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Hands down one of my favorite episodes. (Missed it? Click here for my full episode of Modern Urban Beach: Secrets From a Stylist.) Many of reasons why. First of all, you all didn’t know this, but i am friends with these folks. (They auditioned and got on without any word from me, by the way.) She was 9 months pregos, and I felt so bad for her, because she was tired. Not exactly great timing. And it proved to be extra not great timing by the end of the week. That’s right, she had the baby before we finished shooting the episode. Whoops. They felt so sorry, and i was like, ‘SHUT UP! YOU ARE HAVING A BABY, AND THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ANY OF US’. I was sooo excited for them. Long story short, i designed their new house, they had a baby and it all ended perfectly.

Their combined style is ‘Modern Urban Beach’ and their house (that used to be a guest house) looked a little something like this before:

Secrets From a Stylist

The Before: Well, at least I have a fairly clean slate!

But then i came along, and now it looks like this:

HGTV Design Happens - Secrets From a Stylist Emily Henderson - Modern Urban Beach

Not gonna lie...I love this style!

The words ‘global’ and ‘vintage’ are all i need to get my little brain turning. She loves global beach, and he loves masculine antiques, so yes, please, here i come.

#1 Takeaway: While there are a lot of style lessons to learn from this episode, i think the division of space was the most crucial to making the look work for a brand new family of 3 living in what was once a guest house…aka small home. Using the sofa to divide the living room from the kitchen was easy and the right solution. That’s kinda a no brainer. But putting the desk behind it so it looks into the living room is what bridges the gap between the two rooms and helps them relate to each other.
HGTV Design Happens - Secrets From a Stylist Emily Henderson - Modern Urban Beach

The whole space totally flows and feels like one open room with 3 very different functions. That’s right, three functions. People forget that desks can act as sofa tables. Why put a desk against a wall? It seems very old riche to me to sit in your office with only a wall to look at. I want to feel in the middle of something, get some other visual stimuli when my heads not in my computer or a stack of papers.

HGTV Design Happens - Secrets From a Stylist Emily Henderson - Modern Urban Beach

So by using the desk as the sofa table, you disguise the back of the sofa, so you aren’t staring at it, at the same time making the two rooms relate to each other and providing a much more liberating office area. This space became so pulled together, yet lived in. If i do say so myself.

Bonus Takeaway: And don’t get me started on the twin-bed pull out. It’s the most fun sofa ever. It looked like this before:

Secrest From a Stylist

I had it completely stripped of all fabric and foam and redone (including the mattress). I wanted it to be extra comfortable so i had them fill the bottom cushions with foam wrapped in down feathers instead of regular foam which is why its a bit fluffy.

HGTV Design Happens - Secrets From a Stylist Emily Henderson - Modern Urban Beach
I kinda wish it wasn’t but it was worth it, because every time i sit on that sofa i’m like, ‘My god! This is one comfortable sofa.’ And that’s worth a little fluff. Besides, it will calm down with use, as they always do. Modern Urban Beach. Makes me want to take a weekend trip to Santa Monica to visit my old digs. And maybe babysit, because that little Zachary is as cute as that sofa is comfortable. VERY.

BTW, you can watch the entire episode here – http://www.hgtv.com/video/modern-urban-beach-video/index.html

15 Responses

  1. Pam says:

    Would love to find an antique piece like the one used for the ottoman in Modern Urban Beach. Any ideas where I can begin looking?

    • Anna@HGTV says:

      Hi Pam, if you look through Emily's Design Happens blog posts for previous episodes of Secrets From a Stylist, she sometimes lists the LA shops she frequents. Also check out her personal blog where she sometimes lists the shops, too.: <a href="http://www.stylebyemilyhenderson.com” target=”_blank”>www.stylebyemilyhenderson.com. And sometimes she visits the shops in the show, which you can watch online. Hope that helps. It is a beautiful ottoman.

  2. cATHY cOYLE says:

    Dear HGTV! Ive this small roon and of all things it's my living room.
    I have this over sized furniture that is hiding my great window. It is not alllowing me to utilize the space properly and plus unable to use fireplace as a pocal point and beat up ottaman is all I have!!!!
    Help me please!!!!! signed addicted to HGTV, IN NEED OF HELP

  3. KSKMB says:

    Argh! I ended up here because I was Googling trying to figure out where to get a couch like that. And, of course, turns out it's an older piece. Where can I find something like this? Anyone? Anyone?

    • bugged10 says:

      they have one at a used furniture syore in Winslow, Az I'm not sure of the name of the store but it's owners also own Hot Topics a clothing store next door to their used furniture

  4. Loretta Caravette says:

    I just love, love, love the show and I really respect Emily's talent–really clever with the combining personalities and translating into design. Genius.

    Well, if Emily ever comes to Chicago, Illinois have I got a design challenge for her!!! We just moved to 'the caddy shack, as we call it. All windows–living in the round!! Trees all around us–make it seem like we are living in the trees. No walls to speak of….I am so out of my league to figure out what to do with this wonderful place…..Emily come to Chicago!!! (Really
    – Barrington, IL):*

  5. Pulette says:

    THANKS ANNA @HGTV for the information on Emily's personal blog. It is helpful to get tips and know where we can shop for what we like! I think she should have an hour show because she has so much to share! I have watched all her shows even when she was on design Star!

    If she ever wants to do classic colonial in Boston, my husband and I would love to have our Great Room done!

    Thanks again for your help.

    We like to know where to shop for items from her show

  6. HOLLY says:


  7. autulmnrain67 says:

    To Emily; I ABSOLUTELY cannot tell you how much I appreciate your approach. I'm visually impaired, but really enjoy decorating. You describe everything step by step, allowing me to gain a full perspective of exactly all that's going on. My first time experiencing this from a tv show. Many Thanks

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  9. pecannan says:

    I'd love to know who you used to enlarge the vintage postcards. Great job!!

  10. Hgtvs#1fAn says:

    In this episode u had two great designs the first was more about the mom to-be's beach theme. There was a particular seat that was hung from the sealing. Can you share the name of that piece of furniture, I can't seem to find it anywhere! It had such a beautiful/relaxing look to it! Tks for the great ideas ! The show is fabulous!!!

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