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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson


Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Post Title Image 11

Emily Henderson Lake House Before 1723

Today is the day. You may have read the hints, seen the clues or even caught the 24 hour insta-story, but today is the official announcement of the new blog project – our mountain fixer upper. (Update: the design process has begun – click through HERE to see and vote on the style of each room) Like many an office romance, what started out purely professional has become quite personal. I started looking for a new design project around the time that I realized that our LA house was almost finished and fully revealed. I panicked, realizing that as you might suspect the most popular posts (both in traffic and engagement) are about our house. Unlike client work I can be the most honest and transparent on process, mistakes, resources and prices – and I can execute much faster. It only made sense professionally for us to invest in another fixer – but since we found one out in the country it became very personal.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before 1832

Being raised in the woods of Oregon did something to my soul from which I can’t escape. Long time readers know that writing that kind of sap is hard for me. I loved living in New York in my 20’s, and after being in LA for 10 years I sure do love my friends, the weather and the opportunities that this city brings (while finding the culture/industry of “Hollywood” challenging). But, deep inside my guts, there is a pretty intense need for nature, for trees, for calmness. Many might say I’m suffering from the ‘too many small kids’ syndrome, and looking for an “escape” and perhaps they aren’t wrong, but I think it’s more than that. As someone addicted to social media, blogs, computers, TV and parties – I REALLY NEED TO ESCAPE.

Thus our decision to not buy a fixer in LA (not that we could afford one) and instead head outside of the city. The new fixer is about 2 hours from LA, in a small mountain-town, near a small lake and lovely people (but not many of them – and NO TRAFFIC!!). It has less of everything (in a good way). I want less, hell, folks, I need less.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before 1892

Listen, the house has a stream. A babbling, adorable man-made stream that ends in a dirty, alge-ridden pond. I grew up being covered in mud from the creek in the woods behind our house and I’m happy to pass the dirt on to my kids.

I hope that this ‘I-used-to-be-a-normal-humble-dirty-poor-little-mormon-child-of-six’ story isn’t cloying or feels try-hard, especially when I just bought a second home. In a lot of ways I’m not as down to earth as I used to be, nay. Which is the entire point. Despite trying to remain “normal” in LA I’m not succeeding on a daily basis.

You wouldn’t necessarily think that buying a second home would bring the “normalcy” I’m craving, but removing myself, even for two days a week and focusing on my kids and nature makes me feel “normal”. It forces it upon me and pulls me down to said ‘earth’. No child-care. No meal-delivery services. Just us, our kids and a lot of woods.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before 1902

So what is this house that we bought?

It’s not like our current house where I knew from the photos that it was “our” house. In fact thank God we didn’t even look at the photos of this one or we may not have bothered to see it in person. I am usually drawn to spaces that have interesting architecture or some innate charm (duh). Most of the houses in this town were built in the last 20-30 years. Ours happens to be from 1964, but was added-on awkwardly and renovated in what I can only tell is the mount-everest-of-peaks of the 90’s.

Let’s start with the living room.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Living Room 1 1 New 2

This room has magical light. It faces Northeast and for whatever reason that sun never barrels in nor is it dark. I want to sit in here all day. But it needs some updating. Now a normal person buying this as their weekend house wouldn’t need to do much to this house – everything functions, it’s not gross at all, it is just not our style. And since we are doing this for content, even the smaller stuff that we would usually live with will be changed.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Living Room 4 NewEmily Henderson Lake House Before Living Room 2 New 1 2Emily Henderson Lake House Before Living Room 3 New 11 Emily Henderson Lake House Before Upstairs Playroom 1 1 New 2

Above, which opens up onto the living room, is this super lovely loft with amazing light and view of trees. I call it the “yoga loft” because I did 4 minutes of pretty fantastic yoga one day before Charlie woke up. It feels like this peaceful place to either meditate or write. If we stay up here in the summer during the week (I mean when) I will probably work up here.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Upstairs Playroom 2 1 New 2

I’ve outlined all the things we are going to do to the space – but it’s safe to say ‘everything’ will get a facelift.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Upstairs Playroom 3 1 New 2

The facts are here:

It’s 3,400 square feet which we consider pretty darn massive and boy does it feel spacious. We wanted a house that could easily fit more than one family, so we could have friends up over the weekend comfortably.

It has 3 bedrooms, 4 communal areas and 4 1/2 baths. They REALLY liked their bathrooms. Additionally, it has an almost finished attic that is pretty darn cute. We will change all of that.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Kitchen 2 1 New 2

As you can imagine the kitchen could use “a stylist’ touch”. And I’m going to touch this lady, all over, with both hands.

It is a total gut job. We’ll open it to the living room, add a window and reconfigure the whole thing. It’s big and once it’s done it will be so pretty that I’ll surely start cooking (besides there are very few restaurants around and you bet there aren’t any meal delivery programs). GASP.

I will say that demo-ing and renovating something that is just “dated” as opposed to a disgusting-falling-apart-fixer is somehow a bit depressing and does feel wasteful. Your style and taste are costing you a lot of money when you do something like this. But it’s my job, and since most of the houses in this market were similar (dated, but not old) I came to terms with it. Plus I know that a lot of you might have these issues, too – a dated house with some McMansion finishes that need help. We all aren’t alone.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Kitchen 3 1 New 2

If you can’t tell everything is very builder-grade and neither the cabinets, appliances or finishes are high quality. Did I think about just refacing them? Yes, for a brief minute because Brian gets into my head sometimes. But then I realized that this is an opportunity to be AMAZING and not just “better”.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Kitchen 5 1 New 2

Did I think about making this a budget/DIY project? You bet your bottom/top dollar. But then I remembered that Brian and I are not John and Sherry of Young House Love. There is not a CHANCE that we could actually do much of this with our own two hands, so we’d be hiring out someone to renovate and like I’ve said before – the labor of a renovation is the most expensive part, so spending the same amount on labor just to install inexpensive finishes didn’t make as much sense. It’s going to be a combination of splurges, saves and sponsors – you know, the modern day (totally weird) makeover.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Kitchen 6 1 NewEmily Henderson Lake House Before Kitchen 1 1 New 2

The house had one huge addition and one smaller one later, which creates some awkwardness as the finishes and styles don’t match. For instance how that lower ceiling doesn’t match the beamed ceiling in the kitchen and we are going to do our best to fix that. 🙂

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Kitchen 4 1 New 2

The dining room is big and once those windows are larger it’s going to get more light. I really want to put a huge cozy built-in dining nook and have many a day-after-Christmas feasts there.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Family Room 2 1 New 2

Like a lot of mountain towns that get cold in the winter we have 3 fireplaces and all 3 need to be redone. This one is specifically strange. We plan on making this room our rec room.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Family Room 1 New 2

As of right now this room is the one that we kinda want to be in the least which makes it a good challenge. I think it’s because of the low ceilings and lack of light. It opens up to the backyard, but we are going to OPEN it to the backyard if you know what I mean. Like real open. This room will have heavy flow as it’s such an access point to the backyard, so it’s hard to figure out what furniture should be in here. I think it’s going to be a playroom for both kids and adults. Brian is dying for a pin ball machine and darts and this might be where the kids play while they are younger (then the loft when they are older – so they have somewhere more separate from the grownups). Currently we have a tent, play table and loads of books and games in there and the kids play so much more by themselves.

In fact the weekends we spend up here, where they just play by themselves has inspired us to turn our TV room in our current house into a playroom dedicated to them.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Family Room 3 1 New 2

The flow of the first floor is SOOO good already. It barely needs to be opened up (just the fridge wall). But a bummer about it is that when they renovated they put a SUPER thick coat of orange peel on all walls, In case you don’t know what that is, it’s when contractors don’t want to spend the time and money to drywall, tape, mud, and paint. To be fair that process is laborious. So instead they spray this ‘texture’ that covers up all lines or potential imperfections. They then paint on top of what we dub as “orange peel”. It’s hard to see in the photos.

Then they doubled down by making every corner and window rounded and curvy, and not in a sexy way. Neither of these things are that big of a deal in a newer build as they do fit the era, but this is a 1960’s mountain house and it just feels wrong. It’s inescapable and the options are not cheap or easy to change it. I was recently in a good friend’s newer house and I didn’t even notice the rounded corners because it worked. But imagine that finish in a craftsman or a victorian style house – it feels displaced.

Above that rec room is another living area that we are going to turn into a master suite, thus adding a bedroom to make it a total of four bedrooms in the house.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Upstairs Living Room 1 1 New 2

If you were thinking you’d leave this post without a maroon wall, you were wrong. But don’t worry – there are only 2 of them. The former homeowners stopped halfway, obviously questioning themselves. 🙂

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Upstairs Living Room 1 2 New 2

The windows again are rather short and this feels like a great opportunity to open it up to the upper deck – either french doors or something bigger and better. The trick is that if we were to close off the pony wall (where the stairs come up) we would lose so much light so I need to come up with a creative solution that adds privacy without blocking light. You know, like ice blocks. 🙂

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Upstairs Living Room 3 New 2 2

**UPDATE: Due to all your suggestions (and i’m shocked I didn’t think about it) we will likely get rid of those stairs to make both the master and the playroom below bigger and less awkward. THANK YOU. Emily Henderson Lake House Before Upstairs Living Room 2 New 2

We’ll open up the small powder room and the old master bathroom to become a larger bathroom attached to this room, but there are some challenges for sure on where everything should go (I’m working with an architect now).

The triangle window will be changed into a rectangle, and I’m scared to say that virtually all the windows in the whole house will need to be switched out if we want them to match (except the large living room windows). I just feel like they could all be bigger and more special. Same with the doors. And mouldings. See what I mean? It doesn’t seem like a gut-job, but I think since I want this house to be stunning we will be spending on some larger architectural moments to give it that character and charm that it needs.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Master Bedroom 1 1 New1

The current “master” doesn’t have a window and it may be impossible to add one (long story I’ll explain later) so we might turn this into a cozy bunk room for the kids, stay tuned. I kinda like the idea of a dark clad room with built-in bunks, but my architect is trying to find out how to bring in some windows. I just don’t want small awkward windows just for the sake of some light, at the same time natural light is the #1 most important thing to me so why would I not try to go for more. Maybe a skylight?

**UPDATE; Many of you commented that there needs to be a window for egres and you are right. So we will add one for sure. Emily Henderson Lake House Before Master Bedroom 2 1 New 2 Emily Henderson Lake House Before Master Bedroom 3 1 New 2 Emily Henderson Lake House Before Master Bedroom 4 1 New 2

That closet is HUGE so we will reduce it to add square footage to the room since we are stealing from it to create a master suite.

But we certainly won’t touch the in home spa 🙂

Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Before Plans Grid Master Bathroom New 2

This bathroom was attached to the “master” but we’ll redo it and attach it to the new master – the maroon room. And then we’ll demo out this tiny powder room to make the bathroom even bigger. And you know how in LA our master bathroom couldn’t fit a tub? Well this one will and it’s going to be LUXURIOUS. I want a steam shower, huge soaking tub and anything else that says ‘spa’.

This powder room below will be removed and turned into a larger master bathroom. Once you see the floorplan at the bottom you’ll understand better.

Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Before Plans Grid Powder Room New 2

The other two bedrooms are virtually identical and they’ll be totally redone. They are both rather long and only have light on one end because they share interior walls.

Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Before Plans Grid Downstairs Guestroom New 2

The more I dig into this house the more that I’m excited to talk about how to add charm and interest to basic homes – and you bet this is going to be a full series. I don’t think this house will have a lot of wallpaper or art walls so I’m looking into a million different things we can do to the walls to add texture, depth and interest.

Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Before Plans Grid Downstairs Guestroom Bathroom New 2

They stole from the closet for this and the result is 2 back to back bathrooms – one connected to the bedroom and the other right outside the room to the first floor hallway. While I can’t say that anything is definitive we think we may just turn that back bathroom into a closet to save some money. While the idea of another suite downstairs sounds lovely and our friends/guests would of course be psyched, it will cost so much money and we simply don’t need two full baths on the first floor.

***UPDATE Many of you have suggested that we take the two long bathrooms and make a powder room for the hallway, and keep a suite for that bedroom. I think you are RIGHT.

The other two bathrooms look identical. This is a good lesson to builders – stick to the same style that works with the architecture of the house, but maybe shake it up a bit so it doesn’t look so mass designed.

Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Before Plans Grid Downstairs Bathroom New3

I literally don’t know which bathroom is which. But they they are both going to be redone to be full baths – one downstairs and one up – so 3 full baths, total.

Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Before Plans Grid Upstairs Bathroom New 2

Lastly, we have an attic that is adorable. The pull-down stairs are rather dangerous so we might put in a spiral staircase instead or just say it’s off limits until the kids are a bit older. But once you get up there it’s pretty cute and big enough for an extra bedroom or a secret playroom. Since it’s above the kid’s room maybe it’s actually their upper suite/fort and we move the entrance….

Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Before Plans Grid Loft 2

You know this has to be a fort someday. I just don’t want them to fall down the stairs…

That’s the inside, folks. A big 1960’s boned lady, sporting a 1990’s wig. We love her so very, very much and I can’t wait to totally reimagine what she could be – it’s all I think about.

You might be thinking that the exterior could help inform the design direction of the interior, so let’s see.

Emily Henderson Lake House Intro Before Plans Grid Frontyard New 2

It’s totally cute, but has some funky little elements happening. It’s a rather typical 1960’s mountain house that is similar to so many in the area. Now I don’t know too much about architecture but I’ll go ahead and say that this architecture isn’t necessarily one direction. It doesn’t need to be totally redone, just a paint job, better doors and some modern colors.

You can see that where it says ‘replace kitchen door’ that the roofline above is what blocks the ability to have light in the kid’s bedroom above.

The front yard is small, but we sure do love the backyard.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Back Yard 4 1 New 2Emily Henderson Lake House Before Back Yard 3 1 New 2

Now the backyard isn’t necessarily HUGE or what maybe you’d assume when someone says ‘country house’. But it backs up to acres of unused wooded property that we can access with respect. Our lot is 10k square feet which is about 1/4 of an acre but the house eats up a lot of it. It’s wide but short – the opposite of our current yard and in a way it feels smaller because it’s so shallow. But it has room for a lot and we just need to maximize it better by creating zones that draw you into the currently totally unused (or unseen) corners.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Back Yard 2 1 New 2

There is a man-made stream/pond that fools everyone. Sure, you can’t find the source of the flow, but once it’s landscaped I hope it will be more seamless. WE LOVE IT SO MUCH.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before 1882 Emily Henderson Lake House Before 1892

Both sides of the house have a decent amount of property that we want to utilize or pimp out with maybe a Bocce Ball court and say a Jacuzzi. Brian spends most waking hours looking for a hot tub that I’ll approve of, aesthetically, so if you know of any please let us know…

Emily Henderson Lake House Before Back Yard 1 1 New 2

The side of the house had a fenced off dog run that could be where the bocce ball court or the hot tub end up. I hate removing any foliage but the shrubs really make the backyard feel smaller, but I know that kids love zones and feeling private so we’ll have to rework that. Regarding what we are putting on the ground … I have no idea. It freezes in the winter and I don’t want too much upkeep but I also don’t want just decomposed granite. We are considering artificial turf, but we also know we’ll get a dog at some point so there are considerations there. Plus there is just something that feels so weird about putting fake grass in the country.

I know that was a lot of information and understanding how the house flows can be confusing. So we drew up a floor plan of both how it is now, and one with our initial plans.

Emily Henderson Lake House Floor Plan First Floor Entire Floor Wall Dimensions 01

The blue shaded areas indicate where the major changes are going to happen.

Emily Henderson Lake House Floor Plan First Floor Entire Floor Changes 01

I forgot to talk about this above, but the entry is tiny and the living room is huge with a lot of unused space near the front door so our architect has mentioned possibly creating a larger entry somehow. I was confused by the idea, but I’m hopeful. We are desperate for somewhere near the entrance to put beach bags/flip flops in the summer and snow boots/coats in the winter.

Emily Henderson Lake House Floor Plan Second Floor Entire Floor Wall Dimensions 022 Emily Henderson Lake House Floor Plan Second Floor Entire Floor Changes 022

Everything will change and then even the changes will change. Seeing it overhead sure does help us make some decisions and see how we can move things to maximize the space, function and light. You can see that creating a new master bathroom could be challenging but we have the space – but the exterior wall is definitely awkward.

We’ve been living in it on the weekends and LOVING it. We brought in some pieces that may or may not stay, but it’s making it livable and easy.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before 245

It’s a total rehaul – a gut job, both in style and finish. The space is big. The property is WONDERFUL, the neighborhood is silent yet safe, the light is great and the flow is easy. But everything else is going to change. I’m so excited.

Emily Henderson Lake House Before 1661 Emily Henderson Lake House Before 1762

So what’s the plan, lady? What’s this house going to look like and when will you start?

Well, typically I like to underplay things but I’m too excited: This house will look absolutely different than anything I’ve ever even done. More importantly HOW I’ll design this will be wildly different than any other project. It’s an experiment in process, and its never been done before.

YOU (the collective YOU) will be heavily involved. No, this will not be a series of ‘Ask the Audiences’. It’s much more than that, both in tech and design and I’m trembling with excitement to start.

More to come, obviously. Much more. We are solidifying sponsors now with the hopes of demo-ing in January, done by June so we can spend next summer up there. Obviously we’ll be documenting the entire thing.

Meanwhile you’ll know where to find me on the weekends – covered in mud (not from a spa) and playing with two small children and some sticks. Now head over to the landing page for this house to see all the updates and vote on the design.

***UPDATE: While we are dubbing this a ‘mountain’ house because indeed it is in the moutains, it is also a lake house as its walking distance to a lake. Its in the 80’s in the summer/fall which is likely when we’d be spending the most time. So we want to harness both the mountain/winter and the lake/summer feel. Just wanted to clarify as there seems to be a big push towards a cozy cabin with plaids and dark woods, of which I’m not opposed but fear that in the summer it might feel heavy.

My question to you is, as we are formulating all this content – what do you want to see? More videos? How-To’s? Gifs? Long form series or more weekly updates on facebook live? Do you want me to go super aspirational or more budget-y (or both)? Do you want more process? More behind the scenes? Is there a style you are dying to see or something you feel like was missing from the reveal of this last house? Like I said, we have a major plan in the works to involve the audience in a HUGE way but since this is kinda a blog-experimental house I’d love any initial input both on the how you want to see the design happen and how we put out the content. Eh??

*I also want to mention that if you know where this town is (or also have a place up there) please keep that private, mostly because it’s a small quiet non-tourist community, so we’d be sad to see that change just because some blogger came in and bought a house. We want to respect not only the town but the people that enjoy it and live there.

Check out all of The Mountain House reveals here: The Kids’ BedroomThe Kitchen | The Kitchen Organization | The Kitchen Appliances | The Powder Bath | The Living Room | The Downstairs Guest Suite | The Loft | The Hall Bath | The Upstairs Guest Bath | The Dining Room | The Family Room

  1. You really need a dog! The dog run is a sign. 😀. Still turn that into something wonderful and let the pup run with the kids in the stream! Congrats! I can’t wait to see your work!

  2. Have you ever seen Insane Pools? Maybe you could have Lucas design a hot tub for you. 🙂

    1. ooh no, but i’m going to check them out! I found a good inspiration in this months AD that I’m going to explore.

      1. Is it the cedar tub in the Wyoming article? I was going to suggest a cedar-barrel hot tub then saw that in AD after your mention. That would fit with the 1960’s mountain haus vibe PERFECTLY. I grew up in Denver and was fortunate to have a family home in the mountains– we visited every weekend and I have the best memories from that home. Very excited to see what you decide to do and watch it all unfold. Personally, I really enjoyed your instastories during the reno, so would love to see those – in fact, you can never have too many videos. And definitely want to see the renovation process in depth. Love seeing the bones of the structure, the reshaping, the problems that arise and how to overcome them. It’s all fascinating and so fulfilling to see how it all turns out! Oh – and one more thing, I am definitely curious to see how you tackle the privacy without sacrificing light challenge with the master bedroom… that one’s a real stickler.

      2. Mod pools!! They’re so cool!! Also loving the golf cart!!

    2. For a hot tub, have you considered a redwood one?

      I think they’re so much more gorgeous (and mountain/lake house-y) than the “modern” molded plastic Jacuzzis.

      Though I may be biased because I grew up with one in the San Francisco Bay Area (complete with live backyard redwoods). It was even featured in Sunset Magazine in the late 80s (my parents’ claim to design fame!).

      I can’t find the article online, but this is the sort of thing I’m thinking of: http://rhtubs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/round_hottub11-300×225.jpg (just ignore the ugly stone work around it)

  3. What a wonderful project and what a lovely space it will be for you and your family – good luck!
    Behind the scenes footage along with documentary regarding what was successful and what surprises you have encountered along the way are always interesting to me and useful for understanding the design process. I would also love an explanation as to why you make the decorative design choices you do – is it to be functional / based on a design you have seen elsewhere / has it simply come together on its own? Thanks so much.

  4. “I will say that demo-ing and renovating something that is just “dated” as opposed to a disgusting-falling-apart-fixer is somehow a bit depressing and does feel wasteful.”

    Why don’t you guys donate some of the fixtures etc. to habitat restore or something similar? I’m sure someone would put some of the bits and bobs to good use!

    1. Maybe i’ll do an instagram offering it up to anyone? Strangely Habitat for Humanity doesn’t take everything (mostly builder grade) but some of the faucets and the appliances should absolutely go somewhere. I would be MUCH happier having someone find use out of all of it, for sure. .

