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The Sunroom Tile (And Life) Update

We moved in last week and I have a LOT to show and tell you. I’m extremely overwhelmed right now and feeling like a really happy chicken with my head cut off. I don’t know where to begin, or what to prioritize, and am super distracted by people working all day every day so I feel like I’m so behind and not moving forward. I am looking to hire an assistant – social, personal, design (someone starting out, looking to build their career, willing to do anything, learn a ton about all the aspects of this crazy business) which I hope will help. But the morning that we moved in, with 19 workers trying to finish every room, Kaitlin (my photographer) and I tried to shoot as much of the house, fully empty, as possible but it was hard. It was 1/2 a construction zone with dust and tarps in many of the rooms and we didn’t have time to clear it because that would hold the work and we needed to move in 2 hours later. But this room was fully cleared and ready to go. And my goodness it makes me so happy (more life update at the end).

As a reminder we added on this sunroom, to be a formal dining room, writing studio, and where I’ll do the bulk of my meetings. At times I was worried that it wouldn’t be worth it, but every time I thought about the tile I knew we had to do it. And I’m SO GLAD WE DID.

It’s wild to think back to where we started…

Move-In Day – It’s Done

Y’all. It’s just incredible. As a reminder, the tile was made here in Portland by Pratt + Larson in a custom blue and white, with a light gray accent color. It makes me so unbelievably happy, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world to sit in here and work.

It was installed by Level Plane Tile and Stone and they did an incredible job that required a lot of math, precision, and experience. We did 3/16th” grout lines, with a light gray epoxy grout. We used 8×8 tile (that is their biggest size in porcelain tile) with 1×8 pencil tile, 2×8 brick, 2×2 squares, and triangles. It was very important to us to cut the diamond in half, which affected the math along the border (making the border not the same all the way around) but it looks awesome. By the way, we didn’t have time to mop or clean it very well, so some of the little paint lines will be gone.

The windows are custom from Sierra Pacific (and the sashes still need to be painted – they are only primed right now, long story). They are SO PRETTY it’s unbelievable. Double-paned, simulated divided lights primed on the inside and aluminum clad on the exterior.

The light fixtures and outlet covers/switchplates are all unlacquered brass from Rejuvenation (Rose city fittings, with the deco glass shade) and I can’t wait for them to patina (which might take a while, but will be worth it).

We added the skylights late in the game and am SO GLAD we did. They add so much soft light to this room and to the living room (which was a huge goal of ours). This is a north-facing room so no harsh light ever comes in through them (it’s also west-facing which means sunglasses for dinner sometimes :)). We didn’t really need the light filtering shades in them but am also glad we have them.

A lot of people are asking how it feels to finally be in the house and it really is surreal. I have a lot of emotions, stemming from absolute elation (some rooms are so perfect IMHO that I wouldn’t change a thing), unbelievable gratefulness to the point that I must be dreaming, all the way down to some slight regret and disappointment (a couple of rooms just don’t sing the way I want them to yet). I also need to probably check myself into some sort of institution made specifically for design content creators – You know, help for those of us who publicly document our own homes, showcase all the ups and downs, please a lot of partners who are putting large budgets in their hands, all with high expectations while also making a home that we love and works for our own family needs…I’m not complaining at all and I LOVE my job so much and am incredibly privileged to be able to do this and have this home, but it can be very, very, very, very stressful at times and living inside a regret can be embarrassing and make you feel ashamed and dumb. Brian thinks I’m NUTS and he might be right, but here’s my analogy:

My Wedding Dress Analogy

It’s like I’m a famous fashion designer, designing and sewing my own wedding dress for my very public wedding (think Bachelor style, on ABC, etc). It’s not just a dress, it’s not just for my family, and it’s not just for “a day”. But I haven’t done a wedding dress before (design a farm, in Oregon) and I certainly haven’t designed anything like this dress for myself. I don’t know why this home feels more stressful to me than the mountain house, our LA house, or the first Portland project. I have my theories, but for whatever reason, I’m putting this crazy pressure on myself to not have any regrets and yet I do. Maybe it’s that I just published my book about “design rules”, a title I didn’t even want for this exact reason, and maybe I feel like a hack. It just became such a massive renovation with so many decisions at the same time. Back to the dress, this wedding dress needs to represent me and be really special, but in a lot of ways I want to just be really comfortable and casual so I can let loose on the dance floor and just have fun. I want a fun wedding that isn’t stressful, but after our wedding, this dress doesn’t go in a closet, no. It will be in a fashion museum, photographed til the end of time and people will stare at every. single. stitch. So right now I’m regretting that I did ivory instead of silver thread on the cuffs, and I wish I had lowered the neckline by 2 cm to create a different volume in the shoulders. Dumb stuff. To most people, it’s a beautiful dress. You might think that I’m being crazy for wanting to change some things, but to me – I guess I just really really need it to be as close to perfect as possible. It’s new. It was JUST DONE. So having to change something just sucks. As I started to have some of these fears and regrets a few weeks ago (as rooms started to get revealed after painting plastic came down) I had two options – 1. Stop the work, convince Brian something needed to change, troubleshoot the change QUICKLY, and live through REAL construction for weeks and weeks. Or 2. Be fine with it for now. Move in, slow down, decorate for a bit, finish the rooms that are SO CLOSE and then if I still think that something needs to change, take the time to make the right decision. I need a clear head and some perspective and I just can’t make another “permanent” decision right now. I feel like I’m off my game and I’m just full of self-doubt. So for now I’m going to try to enjoy the wedding, focus on the things that turned out even better than I imagined (the kitchen! the mudroom! the primary bath!), and enjoy living here for a bit as they wrap up the punch list. As I tell my kids every single day, “there is a solve for every problem” and per usual you guys will join me in that part of the process, too. So that’s how I’m doing. And thank you for reading. xx

