Monday, August 30, 2010

More info, keep the questions coming.

Ok. So I love that you guys want more info.
About the window treatments in the living room.  No, Ian didn't want them, and I didn't either.  Don't get me wrong, I love drapery.  But in this case the views were spectacular (of the canyons) and the drapery is pretty feminine for a dude.  We did put very simple blinds in the den so he could shut them to watch tv if he needs them, but you can hardly see them (they roll up to be about an inch at the top of the frame and are white so you don't really notice them.)

OH! here's also why:  we all know that drapery hardware can be tricky (read: ugly)  - its often over-designed, when i just want it to disappear.  I love it best when its almost at the ceiling, but in the case of the living room you can't have it at the ceiling because it is vaulted. So then the hardware adds so much busyness and distracts the eye from the bookshelves, that feature window and the views.  Also, the windows open in, so they fight with the drapery.  We could have done some sort of wood or bamboo rolling deal thing, but it just didn't seem necessary - he doesn't have privacy issues and would have added a lot of cost.  So no. no drapery here.

I did talk about this on the show, but some of the things have to get edited out, so this must have been one of them.

Ok, so lets go through some other pics. 

Sorry, this is kinda  a blurry pic.  This is the tablescape from the 2nd look, and I think i like it the best.    I'm not normally a 'set your table 24 hours a day' kinda girl - i think it can be fussy and strangely creepy (like, did you almost have dinner and they you killed everyone?), but it did photograph really nicely.  I'm a 'big-vessel-with-branches-and-maybe-a-few-candles-or-candlesticks-tablescape' kinda girl  

We actually have now put the bench back in the window at the back (where it truly belongs, just perfectly, from the first look) and used the ming chairs in his 2nd guest bedroom that wasn't on the show (due to time/budget).  I bought 6 mismatchy farm chairs (ranging from $5 to $50) for around the table.  and i lurve them.  They bring so much character and history into the room, and were super cheap.  

OH and bells of ireland flowers - so easy to style (they pretty much just style themselves), simple, cheap, beautiful, last a long time and a great pop-o-green.

Here what it the final tablescape looked like (below). And I like it, but Ian really didn't like the indigo runner (in fact he said it made him want to kill himself, now, now, Ian, dramatic much?) - i actually preferred it without the runner, but it needed color for TV.   And i wish the lanterns were closer together.   It's such a learning curve figuring out what looks good on camera versus in person.  And again, i know i have a leg up due to prop styling, but video is different - the light is different and the angles are different and you have less control because you are busy doing shopping segments and interviews, you really have to trust the people you work with.  

But I LOVE the toile.  And so does Ian. It's Thibault (I know, i know kinda old school decorator-y in a good way, right?)  Here's the link 

And to the guest bedroom:
Here it was before as a tv room, which would be fine left as a tv room, but due to the fact that we plan on watching hours and hours of tv there in big groups, this no worky for our needs.  The 'office' was unused and so much bigger and more inviting. So it only made sense that this be turned into a temporary use room.
And after:

I actually really love this little room. Brian and I stay over there a lot and its like a little happy nook (of nooky).  It's super cozy and has a beautiful view, although ***WAY too bright in the mornings, so i have little blinds coming (ones you can barely see).  Ian doesn't want them, he loves the view, but its hard to sleep in past 7.

OK Sources:  The duvet is West Elm, the wallpaper is Katie Ridder 'Leaves' in grey (I bought it from Harbinger in LA, to the public).  It was kinda expensive I think $250 for that wall, but its really beautiful and interesting - a masculine color in a feminine pattern.  The pillows were just sourced fabric from Michael Levines ( a toile to keep that theme going, and a silk grey and white stripe), and we sewed them to save some money.

Oh and I do wish I had been there when they took this pic - the bed is messy in a bad way.  It's so hard
giving up responsibility, i never thought I was a control freak, but turns out I might have to be.

The trunk was a thrift store find for $100 (its big and old and sturdy as hell). Everything else was flea market (chandy was $20, lamp was $15, mirror $30, little bud vase from CB2 and buttterflies/wall ephermera was random flea market/thrift store 1 and 2 dollar stuff). The bed is an ikea platform base and their cheapest mattress which i DO NOT recommend - way too hard, i'm buying a pillow top to help out.

The paint on the wall is Gray Owl (BM) and was beautiful. It's slightly warmer than the one in the living room and mimicked the color of the leaves.  I painted the ceiling gray as well, which i feel like keeps your eye moving instead of stopping at 8 feet high.

Finally i got rid of the terrible sconce and moved the j box (well, I didn't, come now) to the ceiling.  I decided not to put the little shades on the chandy bulbs (because a. they are hard to find pretty ones, and b. they add about $100 to the cost of the chandy, and c. they are slightly suburban). So instead i bought little round globe bulbs which are awesome, but need to be dimmed (which we did). I think it makes this antique chandelier look more modern.   I found a matching black iron sconce (flea market, $5) that goes on the other side of the room (not-pictured), and did the same bulb-no-shade treatment to it.