      1. That’s strange–we just did a bathroom reno and Habitat ReStore took EVERYTHING. Even the toilet! You should ask them if they know of any other organizations that would accept donations.

      2. Mail me those cabinets! I need a new kitchen and will never be able to afford one! 🙂

      3. I think the process of looking into and selecting a place that will accept these donations would be worthwhile blog content.

    2. Seconding this!

      1. Thirding this!

        I would love to see a post done about it too. It would be great if we could research, employ, educate, and empower people on how to renovate with respect to the environment and others who may be in need of what is considered “dated” with sources like ReStore.

        And if y’all cut any trees down (Emily I know you would never do that willingly, but in the event you find it needs to happen at some point), please consider urban foresting. We have a company here in Birmingham that does it, but the owner moved here from LA. Here’s his current site if you want more info on the topic: http://www.alasaw.com

  5. Congratulations Emily on this wonderful house. I am so very excited to watch what you do with it. Following along with your decisions and the design process in your own homes has been my favourite thing about your blog. Cannot wait to see more! Have fun!

  6. How exciting!!! Can’t wait to see the blog posts! Happy for you!

  7. I loved the FB Live you did at your last house where you went around and picked colors for all the rooms…. It was so fun to hear what you picked and why. And the sneak peaks on Instagram/behind the scenes stuff was awesome. I like seeing the process I guess.

    1. Oh good! We’ll do more of those, for sure. I think we are going up next weekend so Maybe on Friday we’ll do a ‘before’ tour?

      1. Just as a side note, I think I often miss FB Live’s that people share, and though I’m on Instagram I don’t know how to/don’t have the time to keep up with the InstaStories that so many people share… I may be in the minority here though hehe, that said I LOVE when you share video, so something like YouTube and then linked into the post would be awesome for those who don’t check in as often and aren’t able to see the videos that disappear on other platforms. And of course that’s great for the evergreen benefits as well, people can come way later and still watch all the videos. Can’t wait! 🙂

        1. Agreed!

        2. I’m in this camp too, Shawna! Thank you for mentioning it!

        3. Agree! Please post videos here. Since you mentioned her, Sherry from YHL does an amazing job at this – she posts a lot on Instagram stories, but then will do a write-up and include a walk-thru tour video. Love that format in case I miss it on Insta.

        4. I agree Shawna – I understand that instagram is maybe an easier format than sitting down and writing a blog post (and maybe more lucrative?) but I prefer being able to sit down once or twice a week with my favorite blogs and read them on my time, instead of dealing like I need to be Chained to my phone, checking stories every 24 hours.

        5. AGREE!

        6. Chiming in, nearly a week later, to say AGREE. Because, obviously, I didn’t even get to read this post until a week after you published it.

      2. Yes Please!!!

        1. agree!!

          1. Agree!

  8. i’d like to see personal significance in this house — a quilt from your grandma on one of the beds, mixing bowls your aunt always used, a trophy your brother won 25 year ago, etc. i know you love vintage; i’d love to see personal vintage. it will add a deeper, cozier feel to this house which it seems you are craving.

  9. How exciting!! But please please don’t paint the ceiling unless it is in bad shape! It’s such perfect mountain house pine ceiling.

    1. I agree! I hope the finished product will actually look like a mountain house with lots of wood, plaid, flannel, etc.

      1. Third for not painting the ceiling. I think in your old house you used to always say you would have left the living room ceiling wood but it wasn’t wood, it was painted brown? A mountain house NEEDS wood. Also, I like the stone fireplace. It’s mountain-house appropriate.

        All that being said, what I would like to see more of is “you doing you”. Don’t do budget or aspirational or anything because it’s what the blog readers ask for. Do what you want to do. Push us outside of our comfort zones. Just make it look good. We’ll keep reading.

        1. Agree so much with the second paragraph. I want to see what she would do. That’s why we all follow interior designers, because we want to see what they would do, not what they think everybody else wants to see. Good point!

      2. Agreed! My parents live in a similar aged mountain home here in Northern CA and the wood ceilings is part of what gives you that cozy mountain feel. I know painting them white is your thing but we’ve seen that already from you. It would be much more interesting to see them used as a feature and jumping off point for the design instead of something that needs to just disappear.

    2. I agree as well and I’m the queen of painting things white. Seriously, with the right flooring and other updates, that warm ceiling would look incredible and add so much depth to the room.

    3. Came here to comment the same thing. Don’t paint it all white!!! Leave the character and challenge your design aesthetic! Also please don’t paint the brick on the exterior, I think it’s lovely!

    4. I agree! Please don’t paint the ceilings white! And please don’t demo that beautiful road fireplace! I would kill for those things in my house.

      1. Oh no!! Ok I do need to clarify one thing – there will be LOTS of wood, it just may not be on the ceiling. WE are looking into recladding the ceiling or even walnut blasting to make it look less shiny/dated. Refinishing it would be seriously like $15k (I learned that from the beams in our last house). Also remember that while we are calling it a mountain house because it is indeed in the moutains, its also walking distance to a lake and feels super summery. So I need to balance the warmth in the winter and keeping it feeling fresh and cool in the summer. But point taken – you guys want wood in this house. I’m on it 🙂

        1. My entire 2nd floor in our new house (which is 67 years old) is KNOTTY PINE. Floors, walls, ceilings….EVERYTHING. I think I hate it because it is so dark. I am dying to paint it all white and/or beautiful fresh colors. Although I once saw something in some design mag where the knotty pine was oiled or waxed or something….it looked beautiful. I will be SO interested to see what you do. But, if it’s dark in the rooms I am ALL FOR painting all that wood. I can’t wait. Can you do videos? Why don’t you do an HGTV show?? That would be so much fun!!!!

          1. PS: if you are looking for your next project I would be more than willing to give you my 2nd floor!!!!!!

        2. Living in a mountain community myself (with a lake too!) I actually CRINGE when I see houses that have all the knotty pine (and crazy wood accents)…please! It’s so overdone and is an outdated version of what a mountain house can be! So Emily, go with your instinct and help inspire this community about what today’s mountain house can look like!! 😉

          1. AGREED! I live in a northern Arizona mountain town and the houses are all done up with knotty pine ceilings or rustic (fake) beams. I’m so excited to see a restyle with a different, modern take on it!!!

      2. I”m team keep the ceiling wood too!

    5. DON’T paint the ceiling… so predictable. I would love to see you invest in sanding and staining the wood; more so than cladding the walls (which I assume will be wood planks).
      In our neighborhood all the homes (40 or so) have wood beamed ceilings; each home has a different stain on the wood. Ours is weathered/driftwood color, across the street the wood is closer to an olive stain, others are natural wood. It is very charming, gives each home character while creating visual interest. We have been in our home 6 years and I love finding quirks in the wood.

  10. Amazing space! I always thought I would want a beach getaway but recently, a mountain retreat sounds perfect. I am an interior decorator and painter so I would like to see what some of the labor, as well as the materials cost. I also like when you offer less expensive and similar options (with design and materials)… I like shorter posts mixed with longer detailed ones… I think Jonathan Adler inspired design would look modern and unexpected in a mountain house… one more thing.. Can I suggest a different font when you blog? Something a little bigger and easier to read… I love reading your posts and ideas, but find the type difficult to read! Good luck… can’t wait to see what you have in store.

    1. do you mean the font of the actual blog post or what we are putting on the images? Maybe do command + to make it slightly bigger? Hope that helps!

      1. I read on mobile and agree it would be great if the font was more readable for the small screen.

  11. Ooh, so exciting! Can’t wait to see what you guys do with the space! Really love the little stream outside.

    Personally I’m more focused on budget-y spaces. Behind the scenes is always interesting to me!!


  12. Very exciting! I completely resonate with your need to be near nature and have your children grow up with that as a part of their life. I, too, feel like wild places are in my soul. I”m looking forward to seeing the changes here.

    One thing to think about – in our own second homes over the years, we’ve noticed that storage needs are different than in a permanent home. Closets (though great for daily life and resale) are not as useful to guests. What weekend guests need is a place to put an open suitcase and to easily access and corral all the stuff they brought with them. Also, places to hang extra towels either in the bathroom or bedrooms etc. Shoe and coat storage by the front door needs to be expandable to accommodate lots more shoes/coats/gear than a normal family would have. This can be done with furniture, of course -like cubbies in the bunk room -, but if you are fitting out closets, you might think about how they could serve the temporary needs of lots of guests.

    1. good point. There is so much storage that i’m so jealous – as our current house has NONE. our walk-in closet at this house is almost as big as Birdie’s room (which is why we are making it smaller). But i’m not complaining 🙂

    2. AGREE! We have cottage in Wisconsin and I almost lose my mind with all the flip flops, goggles, towels, beach bags etc that get dropped by the door in the summer and the boots, mittens, coats that get dropped in Winter.

      also if there is a lake nearby think about where you will put All The Wet Things that come home esp when there are guests. i did shaker peg racks everywhere i could…you can have a clothes line in back yard for towels and suits but when it rains you’ll be scrambling for space to hang things!

      1. Totally agree! My parents cabin has a mudroom in the back but everyone enters in the front so loads and loads of coats/boots/shoes end up right inside the front door when all our family is visiting(this includes 25 grandkids- were talking mountains of shoes!! And don’t even get me started on the snow clothes) because noone comes in from the back! So if the front door is where everyone enters please consider lots of cubbies or closet space or something. I know my parents didn’t even think about it when they built it.
        Other than that, I think this space will be something amazing and can’t wait to see what you come up with!

      2. Oh and something else to consider…an outdoor shower for the summer time coming off the beach!

      3. Totally agree! I scanned your plans looking for where you were going to put the mudroom because it is such a godsend for any mtn/lake home. I think it helps guests feel relaxed too when they have an obvious space to clean off and drop their things (and show their kids where too!). An outdoor shower and an obvious hose bib go a long way in keeping the sanity with a household of people coming and going. The kids will probably default to the outdoor shower in the warmer months anyway!! Ours do with our pool shower!

  13. We debated adding on above our kids’ rooms and if we did it (we aren’t) we were going to have a hidden second access through a trap door in our sons closet, accessible via rock wall holds on his walls. It would have been amazing. Please consider for your attic since it’s above the kids room…!

    1. Ok! will do. i haven’t proposed this to brian yet, but YES!

    2. We rented a big house in Santa Cruz a few years ago and the kids’ bunk room had an attic space above it that was accessed by a built-in ladder but there was also a legit fire pole for them to slide back to their room. The trap door was safely closed in the carpeted space so no one fell down the hole by accident. This seemed really fun and the rock wall access sounds awesome too!

    3. Remember that your kids are growing and changing. It really won’t be that long before they’re climbing trees so don’t get too overly focused on making it a preschooler play space when it will be so much more awesome as a play space for them when they’re slightly older. Indoor rock walls, netting from the ceiling, firefighter pole … these are dreamy for the average 7yo.

      Also .. you NEED a mud room. In a couple of years they will be playing independently and will be going in and out a gazillion times with their friends and dropping muddy shoes and towels and toys everywhere.

  14. What a fun project, I’m super envious! My husband and also looking for a fixer upper outside of a city, more farm than mountain though.

    I’m sure you’ve already considered this but could you take some of the closet space from the downstairs bedroom and add it to the bathroom? That way you could potentially have a separate water closet and add a door directly into the bedroom so guests had the feeling of a suite at night and don’t have to leave their room to go to the bathroom.

    I really look forward to seeing how you add architectural detail back into a 1990’s renovation.

  15. Why not get rid of the stairs between the master bedroom and the family room? That solves the light problem and then the family room could have a walk out to a covered porch, or … the bocce ball court or whatever.

    1. I was thinking the same thing opening up the stairs on the first level is already in the plan (and budget) you’re doing the same structural work you’d do to just remove the awkward stairs altogether. It would solve the window problem, the layout problem downstairs, and it would enlarge the master!

    2. Yes! Totally agree about getting rid of the stairs. 2 birds with one stone (bigger master/light, more functional downstairs space).

    3. Was thinking the same thing!

    4. Agree! This adds space and addresses the window/light/privacy issues in the master, while also adding space to the family room where the door to the deck is located.

    5. I was going to say the exact same thing!

      1. OOH you guys are right!! We liked the idea of double access upstairs, but I suppose we don’t really NEED it and then that makes the downstairs room bigger, too, and get rid of that awkward space downstairs … GENIUS. THANK YOU. My architect has only come once and he hasn’t sent through any plans yet, but I bet you that this is exactly what he would propose, too. THANK YOU!!

        1. I was going to suggest the same thing! Get rid of the stairs. 🙂 I also second keeping the ceilings wood, btw.
          As for content, I’m happy to read whatever you put out. I love seeing the transformations as the happen.

    6. Agreed on this. Get rid of those stairs – make both rooms bigger and solve your light issue.

    7. Yes! That was my first thought too! Unless you need the 2nd set of stairs by code, why waste the space?
      I LOVE the idea of this project and second what others have said about doing you and not worrying about high or low costs. You seem to balance all of that anyway, so why not show what you can do when you’re creative and have a bit of a budget.
      Congrats and good luck!

    8. YES get rid of the second set of stairs.

  16. That’s quite a house and am looking forward to seeing the process. (dying to know which town you’re in).

    Nature always draws us, eventually. Glad to see you’re getting back to her 🙂

  17. LOVE this house. The potential is bursting out of the drywall! And I was just thinking a few weeks back how much I miss your personal design posts – now we’re in for a ton of them, YES!

    As for your questions on how to document this project: I check this blog daily, so this is how I get my fill o’ EH. I have always enjoyed the posts about your home reno updates and process and costs and everything – the good/the bad, the cheap/the crazy expensive, the should I choose this/should I choose that. Even posts where you agonize over bar stools – BAR STOOLS! – b/c that’s the kind of person I am too. (My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I tell him I want to l-o-v-e everything I bring into our house.) Keep those kind of posts coming!

    And since I’m on a commenting-roll here, my only thought right off the hip as I look at this gorgeous, gut-ready house, is maaaaaaybe don’t paint those wood vaulted ceilings??? I mean, they’re natural, they’re woodsy, the color doesn’t look horrible, and (stained) wood is so in nowadays. You’ve painted a ton of wood ceilings in your days (heck, we have two living spaces with vaulted ceilings and I painted both mine white!), and the kitchen here has them painted white. That wood tone could be a nice “we’re in the mountains” element. Just something to consider! (Assuming they’re not horrible in person, I’m just going off the pics.)

    1. Karen, I totally shared the same thought about the wood exposed ceilings! I thought they could add a nice warmth above. I can see the challenge in matching the old with the new where Emily is looking to continue the existing wood beams. But I think this is definitely worth some consideration!

      1. Thanks guys! that is helpful, for sure to know what you come here for. I’m reconsidering wood on ceiling!! just need to fix the tone. its not rustic, nor is it light and modern – its stained a dark orange-y brown and I can’t live with it. but i could re-clad with fresh unstained bleached pine???

        1. Oh yes! Yes yes yes!

        2. NOOO I think you were right to begin with – paint the ceilings white!

        3. YES! That was my thought as I looked at your pics — lighten and dull (the finish of) the ceilings, and maybe some skylights, just because I love looking up.

        4. Pecky Cypress?

        5. Yes, please.

        6. Sounds lovely!

  18. EMILY! I am SO EXCITED for you and your family to make this house the perfect getaway! (Selfishly I am a bit jealous – but equally happy to follow along the journey!) I really appreciate this thorough intro post. I had a few initial thoughts – take them for what you will. 🙂

    1) Is there any way to salvage any pieces from the house that are not your style, but still functional? I know some organizations (like Habitat for Humanity) may take donations of appliances, cabinetry, light fixtures, etc. that can be re-purposed for those in need.

    2) The pony wall off the future built in dining nook – can that be framed out (column and above) to make more of an architectural feature? Leaving an opening, but more of a window or punched opening that feels more intentional. Alternatively, could a piece of artwork or an architectural salvage element be integrated in that space?

    3) Master bedroom – look into clerestory windows! My initial thought was to build that wall separating the stairs and bedroom up 2-3 feet, leaving a smaller opening above eye level. This smaller opening could either remain totally open to the stair, or be topped with a glass system to provide a more enclosed space with more acoustical separation from below.

    4) What would I like to see as part of this reno/blogging process? More behind the scenes and process! Construction updates, project timeline (anticipated vs. what it actually took), budget transparency, and your thought process! Also I’d like to learn more about the design style you are going for in this particular project – Modern woodsy cabin? Mid century warmth? Retro wilderness? I feel like you have some flexibility with the architectural bones of this house and am interested to know what direction you go in and why. As always, thanks for sharing with us! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful questions.
      1. yes, we will defintely try to salvage for others to use.
      2. exactly – i want to make it some sort of architectural feature, too!
      3. a bunch of commenters above suggested to get rid of the stairs and they are right! i think that problem just go solved 🙂
      4. ok – lots of documentation, i promise 🙂

  19. I love this and am excited for y’all. The only thing I’m sad to see change is the rock fireplaces (the 2 downstairs). I know its not the pretiest, but it is a 1960s mountain house and think you should try and keep a bit of that. I bet you could make it wonderful. Good luck!

    1. Couldn’t agree more. I’m confident you can find a way to make one or both of them work.

      1. You guys, i was on pinterest FOR HOURS and only found like 2 rock fireplaces that were beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, of all the things its one that i don’t mind but since this is a show house I’m going more towards ‘dream fireplace’ rather than ‘working with what I have’. But if you can send through any rock fireplaces (that are similar to ours, not old beautiful crumbling stones) then i’d reconsider for sure. That’s a big demo and project … but I could do something hanging ….. 🙂

        1. I think this may have some of the “mountain meets beachy lake” look, and the river rock fireplace works.


        2. Going to chime in here…why can’t you keep the fireplaces? To me, it’s actually more interesting to see designers work with elements that are original to the house than to start all over with “dream” materials. I think it’s much more attainable, and often more creative. Why don’t you be the THIRD photo on Pinterest that’s beautiful? 🙂

        3. I agree!! I just looked at your lake house pinterest and boy did I comment about keeping some stuff not really absorbing your vision. But, that’s why you are the professional! I love all the fireplaces on your pinterest and everything else. Thanks for the inspiration!

        4. Have you considered ‘filling’ the grout lines so the overall surface is more flush and whitewashing?

          I can totally see this house having a similar style to “The Grove Byron Bay” here in Australia- a kind of sophisticated boho.


          1. Ok, love the idea of just filling the grout in more, like a German smear I think it’s called.

        5. Have you checked out Houzz? There are lots of different fireplaces, you might find some good inspiration. So excited for you and your family! I will be following along from Oregon. 🙂

    2. I also agree on keeping the one super pretty rock fireplace! I think it’s fireplace 1? The first one in the photos. I gasped when you said you were demo it. I think it is fantastic!!!

  20. So the previous “master bedroom” doesn’t have a window? I think for code purposes you might need to add one, it will not be considered a bedroom unless it has two methods of egress. It’s for safety purposes (fire) and I don’t think it counts if the adjoining bathroom has one. The window also has to be a minimum size per code. Welcome to the annoying parts of home renovation! 🙂

    1. Yah, you are probably right. its weird, i know!

  21. What an exciting project!! I’d love to see regular updates on progress, behind-the-scenes, and the thoughts behind your decisions, as well as long-form posts about the project whenever you are able. I can’t wait to see how you pull together the backyard. Your backyard reveal posts from your LA house are probably my favorite you’ve ever done. Facebook live videos and gifs aren’t really necessary for me, I prefer posts with photos. Thanks for sharing all of this with us!

  22. This is so exciting!

    You know what I’d really love to see- where you’d take all the things like kitchen cabinets that are good enough, but not stunning that you remove from here, and install them for a charity project or something. In a way it shows how you can reuse stuff, how to make do with weird second hand things and make them look really nice but also be attainable. And also gives a bit back.

    1. I would love to do that, too. Those cabinets are kinda garbage though and demo-ing out they’ll just get totally busted and ikea is cheaper to install then trying to retro-fit these. But the sinks, faucets, lighting, fans, etc – all the stuff that doesn’t get totally busted when demo-ing out will hopefully be of use to some organization for sure.

      1. I agree with reuse goals, but labor to retrofit materials that are often really poor quality or absolutely filthy is often far too expensive. It really argues for using high-quality, long-lasting materials in the first place.

  23. This is such an exciting project, I can’t wait to see what direction you go in designing it!

    I always love your long form posts, it really helps to understand your thinking and reasoning behind your design decisions. Instagram updates are always fun too. I found it really helpful hearing about the process in your current house. For example choosing a dining table and chairs or figuring out what to do with the tv/play room den. I find myself making those same mistakes in my own home, trying to execute things too fast or buying something on impulse or on sale, so I always find it incredibly helpful and reassuring to see your process in fixing mistakes or changing your mind.

    No matter how you choose to share this project with us, I can’t wait to follow along!

  24. I love the before & afters here in your blog, like others have said, the “process” is fun to follow & we all have images to pin. Please post mood boards – yours are simply THE BEST! Also, I know how amazing all the wood ceilings would look painted white, BUT as another commenter suggested, natural wood seems so “right” in a mountain home. This home is really cool & I guess I’m hoping that you go a little more rustic/industrial with the design.

    Congratulations, Emily! I applaud you on setting an intention to decompress & get back to nature + teach your children the value of the outdoors 🙂

  25. I agree with Caro: consider losing the back stairs from the play room to the new master and you get more windows and more space in both rooms. Unless there is some code issue that requires you to have a second staircase, it seems odd to have two staircases, especially one that leads to the master bedroom (no offense to John and Sherry’s beach house reno).