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Karen
22 days ago

It’s your home on the internet. Pressure and anxiety are to be expected. I hope you find your center and cannot wait to see the results of all your decision making.

Claire
22 days ago

I’m sorry you’ve been feeling so much pressure but it’s also totally understandable! This was a huge undertaking that you are still in the middle of and you’re sharing with all of us. We read you and support you because of your transparency and openness but I’m sure that feels bad sometimes (you’re exposed!).
As a fellow creative person, I totally get how hard it must have been to make so many concrete decisions at once. As a creative and visual person, you see possibility and options. I know I really struggle with the practical side of a renovation – my brain just doesn’t work like that.
It’s totally understandable if every room doesn’t look ready for a magazine right away! Some rooms are just tricky and you have to live with them to figure out what they need. Wishing you peace of mind as you settle in. XOXO

Erin
22 days ago

I hear the pressure and stress of it. From a reader’s perspective, though, this sounds like we get more great content. It’s MUCH more interesting to see rooms that were envisioned a certain way and then walk through the process of “troubleshooting” (what I’m sure is already wonderful) than it is to get one post about perfection realized. Besides, I just moved into a new house, too, and it’s amazing how my eyes have changed in a few months of living here. Things that felt terribly important initially don’t now… and new things have emerged. Focus on one thing at a time and trust yourself. You bring such value to your work and to your family, and to yourself. And maybe a few days off?

JJ
22 days ago
Reply to  Erin

I second this. I LOVE content that evaluates a space, diagnoses what’s not working, and tweaks. This is actually way more valuable/personally applicable for me as a reader than a complete gut renovation.

Allana
22 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Absolutely! I strongly second this! I have just come through a kitchen and bath reno I saved for YEARS for and because of supply chain issues the perfectly lovely bathroom doesn’t sing to me. I would love to see content about smallish tweaks and the process rather than a huge reno.

Lane
22 days ago
Reply to  Erin

Yes. I also find this a lot more interesting. With a one time reveal, we get to enjoy the content that day. With updates like that before the big day, we get to enjoy it multiple times and get to enjoy some of the process as well

Emma
22 days ago
Reply to  Erin

Yep was also going to say as a reader this is a great scenario! Much more interesting vs other content creators who move into a “picture perfect” (but usually quite bland/boring) show house and we get one reveal per room and then it’s done.

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Emma

I guess i also feel wasteful! like we JUST painted and I don’t want to promote to the world to just redo things all the time. but I also don’t want to feel held hostage in my own home with a regret staring at me all day every day. (VERY dramatic, no?)

Emilie
22 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I’d also love to see how you work with some of the decisions you made that you don’t like like as much. A different kind of challenge than just redoing it. (I’ve certainly made choices that I regret and that I can’t or won’t change. It would be great to have some inspiration for recovering from it without just redoing.)

Cathy
22 days ago
Reply to  Emily

It’s very very helpful to see that designers make a choice and then change it. Just like learning designers spend several hundred on paint samples to get the perfect color.
It does not come off as complaining to say a room color did not come out as planned. I would say that is what we all experience and think its because we aren’t designers. The truth is behind the scenes designers change things that don’t work out before we see it. I would love to know what isn’t working for you even if later it grows on you.

Kim
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

But Emily- all of us non designers have this happen. We struggle to see the end product & often make mistakes. I just painted 2 rooms last year & now that I can see it in real life instead of my head, I don’t like it. Watching someone like you have similar experiences and have to live with it a while then troubleshoot a solution- that’s much more relatable than nailing it on the first try. It’s human! Something we don’t see often enough in social media these days. Perfection just doesn’t happen. So enjoy the time settling in, getting a sense of things , and if you make changes- that’s ok!! It’s your home. Your choice- you live there day in and day out so you need to be happy with it. And we’ll enjoy watching any changes that happen if you decide to share!

21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I understand where you are coming from. When you are designing for a client, it is so much easier to make those decisions than when it is for yourself. I just finished my own remodel after doing so many for other clients. Toward the end, I did make a couple of last minute changes and I’m glad I did. But, there were other things that I let go and decided to live with for a while. It’s going to be beautiful either way, because you are so talented! Enjoy your new home and enjoy the process as you tweak the design going forward.

