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My Actual Design Process (and Yes, a Mountain House Update)


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Okay, that is not it, YET, sadly. This room is from the Mjolk house which has been a source of inspiration for me throughout this whole process, but on to the real mountain house update.

We spent over two weeks up there over Christmas and I can say without hyperbole that it was the best two weeks of my life. The energy was so good and calm. The kids didn’t fight and barely asked to watch TV. We crafted, had scavenger hunts, went on one million walks and bug hunts, made forts, cooked so much soup, hung out with friends, and I took 8-10 micro bubble baths. I didn’t open my laptop except to order vacuum bags. At one point, I realized that I hadn’t been in a car in FIVE DAYS.

The point is, that house is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing for me: forcing me to relax and unplug, and providing a space away from LA to connect with my family. Also, let’s face it, the sweet, sweet satisfaction of being done with the most stressful renovation of my life doesn’t hurt, coupled with the fact that I truly love, love, love the design. I suppose I felt a lot of pride in it and the only pain I felt was fulfilling your survey request to NOT show you too much on social media.

The day before we moved in back in December, my team and I went up there to set it all up. We brought up a combination of leftover furniture from my house, the Portland project (that I had shipped down) and then we brought what was over from our storage unit up in the mountains. We placed it all and I realized that it looked PRETTY DARN GOOD. Was I expecting to use my old sofa up there? No, but I really loved it in the family room. Did I think that my wood armchairs that were originally in LA would be so comfortable and feel right in the living room? Nope. And while all of it might get moved around, it made me really reconsider something…wait, why am considering replacing all these pieces that I actually like? Why not just see if I can make these work in the design of the house and then if they can’t, move on from there?

It was such a relief to make that decision, and little did I know that it was aligned with the feedback from you about more approachable ideas and less “look at my custom sofa that took six months to design.” But this does mean something else and I’m not sure how you’re going to feel about it…

…We are officially done with the “I Design, You Decide” series for furniture and decor (of course the Vacay Giveaway will still happen and everything that has been recorded thus far will still count). There might be some projects along the way to vote on, but it stopped making sense for where we are right now because I really only wanted the house to look and feel one way and creating two design plans that look almost identical just seemed like a marketing gimmick. It was awesome for bathrooms and somehow made more sense, but showing you two very similar white rugs and being like “I don’t know guys, I just can’t decide” seems well, offensively obvious and condescending.

So I’ll be approaching decorating this project just like I do with most—using my three main steps. I’m starting from scratch in a way, but loosening up the perfection reigns for what I have that already works.


I already knew the style: the Rustic-Scandinian-Modern-Mountain-Minimalist-Contemporary-California-Chalet-Cabin look. It only took me one year and 82 “debates” with Brian to figure that out, and I’m literally an interior designer that should win all design wars (except Brian is typically right).

As a reminder, here are some reference photos (some you’ve seen, some new) for the vibe I’m after:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Overall Style Furniture Inspiration5
image source | design by jessica helgerson
Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Overall Style Furniture Inspiration3
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Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Overall Style Furniture Inspiration8
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Most of the time, your style is derived from a combination of a few things:

  1. The architecture of the space. Sometimes a house wants you to lean in a direction but do NOT let your 100-year-old English Tudor bully you as mine did.
  2. Your own personal style. Your aesthetic preferences and what feels like “YOU” is very important.
  3. How you want it to “feel” versus look. Maybe your style is one way at work but you want home to feel different, so it’s not just your style, it’s the feeling that you want to get from your home.

For me and this house, I want it to feel the following things: Calm. Quiet. Relaxing. Airy. Full of space and light. Comfortable. SO COMFORTABLE. Happy, but not loud. In fact, so, so, so quiet…but interesting, with some quirk and unpredictable moments.

So I created a fantasy mood board that we love…let’s call this a “feelings board.”

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Overall Style Furniture Decor Moodboard

Great. I’ll take it all.