I think with guest rooms you can go a bit quirkier.  People are only in them temporarily and every time i walk into this room i get happy, it's a fun little surprise.   It still feels like the rest of the house, but just a bit more feminine and quirkier.  I could have oriented the bed to come out of the wallpaper wall, but it would have made this room teeny tiny, whereas there is still a chair/seating area in the other corner and room for guests to walk.  There is a lot of Emily in this room, fo shizzle.

Alright folks.  unfortunately i have to run because The RHONJ reunion just came on and its getting ugly really fast.  and I have my unfortunate priorities.  'We are in the ok corale? '.  
wtf does that mean???

Day after brain-dead-ness

Ahhhhhh!!!  Thank you so much.  I don't really know what else to say except that i could have woken feeling like crap today but instead i woke up feeling pretty amazing, although totally tired. My brain is a bit full.  it doesn't take a lot, its a pretty small brain, but it might be at capacity right now.

I'm not sure if you guys want more from the house, but i'll just post a couple before and afters here and talk about some stuff that maybe didn't get talked about last night.

Here is his living room, 'before'


Here was my inspiration board that i was working with:  Things changed a bit, as you can see, but the general look feels the same. 

Ok let's go around the room.   The coffee table, sofa, pouf and lamp were all new.  Coffee table ($1300) , sofa ($900) from HD buttercup and standing lamp (anthro $398).  The pouf was $200 from Mosaik in LA.  Everything else is vintage and came from either TINI, Hernandez brothers, 45 three modern and the flea market.  So yes, the coffee table and table lamp were splurges, but i saved on everything else - i mean some of the side tables were $20 and the pillows were just 1/2 yardage that I bought for 10 bucks. 

 I think that coffee table (while i couldn't afford it) was worth the splurge because it completely grounds the room, makes it look high end next to all the thrift store pieces and is heavy, but since its metallic it doesn't weigh down the room.  And it has storage.   
Oh and In case you don't know my feeling on legs,  you should try to have at least one piece of furniture that doesn't have four legs, whether its a really low sofa, or a skirted sofa or chair or in this case a coffee table, it helps the whole space look more grounded and substantial. I forget who said it, somebody from house beautiful, but a designer said that a room with too many legs looks 'nervous' and I totally agree.    

The paint color is BM Smoke embers, and i LOVE it.  

The artwork is controversial, i know.  I think its awesome, while some people think its creepy.  Here's the thing with artwork on TV shows:  it is super super hard to get things cleared, meaning that the original artist or their family (if they are deceased) has to sign off on it to the network - and its normally super hard to track down who the original artist is - especially flea market art.  (this is not the case in magazines, i don't know why).   I'm not an artist, so i can't make my own art (although i do have a few ideas of weird collage-y things that I can do). 

Luckily Ian loves vintage maps, because those are cleared. And he loves antlers, which worked perfect with the FDR look. oh and to the critics who say that antlers are 'out', i disagree. Sure, they were ubiquitous a couple years ago, but things that are beautiful are never 'out', we just don't need anymore cardboard antlers or maybe high gloss pink antlers.  Its like how coral was so huge 5 years ago.  Now people are repelled by coral, but coral is beautiful. just buy one natural piece to display, not a bedding set with coral all over it.    

Back to the room.  Here is the more sixties look.
I actually really like it, although it just feels too art directed.  It definitely looks more 'designed' which is exactly what Ian didn't like about it.  

And the shelving was a bit west elmy and cataloguey.  
That rug is from Ikea, i'm sure you all knew that. its pretty great for $179.

And as much as i like the idea of doing something to the back of  shelves, i knew that Ian wouldn't ultimately want to live with it - otherwise i probably would have wallpapered back there.  

Ok apparently my brain is too tired to blog today.  I mean, what a boring post.  Sorry guys, i'll try to do a better one tonight.  

Sunday, August 29, 2010

AHHHHHH.. thank you guys so much for all the support.  Its so hard to be objective, but the fact that you guys loved it so much means a lot to me.
thank you soooo much.
and in case you want HGTV to know how you feel
you can leave a comment by clicking here
there will be haters. as there always is. and yes it is baffling at times how cruel some people can be.  ignore them and just write what you want.
i love you so much

TONIGHT!!!!! My first day on the job. AHHHHH!!!!!

So picture this:  you are a college football coach and you've dreamed about being a sports commentator for years - you just knew you could do it, but no, you actually had no formal training.   But one day, you win a position on NBC, during the playoffs!!! AMAZING!!  You are terribly excited, grateful and nervous as hell.  You show up first day of your dream job, and you are reminded that yes, your first day of your new job will indeed be on national television.

Holy eff balls.

Secrets from a Stylist debuts tonight.  I'm super excited (i saw it this week) but I'm feeling pretty exposed and vulnerable, too.  Here is how i keep it in perspective:  
Winning Design Star and getting my own TV show is an incredible new job, a job that was 10 steps ahead of what I was doing before, an unbelievable promotion in every way, but just a job. 

The amazing parts of my new job are the creative freedom, daily excitement, immense responsibility (yes, i like responsibility, it keeps me out of trouble), and public effect. 