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Erin

thanks, all. I guess i just feel honestly embarassed that I JUST made some of these decisions and i’m already realizing it was not right. not a mistake, necessarily but a regret (i’m realizing there is a difference – these are fine choices, just ones I wish i had done differently). I just feel like I should be better at this at this point, and I’m being so hard on myself (worse than its ever been). I think this house has always been a challenge, because I like living in a more clean/contemporary space and trying to plug that into ‘farm’ has been hard. and yes, I told brian yesterday that I need a few days off/away at one of those retreats where they make you good food and you meditate/read and not talk to anyone…. he agreed 🙂

Chloe
22 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Thankyou for sharing this with us… I’ve moved i to a newly done place and I have the “why didn’t I think of that” or things I got wrong. Sometimes, you genuinely can’t see the issue until it’s real and in your face! We love your realness… take your break – and make adjustments as you see fit – it’s YOUR house! (Haters gonna hate sure, but lovers will love it all the more!)

21 days ago
Reply to  Chloe

“Take your break!” Need a t-shirt with that on it. ❤️

Shannon
22 days ago
Reply to  Emily

This too shall pass! Hang in there!!!

Tara
22 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Definitely live in it before thinking you need changes, most ESPECIALLY because it is a “farm”. I bet you’ll find that in a few days/weeks/months that things you thought were a fantastic idea were not and things you are second guessing this very moment were spot on. Because we are harder on farm homes than city homes.
Regardless, I know it’s lovely and can’t wait to follow the reveals!

Tara
22 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Nobody ever in the world has made all the right decisions at the right time EVER. You picked paint colors that may look completely different now that windows are in, floors are down, furniture is coming in. Give yourself some space, girl! If you change stuff, you change it. Someone will always, always be around to comment critically. You’re just a girl, building a house for an audience of infinity … lol ❤️

Tiffany
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I equate your situation to other professionals in their respective trades. We could face rewrites after edits, re-strategize after a failed negotiation, or bringing in a partner to give a fresh perspective on a project that is not panning out just right…the only difference is that you “initial draft” is in materials…paint, tile, windows, which might not make the final draft after the edits are made. Your edits just happen to require a pulling up tiles, replacing grout, etc. Go on the retreat! I actually came across a “silent retreat” in my searches recently, it looked amazing! 🙂 i

Cristin
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

You need a trip to Breitenbush 🙂

And thank you for sharing ❤️

numbersmouse
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

To extend your wedding dress metaphor… in fashion, you get to try on the finished product before you ever show it publicly. Think of your regrets as things that didn’t work out in the fitting room, even if they looked great on paper! It’s okay to make more adjustments as you “try on” this “dress” that will be shown so publicly. 🙂

20 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I do this professionally also. There are so many decisions to consider from so many angles, it can make your head want to explode sometimes. Plus your heart gets really tied up in decisions and sometimes gets swatted around like a mosquito that mistakenly entered the wrong room. Add the social media pressure, doing it from LA, moving to a new city, supply chain issues, Covid, and just finishing a 3-day move — well you deserve to be up to your ears in massages, mojitos, meditations, and “mama is taking a little break”-s! You are fabulous and amazing and we have all loved your content and approach since Design Star. You get better and better with each project and we love learning with you because we all fall down sometimes too and feel humiliated. But things like your content help us get back up. 😊❤️

Katie
22 days ago
Reply to  Erin

Completely agree! And (as you know) sometimes furnishings or details are the missing link. It might feel wasteful to redo somethings but it’s not at all to talk us through how you figured out that the right art / furniture/ details / whatever were what was needed to make something sing. In my own (decidedly un-designer but thoughtfully curated for my family) house I have found that tiny tweaks often make such a difference. A pretty hook with a pretty basket in a place where kid stuff tends to land; a crock on the counter that somehow magically ties lots of elements together; etc. What’s so awesome about the farmhouse is that it’s your real house, and I’m here for learning how you tweak it in response to your family’s needs, which will continue to change in the coming years.

C C
22 days ago
Reply to  Erin

I fourth (or fifth, or sixth) this. Its also WAY more relatable! I know that you may be focused on a magazine-perfect reveal, but most of us will never have magazine-perfect spaces. You’ve had so many sponsorships, etc, that I’ve found it a bit hard to relate to some of the farmhouse content with my own limited budget (How’s THAT for honesty?) However – dealing with the non-ideal, the imperfect, and learning to fix what you’ve got? Now THAT is something I can relate to 😘

Samantha
20 days ago
Reply to  Erin

Came here to say the same thing! As a reader, I want in on this process! Posts about design regrets/fixes are my favorite.

I think, though, your concern is less about blog content and more about your own mental health. In that case, make some soup, focus on the good things in your life, watch some trashy tv, get outside. Live with the house and be assured that whenever you decide to make some tweaks, we’ll all be here cheering you on. To my eye, everything is turning out just beautifully.

