Emily Henderson

All grown up ...

My House Tour From Good Housekeeping

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I pretty much use our house as my style laboratory – tweaking, moving, experimenting, blowing things up, then regretting and sometimes just scrapping it and starting all over. Often just when I feel like I’ve found the perfect combination I change the formula completely. I’m a real peach to live with. But when Good Housekeeping called and said ‘how about a house tour, with a fall “refresh” bent’ I used it as my excuse to do something I have been wanting to for a while – adjust some of the things that I wasn’t totally happy with and restyle with a slightly new color palette. Let’s get into it.

Pendant | Dining Table | Vintage Dining ChairsBlack & Gold Candle Stick Holders | Tray | Mini BowlStyled Book

Wait. A trip down memory lane first to see where we came from 2 years ago. Before Move In, After Renovation, Domino Shoot, and 4 Months Ago.

We “finished” the living room the week of the Domino shoot but then as my baby became a toddler I needed it to be more kid-friendly and generally more comfortable. So we brought in that huge white pouf, brought back those leather chairs and removed most of the low breakable items.

And I was pretty happy with things. But it didn’t feel very fall. Recently I had removed most of the pink and brought in more layers (which I’ll show you next week), but I really didn’t want to change too much of the actual living room – just make it feel a bit cozier and more fall/winter. The easiest way to do that is to simply switch up the color palette and layer on the textiles. And I did.


There she is – our new living room. Pulled back and quiet, but still so cozy and happy. I am shocked at how much I love walking into the house to see this room now. I have loved neutrals in other people’s spaces but I thought I was a color girl myself. And I probably still am, but layering on the neutrals feels so fresh and calm, and yet still totally alive.

Here’s what I did:

I decided to remove most of the really bright blues, teals and turquoises and move those favorite pieces to the shelving unit for now. The art is dispersed throughout my house – the string art in the dining room and the two other pieces in my bedroom and Charlie’s room. Then I brought in more denim blues, blacks and olives and creams. There is still a lot going on with texture and pattern, but the color palette feels more masculine and sophisticated.

I love, and will always love, that huge white pouf and now it happily lives in the family/TV room, being climbed on and wrestled around daily by that child. It was a perfect toddler coffee table situation, but there was no where to put drinks, and Charlie is better about not destroying himself or my pretty objects now. So when I found this vintage Saarinen oval table (which was still not cheap, by the way – $750 at a vintage store) I snagged it because it is super kid friendly, a total classic and the perfect scale for the living room. (If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I’m trying out another coffee table that I had ordered a while ago and just arrived, which I like equally as much – more on that later, but I know it’s confusing).

The blue rug that we had was beautiful, but it wasn’t working with the new color palette. So I moved it (probably to the guest suite) and replaced it with this beautiful scallop hyde rug from Serena and Lily. It’s indestructible and just so bright and airy. Plus the way it reflects the light is just gorgeous.

Moon Phase Ceramic Bell | White Ceramic Bell | Metal & Glass Lantern | Tray | Styled Book | White Plaid Pillow | Color Block Pillows | Hide Rug | Floor Lamp (From Target Online Soon) | Throw


I had new slipcovers made for the benches out of this gray and white fleck fabric from Mood, but I kept the old ones that were indigo because I do plan on switching those back and forth every now and again.

The most shocking part of the whole makeover is my addition of, now calm down, the color black. For the record I’ve always liked black, but only when it’s done right – not in a bachelor pad kind of way, instead in a chic Scandinavian kind of way. But it’s an intense color and I’ve always wanted this space to feel bright and airy, so I was scared that incorporating too much in would make it feel heavy and dark. It’s a color that is best used moderately so that it looks intentional but not overwhelming.

I welcomed those black accessories and lighting into our living room and I love them. That black and white striped vase is one of my favorites of the whole fall Target collection. It looks like it was handmade, and the shape is just so simple. The candelabra is a huge hit, too, what with it’s simple danish lines, and the black and white throw from Nate Berkus’ collection looks extremely high end.

