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The Other Projects We Are Tackling In 2024 (It’s An EXCITING Year)

This what I’m calling an “earn and learn” year – where I take a break from any personal MAJOR renovations of our own, giving our bank accounts a chance to recover, and me time to get my head around what I want to do next (outside of major renovations). I love taking a break to look more closely at our numbers and see if we can do it better next time before we jump into the second house on the property. I’m really excited about this year because of this – it’s a year I get to fill the well instead of deplete it. I get to enjoy our property mostly without construction AND I get to hang out with my friends and family while I help them with all of theirs. Here’s what we have happening… 

My Brother’s River House

the front of my brother’s river house

This is our big projector for the year (outside of finishing the farm which I wrote about here). For those of you paying close attention (thank you!) we introduced my brother’s new build on the river in this post on March 21, 2021. That’s almost 3 years ago. We have shown a bit here and there, but what I’ve learned is that with all the noise on the internet showing multiple large construction projects at the same time doesn’t work well – construction just looks like construction. I’ll write a more detailed recap and timeline but let’s just say that the fun stuff is happening like NOW (tile, flooring) and we have been recording and capturing content to roll it out in a way that is easier to follow (rather than mixed in with the farmhouse, and having it drawn out over four years). As a reminder this project is with Architect Annie Usher (she did such a good job), Contractor JP Macy of Sierra Pacific (love him always) and Max Humphreyanni (my friend!).

Fun fact, creating the content around design is almost as time-consuming as the design process itself and I was still building my team up here so we figured we’d start fresh and relaunch the project – In less than TWO WEEKS with all my learnings thus far and where we are at in the process. You will likely see reveals in late spring (bathrooms first) and then room by room as we decorate. What I can say is that it’s such a dreamy, warm, open space full of so much natural light and surrounded by the prettiest views of the river and trees. It’s definitely mountain house 4.0 and a big departure from the farmhouse. But it’s hard because a lot of it we designed over 3 years ago!!! So I’m in the process of pushing my brother and SIL a little to add more color, more pattern, etc (it’s working). I’ve learned A LOT which I can’t wait to share. 

The Garage, Carriage House, And Sheep’s Barn

We finished major construction on our farmhouse in September 2022, but then the outside landscaping took until June (and it was intense). While I’d love to continue taking a break from construction there are multiple projects on the property that we should tackle, starting with what looks like the 3-car garage. It’s 150 years old absolutely falling apart, but we can’t just demo and build new because it’s likely too close to a property line. While this project will likely still cost a lot and of course, we’ll have construction again on the property (I’ve loved the piece and quiet of a post-construction home!!), I don’t think it will take a lot of design brain space on my end. Plus where it is on the property (near the edge, far from the backyard) we can still enjoy the the backyard without it being disrupted at all by machinery and crew. Our thinking is that if we can get the garages done to be finished, safe, and with concrete, drywall, and basic electrical then we can move the prop storage into there and then in 2025 we’ll have saved and planned for the other house on the property. While I’d love to push it off as it’s going to be a less fun way to spend money, in order to continue to rehab the whole property this needs to happen. I hope you like garage content!!!!!! The truth is I was not really going to make this content, because the second that I do I end up spending so much more money on it. I truly just want this to be where we do something super basic and functional and not blow through our savings with details that just aren’t necessary for a garage interior. Let’s see what happens!!

Portland Friends And Family Projects! 

It PAINS me not to be able to help my friends and family when I’m super busy (but I just can’t, I’ll simply disappoint them which creates stress for me) and obviously couldn’t really help when I didn’t live here. So this year, I’ve “carved out time” (LOL) and I think it’s doable because I have a couple of friends with new homes, big jobs, and a lot of questions. One of the main reasons I moved up here was to be closer to my best friends (30+ years of very close friendship) and my family/siblings. So as I take a break from my major renovations (fine, besides the garage) I’ll spend time with them and help them spend their money LOL. Also, we are all so busy with our jobs and kids that are different ages so I love that this is an excuse to see them more frequently. Also Max helped them pick the wallpaper and paint colors and they look incredible – more to come asap.