The drawback of my job is that my first day on the job - untrained - is on national TV.  
i mean, i know that's kinda the point of a TV show, being on the TV. But still, I'm on TV.

Yep.  With potentially a million people watching.  (hopefully, but honestly i have no clue how many people watch TV shows, or even how many people 'a million' are).

So I try to not think about all my friends, family, co-workers, fellow designers, bloggers, readers, admirers and yes, haters watching and judging. (hopefully instead they are laughing and smiling and not wanting it to be over.)  

 I'm really proud of my first day on the job.  And the potential of doing it everyday is insanely exciting.  

Do I have criticisms of myself?  um, no doy.  I always will.  

But every time I think about the world watching me, a mini panic attack begins.  
and that's when I remind myself:  

it's just a great new job, its just a great new job.

 - one that I'll get better at everyday - because that's what happens on new jobs.  You start out not knowing quite what you are doing - people help you along and give you tips, but there is a lot of learning and troubleshooting.  It takes a while to find your rhythm, figure out what things you are good at, and what things you need more help with. 

So I want feedback, obviously.  But pretend i'm a five year old who just finished her first piano recital in front of 100 people. Sure, you saw some things I could do better next time, but maybe wait a while - after the shows been for sure picked up and my nerves have calmed down to tell me about them.  For now, let me know what you like about the show, what you definitely want to see more of, or don't want cut out.  I definitely want constructive criticism, too, just not yet.  please.

oh and I'm not sure if HGTV reads these comments, so if you feel like it, comment on my web-page  on HGTV.  

Remember during the show when everybody was promoting their fan vote, and I wasn't?  Well, obviously you know why now. But I'm calling in that favor - if you get a chance, and feel like it let HGTV know what you think about Secrets From a Stylist.  Viewer feedback is super important to them. Click here, to comment to HGTV. 

OOH, also I'm starting to do blog posts for them (which I'm stoked about). And my second one (my first being my 12 most memorable moments from DS, click here to read) will be up after the show - or maybe tomorrow I'm not sure, and you'll be able to comment on that, too.  It is 10 tips to help shopping at flea markets and thrift stores.

So watch SFAS tonight at 10pm on HGTV.  please please please. 
I hope you love it.

And remember, It's just a great new job that I love very much.  
And like that football coach turned commentator,
I'll do the best I can, and get better at it every day. 
And someday when I'm a total pro (which will happen, just watch)  I won't give a sh*t about haters.  


Saturday, August 28, 2010

  Yo YoYO

I've done a ton of blog and radio interviews this week to promote for the premiere of Secrets From a Stylist.  I figured i'd start posting some of them here today.

Room Fu - Austin Blogger and Design Star Critic.  Click Here

Casa Sugar - a huge great design blog.  click here for part one and  here for part two

Aphrochic, another super lovely design blog, here

AOL.  click here

And Buss Buss (Thanks Kelly for coming to the party!!!)   click here

I know there were others who asked and PR is working on the requests.  The series won't air for a while so we might want to spread out the press.  So you are not ignored, i promise.

I'll spare you the radio interviews, although I do have a 1/2 hour live conversation today at 3pm.

How to Listen:
Friends and family can tune in on the radio in Southern California -980 on the am dial. Or live streaming on the website –  HYPERLINK "" – click where it says “listen here”

That's it for now.
i love you guys.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Teaser for Sundays Secrets from a Stylist

Alright folks, I can't show you pics from Ian's house (although you can see a bit of it above), but I can show you the inspiration pics for his house.  These have been on my mood board (or notebook that i carry around shopping) for Ian's house since I started working on it.  I love how they feel finished, yet not decorated.  Despite co-creating Glee, Ian is a straight dude, so I didn't want it to feel overly designed. Just natural and lived in.
Photo by Mikkel Vang for Vogue Living

In the show I combine three different styles.  Very distinct, from different decades or countries.

photo from Emma's design Blogg

But I keep them coherent with the color palette.  Which looks pretty amazing in person, and I hope looks as good on camera.  I'm learning so much about how things are different on camera.  Being a prop stylist for photography helped me because I already know the rules like: shiny things are annoying to photographers (they prefer matte), small busy patterns screw with the camera and 'amore', and mirrors are always a problem.  But now I have a whole new set of lessons to learn.  Everything from the fact that I HAVE to wear more fitted clothes (my blousey blouses are making me look about 4 months along) to my lipstick should pop more, to TV interiors need a lot of color and even then, the color can look much different in person than on camera.

When shooting interiors for magazines or books, photographers can use natural light with the perfect lens and you don't need color (like above) to make a provocative, beautiful picture.  But for TV, they have to put these films on the window so they don't blow out and get really hot (tv speak for blaringly bright) so natural light isn't really an option.  

Of course I'm slowly trying to revolutionize this process, because set photography is normally so so so so much less beautiful than this kind of editorial (magazine) photography and being the total photo snob, it makes a HUGE difference to me.  BUT, i will say that our set photographer (the guy that takes behind the scenes as well as all the beauty shots) has an editorial background so I have higher hopes.

Ok.  so without giving away any of my secrets  you kinda get the direction that I was going in, right?  Man, I hope you like it.    

