gold line svg

Design

The Current EHD LA Office Is Officially Closed (With A Quick Tour – Finally) And A Walk Down Our Office Memory Lane

77

It’s been over 10 years since I started the blog, and documenting the growth and massive shifts we’ve gone through would be enough for a book (quite literally, and maybe will be). Many of you might have missed the announcement via my weekly Saturday newsletter (that I started and then stopped because properly putting my feelings into words was HARD) but here it is – We are permanently giving up the EHD office. At least this office. It was a no-brainer, a bitter-sweet no-brainer that requires a lot of back story information. So today we are going to revisit the last 10 years of the “EHD office spaces” and you’ll see where we landed the last two years and why I’m giving the brick and mortar up.

2011

Right after Design Star Brian and I moved into this house that had a cute added sunroom that would be my WFH office. It was bright, had its own entrance, and was certainly enough space.

That’s when it was just Orlando and I. Then we brought on Bonnie (now the Director Of Brand Marketing at Zillow) and a couple of interns and freelancers for shoots (the very talented Tessa Neustadt and Monica Wang – how fun is that?). It didn’t cost anything as it was just part of our rent (I think the rent was crazy expensive, though, like $3000 for two bedrooms + this room). Soon Orlando moved on to do his own client work and blogging (have you seen his new show?) and Ginny came aboard (have you seen her new line with Lulu and Georgia? We just ordered this bed for one of our makeovers). We mostly just shopped in person and did on-site visits for the Fig House or our residential clients, so we didn’t really use the office so much on a day to day basis. Everyone was hired hourly and often worked from home, or we met up at coffee shops.

Then we had a baby named Charlie and we bought our first house, 7 years ago. GEEZ, I might actually cry because A.) It’s all going so fast, and B.) Life was so much simpler and easier then – guys this was basically PRE-Instagram, PRE-“influencer” stuff – how crazy is that? This home had a basement that we worked out of, but only for like 9 months. This is the ONLY picture I could find of it below – obviously NOT designed but I do appreciate the organized “paper towel” styling.

2013

from: our new stu-stu-studio

At this point my team consisted of Ginny, and then of course Brady came aboard when Charlie was 3 months old. Once it was the three of us, working out of my home started to feel weird for them (they never said anything) and us, even though we were so close and had so much fun together. We had to climb the stairs into my house to go to the bathroom and kitchen and with napping baby and me breastfeeding I think you could call it “unprofessional”. But we were also slowly renovating and decorating that house so we kinda needed to be there and shoot a lot. Before we moved we were able to shoot the space for Matchbook Magazine – remember that?

2014

photo by bonnie tsang | from: target + vintage in matchbook magazine
photo by bonnie tsang | from: target + vintage in matchbook magazine
photo by bonnie tsang | from: target + vintage in matchbook magazine

Oh geez. Nostalgia is a wildly powerful feeling, guys. This post was meant to be easy and it’s turning very emotional.

But shoots like that totally disrupted all the workflow and we realized we needed a space not in my house to work and shoot – somewhere with enough white wall space + good natural light. So over one weekend, I found this space in Eagle Rock, like 7 minutes from my house. It was $1200 a month (at first) and 1000 square feet, which was big enough for desks and a space to shoot. I still remember surprising Brady and Ginny with it, telling them I was taking them to coffee then walking them into the space – we were all giddy.

2015

photo by chris patey

This started a new phase in the business – when we went from “blogging” to “content creation.” It was a shift that happened slowly, then all at once. With this studio, we were able to shoot sponsored posts (this was in the early years of partnerships) and we really transformed the space weekly. One side had desks on wheels, the other had shelving full of props that I hoarded for shoots (and life).

photo by chris patey

Yep, about 3-5 times a month we would transform a side of it into a shoot space for the blog.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: how we transformed our studio windows in one hour

We shot this post for those window stickers above and the below post for Devine Color (temporary wallpaper).

photo by jess isaac | from: our studio refresh with devine color

We also shot so many original posts for fun editorial content like “1 Credenza 4 Ways” or “1 Dresser Styled 4 Different Ways” or “1 Bed 4 Ways” because we REALLY liked showing you how to style one thing four ways.

photos by tessa neustadt

But as I was doing the math (which I rarely did) I realized that these shoots were costing about $2500 in time and material and we certainly weren’t making that much on them. So while we did still shoot here, it was always super messy and the shoots made working there really disruptive and chaotic. The wallpaper panels were taken down early on to shoot and never put back up so it went from totally designed, to super messy really fast.

