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Mountain House Monday: Behind the Scenes of the Shoot and WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?


After almost two years working on this project, we have finished the mountain house. That’s. just. nuts. I’m up here with my family for my kids’ summer break and pretty much living a dream. Yes, there is a huge sigh of relief and yes, I’m intentionally trying to NOT think about what’s next (but the brain doesn’t stop). We shot it last week for a magazine (you might have been following along on Insta stories), and it’s styled out completely with flowers, pistachios, branches…the works.

Mh Behind The Scenes 09

Its insanely fun to sit in your own work that you are proud of, let alone show it off to grandparents, friends and my brother’s family. Next week, when I get back from vacation, we are picking and announcing the winner of the “I Design, You Decide” contest (with a fun surprise for you guys, too). But here are some fun behind the scenes of the shoot, without showing you too much (House Beautiful wants things to be kept relatively a secret ’til the issue comes out August 13th).

Loft Side By Side

Portrait Side By Side

Styling Side By Side

A huge thank you to my design and production team Julie, Emily B., Velinda, Erik, Sara and Veronica for a long week of work and, of course, the editorial and marketing teams (Arlyn, Jess, Ryann, Grace and welcoming Caitlin today!) are now gearing up for the massive reveal. We are trying to figure out the best way to roll it out (learning from Portland’s reveal mistakes) and right now have landed on doing our version of a “Shark Week” where we do back-to-back reveals that are packaged up in a way that makes sense for experiencing the house so it doesn’t last for weeks/months. We’d be sure to do a big push prior so everyone can get pumped and know it’s coming, and you know what you’re coming back for every day for the week. It will take time to edit the photos, pull together the resources and write the posts. Additionally, we want to take a ton of video and social stuff so you can really see and experience it in different ways.

While we’ve already revealed a few rooms (kitchen, kids’ room, powder bath), this would be mostly everything else, all together.

This doesn’t mean we’re giving up on Mountain House Mondays. We’ll be leaning into more of renovation information for those of you who want to learn more. Things like picking materials or lighting for an entire house at once, or details to pay attention to that you might not think to (like what we learned about designing our stairs and railings). We’ll even address what really went into recladding our entire A-frame ceiling. Some of you will fall asleep, but for any of you who are pre or mid-renovation, you’ll want to know these things because BOY, LESSONS WERE LEARNED.

Although, I’m VERY happy to say that fewer lessons had to be learned than in Portland. I suppose that’s how it works; you gain experience with each project, learn more and more, make fewer and fewer mistakes and while you’ll never learn it all (by nature of every project needing to be different and unique), I feel like a MUCH better designer now than I did a year and a half ago. Which means that yes, we might be taking on some very selective residential client work to document for you guys…

So if any of you have suggestions or requests on how we roll this out (remember that each room has 10 photos at least with a lot to say and partners to shout out so we can’t do it all at once) OR if you have requests on other mountain house topics that we can cover until the reveals, please let us know in the comments. We want to show you how the sausage is made, but only if you like reading about this sausage. 🙂

Happy 4th of July week, folks (and stay tuned for the big vacation giveaway announcement next week). xx

Fin Mark


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Please do the reveals as before and Afters in one post per room. Yes you have done I design you decide but I forget . I loved how you used to write your reveals in your old rental and first house


I agree – its really helpful to see the before in the same post for comparison 🙂


Yes! Before and afters!! And if walls were moved, layouts too, otherwise I’m super confused.


I agree. I love room by room per day, or set of rooms, like living/dining. Cant wait to see it!!


Hallo Emily,
I’m really enjoying these MHM posts – I love seeing the work and decisions behind the (beautiful) facades. As so many other people have already said, I’m finding it so useful to hear about the thought process for the designs. In addition to the subjects you’ve mentioned here (a huge vote for both lighting for the whole house, and stairs and railings), you had mentioned with one of the kitchen reveals (I think it was Portland) that you would make a post about how to choose hardware for a kitchen, and I’d really appreciate seeing something like that. The post on budget hardware options was really useful, but I would love to see something about how one would go about selecting hardware, and what to think about.


