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. 


  1. Absolutely awesome, and a ton of fun to read. I think food also says a lot about a person's design needs (just like fashion). I'm wondering if you'd ever give a shot at designing around both? (kinda like the brunch challenge...only...without a team and with the twist of fashion draws).

  2. I KNEW when you finally got to do your own room it would be amazing, and it is! This is the first season I've watched more than one episode, because there's a show I actually want to see: yours.

  3. Also you looked beautiful, even though you were sick. Way cuter than the other blondie!

  4. You rocked it, Emily! I turned to my bf and said "there's no way they're sending her home, even if she blows the hosting part, cuz that room is crazy good." The way you mixed and layered stuff--ridiculous!! Love. it.

  5. Ummm....I know you're going to win! You rocked that space last night! I mean seriously! I never comment on your blog, just a lurker, but I had to tell you how much I loved your space!

    Fingers crossed for you next week, but I doubt you'll need that;-)

  6. Saw the show for the first time last night. Loved your room and was telling a friend about it today. He told me about your blog. So glad to know about it. xx- Brooke

  7. I really liked your room a lot. It definitely showed your ability to mix styles. The only thing I didn't really care for was the shelf (it was okay...)

    I thought Michael's room was probably the worst, but had the best presentation.

    Casey's room was good, but I couldn't get past those pillar side tables. Also, the picture frames spray painted and put on the wall is a bit played (it looked good though).

    Then again, what do I know?

  8. Random question here, but doesn't bearcat eat the plants in your real apartment? I seriously want some plants in my place, but then I'd have to clean up kitty vomit all the time.

  9. your room was by FAR my fave. i made my husband watch this season of design star with me, and we are both your fans. in fact, when you made the final two, my hubby jumped out of his seat and full-on yelled "YESSS!!!!" for a minute i thought we were watching football.
    i'm rooting for you emily!
    love your style, love your sarcastic, funny point of view...and, you are mega-talented to boot. hgtv will be lucky to have you.

  10. Lesley, if you go over to the ASPCA site, you can find lists of plants to know what's toxic to cats and dogs and what's not.

    Emily... I think we missed something in the design. It looked like it was just fabric over glass on the feature wall, but, if that were the case, how did you get things to hang? Is there something behind the fabric? Enquiring minds want to know. ;p

  11. BTW, if you win, are you allowed to invite the other LA area designers from your season on as guests, or is there something preventing that?

  12. You did it! I knew you would and I can't wait to see your next project on Design Star~~That room was awesome, it was totally the winner and I shouted "YES! She did it!" when you got to stay. One more challenge to go before naming you Design Star!

  13. love love loved your room. everything was so well thought out, and i thought the green couch against that fab fabric was an awesome contrast. i also enjoyed your collections of "pretty things" through the room. definitely think you were the best by far, and i hope you win!! i find some of the other design shows out there pretty nauseating, and it'd be nice to have a new perspective to watch every week. :-)

  14. I love the mixing of different design eras! Who says you have to stay in the same decade right? Good for you for mixing is up and doing it SO beautifully! I'm so glad we finally got to see your personality come out through a room, in the much needed and long awaited individual challenge!

  15. Well deserved because of your unique style. In past episodes you always rock the presentation so a hoarse voice wasn't a setback in my eyes.

    In my opinion you just HAVE to win.

  16. Holy beautiful room, Emily! LOVED IT!!!! Had you not made it through, I was just going to give up on this whole crazy world of design because I would have had to believe I just don't know what the hell I'm talking about. But you did make it through and I'm thrilled for you! Ohmigosh! readers love you and I do, too. You've got my vote fo sho! :D

  17. Emily!! Your room is AMAZING. You are amazing! You've come such a long way in your career, and have such a distinct, personal, creative style and eye for beauty. I am crossing everything that can be crossed that you get your own show because America needs your help!!!!!!!

  18. Finally, my Internet was cooperating this afternoon so I just finished watching yesterday's episode. I could move in to that room right now and feel perfectly at home, except for that whole glass box plopped in the center of town (minor detail). I love and totally relate to your concept and style, and I am rooting rooting rooting for you to take the cake! BIG fan. :) Best of luck!

