Sunday, August 8, 2010

Episode 8, pre-cap

Ah, thrift stores.  Where my style life started and will undoubtedly end. Ahem.  

Let me tell you a little story.   It's called 'Playing in questionable locations as a child.'  Here's how it went.  

When I was little we lived WAY out in the country.

It was idyllic.  Truly.  

But garbage service didn't come to us, (I told you, way out in the country) so every saturday we had to load up the trailer (not that kinda of trailer) with that weeks garbage and take it to the dump.  

Now, there are two dumps right next to each other - the 'icky garbage' dump and the 'unwanted things' dump.  This is before everybody took their unwanted items to thrift stores to be resold (in my town at least), 
so off to the dump they would go. 

While my dad and brother were dumping garbage into the yucky dump, i snuck off and played with the unwanted things.  I got so excited to go every week, to play in my secret world and my secret friends - er, i mean, things.  

While this sounds cookoo for cocoa puffs, I firmly believe that this is not that weird (cut to me chanting in the mirror as an adult,  'playing in the dump as a child is not weird, playing in the dump as a child is not weird').  

Kids love playing with adult things, pretending to be grown up, creating worlds with their imagination, and that's what I did.  In the dump there were old chairs, lamps, boxes of dish ware, bikes, toys, encyclopedias, etc. etc.  

It was always different, exciting and a universe of infinite possibilities.  Everything had a story, a past, a history.  Things had age and personality.  

(for the record while the dump was not dangerous, my parents did not encourage or condone this and eventually stopped letting me go and instead just took me to the two thrift stores that were in town.  
They aren't the weird ones, i am.)  

The point?  I am super comfortable (ecstatic, really) in thrift stores, junk shops, vintage stores, antique malls,
flea markets etc. etc.  
And this challenge rocked my Good Will world.  

I still get that same rush upon entering an antique mall or flea market - its half panic, like 'how can i possibly see every booth at the same time, at once!', and half calming, like 'Hello Emily, welcome back home, we missed you. oh and you look smashing'. (yes, the flea market is british).  And 95% of my apartment and my sets are vintage, because meloves vintage.

I remember walking into the thrift store designed space for this challenge and knowing that with enough time I could do a number on all this stuff,  'cause i've played in this world before. 

  It knows me, and we like each other.  a little too much.

But with these kind of expectations of myself (and now your expectations 'cause i hyped myself all up), can i deliver?  I've been on the bottom twice now and I think the judges are awaiting my real arrival into this competition.  I think they trust my taste and they like me personally,  I haven't won a challenge.  I have very few regrets, but also very few standout moments.  

Whats gonna happen, yo? whats gonna happen?

**update.  no spoiler alert, but i'll post my review of tonight, tomorrow.  stay tuned.


  1. i loved your work in this episode. bravo on the bold colors.

  2. guess we are soul mates on the thrifting issue. I mean, I am such a thrift snob. My attitude is, "ANYBODY can just go out and buy new stuff and plunk it down at their place..." I'd much rather sift thru the treasures that had former lives, that have some evidence of love and wear. That, ladies and gents, makes a home. Or at least makes MY home. It probably just creeps my guests out.....

  3. People in a few super posh towns around Boston still have this kind of dump! The dumps in these towns are so great that you have to have a town sticker to get into them. It has the air of a swamp meet...people trade furniture, art, kitchen goods, etc.

    I used to work at a college near the Wellesley dumb and students got special permission to go to there, despite their lack of official residency. The engineers especially loved it, since they could salvage all sorts of things out of electronics and toys.

    Funny...we used to think of it as Yankee thrift. :)

  4. When I bought my first house at 19, I thought everything needed to be from Pottery Barn. The results were okay, but not great.

    When I bought my second house about 2 years ago at 23, the list of renovations needed were so large that our furniture budget has been tiny. We starting hitting estate/garage sales, antique malls, thrift stores, craigslist and anywhere else we could find cool pieces for reasonable prices.

    What we've found out is that the hunt is as enjoyable (if not more) than the buying of the pieces. It's been an enjoyable hobby for my wife and I.