At this point, I think I had 3 full-time salaried employees – Brady, Ginny and Sara, and a few hourly employees (Mel, Bowser, Erik, Jess, amongst others). We needed to have a real office with designated desks and less photoshoots. Around that time we got a big partnership with Wood Naturally which provided the perfect excuse (and resources) to invest in designing the office more for function (and client work) and less for photoshoots.

2016

photos by tessa neustadt | from: our new design library and a sneak peek into our studio

Oh man. I loved that space – it felt so pretty and pulled together. We had all our samples organized, and even had that copper ladder made for my favorite vintage fabrics.

It was a pretty great space. Then the back office opened up and we used it for storage (another $1100) and so we were able to keep this one more organized with more room for people. We fit here pretty nicely, so why the change?

Well, there are a few reasons I chose to move offices:

1. Location. My family had moved to Los Feliz and my commute now was 25 – 30 minutes. That commute along with having 2 young kids and breastfeeding felt like A LOT. The rest of my team lived even further away.

2. Privacy. I found myself not coming into the office because I didn’t have my own enclosed space to write and I would basically just talk about the Bachelor all day and distract everyone. So I thought that getting an office with my own room would help me come in more often.

3. We didn’t need a shoot space. At this point, we also made a shift in our content to shoot in real homes with unique architecture (not a blank sterile photo studio wall). We started moving all posts to be in locations either in my home, our team’s homes (hello MOTO), and friends and families homes.

4. We stopped doing client work so we didn’t need the extensive library of samples (we still have a ton, but they are in storage so that when we need them we can go get them).

So I started looking, and perhaps got a bit hasty and signed a new lease on our current space (the one we are giving up).

The new studio was smaller, had less storage, and was TWICE as expensive (I think $3400 + parking + storage unit). Seems like an odd business choice, right? Looking back, it probably was not the best financial move but these are lessons I get to learn along the way. I chose it because it was central (East Hollywood on Fountain by the big Scientology center), the building itself was SO PRETTY (restored by Manola Studio), I got a beautiful office to myself so my dreams of coming in every day and writing were about to come true (ha, more on that below), plus there were multiple restaurants nearby – something we lacked in Eagle Rock. There was a restaurant “about” to open right beneath us (5Leaves) that took over a year to open but the promise of happy hours with artisanal cocktails right below our office was a temptation I couldn’t pass up. Here she was when we first found it…

2017

Look how pretty it is!

The inside was raw, more industrial than the outside, but still good elements.

Now that I’m looking at it it feels underwhelming compared to the light bright spaces before, but it was really pretty – brick, wood, and black steel windows. I also was in the “stay small, don’t grow” phase. I think we were at 5 employees and we fit nicely here. But very quickly, with the production of my second book, the Portland project, Mountain house, and a billion shoots, we shot up to at one point to 13 people between freelance and full-time. We were packed together with 2 people to a desk and it became clear that I had created (or accepted) too much work for us to “stay small” – a real gift of mine.

We had to rent a storage unit and everyone was working on top of each other to a point that I had to give up my office to Arlyn and Sara because we had run out of space in the main area (and I wasn’t coming in as much as I thought I would anyway – always out shooting). That’s right, I didn’t have an office in my office. HA. I realized we were too big for this space which prevented us from ever properly “designing” it. I think I knew for a while that it was not the right fit, but looking for a new bigger place was so daunting (and expensive). We’d likely have to go to the valley which would add a huge commute for everyone and selfishly I just didn’t want to add an hour of driving to my life. So we remained in this state of limbo for a while.

