interior decor

Project Undecorate

I spend a lot of time in my little corner of the internet chatting about decorating. But what about undecorating? Whether it’s the holidays or the middle of your average uneventful week, everybody can and should undecorate. Now is the perfect time to do so since you’re just coming out of your Christmas food coma and wondering what to do between now and New Years. Why not make decluttering a New Years Resolution? This is the perfect time to shed the weight. We resolve to do it for New Years with our bodies, so why not do it in our homes?? With the holidays we go out and spend money to buy MORE stuff to bring into our homes! The average household has way more stuff than most of us ever need or even use. This week I am personally dedicating some time to shedding the extra stuff, the extra weight and here’s how you can join me in some very easy, achievable solutions for a fresh start to 2015, starting with your living space!

Unload, unburden, get rid of stuff. Edit, edit, edit.

#1 Put It Away

Start with the easy things- all that holiday garb. Nobody wants a Christmas tree in their living room come March. No one thinks your blow up lawn Santa is cute after January 2nd and Christmas lights are not meant to be left strung up year round. Bottom line, none of this is adding anything to your post-holiday curb appeal. Take that Target gift card Santa gave you and treat yourself to some color coded bins (red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween, etc.) to store your holiday items so they are easily recognized and accessible.

#2 Throw It Away

If your singing holiday angel now croaks because she was dropped on floor one too many times, get rid of it. If there are too many glitter infested ornaments leaving slut dust all over your floor, think about eliminating some, I mean, how many can you really have? If things break or no longer work or just start to look like a collection of junk, edit them down.

#3 Donate

Goodwill, Salvation Army- get that tax deduction before year end! Still worried about “giving” something sentimental away?  Why not give it to a family that can truly use it if you aren’t?

#4 Edit, edit, edit

I often hear, ‘I don’t like it, but that’s worth a lot of money!!’. It’s only worth something if you sell it. If you don’t like it, it’s not worth anything to you! If it truly is worth something, cash out and move on! Ebay, craigslist, garage sale, antiques road show, whatever, but don’t keep it just because someone might potentially pay you something for it, especially if you don’t like it.

My recommendation is that if you haven’t worn it or used it in 1 year, really evaluate if you have use for this item? If not, set it aside. I like to keep a running giveaway bag at all times in the closet in the guest bedroom. When I come across clothing, toys, books, whatever that I am no longer using, I put it in that bag. I would say that I add to the bag at least every week. I’m not a hoarder but I’m certainly not a minimalist either. Bottom line is that we accumulate, and at some point some things have got to go! It’s truly amazing when you clear out things and literally create more space in your environment, how you feel that you have created space within yourself and your mind as well. I am rigorous with clients about getting them to declutter, donate, filter, and once they literally unburden themselves of things, they always tell me how much better they feel in their mind as well.

Lastly, note that everybody has some sentimental items that might be seen as ugly, or useless, or inconsequential. You have them, I have them, we all do. I’m not saying to get rid of anything ugly or old just because it’s not currently en vogue or because your stylish neighbor poo-poos it. Just carefully select which items you choose to surround yourself with. Surround yourself with things that are a reflection of the best side of yourself and if that’s all stuff from your great-grandmother, so be it. But if something is useless or bothersome, or ugly to you, then part with it and leave it at that. Stay tuned for our next post on getting organized and staying organized in the new year! Happy New Year and here’s to shedding those empty calories Design Dish style!



P.S. Check out this hilarious little stand-up clip from the Tonight Show where Jerry Seinfeld all about how we accumulate ‘stuff’!



Our Home: Finishing Touches

If you’ve been keeping tabs on our home transformation project, so far we have touched on house hunting, demo and design, interior finishes and finally, today’s post, the finishing touches. Our charming mid-century modern ranch home is nearly complete as I’ve spent the last year putting on the glitz in between client projects. But, honestly, is a designer’s work ever truly done?!? If you are interested in seeing the finished project, you can tour my home at the upcoming Pasadena Kitchen & Home Tour. Click the link for more details. Come by, say hello and check it out, it’s going to be a stellar event!

Moving on from the gratuitous plug… it’s no shock if you know me that I have a love for mid-century modern style. In re-designing this home, I wanted it to pay homage to this artful period, but elevate the look with today’s modern amenities, fixtures and style. I wanted our home to look and feel happy, bright, clean and kid friendly- a tall order, but I am always up for the challenge.

