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Graphic Novel Antique Geek Chic

Welcome to the new series ‘Blast from Secrets Past’, or in other words ‘Emily revisits, rehashes, reposts and criticizes her own work from that makeover show’. Many of you may have not seen the show or read the blog 5 years ago so I thought it would be fun to revisit these projects and talk about how I would update them in 2016 or what I would have done differently if I could go back. I generally like to keep things positive here so I don’t rip other people’s work a part, nor can I criticize my own client design work because well, they have paid me money to make their spaces beautiful so I don’t want to be like ‘Welp, That looked like trendy garbage!’ But talking about what we do wrong is a great way to show how to do things right, right? For these rooms/episodes the homeowners got everything for free so I feel a little more liberty to talk about regrets in the most respectful/delicate way possible. Additionally I thought it would be fun and tortuous to repost the original post with all that copy – in other words show how I used to write, what the blog used to be like – for good or bad.

Let’s start with one that I loved. This episode called, ‘Graphic Novel Antique Geek Chic’ from Secrets will always be one of my favorites – the people were awesome, and the style/design is still so fun and quirky. Four years later, in 2016, I would update it a bit, but you have to scroll through the original post in order to read what I would do differently. The teal font indicates the original copy from 2011. Here we go …

This is one of my favorite rooms and my favorite weeks. The couple was awesome (and only a few blocks from where I live) and you can kinda go crazy for a guest bedroom because it’s more of a temporary space.

First off, that wallpaper is insane and amazing and I think I have romantic feelings for it. I’m not going to leave Brian, it’s not that serious, but I just want to stare at it all day. It’s by Pottok Prints in LA, I think you can buy it at Walnut Wallpaper, as well. It’s really really really incredible because even though it is a pattern, it feels totally hand-drawn, endless and the characters in it are so entertaining.

The big soft rug is West Elm, 8×10 $649  buy here.

Everything else in this shot is vintage.

Those sconces were from West Elm and you can purchase them HERE. 

The bedding is from West Elm, but again I can’t find it on their web-site. That’s the great thing about West Elm – they change their lines seasonally so you don’t have to worry about the world having all the same stuff as you. But it also means you have to gobble things up quickly or they’ll be gone. Like these sconces and the eyelet bedding.

Vintage, all vintage, but thats a close up of the wallpaper. I’m obsessed. I want to do it in a kids play room and let them color it in with markers.

The bed is from Sanctuary Interior Design. I think it was around $800. But I got it within two weeks and the color and welting options are endless. You can get it as a full bed, too, but I wanted to save a bit of money. I love it.

Please notice the amazing black ball fringe on all the drapery/shades. It was so adorable in person. And the easiest DIY ever.

Dresser is vintage from Palm Springs, I think the lamp is new but I forget where from. That “O” was from the Rose Bowl for $60, then painted white.

The green is Glidden, “Olive.”  The chair was already theirs and the lawyers cabinet is from Hernandez brothers on Santa Monica for $500.

All these pretty pictures are by the Awesome, talented, and handsome, Mark Champion

Sorry, I’m rushing. but all in all it is one of my favorite rooms. One of my favorite couples. One of my favorite weeks. The wallpaper is a splurge, but the amount of impact in the room is serious.

So what did y’all think?

2016 CRITICISM:  I still really love this room, but sure, there are some things that I would update 5 years later. I would update the headboard to be simpler in shape and either gray or black and in linen instead of velvet, although I still kinda like it as is, too! There was something cartoonish about it which kinda fit their personality as he loved comic books (as you can tell from the style title) but if it were my room I think a simpler headboard in 2016 would be better. The sconces look really big there, they weren’t in person, but Im still not sure they were necessary. I’m dying for the bed to be properly styled with a pretty throw at the end, and a big long pillow in front. We never had time to  shoot/style these while on set so I would send a photographer there afterwards for like an hour. I think I would eliminate 30% of the ‘stuff’ on the surfaces and get rid of the pile of books/globe on the floor. I love all the mod lighting, but i’m not a huge fan of the one on the nightstand on the right so I would probably replace that one. And that squirrel print is now pretty dated, so maybe just eliminate that one. What I didn’t tell you in that really rushed original post was that they LOVED this guest room and it fit their personality perfectly and they truly were one of my favorite couples. I used to write blog posts during the one hour while getting hair/makeup in the morning before filming all day with no assistants helping on the posts …  have NO idea how I accomplished so much on my own back then. 

