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Emily Henderson

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by Arlyn Hernandez
Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 1 | Photo by Erin Francois

It’s been a while since we shared a guest house tour around these parts, but we’re back in action today with Lea Johnson’s beautiful Minneapolis home. If you’re into a light, casual-yet-glam eclectic mix of mid-century modern and traditional meets farmhouse aesthetic, you’re in for a treat today. Lea, a stylist in her own right, can be found over at Creekwood Hill, a blog she started as a “digital diary” to document the build of her home. What was really just for herself and close friends transitioned into a full-blown passion after about a year or so and her site and Instagram account sort of evolved organically from there. She started styling more for family and friends, and then eventually, for clients. But back to her home that we’re giving you a tour of today. Lea and her husband never actually intended on a new build as they really loved and admired homes from the 1920s-1940s, but after many failed offers (and realizing their lack of renovation experience might have ended up being too much for them), they started looking at empty lots and thus began their home building journey.

To make sure it didn’t end up feeling like a “builder grade box” essentially, Lea has filled the home with so many enviable, thrifted treasures. Read on to get a look into all her rooms, how she was able to add character to a new build and how she effortlessly mixed-and-matched retail and vintage finds. I’m going to step back and let her take it from.

Take it away, Lea:

Entryway

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 2 | Photo by Erin Francois

Side Chair (similar) | Lamp (similar) | Wood Hooks | Large Woman’s Face Art Piece | Rug, Umbrella Holder & Varied Art (Vintage)

Our entryway is tiny and since we have an open floor plan in a very modest-sized home, you pretty much see the entire home from walking in the front door. One thing I knew when building was that I wanted to create a sort of “hallway” so that, one, it creates a little privacy from the kitchen and, two, we could install a closet to stash coats, shoes and gear. I like to keep things fairly organized in our home (as in everything has a place). It’s something I learned growing up with my grandma who lived through the Great Depression and I would say that is probably why she kept and reused everything but it was always SO fanatically tidy you would never have guessed that she had so many things. So I found a little desk (from World Market but no longer available) that was small enough to fit and that is where we keep mail, keys, sunglasses, change, etc. To that, I added a few pieces of art as I have yet to master the art of the gallery wall (I’m working on building up a collection). The light fixture was my first DIY in the house, one that was inspired by my love of Schoolhouse

Living Room

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 3 | Photo by Erin Francois

Rug | Marble & Wood C Table (similar) | Side Chair | Rust Lumbar Pillow | Sofa | Bookshelves | Blue & White Table Lamp | Wood End Table | Brass & Black Metal Side Table | Curtains (custom) | Curtain Hardware (Custom) | Roman Shade | Black Side Table | Black Poufs | Wall Color | Decor, Art, Busts (Vintage)

Because of this home’s open concept, I really had to take into account that all spaces needed to flow cohesively with one another from a design perspective. You’ll see a pretty consistent color palette throughout (mostly neutrals, pops of rust, brass, blue), starting n the living room, which sits right off the front door. In here, we added paneling to the walls for texture and a trio of bookcases from IKEA as I wanted to store books and other tchotchkes that I’ve picked up from my many thrift store jaunts. Almost everything displayed, I found thrifting. I make a habit of thrifting before buying new. It’s my way of balancing high and low as well as one way I can try to help keep the planet a little greener.

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 4 | Photo by Erin Francois Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 5 | Photo by Erin Francois

I knew I wanted a neutral sofa and one with a bit more interest to it, however, we also have a dog and two cats and we want to LIVE on our sofa (not just look at it) so when I found that this one came in this amazing woven performance fabric, I was like yesss! Style, comfort and performance (the trifecta for sofas).

Okay, let’s talk curtains. I would typically go with a neutral solid but I was ready for something bolder. I found this fabric which has a traditional feel to it but the pattern is more whimsical (there are pandas! I mean who doesn’t love a panda?!) The rug was sourced by a really good friend of mine.