This process was a bit different and not how I typically work with clients, in that it was very progressive, pulling pieces over time and working out of order in many respects. I didn’t have a cohesive vision or concept going into the project, which was very disconcerting because I am such a planner! For instance, one of the first things I started with was the window shade fabric for the kitchen and dining room.


Taking inspiration from this pattern, I pulled my main color palette of aquas, coral, orange and white and I began collecting things that I loved that also reflected the style period. I had a wide assortment of things that I knew I loved or wanted in my home, and from there I worked on filling in the blanks. Start with something you love and take a balanced approach to building around it. Keep in mind color, texture, lines and a little sparkle and let the layering begin!

8b2fd430c351ac61af651c56569279b9Many of the fixtures I installed, like this amazing Jonathan Adler sputnik lighting fixture, are throwbacks to that mid-century bygone era, and of course some actual vintage pieces add flair and nostalgia as well. I was careful to make sure that the decorative pieces had lots of cheerful color and patterns, while much of the case goods and interior finishes and paint remained light and neutral. That way, I can give each room a facelift when I want to change things up on the cheap. Which is more often than I’d like to admit! Anyone else share my illness? I believe it’s called interior decoritis…. and yes, it’s most definitely acute… acute interior decoritis. Oh how I suffer! It’s miserable.

Once I had decided on the right assortment of bright, colorful, vintage inspired fun, this was the finished concept….


Cosamia art// Bird bowl // Coffee table // Chandelier // Vintage Camel // Dresser // Original art // Sunny Stool // Pomegranate wallpaper // Yellow tray // Greek key rug // Rattan chair //  Tassel pillow // Table lamp // Eames side chair // Green fabric // Picture frames //

It’s modern, chic and kid friendly. It is a great mix of color, sparkle, texture, and lines. Original art completes the space, giving it wow factor and pulling your eye downward from the lighting fixture… that is if you can take your eye off that illuminated masterpiece!  Best of all, it perfectly fits our family of three, plus pets and feels just right. If you’re in the LA area, my home will be on tour, Sunday, October 19th. Purchase tickets here! Step inside, I can’t wait to welcome you!


Emily Makers & Tastemakers Unite!

Like any designer with eye candy ADD, I’m a glutton for gorgeous product. I will go to the ends of the earth, virtually speaking anyway, to find the perfect pieces for my personal home and my clients’ homes (thank you internet gods for making this possible!). When it comes to selecting the right decor, it can often come from several sources and take a lot of time and research to scout the best in class. Fortunately, that’s when came into my life and made it so much easier to not only showcase some of my favorite makers of quality goods, but to also allow you to personally shop from my curated boutique! I am a big fan of hand crafted goods. For one, it supports small business, and makers are quite literally, the fabric of our country and our world. Secondly, when you purchase directly from an artist, it immediately gives you a sense of personal connection. The shopping experience is elevated to a different relationship that transcends buyer and seller. You are interacting with the individual who spent careful time preparing and creating a piece for you to enjoy for a lifetime. End of story… and yes, that is the best part; there is a story behind the purchase which makes it that much more sentimental! Ironically, the timing couldn’t have been more fitting, since I just spent the weekend at Renegade Craft Fair- LA, which is essentially an event based version of much of the items you will find on There was so much to see and explore, I literally got lost in rows of fabulous prints, hand made jewelry, beauty products and textiles. Aside from the oppressive heat, it was divine! If you’re fortunate enough to live in a major metro where these fairs are offered one weekend annually, you are lucky enough. For the rest of the 51 weeks a year, is a fabulous way to find these kinds of items from the comfort of your home computer. So let’s take a moment to look at some of the beautifully crafted pieces from the makers that define style, set trends and make, well…. great!

hot pink brush stroke set of 4 cocktail coasters a sensible habit

Hot Pink Cocktail Coasters 

circle and pop navy chasing paper

Navy Circle Pop Wallpaper

gold inverse mini air plant pods sea & asters

Gold Air Plant Pots

triangle series 1 jane denton

Hand Stitched Triangle Art

animals mealtime set bobo ceramics

 Animal Mealtime Set

renee nixon watercolor giclee

Watercolor Giclee

fireflies original acrylic painting diana willard

Original Acrylic Painting

Go ahead, give them some love! Are you digging what I’m dishing? Please visit my boutique to see more of the delicious pieces I’m craving.  For more of my Renegade Craft Fair faves, please check out my Makers & Shakers Pinterest board. You deserve a big slice of style!