The flag! As you know years ago I had a huge cross flag over my sofa which I loved, but it was red and after a few years I was ready to sell it. The Nike Schroeder string art piece lived there the last year and a half and I love it, but some of the colors (the hot pink and bright yellow) were throwing off the new color palette. So I moved it into the dining room where it works better. But filling that space was rather hard because it needed to be something huge but simple, and not generic. I found this flag at the flea market for $40 but it was cobalt blue instead of navy (I can’t BELIEVE I didn’t take a picture of it before). We opened the seams where the panels were and dyed just the blue part with Rit ‘denim’ dye (over the stove) to be the navy you see now. It took a couple hours, then we sewed it back together. I can’t believe how perfect that color is and the shape/scale is exactly what that wall needed.

Black Candelabra | Ceramic Vase | Planter | Throw | Gold Geometric Pillow | Moon Phase Ceramic Bell | Lamp | Flag/Dresser/Painting Are All Vintage

To see more of the living room go and pick up that magazine!


Nothing really changed in the bedroom – although I think it is going to soon. Stay tuned. The lamps should be available online soon, but are in stores most likely now (from Target).

More bedroom shots in the October issue.


Not a lot of changes in the kitchen area either, just some propping/styling. To see the whole kitchen transformation and resources go here.

Wood Clock | Bar Cart | Rug | Gold Vase | White & Wood Vase

On the other side of those stools actually lives this playroom that shares the space with the family room (which is coming along, I swear). I really struggled with what to do with that wall because it’s such an open space that whatever we did over there needed to work with the kitchen and the family room. And while I wanted it to be playful I really didn’t want it to be too ‘kid’ or messy (yet … I know the days of me plastering my kids art on the wall are coming, but I don’t actually have the art yet to do that). I toyed with framing vintage french school posters in a grid, or even vintage kid oil portraits, and lastly deconstructing a beautiful kids book and framing that in a grid, but they all felt like a lot of work and really expensive for what could feel pretty busy.


Instead we just drew a big circle in gray paint (BM Half Moon Crest) and then painted a clear coat of chalkboard paint OVER that. We did this the day before the shoot by the way. I thought for sure that it was a genius idea, but the problem with telling a child that he can only draw on the circle part and only with chalk is that it’s a very difficult concept to grasp, so he immediately started drawing on the white part (which comes off, too). And then as you can guess limiting him to JUST drawing on this wall proved to be difficult. He hasn’t done too much damage anywhere else, and he knows now and shakes his head when he almost does it in another room. Kids are so honest – when he first started drawing on the walls I pointed to it and said “Charlie did you draw on the wall?” and he enthusiastically, as if he just tied his own shoes for the first time said “Yea!!!!” It’s very hard to get mad at.

Visually, though, I love this circle. When you are sitting on the sofa on the other side of the room with the view of the kitchen and the playroom it really is the perfect graphic, simple shape that provides enough style and playfulness without too much color or chaos. Yet. Right now we use a hide rug in there (again, because white hide is the only kid-friendly WHITE rug that exists) but it’s a bit big so I may change it out as it gets caught under the stools legs all the time which is terribly annoying.

Those wicker animal heads are painfully cute and sophisticated at the same time – with or without their “clothes” on.

Play Table & Stools | Easel | Bull HeadStag Head | Felt baskets (From Target Online Soon)

Lastly back to the dining room – the opening image of the feature.


I’m finally happy with this room. The problem was that the dining table (which was AWESOME) was purchased for the office originally and it was about 6″ too wide for the dining room. But it was so much better than what I had there so we brought it up anyway for the Domino shoot, and then it was so heavy that we just kept it there. It was (and is) gorgeous but it was too big – both visually and physically. And then chandelier was also too big – which was totally my fault. I wanted it to be a statement but when you sat in that room it felt claustrophobic. The shape/size of this room is just so tricky because its long and narrow and yet it’s very visible from the rest of the house, with really tall blank white walls that you want to fill. But whenever I put a lot of stuff on the walls it gets smaller and smaller.

I found this marble top/brass based table at Jayson Home and it screamed to me. It is much more narrow, but still long enough and because it is white it just feels so much lighter in there. And then those chairs just pop (from Mid-Century LA). The credenza is from the flea market and that beautiful simple hanging lantern is from Lost and Found in LA. It’s so pretty, you guys. I think I’m going to do a whole post on this room to give you the other angles and to highlight the accessories and art (I put some on the other wall) but trust me that I’m finally happy with the dining room. It was a struggle that was my fault, really and a product of me rushing to buy things for a shoot. But not this time. Everything feels perfect for the space.

