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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson Moutain House Living Room Lores3

Well, we made it through mountain house reveal week and boy do I hope that you enjoyed it. So what’s next? Are we going to rent it out? Sell it? Move in permanently? Let’s debate:

BUT FIRST, a huge thanks for coming and reading and sharing. It honestly means so much to have a community of people so engaged in what we do. We had the reader event last Saturday where we got to meet 30 of our most dedicated readers (and their plus-ones) which was incredibly fun and fulfilling. We’ll be doing a whole post about it this week, but hopefully you saw it on Stories (we’ll keep it as a highlight so if you missed it head to Stories and see it there). Stay tuned for the master bed/bath reveal Tuesday September 3rd (the day after Labor Day), as well as the upstairs guest bedroom and attic soon after.

First off, we are DEFINITELY not going to sell it. I love this house so much I can’t even tell you, so as long as we are in LA (and potentially even longer), we will have this house. We want to appreciate all the work, as well as let it appreciate so we can potentially ever get out of it what we invested into it.

We are open to renting it out for photoshoots, catalogs, and corporate/creative retreats. We are still debating if we will put it on high-end vacation rental sites, but if we did they would need to be highly vetted and frankly worth it financially. As of right now, we do plan on coming up at least two times a month, and every three-day weekend so I’m not sure there is much availability on weekends and less interest during the week. Plus, my team and my friends have first dibs if we don’t go up there.

Will we move in? We are debating and very open to it. We LOVE living in Lake Arrowhead and our family is very very happy here both in this house as well as away from a major city. We have a lot of friends that have weekend houses (it’s blowing up up here and yet still really affordable less than two hours away from LA) so weekends are so fun. But the actual population is pretty small with what seems like 80% of the houses vacant during the week. Of course, we love the lack of people, but to actually live here we’d want friends and we aren’t seeing very many young families. We also aren’t sure about the schools and would need to check them out. Could we actually LIVE in a town with a population of 7k year-round? We don’t know. And if you are wondering what I’d do with the business, I’d simply commute a couple of days a week, possibly stay overnight and then work from home the other two. We’d likely try to find a fixer that Brian and I can do ourselves—all budget and cosmetic changes, focusing more on DIY than reno, and of course a totally different style than this house.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We aren’t even DONE with this house yet. Hard to believe, I know. Here is what we have left:

The exterior: We need to plan and save for this so while it pains Brian to not have a hot tub, we might not until next summer. But we have a lower patio and upper deck to show you as well as hopefully a hot tub room someday, we have the doors leading out to it from the downstairs guest room, but it’s just a pile of dirt. We’ve nixed the idea of a full outdoor kitchen to save some money, but would like to have the bbq and a prep area that feels more custom and built-in. The kitchen is so close that it just doesn’t make sense to put another kitchen so close outside.

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The master closet: It’s going to be finished THIS WEEK, so we’ll reveal it soon. Yay!

The attic playroom: We decked it out a bit for the reader event this last Saturday and it looks pretty darn cute. So we’ll shoot it and post about it ASAP, but this is what it looked like most recently when we showed you the two designs we were playing around with.

The kids’ room. This room is being reworked a bit because having two twin beds meant that I was basically either crammed with one of them or on the floor. So we shoved them together and threw a king topper on top of them. Why? Because we like to lay together and read as a family and couldn’t in the twin beds. I also decided that the white headboard fabric wall was a missed opportunity to do something more playful and fun. So we are putting a pattern back there. Stay tuned.

Mh Updates 04

Laundry room: You may remember or not that we had a large laundry closet downstairs, and opted for a small one on the bedroom floor. As of right now, we’ve only installed the upstairs one and are currently shopping for the lower washer and dryer. We designed that space with storage for front-loading, but have recently been told that top-loading is just better in every way (mostly because front-loading can be harder to drain and creates mold).

