• Tell Your Friends

Alright. Lets go behind the scenes. Here’s how it all went down: Monday: we have a production meeting where I, little old Emily, tell everybody whats about to happen for the next 6 days (yes we shoot 6 days a week, nutso i know).



I go over furniture/accessories/paint/construction for look 1 and look 2, letting everyone know whats changing whats staying the same and what is up in the air. Like i said in last weeks post, yes, things are planned out (drapery has to be sewn for pete sake) but things always change.

The meeting ended at 10 and i had SOOOOOO much to do that i started to have a serious anxiety attack. We had to go over and prop the style diagnostic space, i was missing a bunch of throw pillows, we had to coordinate all the pickups, then i had to go shopping because i had forgot to buy new clothes, the producers were begging me to get a manicure, and all i wanted to do was get a 4 hour long massage.

My mind was racing with things i feared i had forgot – do i need more second look accessories, should i have reupholstered the gold chairs, is next weeks fabric already at the upholsterers, have we dropped off the art at the framers for the third episode, and who is coordinating the sofa delivery?, etc, etc. It’s weird to be in charge. On photo shoots i was always in charge of art department, but in this case the amount of responsibility is kinda insane. I got the obligatory manicure at 9pm (which is the last one i have gotten, 4 months ago), watched a RHONY and went to bed.

Tuesday: woke up feeling amazing. So excited, ‘first day of school kinda feeling’. Anxiety gone, everything was in order. I got in the hair and makeup chair and was so glad to be at work. That’s the day that we meet the client, do the house tour and perform the style diagnostic. And its always a fun day, always. Meeting Hillary and Bobby was no exception. All goes pretty well, sure there is a lot of tweaking things, but overall a total blast, lots of laughing, etc.

Wednesday is full of shopping segment, DIY segment and installing the first look. Everything went as planned. Almost. I didn’t like the blue paint color once i saw it on the walls, truly. Originally I wanted to go more grey, but was worried that it would be too similar to Ians’ episode, so i went bluer for look 1 knowing that i would most likely change for look 2. Before you say how wasteful that is, know that doing this provides jobs and that to me is never wasteful. just saying. So when i first saw the wall color i was all, ‘oh perfect, what a beautiful baby room you have. when is your son due?’. I mean, it was way too blue. Here’s a secret, blue takes over neutrals. Know that even when you think you are choosing a grey, if its in the blue family it will look more blue, so go even greyer than you think you would to avoid that.

Anyway, first reveal on thursday went great – she loved it, he didn’t see himself in it. All as planned. It was a pretty room, but totally unapproachable, a hotel lobby, nice to look at but you don’t want to relax in it. She was ambivalent about the chandelier which i was SHOCKED about. It’s awesome. It looks like a waterfall, from the early 70′s and its massive – like 3 1/2 feet long and was $400 on craigslist (which is a major score) It’s acrylic and brass and totally perfect. Anyway, there was no chance i was changing it, some things you just have to trust that its the right decision.

Friday, another shopping segment, for tile this time. Ah, tile. So here’s the deal: SFAS is NOT a renovation show. It’s a shopping and styling show. Very little construction happens, moving sconces, hanging chandeliers, painting and wallpapering – nothing you really need a contractor for (except wallpapering), so why tile, you ask? Well the tile in the house was really hideous, the product of a 90′s bad redo and it was front and center: Peach, faux marbled, totally totally terrible. But here’s the deal, its really really hard to tile perfectly AND fast, and apparently i didn’t choose the easiest tile to do in 7 hours. Whoops. So the tiler started at 1pm and was supposed to be done by 6pm. Guess what time we left the house. We didn’t. Nope, worked through the night. And I couldn’t really style the room because there was tile dust all over everything, from cutting for hours and hours. It was kinda a disaster, but nobody’s fault. Here’s what you have to remember: SFAS has 2 reveals in the four days after we meed the client, so there really is no time to do anything major in the space. Lesson learned. I’m glad we did it, but man, that was a nightmare When the camera crew showed up at 7am to do the beauties (all the pretty shots of the ‘afters’) and there was white dust everywhere and the tile wasn’t even close to being finished, it wasn’t awesome.

But we pulled it together, and actually finished on time, despite not sleeping. The thing is that it was still a blast, i’m not kidding. I was tired, but adrenaline kicked in and watching Hillary and Bobby be so happy with their combined style room was so satisfying. Nothing even CLOSE to the tile situation has happened since. There was one night that we finished at 1am in episode 5, but most install nights its anywhere between 8:30 and 10pm, which in the scheme of things is pretty reasonable. I mean, the cameras leave at 5-6 and the next few hours i need to compose the room, accessorize, arrange flowers, run out for things we are missing, fill pillows, hang drapery, and clean. So while that first week was nuts, it really was a great lesson learned. I’ve wanted to tile since, but a quick reminder of that night changes my mind very quickly.

