As a first time homeowner, the idea of filling your entire home with furniture (and filling it quickly) can be daunting and not to mention, expensive.  The case of my home is especially severe because a) I’m extremely impatient and want every room done yesterday (I’m still trying to comprehend the fact that I will live here for 5+ years and there is no deadline)  b) I am constantly changing my mind and switching out things so nothing stays in the same place longer than a month’s time.

{Zoey on the day we moved in…. thinking- “mom, how are we going to take this entirely pink painted house with gross peeling trim from drab to fab (and fill it with furniture) by next week?!”}

So where does this leave me?  Well, in Ben’s eyes it definitely doesn’t warrant buying all new super nice furniture for every room and honestly, I don’t think I could ever have a house of all new things. I love old things just way too much and especially giving pieces a whole new look through refinishing them. Lately, I have been doing a LOT of that.  Sometimes I paint the pieces myself and other times if it’s just too difficult, I hire someone to do it (ok, I admit, a lot of the time I  hire someone else to do it).  Remember the part where I said I was impatient? 🙂

Here are some of my recent before and after furniture projects and the info on the paint colors that I used-


Antique secretary-


Antique Secretary-

Paint- Benjamin Moore- 689- Rhine River- Satin Finish


 {still needs to be accessorized!}


Vintage Dorothy Draper-esque Nightstands-



Vintage Dorothy Draper-esque nightstands

Paint- Benjamin Moore White Dove with gold accents

(Need your opinion here dear readers! Do you think the gold is too orangey and should I go back to more of a soft/antique gold or do the outline of the drawers more of a yellow gold like the pulls?) Decisions, decisions!

BEFORE-Funky vintage sideboard with geometric detailing-

AFTER-Funky vintage sideboard with geometric detailing-

Paint- Home Depot- Behr- Custom Color Match

BEFORE-Fiberglass peacock chairs

AFTER-Fiberglass Peacock Chairs

Paint- Home Depot dark charcoal spray paint

{Excuse the flowers falling from the tree and our nice mess in the background :)}

BEFORE-Faux bamboo armoire (can’t seem to find the before photo so I borrowed this photo from Bazaar of Serendipity blog)

AFTER-Faux bamboo armoire

Paint- Sherwin Williams- Pure White

BEFORE-Faux bamboo dining chairs and table

AFTER-Faux bamboo dining chairs and table

Paint- Benjamin Moore- White Dove

So basically throughout the house I painted most of my furniture white and gray so they’d stand the test of time and then sprinkled in other pieces with more bold pops of color to add some excitement.

And stay tuned for the “afters” of these “befores”!

We are currently working on a guest bedroom where we are specifying black silk drapes- oh the luxuriousness!   I know, not your typical drapery color, but I promise you black drapes can look tres chic and really add some drama to a space!

I’ll let you in on a little secret…the key to doing black drapes the right way is to pair them with white walls.  This ensures that they are the exclamation point in the room (and also that they don’t get too dark and dreary) Another way to achieve black drape success is to pair them with black and white graphic prints, metallics, and if you do color, only do tiny pops of color- or your room may end up looking like a bad black and white college dorm room.

 {In Style Magazine}

 {Rue Magazine}


 {Darryl Carter}

 {Made by Girl}



{Elle Decor}

If custom black drapes are too much of a commitment for you and you just want to inexpensively experiment with them, we have the perfect source for you HERE.

So, have we convinced you to run out and purchase your first set of black drapes? I promise you won’t regret it!

Last week I ventured out to my client Stacey’s house for the unveiling of the Lana Gomez artwork that we had been waiting on to arrive!  It was an incredibly exciting reveal because this was the piece that was going to pull the whole room together.

To give you a little background on Lana…she is an amazing abstract expressionist artist based out of West Hollywood, who has been popping up everywhere lately. From House Beautiful to C Magazine, this gal’s work is hot hot hot!  Lana uses acrylics and a mixture of different materials to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces for anyone who likes color and boldness.

How cute is she?

This was the piece that arrived at Stacey’s last week and the photo really doesn’t even do it is stunning (with a capital S) in person!!

This piece literally has every single color in the spectrum…I think it will be something that can move with Stacey from house to house for a long time to come.



I love how all of the colors blend into eachother-



Does she look familiar to you yet? It might be because you saw her work in the room Jamie Drake recently designed-




Or in Kelly Wearstler’s office-

Lana even became the resident painter at Wearstler’s Design Studio. This fantastic opportunity opened the door for Lana to continue to create art and she eventually opened her own fabulous gallery in California.

Here are some other amazing Lana art installs-

Lana’s funky use of bold colors, shapes, and textures makes her work unique and stunning. I really appreciate young artists and their drive to be different. Thanks Lana Gomez for sharing your gorgeous work with us! I encourage you to uncover more of Lana’s eye popping art on her website or facebook .

We’ve always been charmed by the beautiful, hand-painted Chinoiserie, Japanese, and Korean wallpaper created by de Gournay but, as impressive as these designs are, don’t think of this NYC company as a one trick pony.