  5. last night showcased one of my fave spaces. i think thrifting is the supreme form of recycling, and everything was made so much better years ago anyway!

    i love love love thrift shopping for home goods and clothes. it's definitely an addiction for me, too. :-)

  6. oooh I just loved what you did! You were definitely in your element.

  7. Emily, I ADORED your choices for this room. And I loved this post - it is certainly not weird to have a creative mind or to love vintage things. If it is, then there's more weird people (like me) out there, so no worries. :) I have been a fan of yours from before DS even aired (your portfolio you posted on HGTV = gorgeous). I hope you make it to the end, but even if you don't, you're a true winner in my book.

    Join the design revolution |

  8. LOVED the lamp you made, LOVED the green sealing, LOVED the curtains. I really hope you win the whole show, and if not, I hope they give you your own show anyway. It could be all about thrifting and transforming crap into beautiful design. I would watch every episode and steal all your ideas.

  9. Finally a pretty decent episode - you did great, and I felt like I learned a lot from all the designers, you would be the winner of this ep if there was one - Even though Michael is kinda mean, he did okay too - okay,okay,okay,okay, I knew you'd be in top four, and when you said you love repurposing, I knew you were in top 3 - I still think you're the winner, but there's a good shot for casey too, who's never been in the bottom... AAHHHH! the excitement...

  10. You really should have won that challenge! I especially liked the green ceiling and all your spraypainted touches... These things we see on blogs but not so much on HGTV.

  11. If you lived in CB as a child, you played in the dump. I know i did. You were outstanding on this episode, Emily. My favorite by far.

  12. Emily, my dear, you ARE smashing. I think you've been shining all along. This blog is a wonderful way for you to be your witty/sarcastic self without Candace, or any other judge, telling you to do otherwise. Best Wishes.

    P.S. Is Alex's smile as captivating in person as it came across on screen? Wow.

  13. LOVED this week's episode. And now I'm seriously thinking that you're our next Design Star!!!

  14. Oh, ma gaw, I LOVED that episode. I knew you would do well as soon as I saw the thrifty rooms. One question for you, if you need ideas for what to write about: which judge do you like the best? Because Candace can kiss my ass. Or maybe it's just the editing. Also, is Vern reading a teleprompter when he's standing there telling you guys about the challenge? ALSO, did you seriously not know that the brunch would turn into a challenge? AND, why did Casey choose a dish that looked like a large turd?

    Okay, not like you need stuff to write about...but just in case. :)

  15. Hi, you have inspired me to write my first comment ever on anything I like, Congrats! I just started reading all of your blogs 3 days ago when one of David's vlog commentators put up your link. I got so excited because you have been my favorite on DS since the beginning mainly because I saw what you were wearing and knew I'd like your design style the best. Congrats on lasting this long on the show; I was so scared that they were going to eliminate you this recent epi. I am glad they are FINALLY have you do your own room this coming episode instead of working on a team. I hope you showed everyone how much of a banging designer you are! Go Emily!

  16. LOVED your take on thrift stores and am NOT surprised that you're right @ home in them (much like myself). I had never heard of the whole "unwanted things dump" until I moved to NY and travelled to CT. It's a GENIOUS IDEA! and I'm very jealous that we didn't have them in Arkansas!

    Anywho, thrift stores got me through high school & college and now NY trash is getting me through adulthood, so someone up there is looking after me! Come on back when you're ready to scavenge for 'found objects' on the Lower East Side!

    Miss ya... good luck next week! I need to go blog, bad! how do you balance it all!?!?! haha

  17. Emily, you have been my fav since the first epi even though this season of DS is totally appalling (no fault of the designers). As a former recycling and environmental programs coordinator this episode was the only one that I thought had any merit. A show, with you, on repurposing would be the best and only one I would watch. Cheers.

  18. I just watched the episode and I must say, great job!!! Made me want to paint my ceiling, well almost. Looking forward to the next episode.

  19. I too am a dump shopper. Just yesterday I picked up two GREAT vintage trays. They are already up on the kitchen wall. The light in our kitchen is dump shopped too. When I was young I did it because I had to . NOW I dump shop because I KNOW all about that thrill of the hunt.

    Can't wait to see the show tomorrow. Good luck.




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