In order to do these they have to be low stakes and low lift for me – just decorating, furnishing, painting, etc, but no remodeling (and no stressful deadline). I can’t volunteer my time for renovation – it’s just too stressful and too high of stakes. So if they remain easy, fun, and without deadlines, then I try to just charge just enough to cover the cost of blog production in hopes that the blog posts will produce some revenue to pay for my time. If they become like a “job” then I’ll revisit the deal so that it makes sense for everyone and the relationship stays healthy. This year we’ll be decorating two of my closest friend’s homes (both traditional, but one wants to go more “Soho House” and the other more “rustic lodge”). And then as the year rolls out, I’ll also be helping my sister finish up a renovation that was halted for years due to permitting and budget issues and hopefully provide some relief for her (she’s already fully designed and has all materials so I’d likely be more of a consultant). Squeezing these in has been harder than I thought it would be (the weeks go by so fast!) so they might be a slow rollout (that hopefully doesn’t drive them nuts), but right now they are super fun. I work on them on the weekends in the mornings and then text, “Hey, buy this mirror” with a link. I’ll also get things partnered up where it makes sense. I’m trying to leave Fridays open to work on them as by Friday my brain is ready for just the fun stuff.

Family Promise of Tualatin Valley Family Shelter

a common room for the shelter

In September the dream service project fell into my lap. For those of you who remember, almost 9 years ago I did the San Fernando Rescue Mission, a family shelter in LA. It took about two years, we raised money, we got it all partnered up and myself (and Ginny and Brady! OG EHD!) Furnished the whole thing. It was incredibly rewarding and fun. While I want to continue to do these feel good flash makeovers for individual families (we did one over holiday break that was so fun and fulfilling,) I wanted to do something larger, that I can really sink my teeth (and business) into for a while. What I love about doing these shelters is not just how they make the spaces so much better for the families that are staying there (some for months) but also how it really changes the morale of the space for the people who have dedicated working and volunteering there. Social workers are real angels and I want them and the families to walk into a nicely pulled-together warm, uplifting environment. I’m also learning a lot about trauma-informed design which has been interesting. 

I’ll go into more detail soon, but we are definitely looking for partners. It’s a 75-room hotel, purchased by the nonprofit (through grants and government funding) and they need to renovate the main floor while updating the rest of the floors. So we’ll start with the other floors (family lounges, staff offices) and then as the construction finishes help furnish the main spaces downstairs (while of course trying to tackle each family room). Currently, we need like 60 bunk beds if anyone has those :)) We had a partner lined up, it felt PERFECT, but then they laid off the whole marketing team, and the project got canceled for now so we are looking for others to help bring this to life. If interested reach out to gretchen@emilyhendersondesign.com!

Our Second Rug Line

I’m so happy to say that our first drop did so well and we are on to the second (coming out in the fall). I have some requests of my own that I hope you’ll see come to life and Jess has some awesome ideas, too. This process has been way more streamlined than I predicted because Rugs USA is a huge support and has the right infrastructure, so we are excited to keep it going as long as it makes sense for everyone. The success of this one has made us think about what other lines we can do while keeping the company (and my mental state) healthy (i.e. not overstretching and then disappointing everyone). While I’m always looking for new revenue sources to reduce our reliance on social media, I’m taking a pretty slow and thoughtful approach to it all (a benefit of 15 years of hustling I suppose) to avoid some mistakes I’ve made in the past. So we’ll see. We make lists of holes in the market all the time because that’s where I want to put my energy.

Makeover Takeover Reveals (AKA EHD Team Home Projects)

jess’ living room that already has a MAJOR update she can’t wait to show you

This year we’ll be revealing Jess’ apartment, Caitlin’s dining room, kitchen and bedroom, and maybe an Arlyn space or two. Gretchen (my PDX assistant in all things), also moved into a new apartment that we are hoping to get going on but these MOTOs take at least a year so that’s a late 2024/early 2025 reveal. Mal has a NYC apartment and Kaitlin has a few rooms left in her house to furnish and shoot – all happening behind the scenes. I’ll help with Kaitlin’s but otherwise, these are no lift for me (besides producing the photo shoots, providing some of the budget, social media for partners, and styling) – but fun for you to expect to see on the blog in 2024 (and 2025 LOL).