I'll break it down next week, room by room and show you my detailed process and give you all the sources.    

Thursday, August 26, 2010

3 days til the premiere of SFAS

It's no secret that bloggers are kinda taking over the world.  And I mean blog readers, too.  If we could all come together to decide on a different word for 'blog' that would be awesome, btudubs.  It still sounds a bit like a sickness or a real quick little throat gag.  blog.   

Regardless, some of these lovely blogging ladies are starting a new on-line magazine, Rue Mag, that drops in September and one of them, Anne Sage, who has been one of my longtime go-to's is rad and wears very incredible glasses on her face featured me in her blog today. YES!

  I met Anne and Crystal whilst shooting in our apartment a few weeks ago - non-design star related, extra hard to keep that secret then, by the way.   And they are both the loveliest.

Here is a sneak peak of the mag (not my shoot). 
photo by Manny Rodriguez
I know.  Magazines are like the 80's.  They were almost gone, off the shelves, and then WHAM, they are back, except different,  a little reworked.  Well, magazines are awesome and the 80's were questionable, but i'm not the best analogy-er.
photo by Manny Rodriquez
Hello new media, you are awesome.  

On to other topics.  Oh right, i saw my TV show yesterday for the first time.  'I-saw-my-tv-show-yesterday' seems like a very weird thing to say.  I filmed it in July, then the film production company (which I LOVED) has been doing their magic so I its been kinda outta my hands and i've had no idea what it actually looked like (or what I actually looked like). 

 So I was excited to watch as you can imagine.  I'm not giving anything away.  

And I am DYING to know what you guys think.  That's all I'm gonna say.

Except this:  Ahem.  

Dear readers, please tweet, facebook, and blog as much as you want about 'Secrets from a Stylist' which premiers this sunday on HGTV at 10pm.    

It's up against the Emmy's and Mad Men, and I think True Blood, too.  harsh.   Ian (and Glee), are up for 19 Emmy's so when you are tuning away from SFAS, you best be rooting for my friend.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wooh, I'm back and almost fully recovered.

yo yo yo.  i'm back.  Woah, that was a rough couple days.  Besides interviews, i kinda just checked out of life.  I've never been so exhausted in my life, strike that, since my honeymoon.  It's weird how your body knows when you were stressed even when you don't feel stressed.  I had the most low-maintenance wedding ever (we literally had a taco truck cater it) but still i must have been exhausted because i slept roughly 16 hours a day on our honeymoon. And that is pretty much what I did this week, too.  I feel better and ready to roll.  ish. 

I'm working on the new blog (or should I say, somebody else is, to be disclosed soon***update, don't worry it will remain the same, run by yours truly, i just want it redesigned and updated, all fancy-like), web-site, interviews, you know, general 'taking-over-the-world-and-building-my-empire' stuff.  

Kidding, well kinda.  

The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and so appreciated.  I'm just so happy to know that people (not all, mind you) wanted me to win and are excited for my show.  I promise it will be unlike any show out there, ever. (aka, the fashion to home thing has been altered to create a more original show....curious, eh?).    

Secrets from a Stylist airs this sunday at the same time slot as Design Star - 10pm/7pm.  Just a reminder, which i'll probably do everyday until sunday.    

photographs are styled by me, in my apartment, and shot by Terilyn Fisher

I heart all of you so much.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yep, it's all over......well not really.....

So, that happened.  Nuts, i know.  I'm crazy excited and so exhausted.  I took the day off yesterday to relax, i was pretty wrecked from sunday night.  We had a ton of people out to celebrate with us.  I'll post some pics as soon as i get them.  

My saratonin has plummeted, such a big build up and adrenaline rush - almost like a wedding.  I'm probably going to take today off again and go to the beach and relax.  because that's what tv stars do.  

Oh, and my 'client' (and friend) for the special is the co-creator of Glee, Ian Brennan, so if you like Glee you best be spreading the word about that.  He's hilarious and awesome.  And single, for all the ladies out there.  Just sayin'. 

So a lot is going to change here.  The blog is going to transform a bit (it will still be a daily style blog), but we are still working out the details.  
But for now, thank you guys sooooooooo much for all the support.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.  You feel vulnerable when you are on national TV, and some people you can never win over.  So having this kind of fan base that has supported me long before Design Star means a lot. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Design Star, Emily Henderson


I can't believe I won.  I mean, i can, but i can't.  What a secret to keep, and i'm a bad self-secret keeper.  I can keep others, sure.  But i have no secrets of my own because, i'm the most transparent person in the world.  and i like to talk. a lot. obviously.

So keeping this GOOD of a secret was sooooooooooo hard you have no idea.  I feel like lied to all of you, pretending i've been really busy styling shoots, when really i've been creating and shooting my special. (ahem, that airs next sunday at 7pm and 10pm, just like Design Star)  

AND BOY am I so excited about that i could wee in my little vintage house dress.   Working on my own show was the most fun i've ever had in my life.  The hours were crazy and the days really long and I had so much more responsibility than i've ever had, but it was truly a blast and I was sad when It was finished.

