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Portland Project Construction Update & Artist Call Out



The Portland project is full steam ahead and boy is it a (beautiful) beast. Despite its challenges, it’s actually super exciting. I’ve never really designed fireplaces, stairs or used intricate moulding and to do it from afar, not actually in the space (or state) adds a double dose of challenges but I’m just learning. so. much. To recap – my little brother and his wife bought this fixer-upper as an investment and we are redoing it together with hopes to put it on the market this July (fingers crossed). It’s a traditional-style house with enough modern touches to keep it exciting. If you want more details on the house (square footage, # of bedrooms, etc.), or a refresher on what this is all about, head here.

Though this post is partly to show you where we are with the house (though I’m not ready to do a room-by-room description just yet), the real point of this update is actually at the very end (and it has to do with local Oregon artists and makers).

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Entry

Right now, we are in the final stages of each room (don’t worry, I’ll be blogging about every single thing in this house – I can’t wait to tell you what I’ve learned and how we did things). All the trim, doors, casing and millwork are going in (all from Metrie and we went through Medallion Industries in Portland to order, which was wonderful – more on that later).

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Office

The windows (from Milgard’s Ultra Series in the Black Bean finish – more on that later, too) and exterior French doors (also from Milgard) came in and they are so pretty. Another development is that the flooring is down in most of the house – which I HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN IN PERSON! (We went with Hallmark Floors’ Ventura Mangrove.)

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Living Room

There are so many elements that excite me (the millwork, the pretty black windows) and some that scare me – the three fireplaces that all have different challenges. It’s actually almost four fireplaces because the one in the family room is indoor/outdoor and I haven’t designed the exterior part of it yet.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Dining Room

The rooms that I’m pumped about most are the dining room and the master bedroom. Wait, and the office…and the media room + the three outdoor patio areas and the massive yard.

But I think the biggest change that will make the most impact is the natural light that we brought in through all the windows and the added skylights. It’s a totally changed house thanks to added natural light.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Family Room

I still haven’t chosen the colors for the kitchen which I HAVE to do today. (Update: I didn’t.)

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Kitchen

Ken (my brother) and I text 59 times a day, and many decisions are made via FaceTime – but it’s working. I had a project manager/designer up there (Jenna) previously who became too high demand as a designer (No!!!) so I hired some help here in LA to streamline decision making (I’m pretty hard to get a hold of if you are in another state, but someone at a desk next to me can force me to engage and make a decision). We are trying our best here to communicate with Ken and the General Contractor (Jp Macy) as much as possible.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Stairway

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Upstairs Landing

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Living Room Secret Room

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Bedroom 1

How beautiful are those doors from Metrie?? I LOVE them so much. The 7 1/4″ baseboard is so grand and lovely. You’ll get a full post about the mouldings and trim, but I can’t say enough good things about Metrie. They helped weigh in on major decisions and gave me some tips on choosing/pairing profiles (we went with the ‘Very Square‘ profile line, in case you want to know right now). They are to the trade, so you basically need to find a building supply location in your state and see if they sell them.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Bedroom 2

The bathrooms are coming along – we have beautiful tiles from Ann Sacks, Clé and Pratt & Larson, with Kohler plumbing fixtures.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Kids Bathroom

They are all different but share some common themes (obviously).

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Seceond Level Laundry

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Master Bedroom

The skylights in that master are game-changing and that vaulted ceiling makes the room feel even bigger.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Master Bath

The master bathroom proved to be an incredible challenge design-wise for me, but I’ll walk you through why very soon. It’s turning out great due to a last minute (very hard) decision…

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Media Room

This media room is turning out shockingly fun. We added paneling to the ceiling to make it feel taller (mission accomplished). I debated adding another flat stock on the longer pieces to make them come down lower but was talked out of it. Do you guys think we should? It would affect the cans so I’m not sure we can do it at this point. I had a local architect weigh in and he said ‘No, leave it.’ I was super happy to have someone tell me what to do.