Then the team shrank and we had fewer full-time employees coming into the office. Why? I realized that the business could not support 13 employees (10 full-time on salary), so I had to make some tough decisions to A.) Layoff two people due to my idiotic over-hiring (I’ll forever be sorry to Chandler and Carolina), and then B.) Once we wrapped up the Portland project, mountain house, and book shoots we didn’t have enough full-time production work. So the production team, Velinda and Bowser, went freelance (read more about that here – and hire them!). So right before the pandemic, we were down to 7 full-time salaried employees which technically fit in this office space again.

Note: A few people have asked in the comments about Veronica, our second photographer and photo assistant. A few months ago, when production had slowed way down on our end, she decided she was ready to look for the next step in her photography career. She is quite possibly one of my favorite people in the world with so much kindness, talent, and hard work. She shot all of the fashion posts, helped me have fun when I was uncomfortable in front of a camera, and has a real eye. So if you need a fashion, product, or interior photographer I can personally highly recommend her (and we have some jobs booked with her this summer already, so act fast). Also fun fact, she is currently working a lot with Monica Wang (my former photo intern from 2013) who owns The Revery. I love a former EHD collab.

So why give up the office??? Well, turns out we simply didn’t need it. We continued to not have any photoshoots there – almost all on location, and we run a digital business that exists mostly online. Plus as our partnerships and ad revenue were hit by the pandemic so I had to make some financial cuts and I didn’t want any of them to be team members. Once I made the decision to give up the office, a huge weight was lifted. At the time almost everyone on my team was loving/thankful to be working from home (months later I think we all really miss having co-workers).

What now? Well, we don’t know. I think the future for everyone – world-wide – is uncertain, which does give us a latent collective anxiety, but also some new opportunities and even more shifts and pivots (the buzz words of 2020) that we are excited about. Speaking of which – we have a VERY EXCITING BUSINESS shift that we are announcing on Friday, one that I’ve wanted to explore for YEARS but it never felt like the right time. And now. It. Is. So stay tuned for that.

But for today we are just all working remotely, from our homes. Maybe we’ll end up doing one of those shared workspaces, rent out conference rooms, or even just meet every day for breakfast and lunch when we aren’t shooting (if we ever get back to having photoshoots).

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in things that you think you need as a small business, and some of them are so important to “grow.” But your needs change and it’s a good exercise to consistently analyze the business and really hone in on what you NEED versus what is cool to have, or worse – what you are used to having. Like a lot of things in our life, the Pandemic really shined a light on what is essential, and has helped me, at least, let go of a lot.

So stay tuned for what’s next – announced on Friday (barring any major life “shifts”). 2020 will be the year of focused change, clear intention, and focus on meaningful growth. Let’s hope it works. xx

P.S. Design of the Merrick Building by Manola Studio and if you are interested in the office space email [email protected] Also, we are selling all those dining tables (that we used as a desk) starting Friday for $200 each – all going towards our next feel good flash makeover.

Fin Mark

WANT MORE OF WHERE THAT CAME FROM?

Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
karen

I loved memory lane. I had forgotten nearly all of those office spaces.

I know. I kinda had, too! xx

Donna

Wow! Memory Lane! I remember each phase, and like a memory scent, each image brought me back to my own memories of the time. Thanks for the journey! And so excited to begin making new memories with EHD.

Thanks, donna. It did for me, too. On to the future!!! xx

Im excited to see what’s to come on Friday!

i hope you guys are into it. like I REALLY hope you are into it. xx

As a long-time reader who also happens to be Black, I’m kind of bummed to hear that Veronica is no longer on the team. It was refreshing to see a little diversity and representation on your team. However I’m pumped to hear that she’s on to other opportunities that will increase her experience and grow her career. The shift in content that your team has produced since the start of the pandemic has been so relevant and refreshing… especially your attention towards making an effort to be more inclusive design and lifestyle brand. Thanks for still showing up, creating great content, and continuing to evolve. Excited about your next chapter. My fingers are crossed for a licensing deal. 🙂

Thanks, Rae. You’ll still see Veronica here – or more like see her photos here as we hire her for shoots (we were sad, too). And thank you for the feedback about our content – that means a lot. Oh and spoiler alert, its NOT a licensing deal 🙂 Stay tuned … xx

veronica crawford

thank you, Rae! i appreciate your kind words. it was a very tough decision & i miss everyone so much. you’ll be seeing me soon 🙂