Pendant | Dining Table | Black & Gold Candle Stick Holders | Tray | Mini BowlStyled Book | Lamps & Credenza Are Vintage

That same day we filmed a quick video with some tips on how to create fall in your home, too. Check it out, folks.


There are more photos of the space and lots more tips inside the magazine spread – so IF you don’t already subscribe to Good Housekeeping, head on out and buy one. Thank god it’s a magazine that you can actually buy anywhere, so you should be able to track it down at your local grocery. Photos by Mike Garten for Good Housekeeping Magazine. Thank you so much, GH, for the feature and the excuse to change things up even more and refresh my house for fall. Check out their site for even more info.

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  1. I am so curious about that Serena & Lily Hide Rug. Is it really indestructible? I would be concerned that spills or other toddler antics would be difficult to address. Does it feel nice to sit or play on? I love how the Hide Rug looks but was hesitant to include it in a main living space where too much may be expected of it.

    Love all these neutrals in the living room!

    1. I can speak from experience that hide rugs are great for spills (juice boxes and red wine : ) Plus the kids love rubbing their hands on. It’s like petting, well, a cow! And they’re beautiful to top it off (especially the white/beige/gray ones).

      1. I was also going to ask! I have a long, black haired dog that sheds like crazy. I’m curious how that would hold up in our house!

        1. I think really really well. Of course you may see a lot of black hair on the white, but I know that a lot of companies (Loloi) makes a black and white patterned one.

    2. Since it is an animal hide that has evolved to take a beating (cows naturally live outside in the elements) these rugs are practically indestructible. Our cat urinated on one and the urine just sat there on top and didn’t soak in or smell when wiped up (since it is skin). Just think if all liquids a cow came in contact with was actually absorbed into it’s skin! It would be like us becoming waterlogged while swimming. Nature doesn’t work that way therefore making it a very kid friendly rug.

  2. daaaaaaamn! this is insane…just when i didn’t think you could do any better, you did!!! how is this possible for something to look soooooooo good!

  3. Holy crap, everything looks amazing! I think this is its best rendition yet. I think your big black vase with leaves is amazing in the living room and I’m obsessed with the flag and it’s perfect imperfections.

    I’m really impressed with your ability to create Pinterest-worthy new ideas. The big gray circle with the stags is genius, even if just from a design perspective.

  4. Gorgeous! Everything! Congrats on the magazine article.

    The source link for the blue rug near you kitchen isn’t working, I’d love to know where it’s from. I’m guessing Target?

  5. So I see that you don’t have a rug in your dining room. I’m playing with the same idea in my house but how do you get over the mental block that the room just isn’t finished unless there is a rug? Was there a specific reason you didn’t go with a rug in yours?

  6. I love this even more than before. It bums me out a LOT that you’ve never shared a floor plan of your house though. I so nearly understand the configuration…..!

  7. I’ve been WAITING for this post! When you mentioned you were completely sort of redoing your LR i’ve been wanting to see it so bad! I’m currently lacking “vision” for my own living room. Newly built house! New peggy west elm light grey couch etc.

    Question: Hoping you’ll answer! I need a rug for the living room (we have all hardwood acacia flooring). I’m loving this anthropologie one but worried about having color and so much pattern. What’s your opinion of it? I love a modern mid century, slight industrial, slight boho style. Would love to know what your opnion is on the look of this rug!


    1. I like that rug. We are using it a client’s office right now (a dude). Its great – just remember that its pretty dark so its going to make the room look a bit smaller so make sure you get a big enough rug. read that rug post of mine for guidance, but generally a living room needs at least an 8×10. good luck!

    1. Hey, for anything like flags, blankets, or rugs it’s best to hand stitch onto the back, the loop side of a velcro strip. And staple the hook side of the velcro strip to a thin piece of wood which you screw to the wall. With the velcro across the whole length it hangs smoothly. That’s why this way I’ve found is best.