I still love the wallpaper, olive paint color, rug, and all the furniture. The old store display piece that we used as a nightstand on the right side of the bed is amazing and one that I would buy again in a second. In other words, with some simpler styling changes I think that this room is still pretty solid 5 years later. There is nothing that I’m like ‘OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I PUT THAT CHEESY PIECE OF GARBAGE IN THERE’, and I certainly can’t say that for many of the makeovers.

So whaddya think? What changes would you make with hindsight? Do you think that 5 years later it still holds up?

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8 years ago

I think the headboard would be perfect as is if you put a blue throw blanket at the end of the bed. I LOVE this wallpaper too. I’m interested to know if you’d still install it so kids could color it in with markers….now that you have kids!!!

8 years ago
Reply to  CAT

That is exactly what I was wondering about the wallpaper, now that she has kids. Though one of her kids is too small to color and the other one almost certainly hasn’t figured out yet how to stay inside the lines!

Jane Templeton
8 years ago

I love that you are going back to update rooms from the show. I did watch & loved it but it has been awhile so I don’t remember all of it. It will help me look at my rooms with an eye for updates. Thanks!!

8 years ago

I agree with you that it feels a bit cluttered with all the objects and the busy wallpaper. But I actually like the blue headboard since it adds more color to the room. The only thing I thought was really weird and would change immediately is having the big “O” instead of a mirror over the dresser.

8 years ago

love this series idea so much! it’s great to see things from the past, and get an idea how we can make timeless design decisions.

it might be nice if you dispersed your current thoughts throughout the old text because i found myself scrolling back up a lot. thanks for everything you do!

8 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Like Claire, I found myself scrolling back up a lot. I think that with the different font colors, having your current commentary interspersed throughout would work well.

I love that you’re doing this series!

8 years ago
Reply to  SheilaK

I totally agree! And I love this idea for a series! Looking forward to it!

8 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I agree. Scrolling back & forth was a pain.
But I love your idea to do this series.
And I think changing out the lamp on the right side & adding a bolster pillow is the only change needed. Otherwise I still love it.

8 years ago

My heart actually fluttered when I saw a close-up of this wallpaper. I agree with you – I definitely still dig the wallpaper and olive paint. Even though Olive in a home can sometimes seem too dated or too reminiscent of the 70’s, but the paint here really, really works. I love it!

I love the midcentury touch that the horizontal bookshelf and dresser bring to the space, so the tall bookshelf and the ornate mirrors seem a little out of place to me. But that’s the thing with design — for the most part you can create something timeless, but it’s the little touches that give away time.

8 years ago

It’s so fun to see these photos from your show which I fondly remember and read what you currently think about the room. Looking forward to others in this series…I’m also still in love with the piece you used as the nightstand.
It does make me wonder what the room looks like today.
Nice to have you back from vacation and excited for you and us, your readers, for all the plans ahead in 2016.

8 years ago

The display cabinet as the nightstand is my favorite piece in the room. I’d love to run across a find like that myself!! So fun! Excited to revisit your past makeovers.

I remember this episode. Still looks pretty good to me, but I agree on the squirrel photo. I’d lose that.

8 years ago

I can usually spot your rooms a mile away but I’m not sure I would know you designed this one… except maybe for the blue headboard and table lamp. Those two pieces sort of made me think of you. But I realize you were on a time crunch and probably couldn’t edit or finish like you usually do. And you might have been giving the couple exactly what they wanted so it was more them, than you. Even so, this room is super fun to look at, especially that nightstand display!

8 years ago

thanks for your posts , and sharing your knowledge . Happy new year!

8 years ago

I love the wallpaper! I think painting the doors the same green to blend in would have been a nice way to also highlight the wallpaper. Also adding a tallish or hanging plant?

YES! I love this series already. This was always one of my absolute favorite designs from the show. I wasn’t aware of the blog back then, but your show was my fave! (side note: HGTV needs to bring back shows like this and more design focus….. enough real estate and flipping shows! and i say this as a house flipper….)
I think I agree with every one of your updates, although I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t notice the lack of bed styling until you mentioned it. Can’t wait to see this series continue!

8 years ago

I guess you said it all. It reflects the couple’s personality and they liked it; that’s all that really matters. If I have something to say about it, it would be the proportion of some of the objects, might either be too big or too small. Other than that it is a beautiful guest room!

8 years ago

Girl, you are killing it! I love this series!
Would you want the show again? Is there something us fan girls and fan boys could do to get it happening?

8 years ago

I love the idea for this series of blog posts. I think this room holds up well. I am not a fan of the wall scones but I think everything else looks great.

