Throw Blankets and Hot Toddies - Staying cozy in the cold

Anyone ready for Spring? This is starting to feel like the never-ending Winter, and it’s just January, folks so we’re not done yet. I have never been happier to have a hot cup of tea (or a cider toddy)  and a warm throw blanket to cozy up with. 

My living room throws get a LOT of use, and if you don’t have a couple of these around, you should get one. It’s one of those totally functional accessories that are an easily justifiable purchase, especially if this weather continues.

THROW BLANKET ROUNDUP

I like this simple cotton weave from Target:


And this one from Schoolhouse - reminds me of a country house in the woods.

Mudcloth is a trending but timeless material, and this is a great layering piece from Etsy:

Chunky knits are also a great layering piece - they work as a throw or at the foot of a bed and never look wimpy! This one also from Etsy has some great size and color options:

Want to dream a bit more? OK Ladies, get ready for this one -- a MERMAID knit throw:

I guess the weather has gotten to me. 

You're cozying up with your blankie and need something hot to go with it, am I right? For a real warm up, I like a hot apple cider toddy, with bourbon, my new favorite winter drink.

HOT TODDIES AND TEA

Here’s a recipe courtesy of WHOLEFULLY. 

You could substitute a pinch of cinnamon for the stick and just heat it in the microwave, then stir in the honey and bourbon. Boom. Done. 

I always stock up on tea at Trader Joe’s. Favorites are the Chai and Peppermint, but they have it all. 

NEW YEARS VICE

While at 'the Joe's' I  discovered this addictive Maple Pecan Shortbread Mix. It's a combination of pecan pie and shortbread. My sister used to make pecan bars just like them, and I swear these taste just as home made (sorry Monica).  It takes a bit of time to make but it’s worth it (and the hot oven will heat up the house!). If you see this package:

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Buy it. Buy two. You will thank me  — unless you made a New Year's resolution to lose weight, in which case you be very, very angry with me ;-)

Stay Warm!

Jennifer

PS - Ready for some design advice but don't want to leave the house? Book an e-design consultation by skype and email! 

Picking the perfect furniture for your room with Design Boards

If you've ever struggled over which chair (or table, or rug -- you fill in the blank) will work with your room and the rest of your furniture, then making a design board is the easy way to see how it will play. You may already have a Pinterest page or a Houzz book, but creating a dedicated board for your space that can be edited is key to getting the full benefits of this visualization tool. Here are a few tips for making it work:

1. ONE PAGE PER SPACE - Create a page for each room and if you need a reminder, put a small photo of the space on the board. 

2. USE WHITE BACKGROUND IMAGES If you have a choice of furniture images, always choose the one that doesn't have a background 

 This

This

 Not this

Not this

3. CREATE A WAREHOUSE -Don't put EVERYTHING on your primary room page. Create a second page for your image 'warehouse'. This is where you put other items so they don't clutter up your main page. Borrow items from your warehouse to try. 

4. KEEP IT CLEAN - Don't include any links or extra descriptions. These can also live on another page or in your 'warehouse'. 

5. DON'T LEARN A NEW PROGRAM TO DO THIS - Or you won't get it done! Use a program you are comfortable with - I use Pages, but I've seen some great boards with PowerPoint, Word, and of course Photoshop and Indesign. 

6. THIS IS ALL ABOUT EDITING - it costs you nothing to add and subtract pieces -on your board! Play around, reduce and add and you will see when it feels right. Ask yourself the age-old question from Sesame Street: Which one of these things is not like the other?

Here are a few boards I really liked...not all turned into final spaces so it's good to be able to go back and see the original plan.

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Have any questions? Would love to hear what's on your mind when it comes to design! Want to work with me on a design for your space? Let's talk -- you can book a call here

 

 

 

Having fun with a Retro Kitchen Design

I love my job, especially when a challenge comes along that really gets me to think more creatively. Truth is, I deal with a lot of logistics... chasing deliveries, sweet-talking cranky plumbers, returning damaged light fixtures...you get the idea. So I was really happy when appliance maker Big Chill asked if I could could put together a design board incorporating their line of gas stoves that come in AMAZING colors.  I have a beach shack fantasy so this was a perfect opportunity to engage in a bit of dreaming using their Beach Blue appliances. For the floors,  I knew right away I wanted to use these cement tiles I saw on a recent trip to Mosaic House  - and the color worked perfectly with the range.   Lately I've been thinking about using wallpaper in kitchens so I thought this would be a good opportunity to add a bit of wallpaper to the back of open cabinetry, and I liked the sweet yellow bird in this design by fellow Brooklynite Julia Rothman.  I thought this was just enough color to counter the blue, and the pendant light from Dot and Bo sealed the deal. I'm ready to pack up my towel, Coppertone and sunglasses and hop on my bike!