Mara
22 days ago

I am super into your farmhouse renovation that at this point I’m skipping all other posts. I think you’re doing an awesome job 👏

22 days ago

As always thank you for your honesty. As someone who has almost completed building their dream home (there is also a long story about why we now have to sell it), it is refreshing to know there is someone else who feels the highs and the lows. So many spaces are better than expected, some are just like I envisioned, and some are disappointing (I may have shed a few tears). I can’t imagine doing it with everyone else watching and trying to make sponsors happy. My hat is off to you. I know your spaces will be beautiful and liveable (often missing from design), but I also understand some of what you are feeling. Know you aren’t alone in at least part of what you are going through, and thank you for sharing your heart in this process.

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Jesse S.

thank you 🙂

Brenda
22 days ago

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the renovation and understand what you must be feeling and experiencing. You are in a vulnerable position, and I can understand how that creates doubt and hesitation. The sunroom is glorious though! A dream work space!

Erica
22 days ago

Hi Emily! I’m sure there will be other designers that are capable of picking apart your work on this house, but to most of your followers or at least me I won’t see something that is off by 2cm. What I will see is an incredibly inspirational house that I got to see all the way through which to me makes the imperfections matter less because of how much work it took to get there. That realness is nice to see over the perfect houses in Architectural Digest that you have no idea how that was attained. Even when you do posts on those aspirational houses I get so much more inspiration from them after YOU explain it to me. So this rambling post is to say I get that you spent a lot of money and it is agonizing to worry you made a wrong choice. But your followers won’t be judging you over those things I promise.

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Erica

thank you 🙂 that means a lot. xx

Ari
22 days ago

Longtime reader but total stranger here. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! This room is gorgeous, and so you. Enjoy enjoy enjoy.

As far as regrets and overthinking go, you’ve always been fabulously transparent about mistakes, do-overs, and neurotic thought processes. We love the bumpy road, the works in progress, the ‘thought we were done, but oops I hate it’-s, and the beautiful wins. Feel free to lean in, wonderful Emily. We sure get it.

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Ari

thank you. I was just hoping there would be less of this, this time. thank you 🙂 xx

MKP
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Makes sense that there would be so much MORE this time because with every project the pressure mounts and this house is the ultimate project. Your forever home and the vision that this home should somehow capture the best of all the styles you’ve played with in the past while avoiding mistakes you’ve made before and also not making any new to you mistakes. Impossible standards, so I can understand how it is all adding up to feel overwhelming. Also, I am just weeks away from completing a major renovation that I’ve waited 20 years for and of a scale I will certainly never be able to do again. I am so excited and feel so incredibly lucky and am also aware that there will be regrets. Even I won’t want to admit them to others, so I can only imagine how you feel. Your house is amazing and it is fun to know it’s going to just keep evolving. Good content and good modeling (that we don’t have to be perfect). And good learning for those of us learning from you. Keep on keeping it real as you always do. Haters will hate so TRY not to let them… Read more »

Dani
20 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I understand the feeling of “I should be better at this by now.” And the truth is, you are! But new things always come up.
I just had my seventh baby and often look around thinking, “Why is this so hard when I’ve done it six times before?” But that’s life. I forget some things I’ve learned, and I assimilate others and don’t even realize I’m using what I’ve learned. The truth is, I *am* doing this newborn phase better than before, in some ways, but there’s also a lot more going on!

Tricia
22 days ago

Heck of a lot more interesting content wise if you’re honest about some rooms not being perfect. How boring and intimidating it would be if you have a picture of a perfect room and that’s that. Would just make me move on. Roll with it, let it flow and you may end up with something even better than “perfect”.

Stacia
21 days ago
Reply to  Tricia

I am here to second this! Perfection is SO boring! 🙂

Kari
22 days ago

Emily, I have loved following you for over a decade because of your idealism and optimism for every project. That means that when you turn around and are honest about struggles, your audience trust you even more. Sometimes that idealism hurts when life don’t live up to expectations. Thank you for letting us come on on the journey. My favorite posts of yours or when you tweak a room and show the before and after for how that changed helped the design process. I’m looking forward to having some of that content from your own home again!

Elizabeth
22 days ago

First off, the sunroom is glorious! Great job! And second, as I tell my kids perfection is an made up idea meant to torture us. No one and nothing is perfect! I can only imagine how stressful it is to put yourself and your work out on the internet for people to judge. You do such a great job and this home is absolutely beautiful.

Mckennaja@aol.com
22 days ago

This room and the tile is stunning!! You are wise to enjoy what you love and take a breath and a beat on the things you are unsure or unhappy about!

Nancy S
22 days ago

That tile is the blue of my dreams – I’m a denim lover too!
Everything you do is fabulous!

Heather
22 days ago

Sometimes living in a house really changes your perspective on how things look and function. When I installed my flooring, I was so uncertain about it. Lived with it for a few months and I love it now. There is a lot of things in my house that I looked at with a microscope when I had finished it, but then I forgot about any flaws once I lived with it for a while.

