It's no secret that here at CasaSugar we're big fans of Secrets From a Stylist's Emily Henderson. With impressive redecorating skills (check out how she redecorated Ian Brennen's house in the premiere episode), a savvy eye for flea market finds, and charm to spare, I have no doubt that her new show Secrets From a Stylist will be a huge hit. You can watch the first episode online here, and then tune into HGTV Saturday night at 9 p.m. for the next episode.
Even though Emily was crazy busy shooting the first two seasons of her show, she still took the time to sit down and answer some of my questions about her decorating style, tips for CasaSugar readers, and her new show.
CasaSugar: What’s one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on so far in the series?
Emily Henderson: It’s honestly super hard to choose from. There are some that I have more sentimental attachment to because I got close to them, so they stand out a lot more than others. One of them that I just finished was a guesthouse that I had actually rented from my friends when we first moved to LA, and seeing it transformed and giving them a new back house for their new family was pretty special. She was nine months pregnant when we shot the episode and ended up having her baby the last day we were supposed to shoot, so we ended up coming back for the final reveal a couple weeks later, and I got to meet the baby on camera. Totally surreal, but really special.
CS: What colors are inspiring you right now?
EH: Clearly I'm a huge fan of blue — indigo, navy, jade and French. All of them really, as well as ochre and aubergine. Or maybe I just like saying "aubergine." But I've realized more and more that while I LOVE those pages in magazines that are all white rooms with white furniture — they look so clean and fresh and sophisticated. For me, I actually want to hang out in a room that has a lot of color and pattern. The color palette that is driving me nuts in a good way is peacock blue and ochre, with a lot of brass accents. The combination of warm and cool tones is engaging and unexpectedly inviting.
CS: We recently ran a poll to see what animals people were interested in decorating with this year. Any animal accents calling to you? What animal artwork or decor draws you in?
EH: You know what's funny is that I actually have had to back off the animal sculptures. I love them and always have, but I started noticing that they were in every episode — all different of course. Porcelain swans (episode one), huge silver gazelles (episode two), brass deer (episode three), you get the idea. They are sculptural, come in many different finishes, and are so much more fun to style with than pottery, although I do have a pottery addiction as well. But as much as I love cats, I haven't gotten on the cat sculpture bandwagon yet, perhaps in 2012. Or maybe never. Cats and clowns I tend to shy away from, while horses I can't get enough of.
Keep reading for tips on redecorating on a tiny budget and her favorite new piece of furniture!
CS: If you were going to choose between wallpapering or stenciling a wall, which would you use? Why?
EH: Wallpapering hands down, but I love the affordability of stenciling, I just don't trust myself to do it right. I know that it would end up looking super DIY, and as much as I like the idea of DIY I want the things that I attempt to do to look as if a professional did it. So I'd save up for wallpaper and get a professional, I learned that lesson the hard way. But for renters (which is me) or people who don't like to commit to such an investment, stenciling is a great option. There are a bunch of damask and Moroccan patterns that I love.
CS: What are some of your secret weapons for creating major change in home decor on a minor budget?
EH: Investing in reupholstering vintage furniture sounds like a pain, and it is at first high maintenance, I know. Just having a couple pieces that are 100 percent unique to you can give your house the personality it needs to look customized and more "like you." And ultimately I promise it’s often cheaper than buying good quality new.
CS: What paint are you loving right now?
EH: Hmmm . . . I've always used Benjamin Moore Preview or Classic colors. But Farrow and Ball has such beautiful colors, too, just less attainable. I used to be obsessed with the paint colors from Marston and Langinger. They had a billion different pigmentation in them, so each color looked so different all day long. Like hypercolor on your walls. Kidding, but it changed a lot in the light, so in the middle of the day it might go bluer, but then at night it was gray, and in the morning it was taupe-ier. Sounds weird, but it was beautiful. If anyone knows a good alternative to them (I don't think they sell here anymore), let me know. It really changed the mood of the room all day.
CS: If a reader stumbled upon a great piece at a flea market, how would you help her decide whether it was worthy of reupholstery?
EH: I go for a simple shape if it’s cheap (like $50) but then I splurge on a unique shape ($150-$300). If it’s a shape or style that you can find anywhere, then it’s harder for me to spend a lot of money on it, but if it’s some shape or style I’ve rarely seen, then I’ll throw down more for it because it’s going to make a bigger statement in the room. The sofa from the first episode is still one of my favorite pieces that I've ever reupholstered. I want it so bad. I want to sneak back into that house and lay on it, take pictures of it, I just didn't get enough of it. In general for the show, I get about three pieces reupholstered for each episode, I'll post the before and afters on my blog. It is just so satisfying to take that plastic off and see what the updated version looks like. I think I might be addicted to it. I started doing it on camera because my reaction is so authentically happy.
CS: What’s something that you’ve recently added to your own home that you’re excited about?
EH: A Moroccan brass coffee table. Right now my house is a revolving door for the show. If something I have is super appropriate for a client (and I don't have sentimental attachment to it) then it often ends up on the show. So then when I'm shopping at flea markets for the show, I end up fostering a few pieces to fill in the gaps until their episode arrives. My poor husband gets confused, but is pretty used to it. He sees my eyes darting around at night, and he's like, "Stop it! You are shopping from our house again, aren't you?" Yes, I am, Brian. Yes I am. But my artwork I won't gives up. You'll see most of it in my "studio" set starting episode 10.
Check back later today for the second half of my interview with Emily!