  8. I love your style! I am trying to model my own place with similar touches. What paint color is below your kitchen counter? It is the perfect shade without being too dark. Thanks!

    1. I just purchased the same one for my dining room because I loved it so much. I am sad to admit that I liked it in the dining room much more than the new one. The original is from park studio (etsy) and is $1300 which includes tax and shipping. Not bad for such a beautiful piece!

  9. Ahhh I can’t wait to pick up a copy of Good Housekeeping and see more! It’s so funny that you mention bringing elements of black into your home – I’ve been taking the itty bittiest baby steps to bring black into our home after years of refusing altogether. My husband even second-guesses some of my latest purchases with big eyes, asking “But… it’s black?” I love this refresh, it’s so calming!

  10. Lovley! I remember around the time of the Domino shoot commenting that I wondered how much of your house design was about it being your home versus how much was more motivated by the shoot/blog/magazine aspects. I think this rendition feels much more about ‘home’ and ‘comfort’ than styling trendy pieces for a magazine article (which is funny because I know this is for a magazine too) – so basically I’m trying to say that this both looks and feels really great.

  11. Emily I did not think it was possible for me to love your home more than I already did, but this is absolutely stunning. You are seriously a genius. Also, that little play area for Charlie is so stylishly adorable I can hardly handle it (as is Charlie himself). You are so amazing at what you do.

  12. Wow, so gorgeous. This is my favorite your living room has ever looked. It’s bright and airy but still warm. I love light rugs like that but am too afraid they’ll get dingy really fast. Any advice on how to keep them nice?

  13. urgh!!!!!!!! BEST VERSION YET!! Please keep that rug!! OMG. Die hard follower and fellow native Oregonian, I think this is your best living room yet. I am dying to see your family room now!! So good Emily. You are killing it! Can you show an angle with the sofa and tree?

  14. Excellent house tour, so much information and so many good pictures in one post.

    Question: How do you go about finding someone to do your slipcovers? And if you, unsurprisingly, have a super special to-the-trade person, how would you find someone if you didn’t have that access? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey, I’m always getting stuff done and the best I’ve found is a good dressmaker. Why. Because they’re detailed and find this stuff easy so charge accordingly. The small work from home ladies are the best I find. My lady can turn work around in a day sometimes because she doesn’t get so busy…. Unless she’s doing a wedding dress. That’s how I found her by the way. I asked a local wedding dress shop for someone they recommend for alterations. If they do wedding dresses. They’re usually really good.

  15. oh, yeah…this is mighty good. i am in agreement!
    i don’t think i would like it year round because it does just read fall to me (but that might just be my current mindset) but i love the Saarinen table and with the leather chairs and the change. color is my favorite but this seems mature and sophisticated. not that color isn’t. i don’t know what i’m saying. looks great!!

  16. Seriously, you did it again. This makeover is soooooo good. I’m dying over the navy/indigo color palette throughout and those wooden target lamps. I’m kind of pissed though, in the last Target collection, they had those really great white and lucite lamps with a gold stem – I loved them, so I bought two. Butttt, now these wooden ones are way better. Darn it!

    xo, Sarah

  17. Gorgeous space as always em. Moving the string art to the dining room was a good move. It’s art with height but still calm and doesn’t close in the space. so much better!

  18. Where did you find the striped shirt that you’re wearing in the play area pic? I’m pregnant, generally obsessed with stripes, and on the hunt for a high-quality striped top.

  19. Emily, you are brilliant. It’s amazing how you can totally change a room several times, yet each time it looks like you! This is my favorite yet. Comfortable and elegant at the same time.

  20. Love! Love the refresh! Love Charlie peeking in! Love that dress! I know your immensely preggers at the moment but I’m thinking I could just house a burrito and make it work for me- where is it from?

  21. I love the looks and style of your home. But everything is so expensive, I find it unrelatable and kind of a turn off. I’d love a follow up post of “getting the look for less” kind of thing.

  22. Absolutely in love with your living room! The best! And selfishly, I like how you mixed black/gray and white with indigo. I’ve been seeing lots of indigo and wondered how it would look with my existing dark gray, brown and white tones. I love your whole house, and you guys make beautiful children.