  19. fabulous! you should be proud (it's okay--we'll allow it!) You must be floating right now and you should be--awesome!

  20. Congrats two!!!

    Your room was intriguing and organic and warm and cozy. Definitely a place I'd like to sit and talk with friends, chat online, take a nap or day dream..,.just live.

    Can't wait to see the Final Show and your design.

  21. I commented on your room on your last post.
    Again, I loved it. You had so many wonderful touches. Hope your voice is getting better. I was worried about you. I could tell at elimination that you were reallynot feeling well. Best of luck this week. ((((HUGS))))

  22. Bravo!! you are THE BEST!!! ;)

  23. I am too tired right now to read all the other comments. Long day at work and have to go back this evening. Sigh.

    Just HAD to drop in and read what you had to say about the show we all got to see last night. I totally loved your room. I AM AM AM The Crazy Cat Lady. ROFLMAO. Read it to DH and he agrees. Scary.So glad you stuck with your gut and did the green couch. I swooned the first time they showed it against the blue fabric wall. Hey who knew they were grapes on the fabric?? Does not show up on our TV.

    I have learned so much from your post today. And your room design. I REALLY hope to get to see more.

    Hoping you will win DS. You deserve it.


  24. Congratulations, Emily! Your room was really wonderful.

    I've got questions that I hope you'll be willing to answer.

    1. Do you have a budget w/every project?
    2. Are there specific stores you are required to shop at?
    3. WEre you all required to put down hardwood flooring or was that a coincidence?

    Hmmm, there were others but I can't think of them now. It would help me, when watching the show, to know some of the above parameters you're working within. I wish they'd cover them during the show.

    Good luck next week!!

  25. Hello.

    So I just finished watching the tivoed (that looks weird...tivoed)version of this weeks Design Star and I literally yelled "I WANT IT" with much unseen enthusiasm. Your room was perfect in every single way. I saw fabric walls on another show recently and I was thrilled to see that you utilized it!
    So obviously I discovered your blog when searching for a picture of your sunroom to keep as a mental note,and I saw that you worked with DOMINO! No. Way.
    I have basically been a collector of their unique awesomeness dog earring, undoing it, and then re tagging over and over again until they went and how do I put it...died?

    Well the point of this whole comment is, I am a huge fan of photography, and I have never seen propstylist a plausible option or even one that existed for that matter. BUT it only makes sense that as I take pics for a hobby, I know the angles and lighting that works and doesn't. It is consonance and dissonance coming together to find the perfect harmony. Now I want to do it with my interior design degree (when I get it of course). I am looking at an internship with Anthropologie..the title is Visual Display Internship.
    My question is...where did you go/major in and how did you jump start your career? Do you have any tips for me like where would be the best location to look for an internship or the best kind to look for in general?

    Your response would be much appreciated and just so you know...I am rooting for you with an IZZE in hand!
    Please email me:

  26. Dawn, to answer some of the questions:
    yep, our flooring option was the hardwood, but i think that's what we would've all put down anyway.
    The budgets are tricky because its some cash, some credit at stores. so yes, different every time.
    At this challenge we were alowed to shop at a lot of stores - we couldn't even get to them all. As long as production could call ahead and make sure its ok, then we could shop there.

  27. Emily,
    I've been following Design Star and reading a blog called Ohmigosh who posts follow-ups to every episode and was so glad to see that she posted a link to your blog! I didn't even know you had one until now. Loved the interview you did on there this week and I loved your room this week. You are so gifted and have something special to share with the world and I know no matter what happens on the show that success will find you in all you do and love. Best wishes. Tasha

  28. I loved your room but now I love it even more knowing that you made the draperies on a NYC sidewalk !

  29. I loved, loved, LOVED this room. You did such a great job!

  30. I've wanted you to win all along, but now I REALLY want you to win so that I never have to hear Michael say "yuppy" or "starter outer" again.

    I'm seriously coveting that green couch, btdubs.