And I love how Ian's house turned out and kinda don't understand why its not mine. (cut to me showing up every morning, creepily making myself coffee, signing for packages, DVR-ing Rachel Zoe, marking 'hers' and 'his' toothbrushes...)  

But back to Design Star. It was all so surreal.  I was pretty calm during the entire studio session (about an hour), i just pretended like they were my friends and i just tried to be myself.  To say i wasn't nervous isn't true, but I was just like, 'well its me or not me, but acting differently or trying to impress the judges beyond being myself at this point is only going to make them question me....and think i'm weird'

I remember waking up that morning and thinking, 'ok so today is the day that i get told by the Design Star judges whether I will get my own TV series.  Perfectly normal.  right so today is that day, huh.'  It was like living in a dream.  It felt like there was no way this was actually happening, that I made it this far after stumbling so bad at the beginning.

When Vern announced it, I was shocked.  I think my hearing shut off and in slow motion i looked over at the screens and saw that only my tv was still on.   Michaels was off.  I looked back and saw the other designers coming towards me smiling.  It was like a car crash, it happened so slowly and my memory is pretty blurry.   

But I won, folks.  

Of course I knew it was a possibility or I never would have auditioned and left a job (in the middle of a shoot, btdubs) and gave up weeks of work, risked humiliation, etc etc.  I knew I could win and I knew that someone should have a style show like the one I am envisioning, but actually winning seemed impossible to even think about.  I mean, who wins their own design show?

And it is a big deal.  You know, winning Project Runway and Top Chef opens doors and you get a cash prize, but winning Design Star is like somebody is already on the other side of the door, with a big smile and an envelope titled 'Your new job' that could potentially last years and years after those cash prizes are spent.  You don't just get a mild form of design-geek fame, you get a really exciting new life and job. 
(with lots of free stuff, maybe? ooh, yes, I prefer age-defying beauty products, gold and leather jewelry, vintage blue dresses...who am i kidding, i'm that person at Costco that will eat a sample the baby food or metamucil because its free). 

Oh, how life is funny, huh?  Two years ago I was struggling to get clients in LA after moving from New York.  I was kinda bored and we weren't exactly Scrooge McDucking it in money.   But I woke up january 1st, 2010 with less fear than I've ever had.  This was my year, I could feel it.  I started a style blog (hello), auditioned for a reality competition show, and its turned out to be one of the best years of my life.

So here are the lessons learned:

Take Risks.  and Watch HGTV.  

I'll have a behind the scenes and post pictures of my space tomorrow, 
ooh and pictures of the party right now, post sneaks of the special, etc etc.
But for tonight:  

Thank you.

I am an extremely happy little blonde. 


10pm/7pm.  HGTV.  
Yes, i know its the same time as Mad Men and True Blood.  No, i don't care.  Mad Men and True Blood can be netflixed, tivoed, rented, hulued, live streamed or downloaded.  

The design Star Finale can't.  
(well, yes it can on, but a lot of the excitement will have been lost).

Yes i am shouting. out loud. as if the computer is hard of hearing.

i'll have an immediate post at 8:01 pm tonight, and a full recap tomorrow.  

No, I don't know why i'm still writing in such a big font. 

Oh!, and if you are in LA, join us at Agave, 1745 N. Vermont 90027, at 6pm. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

I miss your sweet embrace.

In two days there will be no more secrets between us.  I hate living with you like this.  You turn away when i crawl into bed, you pretend not to notice when i take secret phone calls at night.  You analyze every word i say, every expression i make, desperate for a clue.  And i saw your quiet tears the other day when I said once again, 'I'm sorry, but i just can't tell you.'  
The lack of communication is just killing us.

In two days, there will be no more secrets between us. 

(**update, i'm not talking about Brian, he's in the loop.  I was talking about you and me.  clearly it wasn't a very good joke, 'cause people think i'm discussing my relationship.  sorry.)


Until then, here is another outfit to room that I did a while ago.  
Vanessa Bruno (the fashion) is the shiznit. 

And here is a link to an interview that both Michael an I did, same questions, dueling answers.

HGTV sunday night 7pm pst, or 10pm est and pst.
Win or lose, lets party.  hardy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Viewing Party Sunday night.

Ok.  I've thought about it for a couple weeks and i've decided to have an open invite for the viewing party on sunday.  
It's super casual sporty kinda Mexican bar in our neighborhood that has two huge projector tv screeny things and a lot of tequila.  (its a bit 'hollywood' for our neighborhood, but when in rome)

  Consider this a match against two boxers, but for design geeks.  

Michael and I will battle it out.  And yes, may the best woman win.    

i'll give the play by plan, or behind the scenes or totally shut up, whatever you want.

Besides, I've worked really hard on this blog and I figure now is the best time to try to get to know some of you that would possibly want to get to know me, too.

So you are hereby all invited to come to:  
Agave Cantina and Tequila joint
1745 N. Vermont Ave 
Los Feliz, CA 90027

Show starts at 7pm sharp, no dvr so if you come late you might miss the beginning. 