A huge part of the design process is this step because it really to helps you understand what you are going for, EVEN IF you/I can’t actually purchase all or any of those things. It’s aspirational and it’s important to do because it’s a good reminder of how to stay on track, and, of course, to remind me to search and find the more affordable versions of those things.

That was our first board, but as it felt a bit unattainable, we redid it to feel more achievable—something I might actually be able to do.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Overall Style Furniture Decor Moodboard 1.25.19

It’s not totally different, and yet it’s more realistic for me right now.

Next up is…


You have your “look and feel” and some style semantics to help you explain it to others, so next, it’s time to come up with a color palette. You might actually be able to pull your palette from your inspiration board, with some tweaks, so let what you’re drawn to in your aesthetic vibe guide you if you’re stuck. For me, well…before you see mine you might want to alert the authorities but please don’t bother because the Associated Press has already ran the “Emily Henderson shocks nation with revolutionary color palette” story.

But it’s different this time, I SWEAR…

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The blues are muted and more grayed out. The grays are softer, more heathered. The whites are creamier. There is more black but in tiny moments (well, except for that sexy black bathroom), and the green is more earthy, less poppy. There will nary be a bright color in this house, with the exception of the kids room.

That is a pretty paired down palette and I know there will be some blushes and warmer tones involved, but you get the idea.


Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Mood Board Textures

Besides colors, you have the all-important textures that round it all out, that can add depth where colors can’t. Our wood is light, reclaimed and with a matte finish. The black iron is thin (and also matte). The schmear on the fireplace and the plaster is soft and even the stone is subdued and softened by being leathered instead of polished or honed. I forgot to put the brass up there, but hopefully you can get it (and we’ll edit it).



Use what you’ve got. Before you start all over, assess your situation. I ALMOST FORGOT THIS STEP.

Instead of ditching everything I have, I took an inventory of what I was already storing in my garage or in my house that really fit the mountain house vibe. Sure, I shopped some at the flea market, but at first, I pulled from what I already had and brought them up there. I didn’t know where things would go or in what room, I used my “pretty looks good next to pretty” rule and brought up anything that I loved in the vibe/feel, color palette and look we were going for.

So here is what I have up there right now. Maybe all of it won’t stay and maybe it will be moved around and around and around, but I was shocked at how great it all looked together.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Furniture I Already Had Roundup 04

The vintage Børge Mogensen chair and ottoman looked bad in its original fabric in our LA house, but up there near the family room fireplace, it sings. My Target tripod lamps (both floor and table) are great. I shipped home the most beautiful mirrors (from Thos. Moser) from the Portland Project and last year, I snagged the Rejuvenation tables for a makeover that never ended up happening. The tall blonde one looks so great with our sectional.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Furniture I Already Had Roundup 03

The soft rug from Dash & Albert that you might recognize from the Portland living room is looking great in the family room. The Article chair is next to our master fireplace (although I think it would shine more not so close to a big black steel square) and the Katy Skelton sofa is currently trying to find a home up there (but I might just put it in Birdie’s old room down here since they share a room now…more on that later). Oh, and that little black table from Target, which I’ve used all over so far…I just love its updated traditional shape and matte black finish.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Furniture I Already Had Roundup 02

The navy sofa (from Interior Define), wood armed chair, vintage Saarinen coffee table and Schoolhouse lamp are all things I’ve had FOR YEARS. I’m SO glad I kept all of them. They are honestly looking so good up there. They are all so practical and comfortable (and kid-friendly) and yes, in my color palette. The one good thing about being consistent in color palette is that things date a lot less quickly.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Furniture I Already Had Roundup 01

Lastly, the world’s most comfortable shag rug (it was Brian’s only real demand) will likely make its way into our master bedroom. I’ve used this I think five other times in a project and I can’t wait to dig my toes into the cush of it in the morning before having to have the “awful” debate with oneself of whether I take a bubble massage bath or a steam shower…Also, the universe’s most beautiful chair (by Fernweh Woodworking out of Oregon) was a gift from the Portland project that will likely don the most perfect corner near a window somewhere.