(I just want to say THAT I MISS VERONICA THE MOST 😭😭😭)

veronica crawford

SARA I LOVE YOU

Addie

Long time reader seconding what Rae said, “The shift in content that your team has produced since the start of the pandemic has been so relevant and refreshing… especially your attention towards making an effort to be more inclusive design and lifestyle brand. Thanks for still showing up, creating great content, and continuing to evolve. Excited about your next chapter.”

paula mills

Loved this farewell tour of studios and that Fig House lounge is STILL phenomenal! Such color and still looks fresh, in my opinion.

SB

I love seeing those tables/desks move from office to office, and have been considering buying a table just like that! These pics have me sold, but the link in the Wood, Naturally post doesn’t work anymore (go figure, 4 years later!). Any way you could do an updated link to the desks/tables? Have they held up well over the years? Would you recommend them as a dining table durability-wise?

Well, we are selling them all on friday (come back then) so if you are in LA one can be yours 🙂 But yes, i think that they aren’t online anymore! I’ve looked, too to get the dimensions. And yes they have been GREAT durability-wise. Highly recommend them.

Courtney

Ooooh – I’m here in LA and I’m interested in a desk and the cabinets/bookcase. We are mid-move and have a U-Haul right now and can pick up!!

Nicole

And I’m wondering dimensions. I need a new dining table so let’s go!

And good for you EH! I wish my design firm had considered this before laying people off and cutting salaries. 🙁

Kap

What a bittersweet post! I wonder will you be on TV again?!?!

Nope. You know, after years of actively not wanting to be on TV there was a lot of movement in that department last year as we pitched a version of the ‘feel good flash makeover’ with an awesome production company to all the networks (none picked it up) but thats really the only show that I’d put my time/energy into doing. Maybe i should write a post about it and show you the sizzle/pitch video – could be fun? I know that a lot of my friends and family are always curious why its not something I pursue … (and maybe I will when my kids are out of high school?). i’ve never officially written about it … xx

Stephanie

Would love to see a post about this!

Laurielulu

Ohhh Em, I have been very nostalgic of late too. I’m a follower since design star, met you and Orlando at the Rose bowl. Highlight for me. Your sunshiny 🌞personality would be so nice on TV again. Such a weird and scary time for so many of us, some of us have pivoted well. (not me) I look forward to new things, yet miss all of EHD’s past. We are lucky to be able to follow past EHD team members and see their pivots as well. Ain’t life grand? So much good stuff to miss, that’s saying something! 😘 💋

Erin Dae

I am a long-time reader, but your earliest spaces were new to me. Thanks for sharing! It was really interesting to see the evolution of your business over time. Two things: 1) Friday is SO FAR AWAY, can’t wait to hear about the new direction! and 2) Am I the only one who cannot read the word “pivot” without hearing it as Ross from Friends?! Ah, good times.

HAHAHA. fun/shocking fact about me is that I never watched friends (wasn’t allowed to when it was out in the 90’s) so I’m still catching up on those references. Thanks for following so long. xx

Erin Dae

We just rewatched it with my 15-year-old (gulp!) so it is fresh in my memory.

Jeannie

I work in a totally different field, and we are also talking about giving up our office space. It makes sense right now, so even though I don’t know anything about running a business like yours, I am guessing it is a good move! It was lovely to see all the previous offices – so many nice spaces!

I don’t think we are alone. I miss our team IRL but once we get back to production we’ll figure out a daily/weekly solution that works but that doesn’t cost $4k a month.

loved this post. that faux stain glass shot is one of my all time favorites! sigh! all of your spaces were gorgeous. those desks/tables from the wood naturally shoot and your last space, are those still available for sale? i went to the link from the wood naturally shoot and it didn’t bring me to that table. sad. i love it!

I know! its broken or the table isn’t available anymore. if you live in LA we are selling them on friday ….