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Heather

agreed. we said from the beginning that this project is VERY hard because we never got to live in this house (or state) or experience it before we starting trying to predict our lives here. The main reason was because it was lockdown and we had this fully done mountain house to live in during the first year of the renovation. So we could either move during covid and live in a much needed to be renovated house in the rain, or just start and try to do it from afar without living there. We chose that second option, but y’all i can’t stress enough how important it is to live in a house and experience the property before you force yourself to make so many permanent decisions. It’s going to be fine and I think we labored over every single decision as much as humanly possible, trying to predict every single scenario, but it added so much stress, hesitation and doubt and opened us up to more regrets. The mountain house we lived in for 7 months before we started construction. We knew how we liked to use it and what really needed to be done. Now the good… Read more »

Addie
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I was thinking about this being perhaps the single most difficult part of the farmhouse renovations, not having had the chance to live in it beforehand. And also as someone else said, perfection is impossible! I hope you live with it for a while and let your emotions settle before making changes.

After you’ve had a retreat and come back to the house project refreshed, I hope you’ll write a post about the differences in renovation between a home you’ve lived in vs. one you haven’t, because thst would be super interesting and helpful to your readers. But first, take a little time away from the decisions and the looking at everything with a magnifying glass!

Stacia
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

You all need some rest – things won’t feel as unsettled once you’re rested up!

Molly Pontius
22 days ago

Your honesty was a gift to me. We are finishing up a modest-ish build and not everything has come out “just as I imagined or planned”. You, of all people, sharing some regret made me feel normal and okay. Most of my regrets are from the sheer massiveness of choices. What if I chose that instead? I am choosing to settle in and major on the gratefulness, as I hear you also doing, and live my best life in this imperfect (but perfect for me) vessel. Love.

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Molly Pontius

hearing YOUR story makes ME feel better. i’m not joking. thank you 🙂

Amanda Mills
22 days ago

Anyone that’s done remodeling understands regret. The house looks beautiful AND it’s ok to want to make some changes. Be easy on yourself. I think you made the right decision to wait a while before you make anymore decisions. Decision fatigue is REAL!!

Elizabeth
22 days ago

I think you have to live in a house for a full year before you really know how things are going to work and what you like. Experience all the seasons – which there in Portland you will. Give your self time! And I agree with all the others saying we would rather see problems and issues (that we are dealing with as well) dealt with and solved than the perfect ending. Show us the bumpy road, it’s much more interesting and real. thanks!!

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

agreed. we are supposed to shoot in the spring but I think I can pull it together enough for shots knowing that some things might still need to be tweaked.

Kate
22 days ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

100% agree on living with it through the seasons. Especially with the landscaping, too.

Here in Portland we’re going on over two months without rain (and this is normal!) and the ideas that people may have of the “rainy lush Northwest” can mean that their plant selections are wildly off for the actual climate (very wet winters, very arid summers). As a result their landscaping fails to thrive and/or they end up irrigating with massive amounts of water (please no!) from late May-early October.

Live in the house, feel it out.

Watch the sun move through the rooms – it changes a LOT up here through the seasons. Watch it move through the landscape, see the areas with poor drainage, or the spots that receive a blast furnace of sunlight through the summer.

Then revise.

Stacia
21 days ago
Reply to  Kate

This is so true. I live in Maine where our house looks and feels different in every season between light and weather (and I wouldn’t change a thing about that!:). After 18 years, we are still happily making changes as needed and wanted. My home has evolved with me over the years. Most days I am just grateful to live somewhere that I love in a house that meets my needs and just happens to be really cute and welcoming.

Sahaja
22 days ago

Just like building and designing this space from literally almost ground up took time and thought and noodling to create, making your house into a home will to – and that is totally ok! The thing about the wedding dress is that usually is for one special day in time. But a home is meant to evolve and grow and change with you. Didn’t Nate Berkus just re-do a house tour for a home that they previously designed – bc their lives changed and their tastes changed and it is impossible to see every little micro decision on paper and how it will translate in real life. We understand the pressure you are under, but just so you know – all of these thoughts make you human and relatable and it’s ok if everything isn’t “perfect” right away. Watching the evolution of your home is just as enjoyable for us. Give yourself a break, pretty please.

Sam
22 days ago

Some of the best advice about decorating a home is to let it happen over time. It doesn’t all need to come together perfectly right away. Even if it does, it will likely evolve as your family grows up and your tastes change. I understand the pressure but let up on yourself. You’ve done a ton of work. Let yourself enjoy this moving in step. It’s huge and wonderful.