8 years ago

In defense of people wallpaper, my grandparents had a very similar wallpaper in their basement stairwell. It is one of the more vivid and joyful memories I have of their home. Keep hanging that stuff, just tuck it away where the grandkids will play hide-and-seek! My aunt copied the wallpaper and made pillows for all fourteen grandchildren. Who knew? Such sweetness in wallpaper memories.

Kate Lim
8 years ago

Those wall sconces are not necessary for a wallpaper like that. Also the olive green could use a tad darker. This one feels more 70s, a darker shade feels more contemporary and might better compliment the black and white in the wallpaper (which is the star of this room, BTW). The orangey wood tones in this room really jump out at me, I’m not really loving it.

There are a lot of dresser/cabinet going on in this room, I think replacing one with a desk will be more functional. Also there are too many lamps going on, I will lose the wall sconces and use bedside lamps. Letting the wallpaper be the star will quiet this room down (which is a bedroom btw). 🙂

8 years ago

I really like the idea of this post — there’s always so much to be learned from taking things apart — so thanks! Look forward to seeing more of these!

8 years ago

I do feel like your style has evolved since 2011! Cleaner now and lighter (this room feels a lot heavier than most you do).
This series will be super fun, great idea!

8 years ago

Love the wallpaper, and definitely agree that a simpler bed frame and less stuff in general would be great improvements.

But man I don’t like that olive color!! I think it may be because I have a single door frame painted that color in my apartment (previous tenants) and every time I see it I’m baffled we didn’t paint over it when we first moved in. Maybe fixing that will be my single, shining, glorious new year’s resolution.

8 years ago

That wall paper is fabulous! It makes such a great statement!


8 years ago

Love the idea of this series!! It’ll be fun to see old favorites again with new commentary. Mood boards and “get this look” would be super fun, but understandably a lot of work. It seems every older project of yours that I see, I immediately say to myself “Oh! That was my favorite!” I feel like I know them all so well. So much so, that when we received a magazine with one of your houses featured (that hadn’t been featured on the blog), my daughter was reading it and said – hey, Mom, it’s Emily Henderson! I glanced at the rooms, without recognition, and said something like, “But I haven’t seen that one!! Are you sure it’s Emily Henderson?!” She then gave me her best withering teenage look and then we had a good laugh! haha! Sorry for going on and on, but really looking forward to this series! I liked this one a lot! It’s refreshing to see a designer capable of executing a variety of styles!

8 years ago

I actually remember this room from the show’s run because it was a favorite of mine! I’m still obsessed with this wallpaper and think the room holds up really well. I thought the green came off a little more emerald or hunter hued on screen and think that could be nice too. I also love the barrister bookcase.

As an aside, I never comment, but I’ve been following you since I stumbled over SOS years ago (lucky for me because I rarely watch HGTV) and appreciate and enjoy your unique voice. Thanks for all the posts!

8 years ago

Ooooh, I’m gonna like this series!

I still like the wallpaper, but I think I would like it better on an accent wall vs. top half.

Please say you are doing that room with the pink sofa and the crazy brass shelving unit? It might have belonged to Asian women? I loved that one then – hope I still do now!

8 years ago

my beyby

8 years ago

good post! i think i’m going to like this series.

8 years ago

I think if the green wall were replaced by another color (slate blue, navy, gray, chalkboard, even burgundy) I would like this room a thousand times better. I’d chuck the green vase too. But I am just not personally a fan of that color green in interior decorating. Fun series! xx

8 years ago

“I used to write blog posts during the one hour while getting hair/makeup in the morning before filming all day with no assistants helping on the posts … have NO idea how I accomplished so much on my own back then” KIDS! They find a way to siphon off your brain juices and life force even when they’re not around!

8 years ago

I liked that room a lot the first time round (that wallpaper is amazing) but it’s fun to see how you view it now. Great series idea!

I felt exactly the same reading this. If anything, this prediction is closer to Amazon Echo.

Tonya Ricucci
8 years ago

I loved your show. miss it. love this room. the only change I’d make is losing the squirrel. they have some great furniture.

8 years ago

I totally remember this room! It was one of my favorites from your show. I’m with you, eliminate some of the “stuff” and it’s still super cool. That wallpaper…love! It would be so much fun to let kids color it, but I probably couldn’t actually handle the crazy outcome.

8 years ago

thanks.great tips for photographers..I will try to use them

8 years ago
Reply to  یو پی اس

I love the room! However, there are two things I would change; paint the doors white, & downscale the sconces.