Regarding the Article sectional…I have shopped and searched for something super interesting and conversation making, but ultimatley this one that already sits in the room is kinda perfect for the vibe and style. Plus, it’s VERY comfortable. Someday I might find that perfectly weird low ’70s sectional that steals all of our hearts, but until then, I love this guy. Honestly, sometimes I wish it were in my living room here, too, but then I think “surely I can’t use the same sofa twice…” But can’t I?

So that’s where we are. It’s furnished, but not finished. It’s comfortable but not perfect. It’s getting there and throughout the next 6-9 months, we’ll be finishing the rooms and revealing them. As much as I’d love to wait to reveal EVERYTHING all at once, I just don’t think I’m willing to wait that long to start showing you (and I doubt you want to wait that long either).

I literally can’t wait to show you. As a massive over-sharer (duh), it’s hard to keep it all to myself so instead, I’ll just do my best to finish it more quickly so that you (and I ) can get the satisfaction we both need. Okay, fine, here’s just one little sliver shot I took on my phone a few weeks back, because I can’t help myself:

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Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

*And again, we are working out what the rest of “I Design, You Decide” and Vacay Giveaway’ looks like but the more you comment and share, the more entries you get and YES that will still happen. I can’t wait to host any of you who have been invested enough in this project to share it…and trust me…you’ll have a good time at this house. It’s my absolute happy place and maybe yours. 

Fin Mark


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What I would love to see is a drip feed of how the rooms look now with furniture but ‘unfinished’ and then a gradual reveal of how you added those extra touches/changes to make them sing. Great to hear you’re trying to work with what you already have.


I’d love this, too! I don’t have a problem picking the larger pieces of furniture that speak to me, but I struggle with styling everything.


I second Piia! Would love to see the rooms just as they are now when you’re still working with the furniture you have, working out what you still need and then seeing how the spaces evolve. So happy for you that you had a blissful 2 weeks away and that the house is all you wanted it to be for the family!


Ooo – I’d like that too, but maybe in reverse order. Ie I’d like to see the final reveal and then the unstyled before.


I love the idea of slow drip. Especially as you rearrange. I’m in the slow (years) process of tweaking a space and watching you design in increments feels more natural to how most people do. Expect those unicorns whose rooms/house/life seem to spring effortlessly from a single burst of intent. I’m blending my modern/rusitic/scandi/mountain taste with my BOYF’s minimal(why more than one chair?)/traditional (wood and ships)/tech in a house that is both too large (too many bedrooms) and and smallish (1940s size living/dining spaces). Just saying that decisions get made and remade over time. Would love to see your process for that. And congratulations on LIVING in your gorgeous new home. That is after all, the point of it all.


Yes!! Mel is a GENIUS – I would love to see how you start off decorating with the furniture basics in there & how you move stuff around / start layering to achieve the overall feel. It would be so beneficial to see the starting “outlines” and how they get added to. (even if it’s done in one post with start photos and the gradual process you went through to get the final product)


Yes!! I would love to see this, it would be hugely helpful. I’m decorating my first house at the moment and, while I think I’ve got the fundamentals right in all the rooms, taking it from there to ‘styled’ is the big challenge.


I love that idea too! I’m glad you’re choosing to use, some of what you have. It’s much more relatable to a lot of what your readers are able to do. Plus, I think it fits in you’re return to pulling in more vintage, quirky, and weird. I think sometime you can get there by “making do” and then discover something that works




I am 1000% more interested in the process than in the final staged and perfect photos. I think the reason I wasn’t super interested in the Portland house reveals is because i didn’t see much of the decorating decision making process, and therefore didn’t feel particularly invested in the outcome. We saw a lot of renovation decisions, but the decorating is what I’m really here for, and that part didn’t get covered nearly as much . Maybe I’m the only one who wants to see MORE of this stuff on social media, but it could be the perfect medium for those little updates. Increased visibility to those decorating decisions makes me more interested in the final result because I better appreciate all the little tweaks that ended up making the end design what it is.