YAY for Yellow

Since we’re in the peak of summer, it’s only fitting that my color crush this month is lemon yellow! Funny thing about yellow though- while most people will agree it’s bright, fun and fresh, many are afraid to use this happy hue it in their home! It’s ironic that a joyful color like yellow can also feel like an intimidating color choice when designing a room. Why is that? And more importantly, how do I stop this madness?  When balanced correctly, yellow can totally live up to it’s sunny disposition. Yellow delivers high energy, but it can be the pop of perfection to awaken your room.

Need proof? Yeah, I figured I’d have to back up my claim! And since I try hard to challenge myself and my readers visually, here are some fresh takes on how to use yellow. There will be no tried and true yellow/ gray or yellow/ blue combos here, we already know that works. You deserve to be visually inspired!

Ready? Here are three fresh takes using lemon yellow and how you can get the look at home:



Mention the words yellow and black together and what comes to mind? Bumble bee… run for the hills! Who wants a room that looks like a stinging little bugger? Unless you’re decorating a themed nursery, but that’s a different story.

When balanced effectively, you can achieve a really elegant space with just the right impact. I put together this board to show you how:


By grounding the rest of the room in black and white, yellow can take center stage. The gold fixtures work nicely with the yellow to enhance it’s sophistication. Here are some of my favorite examples of this look.


Jackson Paige Interiors


Emily LaMarque Design Studio


Image Source

When paired with the right combination, yellow suddenly becomes chic, elegant and sophisticated.  Buzz off bumble bee!




emily-lamarque-design-studio-green-chartreuse-yellow-concept-boardI love this combo because it is decidedly vibrant and fresh. These two colors work effortlessly together and feel both clean and sophisticated. Take note though to be careful when it comes to selecting the right green. If the green is too soft, it can come off as juvenile (i.e.: mint green). If you want a rich look, try a deep kelly green or emerald hue as shown here. Adding shiny white lacquer, silvery chrome, or bright brass pieces add that extra bling which will really make the whole room shine!


 Jonathan Adler Interiors



Finally, this combo, perhaps the trickiest to pull off, reminds me of a warm summer sunset; which is fitting given that we are on a sun filled theme! Adding the fuchsia and coral  create a nice balancing act and allows our bright yellow star to take center stage.emily-lamarque-design-studio-fucshia-magenta-yellow-concept-board

8fa4d448359cf1bd3370abc0bac5fef6Image Source 

I’ve been seeing yellow pop up a lot lately in showrooms, design magazines, and pretty much everywhere. Perhaps it will be the new color of the year for Pantone (wink wink)?! Who wants to place your bet on yellow with me? Hey, just like any other gamble- go big or go home! Fortunately a small investment in a yellow object will yield a big impact in your home. Go for it!



Beach Photography

It wouldn’t be a Friday if this Cali girl didn’t have beach on the brain! Maybe you’re lucky enough to be hitting the sand this weekend, but if not, today I’m talking about beautiful beach photography that is sure to take you there in spirit.

When I first discovered iconic photographer, Massimo Vitali, I knew I was completely smitten with beach photography. Growing up in Southern California, spending long days at the beach from sunup until sundown, I can literally close my eyes and feel a day on the beach. These nostalgic photographs pull you in and make you smell the salt air and feel the sun on your skin. They’re all about color, shape, form, and repetition in the visual sense and all about getting blissed out during the summer.

Here’s a round up of some breathtaking beach scenes. Invite these images onto your walls and they will literally become a portal to the pacific!

Massimo Vitali, where it all started for moi…




American photographer, Slim Aarons, who made beach and pool photography iconic…Can’t you just taste the glamour?slim aaron | Tumblr

Slim Aarons



Beautiful beachscapes from Chicago photographer, Judith Gigliottioverhead water series #16 judith gigliotti beach rock ocean swimmers photograph

judith gigliotti beach umbrellas photograph

judith gigliotti beach umbrellas photograph


The latest man to hit the sand, rising star, Gray Malin, who is making beach photography a household staple these days…

Gray Malin Pink umbrellas art deco miami

Gray Malin bondi beachGray Malin australia ocean

And my new favorite, favorite, favorite Cheryl Maeder…I love the ethereal quality of her photographs. I SO want one!
Francesca Ritchey California Dreamin


Cheryl Maeder

Cheryl Maeder Dreamscapes La Mer III

Cheryl Maeder SeaI’m digging a day in the sand and a dip in the ocean, aren’t you? Let the memory making begin!