I’ve known Emily Henderson for a while, but before we became homies I rooted for her win on HGTV’s Design Star. I watched that show pretty religiously and it was so fun and different to see someone with good taste and quirk on that show–and, like me, she loved finding and using vintage pieces in her work, which was so very refreshing.
One day I saw her jogging around the Silverlake reservoir. She lapped me, twice I think. After the jog, I tweeted at her and…and she actually responded. I was a tiny bit star-struck but played it real cool. We ended up meeting up for lunch one day and becoming friends. This was about three years ago.
Emily and I have a lot in common. We both are designer/stylist/blogger/mama types in L.A., we both are obsessed with vintage and treasure hunting, and although our personal styles differ a bit here and there, she’s definitely one of those women that I can talk shop with and she has always been so generous with sharing info and resources, ideas and experiences. It’s palpable from the way she writes her blog too–she’s a sharer.
Last year, I was finishing the manuscript on my book when I heard that she was working on a book too. I’m not gonna lie–I was selfishly relieved when I heard that our books weren’t coming out out the same time because I knew her book was going to be amazing.
And, after reading the whole thing cover to cover this weekend, I can tell you–I was not wrong.
The home of Cleo Murnane of Project M Plus, photographed by David Tsay.
Emily’s book, Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves takes rooms and vignettes that could seem hopelessly enigmatic and breaks them down, bit by bit, to give her readers ideas and explanations and the tools to recreate or even just understand why something is placed the way it is and why it works. If you’re familiar with her blog, then you know her editorial voice. She is funny and informal, chatty and, perhaps most importantly, she is accessible. The lady’s got a an eye. The book feels like a natural extension to her blog and it’s full of fresh content and ideas–which (trust me) isn’t a walk in the park after blogging everyday for years and years. I LOVE this living room and that there is a camel there instead of a big TV. Genius.
You may recognize the above home from my book. It’s the home of Emily Katz (speaking of ladies with a good eye…) Emily Henderson shot this Portland home for her book as well and it’s really fun to see our different styling choices.
Emily’s book really is about styling, not decorating per, say. I think this is one thing that really sets it apart from other books that may at first seem similar on the surface. This book is a little toolbox to help use what you’ve already got in your home and style it to look more put together and more visually compelling. There are also a ton of tips in the book for styling for the camera, which I think will be really useful to bloggers, ‘grammers and even folks working in home-staging or real estate.
Also, because of the way the book is layed out, (there is a quiz in the beginning to define your style, then it goes on to share how to transform a space in ‘ten easy steps’, then it details styling secrets for every room) it’s really not one of those books that can be flipped through like a magazine. I think in order to get the most out of it, it really needs to be read from beginning to end like a manual.
The photography by David Tsay is beautiful. So beautiful that I wish that the trim size of the book was a bit larger, or maybe I’m just getting old and my eyes are stating to go…that’s a distinct possibility. But, I also get that from a styling perspective a smaller book will always make the top of that coffee table book pile, so maybe the small trim is kinda genius.
In celebration of the book’s release tomorrow, Emily gave me this gif to share with you guys. It demonstrates just how many ways there are to style a credenza (infinite) AND also this gives us a sense of what goes into making a book like this, because for every single shot things get moved around a whole bunch until the vignette looks perfect.
My final verdict? Don’t wait. Get your copy of Styled. It’s one of those books that you’ll return to again and again for inspiration or to glean tips if you’re inviting guests over, shooting your home for a blog post, or are just bored and want to switch things up and learn a little something from someone who knows what she’s talking about.
A big congrats to you Emily. You crushed this one. And thanks for giving me a little head-start with my book release so that I didn’t get lapped by you a third time. That was very kind. Also, is that baby here yet?
Photography by David Tsay, with permission from Emily Henderson. Top photo by J. Blakeney