Yes – I remember a looooooong time ago there was mention of a post about micro knobs and I’ve been waiting for it ever since


Where is that desk from, please?


Would love to see more $$ related posts. Where you spent the most, where that money went the farthest, where you should’ve just saved, etc. Also, I know there’s a lot of sponsored stuff here, but it’d be useful when you’re writing about stuff you got for free or in some sort of trade to include what that would have cost had you paid in full. It’s nice to see you countering the reno tv shows insistence that you can completely redo a kitchen for like $500, but I always want to know a bit more about what bloggers semi-sponsored or sponsored projects would cost for the rest of us. Like ceiling re-cladding with labor plus materials, or what have you. So excited for the reveals. Thanks!!


Ditto this comment! I’m interested in both the reno costs and the styling costs. This might be more personal than you prefer to share publicly, but I wouldn’t mind hearing about the financing details for a second home as well (IE home cost + reno cost, how to budget/plan for both, did you take into account resale or did you err towards over-designing for personal use? how do you manage budget setbacks and overages?). Appreciate anything you are willing to share — thanks for all of your hard work!


Thirding this request. This is not to be critical of anything that you may have gotten for free or reduced cost due to a sponsored partnership, but to get a better idea of what the cost would be to a “normal” homeowner.


I love finance stuff too!


The only reason that I don’t like these posts is that commenters always *freak out* over the higher priced items and complain unfairly that Emily is not in touch with *real* people. People, can you stop putting a damper on these types of posts? If you can’t afford it, then don’t buy it!


I also think this would be super helpful! I think we all know this house was expensive – we’ve seen a lot of the bits and pieces and know those things must add up, plus Emily keeps talking about how far over-budget this project went – but I think the sausage of how this house was paid for would be really enlightening. Did the business bear the loan for the house, and it will be paid off long term by all of the content income from posting about the house? Or was this a personal purchase where maybe just some expenses came out of the business? Does Emily even really think about her personal finances and the business finances as separate, or is it a lot more grey than that (I’m guessing this is the correct answer, from my experience with small businesses). Also really, truly, how does someone in Emily’s shoes balance the cost of making something editorial worthy and the income it will generate when ultimately this is a place to be enjoyed by her family and friends? All things considered, will the mountain house be “profitable” for EHD? I think it would be encouraging and relateable for… Read more »


Ditto the finance info. Even if this house is out of budget for some people, I think it’s super helpful to know what it take to make something look as high quality as this house does and be realistic about it. There was so much thought that went into the house from both a personal and business perspective that I would echo what Jessie above says about how the costs were weighed and how you mix the business with the personal. I’m also a small business owner and the lines do get blurred at times. It’s helpful to see how other entrepreneurs handle these situations.


I’m so excited for the reveals! I love your reveal posts when there are some before shots (even if it’s just linked to an old post) with one room per post. Then as you roll out the additional content, grouping the rooms. For example, “How I organized all the bathrooms,” or “My favorite sheets I put in all my bedrooms.”
I would DIE for a solid two weeks of reveals, one room a day. It may feel like overkill, but it gives a level of emotional investment to those of us who will never walk through the home.
Can. Not. Wait.


Completely agree. One room at a time with before/interim/after shots included (preferably not having to link to other posts to see earlier pictures). A solid week or more with reveals every day would feel like Christmas morning over and over again! And I think it would correct for the Portland stuff stretching out so long that it started to feel disconnected. Can’t wait!!! You all are doing amazing work and provide such an entertaining and educational blog!


I love it all! The pretty before and afters and the sausage making… I think your plan sounds good–should appeal to the masses and those of us who love all the details! That being said, I don’t think the reveals necessarily has to be rolled out in one week…. we’ve really been brought along on the journey and seen a lot of the behind the scenes, so I think people would still be invested if the reveals were a bit more spread out. All options sound great to me and can’t wait!


Your rugs in the Mountain house look like the softest, squishiest! Id love to see round-up of soft and durable rugs!