Valet, i think its only $3 and bring whomever you want.  
We will be there at 6pm. 

Leave in the comments if you are coming so i can have a rough head count.  
And no haters.  Don't even think about it. 


 'Whether I win or lose, all i need are friends and booze'**

that's just a sampling of the kind of wisdom that could come out of my mouth on Sunday.  

** yes i really did make that up.  

You guys choose....

My living Room. Well, my living room  a couple months ago.  

Those pics were taken by Terilyn Fisher.  
Then I switched it up and did this: (crappy photo by me)

Clearly one photo is better styled and better lit, etc, the bottom one was with my point and shoot last week, sans flowers and with some lovely chords.  (and brians leg is randomnly in it).
 I switched out the hides to this black and white one that I got at an antique store ($200) and put the other hide in my bedroom.  Brian misses the warmth of the brown cowhide in here, but i much prefer this one.  And Brian likes the swiss flag more than the collection of weird black/grey art - some are crooked, i know. i was only trying it out.   

Ooh, and I found those nesting tables on the left side of the sofa at the flea market for 20 bucks, and they are staying because i love 'em.  Right now the flag is back up because Brian gets to win sometimes.  Like this:

What do you guys think?  Swiss flag or weird art?  The flag would go somewhere else, don't worry, i'm not getting rid of it.  I think the collection of art is more sophisticated, but the cross is much more interesting.  

I can't decide, i'm too close to it.  Its like how sometimes you need another parent or a friend to tell you how good or bad your children really are. 

 When you are emotionally involved with something, its hard to be objective. 

 Yes, maybe i do have a romantic relationship with my vintage pieces. 
and  yes, I'm ok with it. 

****UPDATE:  you guys are awesome.  You really should try out for a little old show called Design Star, cause some of you guys have some pretty good ideas. The flag is staying. And i'm reworking whats above the fireplace.  Thank you sooooooooooooooo much.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Outfit to Room. I'll break it down.

Thank you guys soooo much for the abundance of support.  It makes me feel all warm inside, like chicken soup, or Makers Mark.  Seriously appreciated.

Some of you might remember when I  posted some fashion to rooms in Februrary  - the pictures are just screen grabs, i didn't style them unfortunately.  Well, now you know it was for the audition of the show.  I, obsessed with being prepared, came in with a bunch of fashion to rooms to drive home the idea to the casting folk, because it was a bit abstract.

By the way, i really wish i had seen the Thom Felicia show now, Dress your nest.  Why didn't it last?  Did people like it, or no?

 Below the pic is a mini-bio, just to pound the concept into your head.  Sorry the type is small, it is scanned in and i don't know how to make it bigger.  Me no photoshop.  My friend Teri did the photoshopy part. 
Of course its kinda obvious. But I was afraid of being too nuanced and having them not get it. 

To clear a couple things up from commenters on HGTV (which i only glanced at i promise)

1.  A uniform is not a style, it's what you are forced to wear to work.  So don't worry, you don't need to decorate your home all in camouflage, i promise.
2.  You don't have to change your house every time you change your clothes.  I'm shocked i just had to actually type that.
3.  It would not be a random outfit like your workout clothes or pajamas, the inspiration would come from an outfit that most represents your style.  

I'm not saying this is fool proof or the only way to decorate your home.  it's just a good way to start if you are trying to figure out your style inclinations.  

If you wear a lot of jewelry, then you probably like a lot of decorative accessories.   If you don't, then maybe you need your accessories to be functional as well as decorative.  

If you tuck in your shirt tightly and where cuff links and the perfect Armani tie, then you might like a more masculine,  simple, high end space.

If you wear the same pair of pants everyday, you should wash them, but it probably means that you like familiarity and comfort and you should own a really big comfortable sofa, a coffee table that you can put your feet on and style the room with functional ease.

If you wear stilettos, then you might not mind a less functional sequin pillow, for instance.  

Heres another one -  I want to be this person. 

So her clothes have a vintage Victorian feel, but she wears them very loose and relaxed, like she doesn't care.  She comes off conservative yet, mischievous.  (the fashion was from Mayle and sadly she is no longer designing, does anyone know what Jane Mayle is up too?)

Domino's outfit to rooms are the best, i'll scan in a bunch and go through those.  The City Sage and Design Sponge also do some as well that are pretty great.  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Episode 9, re-cap

I told you. Ind-a-effing-vidual challenges folks.  'sbout time.  and I was ready.  I was sick as a dog and had no voice, but i didn't care. i wanted to win.  And at this point I started to realize that I had a good chance of doing just that.  It was three, now down to two, folks.  TWO!!

Ok, so here's how it went down. After we got the challenge and measured our houses, I started developing my concept.  I knew I wanted a feature wall with fabric as wallpaper, as I love wallpaper. I love vintage-inspired patterns and I remember seeing this one at Zarin's a few challenges ago and while its kinda nuts and has grapes on it for god sakes, it has a youthfulness about it that I love.  

I knew that i wanted to mix my love of victorian with my love of modern.  WHAT???!!! ARE YOU NUTS? calm down, no. its not crazy.  I'm of the camp that if you keep some consistency through colors, you can mix any styles together.  ya heard me. 