Oh And A TV Show

Oh right! I’ve signed on to do a TV show this year which I’m excited about, and yet also know that if it doesn’t happen that’s ok (a lot in flux in LA right now). I’ve promised I wouldn’t go back on TV unless it was the right situation (AKA not 60 hours a week, away from my family, spending my own money on the design, etc.) but this one is different and the producers totally get it (and are making it work within my life). Non-scripted design shows famously don’t pay a lot (read Orlando’s blog post about it here) and yet they can cost a lot, so you don’t do it for the money and I don’t necessarily want to become more well-known so I’m not doing it for the fame. Most people sign on to do a TV show to grow their brand and awareness in order to get partnerships (that do pay well). I’m lucky to have partners I love so the reason I’m doing this is because I’m highly motivated by the premise of the show and I think it’s going to be really fulfilling, fun, and without the stress of carrying the show by myself. But let’s just say that Hollywood and streaming are VERY tumultuous right now and while it’s fully cast and the pilot has been bought anything can happen. If it’s meant to happen it will 🙂

Of course, now that I’ve written that all down I’m like WOAH THAT’S A LOT (including the farmhouse stuff) and that doesn’t include blog posts and other larger partnerships in the works! But listen, the only real deadlines we have are the river house bathrooms, mudroom, and kitchen (all need to be revealed by end of 2024). The rest are up to me, just the way I like it.

So We Are Hiring…

We are looking for a part-time social media producer/assistant in Portland – someone who loves design, is obsessed with social media, and knows how to shoot/edit for social. Gretchen and I are trying to stay on top of it, but we need more help (and someone who is social media-specific). We juggle multiple cameras a day to capture stuff WHILE we are doing it and it’s far harder than it looks (which makes me admire so many people who do it by themselves – HOW???). I don’t care if you went to college, where you went, or where you “trained”, I’ve always hired on potential, great attitude, willingness to learn and do anything, bringing good ideas, and work really hard. Sure you need to have basic media skills (editing, some graphic design skills) and you have to LOVE design in order to engage in our projects. It will start part-time hourly, and likely grow. And we have fun 🙂

Hope y’all are ready for a fun year. xx

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Heather
27 days ago

Check out the nonprofit Sleep in Heavenly Peace for the bunk beds. Bunk beds for families in need are specifically what they do! https://shpbeds.org/

Emily
27 days ago
Reply to  Heather

Love SHP! I am a social worker in the Portland Area and they have helped us get countless beds for children. The PDX chapter is wonderful.

🥰 Rusty
27 days ago

WOAH THAT’S A LOT”……That, Dear Emily, is a flippin’ understatement!!!
I love that you said you’re paying attention to “filling your well”, too. Being overwhelmingly busy can be addictive (I’m the same way), so steady as you go.
I. Am. So. Excited for ALL of this!!!
🤩🧚‍♀️😍🤸‍♀️💗

Susan
27 days ago

That’s a LOT a LOT…

Dee Beesock
27 days ago

Really appreciate the honesty and transparency about the business of what you do, and how you think about scheduling and what you can fit in and what works best. I don’t work in a creative industry but somehow really relate to trying, year in and year out, to be realistic but also ambitious about what we can do in this world, things that fit into our lives and things that don’t, commitments that give energy and commitments that take it away. I’m sure it’s a grind at times, but you’re inspiring us out here, and not just in design 🙂

Kim
27 days ago

I personally LOVE the idea of seeing your garage “fix” done without all the extra bells and whistles. So many of us have projects like that where we have to fix something that’s falling apart but can’t afford to do more than the basics. Please do show that side- it doesn’t have to be flashy & fancy! Looking forward to seeing all this fun content! It’s a great variety & it seems that’s what you enjoy the most & it comes through when you write about it or tell us on video. Enjoy!

Victoria
27 days ago

I’m interested in hearing more about trauma influenced design. Is that escape routes and ‘sanctuary’ design (cctv, reinforced doors) or more soft spaces and design features that promote healing? Could you get a specialist to guest blog with you?

eRuth Ann
27 days ago
Reply to  Victoria

This!

🥰 Rusty
26 days ago
Reply to  Victoria

Gosh! I know about this through my lived and living experience of coercive control and domestic violence and I’m attempting to employ the basics of this in my home as I slowly shape my almost 100 yr old Craftsman ol’ girl to my needs and aethetic to progress my healing. I have leaned ecclectic, boho, with a heavy dose of colour, but have been consciously working on ‘calming’ my little house down visually and energy-wise. Trauma causes the amygdala (the fight/flight part of the brain) to sort of take over, even long after the abuse. So: elements like a calm colour palette with a touch of colour; connection to nature (seeing outside, REAL living house plants); soft furnishings that create a feeling of safety; security (physical-good doors and locks/calming lighting); and choice. Having choice might seem obvious, but when you’re IN the trauma, choice is taken away by the abuse/er, so having input into the design, rather than somone doing it and then you arrive, is important. This is what I did in the Safe House Makeover I did wuth EHD for Sienna – she was involved in ALL the choices and ptocess. I’m really interested to see how this… Read more »