I think you hit the nail on the head (?) with renovation vs decorating. Hadn’t realised that there wasn’t that much about the decorating process, it just happened in the reveals. But that’s where we need the most Emily guidance. ?
I personally love the renovation stuff too, love seeing a place transformed.


Agree 100%.


Yes!!! I agree. I saw the Portland project in person and was blown away. I would have loved to have read about the decorating process.


Yes! I love more the process posts. We’ve been in our new place for a year now and things are coming together, getting comfy and decent enough to hosts but definitely not finished. I love posts that show you the process of getting to that next final finished and live in stage. The Portland house was different as it was just beautifully staged eye candy so there is only so much of that one needs. The mountain house is a space that will reflect being lived in and, while probably still unattainable, might be more relatable.

Julie S

I would be down for something like this for each room too – either a decorating process post showing how you tried out different furniture/styling configurations before settling on what (and why) felt right. Or a la Mel, an initial post of basics in the space (where and why- function + beauty) and then a second post styling it out and tweaking the pretties. I really enjoy and element of “what didn’t work” before you get to the final result, as it really helps me understand best.


Yes to this! Would love to see the process of styling unfold, both to show how to learn from trial & error, and also to learn how the final styling details can “finish” a space.


YES to all of this above! Seeing how you decorate and style a room around pieces you already own would be the ideal learning experience for me – and it seems others, too. I don’t need a whole room reveal to peak my interest. For instance, just that little sliver shot at the end of the blog could be a gold mine of content. What paint color did you choose, and why? What rules did you follow – or break – to get all those beautiful woods to work together? What should you look for when you mix neutrals together in the same room – cool vs. warm undertones, etc. Thank you for all you do – and for keeping it interesting all the time!


Yes!!! Me too!


Agree! Please keep showing the process – that’s the useful part!


Hear, hear! I love the process photos (of styling especially). I somehow missed the survey and absolutely loved the Portland reveal – it just felt a long time coming.

I’d hate to wait for more mountain house rooms!


Yes! Please give us posts as the rooms evolve. It doesn’t need to be 100% perfect to show us what things are looking like now. Heck, I would have loved a post with pictures of the mountain house after construction but before there was anything inside. It would help us appreciate all the architectural changes and finishes you’ve chosen. Just as an example, another blog I read is Chris Loves Julia, and even though their style doesn’t align with mine as closely, I enjoy following along with every iteration of their den, the evolution of their cabin kitchen, etc.


I’m glad it’s over ( I design…). At the beginning I was absolut exited about it but towards the end it didn’t feel right anymore. It’ s your house, your design and your life (and often it felt such a waste of work time). BUT I still love that you did it because it was such a huge learning process for me and I love that you challenge yourself. Love that you used furniture you already had. ?


I always thought it wasn’t a great idea either and felt unauthentic. But I guess I feel the same way about sponsored posts….it’s like, here is the stuff I chose within the limited constraints of this company that is paying me or giving me these things? I mean I do understand how this works, but I guess I love all of the flea market finds that really seem more about Emily being Emily.


I think Mel’s idea could make for some fun and interesting content! Maybe you could do it for at least a couple rooms


Commenting for contest entry.


I completely understand why the I design you decide is over when you have one specific vision for the house. I have a suggestion instead! Would be awesome to see (via a mood board or something) how you would design each room for a different style


Where is the gold lamp from?


So glad you’re working with what you’ve got too, it’s so exciting to fall in love with pieces you already have in new ways!

Totally unrelated question, but how do you keep that lovely shag rug you use in the bedrooms clean? PLEASE SHARE CLEANING TIPS! We have a similar rug in our bedroom and I live in terror that I won’t be able to keep up with the white… but it feels so good! Any tips on rug cleaning in general (vintage, shag, flokati, etc.) would be SO welcome!