Mh Updates 05 Garage

Garage: Right now, it’s too small to put in any modern cars, so it houses our golf cart and so much garbage. But it’s actually really cute: it has super high ceilings and a window. It could absolutely be a game room. Maybe we’d build a carport (or should I say a golf-cart port) and then put a ping pong table or pool table in there. No rush on this, but in a fantasy world that could happen.

So many thanks are in order. My editorial, social, photo and design teams worked their behinds off to not only design the house, but create the posts and link up every single resource. THANK YOU. I wish I could properly explain to you how much work it takes to do this, but it would be so boring. But yes, it takes 12 people to properly document a renovation from beginning to end: 12 VERY talented, creative, hard-working and fun to be around people. The team grew A LOT this year as my workload (and stress load) reached far overcapacity. A huge thanks to Arlyn for leading the editorial, marketing and social teams (Jess, Ryann, Caitlin, Carolina, Mallory, and Chandler) and Sara for leading the production and design teams (Julie, Emily Bowser, Velinda, and Veronica).

So what’s next for the blog besides all the mountain house things I just walked through? Well, we have new projects that we are announcing in September that we are all very excited about. It’s a new strategy and I think one that you will love. Announcement coming soon…

  1. Thank you for doing all the reveals in one week rather than spreading them out over 6 months to a year (or what it felt like!) with the Portland project! This was such a fun week, I woke up every morning excited to check the blog with my cup of coffee. Felt like old days of blogs. Was not expecting posts on the weekend, but loved it. Your home is gorgeous, thank you for sharing it with us!

    1. Agree completely! It was so fun and I’m kind of sad it’s over. Looking forward to September 3rd! I’m also looking forward to seeing all the tweaks you’ll inevitably make as you live in the house. I’m curious, when you say “as long as we are in LA”… what are the cities you dream of moving to someday?

    2. 100% this!!! Loved getting a new reveal every morning!

    3. Exactly this! I have fallen in love with the blog all over again. The frequency and length of posts was just perfect. As was the mix of info, the voice and tone, etc. And all the social assets. It was a great series. Stay with this formula pleeeeeease!!

  2. First, yes, YAS, move to the mountain house full time! It’s an amazing opportunity for the kids to have space and nature and quiet, in a world that is increasingly too chaotic. I’d do it. But you do you. If you really get lonely, just meet friends in the middle (half-way point, an hour away from LA) at a public park to hang out during the week.

    Second, about front-loaders, they hold way more stuff than top-loading, it seems, and ours hasn’t gotten moldy in four years. Our secret? Just keep the door open most of the time. What we have is an LG Electronics 4 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Front Load Washer, just fyi, since I know that one works.

    Third, did you say budget-fixer that doesn’t focus on reno? Halt. the. car. I’m listening.

    Fourth, I love this mountain house! Loved all of the reveals. It is sooo much bigger than my house and has sooo much space. Can’t really do any of the things in my house (I have tiny rooms with relatively low, 8 ft ceilings). But inspiring and fun to look at nonetheless. Way to go, EHD team, for making it turn out so lovely!

    1. Agree about front loaders, they just need to dry out before you shut the door. They can wash everything, even my Cal King comforter. We just upgraded to a Samsung that has two washers in one. Life changing.

      1. There’s a reason front loaders are popular Emily, don’t discount an entire group of appliances. Love my LG front loader! No mold issues here – just leave the washer door open after washing like JESSVII said above. And the best part is it has a delay wash feature so I put in a load nightly before bed, then set it to run first thing in the morning – it’s a game changer and I do a load of laundry daily as my routine. I also looooove the speed wash feature – it’s a 15 minute cycle!

  3. I have loved watching this reveal unfold! And I love lake arrowhead! We actually moved up here full time about 2 months ago and we are loving it! My husband commutes down the mountain but works from home on fridays. And living here is so worth the commute! We are only about 2 houses down from you and have 2 kiddos about the same age as yours, I think! My real estate agent (and now friend – seriously loving this small town) went to your reader event. Everyone we have met in this town has been so welcoming and like you said lots of young people are making the move up here so I feel it’s just going to get better as our kiddos grow up. I’d love to connect if you’re open to it! 🙂

    1. Yes! Lets connect. We heard about you guys and wondered if you were weekenders or airbnb renters or full timers. YAY! i just want to talk education/schooling …. email through the hello@emilyhendersondesign.com account and we’ll connect!