D
22 days ago

Give yourself abreak, after the global turmoil of the last two years, moving x2, and relocating to a new region, just try to step back and breathe. We have had a similar experience, sans gut remodel (lived in the house for a year first to see how it lives) and I’m only now just feeling the anxiety abate. Try not to overthink things, outsource/delegate whenever possible, and remember you’ve sunk an enormous amount of resources and energy to get to where you are right now. Focus on finding a good new flow for your family, recharge by make soup, finding new walking paths, indulge in your guilty pleasures of bad tv/romance novels. I’d organize the shit out your hoard of stylist stuff, but we’re out of state. So get someone else on that, and maybe focus on making content that is more everyday lifestyle based, imperfect? There’s a lot of power in embracing that too. All the best!

Tara
22 days ago
Reply to  D

“I’d organize the shit out of your hoard of stylist stuff …” made me spit out my water laughing. 😂😂

RachieT
22 days ago

This is THE best and most beautiful sunroom I’ve ever seen! 🙂 And I know it’s cliche and maybe you even say it (I had to skim-read) but at a certain point done is better than perfect. Besides- there will ALWAYS be something you wish you had done differently so just try to roll forward. And be nice to yourself 💕

Shannon
22 days ago

Emily, thank you for acknowledging design freedom’s evil twin-anxiety/regret. Apparently they are conjoined because the latter ALWAYS shows up uninvited. Anytime this much thought and debate goes into a decision, second-guessing is to be expected. The harder the call was to make in the first place, the more apt we are to question it. I actually think some of these regrets may just be your (entirely justified) anxiety playing tricks on you, so you’re wise not to rush to change anything. When I was very pregnant with my first child I designed a diaper bag at a shop where you could choose from various templates and seemingly endless fabrics. When I picked it up, I immediately hated it. I couldn’t believe I’d spent so much money and picked such hideous fabrics. What was actually happening was that all my anxiety about becoming a new mom had found an easy outlet. I ended up loving the bag and still have it.

Lane
22 days ago

As a creative person that likes many things, I find it difficult to make decisions for my own home. I also do better with fixes and tweaks as opposed to a complete renovation and design. There are always too many things that I like and too many options. Oh and designing other people homes is always a lot easier than making decisions for my own home.
I truly enjoy your blog, and I already love what you’ve done in your new home. It’s great to witness the transformation. Thanks for sharing your journey with us

Patricia
22 days ago

You think we haven’t made mistakes? It’s like ‘do you even know us?’. Please, mess up and then make it charmingly imperfect. Perfection is boring and doing everything ‘safe’ and it isn’t really perfect after all. You may love it even more for being imperfect.

Jackie
22 days ago

Emily, I’m going through a major renovation (our first and maybe our last?) and the pressure you described is exactly how I feel – and I don’t even have the added pressure of having my career tied into it. It’s so validating to read your perspective because I understand it completely. The pressure of paying all this money and making these functional decisions that you know have to be made – and yet there are literally thousands of tiny decisions and every one feels final and will wreck you if it doesn’t work out the way you envision – ugh I’m right there with you. But all that’s to say, we are all huge fans of your work. The sunroom is awe-inspiringly dazzling (who could have put that together but you?!). And you have an amazing gift and intuition. I can’t wait to see it all together and even the “regrets and mistakes.” And there is always a solution for everything. Thank you for writing this (and letting me in turn reassure myself, too)!

Jordan G
22 days ago

To echo some of the other comments — this vulnerability is where you really shine as a content creator. I’m sure it’s frustrating as a designer, but we all learn in our writing classes that your work needs vulnerability to allow others to relate to it, and that’s something you are great at doing. It’s one of the most refreshing aspects of your blog, and it’s why I’ve been reading it since the very beginning. It’s so honest. We feel like your friends because you aren’t afraid to open up to us, your loyal readers. I look forward to seeing how this home evolves and I appreciate you always baring your thoughts for the rest of us to see.

Stacia
21 days ago
Reply to  Jordan G

👆this!

A.B.
22 days ago

Imposter syndrome. Be kind to yourself. It’s a weird internet-world we live in, where we can look at our doubts any time someone wants to remind us of them. Try and approach it from a pre-internet place. Make an internal boundary. There is plenty, plenty, PLENTY of inspirational and educational content in this house for your work. Besides, perfection IS boring. 😉 Little snags make the beautiful parts more beautiful. And it’s not a house for work and your internet world to live in, it’s a home for your family.

Kelly
22 days ago
Reply to  A.B.

I came here to add this. If you haven’t read about imposter syndrome and the strategies to cope with it, please do. It was life changing for me to see that all the doubt I carried had a name and I was not alone in feeling like a fraud (though objectively I am overwhelmingly successful in my field, that tends to fuel the imposter syndrome even more).

April
22 days ago

It’s amazing and a project to be proud of! I hope you feel some of that pressure lift and begin to feel clear-headed and at peace with whatever decisions you make. You’re talented and awesome.