Want to add some of these elements without a full renovation?  You can wallpaper the back of cabinets after removing the doors, switch out light fixtures, and replace cabinet hardware -- it's a weekend makeover for your kitchen!

 1. wallpaper from  Spoonflower  | 2.Range in Beach Blue from  Big Chill   | 3.Cement floor tile from  Mosaic House   | 4. Inset cabinets from  Cliqstudio  | 5. Glass handles from  Rejuvenation   6. Pendants from Dot&Bo

1. Wallpaper from Design Public | 2.  Range from Big Chill |3. Cement floor tile from Mosaic House | 4.  Inset Cabinets from Cliqstudio| 5. Glass Pull from Rejuvenation| 6. Pendants from

 

Ready to create your OWN design board for your room redo project? Find out exactly how in my free e-book, which shows you how to do a complete room makeover in TEN EASY STEPS!

Renovating? 5 tips to a hassle-free renovation

OK, so I exaggerated. There's actually no such thing as a hassle FREE renovation because let's be honest, your home is getting shredded and rebuilt, you've likely moved out,  there's dust and debris, and quite frankly, there are always surprises (and I don't mean surprises like finding a $20 bill in your pants pocket). But there ARE some things you can do to reduce the chance of problems, and I learned all of these on the job. How? Let's just say I've been doing this long enough to make every mistake possible, and even when I think I've got it down pat I discover that there is yet another thing that I didn't think of.

#1.Communicate.  Ninety-Nine percent of problems are caused by breakdowns in communication. Don't overwhelm your contractor with bits of paper and random suggestions. Instead, organize your thoughts, schedule a time, and go over any questions point by point. Then send a line-item list of what was decided upon so there is a clear paper trail. 

#2 Be prepared with your design and be flexible with your design. You probably have an idea of what you want already.  The more planning you have done, the better, but be open to the idea that sometimes modifications need to be made, especially after walls are opened. 

#3 Measure before you make final choices. For example, measure your doors before you order your appliances.  Check for any tight turns, measure every opening, and leave room to spare before you get your heart set on that 36" range. Some retailers will do a site survey to double check - not a bad idea if you are not sure.

#4 Order, in order.  There are certain things you need to have on-site at the very start of a renovation, and others will just clutter the worksite making it difficult to move around. Speak to your contractor, but for kitchen and bath renovations, flooring and shower body valves (this is the part that goes inside the wall) come first, appliances would come later in the process. Also, be aware that lead times vary a lot. Some cabinets take 6-8 weeks for fabrication after you have signed off on the design. Plan your renovation calendar accordingly and don't leave all the details to last! Check order times for tile, fixtures, hardware, t/p holders and any other items that need to be installed by the contractor. 

#5 Changes take money AND time. Be aware that adding new elements to the design will add time and change orders/upcharges to the job. Trust me, your contractor wants to get in and out of the job so he/she can move on. Be understanding that they may not always be able to adjust their schedule to accommodate a large change to the scope of the project. 

Keep the end in mind - it's hard to keep your vision when your place is, well, a mess! But keep a picture of the final result in mind and know that it will be worth it. Could you use some guidance throughout this whole process? How can you know when it’s in your best interest to hire someone and when you should go for your redesign on your own? Take a look at my  Design Coach Tips Video  and I'll share the real-life pros and cons of working with a designer on a project.

Getting the most from Pinterest in your next room makeover

Are you a Pinterest fan? What a great interior design tool - If you’re looking for inspiration when it’s time to redecorate or remodel your home it’s the first place many people turn to for ideas (Click here to follow me and check out some of my favorite Pinterest Boards.)

I’d say at least 80% of my clients, who are coming to me for design help, already have a Pinterest board (or several) with design ideas that they know they like - which really helps when we're working out the look and style of  their space.