Alison Briggs

oh please, please do not drag out the reveals over the next 6-9 months. I know you can’t wait to show all them at once – but I don’t think they need to be perfect before you show them. Maybe you show the rooms now, then update again in 6 months when they are truly finished? The problem with Portland was how long it took to get reveals, how they dragged on, and there was no rhyme or reason to when or how they were reveled. What if you did “Mountain House Mondays”, and each Monday gave a new update / reveal? Again, even if it is not perfectly finished – I think most of us would rather see a before and after then wait months to see a ‘perfectly styled’ room. More like what you did for your LA house. It’s all a work in progress – we get it! Just my thoughts! I love you, your style and as an Interior Designer myself – I relate so much to what you are trying to do here – I just know personally more updates that are less perfect are so much better to me, then waiting forever so the… Read more »


Yes agree – this dragging out of reveals feels like a scam, and like click-bait.


Yes! Mountain House Mondays! I personally do not like just getting the “afters” in a process. I seriously go to IG all the time just to see if Chris Loves Julia has posted a story from their cabin and did the same for you when you were at the Portland project. I want to see all the thought process in action! That being said, can’t wait to see it however you give it to us.


YES to the CLJ comment. She posts just quick updates like “these chairs didn’t work, this chandelier was awesome and here is why”. I like to see little updates all the time and not just a post once it is FURNISHED like a designer home. Can we see just in between furnished?


I love this idea. Once you’ve got rooms furnished enough to use please share them! Then share updates as you make them. More like the “regular” home bloggers (without a staff) do it. Just progress shots along the way. Can’t wait to see it!!!

CF Betcher

I’m so so happy for you!!! A second home should be ALL those things: happy, healthy and connected!
And i’m Super happy for us to see you reuse and reimagine and recombined your favorite things. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s what made me less interested in the Portland Project than I expected to be. I love a good reveal— but having everything new just doesn’t feel realistic! Now I CAN’T WAIT to see the mountain house.
I also wouldn’t mind a video tour of your LA home now that I know a bunch of things have changed…


I am so happy to hear a progress update on the Mountain House! And I really respect your decision to change course on the I Design series. If it helps, I completely agree that it made a lot more sense for the initial design plans (tiles, finishes, etc) than the actual furniture design, since this is something you will live with. No need to put any roadblocks in the way of you and your family actually getting to enjoy the house. 🙂

Oh, and I looove that you are using the furniture you already have! As someone with only a handful of furniture pieces myself, I keep bringing almost every piece with me during every move. Now that we have actually bought a flat, I really enjoy finding final (for now) places for them! Also, seeing how and why you move furniture around would be a post that I would be very interesting for me so I can get some ideas. 😉


Totally agree that it makes sense to let I design/ you decide go at this stage. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! If you are ever in a genuine quandary about an item or a direction, I am certain your readers will always be delighted to weigh in. Excited for reveals and excited for YOU that you are moved in and loving it. Also am So pleased to see you use and make work pieces that you already own. Can’t wait!


Tactical question- what’s the easiest way to make a color palette image like you have above while planning a room?

Thanks for listening to our feedback! Can’t wait to see reveals.

We did this in Photoshop and it was a little complicated if you don’t know the program (we have a custom brush, color codes, etc.). If you want to create a color palette in a much easier way, I’d say go about screenshotting some paint colors that you really like, then open them all together side-by-side, then just screenshot again, and boom, you have a rough color palette. Or create a dedicated Pinterest board to your color palette, and save paint swatches in there so you can see them all together.


Thank you!!


So happy to hear you love the mountain house!! Using existing furniture, and your vintage finds will help make the house more eclectic and can’t wait to see the results!! Congrats!


I have been looking for a navy herringbone fabric like in the photo? What is the name of it?

It’s from Stark Carpets: in the Indigo colorway. (PS, it’s a carpet, not a fabric).


Very satisfying post, a greT way to preview the finishers designs. I like seeing the furniture first:).