Katie
22 days ago

This post is why I love you. You are honest, and while I think most of what you do is perfection you let us see that you are human with similar feelings and are imperfect. Which is incredibly comforting because we are all imperfect too. I am sorry you are feeling so stressed and so overwhelmed, but I think you for being so open with us.

meg
22 days ago

as a long time reader I am looking forward to the evolution of the spaces, NOT a super grand finale of a perfect reveal! We are all cheering you on, pitfalls, triumphs… all of it 🙂

Amber Moon Leigh
22 days ago

The thing about weddings is that they have a time stamp- so the dress is what it is, and upon the that stamp, it is held in time. I think a home is an evolution-not frozen in time, but constantly changing and adapting with your family as the years go by and your tastes and needs change. It grows WITH you. It is yours to create in forever, a never-ending project with no time stamp. So whether you make changes the first day you move in or twenty years from now, it is all just part of a big, fluid life project that shouldn’t ever end. I can’t wait to see your home’s evolution.

🥰 Rusty
22 days ago

Oh, Emily, remember YOUR saying, “Done is better than perfect!”???
You’ve DONE it!
You’ve moved in!
That’s hee-uge!
💗💗💗

The quirks and tiny imperfections (we won’t likely notice if you don’t point ’em out) are sometimes what makes a space great, instead of ‘too perfect’.
Too perfect is bland. 👍

My ol’ girl is nearly 100. There are curved, bull-nosed bricks forming the arches on the front verandah.
One morning during the restoration, I was sitting on the verandah ledge waiting for all the tradies (tradespeople) and I saw a eucalyptus leaf imprinted into one of those hand-made, old bricks.
An amazingly, imperfect, perfection!!! I love it!😊

Just as we each are perfectly imperfect, so is each and every, single house on the planet!
Thank you fir being vulnerable and keeping it real. That’s why we’re here.
Rusty 😘xx

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

thanks, Rusty 🙂

Alice
22 days ago

It’s helped me to relax about my own situation knowing that even someone who has all the resources can end up with regrets and things that need to be fixed.

Suze
22 days ago

Once you are fully moved in and your family is settled, you will begin the lifelong (or however long you live in the house) tweaking that any design-obsessed person lives for! You just need a moment for the dust to settle, literally, and then the fun can begin again.

Leah
22 days ago

I love the wedding dress analogy!

Have you ever read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic? I feel like her relationship with creativity is really applicable here – you are not here with the full weight of designing this house on your shoulders, you are doing your part by showing up to dance with this house, which is a being unto itself with it’s own personality and quirks and energy. Your relationship is going to evolve over time as you get to know each other better and you learn from her what might feel best to you both in a given space. Looking forward to being along for the ride! 😘

🥰 Rusty
22 days ago
Reply to  Leah

That was so eloquently written.😊

Brianna
22 days ago
Reply to  Leah

I love big magic, and what a good reminder!

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Leah

I love this. no i should definitely read it 🙂 xx

🥰 Rusty
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Yessss!!! It’s fabulous and woild give some perspective. 👍

Stacia
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

YES! It is a phenomenal read – you’ll love it!

Kaia
22 days ago

Ahhhhhhh!!!!! It’s amazing!!! I love it!

Sal
22 days ago

I would love to see a detailed update on this post! What are the things you experienced regret and second-guessing about? How did you decide, on those specific issues, whether or not to yell “halt”? What is your thought process about how to ameliorate the things that are giving you pause? And then, in a few months or however long, what do those decisions look like in retrospect? This sort of real-life decisionmaking minutiae is honestly so helpful and interesting–we may not all be renovating Oregon farmhouses, but we are all making decisions.

Admin
22 days ago
Reply to  Sal

most of the regrets came near the end, honestly or I would have changed them earlier. I will share, but need a second to get perspective (and some courage). xx

Jessica
22 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I know it probably doesn’t feel this way, since you did so many design drafts, but the house’s first iteration is it’s own version of a first draft. It will have many versions, as the kids grow, and your garden grows. It’s all okay. You can’t possibly know everything in advance. We all need to give ourselves permission to change the things we don’t like, even if we chose them.

Sandberg
22 days ago

As a tell all women who are about to get married, “if the bride is happy, then everyone is happy.” If you are happy with the renovation, everyone else will be too.

Erin
22 days ago

WOW!!! Your sunroom turned out so incredibly lovely! Skylights were absolutely the right decision, the blue tiles looked black in the before pic. It sounds like despite feeling like a hot mess, you know exactly where your center is and how to get back to it. You’ll get there and we are rooting you on! I would really love to hear an update from Brian’s perspective. You think he’d be up for it? Congrats on your big move, Hendersons!

Sabrina
22 days ago

There is a “solve” for every problem. Sometimes the solve is to recognize that perfection doesn’t exist, that perfectionism will ruin your enjoyment of your new home or any project, and that maybe getting yourself to be happy and completely satisfied with the beauty of the entire house, not just the best parts, is positive emotional growth. It all looks beautiful so far.