But whatever, it was the first week. We were figuring things out. The 2nd reveal went great, they loved it so much. And so did i. My favorite thing? that sofa. My god, i love that sofa. it was crushed gold velvet from the 70′s probably (or maybe 50s, i dunno). I got it at the flea market for $50 and fell in love instantly. Its now jade linen, a color that is similar to peacock blue, just greener (it doesn’t look nearly as saturated on camera, btdubs). Stupidly beautiful. So long – like 9 feet. And grand as all get out.

Regrets? ah, yes. But that’s not fun to talk about…..ok, here’s a few: I kinda wish i had reupholstered the gold chairs, although they are in perfect condition and i like the retro feel, i think they are going to be divisive amongst viewers because of it. And I wish that i had more artwork on the high wall. OH and i wish you guys could see that the drapery has metallic threads in it, its so beautiful. That was another lesson learned, splurge on what the audience can see, not the stuff that is so nuanced you have to be holding it or staring at it in person, but those drapes were beautiful. (gray line linens in nyc, 7$ a yard).

Week one, down. That saturday after shooting I went over to my friend Corbetts for a girls night in (our husbands were out of town), we called a in-home masseuse and watched the Notebook. Totally perfect. We went to be early enough to get up at 5am for the sunday Rose Bowl flea market, where i get most of my goodies. And then the next day I start it all over again. Episode 2, coming up. And if you liked the first episode, great, and thank you so much. But know this: they get better and better. Trust. I just finished watching the 5th episode yesterday and its wildly better than the first. But the first will always be the first. My little baby. And it’s all grownsed up now. Well, its still a toddler, but its growing fast….

ps watch me on Secrets from a Stylist, saturdays at 9p/8c—then watch my pal Antonio right after at 9:30 in The Antonio Treatment

21 Responses

  1. kingsizeindy says:

    While I am glad that HGTV has added a real decorating show to the line up, I am disappointed that this show is a copy of "Find Your Style" with Karen McAloon, a previous show that I loved. I hope that you can bring back Karen McAloon, she was wonderful and at the same time find retool Emily's show to something more original.

  2. Amy Hardter says:

    OMG! I finally found a design show that I LOVE! At first I was peaked because we both have the same woven chair (Mad Men-Boho) and then I see Miss Emily's diamond onyx ring (hollywood-regency) that is a 98% match to the one that was custom made and handed down to me by my great grandmother!
    I think I found my Design Twin ! Or are we Sofa Sisters? Now I am inspired to bring all that Danish Modern furniture out of my attic.
    I can't wait to watch more episodes!
    ~Amy

  3. [...] Secrets From a Stylist Premiere: Emily Takes Us Behind the Scenes [...]

  4. Dax says:

    I'm sad to say that I do NOT like this show at all. I thought I'd love Emily's designs, but I don't. They just seem to like the fine tuning of others, such as Candace Olsen.

    But, my biggest issue is how much WASTE she causes by decorating the room twice. Walls have to be repainted, tiles destroyed and replaced, wall paper put up to just be torn back down again (and, therefore, rendered unusable). I think she could do a show without all the waste.

    I'm just not a fan. To each his own.

  5. Mia says:

    Dax, I completely agree with you! Its unbelievable how wasteful this show is!

  6. Swampbabe says:

    I am in love with the brightly colored abstract painting in Emily's office. Does anyone know who the artist is?

  7. Lois Desautels says:

    I love the show ! Wish I understood how to look at some diagnostic objects and understand my style. Also then know how to create my style. Since I will never have Emily to help me, please try to do more teaching in your show so I can learn. Thank you.

  8. EastCoast43 says:

    How do we find the products she uses? I love the gray (dubbed "linen chair") from Artsy Eclectic Odyssey episode, did search, but am only seeing a gray womb chair on amazon. Help? Anyone know where I can find it?

  9. Michelle Lowe says:

    I adore Emily and all of her shows. I've watched them all and run out. She is so fun, cute, and her approach is unique. I love how she picks styles for a couple with different tastes and I love to see a room decorated two different ways. Her show is the only show that has drawn me in enough to watch each and every episode available, All I can say is MORE MORE MORE!!!!

  10. Angela says:

    Emily should have her own 24 hour a day chanel. I love how she layers her design, because so many of us cross jaundra's when we decorate. I no longer over think the things I love for fear of mixing design styles. Thanks Emily!

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