “I’m just recommitting myself to it”: so relatable! We all have our ideals (for work, relationships, child-rearing, etc.), but it’s not unusual to find ourselves straying. Recommitting, particularly in a community manner, is a great way to stay the course. Thank you!

  212. Love it!! Great post, thank you! I appreciate your honesty and your humor. As always I appreciate the round up of real-deal high-end, budget, and vintage.

  213. I loved this post. This look is fully my personal style but I totally agree that it can seem out of reach. Especially so, when this style is executed by those with money. This look however can be very affordable. One needs an eye for neutral and textural vintage pieces, simple, solid wood Craigslist furniture and perhaps a bit of crisp modern introduced through some choice IKEA finds. I feel like I’ve generally achieved this look in my home with the exception of my children’s Legos all over the floor. The kids are less concerned about toys being perfectly stored in the leather handled market baskets and placed casually (yet very deliberately) in the corner of the living room. 😉

  214. Great post Emily! and I really like the honesty and you are spot on about those 2 money solitudes. I try to remind myself that these cool laid back California vibe looks came to be populaire with hip and stylish people who did not have those high price budget and did all of that with thrift stores and off the street finds.

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