  4. Thank you so, so much. This Mountain House project, the way you designed it, shot it, revealed it, all of that, has been educational, entertaining and all around satisfying. I hope you are enjoying all the fruits of your labors.

  5. Just wanted to say that I’ve loved every single post on the Mountain House! I love how you revealed it all in one week and I especially love how you’ve talked about what mistakes you made and how you may change some things. That’s exactly why I still read (a very select few) blogs.

  6. The last week has been fun! Reveals like this are what we all miss about blogs. The house is amazing. I can see why you guys may be considering living up here full time. We love it. Hubby commutes a couple days a week and works from home the rest. It’s not an uncommon combo here. Most of the people we know have their kids in the local Christian school or homeschool, but injecting the public schools with kids (and their parents) that care and will support can only be a good thing. And, you could always do a split of public/home school that gives you the best of both worlds! Our girls are in college (even though we are just a few years older than you) but we still plan to support the local schools, the arts, and other community initiatives that will make the mountain an even more awesome place!

  7. I think it’s so interesting how our generation is so obsessed with getting out of the city. I’m from the midwest and “cabin culture” is a huge thing here. I find myself fantasizing about buying an acreage in the woods ALL the time even though I love the convenience of the city too. Clearly our lives have become a little too tech focused and we are craving nature!

    You could try doing a longer term rental of your LA home and just try it out? Maybe a family who’s moving out of their home while it’s being renovated or something like that.

    1. Agreed. its definitely a thing, although all our LA friends think we are NUTS. All our oregon friends are like ‘come to us!’. We just need space – mental and physical and have it there …

      1. What if you guys bought in Altadena or Pasadena? It’s *so* much quieter and less stressful than basically any neighborhood in LA, and especially Los Feliz. There are a lot of gorgeous character homes on huge lots. And it weirdly has a small town feel. I am a city girl but as a mom with 2 kids, I just can’t do anything west of Pasadena anymore. The traffic alone puts me over the edge. Pasadena is amazing for kids because it seems most kid activities are centralized here– sports, dance, art, gymnastics, summer camps, etc. I’m not a fan over over-scheduling kids but navigating something like AYSO in LA is crazy…but in Pasadena/Altadena, it’s alright. Check out Altadena Arts elementary…has a French language immersion option. And then CS Arts for 6-12 is great, too and has tons of Pasadena kids.

  8. I had the BEST time on Saturday! Thank you so so much!! The house is perfect, but I can’t wait to watch the rest unfold! I think it would be so fun to live there full time. All weekend my friend and I talked about how fun it would be to bring our kids there some day!

  9. Get Brian an inflatable hot tub! They are soooo inexpensive, easy to pack up and put away (when you don’t want to look at it) and he can start enjoying a hot tub now. We got an intex and the air bubbles are strong and feel amazing. It’s a great starter tub until you’re ready for the real thing. It took less than an hour to set up. He will have to put it away for winter, but he can enjoy it the rest of the year. It’s the best purchase my wife and I made this summer. Also, side note, I hope your September announcements are design related 🤞🤞🤞 I have started coming to your blog only once every week or two because of all the other content. I have followed you since the very beginning and love everything you post that is design related. I have no interest in the fashion/kid friendly/food posts because I go to other bloggers for that. I miss the days when you were my “all things home” blogger.

  10. LOVE every single detail here!

  11. 1) I would love to see some lower budget flip houses (lower budget = more accessible, and hopefully more room to play with styling.) 2) I loved how you did the sone week of reveals – thank you!