    Regarding the grass/no grass dilemma: I’m not sure exactly where this is located, but reach out to local landscapers about native plantings and ground cover. The benefits of these are that they are usually low-maintenance, drought-resistant, and encourage native insects and wildlife. You won’t have the look of a perfectly manicured lawn, but it doesn’t sound like that is what you are going for anyway.

    I’m with Brian on the hot tub, especially if you are having groups of people up. Nothing quite like drinking cocktails after kids are in bed and listening to music when it’s freezing outside and nice and hot in the hot tub.

    1. I’ll tell Brian you support his hot tub goals. And yes to landscapers – thats what we’ll do. Ideally it would be soft and comfy for the kids, but low maintenance and native.

      1. You might look into microclover. I seeded over my grass with microclover and I love it. Stays greener, takes less water, mows like lawn, and doesn’t discolor/die with dog urine (which is important to me as I have three). Just a thought!

  26. What if, you featured your craftsman and got them in on the discussion/ presentation? I’m thinking your millwork guy could do a video with you on how the kitchen cabinetry is constructed, the pros and cons of a design/detail versus another option? Go to the Fireclay Tile manufacturing plant and see how the tiles are hand made? Educate us beyond the pretty things? The pros and cons of cement tile but presented with a tile expert. Educate us beyond the pretty things. Not that I don’t love the pretty things, I just think there is an opportunity to help your audience consider all the parts and pieces of an entire design and all of the “unseen” decisions to be made. The stained glass video you put together for the Fig House comes to mind… all that said, everything you do is gold!

    1. Love this idea!

    2. OOh great! I always wonder if that stuff is of interest to you guys, but if it is we can definitely do a deep dive into certain things. xx

      1. I would think your sponsors would jump on this too, getting their product/services out to the masses where their experts can also participate in selling the features of their business that sets them apart. Makes the corporation feel more personal and less “Emily is using this product because she is getting it for free and now she is writing about said product to fulfill her end of the deal.”

        I want to be clear though, I am definitely not knocking your advertising set ups. I think for what they are (ads), you are setting the bar!

      2. It’s ALL of interest to me (us I’m guessing!)

        You could not over-detail your coverage of this for me. I want to hear about architect meetings, floor plans, surface choices, light switches, exterior plans, how-to find/meet/finalize plans with all contractors, and this doesn’t even begin to talk about the actual styling of this place! As with your current home, I always want to know, read and understand more about the process and outcome (i.e. Multiple bar stool, curtain, window posts are welcome!). Also, please plenty of pulled back shots and up close. I really love to know the layout. I’m not on insyagram or Facebook anymore so appreciate whatever you want to share here — videos, gifs, long, short.

        Also, this is second to design, but I really want to know how to live in a second home. And the realities of having more stuff and schlepping two small people around. We had a beach house for the past six months with our newborn and two year old and even being only an hour + from our main house, I found it draining to be going every weekend. I’m dying to know how others manage the two-house dance. (That last sentence is TOTAL first world problems but true nonetheless!).

        Number one though: I want you and your beautiful family to love this retreat. Take our ideas or input but you do you! I’m just happy you give us a front row seat! Congratulations! You’re killing it.

    3. I love this idea too! It would be so great to know more about unseen decisions of a renovation.

    4. Yes!! Love this idea!!

    5. Yes, absolutely. I love all of the behind-the-scenes stuff too! Watching people work and hearing the full process is so cathartic – and of course inspirational and informative.

      1. YASSSSS QUEEN! I miss the deep dive intel we used to get from home reno entertainment (hate that phrase). I know “This Old House” still does it, and HGTV used to, but it’s so helpful as a reader to understand why a designer chose one particular product over another, or what makes this particular product or carpenter more special than another. And how to weed through the good and the bad on our own when it’s time for us to make our decisions. So, like the barstool round up posts, but with services and trades as well.

  27. I am so excited to watch this unfold! I would love to see weekly (i.e. frequent) updates. Also, I love when you focus in room by room.

  28. Congratulations on the purchase of your new sanctuary! We also bought a LA area mountain home 4 1/2 years ago in Lake Arrowhead and we LOVE it. Our commute is a bit further, though, as we are Houston residents (go Astros…sorry…had to slip that in). I feel SO blessed to have the best of both worlds…suburban city life with career, friends and great shopping/entertainment AND my little slice of mountain heaven (you will LOVE cooler temps, open windows, and hikes thru the forest with your littles). Your new home already is pretty fabulous….I’m envisioning your updates. Now if I could only talk my hubby into painting OUR ceiling…love the wood, but that orange-y tone is just not cutting it. Maybe your project will convince him!

  29. My family also has a second home that we are very grateful for. It is an amazing place to gather with big groups of friends or extended families. It is way larger than any of our single homes. Honestly, one of the things that makes it most comfortable is that every room has it’s own bathroom. I know it is ridiculous but it is true. If you’re spending 5 days up there with friends, your guests are going to need and want some…um…privacy. They aren’t going to want to use the communal bathroom right off the kitchen to sit down, do their business, and scroll instagram for ten minutes. Sorry, TMI but true. If you have the means for the guest room to keep its own bathroom, you should

    1. Yes! Please think about when you are a guest in someone’s home; do you prefer your own bathroom or sharing one? No brainer, pair each room up with a bathroom.

      1. totally agree and I love the idea of a downstairs master and the powder room.

        1. OOH, ok i’m listening. And someone said above i could turn the hallway one into a powder room them turn the back one into a bigger suite .. maybe that’s what i’ll do.

          1. Yes! Since you already have plumbing, keep that bathroom as a suite and just make the second bath a powder room. That makes it much easier on guests since you are planning on having them!

    2. I could not agree with this thread more! We have a downstairs guest suite and just one full bathroom on the first floor of our home. When we have guests, the bathroom situation is awkward for us as much as them because it feels like we’re intruding into their space when we need to use the bathroom. More often than not, I end up walking all the way upstairs just to use the restroom. Awkwardness magnified when you’re hosting a party or additional daytime guests. It’s the number one thing we wish we could change about our house.

    3. I kind of disagree. As nice as it is to have our own bathroom, I wouldn’t mind sharing a bathroom to be able to have a nice vacation. We have a family cabin and it is smaller than my home (and I have the smallest house in our large family) and nobody minds “roughing it” with a tiny kitchen or sharing bathrooms because we all enjoy the nice escape of the cottage and the lake out back

    4. Totally agree about keeping two bathrooms downstairs, especially if you want to have multiple families staying with you. Even if you don’t renovate the attached bath, I’m positive your guests would prefer that you keep it versus turning it into a closet. If I was staying in that room I would be bummed that my bathroom was so public- like if I take a shower do I have to walk around in a robe while people I don’t know very well are having breakfast?

  30. In the downstairs, it might be nice if you kept the dedicated bedroom bath (master), but stole from the hall bath for a closet and converted that to a half bath downstairs. Seems like the 2 masters would serve you well and having one downstairs is always a bonus for grandparents or whatnot. And having a half bath on the main floor is certainly nice for everyone. Great potential in this house!

    1. HA. i just wrote that above. i think you are right.

  31. Emily,
    This house is fantastic. I’m so excited to see what you do with it! I do have two comments/suggestions if you are open to them:

    1. For the bunkroom, I think it would be wise to add some type of window for egress should there be an emergency. (This is probably why your architect is trying to add one. I think for bedrooms it’s required by building code.) God forbid there be a fire or something, it would be good to have a way for the kids/guests to escape the room. (This is also a tip that will likely be more applicable when the kids are older, but would apply to now if guests were to stay in the bunkroom.)
    2. For the divider to maintain privacy but let in light: What about something in stained glass? Either some light neutral colors or simply a non-colored glass with texture would keep it private but let all the lovely light in. And you already know a good stained glass company due to your previous work. 🙂

    I can’t wait to see how you fix this one up.

  32. More process, more budget-y, more long form posts! LOVE this, so excited.

    1. I LOVE that you say more long-form posts. You got it 🙂 I can’t do a short post to SAVE MY LIFe.

      1. Made me laugh!

        Was so excited to see this post today. I enjoy frequent updates, room by room process from ideas to execution. I would rather frequent room by room posts than a whole house reveal. Well maybe a recap/hindsight whole house post at the end. Pretty vignettes but a pulled back pic too. Can’t wait to see what direction the design goes in.

        And I think it was very considerate to the locals that you asked people not to reveal the location.

        Have fun, you bring a lot of joy and inspiration to us 🙂

  33. EXCITING TIMES!!!!!!! How pleased am I!!!

    Re feedback: I love the long form series, don’t watch videos really, and don’t care whether it’s budget or aspirational. I just like to follow along with the process and hear about the behind the scenes. As a lover of the woods and nature, I’m stoked you’re taking on a project like this. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

    Know that your Mormon, child-of-six, Oregon roots endear you to many of your readers who can relate to growing up and into a very different life than the one imagined for them. It’s part of your appeal 🙂

      1. AGREED! I LOVE hearing about your backstory. You’re more than just the face of your current brand. You’re a lovely human being <3

  34. Whoa congratulations and I’m
    Happy for you and your family Emily.

    I’m sad for me.

    I think your blog is no longer for me. I noticed myself reading less and less and this sealed the deal.

    I miss “make it work. Emily” when i was inspired by the ingenuity and results. It doesn’t feel remarkable when money is thrown at a project and it looks good after.

    I’m not trying to be mean or overly critical. Just wish this blog still had some Brass Petal weaved in it.

    1. Things, including myself, change and evolve. hopefully you’ll come along, too as we have many other projects where we ‘make it work’. xx

      1. What a nice response. And nice of you to respond to someone with a ‘concern’ who’s obviously been around long-term.

    2. This doesn’t feel mean or critical, just a little entitled. Emily is a businesswoman who’s made a seriously incredible career for herself and she’s been working for YEARS. I would hope that at this stage in her life, she can use her resources the best way she sees fit without having to worry about readers feeling sorry or sad for themselves.

    3. My reality is “make it work” but I love seeing things done on a bigger budget. We can pull things back in our own projects but need the inspiration of internet land!

      And just throwing money at a house will not necessarily make it great.

  35. How exciting! I’m sure your children will have wonderful memories there!

    Like you said in the post, I can imagaine a lot of us have houses like this that could use some character. I love when you post content where I can learn something and actually apply it in my own home. How -tos and explaining process, scale, or design styles are always so fun and enlightening. Thanks for sharing your great work!

    1. Oh and I almost forgot, I’m adding one vote for a bocce court! Best sport – one hand for throwing and the other for a wine glass! 🙂

      1. also, bocce is one of the few family sports we can play with all our boys including our toddler. He feels so grown up. its a timeless game for all ages.

  36. I love anything behind-the-scenes – in your current house, all the back-and-forth between you, your design team, and Brian was fascinating!

    1. Oh good! Lord knows I love a group decision 🙂

  37. So excited for you! Looking forward to this new adventure. I like the mix of aspirational and budget, I also like the Facebook live videos and the updates on the blog. I think it’s fun to see the decision making whether that be between colors or handles or wood stains or window trim. My only comment on what you presented today is, I wonder if you should get rid of the stairway to the master bedroom. You will have three entrances to that space (hallway, stairs, and deck), and I wonder if that creates too much energy in a space. Instead of being a relaxing retreat, you’ll be wondering if someone is walking up the steps behind your bed. Or maybe people will use the bedroom as a walkway to get from the outside, up via the deck, to their room. I guess a quick second comment is that you should totally put sky lights in the bunk room. It’ll brighten that room up while still making it super cozy for the kids 🙂

    1. YES. many commenters have suggested it and you guys are TOTALLY right. Maybe I should update the post with this very important change. xx

  38. I’m so excited to see this house take shape. I think you have to do it your way. That’s what got you here. Although I did just read a really great tip about storage in weekend homes from a reader in this comment section. So I think mine your audience for their experience, but make sure we don’t influence your design in a way that makes not Emily. I love the long blog posts and rarely see things like FB live or instastastories, so I hope most will be on the blog. Congratulations and good luck!

  39. I have so many comments. First, congrats on such a lovely retreat home! I think it’s a fabulous idea to buy such a place (for those who can afford to), especially for anyone who grew up with access to similar spaces outdoors. Note: I am currently living in a primary home which is remarkably similar to the one I grew up in – it feels very odd (good, but odd).

    Anyway, here are my comments – 1. Whatever textiles you choose, maybe make them durable and water-resistant and mildew-resistant and stain-resistant (bonus points if you find options that readers can order off-the-shelf, not custom). 2. Maybe add a mini golf area instead of bocce ball? (I’m suggesting it because I’ve considered doing it myself and the DIY info. out there is pitiful). 3. Do not paint the exterior brick. I’m usually pro-paint, but for this particular home in this particular setting, it doesn’t feel right. It seems kind of like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Congrats again!!

    Separate thought entirely, but since you’re going to be living in this home on the weekends, are you considering downsizing from your Tudor home? I remember reading that a big reason you chose it was to give the kids some outdoor space, but since they’ll now be getting a lot of that on the weekends, then maybe a more modest home with the same access to good schools, etc., that you have in the Tudor home might be an option. Note: I’m coming at this from the perspective of being a bit of a minimalist, which I know is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

    1. I don’t have plans on leaving that home any time soon. we love it. and downsizing would be hard as its 3 bedroom as is. I think we’ll probably come a couple times a month and mostly in the summer. and yes, great schools 🙂

  40. Super aspirational gets my vote. That’s why I go to blogs. I want to be inspired! Though my bf and I are very handy so we can take an expensive design and do it ourselves for cheap.

    I’ve told my bf that we are going to start looking for a cabin no further than 3 hrs away once we are done with our house. Hopefully that will motivate us to get done!

    Oh and please no farmhouse design! What I’d LOVE to see is mid century cabin/resort/camp style aka Dirty Dancing in the Catskills! How much fun would that be!

    1. OMG dirty dancing. That’s a great inspiration or at least an option ….

    2. Yes, Dirty Dancing! Perfect!

      1. Just want to second the “super aspirational” comment. I would LOVE to see more of that from you, Emily!!

    3. Yes! Dirty Dancing vibes!!!

      1. You…could have…. the time of your liiiiiifeee….. !

  41. We are currently talking crazy talk in our house about buying a place in upstate NY to turn into a B&B near where I grew up (currently living in suburban NJ). I have this whole vintage camp colors (in living areas) meets scandi neutral (bedroom areas) idea in my head – just trying to figure out how to make it seamless and not jarring. I’m so excited to see what you do with this place – I already assume it’s going to heavily influence any decision I make. I already pinned the Ikea rattan chest for the bedrooms from yesterday’s post. Talk about timing!
    Also – I think it was really smart of you to point out that you and Brian are NOT John and Sherry. I know some people complain that maybe some of the work you do is not achievable for them, but it doesn’t make sense to attempt something in blogland that many other bloggers do really well already. Do what you do well – make things extra special to provide dreamy inspiration to us all and a wonderful place for your family and friends to enjoy.

    1. HA. thank you 🙂 I know that people want to see DIY but in order to be DIY you have have TIME or the love for it. Brian couldn’t be less DIY (sadly). But we’ll try to document the process so others can DIY.

      1. You could have Orlando guest DIY some segments again 😉

        Or can y’all just FaceTime about a topic and make it into a blog post?

  42. A sun tunnel or skylight in kids bunk room would bring in daylight but don’t you need egress? It’s code requirement where we live — any bedroom needs an accessible window out.

    Very excited to see what you do with this space!

  43. When reading this post I couldn’t stop thinking about a quote I heard recently by Albert Einstein, “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” It feels very fitting in this situation. As a long time reader, I suddenly feel overwhelmed by how much you have to do and how much you will spend on this project. And it feels… unnecessary. Don’t escape to the mountains under the guise of making more content, its a self feeding beast that will need to be fed, until you’re seeking out the next high and the next one. It seems so tiresome. Enjoy the lovely mountains, but keep minimalism in mind, and don’t think about us, think about you.

    1. ….This is her profession, and content is how she supports her family. That sentiment would be appropriate for a lot of people and circumstances, but not so much here.

      1. I love that quote, and this really does fit that need for me. Designing my projects is what I absolutely enjoy, don’t worry 🙂 Its not like i’m going up there for business meetings. xx

      2. Supporting a family and supporting a 3400 sqft home are two very different things.

      3. Oh but I agree with Sara though. Emily’s profession was interior design but that’s sadly gone by the wayside now and I’m uncomfortable with the creation of stuff just to blog about it, not because its a thoughtful, workable design that meets someone’s needs and improves their lives. An interior designer blogging about her work? Yes. A blogger blogging about stuff she made for the blog? Meh.
        I didn’t like the glasshouse/barge/dorm/whatever content for that reason. Those projects were done just for the sake of some nice photos, not for real people’s real lives, and that feels a bit meaningless.
        I get the feeling this mountain home will be designed via feedback from the readers, and to me that sounds awful. I want to know Emily’s own personal reactions to life in the house and the way her family lives in it. Their quirks, problems, ideas and history. I don’t want to see her promising to keep wood ceilings on the say-so of a few randoms on the internet who don’t know the house or family or even necessarily have any design skills or good taste. And I find it very off-putting that the main motivation for buying the place was blog content and that it’s a great getaway for your family is just a side effect. What happens in June when it’s done? Did we learn nothing from YHL?

  44. so excited to see your new house take shape! to answer your questions: what i would LOVE to see is a true mountain/cabin style incorporated into the house (with a designer’s/stylist’s touch, of course!). no mid-century, no trendy, no english county, no super-stylish and chic…a true make-me-want-to-go-to-a-cabin-in-the-mountains-right-now style (wood/wool/flannel/plaid/forest green–in a good way, not a 90s way–basically, rustic). i would not vote yes on “more videos” just because i always read at work and i can’t watch a video at work. the likelihood of me going home later and pulling up the page again to watch the video is slim to none. like the insta-stories, but don’t want to have all the juicy stuff–i don’t always catch stories, so i would want it to be documented here. GIFs are usually good, and i like content-heavy posts/updates, like you often do. lastly, a mix of aspirational and budget-friendly. too aspirational, and i’m not as interested (my mind immediately goes, well must be nice, there’s no sense in really digging in because could never mimic the look myself). too budget-y, and, well…it looks too budget-y. so i think a nice mix is always welcomed.

    1. I agree with comments about videos. I can’t always watch when I first pull up the post and I’m not likely to come back to watch a video. I do love your InstaStories thought. I don’t always catch all of the InstaStories, so some overlap between that and the blog is good. And the longer the form the better!

  45. Really excited for you and to watch this project happen!!
    I loved in your latest reno that you kept us updated on what was happening through out the process and making decisions. I also enjoyed that you did a bit of a mix of ‘aspirational’ and just what really works for you and your family (and budget) but on this project I think I’d like to see even more of the what works for you and less of the over the top. Especially since this is supposed to be a comfortable, laid back retreat for you guys.
    Also have to agree I’m sad to see some of the more rustic ‘mountainy’ stuff like the big living room fireplace go.
    I have no doubt, however, whatever you do will be fantastic!

  46. I love it all – the good, the bad, the ugly lol! I like the behind the scenes, the process, videos, all of it. Another thing I like is when you explain why you chose what you did (as mentioned in other comments also).

    I will say that I’m sure the FB live updates are good, but for those of us not on social media it’s harder to see the updates if that’s the only way/main way updates are done.

  47. I’d love a post about what you do with the functional things you replace. Can the rock from the fireplace be salvaged? It feels important that if the purpose of a home is to get back to nature that the rehab process be kind to nature.

  48. I have often thought that I would rather redesign an existing structure over building from the ground up. There’s just something that draws me in and gets all my attention when I focus on design/layout within boundaries. Building new or adding on somehow seems like the easy way, but rethinking a space brings out a creativity and talent that I believe not many people are capable of. I am not a designer and I have no formal training in architecture, but either way, I would rather see you reconfigure an existing home into what you love (and read about that process), than read about a build from the ground up.

  49. Aspirational please!!! I need inspo in my life. Of course if you can ever give us budget alternatives that’s very helpful, but I’m looking forward to seeing a totally new style from you and getting my own creative juices flowing/inspired by the process! Especially hoping you’ll have lots of color here–so tired of the all-white trend dominating pinterest these last few years (not that you’ve ever done that, but it would be tempting for me at least to make my weekend oasis very zen/white.

  50. Emily! I am so excited for your family…and FOR ME! I would love instastories, weekly updates of all the stages (maybe divided by spaces like kitchen, master, bathrooms, exterior, landscape etc, but honestly however it makes sense to you). Design wise I would love to see a mix but definitely high end design (obviously you will mix in Target). I am not on Facebook, so please post videos here as well because I dont want to miss a thing.
    The house is amazing and I love that it is going from builder grade to more of a custom look. We want to see YOU in this house more than we want to see our dream scenario. Thats what really makes it special.
    Cant Wait.
    p.s. dont feel like you need to make excuses about your LA life and all that comes with it. You work hard, love your kids and family… Have food delivered, have a big ass TV, a nanny, whatever. We love you and you’ve earned it.

  51. Don’t put a cooktop on the island!!! If you want the island to be the “gathering place” and you have kids running around it’s a nightmare. Burning hot cooktop + pans + any spills or over-boils…it’s a mess. Even if you have a induction or convection that cools down immediately it’s so weird. It becomes this odd focal point and traffic barrier when you are cooking as either you are pushing everyone out of the way or people are shuffling around you. I implore you to think please rethink where you are putting the cooktop!

    1. I agree! Also, people sitting at the island might get hot steam or oil on their skin when you cook – very uncomfortable.

    2. Ooh you might be right. I haven’t really started designing the kitchen and i’m sure whoever we work with will have some ideas ….