The room, which opens up to the backyard, also has a wet bar and reading nook. I can’t tell what age of kids this house would be best suited for. We’ve really designed it to be super functional for families (or people who love to have a lot of guests).

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Guest Bedroom

The storage rooms (above and below) have turned into remarkably cute bedrooms. They are quirky and cozy and you are surprised by how great they are when you walk in. We are installing wall-to-wall carpet in here to make them feel more inviting and because newsflash – I like carpet in bedrooms. More on that later.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Bedroom 5

Nothing is painted yet and so the doors, walls and trim don’t match. Once they are fully designed, everything will make sense.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Updated Demo Pics Guest Bath

It’s a lot to talk to you about, and I’m sorry for not divulging more. I feel like all I said over and over has been ‘more on that later’  or ‘stay tuned’.

But that’s because I need to get to the point of THIS post.

The design team and I are flying up there in a couple of weeks to begin the furniture/accessories portion of the process. I have been so busy designing fireplaces and millwork that I literally haven’t thought about a sofa. And if we want this on the market in July, we need to HUSTLE.

Ideally, we’d style and stage every single room, almost as if I were living there. Art, accessories, textiles, furniture, books, candles, etc., and I’d love to work with as many local-to-Oregon makers and companies as possible. We already have Rejuvenation, Ann Sacks, Pratt & Larson and Decorview on board – all Portland-based companies.

You are probably wondering how this is going to work: Well, we’d essentially borrow pieces for two months in exchange for photos of your piece in the house, and crediting, linking and call outs on the blog, and, of course, tagging and shout outs on social media. We’d give love and photos and hopefully sell the piece for you. You could be a painter, furniture maker, artist, potter…anything. And we are looking for everything from vintage to new. Stylistically, it’s a combination of Simplified Traditional and California Casual.

Once the house is officially in escrow, the new owner would get the opportunity to buy anything at whatever price you want to sell it for and then obviously we’d send you that money. Whatever doesn’t sell will need to be picked up the day that escrow closes, because the day after that, whatever is left (all our purchases – from thrifting to big box) will be sold in a fire sale with any profits being donated to a local cause (still TBD). You could also let us know if you want to donate your piece to the cause; they would get 100% of that money.

Logistically, it’s going to be hilarious insanity (think of the inventory we have to keep straight!), but I have a good feeling that so much of it would be sold to the new owner. I think a massive benefit of buying this house is not only that it’s pretty and large with one big acre of old growth trees and a bocce ball court (not to mention that it’s basically brand new), but you ALSO inherit thousands of design hours from an interior design team. Having someone design, decorate and style out each room to ensure that it looks GREAT is, my goodness, such a fantasy.

Can you imagine walking into your brand new house that is FULLY FURNISHED??? No furniture assembly. No hours shopping to then realize that the piece doesn’t fit. No returns. No boxes to unpack (besides personal items). No indecision. No arguments with your partner. You get professionals to do all the creative work and the physical labor. The rugs will be the right size. The toothbrush holder will look beautiful in the bathroom. The towels will be perfectly folded and the beds will already be made!!!

Of course, the buyers could want nothing.

When we sold our Glendale house, the new owners bought 90% of what was staged (I staged only with what I was willing to sell). They bought all the furniture and accessories and even the books on the shelves and the tray on the nightstand. It was SO FUN. We went around ‘shopping’ the house. The only big thing that they didn’t buy was the living room rug. I was so confused and concerned and finally just asked them – but why not?? And they said, ‘Well, we do have some things of our own,’

Ha. Oh right. And then I asked to see the rug they intended to install for approval. I mean, that house was my work and I didn’t want that room messed up if the rug wasn’t the right size, color, style or pattern.

I was joking. They laughed. 🙂

So that’s how this will work. You let us borrow your pretty furniture, art and accessories (and yes, of course, it has to fit into the style we are going for) and we give call outs on the blog and social, and you can have the photos of your piece in the house to use as you wish. I will say that we will likely not be able to borrow one small accessory because keeping track of the inventory and social media callouts might be so time-consuming that it stops making sense at a certain point. But if it’s a big piece that really makes a statement or multiple pieces spread throughout the house, then great. I’d love to highlight more local Oregon makers and make the house feel really special all while benefitting the artists. (In case you forgot, it’s kinda my hometown, so while of course we’ll be shopping at major retailers, I want it to feel like Portland artists were a big part of the beauty.)

