Monday, May 23, 2011

The best HGTV show you may not be watching: Secrets From a Stylist

Have you been watching Secrets From a Stylist on HGTV?  I don't know how I missed the premiere in late August, but I've been catching up lately.  It's my new favorite HGTV show.


HGTV Design Star fans should remember Emily Henderson, the winner of season 5.  She was the almost-annoyingly perky one who had a unique vintage boho-chic style of dressing.  I thought her design sense wasn't too bad in general, but wasn't so sure about her hosting abilities.  She landed in the bottom two after the first challenge, but bounced back and ended up winning the show with her eclectic design showcased in the final challenge.


Emily's background is in professional prop styling for magazines and catalogs.   On Secrets From a Stylist she artfully combines two design styles into one look that the homeowners will love.  At the beginning of the show, she conducts a "style diagnostic" with the couple to find out what each of their preferred design styles are.  Emily then comes up with quirky names for each style, such as "Mad Men Chic" or "Modern Artsy Nouveau."

Here's the "before" photo from my favorite episode:


The next step is to build layer 1, which is the first of the two styles, in the room.  When layer 1 is complete, one spouse may be very happy or they might both be a little put-off.  The first layer for this home was referred to as "Mad Men Chic," which was based on the husband, who preferred masculine, but stylish mid-century furnishings.


The second layer was to bring the wife's style in.  She's an artist, and preferred a more bohemian look.  Their combined style was called "Mad Men Bohemian."  There are still a lot of basic modern pieces, with some artsy accents layered in, as well as the wallpapered accent wall.

view from the back of the room

view from the front of the room


I loved this space.  Perhaps all the blue tones had something to do with it.  I am a lover of almost all shades of blue, as is Emily Henderson, so maybe that's why I like her show so much.

Here's another before.  It's not horrible, but it's not pulled-together.


Now for layer 1, called "modern artsy nouveau," which is the wife's style.  It was waaay girly.  Not only was there a lot of pink, but the seating had feminine lines as did the tables.



For layer 2, Emily added in the husband's style which she labeled "single malt minimalism."  Their blended style is called "single malt nouveau."  You can see that both feminine and masculine touches were included.


Here are some styling tips from Emily:

  • Group items in odd numbers, preferably in threes.  If you have three items, overlap one in front of the other to create depth, then set the third to the side on its own.  The third item should be of substantial size.  Together, the three items should look asymmetrical but balanced.
  • You can combine very different pieces as long as they have something in common, like the color, shape or pattern.
  • It's okay to mix gold and silver in a room, as long as you have an equal amount of each.  For instance, don't have a room full of brass and then only one chrome piece, because the chrome then looks like a mistake.
  • Coffee tables should generally be about 2/3 the length of the sofa.
  • Combine masculine and femine to balance out a room.  Squared-off lines are more masculine, whereas curved lines are more feminine.  She also suggested that it's a good idea to purchase masculine furniture and use feminine accessories.
  • In general, styling is all about balance.  Be sure to mix gloss with texture, hard with soft, dark with light.

from Emily Henderson's portfolio
 The first season of Secrets From a Stylist is now over, but you can catch up with past episodes on HGTV, usually shown on Wedesdays at 1:00pm and Saturdays at 3:30pm.

Here's a link to Emily's 10 secrets for shopping at antique malls, flea markets and thrift stores, to help you create a "vintage collected look, without all the junk."  The looks on the show include both new items as well as used items that she has found.

Another Secrets From a Stylist after, labeled "Modern Urban Beach"

You can catch Emily at her blog titled Style by Emily Henderson.  I've enjoyed reading her behind-the-scenes comments about each Secrets From a Stylist episode.

If you're a Secrets From a Stylist fan, let me know.  If you watched the show but didn't like it, I'm curious what you thought about it too.

Oh, and season six of HGTV Design Star premieres July 11.  Genevieve, Candice and Vern return as judges.  Unfortunately Clive is not coming back as host (I missed him last year -- didn't you?).  The new host is Tanika Ray, who is also the host of the new show HGTV'd, which debuts June 6.  (FYI -- Emily will be one of the designers on HGTV'd.)  And David Bromstad, the first Design Star, will be a mentor to the contestants.

Note:  I have not been paid for these HGTV endorsements.  (I wish!!)  Just wanted to share my new HGTV inspiration show.  Move over, Candice Olson! 

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