    3. Yes, I thought the same thing.

      1. Agree! The house I grew up in was that way and I burned my math book because it was sitting too close to the grill and I did my homework on the island. Just seems like a fire hazard.

  52. Really looking forward to your project! I live vicariously through people with second homes 🙂 Totally understand having others do a good amount of the heavy lifting but would otherwise like to see as much budget as possible… I think for most readers it’d be easier to relate to (and enjoy watching).

    I’d also like to see progress pics as you go… as readers I think we’re more invested in the project if we see it happening real time.

    1. Yes, I love real time (or close to it) progress posts for that reason.

      1. Totally agree. The last one was such a rush but i hope to update more – often the ‘progress’ updates are so boring, but i’ll try to be more on top of it and not have progress like 2 weeks after the decision is made

  53. On the first floor I think you could fit a small powder room off the main area, a private en-suite bathroom in the guestroom for guests and a closet in that double-bathroom space. Just an idea!

  54. I’m excited to see this! I’m in of doing it the way you do your houses, inspire us but throw in a little make it work DIY where appropriate. What ever you have been doing with your current house and previous house is what I love. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Now you will need a whole new mountain cabin wardrobe!

  55. Maybe a wood-burning dutch tub!

    1. what is that? i’m going to google now …

        1. hahahaha. That is awesome

  56. Does a reasonable sized TV fit in the “super awkward space” in the play area? I don’t know if that’s what you want that space to be used for, but it seems like it could be a good fit! Or a bookshelf… or just extend the fireplace ledge for some cozy seating!

  57. Oh goodness I am so excited about this project! Congratulations on the new home!

    I always appreciate your posts when you are detailing your decision making process for object X, and then an explanation as to why it worked in the space (like the bar stools!). I go through this process each time I buy a lamp, a couch, a rug, etc. and having context of why certain specific objects look better in the space is so helpful to read about. And then as a result from all of your searching, I always love the roundups!

    1. Oh, and one more thing! An explanation about how you prioritize resources. So I love aspirational design but have the reality of doing a lot of budget design, and knowing where you can go budget and have it not be obvious and where you splurge and see a huge impact (similar to your tile/wallpaper discussion) would be awesome to see in this project where there is so much to do.

  58. I have been checking your blog for this post for w e e k s. So excited!
    I love the thought “Plus I know that a lot of you might have these issues, too – a dated house with some McMansion finishes that need help.” Yesss, I need all your tips on that!
    I agree with other commentors on not painting the ceiling (although maybe it has to be done after the fireplace is ripped out?) and nixing the second staircase. I think it makes the most sense to have a bathroom attached to the downstairs bedroom and only a half bath to the halllway. And why don’t you close the attic stairs off from the hall and open it to the bunkroom (where the second door is), that would be a dream play and bedroom for groups of children!
    I would like some more budget friendly ideas, maybe even ikea, not just target, but then again, I loved your totally aspirational marble-and -xpensive-tile kitchen^^
    I hope you keep things simple up there, stilistically and in your family life. Enjoy your cabin, you deserve it!

    1. All good ideas. you guys solved like 9 issues today!

    2. YESSS +1 to “Plus I know that a lot of you might have these issues, too – a dated house with some McMansion finishes that need help.”

  59. Congratulations! I can’t wait to see what you do. I definitely like blog posts – so i can go back to reference them. I would appreciate mostly budget friendly, with some splurges. If you can show us contenders, along with finished choices and WHY you made the final choice, that would be amazing. I love your round ups, get the look, and budget friendly room posts. Looking forward to that bathroom makeover. My house has a redone bathroom, but it couldn’t be more generic – make me feel better about wanting to overhaul it anyway! (when the budget allows)

  60. Ack! So crazy excited for you! We also have a place in a small mountain town, and you are right, it will totally change how your family functions. It acts as a breather, a reminder of the type of family you know you can be, just not the one that you actually manage to be with work/school/activities (you’ll see more once the kids are older).
    I want to see it all! Long form posts, roundups, design direction, the whole thing:) I’d personally love to see a modern take on mountain living. Not the “mountain modern” with lots of dark trim and log beds, but your vision for what being a modern family in the mountains looks like.
    My only advice, is to please consider getting rid of the back staircase and making the master bigger. There is no need for a second stair, it would give you more privacy and light, and also add space to the play room.

  61. As a recent graduate with an interior design degree, hearing you talk about a new design process gets me excited! I DEFINITELY want to see more process, HOW you tackle a huge project, and behind-the-scenes! Also, the floor plans are super helpful to me, so keep those coming. I tend to enjoy more long form posts like this one (and so appreciate the work that goes in to them). As far as aspirational vs. budget-y, I’d like to see both. Or maybe if you do one, also explain how we could achieve the other with the same look (almost like a high-low thing).

    Also, it’s great to hear you talk about nitty-gritty stuff like orange peel texture. We’re currently reno-ing our 1978 home in Kansas and replacing all the drywall. I actually didn’t think about taking into consideration the period of the home when deciding drywall texture… In our case, what texture would you say is appropriate? Or heck, what’s popular now in new-build homes?? Thanks!

    1. No texture 🙁 it cost more money as its more laborious. there might be a spray texture now that is super subtle and looks virtually flat?

      1. It is so easy to get drywall with no texture. Just tape and joint compound over the drywall joins and screws and prime directly over the drywall. On the vintage revivals website last week she explained this really well. In Australia we would say plaster over the plasterboard joins, sand, then prime and paint 🙂 No one does textured walls here.
        So excited to follow along with this transformation!

        1. I’m on the east coast where flat walls (no orange peel etc.) is the standard. In my experience it’s easy to do if you’re a pro, less easy if you’re DIYing it. Taping, mudding and sanding drywall joint compound is something you can have a career in — i.e. general contractors will have their “drywall guys” who just do drywall all day long. My husband and I tried it in our bathroom reno, and thought we achieved a totally flat wall — until we painted it. Let’s just say we were glad we were hanging an oversized mirror over most of that wall. 🙂 I noticed John and Sherry did the same thing — DIYed the drywall for their laundry room so they could learn how, but when they renovated their kitchen, they said “we’re not that good at it” and hired it out.

          Maybe it’s the east coast in me, but I still vote flat walls all the way. 🙂

  62. So excited to see this project happen!! Congratulations on the mountain home!

    Blog posts with words and pictures are usually the best for me – I never get around to watchign the videos and scroll past gifs asap (although I do pause for a good before/after gif). And I’d say aspirational on the big things (all the architecture and finishes, the big furniture, etc.) but budget-y on the finishing touches like throw blankets. I love love love the process and behind the scenes stuff – my favorite parts of the last project were learning why you decided what you decided and how those decisions worked out and were iterated on until they were done.

  63. Emily, three comments/suggestions:

    1) If you made the front stairs turn 180* instead of 90* (ending facing to the fireplace/kitchen, not the main entrance), you would have space for a bench or something, plus the outside wall extending from the entry could be used for storage for coats, boots, etc, without actually closing off a mudroom;

    2) If you removed the back stairs between the playroom and the master, you’d eliminate some of the awkwardness on both levels. You could have big windows behind the bed, along the side wall where the triangle/stairs currently are, and downstairs if you’re converting your fireplace to gas, you could put it in the weird bump-out, with a direct vent outside or side vent into the chimney that presumably accompanies the existing fireplace. This would centre the fireplace in the room, plus make for a flat-appearing exterior wall. Without stairs, you could have a window or door (to your nice-looking hot tub 😉 where the stairs currently end, or have wall space for toy storage or furniture placement that doesn’t impede access to the doors on the backyard-facing wall.

    3) Please, please don’t paint the ceilings! You can walnut blast them to remove the orange cast, and seal them with a white or grey tinted sealer to prevent any orange from coming back (assuming they’re cedar).

    A 60’s architecture lover from the mountains of BC (Canada’s Oregon)

    1. You are super well-informed. Did you know that I commented about walnut blasting or did you know about it already? its kinda new, thats why i ask. And i’m curious about this stair-way thing. I don’t get it yet but i’m going to think about it. and yes to the fireplace in the master!

      1. I think Gwen means a U-shaped staircase… I found an example on Houzz that might help you picture it. https://www.houzz.com/photo/46478-a-house-in-a-garden-craftsman-staircase-dc-metro

  64. HOW EXCITING! It looks wonderful. Personally, I’d like to see you experiment with more budget-friendly options on this renovation. It would be really cool to see how to make something beautiful out of materials that more people can afford. The finishes in your current home are gorgeous, but most people aren’t able to splurge on handmade tile, etc.
    Also, be sure to think about fire safety as you’re planning out sleeping quarters in that windowless room and/or attic space!

  65. Hi! I’m SO excited for this project! The only thing that would be better is if you came and remodeled my house. 🙂

    As for rolling out content, I’m not a huge fan of FB Live, so I vote for more updates via the blog. I love the process posts, as I still have quite a few rooms in our current house to fix up.

    And I also would vote for a mix of budget and aspirational (maybe with a “look for less” budget option.)

    Would love to see a more cabin-esque style for this house (GIMME ALL THE PLAID!!!). Schoolhouse Electric meets Target Fall 2015 shoot, which was one of my favorites (https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/lets-get-cozy-fall-style-at-target)!

    I know it will be amazing, whatever you choose!

  66. I am so excited to see this house transformed!

  67. Eeek!! Very very exciting, Emily. I especially love this project because hey, similarities – we are moving out of San Diego to a 70s home in the mountains. I think we have the same windows. We are 2+ months into renovating it ourselves and getting weary but the end is in sight. I’m so glad for you to get out of Hollyweird and ground yourself in simplicity on a regular basis!

    Basically what I want to see is for you to make it like Lauren Liess’s contemporary home (the one stained black on the outside, a couple houses ago) or her cousin’s mountain home. Obviously you would never want or try to copy another designer’s look and I don’t intend to insult you! What I am really trying to say is that straight, strong, clean, more masculine look with a lot of natural elements fits this type of house so so well.

    I do prefer a renovation I can relate to, plenty on the budget end and not so many “aspirational” choices that makes it unrelatable, just enough to make it exciting! I’ll be sad to see all the squatty windows changed as it’s not something I can emulate in my own renovation and I would love to see them worked with. I hear you on the walls – we have knockdown rather than orange peel but it feels soooo generic and I had this dreadful moment when I realized all my inspiration pins seemed to have smooth walls and mine look like an apartment. We can’t afford to have flat walls done but we can get it all retextured with a skim coat that resembles old plaster, sort of, and with some matte paint it will have to be good enough. Way fewer shadows anyway.

    I will be gobbling up all your fixer posts for sure!

    1. I was thinking of Lauren Liess too. Like you say, not because Emily should approach this house LL’s way, but because LL is good at working with wood finishes and bringing a natural earthy aesthetic mixed with modern. Painting the wood ceiling and messing with the stone fireplace risks turning the house into a blank, not a mountain house canvas. Add in a healthy budget and sponsored high end products and you could end up with a showcase home instead of a unique special one of a kind home. And it’s not really possible to both showcase incredible design and solve the problems of the masses— me included— who live in homes with 1990s builder grade updates but can’t afford a gut job. So I think your challenge Emily will be to design this house so it’s real, authentic, unique and respectful to the structure and with enough of you in it but not in a been there done that kind of way and not in a sponsored product line up way either. I’m looking forward to this renovation on your blog. I don’t do social media or watch videos. Can’t do that while multitasking at work 😏.

      1. I’ve pinned a lot from that house. selfishly I want it to be totally different from our traditional house in LA so i’m leaning away from anything too traditional. I want to do a style i’ve never done before and I don’t want a lot of accessories. but I LOVE those houses and have indeed used it for inspiration for this house.

        1. Not to be a buzz kill, but maybe a helpful warning? there was recently a story in Canada about a worker going into anaphylactic shock, and dying, from walnut blasting. I know that is a one in a million story but just make sure no one allergic to nuts is around when you do it.

        2. Minimalist has my vote, and invite nature in with renewable materials!

  68. YAY mountain house!!! I’m with a few of the other commenters, why paint the ceilings? They look like they are in good shape and have a very mountain house vibe. For the hot tub, the Cedar Tubs look like they could be a “blend into the environment” option. As for documenting, I’m a “do it on a budget DIY-er” so I’d love to see a mix of high end and budget, and it could be cool to get some DIY tips from your professional labor for any of us trying to clad something/remove a ceiling/scrape off orange peel ourselves.

  69. Oh, and I quit Facebook a few months ago (and am loving it) so please plenty of long blog posts. I like gifs, occasional videos, not how to’s but more of the whys, the process, and behind the scenes. Thanks 🙂

  70. Congrats on this purchase! I look forward to seeing what you make of the place! And ‘budget’ is always appreciated by me, more than ‘aspirational.’ Especially since you are able to make Target and Ikea furnishings look high end. Why spend $5000 when $500 will do?

    And maybe I missed something, but are you going to relegate all kids (yours and friends’ kids) to the same bedroom? I know it would work for now – I shared a bedroom with my brother when we were little – but what about ten years from now? Or maybe this isn’t going to be a ‘forever’ vacation home so it doesn’t matter? Just seems like maybe a “boys’ room” and “girls’ room” might be needed down the line.

    1. I disagree. I have a friend who has had a huge upstairs room for years where all the cousins, from age 6 to 13 LOVE all being in one big room together. They talk, laugh and bond.

  71. Wow, that place is amazing, and will be even more so! I think with design it is really personal. Taste, space, budget, can all vary. Your question of the design should be more aspirational or more budget-y (or both) – well, I think you should just go for it! If there really was a look we wanted to recreate your high/low posts could come in handy to share sources for that. I’m really just in it for the eye-candy! 🙂 Congrats on the new space!

  72. Congratulations!!!!! This is so exciting!!! Cannot wait to be on this journey with you again and see EVERY SINGLE DETAIL!!!! Yes to videos, yes to how-to’s, yes to gifs, yes, yes, yes! My vote is a mix of budget and aspirational maybe? And style wise, you’re the expert!

    PS: You are pretty much killing the parent game by the way… those are some lucky little cuties! 🙂

  73. Long form posts are life! And I would say more budgety vs. aspirational. Even when you provide roundups with cheaper options, when you pick a $400 blanket, it feels like the cheaper stuff isn’t up to snuff. It’s like when makeup artists on YouTube say that a drugstore brand of foundation is just as good as the Armani version, but then they always use the Armani version in their tutorials. I love it when your stuff is more budgety, and I think especially for a country house, it makes more sense to not be super extravagant. So excited about the new project! I know you’ll make it beautiful.

  74. Looking forward to seeing everything happen. I have often thought, as you lay out your vision in the beginning of a project, that I can’t really see what you are seeing, and then am amazed when it all comes together. That’s when I feel my brain expand! One thought I had immediately when I saw the exterior was that you really need to think about fire-proofing your yard as much as possible. The fires in NoCal were so horrifying to watch….

  75. What a gorgeous house! I love when you style out a room/space/wall/ etc in a few different ways (either in real life or with photoshop) and show options/solicit feedback.

    I’ve also missed your old house terribly since you went traditional/English cottage, and would love to see this guy harken back to the more modern, youthful, chic and airy style if the former LA house!

  76. Yay! This is so exciting! Would love lots of behind the scenes stuff. And gifs serve only to frustrate me. My eyes just can’t process the changes fast enough to gather information.

  77. I’m so excited! This is my dream, and I’m happy to watch you live it.

    As far as I’m concerned, the more the better. I think your personal project posts are everybody’s favorites and we will take all we can get. Process, details, all of it. Personally I LOVE floor plans and pictures but have yet to watch a video or facebook live feed. Listening to audio (versus reading) is a total game changer for me (read: disqualifier) and if I have to go to another media source I’m definitely out. Do whatever you need to do to engage the younger generation, but please don’t make less posts/words/pictures!

    1. I often don’t listen to audio either (which is why I write copy on my insta-stories). But I do watch videos !

  78. I totally understand wanting to add a window in the kitchen but as someone who currently lives in a rental that has the stove in the island, I would not recommend it if your goal is to have the island be a gathering place. Stoves are messy and hot and we find that no one ever wants to sit at the island when someone is cooking because of that. Plus the counter needs to be wiped down a ton, especially along the back of the stove where you’d want to sit. Maybe if the island was giant it would work but we used to have an island with a sink and was so much nicer. Just a thought!

    1. My house has the stove in the peninsula because that is where the previous owner put it and I hate it and am doing everything possible to get it on an outside wall for just this reason. Plus hoods block line-of-sight and light. So I agree with you 100% on this.

  79. I’m curious as to why you’re keeping the stairs from the family room into the new master. Do you need two entrances to the room? Removing them would solve the whole ‘add privacy without blocking the light from the window’ situation and would remove that odd nook in the family room beside the fireplace.

  80. Whoa! Congratulations. This post was stressing me out at first (So much work! And, if I’m being honest, so much money!) but as it wound down I realized you are really taking an opportunity with it to do something special both in design and content. I can’t wait to see this transformed and I can’t *wait* to see what you do with content. I’m in content marketing, so this is right in my wheelhouse.

    So, what I want to see: more videos. FB live where it makes sense, but I also love these long-form text posts I can control+F my way through later on when I want to reread specific tips. I love seeing the process/behind-the-scenes, and if I’m being real, I live in the process with my own house, so I definitely want more of that. If your contractors would be game for a video series, I would love to get some how-tos from them, combined with how-tos from you and your team on design and styling.

    As for whether you should go aspirational or budget… I’d say there’s room for a mix. You’re good at supplementing with your “get the look” posts, so I never feel like I couldn’t do something similar. But, honestly, I think there are many of us (myself included) who couldn’t afford this construction, much less on a second home, so a really aspirational design would put it further out of reach. I’ve loved how you have mixed low and high in your past two homes, but I think I’m a little closer to where you were as a renter budget-wise—especially if I were to purchase a second home. I also understand it’s where you’ll be hanging out for the next 20 years’ worth of weekends, so I’m also like, “you do you!”

    I hope that is clear! I really can’t wait to see what you do. <3

    1. I love the idea of having the contractors talk about what they’re doing. If you do video, could you take the extra step of uploading closed captioning so we can watch it on mute?

      1. Good idea. I could use a contractor sponsor to be honest. I’m having problems finding one up there and i can’t imagine being on-camera will be something they are interested in doing. so it might need to be a national company who sees the value in creating content…. any takers?

        1. OMG THAT’S GENIUSSSSSSSS I really like this contractor post!

  81. Technical aspects of reno please! And definitely IG lives too!
    Congratulations. It’s a beautiful slate to start with!

  82. This house is so gorgeous, and your just going to make it even more so!! I love the wooden round type hot tubs, http://www.zenbathworks.com/cedar-hot-tubs-2/

    Modernizing this house is definitely essential but I do agree with others that leaving just a little bit of it’s existing charm will make it so much more homey; the stone on the fireplace or the ceiling and the railing; but I love old scrolly railings and realize i am probably in the minority on that! Only other thing I would consider leaving is not opening up the kitchen………isn’t it already somewhat opened up to the living area? I do love everything you want to do, but also know that sometimes going against what is the popular thing could actually result in something more creative and original.

    So excited for you and your family to have a home away from home to relax and spend time together. I love how you consider what your needs are in these busy, stressful times.

    1. Actually just google round wood hot tubs!


  83. Can you just get rid of that second staircase up to your bedroom? Or is there code or something? That would solve alot of the layout/light problems both up and down.

  84. I’m super excited for this new content & also for your family’s awesome new retreat!

    In terms of content, I would appreciate budget and/or a mix of high/low where you walk through the choices and reasonable (Amber Interiors’ kitchen comes to mind). So many people don’t have the option to work with custom cabinet makers & I think it would be really interesting to see how you make big box cabinets feel like they belong in the space.

    I love progress posts and “behind the scenes” of construction stuff. Maybe you could talk about what it’s like working with an architect & how construction discoveries/ complications impacted design decisions. Going super aspirational on design for a second home seems a little much to me. I think the content will feel more relatable if there is more of a budget bent.

    Congrats on the mountain house!

  85. This is awesome and I totally love the style of the house. I feel like it’ll bring the midcentury and modern vibes back to your blog that I’ve been kind of missing with your English-style home.

    I will also say I’d love to see you go more budget-y with this. Not only is it more relatable for us, the small people who read your blog everyday 😉 , but it’s much more realistic and real-life Emily. I wouldn’t go big for the sake of being big. Just keep it real! It’s what we love about you.

  86. Looks great Emily! Have you considered adding access to the main floor bathroom from the bedroom next to it? That way guests do not need to walk out in the open to use it (maybe a pocket door). As well, the back stairs seem unnecessary to go to your master. Are you thinking of just removing them? Last thing, you will definitely want a mudroom type space to handle all the winter gear – it takes up so much space and creates a crazy amount of clutter!
    I can’t wait to see what you do with this amazing retreat!

  87. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………….
    Cannot wait!!!
    ENJOY this little piece of Heaven!!
    How FUN this will be!!

  88. So excited for this project. What I’d love to see: inspiration, process/BTS, costs, timelines, a focus on finishes/architectural details and how to add charm. Since this is a vacation home, it feels like an opportunity to experiment with design concepts/style. If there’s space for some whimsy like a hidden door or a stained glass window or a moment of totally 60’s Scandinavian ski chalet, etc., that would be fun to see. Maybe leaning ever so slightly more toward Wes Anderson than Nancy Meyers (on the movie interior design spectrum).

    The hot tub you guys want is a Japanese outdoor freestanding soaking tub. They are perfectly round, clad in cedar, beautiful, and will absolutely go with the style of the house.