But while it's a big help to know what you like, you also need to know how to translate that into your own space --  and that can be tricky.

In this short video, I'll share my tips on how to hear what your pins are REALLY telling you about your style,  and more importantly how to translate the look you love from your board, into a look that you love in your room. (And don't forget to check the bottom of the post to see how to enter my September Giveaway)

 

Here are my top 3 tips:

1. Distinguish what you are reacting to in the photo and whether it's MOVEABLE. for example, if it's the architecture or the sunlight, then enjoy the photo but move on, as those things can't be moved into your space.

2. Use the pins to learn new terminology and descriptive words for searching online and on other sites.

3. Look for the colors, patterns and textures that repeat throughout your pins - these can be translated into color palettes and style directions for your room.

If you’re using Pinterest for interior design that tells me there’s probably an area in your home that could use a makeover. How would you like FREE access to my newest Design Coach Series online course – The Room Makeover Solution – PLUS a 30-minute one-on-one video coaching session with me to get you on the right track? Until September 30th, you can enter my Design Coach Series GIVEAWAY. Click here to enter this September Giveaway and you could win everything you need to make your room makeover spectacular!

3 Tools for Fearless Room Makeovers

 

Do you ever say, “I hate how my living room looks”?

Most of us have space in our home we don’t love – maybe a bathroom, bedroom or entry. But instead doing something about it many of us just live with it because we’re afraid of making an expensive room makeovers mistakes. Or we worry that we’ll spend a lot of money and energy on it and it won’t come together.

Redesigning your room doesn’t need to be intimidating. The key is to have a plan. Too many of us buy on impulse. Maybe we fall in love with something or run into a really great sale we just can’t pass up. Then we’re stuck with something that just doesn’t work.

You need a plan that includes three design tools that can make you fearless and confident as you approach your room redo project. Watch this 3-minute video to learn what they are:

 

So if you’ve ever felt afraid of spending big bucks on a piece of furniture or a room redesign and then not loving it, welcome to the club. We ALL feel that way, including me at times. What I’ve learned is how to deal with these problems through step-by-step processes, so I can minimize mistakes, take the fear out of getting started, and put the fun back in!

My Design Coach Series programs teach you step-by-step systems and techniques that you can apply to YOUR design project. Click here to learn more and make sure to grab a copy of my free ebook – 10 Steps to Your Perfect Room Makeover.

4 Finishing Touches that Turn Functional into Fabulous!

Do you have an area of your home that you’ve put some effort into, but it still doesn’t quite have that polished look you were hoping for? It’s common to run out of steam at the end of a design project or makeover and be left with a nice room, but not a great room. Maybe what’s missing is a little flair or your own personal stamp? Here are four fabulous finishing touches that give your space extra pizzazz without driving you crazy in the process. And get my free Pillow Cheat-Sheet right here!

 

1. Use color to unify.

Does your room look like it’s not very cohesive? Take a look at what you have in the space, and pick a secondary color or two to play with for your finishing touches. For example, a small patch of yellow on a rug or a touch of yellow on a painting can be picked up by a pillow. You can even introduce an accent color that doesn’t show up anywhere else! If you use these colors consistently in your pillows, art and accessories, you can’t go wrong.

2. Start with a clean slate, then add and edit.

If you already have some items on the space you’re working on, such as a shelf, table or mantle, clear them off and place things in one at a time, creating small groups to start. You do not have to use everything! Translation – you should not use everything. Most of the time, a smaller, carefully curated collection of things makes a stronger design statement than having a whole lot of stuff – even if you feel it has a similar theme or color story.

3. With pillows, vary sizes, and work those accent colors!

If you’re picking pillows for a sofa or loveseat, start with your largest pillow in the corner and go smaller from there. Don’t forget to repeat your accent colors, and look for a variety of weaves or textures to keep it interesting. And finally, it’s OK to buy a couple of extras – you’ll have a bit more to play with and you can return the ones that don’t quite work.