Meg T

I like your plan to do the reveals close together. I would stick to one at a time with before and afters. But I also really want, how to posts and how the sausage was made posts as well! So the once a week thing on something related to renovating is a great idea! Please please please do a post on designing a bathroom. Or a series of posts. I have been going back to every post from the Portland posts on the master bathroom but I wish there was more info on the layout and design process! This is probably a selfish request since I am planning out our master bath Reno, but I think other people would benefit as well. I feel like there is a good amount of information on kitchens and bedrooms in your blog, but I want more bathroom info. For example, mirror and sconce placements. How would you do 2 mirrors with sconces versus 1 mirror with sconces. What about if you have a window near, a vanity? Does that change the mirror options? Anyway, I am excited for the mountain house reveals!! The kitchen remains one of my favorite kitchens on the internet,… Read more »

H Magner

Your work is exceptional always! I’d love to be one of those residential clients. How can I make that dream happen?

Maybe do a Before & After in one post and then do another post with all the design decisions, in depth content, etc. Win-win.


Im dying to read all about the sausage. 😀

Elisa F

Aaaaaalllll the sausage – sourcing, design, construction, styling, cost, snafus – chronologically, with befores and afters in one post per space, please. I want it all, baby.


I would love to see before and after shots and commentary on how rooms were designed in relation to each other (e.g. we didn’t want to put chandeliers is side by side bedrooms so we decided to do xx instead).

Roberta Davis

This geek wants to know how all the sausage is made.

Jenna R

I want to read all about the sausage! (If someone didn’t read your full post, all these sausage comments could reallly be taken out of context haha)

I would personally love to see a “learning” folder once all the lessons/ rooms are revealed. Kind of like an “Emily’s design school” where all the posts where you’re teaching about different types of counter stones for ex. are all in one spot so they can be an easy to find reference for someone remodeling (basically I want to be selfish and lazy & have a folder to find all your amazing tips when I own a home instead of pinning them all myself 😛 )

Can’t wait for all the reveals!!! MHM has certainly made Monday blues easier to handle!! 🙂


Hi EHD team. I love your coverage of picking countertops and windows and really look forward to your other reno advice. I’m pre-construction and will be eating that info up!



Great blog.
Thank you for interesting information.
It will be nice to read about

Paula Carr

Can’t wait!!!! Only good thing is, that as a subscriber, I usually get my magazines before the newstand date. But did I say I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!

Deborah M

Really looking forward to hearing all the renovation information. Seriously! We did a major kitchen remodel a couple years back and I’m plotting an addition with deck.


Ahhhh, so excited for Mountain House Reveal week!!!!!
Something else that would be fun to see on the blog is a comparison for how you styled the house for the shoot and how to transition that to every day more practical styling. For example, I have some vases on the coffee table now that looked super cute when I had company and put fresh flowers and greenery from my yard in them. But, I can’t sustain the fresh flower look all season and don’t know what to do with it in between special occasions when it’s looking good.
And I second the idea of showing the design/decide voting picture (and possibly a before of the room) somewhere in the reveal posts to refresh our memory 🙂




I think you should come up to the Seattle area and finish my kitchen. Problem solved. 😉 It needs countertops, lighting, subway tile and new skylights.

After working on a remodel for the first time ever, I have to say that it looks so much easier than it really is and that if your husband says do whatever you want and and really MEANS it…maybe you should just run with cash to Paris?

The other thing is that I really had to learn not to listen to everybody’s advice. Family and friends have had to eat their words which has made me really happy. I had to question if my mil knew color like I did, or if I really would regret not doing upper cabinets as my mom said.

All this to say, I would love to be in a place where I had so much experience under my belt because I have really enjoyed seeing my vision come to life!


Where it is appropriate in the reveal posts, I’d love for you to reference how you made choices about scale of items. I know in my little 5×8 bathroom reno, the architect and I obsessed over scale in every little choice in order for the room to function more spaciously and look/feel much bigger than it really is. At the time I thought it took way too much time, but every time a visitor reacts so positively to the space, I know it was totally worth it.


SO excited for mre residential work! Love love loved when u guys were working w clients!


I know this post is about the mountain house but I love your baggy jeans/pants! ?
Who makes them?


Can’t wait to see ?


Did I miss something or am I incredibly stupid? I thought you weren’t going to show your children’s faces anymore, or did was that just an idea you had? I thought your blog post about showing your children was great, so if you have new thoughts I’m curious to know them lol.