The timeline we are thinking is likely mid-June to end of August.

And we’ll have a big fun party with press and all of you who are contributing, and we can mingle and celebrate how awesome you and the Portland art/design industry is.

I hope that all makes sense. Please ask any questions you need and if you emailed before with submissions, please resubmit just so we have it all in one place. Email photos and/or a link to your website to

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Demo Update Pic 2

My baby brother Ken and I are working together really well. He’s one of my favorite people in the entire world (probably because he’s me but male and stronger but with the same lack of editing, embarrassment or shame that I have). It’s so fun and despite the challenges, we are likely going to do it again. He is learning a ton about building and design AND he has a really good point of view. I trust his instincts, and since I’m not physically there, I typically ask him ‘well, does that feel weird to you in person?’ And his answer is always what mine would have been. It’s so refreshing to work with him, with an honest refreshing outlook and he cares about function in a way that I often don’t even think about. I think we are a FANTASTIC team if I do say so myself. He crosses my Ts and so far there hasn’t been one second of tension. YAY 🙂

So again, stay tuned for MANY MORE updates coming soon (as soon as we’re ready for ya!). In the meantime, thank you in advance for sending along all of your awesome Oregon-based artisan recommendations. Brady and I (and likely Ken and Julie) will be up there in a couple of weeks and I’d love to meet you :).

P.S. If you’re interested in the house, please contact Alex Sand, Christy MacColl or Carrie Gross at or 971-409-9544.

Fin Mark


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So exciting! Can’t wait to see upcoming progress. One question – is it wise to install wall to wall carpeting? It’s a very specific design choice and could be a pain for the potential buyer to deal with.

Julie S

Hardwoods throughout requiring rugs are also a very specific design choice 🙂 My mother always voted for that, but me and my father both prefer carpet in bedrooms… as does Emily apparently, and we are not alone! I can be a design snob in some ways but even though carpet is cheaper and not so pretty…. I just like it in my room. All over my room. Under my cranky tired feet. Plush to sit on. Sucking up sound vibrations and softening things. I’m sure Emily will put in something way nicer than most of us have, and to me… Read more »


For basement bedrooms, carpet seems like the obvious choice. They probably can’t install hardwood down there anyway.


This is so awesome! Super stoked to see this update. I will say the timeline sounds mighty ambitious, but if your GC has a crew and multiple trades under his (her) wing, maybe it’s possible!

Also, thanks for the link to the design-style California Casual – that color palette is very much like mine, though I’m only about 30% finished with decorating my house, so right now it looks white and bare. My friend the other night asked if I “like color”, and while I do appreciate color, I love a white/neutrals mixed with wood tones.


This is gorgeous. I can feel the adrenaline and energy coming straight out of my screen! I love the local maker & charity collaboration too. Here’s hoping any folks that have been outspoken against this reno change their minds after they see this progress. Its really really pretty. Jusy curious-what are all trying tiny boxes? Tile?


I love these update posts:) I think to you it feels incomplete to show it to us this way, but I love seeing it in this state. It’s a slightly easier visual than the total befores and it think it’s fun to start imagining possible choices (love that basement ceiling BTW).