Emily Henderson Gallery Wall
Emily Henderson Gallery Wall

4 Hang artwork with a friend.

This is important and it’s not just for the company or for a second opinion. If you are hanging anything on the wall, you need to step back and see it in context. Your friend can hold it up and keep a pencil handy to make note of the best position. If you are  choosing what to put where, don’t be stuck on the ‘where’. Sometimes an unexpected location makes a great statement for your art, so walk around and try some different options. Finally, start at eye level for hanging. This means that the center of the piece should land around 60” above the floor. Of course feel free to break the rules if things look better at a different height but use this as a starting point. Sometimes it’s the small details in the room that really set it a part and make it a space you love to live and work in. So if your room feels just okay pick one or more of these fabulous finishing touches to give it a boost. Are you looking for a complete room makeover? Could you use some support? Click here to learn about my upcoming Design Coach Series, where I coach you through your entire room redo from start to the final finishing touch.

5 steps to Getting Started on your Room Redo

5 Steps to Get Your Room Redo Off on the Right Foot

When I begin a new endeavor, whether it’s setting up my website or running a 10k, I get a little overwhelmed in the beginning, especially if it’s out of my comfort zone. Somehow during those first steps, where I’m trying to figure out which direction I should go, I get stuck. And that can cause me to procrastinate, even though I know it should be a priority.

For a lot of people redesigning a space in their home is not exactly in their comfort zone. Have you ever felt like you had a great idea for your room but you weren't really sure where or how to begin? Has this led you to procrastinate?

Isn’t it true that once you get started it gets so much easier? Let me share five first steps you can take to get your room redo off on the right foot:

1. Discover what you like. If you haven’t already, start browsing to see what design styles you like. Here are a few of my favorites for looking:

http://www.remodelista.com/

http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/

http://www.mydomaine.com/section/home-decor

http://houseandhome.com/

http://www.lonny.com/

and of course, pinterest and houzz!

2. Define what you like (with keywords). Take a very close look at what you like about the space that's inspiring you. Get analytical about it and make sure that what attract you are not unattainable architectural features like high ceilings or giant steel windows. Here are the kinds of things to put on your list: the teal/orange color palette; the neutral color palette with a mix of natural materials like fur, wood, leather, glass; the midcentury modern furniture; the deco style/mirrored furniture; the eclectic bohemian mix.  See if you can come up with keywords and phrases that capture your look. Why? It’s these keywords will help you search online for more examples of what you like as well as furniture and accessories that fit into your room redo project.

3. Create a manageable budget. If you spend any time on Pinterest or Houzz, many times what you are looking at – and loving – is very expensive! Create a budget for yourself and see if you can find alternatives to pieces that may be beyond reach. Some websites like copycatchic.com do a great job of showing ‘high/low’ versions of furniture that looks almost the same. Again, having keywords to describe what you are looking for will also help source bargain versions.

spreadsheet
spreadsheet

4. Put it on the calendar. You’ll increase your chances of enjoying a successfully completed room redo if you don’t plan to do it piecemeal. After all, it’s discouraging living in a half-done space when you started out with a ‘vision’. Make a plan on your calendar that takes into account delivery times for larger pieces, and have a finish date. You may want to plan a little ‘completion celebration’ that shares the new look with friends!

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sample clear and prep_Page_1
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measure-door

5. Don’t forget to measure - It’s a great feeling when you find a piece of furniture that is the perfect fit for your look. But it’s not a great feeling when it turns out it literally doesn’t fit well in your space! Make sure you measure the space it will be going into, as well as any doorways or hallways it will need to clear to get there.

These five first steps will help you get your room redo off to a great start. And once you have some momentum your design project will start to come together. I find that as soon you start seeing results it helps you stay the course and get it done! Would you like some tangible support in tackling your room redo? Click here to learn about my upcoming Design Coach Series, where I coach you through your entire room redo from start to finish. It’ll be fun – all you have to do is get started!

How to Accessorize with Pillows without Blowing your Budget or Your Mind

Do you find yourself with dozens of unused pillows because after a few weeks on your coach or bed you decided they didn’t look quite right? Or maybe you’re too afraid to buy any pillows so your sofa looks barren.I don’t know what it is about pillows but they seem to create a design phobia for many. In fact, even though I should know better I found myself in a bit of a quandary when picking out pillows for my own sofa! Watch this five-minute video where I share the mistakes I made and how you can avoid them with a few simple design strategies…

 

I was definitely making my pillow selection harder than I needed to!  Once I approached it the same way I do for my clients I was able to get the perfect combination.