Alice
22 days ago

Emily, Your home is looking so beautiful! I think it is actually really refreshing and real to see designers make mistakes. It is a HARD job picking out all the different finishes and no matter how much you do it, it makes sense that there will be some mistakes or regret. Don’t be so hard on yourself. In some ways, reading and watching the mistakes in someone else’s project is just as interesting as seeing a room turn out perfectly. Also, it’s an important lesson to your kids that we can learn from mistakes, and it’s ok to make them. Yes you are a pro, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to change your mind! Chris & Julia have made some big changes after things didn’t feel quite right recently, and we can all learn to allow ourselves less perfection by watching them navigate that. Cheering for you and sending support for all the stress you are feeling!

Lindsay
22 days ago

Emily, I so appreciate your honesty in how you’re feeling. I’ve felt this agony in so many of my home decisions, so it’s reassuring to know that even designers go through it too. It’s hard when we put so much pressure on ourselves to get it right, invest a ton of effort into every little decision, and then immediately after it’s done it feels like “oh, hindsight is 20/20, now the right choice seems obvious and it’s not the one I made!” I think the way you’re feeling is normal and nothing to feel shame over.

From my perspective, your new home is coming together beautifully and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds! Hang in there through this crazy time… I hope it starts to feel less overwhelming as the construction wraps up!

Piperlou
22 days ago

without diminishing the stress and frustration I’m sure you must be feeling, I do think your transparency is helpful in normalizing that no matter how hard you work to plan out every detail, there are almost always elements in a major project that don’t hit perfectly.
I honestly think this is why large scale over-haul renovations or new builds are so tough. It’s just too many decisions at once & so much of the design is happening in your head/ on a computer.
Now, most people probably choose to live with their frustrations (often a combination of finances and just wanting to be *done* with construction). This is your job though, right? So tweaking things seems justified. I look forward to seeing how you trouble shoot and work through what feels like it’s not quite working.

emily jane
22 days ago

Oh EM! I want to infuse you with all my favorite, most impactful ‘therapy card’ reminders but instead, I wonder: what would ‘Future’ Emily Henderson say by way of advice and encouragement to the current You..? I can’t help but think she might remind you of the one thing you’ll be hard-pressed to recapture in the future after these initial ‘move-in jitters’ subside: the opportunity to Enjoy this INCREDIBLE space you created all while juggling an absurdly long and complicated (at odds with..?) set of priorities, parties AND expectations..? Ok, can’t help it, a few of what I call ‘therapy card’ nuggets: *Uncertainty is Always a trigger! (I often ‘try on’ the opposite side of the coin: maybe each point of pain now becomes a lesson you cherish in the future..?) *The ego will rob you blind with it’s loaded suggestion of “What if everything isn’t Perfect and/or Regret-Free?” (I am desperate for you to get to enjoy this space in-real-time from the place of AWE that I am…) *And from the book “Loving What Is”: You don’t have to give up your “regret-free” thought but, who would you be if you did..? *Lastly, an oldy-but-goodie: Practice radical self-acceptance and… Read more »

Ana
22 days ago

It’s the stress talking. Trust the process, trust yourself, and keep your eyes on the goal – a beautiful, cozy, functional home for your loved ones, not an Instagram post. It’s a process to create such a space. It takes iterations and adjustments, and you cannot fast it forward or avoid it, however many years of amazing design experience you have. Your new home is gorgeous and will only become more gorgeous with time and change. Embrace it (and take a few days off if you can). Much love!

Terri
22 days ago

Regret is the worst emotion. But no one can get everything right. I find you talking about “mistakes” or things you would change incredibly helpful. If it makes you feel better at all, that’s the kind of content that I learn from and keeps me coming back. I hope things start getting a little easier in the coming weeks, I can’t imagine all the stress and decision fatigue. Xo

Mara Pitcher
22 days ago

Thank you for your honesty Emily. As a self taught designer I made mistakes in earlier phases of our remodel and I felt really embarrassed about (still do). After looking at them for years I convinced myself the mistakes were because I was a bad designer. It’s refreshing to know that all designers have details that they later feel differently about, or that didn’t translate exactly as planned. I look forward to seeing this home continue to transform with you and your family at a calm and enjoyable pace. Congratulations on all of it!

Amy
22 days ago

I always tell my clients to live in a new home at least six months before they make any big changes. The things that you thought you couldn’t live with and wanted to change immediately usually end up being the thing you don’t mind as much. It’s something you never noticed before that becomes the thing you have to change now. It’s also hard when it’s your home. That is why I have a job as a designer. I can make choices for others because it’s not personal for me. Once it becomes personal, it becomes difficult. I have the same problem with my own home. Deep breathing helps and taking your time. Things will come together in the end! Emily you are very talented and I follow you for a reason. 🙂

22 days ago

your wedding dress analogy is spot on and understandable. but speaking for myself, I am drinking it in and I’d personally rather do that slowly and thoughtfully instead of gulping.
I’ll be perfectly happy watching you live in this beauty and do what you do…solve the problems, make the adjustments, do all the things….gradually. It’s how most of us live, contrary to what social media tells us.

Jill
22 days ago

Take a deep breath.
It is all so new. Too much undue pressure and anxiety. Step back.

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