So I think it is a huge mistake to make us wait 6-9 months before giving us an update on all the house. I know you said you’re going to be finishing rooms and then getting them up on the site ASAP but if it still takes 6-9 months to finish all of it, you’re in literally the same situation as the Portland house which everyone agreed was mispaced. Why can’t we see everything now? Why does it have to be “finished”? You said that it is comfortable. Start a weekly (someone suggested mountain house mondays) reveal of each room NOW. we don’t even know what the finished construction looks like! I really think there needs to be a step in between “planning and executing design” and “finished room”. As someone enduring a house reno, I’d love to see the construction and the house finishes before the way you style everything with furniture. Give an update now it is now (in pictures) and then an update when everything is finished.


It feels like you’re avoiding the reader feedback from the Portland project re everything stretching on for so, so long by saying you’re going to reveal them over 6 to 9 months. The mountain house has already been going on for a year? Love the idea of you working with what you have. It’s refreshing. But it seems crazy not to show your readers what that looks like. We want to see your homes evolve. So seeing it not perfect but really great for living RN and then perfectly styled with every piece just right in six months or a year would be ideal. That’s how you maintain reader interest. We like seeing what has changed, what has stayed, what worked well but didn’t look perfect and how a tiny tweak made things better.


Totally agree! I would love to see what it looks like post-construction and then again styled out 6-9 months later. The idea of Mountain House Mondays is something I am totally on board with!

You’re not the only one who thinks this. Didn’t mean to avoid the reader feedback! We’re talking about it today with the team and figuring out the best way to roll this out, keep things interesting, while making sure no one gets bored of seeing half-finished rooms.


I read a lot of the comments and I agree that I love seeing how a space develops over time. Give us reveals with how it looks now and how it looks later! <3

P.S. I really appreciated the technical posts about renovating (e.g. the kitchen design posts). They may not be as exciting to scroll through, but they are sooo useful to reference when doing my own renovation planning. Maybe they could be rolled out in between more Pinable posts?


Are rooms ever “finished”? It could be nice to see the little styled moments throughout the process of getting to “finished”


Yes, I agree! Do a sneak peek now with what you have. Then we can happily wait 6-9 months to see the styled version and see how it has evolved once you have spent more time up there!
I also agree with E’s comment about avoiding dragging a reveal on for a year…
And yes, love that you are using what you have already, makes so much more sense.


I want to start by saying I love how open and honest you are Emily. It is one of the main reasons I read your blog (one of only a few that I read). Tbis is such an exciting project and I have loved watching the process. I am really excited that you are bringing in what you have first to see what works and trying to make it feel less perfect. I really enjoyed this post and hearing your process. Keep it up, and I think that the “I Design, You Decide” worked way better for the bathrooms, kitchen, etc. I am excited to see what you come up with to finish out the spaces.

P.S. I love all of your oversharing in social media. Ha!

Jordan G

I love this because it’s so realistic for the rest of us. It just makes sense to use what you have, especially when what you have is perfect and fits your family’s needs. There is still content to be found by explaining why the sofa you already have works so well – the colors, the size, the texture, etc. Just because it isn’t custom and wasn’t picked especially for the space doesn’t make the rest of the info any less true or less helpful. Looking forward to seeing the rooms!

Sarah Sorum

Can you tell us more about upkeep for the white rug? I’ve loved it since you first showed us, but I also have two young kids and can’t imagine how you keep it clean. Thanks!


I would love to see how the rooms look now, and then another update after living in them, changing etc 6 months down the road!

Steve Methiew

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love that you are using and loving pieces you already have! feels better for you and your wallet, some relatable inspiration, the environment and more! TBH i get sideline anxiety seeing you have to reinvent all the things all the time!

i vote for seeing mountain house ‘raw’ – post construction, bare bones furnishings, sooner, then reveals over time of how things get styled out. so eager to see that kitchen! glad you are enjoying your time there.


So glad you’ve ditched I Design, You Decide. Like others, I loved it in the beginning, but it began to feel more and more like we were pushing you in directions that you didn’t want to take, which didn’t feel right.