In addition to admiring their knobbly slub silk, hand woven silk damask, Indian tea paper, and striking metallic wallpapers, we’ve recently been intrigued by de Gournay’s extensive fabric collection.

The talent behind these romantic designs can paint any of their looks onto fabrics of different qualities and weights. Upholstery, bedspreads, curtains, blinds- whatever your need- the designers at de Gournay will help you complete your room in the best possible taste. Even porcelain can be used as a canvas to create the harmonious interior of your dreams!

Take a look at just a sample of their hand-painted work!

For those of you in NYC, look out for the re-opening of their showroom on 59th and 2nd avenue in the design district before the summer months!

Every designer in Dallas has their go-to vintage stores that they frequent for the best deals and hidden treasures. EJ Interiors would like to share one of our personal favorites for finding the best in vintage furniture and accessories – Antiques Moderne! (We are not alone, this is even Barbara Bush’s favorite spot for vintage furniture shopping!) They are a one-stop shop – you can pick your piece and they will refinish, restore, or reupholster for you as well.

John Bacile is the owner of this 20,000 square foot space that is packed full of furniture, art, lighting, and accessories. He has a workshop in the back where they are busy restoring, upholstering and lacquering unique pieces for their wide range of clients. John finds some of the most amazing pieces that you just can’t find anywhere else, and he’s always got the history behind each piece! This guy really knows his furniture.

Take a look at some of the furniture pieces our clients have purchased and the amazing job that Antiques Moderne has done refinishing them –

Wing Chair BEFORE:

Wing Chair AFTER!:

We refinished the wood in a glossy white and reupholstered it in a fun gray and white fabric with shiny silver nail heads. Didn’t their team do a great job? Our client just loves it, and we do too!

This credenza stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it. I completely fell in love, and our client did too!

This is it BEFORE:

And here is the AFTER!:

We had John and his team lacquer this piece in a gray-blue color to coordinate with a fabric in the room. It looks absolutely fabulous now!

For the same client, we purchased two wing back chairs that were in need of a little T.L.C.

Here is the BEFORE:


We had Antiques Moderne reupholster the pair in a vibrant orange velvet to pop in the navy room. They turned out amazing!

If you live in, or ever visit, Dallas you must stop by Antiques Moderne to see their huge inventory of great vintage furniture. You’re sure to fall in love with something!

Their address is 1208 N. Riverfront Blvd. Tell John we sent you!

I’ve never been a big fan of the painted accent wall and oddly enough, that’s usually the number one question that I get asked at an initial consultation…”What are your thoughts on doing an accent wall in here”?

In most instances, I choose to stay away from the painted accent wall.  It reminds me of a bad home decorating show where they paint a random wall a god-awful color, just so they can say they did something “creative”.  Another reason I have nightmares about accent walls is that I myself painted an accent wall in every apartment I lived in, in college- yikes!

In my personal opinion, I would ONLY recommend doing a painted accent wall if it makes sense in your room and if you have a focal point that is screaming to be highlighted (like a fireplace wall, the backs of bookcases, a ceiling, wall nook, etc).  Make sure you stay far far away from doing an accent wall on a random side wall!  There is nothing worse than an accent wall that makes absolutely no sense!

However, painted walls aren’t the only accent walls out there.  I actually LOVE a fabulous wallpapered accent wall.  The key to one of these is to have the side walls’ paint color relate in some way to the wallpaper and always choose the wall that is more of a focal point in the room.

{Elle Decor}

Not to mention, you can use that more expensive wallpaper that you’ve always coveted since you only need one wall’s worth of paper!

{Nicky Hilton’s LA home- via Alkemie}

{via Little Green Notebook}

{via Design Strategies}

{Domino Mag}

{Megan’s dining room of Beach Bungalow 8}

{via Apartment Therapy}



We did a wallpaper accent wall in the guest room of one of my client’s houses and it did wonders for that small, bland room!

Also, keep in mind that when using a wallpaper with a metallic color in it (like the one below), it’s a bit more difficult to select paint (for the corresponding side walls) for it than it would be off a normal matte wallpaper (since metallics have a sheen and are always changing on us!).  Patience is key here with these glam papers!

{EJ Interiors}

I’m getting ready to do another single wallpapered wall for a client’s dining room and I can’t wait to see the impact the pattern has on the space!

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Feb 22, 2010 | 9 Comments | Category: Color, Kids, Paint, Walls

I’m currently designing a playroom for one of my clients (who has three young girls) and we want a stylish and fun paint color that can take the girls from elementary school to highschool.  We fell in love with the color scheme in Jill Zarin’s daughter’s room and I’m dying over the fact that I don’t know what paint color it is!

{Traditional Home}

I’m sure that if I ever did find out what color this was, I’d end up being completely surprised at its true hue.  Maybe it “really is a periwinkle” or “really is a navy”- some color that I completely didn’t expect.  That has happened to me before with an awesome Cole and Son wallpaper that I found in a magazine.  Woah, was it dark in person! Definitely wasn’t expecting that.  It’s so difficult to tell a true color just from a photographed image!