I knew I wanted to bring in some natural elements, because i'm a little forest girl at heart.   And if the room looks slightly '70's, its cause it is, its my favorite decade, where people started doing extra weird things with their decor and it was way less uptight than the '60's (don't get me wrong, i love the 60's).

Off we go to Housing Works (a high end thrift store chain in Manhattan)  I grabbed that brass coffee table base, the mirror above the sofa, both lamps, and a ton of books and pretty things for eh shelves.  (later i wrapped linen around wood that I cut and made that the top of the coffee table - i loved it)

Then up to DWR where I snagged that awesome green vintage sofa (if its still there, somebody better grab it, i think it was only $1200).  I remember thinking, huh, green against that fabric...  oh, crazy emily. but it was the risk i needed - and now I can't imagine not having it.  The large area rug, cowhide,  the string chandelier - which is hard to see, but always beautiful, and the mid-century danish chair and ottoman were all from DWR as well.  Casey and Michael were there at the exact same time and there were a few things that we quibbled over, but ultimately i think we have different enough aesthetics that i got what i wanted.   step off, ladies. 

Then to one of my favorite stores in the world, Penine Hart Antiques.  Your welcome, in advance.  She has an amazing eye and is perfectly priced.  She sells her own art which is beautiful and affordable (I bought my first real piece from her when I was 25, for like $300 and I still love it).  So at Penine's I picked up the mirrored side table (gorgeous), the white Victorian chair (beautiful) and the big frames that I leaned against the glass.  They were all the perfect Victorian antiquey things i needed to mix with the DWR stuff.  

In this pic, above, the room looks really spread out, but it wasn't - its just the lens.  It was the perfect little seating area, if I do say so myself.  

Finally we went to Andrianna Shamaris, an AWESOME store in Soho (and Malibu) that has a lot of imported crazy beautiful natural and organic pieces, many that she designs herself. From her I got the two petrified stumps that completed the coffee/cocktail tables, the side table next to the sofa that has inlaid mother of pearl shells, and the throw pillows.  

I loved everything and i knew i could make them work in a room.  My goal was to make a room that felt like me in every way (or how I fancy myself, anyway) - colorful, casual, exciting, a little weird, but well-balanced and somewhere that you can have fun.  Would I do it for every client, of course not. But the point was to show our style and i'm kinda a maximalist, and so is this room. so sue me.  although i wouldn't recommend it as I have very little money.
My favorite part?  ooh, dunno.  I love a lot about it.  I love the combination of the white victorian chair with the white mid-century chair.  I love that brass coffee tabe with the linen wrapped top.  I love the bold pattern on the walls and how the cowhide balances it out on the floor.  I love that it feels feminine but not overly girly.  you guys know i can be super self-critical, overly so at times, but not this time.  I still love this room.  

Regrets?  i'm not psyched about the 'shelving system'.  But I couldn't find one whilst shopping and being a fan of open backed display shelving, i needed one.  It was fine.  

Oh and you can't tell how beautiful the drapery is, but it is.  It's just linen, but the way its woven is fairly loose with a 70's vibe. it was a nightmare to cut and sew (I had four 100" panels layed out on the sidewalk of new york) but once I had them up I was happy - they created much needed intimacy.  I wish the fabric/wallpaper went all the way up to the same level as the drapery, but it was 90 degrees in the glass house and that was my only source of fresh air.  

Ooh, can we talk about my friend Scotty?  When I saw him i was first kinda confused.  i recognized him, but it had been so long since i had seen or talked to anyone on the outside, that it was just bizarre.  I mean, all my friends in New York were within blocks of me this whole time, and now i get to hug one all of a sudden?  You can't imagine how happy i was.  Everyone should have a Scotty.

He told me later that he was actually booked that day on a job and had to get Cindy (my old boss and friend) to fill in for him on set (he's a prop stylist too), which is a very weird thing to do.  it would be like an actor telling the director, 'yo, listen, i'm gonna go ahead and take today off, but i got a friend that looks just like me, he's great, you'll love him'.   It just doesn't happen.  

Luckily the client had worked with Cindy before, so it was ok.  But point is that I owe Scott and Cindy a HUGE thank you.  You have no idea how much I appreciated it, and Scott truly was the perfect person.

He works hard and fast, and he has a great eye.  When my brain was tired of deciding if the lamp should be on the left or on the right, he would be like 'right!' and i could trust him.  and he made me laugh and gave me lots of much needed hugs.  I felt so bad that I could hardly talk to him because of my voice.  

**I wish they could have taken these pics during the day,  the light looked so beautiful in the room.  

Elimination.  My hosting kinda sucked.  i can do so much better than that.  but i felt like I was shouting just to get the words out and it HURT.  i was super bummed.  It would be like a pianist coming down with a 24 hour case of arthritis - it doesn't make it impossible, but extremely challenging.  