Sigh. This is in NO WAY a criticism of what’s clearly shaping up to be a MASSIVELY stunning house. I’ve just been feeling really bummed looking at all of the “aspirational” content coming from shelter bloggers/social media people these days. My husband and I toured our dream home this weekend and realized that there is no universe in which we would be able to afford it at this time. So we said a tearful goodbye, resigned to the fact that we’ll need to stay in our 750 SF fixer apartment for the foreseeable future. That’s not Emily’s fault, but still… Read more »


I live in the Bay area too so I understand all too well the crazy housing prices and how looking at beautiful houses on design blogs can be a downer a times. But I remind myself that these blogs for me should be more inspirational than aspirational. Everything is relative. There will always be fancier homes and more modest homes than mine no matter where life takes me. I’ll never live in the ultimate house of my dreams (Rose Uniacke’s house) but my current modest little house is a joy and luxury compared to my house in Vietnam and the… Read more »


Oh, but small homes can be even more beautiful. It’s like with a body shape and weight. Just invest in proper storage (deep and tall built in wardroves) and relatively light furniture to leave as much floor space as possible. And dress it up in beautiful colors and textures. In my personal view it’s better to have a small and luxurious space, than a big empty one. In a small space you can invest in one beautiful chandalier you dont have to buy three pendants for various areas. You need one sofa, not three for a living room, family room… Read more »


Thank you both for your responses – they are really cheering me up!


Also, don’t worry about the how you will get your dream space. Just think about what you like and why you like it. The flow of the universe can somehow carry things to you in ways you could never have engineered in your mind. Just looking at Emily is a testament to this. I don’t think she was able to picture exactly how her fabulous life would unfold. She’s just doing her thing and appreciating beauty and it’s gravitated to all areas of her life. That is why I like reading her. Oh and I am also in the bay… Read more »


Nothing to bring you down like “oh, this is how much a kitchen renovation actually costs – I could buy a whole house in Texas for that amount of money” California life…


I know how you feel. After I had my daughter, I was so discouraged about how happy and perfect and blessed all the blogger mothers felt. I had post-partum depression, but didn’t know it, and I felt so terrible about everything. I finally unfollowed a bunch of people for my own mental health. It helped a bit 🙂 Anyway, I think your problem is easier! Small houses can be so cozy and charming. Plus, less space means you can have higher quality things. The more square footage, the higher the cost!

Julie S

Whoa! So much to come – I was wondering if we were ever going to see this house again but now I get that it will be reveals/explanations after it’s been completed, not quite the same as say the mountain home. It is going to be very awesome and I can see how close it is to being ready for furniture! I smiled about your brother considering function when you might not. In HGTV design shows I have been known to cringe at pretty design decisions that I imagine actually living with – most recently there was a sink peninsula… Read more »


Love the millwork and black windows! Oh and the details in the vaulted ceiling.


Wow! This is going to be a gorgeous home! Can’t wait to see the completed project.


Wow! It is so beautiful. And so much insp for our mid-century ranch. Bring on the reveal! 🙂


Oooh what a good teaser post. So happy to have an update and CAN’T WAIT to hear all the gushy details. We currently need to choose flooring and trim profiles for my house reno, so this is right up my alley. And I must say that “shopping” a gorgeous fully-furnished house sounds like a DREAM. Oh and I’m so happy that you’re having a great working experience with your brother. (I also work with family at our family-run GC business – with my mom, dad, two brothers, and my husband!) It sounds like you’ll have your hands full for the… Read more »


Love love the black windows! Are these Milgard black bean windows? Are they Ultrex or Aluminum? We are making window selection this week and need to choose between Milgard or Pella.


Yes! They are from Milgard’s Ultra Series in Black Bean (good eye!). Link here:


Are they true divided light or between the glass divided light?

True divided light is my preference but seems like a splurge for a flip.


Thank you! We went with the Milgard Ultra Black Bean…I mean how could we not after seeing how gorgeous they look in your space?!


I love the house! I am from Portland and I hope you will consider Dollar For Portland as the local charity! They support local families with overwhelming medical expenses! My favorite charity and my favorite designer! Their Instagram is @dollarfor. They are so unique where 100% of Peoples money that comes in goes directly to the families that need it! They even cover the cost of merchant fees to keep their 100% model. They have thousands of Portlanders that give monthly to these families so I think it would be a great way to get the word out about your… Read more »

Diane Llewellyn Grover

I would so love to be part of this project! And I’m Portland-based. Just sent Priscilla an email, with my photos. I am now sat by my laptop, and will NOT leave my position until I hear back. I have food and water to last for a few days. After that, I dunno.