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 6 | Photo by Erin Francois

Dining Room

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 7 | Photo by Erin Francois

Table | Rug | Arm Chairs | Side Chairs (similar) | Chandelier | Ceiling Medallion | Art & Decor (vintage)

Our dining room is located in between our kitchen and living room. We live in the city where houses are built really close to one another so I had piano windows installed because they reminded me of an older home and also provided privacy from the house next door. I mean, I really like them a lot but I don’t necessarily want to eat dinner with them every night. Another “form and function” decision that was made was installing a ceiling medallion. We had to move the electrical box and were left with a hole that needed to be covered, which the medallion hides. It’s also beautiful and again reminds me of the older homes I love so much. 

The corner cabinet was one I found in an antique store about 15 years ago; we had moved it from house to house and it was in storage for about three years until we finally found it would fit in our current dining room and provide storage as well as character. One goal of mine while building on a budget (similar to ballin’ on a budget—sidetrack note, there should be a TV show called that) was to keep our home from feeling too “builder grade” so I tried to incorporate pieces that would provide interest and keep it from looking too boxy.

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 8 | Photo by Erin Francois

Because I love mixing styles, I found a mid-century Saarinen-style Tulip table to keep the space from feeling too traditional and then I found these beautiful black and cane armchairs. I didn’t want all four chairs to match so I went thrifting for side chairs and miraculously found these vintage Thonet chairs that were almost too good to be true ($15 each). They looked like they were always meant to be family.

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 8 | Photo by Erin Francois

Vintage Armoire | Mirror | Globe Table Lamp | Sconce | Ceramics (vintage)

I love supporting local family-owned businesses so when I discovered Golden Age Design, I ran (literally) to find a sideboard for this space to hold all our dishes, barware, and it also acts as our liquor cabinet. The owners make two trips to Denmark twice a year where they source vintage pieces and then containership everything they find back to the US. They completely refinish and fully restore the pieces, and they truly are heirloom quality. Ours was a bit of a splurge (to me) but it was one investment piece I that really spoke to me and I knew would last forever.

Kitchen

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 9 | Photo by Erin Francois

Barstools (similar) | Pendants | Cabinets | Backsplash Tile

When building our kitchen, I added a large kitchen window to our must-haves list though it didn’t leave much room for cabinetry. We couldn’t fit fully custom cabinets into our budget so we went with a semi-custom version which allowed me to create very tall “uppers” to flank our kitchen window which creates a sort of hutch look. Since the kitchen sits at the back of the home and every view from the front door looks into it, I wanted it to look as clean-lined as possible.

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 10 | Photo by Erin Francois

Originally, the kitchen design was drawn out with a peninsula but I changed it to squeeze in an island, and because of that, it created an L-shaped kitchen style that left a big blank wall on one side of the room. I hated that it looked really unfinished as well as looking like an afterthought (which it sort of was) but there wasn’t enough clearance to fit full cabinetry and provide enough walking space around the island. Determined to find a cost-effective solution, I found these really shallow cabinets (9 inches deep). They provide enough storage for things like pet food, supplies, kitchen towels and food storage bags. I also love the look of open shelving so I added these three VERY inexpensive floating shelves to fill the wall space. 

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 11 | Photo by Erin Francois Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 12 | Photo by Erin Francois

Hardware | Sconces | Rug | Faucet

One thing we originally cut from our budget was a tile backsplash so instead, I asked the builder to install shiplap but we were inexperienced and didn’t seal it and it started yellowing in the knots of the wood (it also became really greasy and grimy after a couple of years). I ended up working with another local (woman-owned) business when it came time to replace the original shiplap. I originally met Mercury Mosaics‘ owner, Mercedes, at a couple of events and she reached out to collaborate on our kitchen project together. They make beautiful handcrafted mosaic tiles right here in Minneapolis. I was over the moon, as she and her team are amazing to work with. My friend Morgan with Construction2Style—another local family-owned business who had previously worked themselves with Mercury Mosaics on a project—installed it for us. To me, it’s more than tile. It’s the symbol of three Minnesota women in business who came together to support one another and create something meaningful, one-of-a-kind and beautiful.