  12. Regarding the laundry, my recent research for our washer and dryer indicates that front load washers are more energy efficient, use less water, and are better at removing soil/stains than top loading washers. Also, due to the better spin cycle of a front load washer, clothes need less drying time, which saves more energy and time. I can’t speak to the drainage issues you’ve heard about, but mold or mildew has not been an issue for me. I do leave the washer door and detergent tray open until dry but that extra step is worth it to me to save energy, water and time. This is such a boring comment, I’m an interior designer and have been so inspired by your work on this house, but part of design is optimizing function and enhancing daily life, laundry included, and front load wins.

  13. Looking forward to you and your team’s next decoradventure!!

  14. If I had a house like yours, I would be afraid to rent it to anyone I didn’t know well and trust! You deserve to enjoy it for a long time to come! It was fun to see so much of it revealed over a week. You really do accomplish a lot, fast, even though it may seem slow or easy to those of us watching.

    1. Yeah who knows what a renter might do. Like leave cheese on the bathtub ledge.

      Sorry, couldn’t resist that callback. 😉

  15. Lovely! A great hot tub alternative is an inflatable one from Amazon for around $350. My parents have one and love the versatility:)

  16. So awesome! As a fellow gal that just finished a whole house gut and didnt want to spend any more on the husbands desire of a hot tub…I finally caved and he and the kid are in it about 4 times a week…we turn it down then he cranks it at night. SO WORTH IT! As my kiddo would say “hot tubby!”

  17. I’m SO happy for you and your family. Lake Arrowhead truly is a little “slice of heaven”. We bought a home in the area over six years ago, with the intention of transitioning to full time mountain living (from the Houston area). Our 34 year old daughter was living in LA as part of “the biz”. However, when latent health issues re-surfaced, we ended up buying a place to be able to care for her. Fortunately, hubby is ex-airline, so we’re able to commute on passes. I’m so relieved that we didn’t immediately jump into full time mountain living. As peaceful, scenic (and comfortably cool) as it is…it’s just a little too quiet (for me) to be here all the time. Currently I’m sitting on the deck in my PJs…cup of coffee in hand, enjoying the beautiful alpine view and cool breeze. We never want to sell this place. But…I do look forward to the “city” life…returning to Texas, my family there and my circle of wonderful friends. You are so very wise to “test” the waters, take your time and decide. The population here is shrinking (but home values are going up…thankfully). The population that remains after the part-timers leave during the week is primarily retired/older. We live somewhat close to Grandview Elementary, which was closed due to the lack of enrollment. It sounds like you’re on the right track…enjoying your incredible home (I’m just in awe at how beautiful it is) while contemplating and testing options. On a side note, if you like to hike (as we do), Dogwood Canyon is fabulous and a nice workout. Start at the entrance to the campground on Daly Canyon, take the trail down to your left. The Will Abell Memorial Trail is also nice with a gorgeous lake view at the top. Finally, Deep Creek in Apple Valley runs along a creek and has a swimming hole and waterfall that would be great for the kids. It’s part of the Pacific Coast Trail. A four wheel drive is recommended to get in there. You may already be clued in to these areas, but it took us a while to find them. Enjoy and congratulations on your House Beautiful feature!

  18. Hello,
    I loved the way SW Pure White looked in the Mountain House and I just finished painting my living room, dining, short hall and kitchen Pure White. Should I paint the trim the same or use a brighter white, which my original plan, but can not decide on which white.. If not the same what color trim do you recommend to stand out a little from the walls?
    Thanks in advance.
    Lynne
    From Seattle

  19. I wanted to weigh in on the washer. I do have a front loader and I hate it. It has a funk I can’t get rid of. We leave the door open always to let it dry out between loads, and use washing machine cleaner regularly. Still funky. Might just be my model but it also sometimes takes forever (2 hours) to get through a load.

    1. Have you tried running vinegar through it?

    2. Do you periodically drain it with the small hose? It’s usually located behind a small panel in the front of the machine. Makes a big difference in getting rid of the funky smell!