And I second the Show How It Looks Now and then the “finished”, styled rooms in 6-9 months, because I think it’s educational to see how rooms evolve.

I am all for using furniture you already have!! It feels better for the environment, and it’s more realistic for where most of us are. My whole house is decorated in the Pretty Looks Good Next To Pretty, at first because that’s what we could afford; now because it’s things I love and that have a history with us, and because my design loves don’t fit neatly into 1-2, or 5 categories.


I’m all for reusing what you’ve got! That’s what most of us do anyway, and it’s always inspiring to see how you reinvent “old” pieces for new spaces. We have an old CB2 daybed that’s been in our living room, then our guest room, now in our new house it’s in our daughter’s room with a new linen cover. It’s looked totally different each time, and holy moly are we getting our $400 worth!


Your comment, I’m literally an interior designer that should win all design wars (except Brian is typically right), is so validating to someone like me who loves designing spaces, but has absolutely no formal training. It’s all about a ‘good eye’ and trial and error on paper before you $$$. And totally agree with many other comments-showing is so much more engaging than telling!


Umm..all these comments about the mountain house (which, I understand, is the actual point of this post), but no one wants to know more about Charlie and Birdie sharing a room??? I know you promised details in the future, but yes I would love to know the details and logistics for how you make that work!

emily jane

I think Em meant she would be sharing reveals starting now and then continuing THROUGHOUT the next 6-9 months..? But, I love the idea of incorporating both the ‘using what you already have’ look with the ‘you’ve added new purchases and the space has achieved it’s fully styled and ready to reveal’ status -either separately OR together in the same post. As a reader (and fan ; ), Your Process is one of my favorite sources of information and inspiration. oh! also, a FEELINGS board.!? Revelatory…


What are the paint colors and from what brands?



I would also love to know the paint swatch colors.


I have a question re the Article sectional (for anyone who has a sectional). We have a leather sectional from Article and the chaise pad always slides forward (daily!) and it’s super annoying. We’ve tried everything we can think of, non slip rug pad, sticky pad, velcro etc and nothing works. It’s super annoying. The chaise isn’t leather underneath, so I wonder if this is an issue with all sectionals, or Article sectionals? If anyone has any ideas on how to keep it in place I’d love to hear. It’s incredibly irritating to have to move it back daily. Thank you!!!


LOVE this post: the peek behind the curtain of your design process, the tips for us design novices, and all of your beautiful yet comfortable choices so far. Can’t wait to see it unfold! xx

Julie S

Loving the return of relatable OG Emily using stuff she already had in fresh ways! There are only three or four things I would have noticed being reused from elsewhere and I read your blog every day for years now. It’s all still your look, in a different space.

I’d love to see what the mountain house looks like at 2 or 3 stages along the way! Perfect at the end is…. fantasyland and doesn’t capture me the way seeing someone’s house evolve better and better as it’s lived in. Plus 1 for mountain house mondays (or every other monday at the longest)! What does each room look like now that the fixed elements are in place? Before and after of that please! Then each room as it’s furnished comfortably for right now. Then in the fall when You’ve finished tweaking, a final-ish reveal. Yeah 🙂


This all sounds perfect!!
Very curious about kids sharing though, as that means a redesign? Always fun ?


I don’t want a designer to do all this. I think I know exactly what furnishings, decor, wall colors, flooring, etc I want. But there may be something I haven’t considered, or another way a designer could help me. Is there any way to hire a designer just to go over my plans? If they took what I’m considering as a “mood board” and chose other stuff they like better, it would be a waste of money. But if they saw an issue and suggested ways around it, that would be money well spent. Is there a name for this service? I’m thinking of it as similar to having a licensed plumber approve my work before turning taps on.

Hilary W Taylor

I’m in the camp of show us what it looks like now, explain what you think works, and what you need and want to change, and then show us final reveals once each room is done and styled. The now posts could include the meat of the design details/construction decisions and troubles (with the construction material links) and the later posts could be the pretty, final reveals with decorating source links. The now posts absolutely DO NOT need to be perfectly lit, perfectly styled posts (we appreciate how labor intensive those are to produce). Most of us will give you the benefit of the doubt (trolls will be trolls no matter what) about the less-than-perfect/portfolio worthy in-progress posts.