    1. yes! more concept design for this one. while i want it to be kid-friendly i can really go for it since we aren’t going to live here every day. Of course I want cozy, but I’m veering away from traditional on this one. looking into that japanese tub now!

      1. Yes, this was my first thought, too. I prefer the rectangular tubs, personally. A couple of other search terms to check out are “hinoki,” the Japanese name for cedar, and “ofuro,” the Japanese soaking tub. There’s a great overview article in Dwell.

        Do also note that these differ from American hot tubs in that hot tubs are always filled and use chemicals to keep the water clean. You won’t want to treat a hinoki tub the same way.

      2. Any votes for a Moonrise Kingdom vibe?

  89. I am so excited about this! Have you seen Modpools? They need to be built “into” something to look their best, but they can be a pool, hottub or both – and the setup in easily changed (pool in the summer, hottub in the winter?). (Also, selfishly, I really like your take on it because I’ve been considering it for my next house! They’re a new company too, so may be willing to sponsor!)

    1. Looking into this now!

  90. Hi Emily–long time watcher/follower/reader here! So totally excited to watch along on this journey and could not be happier for you and your family. Buuuuutttt…I have to say that I was a bit put-off by the “HILARIOUS” captions in the master bathroom pictures. I am certain that it was not your intent, but I did want to point out that there are (what I assume to be) many of us followers who are currently living with rooms similar to this that we just cannot afford to update at this time. Reading HILARIOUS on those pictures made this single-mom’s heart heavy. One day I will get there…but for now, I hope that there aren’t people laughing about the current state of these rooms. xoxo

    1. point taken. i’m sorry! its just the biggest tub i’ve ever seen in my life. like the whole room. We put 6 kids in there the other day. so that is more what I meant. So many jets, too. Birdie is now terrified of that tub because of the jets. But I totally get it and will be sensitive to that. thanks for reading along. xx

  91. I’d love to see a nod to your Oregon roots by way of trying to recycle/donate as much as you can from the demo. Instead of demolishing, “deconstruct”, and donate the cabinets, fixtures, appliances, recycle old carpet, etc. It may not be the most beautiful content ever but is really important and could inspire others to think the same way! We remodeled our kitchen (in Portland) and were able to get rid of our terrible old cabinets (someone used them for garage storage) and recycle appliances, etc. Even bought almost-new wonderful stainless steel appliances from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I know your budget doesn’t require this but maybe when you write about your decisions you could include more affordable ways to get similar looks (which you often do and its super appreciated).

  92. I love when you do things three different ways and budgets to go with them. I would love to see that implemented with construction: like bathrooms/ and kitchens (tile, cabinets, countertops……)

  93. For the new master, have you considered completely eliminating the stairs on the other side of the pony wall and expanding the bedroom floor into that space? This way you can keep the natural light from the window and increase privacy, and increase square footage in the master as well as the room below.

    1. Second!

  94. Love the new place! Would love to see some budget-y things in there!

  95. So cool! Can’t wait to see the progress!

  96. and a hot tub is a must. We did the big move out of LA to Oregon last year and we took a side of the house that was cover in bushes and yuk, put in a whole new patio and gasp: a anti LA plastic Hot Springs hot tub and our kids love it so much in the winter when it is snowing and raining. A fun light package is a must. Its so easy to maintain.

  97. Every time a wood ceiling is painted an angel looses their wings…. I get why: the inconsistent ceilings throughout the house. But remember saying you wish you hadn’t painted the wood ceilings in your old house? I’m a mid century modern home owner whose beautiful wood ceilings were painted by some previous owner, just so you know from where I am coming. Ceilings aside, I am thrilled with the prospect of many more house reno posts. They are my favorite. Content: Not a fan of gifs. Love long posts with lots of pictures and words. I also like the earlier suggestion of showing us how to make big box cabinets look custom. Prefer a mix of high and low budget. Congratulations on this new adventure and thanks for taking us with you!

  98. I’m always most interested in the “budgety” approach simply because sponsors don’t exist in non-bloggers’ lives! Not having the funds to do an overhaul, but loving renovation blogs such as yours is a difficult spot in which to exist. So, proceed, entertain, teach and give us practical budget ways while you are at it. Congrats and enjoy!

  99. Congratulations! This blog series is going to be great! I love seeing how your style has changed or been adapted for different types of spaces. The only problem is that then I fall in love with too many different styles and have trouble figuring out what I want. I’m so glad I can vicariously live out my dream of having multiple homes to design in different styles through you. (Could you please do a New England seaside cottage next please?)

    I love all of the details on process, decision making, mistakes, etc. I’d prefer a combination of aspirational and budget. If you do choose pricier items, would you please also link to similar budget items?

    One thing I’ve noticed with design projects from professional designers/bloggers is that they seemingly always work in spaces with beautiful architectural elements – large windows, refinished wood floors, artistic mouldings, etc. I’d love to see a beautifully designed home in what is otherwise a very ordinary, cookie cutter space. Of course I realize that you have the means to make these structural changes and your goal is to make something as beautiful as it can possibly be, I totally get that. I also know where are lots of hobbyist bloggers working in spaces that look more like mine…but those types of bloggers’ styles rarely match my own. I loved the design project you did for your nanny because you made a space look beautiful without making huge changes.

    1. we are working a series about that right now. and honestly the only room that has good light/windows is the living/loft. so we will be doing that exact thing – adding charm, character to the rest of the house. xx

      1. Can’t wait for this post! Such a good, useful topic.

  100. There is most likely no time and would possibly only add to wastefulness but it would be so fun to see you style the house as is! Maybe only working with paint and the things you already own or could get from a store the general population has access to and maybe only a few of the main rooms. I have been dreaming of a lake home and our budget would probably only allow for basic updates like paint and light fixtures and maybe counter tops. Could be a fun way to create more content for the blog and connect to both audiences, go with basic first since it is already an awesome space and home and then go all out for round two! If you hired painters it could be done so quickly!

    1. I actually thought about that. Doing a quick 1 month budget version, while designing my dream version (just for content, obviously) but I don’t think I have the time and while I could donate everything afterwards It did feel extra wasteful. but believe me, i wanted to. if it were in LA and easier for me to get to on the weekdays I might ..

      1. Maybe you could do some bird’s eye furniture layouts and mood boards of what you would do with the existing space if you hadn’t decided to renovate?

  101. Wonderful. Can’t wait for all the reveals. I agree with the comments that guests should have their own bathroom where possible. PLEASE don’t get rid of the first floor private bathroom in bedroom 1. Remember older grandparents or even wheel chairs. Make this bedroom and bath wheelchair accessible and put a closet on the wall by the entry door. It is also handy if someone is on crutches and slow moving. And up stairs please make the closet smaller in bedroom 2 and put an entry door from the bedroom into the bathroom. This way a guest could have privacy upstairs when needed and your kids could run in to your bathroom in an emergency while upstairs. Great job

  102. I just bought a second home in the mountains. It doesn’t need this much work, but I’m excited to see how you design it inside and out. Hoping to get some ideas.

  103. I’m very much looking forward to this. I have one challenge for you and that is to go outside your normal color palate. Less blue! You can do it! I also vote to make this a bit more educational, not on the design side, which you always do, but on the renovation side. How do you remove orange peel walls exactly? How the heck do you safely widen a hole in a wall for a larger window? What must you consider when you remove a large bush? I know you’d need others to help write that, but I’d be super curious for a few ins and outs.

    1. I am. I promise 🙂 No matter what style is chosen, i’m on a different color path in this house. xx

  104. Congratulations on the lovely new house!! I have been reading your blog for a lonnnnnggg time and I am MOST excited about this project! Perhaps it’s because my house was also built in the 60s, has had some 90s updates along the way, and still needs a lot of work. This will be great inspiration for me!

    I like videos and long form the best I think. I don’t always get a chance to see what you post on FB Live or Instagram stories, so the blog is my main way to see what you’ve done! I can’t wait!

  105. I’m excited about this opportunity for a minimalist-scandi-lodge with mod touches project! Love the direction you seem to be thinking with the cladding, spa-feel, etc. Looking forward to seeing the changes happen!

    1. have you been following the lake house board on pinterest? 🙂

      1. I haven’t, but I guess I need to! Have I nailed it? 🙂 This will be a great getaway for you guys.

  106. I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Growing up we had a round cedar hot tub for some reason in the center of our downstairs bathroom. We never really used it that often and my parents eventually took it out, but it was actually pretty cool looking and it would look appropriate in a mountain cabin. It looked kind of like this one https://www.houzz.com/product/78107732-allwood-170-ep-wood-fired-tub-scandinavian-hot-tubs

  107. This house only needs to be a bit bigger and the exterior would be perfect for the McMansion Hell tumblr.

  108. Congrats! And I have to say — HOLY MOLY!! – I am SO excited to watch this renovation unfold. It’s a great blank slate. I agree on painting the beams and ceiling to brighten up the entire space. Thanks for sharing!

  109. I am so incredibly excited to watch this unfold. As for content, I trust you. So you do! However, I prefer the budget stuff as for me they accomplish two things: they are always inspiring and they are affordable/attainable, whereas non budget content is simply just inspiring. But I understand you have champagne tastes and like I said earlier, I trust you. I want to buy a 1960s mountain house now! 😛

    P.S. Not that you will, but please don’t listen to anyone who says not to demo fireplaces or paint wooden ceilings. Demo or paint away! It makes for a more interesting transformation and if this is partly for the blog, then you should make it an interesting transformation. Also, I like white painted wooden ceilings…. so…

  110. This is going to be so good!!!! Probably the best internet makeover yet! Regarding a second home, I live in Canada and having a second home is pretty common in a lot of parts of the country. People live in the city and go to the “cabin” on the a weekend. Because of our high home prices, it is starting to be less of a reality for younger people but a lot of middle income families have at least one family member with a cabin.

  111. Congratulations on the mountain retreat! Loved the confirmation that I’m craving calm and minimalism because I have 3 young boys adding to the chaos. Simplifying in our current renovation has been very therapeutic. I felt Scandinavian mountain home immediately reading your post. California causal scandi mountain home. Love the long posts and IG everything. Your breakdowns of achieving the same look at different price points are always welcome. IF you could ever rent this space without turning your quiet oasis into a circus, I’d haul all my favorite families to the mountains for a week and a chance to live your style firsthand! Great luck with this exciting project!

  112. Wow! Quite an undertaking and with a 6 month timeline to boot. Does this area get snow? Are the trades local to the area, or from LA? I’d love to see weekly updates, photos or short videos are fine with me. As to “wasting what’s already there” can you donate the cabinets, appliances, other building materials? Builder grade or not, I too, hate to see perfectly good cabinets hacked up in the name of “ demo day”.
    As to adding privacy in MBR, I remember an episode of Sarah Richardson’s that was a master redo( or finish as the clients had pooped out) and she had a piece of glass made to wall off a dangerous stairwell. It was beautiful. In fact I love her ability to utilize space. But your design sense proves you’re not chopped liver and I await the progress of this amazing overhaul.

  113. I would love a post on when you choose to work with an architect, why you do so (just because structural changes are being made? To comply with code)? And when as a designer you choose to just work with a contractor only? Since I’m sure you’ve worked with tons of folks on tons of renovations this would be really interesting to me – best bailiwick for designer vs contractor vs design-build contractor vs. designer. I know from past renovations that I’ve done that sometimes an architect ended up being a waste of $, sometimes imperative, but I would love to know your ‘rules of the road’ for why you choose to work with who you do!

    1. that is a good idea for a post. and we haven’t actually hired one yet, just looking into it. partly is because they hire the engineer and they deal with codes and permits. Our last architect was able to fit a whole other bathroom upstairs in our current house which I thought was IMPOSSIBLE. So I think consulting an expert in their field to make sure you are maximizing opportunity is really valuable before you decorate or choose finishes.

      1. +1 on this kind of post!

  114. Aspirational but relatable? If that’s possible? You can always include a couple of “look for less” posts for rooms, but I think this house should be inspiring and well-designed. I don’t like FB live but I like short videos and longer blog posts. Excited to see how this turns out!

    I actually think it would be kind of cool to see the Emily Henderson take on the rustic-modern style. Or Farmhouse meets MCM? I don’t know, it would just be cool to see something different we haven’t already seen. Push the envelope!

    1. OK I want to second whoever suggested Scandi style – that would be awesome, too!

      1. Oh just wait …. (and if you want a sneak, head to the lake house ideas pin board)

  115. How exciting, congratulations! One thought I had while reading about the window issues in the bunk room is that you likely need a separate point of egress in the event of a fire, especially if kids are going to be sleeping in there. I don’t know if it’s possible but maybe a dormer window would work? Just a thought. I can’t wait to see this baby transform! 🙂

  116. Ah I just bought a mountain house too! I’d love to see a fresh, cabiny style! This is awesome timing, so excited 🙂

  117. I’m SO excited to watch this develop. One thing I love most about your projects is your honesty about what things really cost. So many design shows just don’t seem realistic on costs. I love your itemized breakdowns, so keep on with that please!

  118. Is it weird that I got a little teary eyed out of PURE EXCITEMENT!!! I cannot thank you enough for what you share in this space. Give me all of the long posts- I get butterflies of excitement when I see that I can still scroll down and keep reading. Your content is SO. DANG. GOOD . It educates and inspires me as I strive to create the most welcoming, nurturing, cozy, safe haven of a home for my family. Thank you so much for being you and for sharing with the world!

  119. We bought a used hot tub, cleaned it up with a lot of bleach and put rocks with rocky steps around it. You should consider that.

  120. What I would like to see :
    – i love the gifs you do
    – video tours… as actually walking through a space i a very different feel then photographs which can only give a particular angle
    – more colours beyond blues 🙂
    – a lot more green
    – what works and what doesnt – successes and failures
    – night views alongside day ones …. and maybe seasons too
    – a bit more modern touch (and glamour too mayb)
    -Totally new layouts of space usages- unconventional too
    – and some diys with the kids 🙂

    Whoa is that too long a list !!!!!

  121. Looks amazing! I really think you need a window in the bunk room. For mental health, for SAFETY, for the value of the house. A bedroom without a window shouldn’t be a consideration!

  122. Just curious, why demo the fireplace? It looks pretty and has so much character. I’m sure you have a good reason!. Maybe it’s ugly and I don’t realize it. Also I love natural wood ceilings and those seem to be in great shape. What were your thought behind those “updates”?

  123. I would def try to stay away from videos- I never watch them and usually am reading somewhere that I can’t watch them. I like instagram lives and the like, however. seems more natural and organic.

    I would love to see mostly budget but with some aspirational/high end pieces you know you’ll keep forever!

    Can’t wait to see this house and its style, although I would strongly suggest some sort of window or second way to get out of the bunk room for safety reasons.

  124. Show it all. Design plans, demo, process, all of it. This is so exciting and such a wonderful gift for you and your family. Family time is precious and being able to get away from the demands of life together, such a blessing. Best wishes to you as you embark on this journey! I can’t wait to see what you do to make this place special.

  125. Really exciting! Congratulations to you! I can’t wait to follow along!!

    Re: what I’d love to see . . . I think your usual combo of aspirational, affordable, vintage, sponsored, etc. WORKS. Love all that you do!

    Re: spa . . . have you heard of this company? I think it was YHL that introduced me to them. Don’t know if it’s what you’re looking for, but worth a look?!

  126. Congratulations! I’m really excited for this series. 🙂
    1. Mix of aspirational and budget-or “get the look” type posts.
    2. Ditto keeping that extra bathroom…with guests and kids, there are never too many bathrooms!
    3. Perhaps if you get to use custom items, highlight the makers of the posts? (Tiles, furniture, woodwork, pottery etc?).
    4. Love behind the scenes-“in process” type posts. The guts and the beautiful afters.
    5. Love the long form type posts-all the gory details, honesty, rational and transparency that you do SO well.
    6. I’m not on FB or instagram that much, so personally I come here for everything! But that might be just me. 🙂

    Either way, whatever you do and whatever style mash-up this becomes, I have full confidence it will be fun and inspirational. 🙂 Congrats!

  127. I’m totally on “Team Dog” but you have to be realistic about how much more you can take on. Super excited to see you work your magic on this beautiful place and happy for your family!
    Regarding the future lawn: you could consider something like Fleur de Lawn. Works well in the PNW, low maintenance, beautiful, and drought tolerant. As an added bonus, it was developed based on research done at Oregon State (a nod to your home state).

  128. Congrats–what a fun purchase. I would love to see a return to vintage sourcing in this home. I know that a lot of people like to be able to buy the look, and if there are truly amazing mass market pieces out there it is nice to know, but I would love to see you put together something that is a little more unique here. Less Target please 🙂 I’m imagining something out of a scene from Moonrise Kingdom.

    Also, please, please find a way to keep the rock fireplace. It would be the design challenge of your life, but there is something so weird about it that I would love to see it morphed into a new setting.

  129. Thank you for writing this “I loved living in New York in my 20’s, and after being in LA for 10 years I sure do love my friends, the weather and the opportunities that this city brings (while finding the culture/industry of “Hollywood” challenging). But, deep inside my guts, there is a pretty intense need for nature, for trees, for calmness.”

    Growing up in Montana (as a mormon family with 4 sisters), living in NYC in my 20’s and now in LA for 12 years with three daughters I find it hard to feel at home in a city that I love for the bustling aspect/dreamer energy of but always yearning for the calmness, nature and simple childhood spent in nature. I love big cities and mountains equally yet never feeling fully at home in either. House looks amazing and magical. Congrats!

    1. We should hang out 🙂 Sounds like we have a ton in common. xx

  130. YES. I’m so freaking excited to watch this transformation. I’m with you on that master bedroom window—you can’t lose that light! So I’m just gonna say it…do you really need the stairs to the rec room? 🙊 Plus, that gets rid of that awkward little alcove in the rec room below. Anyways, whatever solution you figure out I know I will love, you always do great work! Can’t wait to see!

  131. Oh my goodness! I’ve been searching for A-frames in a Southern California mountain area and have fallen in love… one day it will happen. I can’t wait to see what magic you create with this great house. You are so talented!

  132. YES! I can’t wait to see what you do with this beautiful and quirky 1990’s wig-wearing house! Personally, I would love to see super-aspirational projects with lots of detail about the process. When you talk more about the process, it helps me see how something super-aspirational can be broken down into parts (could I do a certain part myself, could I sub a piece out for a more budget-friendly option, etc). Like you said, the labor of the renovation is often the most costly part.

    Also, I’m always a fan of the roundups – it helps me speed shop and keep my budget in tact! Keep doing what you’re doing and I’m excited to see this series of posts!

  133. So excited for you guys! And thank you for the asterisked note. I grew up in this town and know how special it is to the people that live there full time. I am lucky my parents are still there and I get to return regularly. I am always shocked how much the place has changed- mostly because of folks like yourself that have “found” it. I totally believe that change is usually a good thing, and that the mountain could use some modernization, but my nostalgia hates to think about what it may become so thank you for respecting that. Good luck with the re-do and who knows, maybe I’ll finally get to run into you!!

  134. I’m not a huge fan of FB Live, so I vote for more updates via the blog. I like the process.behind the scenes posts as much as a big reveal. The stone fireplace in the living room could be super cool with such a mountain vibe, just my 2 cents. Looking forward to following the process!

  135. I don’t like the videos, so not those, I absolutely love the how-to’s, because they help me learn from what you are doing. I also like the long form series that you do…again, they help me learn more than on fb live. PLEAZZZ go both aspirational and budget-y…you have both audiences in this crowd (including us! :). I loved the reveal of both the Silver Lake and Griffith Park homes, so that would be what I’d like to see. Style-wise, more modern traditional? Or maybe a bit rustic (it’s in the mountains after all!).

  136. Congrats Em! It sounds awful, but share with us your disasters and mistakes. There’s nothing better than hearing what goes wrong and how you learned from them. Even the costly ones. Too often, designers and bloggers share all the pretty stuff and design features and not enough of the meaty process stuff. This is what we as readers really need to see and learn from! <3 Best of luck and can't wait to follow along!

  137. This is so exciting and I can’t wait to follow this journey! I love a good before and after of a house that tried but didn’t get it quite right. And I love a renovation that increases the overall function of a space, while improving style and making for fun experiments in each room. Your LA houses were super fun to watch transform! I love your style but I really hope you have fun with this vacation house. Best of luck!

  138. My two cents, I NEVER watch embedded videos on blog posts, just text and pictures. I do however enjoy insta-stories, as when I’m watching those i’m in a place where i can watch/listen to video.

    I love more about the process (decisions with architect) and the actual demo/construction. As an aspiring DIY’er I like seeing the builders do their thing and the layers underneath the finished product.

    Also, your style in your current house, while pretty, has kind of deviated from mine personally. I would love more modern mixed with natural woods and texture. and less pastels and blue!! 🙂

    And i will continue to love your detailed-ness and honesty in everything!

  139. Yay! So exciting. I’d love to see how-to’s, a mix of aspirational and budget-y, and process / behind the scenes. I love long form posts once you’ve wrapped up a room but quick updates are nice in addition to those. Can’t wait to see the transformation.

  140. Congrats! This is going to be so much fun to watch. I personally LOVED the Facebook live walk-throughs and the Instatories from your previous reno on your current house. I love seeing the process and the nitty gritty real life stuff of renovations. Excited to see what you have up your sleeve!

    1. As much as I agree with getting rid of the stairs to the master bed room so you can have more light please don’t . I have changed my mind.Just close it off at the top and the bottom and on those days the kids need more exercise and maybe it is raining or snowy they could run laps. It would help with hide and seek and just be fun! With little kids it is always good to have ways to run in a circle and when your friends visit you could keep quite a few kids busy w two staircases. Am sure you can come up w a clever way to make this “problem “ look great!