Sooooo funny!!! I’m sending good luck vibes your way!


I’m ready to pick up and move to Portland. All. The. Moulding. All. The. Heart. Eyes.

Sandy Mahler

This sounds awesome!!! I can’t wait to see how the house and staging unfolds! Do keep us posted please. 🙂

Jovanna Giannasio-Fern

loving the progress!!
btw, where did you get your black boots?


As a fellow Portlander, one of my favorite non profits to support is dollarforportland. It helps local families with overwhelming medical debt and 100% of the proceeds go to the family. It’s so inspiring to see the people of your local city supporting one another and dollarforportland is such an amazing organization to do through. I’ve also met the founders and they are some of the most genuine and kind people on the planet. You would fall in love with them, trust me. Can’t wait to see the final reveal of this house!


We just had our hardwood installed on Sunday (they’re finishing today) and we went with a oil finish white oak in 7.5″ x 6ft called Silver Star – chalet series and it actually looks quite similar to what you’ve chosen. We purchased it 2 years ago and other renovations came up that we needed to complete before the flooring went down so I hadn’t seen the full colour range in the wood. I’ll admit that we purchased the wood based on a 2ftx2ft example and were told there were slight colour changes throughout the floor but I wasn’t expecting quite… Read more »


I’ll send the word to my networking group here in PDX. Please tell me you’re going to have an open house event so we Portland peeps can ooh and ahh.


Second this!!!


Looking forward to hearing your perspective on the carpeting decision. I’ve designed high-end homes for resale and made the mistake of putting (beautiful, textural, high-end) wall-to-wall in the bedrooms of one of my first homes. The buyer’s purchase agreement was contingent upon ripping up the carpet and installing hardwoods. Personal preference in your own home is one thing but for resale, hands down I believe hardwood is universally best. Buyers can always install a massive area rug for the room if they prefer coziness, but it’s a big pain (and mess, and expense…) to rip up carpeting and install hardwood.… Read more »


Those windows are absolutely amazing!!! I am so pumped to see this reveal. Go team you guys!


Why do you call Portland your hometown?

I thought you grew up four hours away from here and went to university down in Eugene. Have you ever lived here? If you have, I must’ve missed that.


Oh how I wish I could replace all of my doors and windows with those! So pretty! This is going to be one amazing home! Question: on average what is the additional cost to providing all the furniture and accessories? Is there a general rule of thumb or budget? Someone once told me $10K per $100K of house price????


so lovely, can’t wait to see the next update! I had baseboards like those installed in my last home, and since moving 7 years ago still feel strangely empty they are no longer in my life (and haven’t been able to justify replaced my current baseboards). The windows are to.die.for.

so nice to hear that you are having such a positive experience with your brother too!


Love the windows. The whole project already feels superb.


I’m so thrilled for you and your brother to have had this experience and learned that you make such a great team! You are living my fantasy! Love seeing all you do and create and inspire.


Ditto to this. What a blessing! I’d love to do this with my little brother too. xo


Check out Portland-based artist Jane Aukshunas ( I LOVE her landscape paintings of the Northwest (some include Mt. Hood which would be a great fit for the fixer’s location). They have so much color and movement and for me, invoke the sunshine I need in a long winter gray spell. I bought and framed a print as a wedding gift for my husband more than 10 years ago and it still makes me happy to see every day.


I was SO excited to see JP Macy as your general contractor!!! JP has a fun personality and is such a skilled contractor. I can’t wait to see the final project.

Anna McNinja


Paula Carr

This house is seriously getting into my brain. I think I’m obsessed. Can I move to Portland???? Don’t know, but I’m loving all the changes you’ve made. Those doors — soooooooooooo cool. Love! And the windows are awesome. I’m a huge fan of black iron/steel-framed windows and doors, and these windows have that same vibe. Just sigh……


Love everything!!! New windows is next on our list for our house update (probably next year) so I’m starting research now – love what you put in this house and would love that look in mine (black frames). What material are they and if I want black will that be a ridiculous upgrade?? Seems whenever I see black in home decor they are some form of metal.