Laundry Room

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 13 | Photo by Erin Francois

Flooring | Sink | Faucet | Cabinets | Countertops | Hanging Rack | Lighting & Decor (vintage)

Our laundry room is still under a bit of construction in that I would love to add cabinetry to frame around the washer and dryer. In here, I tried to maintain that classic look with the shaker cabinetry and vintage looking farmhouse sink. We were able to save quite a bit in here because we went with inexpensive flooring (VCT tile) that made me think of my grandma’s kitchen floor and a laminate countertop that really mimics the look and feel of a butcher block. I really love the hanging drying rack especially living in Minnesota so we’re able to hang up all our wet winter gear here.

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 14 | Photo by Erin Francois

Peg Rail | Leather Fly Swatter | Broom & Duster via HomeGoods

I most recently added a peg rail on the adjacent wall to provide some storage solutions for things like brooms, aprons and baskets (below).

Bedroom

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 15 | Photo by Erin Francois

Blue & White Blanket | Lumbar Pillow | Flushmount Lighting Fixture | Curtains (custom) | Curtain Hardware (custom) | Rug | Wall Color | Bed (no longer available) | Dresser, Chair, Chest, Nighstands, Decor, Art (vintage)

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 16 | Photo by Erin Francois

We started to work on our bedroom about a year ago. The bed, we’ve had for around 15 years and I love it so I didn’t want to change it. The dressers and nightstands were all thrifted. I love mixing materials and styles so here again you see traditional mixed with mid-century and vintage. 

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 17 | Photo by Erin Francois Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 18 | Photo by Erin Francois

Powder Bathroom

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 17 | Photo by Erin Francois

Wallpaper | Mirror | Sconce | Vanity Cabinet, Sink, Faucet, Decor (vintage)

The powder room may just be my arch-nemesis as I recently just wallpapered it and it’s so tiny in here I could barely fit a ladder so being the non-DIY-er that I am, naturally, I thought it was a good idea to put my kitchen stool on top of the toilet seat to try to hang the paper. I completely wiped out faster than I could even realize and hit the floor. I may have even checked myself over to make sure I wasn’t impaled. As if that weren’t enough, I also electrocuted myself while I was cutting wallpaper out around the electrical outlets (okay, I shocked myself. Not fully electrocuted myself but it felt like it).

The only good thing that has come out of the powder room is the vanity. It was an old child’s dresser I found on Craigslist. I knew it was narrow enough to fit into the tiny space but it was really low. My dad is handy (unlike me) so I brought it to his house where he stripped it of the many, MANY layers of chalk paint down to its original beautiful oak and then cut it around ¾ of the way up and added another drawer to add the height we needed and then reattached everything. He stained it (without consulting with me, my heart sank a little when he told me what he’d done) but now I find that I love it and it reminds me of him all the time.

Hallway & Family Room

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 18 | Photo by Erin Francois

Vintage Wood Drawers & French Opera Print Via Fooshoppe

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 19 | Photo by Erin Francois

Rug | Shelves & Brackets | Barn Door & Hardware | Flushmount Lighting 

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 19 | Photo by Erin Francois

Blue Sofa | Chandelier | Curtains | Curtain Hardware | Motorized Window Shade | Pillows (left to right on blue sofa): Tweed Lumbar, Check Pillow, Mustard Plaid | Coffee Table, Floor Lamp, Side Table, Art & Decor (vintage/thrifted)

Our upstairs hallway is pretty wide so I added a few inexpensive bookshelves for more of our book collections and other thrifted pieces. We added a barn door to close off a little room that we use as our TV room. It was supposed to be an office but I like working from all over the house and having one dedicated room would make me feel too closed off so instead, we made a small area where we kick back and watch our favorite shows. In this room I wanted it to feel cozy, so my dad and I worked on paneling a wall and added a vintage fireplace (that doesn’t really work). Here, I again mixed in mid-century, vintage, some rustic and traditional pieces.