Rusty

Ooooh, the memories! I had an “eye leak” seeing the photo of you and Charlie, with his tiny hands holding onto your fingers, oh so tight! Time. Goes. So. Fast. Yet again, I’m ready. I’m ready and itching with anticipation for Friday’s news (it’ll already be Saturday here) … I can’t wait! Basically, I’m in awe of your flexibility. In our home, we call it “being flexi-bear”! Your astuteness in facing the challenges, practicality and even the OTT whimsy of running, tracking and amending things on-the-trot. In many ways, this is one reason you’re consistently successful… because you’re shifting, shape changing and remaining relevant as everything around you and all of us, is in constant change. Being a Creative Chameleon! Through this pandemic, your EHD Blog has been a point of sanity, creative intrigue and (yeah, again) flexibility for me. I’ve come here every day as a point of reference and some time out from the frey and current challenges in my own life. Thank you for helping me in ways you’ll never know! Then, with BLM … Man! You have shone such a light it’s beamed around the globe (literally) and back. You’ve tackled the hard stuff, faced the… Read more »

RUSTY. I just told Brian that ‘Rusty makes my day’. THANK YOU. sometimes the internet and social media feels like a scary world (spoiler for friday?) and then I read a comment from you and I feel supported and like this is what we should be doing. thank you so much. I think YOU will love the ‘shift’ on friday. xx

Sara

Rusty regularly makes MY day with his kind, insightful contributions here! Couldn’t have said it any better than he did above.

Rusty, so many high fives to you. Thank you for being such a vibrant part of this community.

Super jazzed for Friday! Eeeeeeeeek

Xoxo

Rusty

Sara!! I thought I’d scared ya with my garbage disposal comment! 🤣
Funny funny funny thing is … I’m all woman!!!
Hahaha! Someone else thought I was male re my indepth garage makeover input. And the fact that Rusty is a guy name in the USA.

I got the nickname from an encounter in a shop with an Indigenous man finding me attractive and saying he wanted to “rush” me! The shop owner was going to call security, but I refused coz he was harmless, I was fine and it was actually quite funny.
The name stuck due to strawberry blonde red hair.
Makes me laugh sooo much that some members of my family even use that nickname for me.
😂
K … Emily made me ugly cry and now you’re making me wet my undies laughing!!!

Rusty

Oh, Emily! I just had a big ol’ ugly cry.
Thank YOU for being you.
If you knew what I’ve been going through and the safe haven your blog has created for me during this time … GAH!
I am so truly grateful for your beautiful spirit and true humanity.
With Love, Rusty 🥰

Roberta Davis

Way to stay flexible, Emily! It’s got to be hard, but maybe also exciting to face and embrace new situations over and over? Keeps the creative juices flowing. That was a nice nostalgia trip. I only began reading your posts when you were toward the end of working on the Mountain House, so I hadn’t seen the office spaces along the way. Now, I can’t wait for Friday! What could it be? What could it be?

I actually hate the suspense myself, but I’M SO EXCITED. I hope, with so many crossed fingers, that you guys are into it. xx

Barbara Speer

So proud of you and all that you have done so far. Can’t wait for the next chapter.

thanks, Barbara 🙂

Suz

I loved seeing all the past office spaces!

Chandra

Can you share the details of the table sale on Friday? I’m in LA and in desperate need of a work/dining table!

Come back on Friday 🙂 sorry!!!

I am SO excited to see/hear what your next journey will be!

Kate

Great post but I wish you hadn’t said that breastfeeding in a shared workspace was “unprofessional”, it would be really awesome if breastfeeding could be normalised to the point that it really wasn’t a seen as an issue. If politicians can bring their babies into debating chambers surely so can influencers and designers 🙏

good point. I think i did with a cover around Brady (I don’t remember) but yah i’ll edit.

Jenn

It’s amazing that spaces you created years ago still feel fresh and exciting.