Anyone out there BFF’s with Jill and seen this color in person?

Would LOVE to know what is the true blue of this room!

Unexpected Color Combos

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Feb 11, 2010 | 8 Comments | Category: Color, Paint

When I say blue, you say brown.

When I say green, you say pink.

When I say gray, you say yellow.

When I say lavendar, you say…  Come again?

Who would have thought that pairing these two colors together would produce such fabulous results! (as seen in Elle Decor)

Or even red and turquoise?  Bunny Williams is one daring decorator!

How about red and pink?  Right in time for V Day…

A little brown and yellow perhaps?

What’s your most unique color pairing in your home?

Nancy, the winner of our Design Rules book giveaway, had asked this wonderful design question-

-Does one paint a dark room a light color or enhance the no light factor with paint?

And Elaine Griffin, the uber talented interior designer (and author of Design Rules), so kindly answered it!  And we, of course, had to share her very informative answer to this commonly asked decorating question.


Exxxxxcellent question!!!  As a designer, questions about paint colors are the number one topic I get asked!! (I did a whole “cheat sheet” chapter on color in Design Rules.)  And I understand– color can be intimidating, even if you’re a DIY veteran!

Here are some Insider Secrets about color to help demystify the whole enchilada:

–Does one paint a dark room a light color or enhance the no light factor with darker paint?

The answer is both!!! Here are three factors to take into consideration when choosing your wall color (beyond the most important one, of course, which is what colors please YOU the most in general!!!)

1) What time of day will you be using the room the most (day? night?)

2) How much natural light does the room get (southern exposure= loads of afternoon light; northern exposure= not so much, etc.)

and finally 3) How long will you spend in the room when you’re using it (powder room= 5 minutes; dining room= 2 hours, so let drama rule; den or family room= endless hours on end, for ions to come, so don’t LOSE YOUR MIND with bold, intense colors unless they Truly, Truly, speak to you (as they do to me!!!).

Dark colors can look breathtakingly stunning in the bright light of a south-facing room.  They also look great in any room at night, well-lit by soft puddles of lamplight (don’t forget a lamp in every corner, sugar, for your rooms to GLOW!!).  They can look a little forlorn in dim light, but then again, it just takes lamps to create instant glow (but do decide if that’s the mood you want in your north-facing room at 11:00 am, doll).

Rooms with little natural light can get an artificial glow (alas, you’ll still need to get your lamp game on 24/7 though) via wall color that mimics the sun: yellows, oranges, reds.

Tiny rooms that are Just Plain Tiny can become adorable jewel boxes when painted deep or bold colors.  Avoid painting mid-sized (i.e., just the other side of small) rooms the boldest sunny colors (bright red/yellow/orange) because the walls WILL seem to advance and the space will seem clausterphobic (Paler versions of these hues are fine).

At the end of the day, though, I always tell clients that it’s important to please yourself, first, no matter what trends, light or room size dictates.  If chocolate makes your heart sing (wheeeeeee!!!), then go for it!!! (And adjust your light accordingly.  TRADE SECRET: Darker colors “eat up”/absorb more light than paler ones so upgrade your wattage accordingly in darker rooms (unless you, like my husband, are a vampire who flourishes in dimly-lit spaces).)

–Will it look the same on the wall as it does on the paint chip???

YES! (Unless you have antique paint chips.) Although, you’ll be seeing a lot more of it, so nothing beats painting a Giant 3x 3 Swatch of Your Chosen Paint Color in the room it’ll be going in, and observing how it looks in the actual light of the space (at 10,000 different times of the day and/or night).  Here’s a secret: Even design pros make mistakes with color.  So don’t ever be disappointed should you happen to, too!  It can always be corrected with a couple of new coats of paint!

–How to tell what colors go together?

Pas de probleme, sweetie!!!  Nature’s palettes offer flawless color combinations everywhere we look.  If a color combination exists in a landscape, a flower or a fruit, it will work perfectly in your home.  Think colors of the beach (turquoise, beige, ivory, sunny yellow) of the fall forest (oranges, ochres, browns, greens), the sunrise or sunset, etc, and you’ll never go wrong.  Layer colors in a room the same way you do an outfit– think dominant color (suits/pants/jacket) + complementary colors (blouse, shoes) + citrus or sherbert accents (they’re the universal, go-anywhere hues, perfect for throw pillows)= accessories/jewelry.

Take care and good luck!



And We Have a Winner!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Nov 22, 2009 | 1 Comment | Category: Color, Contests, Paint

Nancy from North Carolina won our Design Rules book giveaway!

Her question was- “Does one paint a dark room a light color or enhance the no light factor with darker paint?”


Stay tuned for the answer to this question AND all of your other fabulous questions once Elaine gets back from her book tour!

Thanks to everyone for your great comments and questions.  We will post the answers here soon!