New Simply Framed Graphic Art by Erika Gragg

Photographs by Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolish


Dear Art Oglers,

One time, when Erika Gragg and I were freshman at Cornell, I called her a Barbie in painting class. She never forgave me. She brings it up a lot. We’ll be just eating lunch somewhere random and she’ll be like “REMEMBER WHEN YOU CALLED ME A BARBIE?” And then everyone in the restaurant will drop their forks and glare at me, knowing what a horrible person I am for calling people Barbies just because they have blond hair and laugh a lot. Since being traumatized by me in college, Erika has gone on to create beautiful drawings, paintings, and prints. I’ve been coveting them for years, so I finally commissioned her to make me some drawings, which I love and make out with every day.


Erika chose to do a lovely hang-painted triptych on beautiful, thick watercolor paper with rough edges. I wanted to bring more green in to my living room, and the vibrant color she chose rocks my world. Erika is heavily influenced by her tropical childhood. She grew up in Miami and since I’ve known her has always been enthralled with palm trees, bright colors, and anything wild and graphic. My love for all things pastel can be traced to the first time she took me to visit her family in Miami and I fell in love with all that deco goodness, all those faded happy colors.


Because custom framing is expensive and schlepping art all over town is annoying, I opted to try out a service I’ve been curious about for a while. Simply Framed allows you to choose the style of your frame and mat, then they send you a tube or mailer, you stick your art in there and mail it to them and it comes back completely framed and ready to go. You literally don’t have to go outside. You can sit inside, alone, sweating and eating frosting like Goldie Hawn in “Death Becomes Her” after her husband leaves. Simply Framed even sends hanging hardware, yet another way they help you to remain a lazy disgusting slob who is scared to go outside.


The side tables come from Crate & Barrel and I find the fact that they’re nesting tables incredibly reassuring. It’s like they’re sitting there, holding my awesome lamp from Target, snuggling each other saying “I love you.”


Simply Framed did an exquisite job framing Erika’s work. My favorite part is how perfectly they floated each piece, accentuating the beautiful deckled edge of the paper.


I love staring at these pieces because they have the tropical, bright, bold aesthetic that I’ve long wanted to bring into my apartment. The added bonus is that they remind me of my friend Erika and spending time with her and her family in Miami. ALSO I’M SORRY I CALLED YOU A BARBIE ERIKA I WAS TOTALLY JOKING ARE YOU OVER IT YET?


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post but I did receive gifted items from Simply Framed. I sought out their services on my own volition and the opinions I’ve expressed about their products and services are genuine and my own. If you like this blog and want to support my ability to pay for the cost of running it, please support me by clicking on the Simply Framed link to show them I have engaged, intelligent readers who are superior to everyone else on earth. 


Filed under Art

That One Time A New Living Room Gave Me A New Reason To Live

Photographs by Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolishorlando-soria-living-room-23Dear People Who Are Excited For Halloween To Be Over So We Can Start Writing Letters To Santa Asking For Stuff,

Christmas came early for me this year because LOOK AT MY NEW(ish) living room! In celebration of the fun updates I made in my home, I wrote a potpourri of posts, the first, most riveting one for Emily Henderson’s lovely site and the second, more sobering and hard-hitting one for Homepolish Magazine.

Highlights include:


This luscious new coffee table from Crate & Barrel.


This saucy side table, also from Crate & Barrel.



But wait SHHHHHHHHHHHH! There’s more! You can win the same rug I have. Homepolish & Rugs USA have teamed up to give one away to someone special (hopefully you but if not you your mom or someone you know so you can go over and snuggle the rug when he or she is not around). Enter here!

But wait there’s even more MORE:

Post on Style By Emily Henderson >>>

Post on Homepolish Magazine>>>

Homepolish + Rugs USA Giveaway>>>




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Homepolish Highlights: Tropicaltimez in Noa Santos’ Living Room

Photos by Claire Esparros Courtesy Homepolish


Dear Design Dorks,

As you know I’m the West Coast Creative Director of Homepolish. Thus, I’ve decided to start a series highlighting my favorite projects from the company’s roster of crazy talented designers. Who better to start with than Noa Santos, the designer who started it all with his cofounder Will Nathan just a few years ago.