  31. YEAH!! Emily, we don't have cable and I've watching the episodes on Hulu and they don't have episode 9 up on hulu, yet!! I can't believe it. I've been dying to see it and I've been holding off reading your blog (b/c I wanted to watch the episode first), but I couldn't stand it. SO, I just read your post and I am so HAPPY you're in the final two!! You deserve it. You're my favorite designer on the show!! I love your unexpected style - it's so real!! Good luck, girl!!!

  32. Thanks for addressing my questions, Emily. I know you must be crazy busy right now and appreciate you taking the time!

    I can't wait for next Sunday night. I love your style and the concept for your show... will be pulling for you:).

  33. I've been rooting for you since you first blogged that you were on the show. During the first few episodes I was pretty worried! So glad you've made it to the end, and finally had an individual challenge! I love the blue and green together, your use of neutrals to keep it from being overwhelming was great.

    PS. You've done an amazing job each week at not giving away how this will end!

  34. Well, I think it's abundantly clear that you will be the ultimate winner! Cannot WAIT to see the results show next week ... congratulations in advance! ;)

  35. ZOMGZ, Penine Ann is AROUND THE CORNER from my office and I've never been there before...field trip tomorrow!

    You rocked it big time, chica. I actually LOVED the bookshelf, and the fabric was gorge. Also, when I die I want to be wrapped up in a cow hide.


  36. Your room rocked! I loved everything about it!

    I SO hope you win!!!

  37. I JUST now found your blog and I must say that I'm very impressed. I know you get a lot of criticism (both good and bad) for your work on Design Star but I, for one, would just like to say that I commend you for even being on the show to begin with. Some of the same people who are leaving you "hate posts" probably would get eliminated within just a few episodes if they were even brave enough to put themselves out there to begin with. You will never please ALL people ALL the time. Take criticism only from those who are rooting for you - because those who want to see you succeed with tell you the TRUTH, whether it's about a strong point of your or it's something you need to work on. Long story short...congratulations on making it to the finale! Best of luck to you!

  38. Loved your room and I swear if you don't win I am going to punch my TV.

    Also, even though they don't seem to be very popular, I really loved those shelves. I showed them to my husband with a strong hint that he should try to build didn't work very well though. :( Are they around anywhere (i.e., please ship to Texas :D)? What happens to all the furniture after you guys are done?

  39. I just googled 'now, who was it that said they were raised Mormon on Design Star' and your fabulous blog popped up! I love your take on Momons and I think it's spot-on.

    Your room was BY FAR my favorite. I love your style and I hope you win so I can learn more from you. Best of luck!

  40. Congrats!! SO glad to see individual designs this week... metal and linen tables are going to be EVERYWHERE now.

  41. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, and the process you went through putting together your room.
    I love the 70's vibe, like the homes of Lee Radziwell, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Truman Capote.
    Hope your throat gets better.
    Now onto the win!!!!
    xo xo

  42. Yay!Beautifl, thoughtful room. Lovely, lovely. So very glad you FINALLY had the opportunity to really show your style & talent!


  43. I loooove your room. It made me die a little bit with longing. I hope HOPE you win!!!

  44. I loved everything about this room! I wish that they would have included more individual challenges in the season so that you could show off more of your talent!!

  45. Loved the room, love you and your blog. You've got it all: good looks, brains, talent and that "quirky" personality. Sounds like the perfect combination for someone who could host her own show. Bring it!

  46. Emily,
    I would love to see your show on HGTV. When did you start designing? Did you take interest in it when you were young, or start when you were older? I'm not even a teenager yet, but I love to make up design plans for the rooms in my house.


  47. Team Emily going on @ our house. Felt so bad for you last week not feeling well, but you didn't let it effect your determination to pull-off a fabulous space. I admire & love your eclectic style; should of realized you were from super terrific Portland. I have two (adult) kids that live there (& a U of O Duck) & I grew up in the Seattle area. Will be watching on Sunday Emily & whatever happens your the Design Star in my book!

    All the best ~ deb

  48. Oh Emily, THANK YOU SO MUCH! That was absolutely my favorite room of all the Design Star seasons, and not just becoz you know what. I'm thrilled to have my stuff in your lovely design, and I just know you are going to win, and you deserve to win. Wonderful, you really got the whole thing just pitch-perfect!

  49. Your room was completely gorgeous!

    And I loved your hair when you were in front of the judges.