  141. I grew up in Portland. My grandparents had a cabin up near Mt Hood that we spent alot of time at. I also loved taking visitors to the Columbia Gorge and Multnomah Falls. That is all what says “home” to me even though I now live in Michigan. I think the stone fireplaces says Pacific Northwest along with the wooden floors and beams that you want to paint white. It seems you would be taking away from that outdoor vibe you seem to yearn for.

    Of course, that is just my opinion. You have a vision, and I can’t wait to see how you transform this house!

  142. Since you back to a natural space, I would like to see you do some stuff in the yard that addresses how to minimize impacts on wild spaces. I live in Seattle where there are salmon streams and what gets planted near them has a huge impact on the fish. So similarly, what birds and other wildlife live in those wild spaces and what plants are native and what is invasive? You could do a lot to help make natural surfaces be cool. Check out Katy Bowman’s work on natural movement and how it improves health and well-being.

  143. I didn’t realize just how ridiculous it is to have those two downstairs bathrooms next to each other until I saw the floor plan! I’m so excited to see what you do with this house!

  144. I’d love to see Emily Classic come out with lots of vintage-funk mixed with your high-end sponcered stuff.

  145. This is so exciting! I was actually born and raised in this mountain town (not going to name it, we want to keep it as much a secret escape as you do!) and go back often to visit my folks who still live there full time. I knew from your very first Instastory clip this was a cabin from our mountain, I could recognize the style and scenery outside. Especially those fireplaces which are very prevalent up there (ugh!)
    Your lot is actually very rare, to be so livable and flat like it is. I am excited to see what you’ll do with it. If you go with the faux turf be sure you do extra research on what will hold up. I’ve yet to see it done anywhere up there where it still looks good after a year or two (the new firehouse by the lake is a example of failed turf, as is the village) it ends up looking matted and very fake.
    Good luck with your project and for all the years of memories you’ll have in our beautiful mountain!
    PS- if you keep trying you’ll find a couple of great restaurants. None with the sophistication you’re used to in LA but some simple small town gems do exist. But you need to learn to make a cocktail for yourself, there’s not a great martini to be found!

    1. 🙂 One of the reasons we scrambled to buy the house was for the flat lot and you probably can guess what it backs up to. Good to know about the turf! We just aren’t seeing real grass anywhere so wondering why …. thanks for sharing your town with us – we’ll respect it, i promise. xxx

  146. This is great news! I’m sure whatever you do I will love, but since you asked for feedback here you go…

    1. Vidoes – I’m not big on FB live videos mostly because it’s not a platform I use regularly. I’m more IG and your blog. I love when you embed videos in your post but I’ve only watched a few. Contradicting statement, but it’s true. As far as the vidoes I’ve loved I really liked your recent Samsung TV series video. It is exactly what I’d like to see in this house posts. Details on the process, inspiration, conversation/give and take between you and someone else who is a design expert, and then a pretty reveal. Good stuff!

    Long Form Blog Posts – I love them. I love that you still write them. I love that I can re-read them. Just love the old school OG blogger long form blog post and you do it better then most. So keep it coming.

    Gifs – There cool. I guess. I think I like gifs for snarky active memes and not for design. But I get the concept and clearly other readers like them so go for the gifs.

    Design – I do want some aspirational stuff because Pinterest is what dreams are made of. And I hear you on the DIY being a DI-Don’t for you, but I think some relatable non-target big box store stuff would be really helpful. For example, Ikea kitchen in a mountain cabin with Emily Henderson spin. That i’d like to see. I get that you have access to custom builders and high end suppliers but can you do a room or two where it’s real world/non-DIY stuff. I think it would help all of us understand how to do asperiational in certain areas but realistic in others. Over the years we’ve gotten a lot of aspirational stuff from you like your marble kitchen with brass grout (still the most interesting and pretty thing I’ve seen in many a design blog). But relatable is kinda missing from your life now. You do some great target rooms (I mean god bless threshold and Nate Berkus) but it would be great to see more of that in a space that you don’t use regularly.

    Education – Another poster mentioned some detailed reviews of certain brands like fire clay where we learn more about their process and philosophy. I love that idea. Teach us o great one. Be our guide. I also would like to see collabs with other bloggers not just brands. Like when you collabed on Fig House with Jealous Curator for art.

    Brian – So your husband has lived through two house renovations and six – eight years of blogging. Can we get him involved in this reno? Since it isn’t your main home, perhaps having him do a walk through with you and video his dreams/ideas for the space no matter how outlandish. Most of us have partners who have decent but more basic taste then ours. Showing how you design not just for your kids (who already have great parents and a dreamy backyard) but also for your man would be great. He has ideas. Let’s hear them and let’s watch you try to make them work. Because I know I struggle with that and my sweet hubby.

    So. That’s a lot of feedback. Wow. I had thoughts. 🙂 Basically, do videos that are like mini TV shows, keep it real on the budget in some rooms, teach us, bring in cool people you know in the industry, and let your husband drive more design choices then you typically do. Lol. Yeah. I’m crazy. Do what you can in a way that you like cause we’re going to love it anyway.

    Let the wild design rumpus begin.

    1. I love your comments and questions so much. Most of it was covered by other responses and I agree with all of them and you. Brian, who should be GREAT on camera as he was an actor doesn’t love being himself, which is totally normal. We’ve tried it. But we could try it again as I would obviously love more of him here on camera since he exists behind the scenes. i’ll try. thank you so much for your thoughtful comment 🙂

  147. I would love to see the process! We are looking to but our first home (most definitely a fixer) so I’d love to see where you start and the entire process. So excited to see what you do with this space!!

  148. SO excited! Can’t wait to see what you do.

    Here is my input re: content:
    I hope to see lots of long explanations and learn about every detail/agonising decision you make! I love seeing how you think and you are one of the few people who are good at sharing all your thoughts in an interesting way. Tell us everything! In words and pictures. (No videos please!)
    I only follow here on the blog, so if you do share info on social media, please also share it here!

    1. I love all of you who want long post. long live the love post 🙂 no problem, here. xx

  149. Short story. So we also have a mountain home. Purchased in 1999 when kids were little. We hosted our first new years eve party with 3 other families (one stayed with us; the other two rented a house nearby). As the kids tuckered out, we put them to bed and the adults partied on : ) Fast forward to 2017 and we will be hosting our 18th party. The kids are young adults now and STILL join us (and now drink us old folks under the table : )) This is one of our best traditions.

    Looking forward to seeing what you do with the place (need some inspo for our place). Wishing you new great memories too!

    P.S. Love blog posts of any type to share your progress.

    1. Oh I love this! What a perfect way to spend New Years.

      1. sounds pretty much perfect. xx

  150. Congratulations! What a fun project to take on. I am excited to see the progress in the future (especially that pony wall).

  151. P.S. Just saw your update re: mountain vs. lake. I totally understand! This is not just a cozy winter cabin.

    I think you should paint the ceiling white. Of course you’ll bring in warm wood through furniture etc. Then in the winter you can decorate with a “cabin” vibe and in the summer switch out the art, textiles, etc. for more of a lakehouse feel. That’s what I’ve started doing in my 1969 little house in Canada and I love it!

  152. Since you mentioned feeling a bit wasteful have you ever thought about donating the cabinets, bath tubs, sinks, etc they you remove to habitat for humanity’s restore? It’s like goodwill only for housing stuff; their proceeds support habitat for humanity. Also the stores provide an opportunity for house recipients to get their volunteer hours in. Many people don’t know this but to get a house from them you have to contribute so many hours towards it, or if you are unable to do that kind of work you can work at the restore. Just a thought:). I’m looking forward to seeing what you do!

    1. Yes! I’d love to not waste it. hopefully we can get someone on board who can come and take it. on board with that. xx

  153. Can you please tell me how you get rid of that orange peel texture on the walls!? Its on every surface of our house and I have no idea how we could undertake fixing it besides a gut job!

  154. “My question to you is, as we are formulating all this content – what do you want to see? More videos? How-To’s? Gifs? Long form series or more weekly updates on facebook live? Do you want me to go super aspirational or more budget-y (or both)? Do you want more process? More behind the scenes? Is there a style you are dying to see or something you feel like was missing from the reveal of this last house? Like I said, we have a major plan in the works to involve the audience in a HUGE way but since this is kinda a blog-experimental house I’d love any initial input both on the how you want to see the design happen and how we put out the content. Eh??”

    Short answer: YES! 😀

    Longer answer: I’ve always loved your style and blog, however my style is a bit different and I would LOVE to see more of this if it fits for you and the house – and that is more “contemporary/modern”, Cozy, but clean lines/palette. No idea if that makes sense in labels, but all the same, I’m so excited to see what you’re doing here. Mandi Gubler (Vintage Revivals) is doing a major reno on her new family home and she’s incorporated videos at certain points while also including blog posts on certain updates as well, and I’d love that with your reno. I love your videos and would love to be able to catch up in a way that blogs/written content often struggles to show (like flow of the home, floorplan, etc), so maybe it’s both? Blog posts with details around budget, , how you approach your decision making process, sourcing, etc is always fascinating and so valuable to me, and knowing your personality I’m always happy to see some EH time on camera 🙂 I loved your show and always make a point to watch the videos you share because you’re so down to earth, relatable, and just happy 🙂 So, hope that makes sense… basically, a whole lot of YES to all of the ideas you threw out, different approaches maybe for different types of updates. Selfishly I’m so dang glad y’all got this place, it looks so beautiful, and of course I cannot wait to follow along. Thanks Emily!

    1. GIRL. you are in luck. I don’t want to spoil too much but yes, it will be way more modern, clean, minimal and yes contemporary. I’m almost treating this like a new build since it doesn’t really have a distinct architectural style. i’m mostly concerned about finishes and simplicity, with very few patterns and no fuss. in my head it looks amazing but you guys will be choosing a lot of the results 🙂

      1. IF this were my home, i’d Explore design approaches from Scandinavian-inspired mountain/lake homes – minimal, simple and natural fixtures and features in a cold-weather climate that also embraces light, sunshine, and warmth of natural wood. As others have mentioned, I would try to keep the ceilings natural and if the fireplaces are real river rock, would explore grouting techniques that would provide a more European flair. But it’s not my house, so have at it, Emily!

  155. I am SO excited to see what you do with this house!!! I loved your insta-stories on it initially so I’d vote for behind the scenes videos and updates. I love seeing videos of the flow and layout. And I’m all for aspirational! I know you’re you’re going to knock this out of the park. 😁

  156. I ended reading this post with a super excited feeling in my stomach!! I can’t wait to see how you will involve us! I would love to see the process of HOW to document all of this. The organization of turning a reno into blog posts. Getting this much info all at once is pretty overwhelming and I can’t imagine trying to report on all of it to an audience! I also would love to hear some of your art philosophy and process. I assume you consider interior design an art form and yourself an artist. Lets get philosophical!!

    1. Oh good! I have a very excited feeling as well. that makes me super happy that you guys are so happy. Its a ton of work but i’m psyched to do it with you guys caring/following along. I’m serious. It would be way less satisfying if you weren’t here. is that wrong? (I’ve had 3 drinks :))

  157. Yay! I did see it on the stories but love seeing the overall plan! So excited for this!

  158. Style-wise, I would love to see this house looking Scandinavian, or Zen, or “Cali-chic”… I think it would be so nice to be simple, nature-y, and calming. I don’t see you going for the full “rustic cabin” vibe, but doing something less traditional and more natural/simple would work in this setting.

    1. Agree, I’d love to see that too. Zen!

      1. I AGREE. Stay tuned 🙂

  159. I’d love to see a combo of aspirational and budget friendly. And while I know you’re not DIYing it, a few easier DIY’s or again, budget friendly projects would be nice. I’d really love to see creative combos of new and old furniture (which you already do a great job of showing) And maybe some super bold color/pattern combos in a room or two. I love your insta stories with behind the scenes and sneak peeks and I love the 1 room with three budgets that you do. I don’t like gif’s, I do like FB lives.

    Oh and random but you turned me on to cement tile, which I think is gorgeous and fun with the patterns, but not budget friendly. I have found some more affordable porcelain with the look of the patterned cement tiles, online at home depot recently. I’d love to see you use affordable sources for stuff like that.

  160. I love ANY style you choose because you do all of them so well. I would say I enjoy the budget-ier stuff more, just because it feels like I could implement similar stuff in my own house! But however you deliver it – pictures, videos, diagrams – it’s all great. So excited for you guys – and for your future posts! Congratulations!

    1. I’m definitely going to give budget options when we don’t do budget. So ultimately I’d love to implement budget ideas … then you can choose higher end finishes or more budget finishes … xx

  161. Beautiful house! Random dumb question time: I thought it was considered a bad idea to have the toilet facing the bathroom door? Like if you open the door: boom, there it is. Is that old-school?

    1. ha. i don’t know! they are all like that. maybe we’ll change 🙂

  162. Sounds so exciting and I love love loved seeing the renovations from your last house. I like long form posts like this as opposed to shorter FB lives (which I still do enjoy), but I like to really get immersed in a post. And I think what you’ve done in the past, a mix of aspirational and budget has worked out wonderfully!

    Something I’d love to see more of is the inspiration phase. As I go through and my own space to redecorate, I never know where to start. How do you start? How do you create a cohesive room? A color palette? Many different styles that work together well? Do you start with one piece that you love and sort of work everything off of that? I’m very interested in the process…and have lots of questions. Haha.


    1. OOh i’d love to share more about that phase. happy to oblige 🙂

      1. +1 on an inspiration phase post!

  163. How exciting!! looking forward to see you work your magic!
    here are my few suggestions
    1. exterior roofline over the entrance and covering garage is kinda weird “M” shape, it will add more curb appeal if replaced with one single roof. OR
    2.align the front entrance door to the living area wall and get rid of that small entrance box kind of part so it will make the main door visible,also extend the roofline of living room over it
    3. the bay window in master bath in original plan must have been part of the master bed hence no windows in the current master bed. I would suggest keep the master bed just move it towards that beautiful bay window and use the space of closet and more around windowless wall to make master bath. so you can make space above family room for bunk room and also keep/remove the stairs.

    1. INTERESTING. so the current master bedroom used to open to the bath? you must be right. huh. ok. maybe our architect can figure out all those things but i’m writing a list. thank you!

  164. Great news!!! I’m so excited for you (and for us, readers!)
    I love your blog and come here almost every day.
    I trust you on your choices. Even when it’s not my style, it opens my mind on other things and I love that! And you give advices that can be useful for any style which is great!!! 😉
    I love long posts like this one, videos, and when you show us a cheaper way to “get the look”.
    I’d like to see more process, behind the scenes and regular updates.
    Thank you for this exciting new series!!!!

  165. This is exciting–congratulations!

    I’d like to see as much information as you can give. There can be no contemplation, change, or door hinge, for that matter, too small or too frequent to capture my interest. I think I’ve taken an hour on this post, scrolling back and forth between photos and floor plans–love it!

    As far as budget, you have been good about explaining why you go expensive on certain things. Keep it up! It’s interesting to hear the cosmetic and functional reasons behind the decision to splurge or save. As many blog posts as I have read recommending investing in an expensive sofa, I still don’t quite get the rationale. But when it comes to cabinetry and appliances, I get it. Lighting fixtures? Not so much. Radiant floor heating? Yes!

    I don’t do facebook, so I’d miss out there (sad face). I’ll leave style to you–but that brings up a question. I think I’m great about the big stuff–walls, floors, furniture. I struggle with the detail–which decorative objects? what color? what size? HOW, how, how do you do that? If you want to throw out your train of thought as you buy blankets, lamps, and art, I’m all ears.

    Best wishes!

    1. thank you! question – why don’t you do facebook? there have been a few commenters saying that and i’m curious why?
      but i’m so happy you want all the details because I HAVE DETAILS 🙂

      1. I’m not Hallie but I’ll answer your FB question: I don’t do FB because it’s totally overwhelming and (this may sound harsh) but there’s nothing of value in it that I don’t get somewhere else. Friends? I text them. News? I read that elsewhere online. Visual inspiration? Instagram. Inspiration from designers I love? Their blogs, and instagram. So keep posting here and on instagram and we’ll all be happy 🙂

  166. This is going to be an amazing project. I love everything about it and all of the future changes! Keep the videos, gifs, content coming.

  167. Emily,
    I am sooooo excited for the fun and creativity that you and your family will enjoy in this home. Congratulations!
    Kerith | Visual Girl

  168. Congrats! As another comment said, “you do you” and don’ worry about trying please all of us readers, we are here because we love what you do and can’t wait to see you work your magic on this home!

    A lot of people have mentioned they don’t watch the videos, but I really enjoy them. Although I do prefer when they are embedded in the posts…I prefer not having to go to fb to watch them, and found the quality of the fb live videos was really spotty. I do love the instastories too!

    I can’t wait to see this project unfold!

    1. oh good. i like the videos, too. I don’t watch everyones but I feel like if they are well shot and edited that I would watch them (aka i don’t like weekly videos but the bigger ones that tell more of a larger story). xx

  169. Gorgeous, I’m so excited about this house and your progress! Can’t wait to watch. I LOVE in-depth progress posts, about how you make your choices, with before and after photos. I typically read your posts on breaks at work, so I wouldn’t watch videos, and I’ve been sad to see some of my favorite bloggers moving from traditional photos / text to videos because then I feel out of the loop.

    I think I’m most excited for that living room / kitchen redo because I know you’ll do some magic. Keeping things more on the budget end will keep it more approachable for your audience, I think!

  170. So excited to see this house redone! I love that you are remodeling a home with a ’90’s wig’ because so many of the homes in our area are exactly the same! It’s daunting buying a house that technically liveable but not what I like at all. I would love to see this on the blog in a long form series, with before posts like you do for client work. I also would love to see quick updates on instagram:) I love what you do decorating whether budget or aspirational, especially when it is a mix of both.

  171. I am wondering how you will fit in the whole hot tub situation! We live on a wooded property with a patio and sticking the hot tub in the mix just didn’t seem very well thought out. Prices for doing a concrete inground spa/hot tub were almost as much as putting in a pool. The cedar hot tubs are pretty, but look better when recessed into a deck. Curious to see what you do!

  172. Good thing you put the disclaimer about the town location. Cuz we have a house there too and spent all our free time up there. Even though I have been in decades it was a magical simple place that will stay with me forever!! So lucky you, to be able to give the same to your sweet kiddos!

  173. So exciting! You never disappoint in either content or how you deliver it, so just keep on being Emily. One thing on floor plan seems awkward–the kitchen door. Could it be closed up and entrance added into dining room where island is now? That would give a continous run of cabinets in bump-out area.

  174. This looks like such a fun project!! Looking at the photos, and then the floor plan, two things really jump out at me:

    1) Have you considered removing the weird pop-out of the kitchen wall, with the door? It looks so funny and tacked on, and keeps you from adding a window in the bunk room, and doesn’t look like you would actually lose much from the kitchen? unless you really want the entry door there…

    2) Why not just remove the back staircase? Then the master could be really, truly private, and the play room below would get rid of some funny nooks and gain some square feet. Then you could also put a big window in that wall of the master bedroom.

    Can’t wait to see this come together! I definitely want as much process as you can manage– Design vision, paint/fixture/finish selection, and really more information about changing the floor plan and what goes into that from permitting to construction to finishing. I also always appreciate your transparency about budgets, and hope that will extend to this project, regardless of whether you go big or stick to a budget.

    Excited to see demo!!

    1. hi sarah!
      1. i only recently thought about removing that bump out. like today 🙂
      2. yep, getting rid of the stairs as per all of your suggestions. so smart. can’t believe i hadn’t thought of it.
      thanks for your thoughtful comment. xx

  175. I love that you have a new project. I, like many others it seems, like that all the details you provide when renovating. All the guts of why you make decisions, the various choices you chose between, etc. etc. etc. As you ask for content/form input, I wanted to give my two cents: I know video is the way of the future. Facebook live, instastories and all that is fine. However, for the blog specifically, I hope you don’t move to posting many videos. I read often at work when I need a quick mental break or when in public on my phone, etc. So I have yet to ever watch a video posted on a blog. I still READ blogs instead of watching videos on blogs. You’ve done a good job in the past where you still write content and have pictures even when you have a video. So hope you continue that. Can’t wait to see what you do with this house. Good luck!

    1. thank you for that input. I personally mostly read posts, not videos or even audio. our challenge is getting younger viewers who might watch videos, but this feedback is really great.

  176. WOAH- this is incredible!!! I’m so excited. We just purchased our first house in the burbs and it’s a 1979 colonial with some late 90’s “upgrades” and reading this blog post really hit home to some of what we encountered (wood and green HOT TUB in the middle of the yard!!!, a powder room smack in the middle of the kitchen granite that literally looks like vomit…why??)

    If Brian really wants a hot tub though, could you sink it into the ground so you’re not seeing the actual bones of it and then just build around it with some nice pavers, etc? I say “Just” but I of course have no idea of the costs to do that.

    CONGRATS and can’t wait to see this and participate??
    I LOVE seeing your mood boards and the inspiration for what is to come. I know you’re on Pinterest but it would be so awesome so somehow follow along with your pinning process. Will you be creating albums for reach room and pinning ideas along the way? I’d love that.

    And yes, I’d say a skylight in that master for sure. Hell, skylights anywhere you can put them is lovely.