But regardless of the hoarseness, this is the first time I didn't think i was going home (well not the first time).  I loved my room and if I was the judges I would want to see more from me.  Candace said it was her favorite room all year, in fact I think the quote was, 'Each year, one room really flutters my knickers, and this is the room'.  not sure what that means, but i'm sure its the equivalent of 'knocking her socks off'. and being a Candace fan, that made this little blondie feel good.  Genevieve loved it, too.  Vern said that he liked it, but it was 2 whiskers away from being the crazy cat lady house, but Vern and I have pretty different styles so i wasn't offended.  and i like cats, by the way,
Michael was safe, and It was down to Casey and I.  Casey was my best friend on the show.   I wasn't sad to see her go, necessarily, but I knew I would miss her a lot.  She's rad.
And you should hire her. (

Final Two.  INSANE!
This week will be a good fashion to room week.  I'll post some of my favorites from Domino, as well as some that I have put together.  I actually didn't know about the Tom Felicia show, oops.  

Thank you guys sooooooo much for all the support.  You have no idea how much it means to me that people actually want me to win.  thank you thank you thank you. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010


i haven't watched it yet, we are starting it right now, but as i recall - i hope to god i'm remembering it right - i am still in.  


i'm pretty happy right now.  pretty happy.

check back tomorrow for the real scoop.

- don't worry, those are good ah's, i'm not in pain.
(but for now, know that I know that i didn't come up with the outfit to room concept - there just hasn't been a show that i liked about it. thank you Domino.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Design Star, Sunday, fools

I'm getting pretty excited for this sunday.  Individual challenge, folks. 

I remember getting back to the penthouse after elimination last week and having a total-reality-show-epiphany.   I said to Casey in a whisper, 'Um, since I'm here, i may as well win this thing.'  The same thing occurred to her,  we both laughed and were like, oh sh**.  its on.  We knew that Michael had his eye on the prize the whole time, but Casey and I just became competitive.  Then Michael came back from elimination and while we were and still all friends, there was definitely a different feeling in the air.

because we are in the


Its not that Casey and I  hadn't wanted to win the whole time, but we were running around like crazy people, glue gunning drapery, staple gunning tables together, dealing with nutty designer personalities that we had to work and live with, and I think we forgot that it was actually possible to win.  Casey isn't competitive either, so its not that we were trying to not win, but we were just trying to do good work, have fun and if it happened, great.

I started the competition thinking, sure, I could win, but after the first challenge I kinda gave up on that as a possibility because I clearly didn't work well under the constraints.  I was like, nope, its not for me.  I didn't think i was cut out for it, and frankly my style is 90% vintage and that wasn't a production possibility (til this week) so i really didn't know how to get my style into the spaces. 

 I had two rules going into Design Star:  

1. Don't do anything that you wouldn't do for yourself or for a real client.  In other words don't do something just for the sake of the TV competition, something you would totally regret later and be embarrassed by.  

Would i have design the  dining room from the last challenge for me? nope, but for the right client i would use that color palette and paint the ceiling, sure.

Would I do what i'm about to do in the glass house for a client?  We'll see.  I kinda like it,

but that's only my opinion.  

Those three people up in those chairs with all the power,  might feel differently.  
(and I'm very curious what you guys are gonna think, it could be divisive)

Rule #2:  I promised to just be myself. no performing.  and if they don't like me, that's ok.   This was much easier to stick to.  much.  in fact it was the easiest thing in the world to do.  

But back to why we are there.  The judges like all three of us a lot.

  They like Michael because he speaks the design language perfectly, has great taste and he is confident as a leader. 

They like Casey because she's a smart designer and exudes HGTV host, as she is the 'bombshell' (cut to me with a Casey voo-doo doll, chanting 'oh, yes, she will bring in the male viewers, alright' while i rip her naturally perfect hair out,  one by one) 

And with me? they keep saying over and over how comfortable i am, just being me, and how refreshing it is.   And they like my style. (and yes, it took hours of scouring Facebook to find 2 pictures that i liked.)

I think they get all of our perspectives at this point:
i'm the unfussy not-traditionally trained kinda bohemian stylist, who likes color and pattern as much as quiet and pretty. (of course i give myself a good description, come now) (pics from my portfolio below)

Casey is the traditionally trained designer that weighs function and quality equally with what is beautiful, and she can draw a space plan quicker than i can reach for my tool belt (which takes a while, because i've undoubtedly put it somewhere random like the dishwasher.)
(Casey worked for HBA - a huge hospitality firm for years, so she can't really 'claim' any of the work for her portfolio, that's why these are just mock-ups.  Check out her company's website for an insight into what she does, and click on the little heart to go to their amazing online services.

And Michael is urban yet luxurious and is unbelievably creatively quick and resourceful - his mirror last week was awesome.  truly. (pics from Michael's portfolio below)

As we went to bed the night before the glass house challenge, we made a toast: 

May the best woman win.  

and yes we used this joke a lot the next couple days, and Michael ate it up.  

Watch me on sunday.  10pm, HGTV - I know you know, but just in case.
p.s. that picture was 8 pounds ago, i highly recommend the reality show diet.  its 100% guaranteed. and yes, that is my favorite dress.  clearly.  (good will, 6 years ago, %150 polyester, cost $5 and hemmed to fit)


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