    Can't wait for Sunday! Hope you win!

  50. Pulling for you! I had a feeling about you from the beginning...LOVE your style, and the theme for a show! --Gretchen O.

  51. finally got around to watching the show...and yay! you made it to the final! tgif for solo challenge finally...wishing you the best! and that was the best hosting you've done, even if you were sick :)awesome room...totally my steez!

  52. This was definitely my favorite room ever. I love the mix of pattern, color and the wood. I don't think it's crazy at all. I just think it's perfect.

  53. Beautiful, beautiful work!
    I want to shout to the world, "my lover is in the final 2!!!!" And my money's on you.

  54. I always have to wait for Design Star to come on the internet to watch it and it finally did and I'm soo excited you made it to the final two!!! Congratulations! I absolutely LOVED your space the best. It was so beautiful. I can't wait to watch the finale!!

  55. I am SO happy to have found your blog. You were my fav from the beginning (have to give the Oregon girl some love - I'm from Corvallis)! But I was kind of down on this season of DS - wished there was more emphasis on personal style, judges seemed cold and harsh. Anyways - when I found your blog a few weeks ago and was able to read through your insiders perspective I had a renewed interest in the show. I love your honest (and kind - seems rare in the reality TV world) observations and insight. Good luck in the finale!

  56. Emily... I liked you since the first episode, even though you kinda bombed that one. I REALLY want you to win. I was watching this episode with my bf, and knowing you were safe for the final, I CRIED!! That was insane. I could relate myself a lot to you so maybe that is why I'm your die hard supporter. Can't wait to see the final episode. :D

  57. I really really loved your room. The green color agains the patterned material was jaw-dropping. This is seriously one of my favorite rooms ever. So, so perfect.

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. Emily!
    Your room was really fantastic. I loved your concept, loved the arrangement, and especially loved the color scheme! I'm completely taken with the combo of THAT blue and THAT green. It isn't the same blue and green we've seen a million times - so fresh! and the accents of white? simply genius. I'm dying to "borrow" the color scheme for a party I'm working on, but I can't put my finger on them. Do you have any names for the colors? It isn't quite "midnight" blue, not "navy"... The green looks darker than an "olive"?

    I'd love any specifics for those two colors if you have a second.

    btw, I JUST found your blog at

    -a fellow Portlander,

  60. I loved Your room and I hope you win!

  61. I loved your room best and am so glad you didn't get eliminated!!! Hope you are the winner

  62. I. LOVE. THIS. ROOM! Everything about it. Including the plant :) Can you let us know what type of plant that is?

  63. This space was fantastic!! From the very first episode I thought you could win this thing and I so hope you do! I love the idea of translating fashion to interiors and you are brilliant to conceive of this for your show.
    Best of luck to you!

  64. Emily thought you were the best from the beginning !!! So glad you won will definatley watch your show.CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!

  65. Congrats on winning Design Star Emily! Bravo!

    I've been looking everywhere I can and cant seem to discover what it is you used to put that fabric on the wall. I'm a renter and cant paint, but I am in desperate need of some color on the walls and I think your solution would be PERFECT!

    Thanks for your help and congrats again! You're a superstar!

  66. Congrats Emily I picked you on week 2 as the overall winner. I usually wait until around week 4 to make my prediction but you have got a personality that says you're a winner. Have I got an eye for talent or what? LOL
    You've got the looks the personality and the talent to be a great actress if you ever wanted to go in that direction. Best wishes.

  67. Hi Emily,
    I have a vintage store here in LA, Empiric. I love your style and was rooting for you on the show. Congratulations! You use a plant in some of your rooms (including the sunroom featured in this post) and I need a couple of them (read as must have). Its the tall leggy number in the corner and I am obsessed. If you know the name, and have a sec, I'd really appreciate their info.
    A fellow religious Sunday swap meeter, I'm sure our paths will cross. Just hopefully not because we are haggling for the same cool vintage find.

    Best of luck!

  68. I love your work Emily! So excited that you won!
    On a side note- can you please tell me where you got your shoes for this episode. I absolutely love them! Thanks so much



Related Posts with Thumbnails