  177. I cant wait to see the transformation of this home! I love your long posts that get into the weeds with budget and issues/solutions, much like this post. I am currently launching my own design company so I love hearing all these issues from a learning perspective. For the design, I would love to see this home break away from what is on trend/all over Pinterest and select items you love and would not get to do in a clients home. Everyone can design a pretty white kitchen or all white living space and throw in some vintage rugs. But i know you got skills and a broad style and cant wait to see what you do.

    Also, as a homeowner of a new build with textured walls and rounded corners, I am really excited to see what wood paneling you add. I am working on a nursery for my first baby and added some board and batten and wallpaper. I now want to cover just about every wall in some sort of paneling as it does add so much character! How to transform builder basic is right up my alley and I am sure a lot of folks can relate.

    Lots of love from a dedicated daily reader. -www.beeboutdesign.com

    1. KUDOS. that’s exactly what i would do. and by kudos i mean congrats 🙂 that series is launching next week, inspired by the challenges of this house. hopefully it helps but sounds like you know what you are doing 🙂

  178. I was scrolling through your most recent posts and counting how many comments each had. Of course this one blew off the roof, so I had to comment too.
    This post was a kind of long, tbh. I guess I’ll have to come back to it and read the parts I skipped over.
    So, my vote is videos yes, gifs NO. And my other request that I know you will not honor, but I just have to say it: can you try to NOT paint the woodwork white? Walk on the wild side, do something different for you! Don’t paint it!! That house in OH where you painted all the woodwork still makes me cringe. And I am one of the people who were overjoyed by the fact that you managed the strip the beams in your current house.
    And one more idea (though for safety I’m not sure if it is workable?): when you replace that weird corner dungeon fireplace, how about using a wood stove, or one of those cool Malm fireplaces? I think that would look great.
    Ah yes, (the post was so long that I had lots of thoughts) I am curious to see what you’ll do with that master BR pony wall. There’s a condo that I’m interested in that has a similar situation.

  179. Cannot wait to see how your experiment works. Also, calling ir a lake house rather than mountain cabin opens the door to more design options. Looking forward to the ride!

  180. Why the cooktop on the island? We’re laying out our kitchen and I keep seeing it but am worried about it from a safety perspective (stools on the island, seems like it would be easier to bump things), design (vent hoods), and use (I think of islands as places to stage a buffet or roll out cookies)

  181. Radiant floors! I am so jealous of anyone who had radiant floors. Are you putting them in the whole first floor or just in the living room?

    1. ha. i don’t know. just an idea right now. brian loves the wall to wall (and so do I) so we are trying to add warmth while still adding hardwood. but nothing concrete yet (no pun intended)

  182. I personally love aspirational stuff from bloggers. I also love seeing all the details like you did with your Tudor home. Picking things out and what not. I think going for the “lake house” feel rather than “cabin plaid” will be more versatile with the changing of the seasons. Anyways I’m stoked to see what you do with it!

  183. Can it be aspirational and budgety?

    1. ha. thats the ultimate goal 🙂 i’ll try, i promise. xx

  184. This is so exciting, for your family, and for all of us!!! This is making my day, so thank you!!! I would love to see what I love most about your design style and blog: behind the scenes, design process, experiments, the process of renovation and construction, design plans , reasoning for all of it, as well as modern design that both pushes the envelope but seems like something we can reasonably aspire to achieve as we each grow in our own designs. This seems like a lot to ask and I’m sure I’ll love it all anyway!!!

  185. OMG! Amazing! Ok, I hope you get to read this comment but I would love to see more family room and big kid room designs. Selfishly, that’s what I am tackling now. Also, since this is your home, more transparency around costs. How much will it cost to do this major gut renovation?! Breakdown, labor, materials, even if it’s on the higher end. Can’t wait!

    1. will do re budget. the answer is a lot. but i’ll share, i promise. xx

  186. Not only will this be a great escape and project… you are creating an amazing place that will give your kids memories that will last a life time. Nice investment. Enjoy and have a great time.

  187. Food for thought… you could take out the 2nd staircase going up to the new master. Keep the light and potentially open up extra space on the first floor… or replace it with a spiral staircase. So excited to see what you make this place into!

  188. I’m really excited for you, your family, and we, the readers!

    So glad you are trying to keep your small, quiet area small and quiet. I really hope you succeed in that, for the sake of those already living there and for you.

  189. How exciting! Another fun project to follow your always amazing transformations =) May I ask what program you use to mark up your photos? I am a fellow designer and am always looking for new ways to present ideas to clients. You are a great inspiration to fellow designers like me.

  190. Idyllwild? Big bear? Or somewhere else?

  191. I am so excited about y’alls endeavor!! Slightly envious, but more so EXCITED!! For you, of course, but mainly for meeee and my viewing pleasure. You killed your LA house and I already know I’ll love whatever you do with this one! Personally, I think you should pimp it out mid century. The house itself is very School House Electric. Their style sometimes has a modern cabin bent, but in a fresh airy way without leaning to heavy. Light, clean, yet cozy. As far as content, I want to see it all! The whole process from start to finish. A mix of budget-y and custom aspirational type stuff make a great mix, so don’t skimp on either.

  192. STOP!!!! TTI. If you want to overwhelm your devoted fan- you JUST DID??!
    Question 1: how much $$$ ? So we mere mortals can grasp.
    Question 2: how long to do these countless changes and how do we find contractors to do this?
    Question 3: do you Ever sleep?

    1. I would actually love to see some pricing! No one gives hard numbers, maybe because it’s embarrassing or maybe because they don’t want to affect sponsor pricing, but a general ballpark would be wonderful. I remember going through pinterest and finding beautiful wedding inspos only to discover upon meeting with professionals that my quaint mountain wedding would cost $100k. Soooo having some understanding of the realities of cost would be tremendously helpful!

      1. we give hard numbers. renovations are expensive. this house will cost between $100 – $150k and that may or may not include the fixtures (depending on what they are and sponsors). I’ll be as honest as I can, i promise. thank you 🙂 xx

  193. Having finished something similar in Tahoe last year, I can tell you you will have a blast! (Alas, my budget wouldn’t allow getting rid of the orange peel finish). I’m the opposite of you: an architect who loves houses/design but doesn’t work on them professionally. Be prepared for this to cost a small fortune. With the vintage of your house, you would think that all systems and structure would be in pretty good shape, but that will NOT be the case. As an example both of my bathrooms sloped over 2 1/2” thus making it impossible to not only add a free standing tub but also installing new tile without leveling the floor. Working in a remote area also adds to some unique challenges. Having said all that – I just convinced my husband to buy a condo in Malibu (1972 vintage) and do it ALL OVER AGAIN. I’m looking forward to following along.

    1. INTERESTING. i want free-standing tubs!!! good to know. good luck in Malibu. happy to come visit 🙂

  194. Taking deep breaths to deal with jealous feelings (soaker tub – I feel more relaxed just envisioning it), ha, but this is exciting and I can’t wait to see what you do! It is such a dream of mine to own a little cottage some day that we can pass down to our kids and grandkids, but in the meantime, we’re struggling to make it work in a little city apartment and stressing over making a lovely home for our kids with very little financial margin, so I’m always happy to see truly creative, beautiful, budget friendly ideas. BUT aspirational is so good for our imaginations and a deeper understanding of style and beauty, so I vote for a mix (which seems to be your style anyway?)

    1. Thank you, Emily. I lived in a city for a decade and I get it + your kids being exposed to SO MUCH GOOD. Lovely homes are from lovely parents. You are doing a great job. xx

  195. Wow! Congratulations, man! Holy SMOKES I’m excited to see what you do to this house. Side note: I found the John and Sherry mention very pleasing.

  196. It’s going to look so amazing!

  197. This is going to be beautiful! Regarding fireplace discussion- I think if people zoom in they will see it is a bit more 90’s than rustic riverstone cabin-y. But to keep without replacing all you could take off the stone above the mantle? Or lighten the grout? I have a more authentic riverstone fireplace that runs floor to ceiling that is many decades old in our lake cabin. It crumbles and has cracks and I love it. I tried to replicate the look in our home renovation but left my husband home when they came to do the surround and the stones are spaced too wide and the dark grout looks tacky. If you can remove then replace the stones that could be really great!
    For the attic…can it be opened and lifted to the bunk room below?

    1. you are right. its 90’s. not beautiful and rustic 🙂

  198. This may be a radical idea (and I haven’t read all the comments) but please consider N O T painting the living room ceiling white. You may end up with an airport vibe instead of a mountain house ambience. At least W A I T to paint it.

  199. What a fun project! This is very cool that you’re making it a communal idea workshop!

    Can you clad the living room stair wall in a thin plank of rustic/weathered wood? (Since you’re painting the ceiling white, wouldn’t compete with wood tone.) So as not to be the sauna look 😉

    What about keeping the large window frame dark/black in the living room? It would highlight all the beautiful greenery outside.

    Save that bedroom wood ceiling! It is the definition of a lake house. Feels so Dirty Dancing (in the best way possible). Can you name the bedrooms? Feels so old school (like my grandmothers house) and so fun for guests.

    Moving the entry would be amazing – a bit awkward to walk into a kitchen, but if not, that certainly won’t be a negative once this house is finished by you.

    Why not just close up the pony wall? Makes the dining nook feel more cozy and its a tiny corner to look around anyway. Wont impact the views into the kitchen at all since its at an angle.

    Not sure it works with the house, but love cedar shakes. Feels so homey.

    1. Last one – I vote to keep the river stones and change the mantels. Feels authentic.

    2. yes to many of your ideas, mostly – why aren’t we closing up the pony wall??? good idea! just close it up!

  200. what i NEED to know is what is the brand and style of the sofa in your Mountain House? Where do I get? It is the perfect depth with chaise sectional style. Please tell.

    1. Hi Samantha! Flattered that you’d ask. Emily’s sectional happens to be our Burrard sectional in Seasalt Gray. She also used it when she styled her old home to sell. You can check it out here: https://www.article.com/product/1523/burrard-seasalt-gray-right-sectional-sofa

  201. Wow, congratulations – very exciting.
    My vote is for the process, behind the scenes. All the questions to get to the answers.
    I love the details, I remember one sofa that was drawn with instructions to the upholster, with the depth of thought and decisions that goes into making beautiful functional spaces.

  202. REALLY looking forward to this! Fresh, open, mix of high low (but, come on, we want to see the dream!), cozy, peaceful, some whimsical touches (basically the things we love you for). Make sure you have plenty of places for family and friends to sleep comfortably because you’re going to want to share with lots of them. In other words, with the great outdoors I don’t think you need too many indoor playing spots for the kids (and kids will find a place to play whether it is designated or not). Congratulations!

  203. Thanks so much for asking for feedback. Would love to see this home have a hi/low mid century/slightly transitional style. Something that, while you might chose a higher end option, one could fine a similar piece for less. Regarding “pace,” becuase you are not a DIYer, sometimes the pace of your renos is overwhelming! In fact, the post felt like info overload to me and I couldn’t process it all. When I have to read design posts the way I read a legal brief for work, my head starts to hurt and I tune out. Would love if you broke projects up as much as possible, focus on process and utilize different videos/insta live to show progress in real time so that it’s not as much to process all at once. Just my two cents. Looking forward to seeing what you do!

  204. I really really really want to hear your thoughts about adding charm and character to basic houses. Yes please!

  205. I can’t wait to watch this unfold! As I scroll through the comments, I am so impressed by how open and gracious you are about people’s suggestions! I trust you will stay true to your own aesthetic as you consider all your options. My two suggestions: One – HOOKS. We are lucky enough to get to stay in many vacation homes (rented or friends’) and I always appreciate places to hang things. Our favorite beach house has lovely custom wood pegs all over the place. Two – Outdoor Shower! Whether or not I am sandy, muddy or not, I always relish my chances to use outdoor showers (with appropriate privacy, of course). A friend’s very luxurious vacation home has a deluxe outdoor shower with teak slatted floors, custom louvre-style enclosure, and large patinaed brass shower heads….a wonderful experience….really feels like vacation.

    1. Yes! I second an outdoor shower!!!

  206. Definitely don’t do plaid and cabin in the woods feel. I’d love to see more rustic farmhouse!

  207. Amazing! The bedroom #1 & #2 are huge. You should be able to get way more out of those areas if you space plan those areas differently. 3 bedrooms just seems v. low for a 3500sq. Ft. Home.

    On another note…PLEASE DON’T PAINT THE BEAMED CEILING WHITE!!!! Let that wood work for your mountain house vibe.

  208. Artificial turf is a breeze with a dog! We’ve had it for four years and have a dog and have never had an issue. We immediately clean up after business has been completed and then spray down the area with water via the hose. About twice a year we deep clean with Dawn dish soap and it still looks and feels amazing!

  209. I have been waiting in eager anticipation for this reveal!!! I’ve actually reached out to you once or twice in the last few years suggesting that you should buy a mountain house and so when I saw your announcement, I kind of freaked! My family and I live in Pasadena and bought a cabin in a town near yours a few years ago (I know because Brian was wearing your town-logo’ed hat in one of your Insta-stories). We LOVE it and we’re so thankful that our kids will grow up in nature.

    I will say that now that our oldest child is in kinder, we are pretty restricted in how often we can go, since we are really limited to weekends. We try to go up as often as possible, which is about once a month now, and we always invite friends to go with us. Super fun.

    I don’t know if you’re running into this, but finding good contractors up there is REALLY hard. The reputable ones are really expensive and almost always booked way in advance. This is especially true in my little lake town, which is more rural. Anyway, you guys are going to have a blast. We always say buying this cabin was once of the best decisions we ever made. 🙂

    1. we have found that good contractors are harder. thats hilarious that you saw brians hat in the insta-story!! ha. hopefully we’ll run into you sometime. xx

  210. You might try a low mow lawn for ground cover. They don’t grow very tall and require minimal water and mowing grass at a second home is annoying.
    Also I think they look so cool and I think kids would love to play and picnic etc.

  211. Oh man. It’s going to be so fun to see what you do. I LOVE following allow as you fix up your homes and end up being SO influenced by what you do. Thanks for asking for feedback. Because you did, I have this awful, nagging need to voice something very important to me, which is that you please acknowledge climate change and try to be as sustainable as you possibly can be with your decisions. In southern CA you guys are actually very vulnerable to the projected changes- namely drought and wildfire. As a fellow Oregonian inspired by nature, I hope you will use your massive influence to play a role in what’s probably the biggest challenge of our generation. I bit my toungue on the Halloween decorations, because I don’t want to pipe up just to be negative- I honestly do get so much daily pleasure from your blog- and I have left many positive comments too, I promise. But that level of consumption seems iresponsible when so many (even in just your state alone) are suffering so badly from weather patterns that are already being made worse by climate change. Thanks for asking for feedback. I hope I’m not coming off as too critical or sanctimonious. I can’t help but raise the issue because you have such a huge opportunity to tip the scale on patterns behaviors given your reach and influence Keep up the great work! You have true talent! And thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

    1. No, thank you! i honestly really appreciate criticism when done in such a mature/nice way. Such good feedback and great suggestions. THANK YOU. xx

  212. First time poster in any blog, really. Congrats on the new house! Came here to write please don’t paint the wooden beams or exterior bricks white!! That makes me sad!!

  213. To answer your Q re aspirational vs attainable, DIY, etc. “what do we want”…

    I want you to do you. I like YOU. I like your writing and your art. I like seeing a non-stagnant, evolving, aging, imperfect, creative, fun human. (Aging meaning many of your readers—like me—are going through life stages with you—started reading without kids, now I have two…) I think that everyone will like this series if you just do YOU; aiming to please others is an impossible, thankless moving target. Do what you’d do if no one was watching. I’m excited for you—congrats!!

    1. Agree!! We like Emily and her beautiful, honest, humorous posts and pictures!

      1. Ah, thank you 🙂 Ok. will do xx

  214. I am so excited about this. Like, irrationally excited.

    1. That made me Laugh out loud. I still have problems writing LOL but that made me do it 🙂

  215. This is super exciting! I would looooove to see you do fresh clean minimal modern. Seems like the lines & the light would support this. And it’s a change from your usual. I would love to see Behind the scenes and inspiration and thought process. And mistakes! I love mistakes. I know it will be sponsored which is cool but I hope you keep that super authentic because I think people can tell when it’s not. No need for FB — I’m never there any more. But love Stories. Thanks for asking, and congrats! I’m so excited.

    1. done 🙂 (style-wise). that’s where i’m leaning 🙂

  216. This is super exciting! Such a fun challenge, and I love getting to see it from start to finish. I agree with others that videos are probably the best way to see how decisions are made and how things get put together. I also enjoyed seeing how your moodboard for your current kitchen evolved over time and with Brian’s input.
    Lastly, I’d say that anytime you can skew kid design and products a little more budget-friendly, I think it’s likely appreciated by lots of us. Since kids outgrow and rough things up, it’s harder to understand the “aspirational” side of design with kid items.
    Good luck, and YES to getting a dog! #henderdog

  217. I’m soo excited to see this process!!! So, I must say that your previous home, with the big windows, that had more mid-century/modern/young/quirkiness was so, so fun, and so unique!! I couldn’t find anything quite like it, and finally I could explain my interior style by telling people, “Go look at Emily Henderson’s blog, and THAT’S what I love!!” I ADORED the style of that home. Your new home is so lovely and classy–and of course you designed it for YOU and YOUR family, so who the heck am I to chime in with an opinion?–but, I just really miss the more funky, “let’s get weird” design that you did before. I mean, you are the one staying in this cabin, but, it would be so fun to see a bit more of a fun, modern mix. 🙂 Sincerely, another grew-up-mormon-playing-in-the-dirt-child-of-six. 🙂

    1. ha. maybe this one will be more weird?? we’ll see (but thank you very much. xxxx)

  218. Cheers to this special adventure! May your family make many memories to treasure for a lifetime. 🙂

    Chicken Footstools happen to love mountain homes. Maybe we should chat!?

  219. Paint the wood ceilings! It’s a lake house not a cabin. Wood ceilings look dark and dated. Can’t wait to follow along and see what you do with it. What a fun project and I am excited to see how you change the kitchen.

  220. Also I love the living room furniture and hope that that’s a clue as to the direction on how the furnishings will look.
    It’s a lake house so no red plaid and bear carvings! Ha! We go to Big Bear a lot and rent or borrow a friends cabin and they all look dark and old and stuffy with crochet throws and plaid sofas. Happy to read you are going for more of a light feel and a more contemporary lake house look. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  221. Re: the attic. The little hidden nook accessed by the ladder affixed to the wall? I would turn that into the Lego space, where all Lego lives and never needs to be cleaned up. I always dreamed of something like this, specially when I would step on a stray piece in the middle of the night.
    Love the house: congratulations!

  222. I’m really looking forward to seeing this, I’m one of the people who always eagerly click on posts about your own two houses!

    I definitely like long-form posts. I’m not American so can’t really speak to what would be appropriate in this kind of home. But I have been a little wistful in how your colour preferences have toned down in the last few years. I used to love your use of colours but now you only seem to use blue and various shades of grey and cream. I understand – and appreciate – that that’s largely because your work has been so visually full-on and you need to come home to a less visually stimulating environment, but I do miss the colours.

    I think this new house is a great opportunity to explore a new colour palette, especially as you’ve changed your business model now so hopefully your daily life is less visually overstimulating and you can be open to more colours in your personal life. I’d love to see this house be a blue-grey-cream-free zone. I’m dying to see what you come up with!

  223. Hi Emily. Can’t wait to follow along on this journey with you. I too love the long blog post with lots of pics. I like the modern scandi look but would love a little more eclectic & kooky design added into the mix – whether this be added architecturally or with decor pieces – just to keep it from feeling too formulaic. You are very good at mixing things up a bit style wise so I think you should work to this strength- a true talent. Modern Australian interior style would work well and has quite a scandi feel to it with its use of timbers and clean lines.

    I would also like to see breakdown of budget by rooms before you start. That way if you end up with a splurge where you then take money from another room and keep it all within budget. It then helps us (readers) to understand about prioritising budget considerations and the whole save & splurge dilemma. Also a “copy-cat look for less” would be great. Could we also see how you interpret this design style throughout the home – in terms of colour, architecture, fixtures and decor choices.

    I am so excited to see it all unfold and follow your highly entertaining commentary !!!!

  224. I personally use them exclusively high-quality elements : you will notice these folks during:

  225. Wow! I’m so jealous! That house is so rad! I can’t wait to see the process and final design. I can relate about wanting to get away….as I get older, the further away from everyone the better! 😊 Enjoy the peace and solitude!!!!

  226. I know you said no small windows, but what about porthole windows in each bunk?

  227. Ugh I cant believe your done…almost a year into ours and we still haven’t even painted it entirely. Happy nesting and renovating again.

  228. I’m definitely in the minority here, but I’m voting for painting the ceilings white! I don’t have anything against wood, it just feels like it is smothering me when it is overhead. Especially when it is dark wood. So I’d say just do what feels like YOU and what makes you and your family happy.

    I look forward to seeing what you do with the house, but I hope you won’t let anyone else make you feel bad about doing what you want to with the house. People are supposed to come to your blog to see what you did, not see you do what they wanted you to. 🙂

  229. Would it make more sense to leave the current Master as the master and reconfigure the current bath maybe absorbing the one in the current family room…
    Then turn the current family room into the kids room?
    Just a thought. Maybe your way makes more sense for how you’d like it all to function.

  230. I am so excited! Please go aspirational (in terms of price, not practicality) and long-form blog post — I love hearing about your thought process and seeing tons of pics (all the angles) and floor plans! I’m breastfeeding an easily distracted baby so videos with sound are a no go for me. I’m also excited to see more spaces where you plan to live with small children to get inspiration for something that is actually doable for me (baby and a dog). I’d love to see this house perfectly styled but also some pics of what it looks like when you actually live in it (I’d love to see this for your current house too). It would help me know what the best I can hope for on a day-to-day basis is.