I love the idea of Mountain House Mondays. For your readers who aren’t interested in the Mountain House, they will still have new content to peruse on Monday at work by reading your new weekend posts/series.


I love the conscious plan to use what you have as opposed to designing each space from scratch. I think it must be difficult to balance the need to churn more content for the blog with the needs of your own household. Most of us design this way, incorporating the things we’ve owned and loved for years in each successive home. I can’t wait to see how the mountain house turned out.


I am so happy to see that you are re-purposing furniture, etc. in the mountain house rather than buying all new. Not only because it’s more relateable to someone like me who sadly couldn’t buy all new, but I like the idea in a vacation home of using older stuff that isn’t so precious, since you’ve had it for a while.

I’d also love to see where you are right now with the mountain house. It’s my dream in life to have a second home. I’d live for an A-frame or an old cottage by a lake. Thanks!!


I’m good with the I design, you decide series being over. Makes sense.

I’m going to agree with everyone saying they’re interested in the process of adding in your basics and then evolving to a “finished” room.

I absolutely love that you’re reusing a lot of what you have. So relatable and also educational to see how to style or reuse furniture and decor in different spaces and how to make it feel different. I would love to read a blog post on just that.

Beth Cote

Love the furniture! I have been looking at the wooden arm chair from Eclectic Goods for a while and was wondering if this is more of an upright chair or a low slung one. Have back issues in the family and need something that isn’t real low and angled back.


I must have missed the vote to hold everything back until the end. But a huge part of why I love following specific people (ChrisLovesJulia for example) is because they show the whole process instead of just some big reveal at the end. I’d love to see more “as it moves along” behind the scenes stuff. Where you put a couch even if ultimately it moves to another location of the house. I’m just so excited to see the mountain house NOW, finished or not!


Great post! I mostly come to this blog to learn from your styling / design process and expertise so I love hearing how and why you make certain choices. I’m glad the pieces you already own look great there – figuring out how to repurpose things in new spaces is another skill I hope to learn from you. P.s. thanks for the soup inspiration too! I have to admit to being skeptical at first but I’ve made the turkey meatball soup at least 4-5 times since your first soup post a couple weeks ago and remembered that I actually like cooking! I wonder if you could do a round up of good soup bowls. I find that some are two shallow or small for it to feel like a meal. Thanks!


This plan sounds great. Looking forward to the end result and even the in-progress result.

Heather Knight-Willcock

LOVE THIS! Would love to see an article on your design process (step by step) when you guys were designing for clients. As a young designer I’ve realized everyones process is different and I find this so so interesting!


I agree with the other comments, would love to see how it looks right now. I guess I don’t understand why it will take so long? Isn’t that the difference between blogging and magazines? You take photos and post them next week. Would love to see more.


Of course you can use the article sectional again! It saves money, saves the environment, saves time, and most importantly ( I realize that depends on your priorities), it looks great and right! Reusing furniture/decorations in a different way/place, is a very approachable and realistic way for many to create great spaces! Great blog, Emily! I’ve been following you for a year:)


In love with everything and can’t wait to see it! However you decide to reveal it, I’m here for it. Do whatever makes sense to you.


Looking forward to the 3 rooms in February!


Who are these people that didn’t want to see it on social media? I want to see it ALL right NOW! ?


Gosh that last photo looks so peaceful. Think I’ll sink into a daydream now…

On a totally different front, I’d be so interested to hear why you thought the original fantasy board felt ‘unattainable’. Was it cost? Style? Practicality?

Thanks for this post, it’s so lovely to read the thoughts that contribute to the decisions you make.


YAY! This post finally makes it feel like you’re back in a happy place with decorating after WAAAYYY too much stress last year. Cheers!

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