This is unrelated to basically everything in this post, but the last remarks about your brother are SO sweet. I am currently pregnant with my only child’s first sibling and it made me teary to think about them enjoying each other into adulthood! Thank you for sharing.


I’m anxiously waiting for that post about bathroom remodels : any word on when that’s coming down the pike?
Thanks so much!


omg emily you totally read my mind! i was like “how’s it going working on this huge/awesome/stressful thing with your brother?” thanks for throwing in the personal touch and glad it’s going well! can’t wait to see it!


This is shaping up to be my favourite!! Love the doors, windows, trim, all the natural light…just love it all. Can’t wait to see the progression. Love seeing the process as much as the finished product. And can’t wait to see all the artwork you’ll get to choose from. If you get way too much you could still do a post about the great artwork that you loved but couldn’t fit in the house. How are you going to sell this? It will make you want to move!!

Great work, so excited about this project 🙂


LOVE seeing this progress update! I adore the media room ceilings! Do you have advice for how to make low ceilings seem higher?

I have a smallish urban historical house in Seattle with a daylight basement that has ceilings that look a bit lower than this media room’s ceilings – it’s my #1 house fantasy to figure out how to visually (and maybe also literally) raise those ceilings!

Thanks for all of the great info on the Portland home!

Denise Shaver

Dear Emily,

Thank you so much for posting your thoughts and concerns. You are so honest and transparent. I have been helping my brother remodel his house to sell and I can make decisions for him, but not for myself. What the heck? My own home is in desperate need of a remodel. Love, love, love, all the sharing you do!


Arthella Starke

What a powerful and great team. I am cheering you both on and so excited for the wonderful combination of talents and perspective that you both bring. So very proud of you both.


How exciting!!! It’s so fun to see this process and I’m really pumped to see all of the Portland-based designers and artists. I’m from the Northwest, too, and have recently moved as an “adult” and am super into discovering the design community there.


Schoolhouse Electric is located up in Portland!


I am working with my brother on some investments, too. It’s so good to work together with someone I love, enjoy, and trust. Sounds like we both lucked out in the brother department! Looking forward to seeing more progress on what is clearly going to be a gorgeous home!

Shannon Mayo McBride

A Lakeridge HS parent recommended that I contact you, Lisa Lyons Burt? Anyhow, I am currently the Lakeridge HS art teacher, 17 years and counting! Aside from teaching art I am also an artists. This project is inspiring and I love, love, love the idea of working with local artists to add a little P-town flavor to the mix. I just pushed send and sent an email to Pricillia with a few of my images and links to my Insta and website. My work may not fit the vibe, but if it does hooray for me! Regardless, kudos to the… Read more »


I just looked at your Instagram. Loved your colorful, creative work and hope Emily does, too! 🙂

Shannon Mayo McBride

Kristen! How sweet. Thank you for the words of encouragement, means a lot to me!


The wood floors are beautiful. Are they wood or a different material and what company makes them, please?


Please do a whole post about the exterior! I am so interested in curb-appeal type decisions/changes. Thanks!!


This stuff is so easy to google. There are basic top 10 things to do for the best possible curb appeal for a given style of property. Google, google….


Your brother looks so much like your son! And I love that you’re keeping it local with all your purchases. Great work you two!!


The plans for this house look amazing! I am excited to see it coming together and I love that you will be donating to a Portland cause once the project is complete. I would also like to mention that Dollar For Portland is a great charity that you should consider working with. This non profit was founded by two Portland natives with a love for their city and a love for the people in it. Dollar For Portland works hard to support the people that live and work here. 100% of the funds they raise go to the families. Also,… Read more »


Hi Em! Love what you’ve got going! Waiting for the next surprise!


I am LOVING reading about this house. I lived in this neighborhood in high school and my husband and I are just about 15 minutes away now. So I know it well 🙂


This is really a great home! how to make slime

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