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 20 | Photo by Erin Francois

Thank you so much Lea for opening the doors of your beautiful home to the EHD universe. Make sure to check out Lea’s blog, Creekwood Hill, and follow along with her on Instagram.

***photography by Erin Francois

Emily Henderson Creekwood Hill Home 21 | Photo by Jennifer Kamrath
photo by Jennifer Kamrath/Sage Imagery

For more guest house tours, check out these great posts: 

An Exclusive Home Tour from Leanne Ford | A Stylist “Undecorates” a 1929 Tudor(ish) Cottage | A Before & After House Tour Full of DIYs You Might Actually Do Yourself | A Home Crush a Year in the Making | A Mid-Century Modern Inspired Home | A Warm Scandi Inspired Home

  1. Yes, yes, yes – what a treat! Thank you for this great house tour design post!!

  2. Not going to lie, I skipped the text to look at the pictures and maybe three pictures deep I thought, “this looks like Minneapolis…” and I was right! No idea what stood out but it seems like many Minneapolis homes have small, familiar details that make them identifiable because I’ve done this with other house tours before, too. Thanks for sharing! (and shutout to Minneapolis, I love it here!)

  3. i absolutely love this house tour!!!!!!!!!!!!! it’s sooooo good! love all the vintage/thrifted pieces. and i really like the stain on that powder room vanity your dad did. it was meant to be!

  4. Lots to love here and smart move on adding those narrow cabinets in the kitchen. Small storage is better than no storage.

    I am intrigued (as I almost always am with these home tours) in how spread out the living room furniture appears (trick of the camera perhaps?). I guess I place seating closer together for more intimate conversation.

  5. Oh my goodness, I love this tour so much! Would you mind sharing the sources for the 9 inch cabinets and the floating shelves above them? Have been looking for something similar. Also, that broom! Would love to know where it’s from.

    1. Me, too! That broom!

    2. I wondered if they were Ikea shoe cabinets. That’s my guess.

  6. I spy an original Emily Henderson lamp in the last photo! Love the post.

    1. HA. i saw it and was like ‘my lamp!’. Man I LOVE THIS HOUSE.

  7. I feel so so so inspired from this house! I think it’s the combo of inexpensive and higher priced items (Like the simple yet so minimilistically chic next to that gorgeous couch) that makes it feel like I can go out and attain this look. I am so motivated to hit all the thrift stores in my area! This house is a good representation that not every single thing in a home needs to be luxury to look like a magazine.

  8. Lea has been one of my favorites for a lonnnnnnggg time! She has such an amazing home and style.

    1. Ditto. This is what I come to your website to see. More posts like this please. Hats off to Lea!

  9. Definitely one of my go-to homes for inspiration!! Love everything Lea does. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I love your design focused on sustainability. It’s too easy to purchase new things with a click, and so much more gratifying to find treasures by wandering second hand shops. Thanks for sharing your gorgeously designed and exquisitely curated home.

  11. This home is soooooooo good!!! Lady has style!!

  12. Digging this hard. Love the colors! (Red! Rust! Not allll blue!) And I really love the reminder for a TV nook, not a TV main room. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I absolutely love Lea and her home.
    She has a great eye for design.

  14. Your home is so amazing Lea 💝!!!! Just gorgeous 🌟🌟!!!

  15. I love the combination of high/low style in this home and the fact that they were trying to create a home that was not a “build quality” house. Colors, textures, vintage pieces…it was wonderful!!

  16. I’d move in. there in a heartbeat! Love, love, love this house!

  17. I adore Lea, she’s absolutely charming and her decorating taste is beautiful. (Any gal that mixes modern and vintage is cool with me!) It’s lovely to see her featured.