  231. What an awesome space and will be so amazing!! Can I *please* have the iron railings if you get rid of them:-)

  232. I like budget friendly ideas, so even if you don’t choose budget friendly, could you briefly discuss budget friendly alternatives when discussing design ideas?

  233. Wow. It’s so cool to see what you see already in your head ! Can’t wait to see the changes and inspiration !

  234. Congratulations! How fun and great to have a vacation home. This project is awesome. I like the potential of this house and an attempt going from plain contractor grade to custom and refined. As for questions I like a more contemporary take on modern design as in less vintage or 1950s. Videos would be nice because they are a bit more dimensional. due to movement, than photos. In terms of budget just normal middle class budget. Don’t sacrifice quality and look. As always cost breakdown is really helpful.

  235. The town sounds a lot like Lake Tahoe (it’s not, but I live there so I am excited to see how you decorate because we too have the snow/mountains in the winter and the lake/beach in the summer!). I cannot WAIT to follow along!! I love love love when you do the insta-stories, so please keep that up! I work full-time so often can’t watch the Facebook live videos!! Just my .02!

  236. I live in Tahoe now (grew up in Oregon too!) and have been stumped by the lake house in the Summer/ cozy mountain cabin in the Winter situation. SO EXCITED to see how you do this within a 60s mountain house theme! I would love to see something that helps define the “California Mountain House” because I think we have something really special going on in this state that has yet to be fully explored. Maybe drawing inspiration from Palm Springs and Idyllwild style homes?

  237. It is going to be awsome and I can’t wait to follow along. But there is one thing I have to say: WHY oh WHY remove bathrooms? 😀
    I mean, I know they are expensive to rebuild, but having several bathrooms is amazing. You said that you are going to have guests, than please please do not demo the bathrooms! OK, MAYBE I can understand the merging of 1 and a half bathrooms to get a master bathroom, but I would never think of demoing the guests bathroom. If it’s too expensive, leave as it is for some time (cheaper that demoing) and maybe do some easy cosmetic changes. No, it won’t be as glamorous as the others, but it’s going to be so much useful! My parents have a small mountain home in the Alps with three tiny bedrooms and three super tiny bathrooms and there is not a single time we are up there that they say: “and to think that the builder wanted to put just a single bathroom!!”. Whenever they have guests, which is everytime, every couple/family has their own bathroom, and I strongly believe that is the only way to cohexist peacfully for longer than a weekend.
    My (very large) family also has an enormous beach house, with an area with large light filled rooms whith a seaview that have to share a bathroom and another with tiny, a bit darkish bedrooms with private bathrooms. Guess which are the most requested bedrooms?

    So, please #savethebathrooms
    I’ll make banners for the march 😀

    1. Oh, and as for what kind of posts we prefer, I’d say the more the better 😀 As soon as you have something to share, if the sponsors approve, please share. Even if it’s not yet perfect, if something is missing, even if it’s just construction hell. The process is just as good as the final reveal

    2. Agree. As many beds and baths as you can get. Comfort is key.

  238. I am so excited to watch this project unfold! I always love behind the scenes action so I would love to see more videos along with the photos/blog posts. Behind the scene videos with how-to’s would be great! And just showing all the neatness going into the nitty gritty I think would be so fun for everyone to see in videos! I often miss the live videos so having videos within the blog we can check out at any time would be fantastic! Cheers and good luck! I know it’s going to be AMAZING! 😀

  239. Congratulations on this awesome project! My favorite style is Craftsman. I would love to see some of that worked into this mountain/lake house both the interior and exterior. Have lots of fun!


  240. Exciting stuff! I have to say, that carpet around the toilet in the one bathroom just makes me cringe! Why would anyone do that?!

  241. Yay!! I’m dying to learn more about radiant heat under floors. Can you place it strategically in certain areas rather than everywhere? It’s not cheap. We just bought land in the Colorado mountains and are planning a Tuff Shed cabin.

  242. So exciting! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

  243. Sandblast the wood ceilings. That’s what we do in mid-century homes in Palm Springs and it’s beautiful and very natural looking. Also as someone who has renovated and lived in several vacation homes make sure you have a lockable owners closet in the master as well as guest closet or space in the master and another one in the house for the cleaners. Even if you aren’t using it as a vacation rental you may let guests use it without you there and it will certainly be appreciated by future owners. And you can have your private “dream closet” full of your plaid and denim mountain outfits.

  244. omgosh this house is gorgeous! obviously cannot wait to see how you design the rooms and such, but would also LOVE to see the ins-and-outs of working with an architect/contractor. i.e., how many designs does the architect create before it’s “right”? when working with a contractor, do you pick/buy all the materials or do they? feel like this is an incredible learning experience (for readers, too!) and we want to see all the deets!

    also, IG videos always and forever. love seeing the thought process behind deciding on a certain tile/chair/rug/wall color and how things look IRL vs. photos.

  245. Apparently I went into the wrong line of work!

  246. This is so exciting and I can’t wait to follow along. I appreciate your honesty about the challenges of living in L.A. and understand how this is a way to get away from it all. As far as content, I still prefer long-form blog content with updates, plans, before & afters, etc. As much as I love Instagram, I don’t watch actual videos on Insta-stories. It feels too long. But I do love to scroll through lots of still pics on Instagram.

  247. Congratulations! What a fun project as it will be a true escape. Getting back to nature… something we all need more of!
    My thoughts on decor, styling, and reno… paint the ceilings white. I know wood can be lovely and warm but I think in this case making the house all more seamless and fresh will make it feel more modern. Make everything white… furniture, walls, kitchen, throw pillows, throws etc. When I say white I mean white creams, light subtle shades of grays, natural linen colors, neutrals. White, white, white… a warm white… creamy. Think Scandinavian clean cozy. Using texture in linens and furnishings in those colors will add warmth. This will be appropriate for both summer and winter seasons. Mix in natural wood elements… maybe bleached maple? The Parachute store in Portland does a beautiful job of using those colors and it still feels warm and beautiful. https://www.parachutehome.com/pages/stores
    You could always add subtle color like blush pink, sagey/minty green… into things that are easily changed when you get sick of those colors. Now, hopefully you can do that and still be kid-friendly… as in , washable stuff. Since the focal is nature and the outdoors, if you have big beautiful windows with loads of natural light, the view of the pine trees… this is your real decor. Make your focal from inside, the outside… if that makes sense? That’s a lot of rambling but I’m just so excited for how amazing it’s going to look! Thanks for sharing it with us readers!

  248. Hi Emily and Team, congratulations first of all, how exciting for you!

    Just wanted to say that as an architect and a long-term follower of your blog and work, I am unfortunately a little disappointed with some of the mistakes I keep seeing in your posts with regard to architectural design. Now that you are blending so closely between a renovation and interior design/styling I am hoping to see a bit more accurate content – for example calling beams columns, not knowing about egress and then misspelling egress. I just think you have an amazing audience and they deserve the best and most accurate information about all types of design, and would hate to continue to be disappointded.

    Keep up the fun content! Thanks again!

  249. What about that hot tub that Genevieve gorder tried to put on her roof top in Genevieves renovation? I loved the look of that and I’m normally not a hot tub person

  250. Can’t wait to see how this one turns out! I would hate to see that fireplace removed upstairs though. Maybe you can figure out a way to incorporate it in your new master bath? That would be sweeeeet

  251. Two other thoughts:
    1. have you thought about moving the exterior door into the kitchen to the family room? You could put in a longer run of cabinets that way.
    2. Put the fridge to the left of the hvac area. It would hide the door to the bathroom from the kitchen and enlarge the new sink run of cabinets.

  252. #1 – so excited to follow along this fun new project! #2 – even though having a second home is soooo far out of my lifestyle reach, I think it speaks volumes of you as a person and a writer that I still found this post super relatable and engaging. I know you are sensitive about that based on other posts you’ve done, so just wanted to commend you for emphasizing the content elements of the proposed house projects as well as owning the fact that it brings you and your family personal joy, too. the two can co-exist & #3 more than anything, I love seeing what is “possible” in a space or with a project. as a non-designer, it is hard for me to even dream/imagine what could be!

  253. Please don’t paint those wood beamed ceilings white! They are so beautiful!

  254. What a fun project! In the Master bedroom to-be, have you considered removing the stairs entirely? Since you have another set of stairs on the other side of the house, do you really need the ones that lead up to the Master bedroom?

  255. Did I spy your blue lounge in the playroom? Or do you have two? I recognised a few other pieces that have been in your other home – white bentwood barstools, tulip table, target chairs etc. I am really excited to see what you do with the fitout and the choices you make in furniture and fixtures. It does have a certain charm about it. From the front it looks like a series of mountains with the peaked roofs and I LOVE the BIG window. Then there is that funny turrety thing on the side that holds the master bath on the first floor and the dining area on the ground floor. And you are going to be DONE by June!!! You’ll have the tradies going like the clappers. I definitely prefer the blog as I really enjoy your writing style and I like to study still photos. I just can’t wait to see more! You probably won’t read this as you have already had nearly 500 other comments – you must have the most engaged readers of any blogger
    bar none! Keep up the good work!

  256. I would like to see a high/low mix or if you do super-aspirational, include a “look for less.” I’ll give examples. I like your blog. I also like Young House Love but I can not diy to their level either. I appreciate your use of contractors and honesty about the cost of quality work. As far as magazines go–I’ll look at House Beautiful, but I can not relate to it and I often find the work too busy and too done–it’s for designers and the super wealthy that hire designers for their multiple properties (that don’t do this for a living or for a blog like you). On the other hand, I LOVE Better Homes and Gardens and get so excited for every issue because they feature gorgeous, fun stuff that I could achieve as an upper middle class person. Better Homes isn’t “cheap” or totally “diy.” I think that you strike a wonderful balance on this blog and I hope that you do the same in your new mountain house.

    I have a pretty good idea where you are located (but I won’t spoil) because my grandmother had a home there where my aunt now resides. It’s close enough for an east sider to get to easily and tranquil.

    Also, I prefer the long-form. I don’t check instal-stories or Facebook or any of that. I like to read the long breakdowns and learn. I like your thought process and realism. If you want to go bold and spend a lot, DO IT and be honest about it, but if you include the “look for less” it will be relatable. I know you will do an amazing job. Your love of vintage, and the Rose Bowl Flea Market ensures it. Let’s not forget about your awesome collaboration with Target. I want to see lots of Target touches on outrageously expensive sofas or end tables or what not.


  257. Actually–you know WHAT I WOULD ABSOLUTELY LOVE??!!!!! I would LOVE it if you styled the heck out of this place like for a magazine shoot WITHOUT knocking down any walls or gutting anything. For those of us not creating content and living well–but not well enough to gut and renovate two properties, etc…how do you live in a space and make it awesome without major or costly renovations? What if you are a renter? What if you bought that second home but really don’t have the time or budget to gut it? Like you said, it’s not gross, and I am happy you are going to gut it because I will read along happy. So if you weren’t a designer, you would just live in it as a financial service provider or a teacher or whatever.

    Could you style the heck out of it before you start demoing and post lots of awesome pictures? Can you get all your awesome stuff from Clad or boutiques or just to the trade (and Target, gotta have lots of Target) and disguise all the eyesores?

    If anyone could do it, it’s you. I even think that sectional looked great. Pretty please?

    1. Yes, this! Double the content! It would be awesome to see its full potential BEFORE demo, and then of course the completely amazing version after the demo.

      1. Also, you could do the more budget version styled out before demo, and then do the aspirational after demo, and talk through the decisions on both.

  258. I would love to see more on your process and decisions! I think that kind of content really sets your blog apart… I love seeing how and why decisions were made. I’m mid-remodel right now (my first!) and while I’m super anal (either my contractor’s dream/nightmare, not sure), I keep wondering what kinds of things I’m not thinking through that I should (how will he finish off the backsplash at the visible edge of the wall? do I have to tell him I’d like to pick my grout color?).

    Anyway, hearing about your decisions helps me cover my bases! So excited that you’re doing this.

  259. Super excited to see what you do because my house is quite similar and I don’t know what to do with it! Built in 1981, basement renovated later, but none of the trims or wall finishes match. Builder beige tile. It’s not good. But the house has good bones and great light. Same wood ceilings and big windows you have. I’ll be following along!

  260. This is so exciting! I love seeing the aspirational, but at the same time, I just moved into a brand-new but completely builder-grade house, so I would LOVE to see how to work with that. Have you thought about making it an Airbnb when you’re not staying there? Or would that be too weird? I’ve thought about renting my house on Airbnb when I’m away, as a way to create some passive income, but I don’t live near a lake. But it’s an idea I’d love to see explored.

  261. Sorry, last comment, and it’s random. What if you got some goats? It feels like that would make it a proper mountain home, and they could “mow” the lawn for you while you’re away. And I don’t know, I just feel like you would like goats.

  262. I’d love to see a longer form YouTube series, with maybe 20 minute episodes!

    Most of the content I’d like to see is already covered here, so I will just add that I’d love to hear about your design process for space planning and how you get to a layout. I like the example of the “yoga loft.” I’d love to hear where you priotize function, where you innovate and where you follow layout “norms.”

  263. I’m really glad you’re going all out on this and not doing a budget reno. I plan to live vicariously through this project, since I have a small house and no money to fix it up. I’m less interested in videos, simply cause I tend to read this while I’m at work…maybe I shouldn’t admit that. Also, get a dog. Soon, please.

  264. I am excited by how much information you will be able to share about working lead-safe if it turns out there is lead paint.

  265. I’d love to see more creative and beautiful ways to bring children friendly elements into spaces. I know there’s the old chalkboard wall, and the like, but maybe other ideas, fresher ideas.

    Bringing in color and lots of natural elements, would be great to see. I love the hair sculptural piece in your Glendale home. Things like that are so fun and unexpected.

    Really excited too see it evolve!

  266. Are the children going to share a room? Parents are often uncomfortable with a child being down stairs while the master is upstairs. The bedroom on the first floor seems like it would be a guest room and then there is the bunk room. Perhaps the children will be in the bunkroom? Have I missed something? What a wonderful place! I know it will be beautiful and I’m so looking forward to seeing the transformation.

  267. I am BEYOND EXCITED about this project!

    A mountain house project sounds so new and exciting and I couldn’t be more pleased for you and your family!

    I love all the content you create, I’m not a big video fan but love the variety of what you choose to post. I’m addicted to before and afters and love that you are doing this house up different than your Tudor one!

    Also I follow your blog and Instagram (stories and pics) and feel “lifegoals for so much of what you post… what I love about you is not that we are the same, have the same budget, etc but that you make me feel more creative and inspired about my own life! That is huge!

    I frankly don’t care about budget friendly, make-me-think-I-can-have-this-in-my-home-too, recycling all of the nice stuff you are pitching out….I love your approach to things and you always strike a nice balance between high/low end cost of design. Thanks for making your online spaces a place I go to dream and get inspired!

  268. Yes! I have been dying to follow a new fixer project. You mentioned having friends up for the weekend and day after Christmas feasts so maybe you will be having holidays up there too? Filled with lots of friends, family, dogs, kids …

    My friends and I love to rent large houses together (best was on the Oregon coast) and the last had a similar bunk room concept and one shared bath and having to schedule shower times while you are “on vacation” or “away” is just annoying. So while yes, your house might have a disproportionate number of bathrooms, I would totally add another upstairs and I love the powder room idea downstairs. If you have a bunk room with a bunch of kids and they share the bathroom with the adults staying in the guest room? It would stink to be those adults. Or to have to share your pretty master spa 😉

    That’s my two cents. Enjoy!

  269. Please don’t get rid of that rock fireplace in the living room. It adds “we’re in the mountains” character to the house. Other than that, I look forward to seeing everything you do with this new project. I’d also like to know how you first discovered this town. Had you read about it in a magazine? Gone there with friends? Just curious!

  270. Into the Woods! Congratulations on your new Mountain house project. Weekly updates on process would be appreciated.
    Our family shared a cabin in you know where for 3 generations. If I had the chance to build our “cabin” again, I would.
    It had a girl’s dorm and boy’s dorm with built-in bunks and dressers.
    There were Hudson’s Bay blankets ( used this palette everywhere with white walls )
    Indian rugs, pine motif dishes and tinware with tramp art pieces and baskets.
    Outdoor dining is must in summer as you know.
    Tuck in a mini workshop and stock like an old hardware store. Everything always needed fixing.
    Look forward to your familie’s new project.

  271. Hi Emily,

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments and I know you are considering cladding some walls, but I wish you would keep some of the ceilings natural instead of painting them. Play up the mountain house aspect and Make it modern rustic. It’s a country house and you already said it gets great light. It adds great texture and a nice natural element.

  272. Not sure if anyone has suggested this before… why not keep the railing and modernize it by removing those old-fashion curved shapes? You will end up with clean lines and you can allways paint it white if you are not into the black iron look.

    Super excited to follow this! Sure, you’re building content for the blog, but it still is a real house, meant to be used by a real family!

  273. This is so cool! I’m dying to see what you do with the orange peel walls. My husband and I bought our first home a little over a year ago and it had really, really bad texture on the walls+tons of wear and tear from renters. We tackled skim coating the walls ourselves in the living room, kitchen, and hallway (whew!) but I feel exhausted thinking about skim coating the bedrooms. 😂 We’ve talked about doing shiplap, but I’m so excited to see what you end up doing! Thanks for sharing!!

  274. Check out Nordic Spas. They do some simple, round hot tubs without lots of molded seats and too many jets. The outside can be natural cedar or some very good and durable faux-woods. We’ve had 2 (sold one to move) and love them!

  275. You mention the “orange peel” walls…and we have them, too. Yuck. Can you adhere wallpaper over this texture and/or would you recommend it? Thanks for any reply back…I would really love to add some wallpaper to my husband’s office but the texture…ARGH!

  276. CONGRAT’S!!! What a fabulous way to inspire and love your children, by lighting their love of nature!
    There’s a book called “Last Child in The Woods” by Richard Louv; ALL about kids and playing in nature and how the modern child simply doesn’t get the freedom to play and develop the brain connections that nature builds. Your kiddos are going to remember the days you spend there with amazing happiness.
    I actually like the ’roundness’ of the stones in the fireplace, they nod to the ones outside and connect the two spaces.
    I’ve lost interest in the EH design journey lately, B U T …this’ll get me reading again! Yaaay! 🙂

  277. My husband and I are buying our first house this coming summer and as much as I love the high end pricey pieces, I would definitely love to see budget looks. I am so excited for this project and to see what you do!

  278. More budget ideas, how-to’s, and resources for affordable finds. I think creative solutions are more interesting to read about than “I just bought this” or “I paid someone to do that.”

  279. Look up the cedar soaking hot tubs!

  280. Dormer windows in the bunk room? Maybe even extending above for the top half into the attic for natural light in both spaces?

    Can’t wait to watch the process! Thanks for being so open and sharing so much of your life with us.

  281. I am so excited for this series! I would love to see the exterior addressed to be a bit more cohesive – simplify the number of materials, remove the kitchen door addition, and perhaps get rid of the ‘M’ roof in the front. One super lame and boring comment, but practical, is you might want to address the grading where you want to put the hot tub – it looks like it slopes dramatically back to the house. Maybe you need to put in a retaining wall to deal with the slope, and then swale it?

    Good luck!!! Looking forward to seeing the process!

  282. I think keeping a full and half bath downstairs and getting rid of the second set of stairs are both definitely the right call. In particular, having a full bath and bedroom on the main floor will come in handy whenever you have any guests with impaired mobility, such as your aging parents or grandparents, if someone in your family breaks a leg, etc. Building in a master-on-main to allow for aging in place is a big trend right now, and I’d love to see what you would do to design a stylish bathroom that also (sneakily) managed to be accessable.

    Stylisticly, I could really see you angling toward a Scandinavian cottage in this place – accomodating both mountain and lakeside feel.

    As for aspiration versus budget, I feel that your blog fits in a space of being aspirational but in a down-to earth way. Like in your high-low posts, you create something that is refined that your audience can also take as a structure or outline to create an overall look, that would be more manageable for their budget.

    1. Also, Emily, it seems like your floor plan is leaving off the garage, which the photos seem to indicate fills the corner between your extended entry and your bath #2, creating the odd ‘M’ shaped roof. As Jackie mentions, that roofline seems to need addressing, or at least acknowledging, and you might want some kind of direct entry to the garage space. Man, the rooflines on this puppy sure are a mess, aren’t they?

      Another thought I have is to move the door to the bunk room, perhaps to opposite the bedroom 2 door, allowing you to steal a little space from the bunk room for a more reasonably-sized spiral staircase.

      The super awkward space in the playroom could make a great toy storage built-in.

  283. Thanks for sharing about what your plans are- Very exciting! I like hearing about how you choose from different options. I love your Instagram stories and reading blog posts with lots of pictures like this one. I care less about specific how-to’s and more about how you navigate through a renovation. I’m excited to see what you do!

  284. Oh please please dont’ paint those ceilings!!! Please!!! Do as much white you want everywhere else but please leave that!

  285. I vote for long-form series on the blog, budget-y, with process, options and behind the scenes looks.

  286. Love the big front window and loft! Excited for your family. So with respect to how you’re planning to share the reno……I’m curious to see more budgety/high-end mix, behind the scenes design and process content. 😀 I’m excited to see more of your hard work!

  287. So great your post and I can execute much faster. It only made sense professionally for us to invest in another fixer – but since we found one out in the country it became very personal. http://dailymercedeshcm.com/

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