Here’s a recap of how to pick the perfect combination of pillows without losing your mind:

  • Choose all of the pillows at once – this coordinated approach is more effective than a piecemeal effort.
  • Bring a sample of your sofa fabric and other pillow covers with you to the store – this will help you select the right color and texture combination.
  • Don’t be seduced by sales items – if you wouldn’t buy it full price then it’s not the pillow for you!
  • Don’t get too “matchy-matchy” – vary with textures, colors and sizes.
  • Do look for a repeating color or pattern that will create a cohesive look.
  • Relax! They’re just pillows. It’s okay to buy a bit more than you need so you can play around with combinations at home. Pillows are easy to return, so don’t hold back.

Want my cheat sheet on the best places to buy throw pillows? Just click below...

Why I love my Job - taking inspiration into the real world

We all have our good days and our bad days, right?  With interior design -- especially if there is building or renovations involved -- it can rattle your nerves and test your patience. Let's face it, the reality of going from an idea seen on a blog, or a pin on pinterest to an actual space is not always easy. Every day I learn something new, and I've been doing this a while. So that's why I like to remind myself what I LOVE about this process. The fact that you really CAN go from an idea or a sketch to something real is truly amazing, and completely rewarding.

Take this typical living room problem:  A radiator that didn't look good and took the 'starring role' on the wall we needed for a media center. Here's where we started:

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The solution? An integrated radiator/storage cabinet that has a pattern of holes for ventilation, along with an inside compartment for equipment. The legs were given their own cutout shape to add character and make it feel more like furniture.

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Screenshot 2015-03-16 20.00.39

And the final result - a neat pairing of form and function. I also added floating shelves above to create additional storage and display space and give the eye a place to land other than the TV. The cabinet maker was great and followed the radiator pattern with precision (it was three different sized holes!).

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So, from a drawing to reality -- this one worked out really nicely. I love my job!

Before and After: A playroom transformed in a day

If you've ever watched HDTV you know that room makeovers are presented miraculously as though they took place overnight.  If you have ever worked with a designer however you know of course that's just not possible...the big 'reveal' is a rarity, and more often there is a much longer process involved to get to the final result. One reason is that you normally go through at least a couple of rounds of furniture ideas  work out all the kinks. Most people aren't ready to make a large purchase they'll be living with for a long time as a quick decision -- it takes time. In this case however I was hired to stage the playroom for purposes of selling the house. Using furniture the clients already had I supplemented with a few key pieces and rearranged the room to create a more inviting atmosphere. With a budget of $1200 the room was transformed.

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Here's what I identified as the key problems / solution

  • The furniture is haphazard and sits awkwardly in the space / rearranged the furniture plan to create designated zones, with a clear seating area
  • The corner of the room is cut off due to the sofa placement / moved the sofa to the other side and relocated a cabinet to anchor the corner
  • There is no focal point / placed artwork on the walls
  • Not enough color or warmth / added pillows and a knit pout, and defined the seating area with a graphic rug

The best part? All items were purchased from IKEA and Homegoods and installed in one day.  Finally, I got to enjoy my big 'design reveal' moment!

Coming Soon - An online course to help you get your dream space

If you're someone who's had a conversation with me in the past couple of years you know that I've been planning to create an online design program for a very, very long time! Well, that course is finally coming to life and it's really exciting. I love teaching and definitely hate to see people make costly mistakes or end up with spaces that don't work for them. I also know that it's easy to find a picture or a room you love, but a lot harder to actually re-create that look and feel in your own space. This course will walk you through the design process step-by-step with videos, worksheets, templates, and most of all, insider tips. If you want a taste of what the course will help with, download my e-book, "10 Steps to Your Perfect Room Makeover".  Signing up for the book will also put you on the list to stay in the loop about when the course is going live (and don't worry, I'm way too busy to cram your inbox with frequent mailings, just one every few weeks or so).  Oh, and did I mention that the book is free?

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Screenshot 2014-11-25 13.36.35

Here I am on the first day of video shooting - fun but I definitely feel more comfortable on the OTHER side of the camera!

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I'll keep you posted....and let me know what YOUR biggest design challenge is so I can make sure to include it in the course.