  18. Beautifully elegant, understated, clean and purposeful. My favorite by far. Love the dining area choices. It’s genius. Thank you!

  19. I remodeled our kitchen in our last house and used Mercury Mosaics – they were AWESOME! I loved that their tile is handmade by U.S. artisans and they were super easy to work with. Loved seeing their work in this gorgeous home!

    1. I’ve been following Lea for a while and honestly did not know her house was a new build until now! I love her style, everything is so well thought out. Thanks for the beautiful tour!!

      1. Me neither! I thought it was an older home they renovated (which is great because that’s what she was going for!).

  20. The print of the woman in the entry way is “Pasadena Housewife” by Janet Hill. It is also hanging at Maddon’s Post in Chicago and I loved it so much, I did a reverse image search to find the artist!

  21. I love her styling, and she has some really nice pieces. But. All the glaring white walls are so harsh. A few of these rooms would looked so much better with a little color on the walls. Do all millennial decorators have color blindness and only see black and white?

    1. As someone who is roughly the same age as Lea, thank you for calling us millennial 🙂 And my walls are all white too. The colours are in the surroundings.

  22. I’d love info on your roman shades – they’re a wonderful color and texture.

  23. Oh my goodness, I’m just so full of warmth after reading this post and seeing every single angle of Lea’s gorgeous home. There is so much character! I never knew this was a new-build, and I’ve been following Lea for about a year and a half now. Just stunning!!

  24. Yay! Lea’s home is one of my favourites ever and I have gotten so much inspiration for my own home from her Instagram. Love that she styles on a budget and saves for the occasionally high end piece. So beautiful!

  25. What an amazing house tour!! Lea, you have a great eye and I’m so glad Emily is incorporating home tours again so we can learn about other creatives to follow!!

  26. Oh man, I love this house! The styling is ah-mazing! She is very talented. And love the high-low mix. And all of the wood! 👌

  27. Lea is one of my favorite IG accounts to follow. Love her style and eye for design. She finds the best items. I would love to go thrifting with her, but she is in MN and I am in CO. Maybe someday. Great share Emily. Lea is a treasure (not thrifted of course).

  28. I would LOVE to hear more about performance fabric on sofas. My 160lb dog is the most important member of our family, but he can be rough on furniture. We’ve always gone leather for that reason, but I would love to be able to have more options. How “performance” can a white performance woven fabric really be??

  29. LOVED THIS.
    I moved a couple years ago and only brought with me
    a few pieces of furniture . My sister has been a thrift store junkie for years and introduced me to several local places.
    My entire living room is furnished with items from both thrift and consignment stores.
    This lady has done an amazing job of combining vintage and new. Impressed with the backsplash and it’s story.
    I will definitely be following her blog.

  30. Where is the white coffee table from tho?? I LOVE it!

  31. Absolutely STUNNING! And giving me so much inspiration for my new home. Do we know the white she used on her walls? It’s perfect.

  32. This is a beautiful home! I love all the suggestions to combat “builder grade syndrome.” Wow! Great style and function. Love!!

  33. Lea, how can you talk about Pandas in the drapes and not show us a close up? Please! Love your house and styling and especially loved your stories about your DIYs. Years ago I painted my small bathroom (which was large enough to fit a step ladder) and NEVER AGAIN. For a small room, it took forever. I feel your pain.

    Your house would have made great TV

  34. Lea has been delightful to follow on Instagram. It amazes me what she has done to a new build…wildly creative and original. Add to that, she is a kind and gracious person!

  35. Hi Emily,
    A while back you had an article in HGTV mag “mid-century cabinet”…key piece.
    Above the “shop it” items was a terrific piece with a colorful collage above it and a blue lamp on it.

    Can you tell me where the mid century console came from?

    I only have the page I ripped out so I don’t have a date of publication.
    Thanks,

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