I wonder if that is an actual shot from the magazine article?


She didn’t say she was never going to do it – just that she was being more selective and thoughtful about doing so


Oh yeah, that post that talked about her kids’ privacy and started with a picture of an other kid? lol.


I would love a blitz of posts day after day or maybe spread out to every other weekday with mountain house reveals! It’s ok if it stretches out longer as well but in that case I would really want to know the schedule of when things will be released in advance so I know the moment something highly anticipated is coming out! Also echoing others, I would love to see before and after for each room and each part of the room shown. I love seeing all the changes so I want to see the same angles shown both before and after.

Also, is it possible we could have an open house sort of event like you guys did with the Portland reveal??! I would LOVE to be able to see this place in person and meet fellow devotees of your work and your amazingness! I felt like there wasn’t enough heads up for that event for out of town folks to actually plan on attending otherwise I would have been there! A month notice is fine!


I would really love a full tour room by rom from the front o the back. An I absolutely would love a get the look like you did for the kitchen posts as I like to use that as inspiration for my own mountain house decorations


Ditto the request to do one room at a time with plenty of before shots so we can see the transformation. I would also like to see a post on how you decide on the overall ‘look’ that you’re going to do for a new project. I always find this part the hardest. Once I have that figured out, then I feel like the decisions get easier. But how do YOU decide on the look you want for a house, a remodeling project, etc?


So excited for Mountain House week!!!

Don’t mind how you do it, just can’t wait to see it, everything so far including sneak peeks is beautiful!

PS I don’t really want Orlando to vomit all over you guys 🙂

Allie Hook

I cannot believe it has been two years already! I agree with most in the comments, I love me a good ‘before’ and ‘after’. It helps one understand the thought process. Lastly, I would love to see more exterior (color choice for the home, landscaping, etc). That’s me personally.


I cannot wait for this big reveal. I’ve been following your blog for what feels like a decade and I’m hardcore committed to the mountain house reveal because I am mid-reno myself. I can’t wait to pick up my copy of house beautiful to see it in all its glory and come back here for every tasty piece of summer sausage making you have to offer!


I would love to see a floorplan of the entire house, so that we could visualize how the rooms work together as we see the photos. Congratulations!


I agree with all the comments about room by room with before and afters. Can’t wait to gobble all the sausage!(am I on the right blog? 🙂 ) Also a big yes to it all being accompanied by a floor plan so I can visualise how the rooms flow. So very excited for the MH reveals. Love ya work!


i also like before and afters, per room. budget/finance info is always helpful. i’m always dreaming up ways to improve my house, but get stuck at the basics of “what should i even budget for a project like this”, or “how much could i do w/ $XX?” i know things like choice of materials, construction, size, etc. all influence this, but it still gives me an idea.

also, the reason, for me, why portland got stale is because it wasn’t your home. you were financially invested, but not emotionally, so i also wasn’t as invested. and the posts came out months after it was completed and after it was sold, so by then you really weren’t even financially invested at that point. the mountain house reveals, even if they span the summer, will be relevant because it is your house, and part of your family experience, which makes it more relatable.


Looking forward to the reveals!

I’m curious about the Portland house landscaping post mentioned a while back in the patio space reveal. Is that still coming? I’d love to see your design choices when it comes to the plants and spaces in the yard. Please share details!


Yes! All the renovation tips please!!!


I want to hear about picking materials for a whole house at once (in the middle of my first custom build and it’s overwhelming) and about the railings and other boring details…like…yesterday. I love this blog; it’s been one of my best resources for my house!

Kate Townsend

I’d love to know how you came to purchase the mountain house, location wise. Had you vacationed on the lake before!? What lake is it? How far is it for you from LA?

kerry morin

I’d love to know where the stair handrail black brackets are from!!


Hello from Portugal. I would like to see the organizational features incorporated in this project (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom,…). I am also interested in understanding what are the main diferences in working on a vacation home versus a permanent home, the mistakes and what you wouldn’t do again, and I think it would be really fun to read a post on a “A Day at the Moutanin House” to see how your family really uses this house.
Looking forward for what’s coming.

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