Victoria
26 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Hi Rusty. I’m sorry you’ve had that experience. I had it as a child and I’m mid 40s now and it still impacts my decisions every day.
What you’ve described really resonates but I didn’t realise all of that could be trauma influenced. Things being broken, even accidentally, sends me to a bad place.
A few days before Christmas we moved into our new house, after years of moving from one rental to the next, and one of the reasons we went for this house, which began as massively over our budget, is because I walked out of the viewing and I said that this house felt safe. The first time I’ve been able to say that and this is the 23rd place I’ve lived.

Really looking forward to seeing how EHD tackles the next project.

🥰 Rusty
26 days ago
Reply to  Victoria

Victoria, I’m so sorry you went through that as a child. As an ex-teacher, I’m fiercely protective of children and we all have our child selves dwelling within us, still.
Yes, things breaking, even by accident. I freeze. Literally cannot move for a little while.
So many people cannot understand why I don’t want to move from this house where so much abuse happened. The thing is, this house is safe. It’s always felt safe.
Him being here wasn’t safe. He fiiinally left and it’s become my sanctuary and I feel so much deep comfort here. I love my little house and beautiful garden – they both btin8g me joy, keep me fit and bring a sense of tangible, daily peace to my core.
I’m genuinely so, so glad you’ve found a home that is safe for you to the degree you feel it deeply.
With love, Rusty💓

SARAH
27 days ago

Holy smokes this really is a lot! Schedule in some rest please! And also wow y’all really do a lot in a year; thank you for the beautiful and thoughtful design and sharing. Reading this is my downtime and shot of beauty (YES for rest on Saturdays!) SO excited to Jess’s living room; your spaces are always so good!!! Lastly, when I saw that gorgeous curving stair rail I thought might be still my heart” because that shot is that beautiful. Well done to your friend and photographer!

Jen
27 days ago

The green in your best friend’s house is gorgeous. What color is that?

Megs
27 days ago

So excited about all of this, but especially the family shelter. That project is near and dear to my heart.
Here’s to meaningful work in 2024!

Rachel
27 days ago

I can’t wait! So much to look forward to in 2024. Thanks Emily and team!

KS
27 days ago

Dang I wish I lived in PDX! I’d apply for that job SO DANG FAST!!!! Good luck on what’s shaping up to be an awesome year of projects EHD!

Erin
27 days ago

Ooh, all very exciting! Re: “holes in the market” for rugs: What about rugs that are basically one color (maybe with muted shifts between tones in a berber-type look? I’m thinking lodge style cabin rugs for a good price point that aren’t busy and don’t even have a pattern, but bring in the warmth of brown, green, or beige. We’ve been hunting for MONTHS and still can’t find anything that we can afford!

Amy
27 days ago

This year sounds amazing!!!! Can’t wait! Thanks y’all!

Heather
27 days ago

I hope that your sister gets a rug ;). Loved her video about that!

Cici Haus
25 days ago

So exciting!! I can’t wait for all of this. Fill the gap in cool medicine cabinets and nightstands!

Betsy
25 days ago

I actually think that garage content is great. It may not be the most exciting, but others can learn from what organizational items you use, space planning, etc. I’m always looking for better ways to organize my garage, without resorting to using all garage storage systems.

Carrie
24 days ago

Super basic and functional garage content could be really useful for a lot of people. We don’t need a pretty garage for it to be helpful content.

Ringo
23 days ago

Very exciting and impressive to hear Em will be back to TV show. Still remember what I have learn from Style by Emily Henderson HGTV. It gave me a lot of knowledge of styling. Em is great!

Haziz Xhafa
18 days ago

Well I got to say that this is a great initiative that you are helping your brother with the project. Property maintenance or designing work can be a great amount of time deal. By estimating the property size I can tell it could easily take 6 months to 1 year.

Your Portland’s friend house interior is just simply amazing. As you like, keep it simple. Why waste so much money on those fancy design when you’re getting the best out of simplicity.

Well thank you for sharing your daily life, you seems really busy. Good luck with your TV show, I really would like to see you on TV. And sorry I cannot help you with your shelter right now, but I hope you guys can manage it for those homeless people.