Excited to see how you and your business evolve. Your combined dedication to making the world a better AND more stylish place will lead to amazing things

Shana

Love this! Time goes by so fast. Life is short. And yet you’re doing so much to bring joy and compassion and, yes, beauty to yours and others’. Thank you for that. I started reading daily in… 2012? Still my favorite place online, because you make it so. Looking forward to Friday!

ah, thank you! man 8 years – you’ve seen so much. That was pre-babies…. nuts. THANK YOU

Hannah

So excited to see what’s next for you! I manage a creative coworking space – so I’m super biased – but I love that you’re considering shared workspace! I think that could be an awesome option once/if you start thinking about needing a physical office again. Besides just having more flexibility with your lease, lots of spaces that are designed for creatives have resources like bookable photo studios, photo equipment, graphic production grade printers, and freelancers in the same building you can work with. Just a little plug for something I love so much 🙂

veronica crawford

i love & miss you all so much. Emily, thank you for the sweetest words. can’t wait to see you guys (so soon) !!! xx

We miss you, V! and I bet YOU know the secret friday launch 🙂 See you in a couple weeks!

LOVE YOU SO MUCH XX

priscilla

My husband decided to retire now (rather than in a few years) because of the pandemic. It’s like jumping off a cliff (I ran his office) with him, scary but exciting. I’m looking forward to hearing about your next leap!

Loved Memory lane and CANNOT wait to hear the news on Friday!

xx
~Denise

Such a great post.. Can’t wait for Friday!

Such a great post!

Elise

Wow, I do remember all those offices. And look at little Charlie, so cute! It’s a great decision to close the physical office, you can always get together for weekly meetings in person once it’s safe again. It’s a different world out there, and time to pivot. Haha, I always think of Friends when I hear the word pivot. Can’t wait to hear the big announcement on Friday. I love reading your blog every day.

Erin Dae

Re: “pivot” I’m so glad I’m not the only one, ha!

Emmy

Very interesting and enlightening journey! Where is the mountain house?

nicki

I’m guessing the big news Friday is the launch of a podcast. That will be an exciting new adventure!

nicki

Podcast. That’s the news coming on Friday. That’s my guess anyway. Hope I’m right! 🙂

Beth Ann Whittaker

I would love to purchase one or two of the tables. Where can I sign up for the Friday sale?

Janine

I find these posts so heartfelt and fascinating. I love how transparent you are and how the site really feels like a labor of love. Thanks for bringing us along with you.

Jordan G

These posts always make me realize how long I have been following your journey. If I feel nostalgic, I can’t imagine how you feel! I think this new “pivot” out of office makes perfect sense.

Ashley B

What a lovely tribute to the brand and team you’ve built over the years! Not sure if you remember but I worked with you on the Wood Naturally partnership years ago from the agency side. The entire EHD team was always so lovely and fun to work with. I’ve loved following you and the team’s growth, it’s very inspiring. No doubt this next phase will be fantastic! Looking forward to Friday’s announcement 🙂

Julie S

I’m feeling thoughtful and bittersweet reading through this. Despite not being AT ALL a team player/group project person, it feels like not having an officey gathering space is sad news for a local business, no matter how digitally based. I trust you will indeed come up with something that works and doesn’t cost $4k!

Samantha Zutler

Emily, I think this is great! I’m excited to see what’s to come on Friday. And I agree that the whole world is changing now. I love the idea of this pandemic forcing us to reconsider the way we interact with work and our coworkers. Much love and I’ll be tuning in Friday! xoxox, Sam

Jared Mackley

Whatever happened to Michael Keck?

Grace

I don’t live close enough to you to buy one of those tables but they seem like they might be what we’re looking for as a dining table in our home. We have two toddlers who also do playdoh, art, etc on our table and I’m wondering how you feel that the finish holds up under that kind of abuse, staining, etc?

liz

I think Friday you will either announce an E- commerce site where we can buy your recommendations through your site. OR A collaboration to design furniture or accessories with a company. Like Studio Mcgee did at Target… etc.

Thats my guess.

Rusty

Oooooh….. that’d be fab! BUT, I wouldn’t be able to buy them in Australia.
Wait! Maybe Emily’s taking over our totally crap, failing business Target stores to make them wonderful like the USA ones.
Nah, I know, I’m dreamin’. 😉

Diana L

How do we nab one of those dining tables? Thank you!

Go To Top
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]
[3041]