Projects In My Own Home



Brian and I recently talked about selling our house. It’s upsetting, I know. We always knew this house wasn’t our forever home – there isn’t a yard (just a dope deck) and we are backyard people (I prefer the yard to be backed up to 100 acres of Pacific Northwest forest, actually). Every time we talk about selling it I say, “well, we can’t sell it ’til I finish the . . .” and then I list off all the things that need to be done. But we, even more recently, reversed this decision, and realized that we LOVE this house, and we aren’t quite ready to think about leaving it.


Then I realized how stupid it was that we weren’t doing those things anyway. If we are eventually going to move, then why not fix all those problems NOW, so we can actually enjoy them for the few years we stay here? Why not be super proud of every room, and not have those “apology” areas. At first the reason was money, obviously. We did a lot to the house at the beginning, so we put off the exterior, and all the below projects until we were ready financially to get back into the improvements. But, it’s time to jump back into these projects, and turn this house into a real portfolio piece. No more apology rooms. No more “please don’t open your eyes while you are in the guest bathroom” requests. It’s getting done this year. Here are the major projects:


The Laundry Room:




Just some minor tweaking, eh? This is in the middle of the house, and it’s absolutely shameful. But I just pulled the trigger on a washer and dryer from LG (I’m even getting the sidekick, which is a mini-washer underneath the major washer, for very small loads). My contractor has already measured to replace the custom doors (so annoying), and fix the wall behind it. I may even wallpaper in there. I’m thinking this paper because it is classic and happy, and has a “washing your clothes is fun” vibe. Power of positive thinking right?!






I’ve never been 100% happy with the fireplace. If it went all the way to the ceiling then I’d probably keep it as is, because I do like that it’s warm, authentic and original. But it stops at such a weird point. More importantly, this fireplace could be a serious FEATURE. It could be something that makes this room sing. I don’t know if that means we give it a facade in wood, stone, tile, slab or maybe some sort of combination. I’ve been stumped since day1, but I’m ready to tackle it. What would you do?


Guest Bathroom:




To be fair, it’s all white now, but it’s still hideous. We’ve already purchased 80% of the finishes for this room, I’ve just been putting it off because renovating with a baby (and toddler) is just extremely disruptive to nap-time, which directly effects our sanity. But, our family is headed out of town for two weeks, in a couple months, so it’s all going to be done then (and yes, I’m lucky enough to have a couple of people who are going to manage the project while I am away). I have dreams of coming back from Australia to a brand new bathroom, and while maybe it won’t be finished completely, hopefully the noisy part will be.


Playroom Area:




This is a super easy fix, but one that will bring us much pleasure. Our playroom area is a disaster everyday because Charlie’s interest/toys/books have exploded and we just don’t have enough storage. But finding the right piece here was a huge challenge. We don’t really have room for cabinet doors to open, but something open like a bookshelf or even bins could look so messy – especially since this is shared space with the family room. The baskets worked for a while, but we need something more major. I finally found this piece from West Elm and it’s the right size, style and function for the space. And then I ordered this bookshelf from Container Store which I previously didn’t love, but functionally it’s what needs to happen in that room. We’ll have to rearrange a bit, but its going to be a much better room to stare at every day.


The Exterior (otherwise known as “the area of the home that Brian and I have debated for two years”):




That’s what it looked like when we bought the house. It’s cheap vinyl siding, and the closer you get to it, the worse it looks. Due to trying to keep some semblance of privacy around here on the blog, we didn’t want to show the front of the house, but trust me that it looks cheap. The architecture of the house is cool and could be amazing, but it was band-aided over with this cheap stuff 20 years ago, and just hasn’t held up. Over the last two years I’ve had contractors come to give estimates, but somehow no one has followed up. No one wants the job! The reason is that a.) the economy is back in LA and contractors are hard to nail down (yes, that pun was intended), and b.) it’s an extremely vertical house, so refacing it is a BEAST. It’s three stories on the front, and one on the back – all on a sloping hill in two directions. The contractor (an amazing man whose name I’m happy to give out) that finally agreed to do it had THREE different scaffolding companies come over to bid on the job, and two of them said “no, thanks.” Is this the most boring story you’ve ever read in your life?????


ANYWAY. It started YESTERDAY! The scaffolding is up, we can barely get into our house, but it’s ok. I can’t tell you how excited I am. It’s expensive, laborious, stressful and time consuming, but in 2 months I will park my car in front of my house with PRIDE. I am just so excited.


Oh, since that photo above, we did do the updates on the deck – we painted the woodwork and the brick, and it’s a pleasant place to be. But just wait ’til it’s done . . .




Master Bedroom:




As some of you so aptly put it when I posted my master bedroom UPDATE (Yes, it was just an update and not a “final”), “this isn’t your best work.” I agreed, and we were right. After another year of living unsatisfied I’ve decided to tackle it (do most people say the work “tackle” so much? Are these my Mormon roots with parents from Wyoming coming through???).


So what is changing?


1. I’m taking down the wallpaper (which is now literally GLUED to the wall, and is going to, I’m sure, rip up chunks of wall, which is going to take days to repair/paint/sand/fill/sand/prime/paint).


2. New bed. I know! I love that headboard, but I don’t like that it doesn’t match the base. I’ve designed a custom bed that is being made, which (CROSS YOUR MOTHER LOVING FINGERS) is exactly what this room needs. Don’t worry, I’ll blog about it as soon as we have some sort of update photo on it’s birth.


3. New lamps/art. Those lamps (which you can actually buy here) are too tall for the room, and I haven’t had them there for months. I may get sconces, who knows. The new headboard is lower and I have a couple pieces of art already to hang above there (by my lovely friend, Jane Denton).


Those window treatments and rug are staying. Sometimes I want a new rug, now that quilted hide rugs are everywhere. But ultimately this room gets a TON of traffic to the deck outside, so unless I chose a dark rug we need this rug in our life (and I ain’t getting a dark rug in here).




Downstairs Guest Suite Progress:




You may remember that this room used to be where we worked, when it was just me and Ginny. We then added Brady to the mix and quickly outgrew the space so we moved into a studio and the room was used as storage for months, and now it’s being turned into a full guest suite and home office for Brian’s business. These are just random photos that I took a couple months ago, and it has changed a lot since then. We decided to drywall the ceiling to help it feel less like a garage, and more like a room. This was a controversial decision and an argument that I “lost”, but ultimately, once it was done, I realized that Brian was right. I’ll talk more about that when we reveal it. We also have painted it and I have a new rug, new lamps, new cushions, and really pretty drapery from Loom. I was going to replace the bed with one that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, but lately I’ve been thinking that maybe this is good enough. Not sure. We are custom designing/making a big marble (green and black!!) desk, and we added some sconces over the desk area. Oh, and we already added a tiny cute bathroom. It’s all happening. We are shooting the update this Friday (it’s not done, but I want to give more of a sneak peek since we are all dying for some original design content).


So, those are the major things being done. It’s beastly but it is time, and I have help to execute properly due to the fact that I now have 4 talented designers that work for me. I’m EXCITED, FOLKS. I’m going to make this house exactly what it should be and then if/when we do want to sell it we are going to have the biggest open house ever. Wish us luck. xx


***First photo, and photo of the playroom from my Good Housekeeping Home Tour, shot by Mike Garten | Photo of the living room and the deck by Tessa Neustadt | Photos of my bedroom by Jessica Isaac


The post Projects In My Own Home appeared first on Emily Henderson.


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