If you’re not familiar with Emily Henderson’s work, prepare to be awed and obsessed. Emily Henderson is a professional prop-stylist. She’s a past winner of HGTV’s Design Star and she has her own show on the network, Secrets From a Stylist. We’re huge fans and have seen every single episode. Her style is very unique and so fun. Today we’re giving you an exclusive look at her holiday party decor and Emily’s sharing all the fun little details.
To see more behind the scenes and how-to’s of the party, head to Emily’s blog.
“Welcome to the first year I’ve actually decorated for myself for the holidays. Sure, we’ve put up trees and had too many eggnogs whilst listening to Mariah Carey, but for the holidays I decorate so much for work that I forget until mid December to do it for us, and at that point I feel like it’s almost a waste of money. Because let’s face it, I’m not going to just light a few candles and buy a few balls. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right. So first I chose my color palette: hot pink, navy, white and gold. Kind of predictable for me, but it looks so good in my house and I already have so much navy, white and gold, so all I had to do was bring in pink.”
“For the mantel I bought really inexpensive classic-style stockings from the flower market ($3.99 from Moskatels) but in navy, so it’s updated and a little edgier. I softened the lines of the mantel with cotton (also from the craft store downtown but you can get some at Michaels) and added a collection of flowers and ornaments to create a pretty easy mantel-scape. The fireplace isn’t functional so I decided to paint the back of it blue so it would pop, then add snow, and naturally a brass deer head, as you do. “
What inspired your holiday decor this year?
I wanted something that said, “White Christmas….in L.A.” Bright, white, fun and young with a nod towards bling without being too disco.
“Brian told me I was dressed like 1/2 flight attendant 1/2 Santa’s little helper. I couldn’t argue with that. The vest is actually a vintage flight attendant vest, the skirt is from H&M and the shirt is C.Wonder. I made the big-ass bow with a piece of ribbon—like a present.”
“Brian insists on a real tree for nostalgic purposes, and I can quickly support that. For the party we removed the TV, and instead I made wrapping paper (by painting, stenciling, polka doting, contact papering) and stacked up a ton of presents to make a good photo backdrop for the party. This is a super easy way to make it feel like the holidays REALLY fast. All you need is to wrap a bunch of presents and stack them everywhere.”
What’s your entertaining style?
I so rarely entertain (until now, it’s a big New Year’s resolution for me) but in general we have BBQs or we make pizzas. My theory is as long as there is low light, good music, and easy access to food and drink it’s a good party.
“Sometimes I get crazy and put ornaments in front of one eye and try to channel my inner Shirley Temple. I’m unpredictable like that.”
What’s the standout piece from this holiday party?
The wall of presents was a big hit. It was like this big sculpture that just screamed, “HEY TAKE PICTURES IN FRONT OF ME!!”
“Obviously my presents stayed within my color palette, and I wanted each one to be different so it had a collected look without looking like it was crazy. It’s most important to have a variety of sizes and shapes of boxes, and if you want to make a tree shape like this, make sure to put the largest boxes at the bottom and scale upwards with medium, then small. I knew I wanted to create the shape of a tree, but otherwise I didn’t have an exact plan for each box, so I just kinda went for it.”
“Behind the sofa in the window I have this lucite console that I dressed like a winter wonderland with snow and glass domes full of miniature trees. I threw some of these awesome sequin ornaments to add some much needed bling and make that area tie in with the rest of the space. The glass domes I’ve had for a while, but you can buy them at wholesale flower markets (you don’t have to go wholesale, you just pay more if you don’t) for around $25 for the large and $5 for the small. Moskatels in downtown LA has them. I sprinkled candles in to add light and mood at night.”
Do you have a favorite DIY you can explain from this party theme?
Nothing was terribly DIY. I think the key is to mix high end with low end. We had so many dollar store ornaments on that tree but then we splurged on the big gold sequin ball ornaments ($4-$15 each). I would say the cheapest way to make a big impact is to wrap a bunch of presents and stack them everywhere.
“I made that wreath from wild ferns, peonies and garden roses — it was a total splurge, but I was obsessed with it. I used a floral sponge wreath form (which you soak in water so the flowers don’t die) and then went for it without really thinking. I knew I wanted it to feel organic and wild, so I clustered the colors, while keeping it visually balanced.”
“Heirloom LA catered the party and did all of the food styling. I literally couldn’t have been more impressed. I always assume catering is going to be subpar because it’s mass food, churned out, etc., but it was so delicious, interesting and fresh. Everybody was freaking out about how good it was.”
What are your top tips for styling holiday decor?
1. Every holiday needs something sparkly – gold or silver makes it feel like a party.
2. If you want to go over the top, but don’t want it to look nuts, have a very strict consistent color palette that looks good with your interior design color palette.
3. You can mix and match any styles as long as it’s the same color palette and sometimes really opposite styles together create a really interesting contrast – like rustic with glam.
4. Splurge on pieces that get a lot of viewing pleasure – for instance the tree skirt is often covered by the tree or presents, so I tend to just use pretty cheap fabric instead of buying a skirt. Instead splurge on the tree topper.
“I used peonies as my big POP. I mixed them with garden roses, some fresh ferns and greenery to keep it more wintery, which I know, it barely is. But it’s still 70 degrees here so it’s hard to get too dark and moody.”
“This Heirloom Gobbler is a signature drink invented by Heirloom LA’s mixologist. The glasses are from Crate and Barrel.”
Heirloom Gobbler: Broker’s Gin, Dolin Vermouth Blanc, lime slice, Cranberry granita
CROSTINI STATION: house-cured meats, cheeses, roasted veggies, seasonal fruits, marinated olives, pickled veggies, etc
ARANCINI: served with saffron aioli
GARDEN SALAD: homegrown greens and apples with a lemon vinaigrette
SHEPARD’S PIE: Braised short rib, whipped yams, and cinnamon marshmallow
HOME GROWN PEPPERS STUFFED WITH RICOTTA + SHORT RIBS
SHRIMP CEVICHE TOSTADAS
PANNA COTTA: served with apricot glaze and molasses dust
LASAGNA CUPCAKES: various flavors included house made pasta with Sage Brown Butter Pumpkin with Smoked Mozzarella, Wild Boar Bologonese with Fresh Mozzarella, Confit Baby Artichoke with Fresh Mozzarella, Osso Buco with Saffron and Parmesan
Available for delivery for your holiday gift giving!
How do you sparkle?
No matter how serious I take my job, I really try not take myself too seriously. Hopefully.