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My living room, the last 5 years

I googled myself recently. And by ‘recently’ I mean that I do it every day like 25 times a day, looking for past work to reference, email or something. It’s a really fun narcissistic practice that I don’t necessarily recommend because initially I get excited (hey that’s me!)), but then a lot of ugly stuff comes up (bad head-shots, poorly shot spaces, designs I’m totally embarrassed of, etc).

But this particular search brought up every living room I’ve had in the last 5 years. It donned on me that a lot of you are new to the blog and maybe aren’t totally sick of seeing my past places. Then, I pondered how interesting it is to see yourself evolve. And by ‘evolve’ I don’t mean ‘get better’ necessarily, just how I’ve changed due to my lifestyle and environment.

Each house, relationship, and financial situation changes how you decorate your home. So while I’ve kinda had the same style for the last 20 years, it’s so interesting to see how it’s different; it changes and yet feels the same.

So, lets run down memory lane, shall we?

emily-henderson-2010

2010: This shot (by Teri Lyn Fisher) was taken right before Designstar. We moved into this mediocre apartment that we shot to look really pretty (because photography is magic). In a lot of ways this still really looks like me. I have that painting (framed in a more modern way). I still have fig trees, that rug, floral pillow, and that dog painting. And the general color palette is obviously on brand. Man, I’m predictable. But this shot still feels like ‘me’ and in a lot of ways still looks like my style now. So weird.

2011: I think I felt that I was too feminine in 2010 so I tweaked my style, I got my ‘dude’ on and made it a bit more rustic. Also after Designstar I decided that I could splurge on a sofa so I bought this sofa for $700 in Portland (in current/original upholstery) which was such a hard decision financially at the time and I look back on it as one of my best ever. I still love this living room and this shot. The cross flag was from a vintage store and I framed it myself with furring strips from Home Depot and carpet tacks. It’s the same living room as 2010 but more accurate because it’s actually where we put the sofa, whereas in 2010 the sofa was just propped in the dining room because the light was better. See? Photography is magic (and lies …. all lies).

Moving on to 2012:

emily-henderson-2012

2012. Here we shot the same living room for HGTV magazine. They wanted a more bold look, so we switched out the rug for a pattern rug. I had splurged on those safari chairs that I still have and that coffee table which I wish I still had (although it was so un-kidfriendly with the brass edging jutting out and begging to slice off small fingers). This may be at my “quirkiest”. Its fun. Looking back at the pictures it reminds me of that time period in my life (we moved out the next day, literally).

Also that was a cement dalmatian dog sculpture. It weighed 95 pounds. I thought it was ‘fun’ and Brian thought it was my way at ‘torturing him’. He’s very dramatic. I miss that bird lamp, the coffee table, the leather pouf (which I gave to my friend Scott as a thank you gift) and that side table that you can’t see which is coated linen and totally beautiful. This shot makes me think that I’ve gone too simple and modern.

spanish-inspired-linving-room

2013: I got my funk on in 2013 (shot by Zeke Ruelas). We moved to this more regency/ornate house and because of that I went a bit wild, eclectic and back to my feminine roots (go here for resources). A lot of the same furniture that I have now, but the accessories have more color. I can’t tell how I feel about the fireplace painted navy nor can I tell about the amount of things on the mantel (is it too much?). But, when I see this room I still get happy. It’s a good room, just not sure how ‘me’ it is now. But maybe the ‘now me’ isn’t that ‘me’. Meta, much?

emily-henderson-living-room

In 2014 we shot our new house (which we finally own) for Domino  (by Brittany Ambridge) and our living room was way more reserved and sophisticated. There are times when I think that it was tooooo pulled back. Not enough fun. Not enough crazy. But then I look at it from an objective point of view and I think ‘yeah, I would pin that so hard’.

But it wasn’t terribly kid friendly. The coffee table was easy to tip over and begging to bludgeon an eye and those chairs were lovely but just not as soft and cozy as I wanted.

So after that shoot we made some changes (as I’m sure you all know):

kid-friendly-living

2015 (well, almost). We changed out the coffee table for the large leather pouf and we put back in our awesome leather safari chairs that are in-destructable and have no hard edges for Charlie. It’s not that I’m obsessed with Charlie (yes, I am) it’s that I’m obsessed with me not stressing about every single thing in my life, so these chairs reduce my stress. (shot by Tessa Neustadt)

This is where we are now (resources here) and I’m pretty happy on a daily basis. But the thing is, I think I was pretty happy with the others before, or maybe I wasn’t. Maybe I was as happy as I thought I could be. Regardless, I think it’s a pretty fun study in how your space evolves and how it often parallels your life.

So my question is:

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  1. hi! the resources link no longer works and with twin babies i NEED that ottoman in my living room 🙂 thank you!

    1. Same issue for me – would love the link for the large pouf. Other than that, great post. I can totally relate to this. It’s so interesting the things that stay with us or not as we grow and change.

  2. “I would pin that so hard.” Hilarious.

    Each of your living rooms is pin-able, but I went with 2013, despite how much I love the dalmatian in 2012. Not sure how my black lab pup would feel about it though… 😉 Thanks for acknowledging the “lie” that is design photography.

  3. In March we had our home photographed for a home magazine. I can’t believe how much has changed since then. It is constantly evolving as we do…

  4. This is amazing to see. When I made a big move (selling my house and moving across the country), I ended up mini-staging pictures in half of the rooms just because I didn’t want to forget that part of my home-ownership life. It’s fun to look back and remember (even if I didn’t keep any of my furniture).

    Also that blue couch is amazing.

  5. Sooooooo interesting! Thanks for posting. I don’t know who you are but I really appreciated this first time look at your blog. Very interesting. (P.S. I picked 2013. No, there is not too much stuff on that mantle 🙂