  23. This is amazing, but who in the world can afford to change the look of their entire house for every season? Do you have a spare room where you store all of your out of season items? Man, I need to step up my game I guess!

  24. So, so good!!! Dining room.. perfection! Your dress, super cute!
    That circle on the wall, oh yeah!

    Funny story, my husband got a dumpster to clean out our attic; I dumpster dove my own house and pulled out a very similar wicker mirror. I love it!

  25. SO beautiful! I love the living room rug and all the plaid. And the dining room looks great, I esp like the new light fixture. It’s big but still feels light. I loved the house before with all the touches of pink but I really love the masculine feel of this with the touches of black. It still feels open and warm.

  26. Everything looks great. Love your bedroom wallpaper. And that little peanut Charlie looks so darn cute drawing on the chalkboard wall. Fun! Thanks for sharing.

  27. It looks fantastic, Emily! How cool that you can totally change the feel of a space with some easy(ish) changes–pillows, etc. I’m also happy to learn that you make mistakes, too! I have a long and narrow dining space that’s open to the rest of the house, too, and it is very hard to work with. It was comforting to hear you had a problem with yours, too. The dining chairs are cool beanz, too. Great work! Can’t wait for the nursery reveal! XO

  28. Speaking of introducing black accents…I’m contemplating painting interior french doors with full glass black. I’ve been looking at Scandinavian design for inspiration. The color palate in my house is simple – white and grey. Would you do it?

  29. I have followed you for years, and by far THIS is my favorite version of all of the rooms. I adore it! It speaks to me. Thank you for the inspiration!

  30. I love it all! But I was thinking that a horizontal oval or a triangle would be more practical as it would give him more space to draw at his level. As he can only reach a small portion of the circle.

  31. Gorgeous! I’m so obsessed with navy right now. I MUST HAVE that floor lamp in the living room. It’s exactly what I’ve been spending hours a day looking for, Any idea when it will be available? I am dying.

  32. Hi!

    I didn’t think I could love your house anymore than I already did, until now. You always inspire! Thank you for sharing your creativity and skills with us all. You are a generous blogger, and I am grateful!

    Can you fix the link for the wood hex tray on your coffee table? Also, where is that black and white buffalo plaid pillow from?

    Thanks, Emily!


  33. I’m thinking of getting the same hide rug for our living room. Can you vacuum over it? I have a feeling my Dyson would destroy it.

  34. Emily,
    Can you tell me what kind of hooks you are using to hang those three things on your living room wall? Are those from Target? Thanks!

  35. The hexagon tray looks great – but neither of the credit links work. The first goes to a blank page and the second to a brown faux-fur throw on Target’s site.

    Where’s the tray from?

  36. The link to the tray is broken-sends to you a fur throw. Can you adjust and send me the correct link!

    Also any info on those vintage safari chairs? I’m in love!!!

  37. Emily –
    You have great taste.
    Just started reading my Good Housekeeping this month and was so happy to see you featured.
    The question you haven’t answered? Your shoes! Where did you get them? Are they comfortable for maternity? Would they work with jeans for a preschool teacher?! I love them.

  38. Hi, I love your home!
    Question–the link to the blug and white rug behind the bar stools is not working…can you give it again? Love that rug! Thanks!

  39. Help! I can’t access any blog posts later than this one! When I click on Blog, this is the most recent post I get (and it’s 2 weeks old now). Am I doing something wrong or is there a bug?

      1. It’s the same for me! When I click on the blog I always get THE NEW GUEST BEDROOM BED post from September 29th. I’ve tried refreshing it, but that doesn’t help. The only way I’ve been able to find any more recent posts is by searching for October 2015 and I’m still not convinced I am seeing everything.

        What’s going wrong? It breaks my heart not to read your posts, Emily!

  40. Hey Emily, my fellow creative.

    Below is the link to a video all creatives should watch.

    It’s my latest vlog on working for “exposure”. Help me share this video with every creative who is ready to move to the next level of achievement.

  41. You mentioned swapping out the coffee table for your Instagram picture. Where did you get the raw cut wooden coffee table?

  42. Hello!
    Are those streamers hanging in your gorgeous dining room?? Love the idea, currently looking for inspiration for a DIY for my large staircase wall. Thank you for always being a source of inspiration!!