  20. It is stunning. All that gorgeous WOOD!! My father and husband are both wood workers and I couldn’t love this more. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to see the last few rooms.

  21. Hi everyone! First; Emily I LOVE THIS HOUSE. I have a new baby and if we were up at 2am I was checking for reveals and whispering very loudly with excitement and just reveling in this small part of adult life. So thanks for making a crazy mama’s week!

    My husband and I love the idea of a mountain house. Somewhere we can unplug during weekends, holidays, and summertime. But a pressing concern is how well a black family would be received in such places. We’ve had great experiences in Lake Tahoe, horrible ones in Big Bear and I’m really just asking genuinely if anyone has any insight, or experience. As I said above I have a an infant son and I have to put our safety over any dream house that may quickly become a nightmare. All answers and advice welcome!

    1. What a depressing world that this is a serious question. I hope you’re able to find somewhere that you can live peacefully and in nature; we should never have to choose just one.

    2. See, this is where karma really SHOULD be a thing. Then we could all trust that the buttheads in Big Bear would experience the mother of all herpes outbreaks and then get hit by a bus. And we’d all benefit because no one would be afflicted by them anymore.

  22. Your mountain house is amazing. Thank you for your vulnerability in letting us see the process, including the difficult decisions and changes that needed to happen. We live in L.A. where my husband has a stressful business. Because he has worked hard to build it, we need to stay. We have good things here, such as our friends, the kids schools, and our church. A few years ago we bought a vacation home Near a beach outside of L.A. that has become an oasis and a stress reducer (until the fridge stops working, we find leaks after a heavy storm, etc😂) Your mountain house will provide a new pace for your family, which can promote adventure, unity and special memories.

    BTW, I like the front loading washing machines. Some settings take 1 hour, but there is a 25 minute express wash too. I leave the door open for a while to prevent mildew. Just be sure you have enough clearance in your space with the door open. I get the pedestals too, otherwise the doors are too low to the ground.

  23. I enjoyed the last week of Mountain house content very much. It’s a beautiful home designed for style, relaxation, and fun. I look forward to seeing the rest of the rooms and some of the evolution in time.

    I wanted to briefly recommend the top-loading clothes washers by Fisher-Paykel. We had one and absolutely loved it! Unfortunately it was sold with the house when we moved but man, do I miss it! It’s as energy and water efficient as the better known front-loading models by the big brands, but more reliable, gentle on clothes, shorter cycle options, and you NEVER have to worry about your washer growing mold. (Once you get mold in the front loader it can be hard, if not impossible, to completely get rid of.) Here’s a link in case you are not familiar with the brand: https://www.fisherpaykel.com/us/laundry/washing-machines/washing-machine.html

  24. Just a recommendation on the washer: we got a very large-capacity HE top-loader, one without the agitator, and it is TERRIFIC. Never any smells or mold issues, and it is just as big as the front-loaders. We got it several years ago, so I’d imagine there are even better ones on the market now.

  25. I absolutely love this house. It is perfect in almost every way. My bf is renovating a house very similar on a hillside in northern Alabama. I’ve passed so many of your posts to him hoping that he can find influence to apply on his home. While it’s his primary home, I love going to visit as it gets me away from Nashville for a bit and of course, getting to spend time with him. The Mountain House has been my favorite to follow of all of your designs. I loved your fun, quirky designs in Design Star and have followed you as a designer ever since. Thank you so much for all that you do!

  26. Congrats on creating such a beautiful home and taking us readers along for the ride! I am going on a family trip in October to Lake Arrowhead and would love to hear your recommendations, especially for little kids ages 2-4. Thank you Emily and team!

  27. Front loaders are awesome IF you take 30 seconds to wipe down the door and the gasket after you use it. Also do once a month vinegar- only wash. Easy peasy and easier on your clothes in my opinion! PS love the house! 🙂

  28. really love this blog with great post

    1. keep sharing this type of content.

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