As soon as I saw the banana palm tree in the corner, I knew Noa and his boyfriend Ross had great style. Before that I was like “That’s a lot of asymmetrical ironic flowing sweaters and male jeggings for one couple.” JUST KIDDING I’M JUST JEALOUS BECAUSE THEY’RE SO SKINNY. They were drawn to their Gramercy Park apartment for its crisp white walls and dramatic black floors. They used this as a great jumping off point to create a graphic, elegant apartment filled with light.


Both Noa and Ross are from Hawaii so, like me, they have a tropical fascination. But don’t let their island upbringing fool you. These are city boys, so they wanted an apartment that felt chic and urban. Ross is a PR exec and Noa runs Homepolish  so they also needed a space where they could hobnob glamorous guests and laugh about how fun their lives are.



I’m obsessed with these chairs and want them for myself. I’d sit on them every day and be like “Don’t you like me *so* much more than Noa and Ross?” and they’d be all “THANK YOU FOR GETTING US OUT OF THERE YOU ARE A TREASURE.”


Ross does PR for a lot of different alcohol brands. That’s why they have all this luxurious liquor in their home. Not because they have totally fun parties I’m never invited to all the time where they laugh about how they thought about inviting me but then were all “GROSS NO!”



I’ve always been a fan of trunk coffee tables. Also a fan of: trunks FILLED with gold. Or something even more precious: Kate Moss books.


These candle holders are a serious steal and everyone needs them. And they make great gifts. You should stop what you’re doing right now and buy some for everyone you know and then  hope that someone buys them for you. And if no one buys them for you, time for new friends!

Noa-18Ross and Noa being cute, canoodling.


Personal note to Noa: I’d love to be invited over for dinner next time I’m in town. And by “dinner” I mean “I’d like to live underneath your sofa, in secrecy, eavesdropping on your conversations, from now until the day I die.” Thank you.

For resources and more images of this project, check out the full story on Homepolish Magazine.




Filed under Decor

D.I.Why? If You Knew How Simple It Was To Make A Bench Your Head Would Explode

Photographs by Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolish

diy-bench-5Dear Diary,

I recently designed Kelly Oxford’s house (remember?) and we needed a bench for her dining room. So I enlisted the help of Kelly and a highly-skilled child laborer (who happens to be her son) and we made a bench together. Oh Diary, I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you it was so fun and easy, anyone could do it! Even you, Diary, and you’re just a dumb old book filled with illegible scribbling about guys and shopping! Here are some preview shots of what we did:






What, Diary? You want to know more about how I actually did it? Well head on over to Homepolish Magazine and check out the step-by-step instructions on how to make the bench, as well as additional INSIDE information about Kelly, her son, and why she likes benches more than her family.




Filed under Decor

From Garbage to Glamorous: Making Dreams Come True for One Special Bookcase


Dear Non-Garbage Person,

The other day I was in St Vincent De Paul Thrift Store near Downtown LA and I came across a deal too good to pass up. They were selling these lovely little library bookcases for $15. Naturally, I was all “Oh my god I need one!” Which I say sometimes. Usually when I totally do not need one. If you’ve ever been in St Vincent’s you know how dirty and disgusting it is. It’s like jumping into a giant landfill. But filthier. But you find gems there from time to time so it’s worth it. The hunt is half the fun.

Anyway, I got my little bookcase home and was so inspired by it’s garbageness that I decided to challenge myself to make an entire vignette in my house out of garbage (some of you may have seen this on my Instagram feed). It was a heartwarming experience so I thought I’d share it with you today.

Here’s what the little bookcase looked like before:



The bookcase was actually super cute and reminded me of the bookcases in the library at the grammar school I attended in Yosemite (Check it out! It’s literally the most adorable school in the world). However, as cute as they were, the bookcases didn’t really make sense in my apartment because I don’t live in an adorable grammar school in a national park. So I decided to paint the bookcases white and forget about everything that came before.


By now your brain has probably exploded from how different it looks. But don’t be scared. Here’s what to do to transform your own garbage bookcase:

1. Sand/Add Legs. 

I sanded the bookcase with a light grain and added some legs I found at the hardware store:


I bought mine at Koontz Hardware in West Hollywood but you can also get them online from Home Depot. I pre-drilled holes in the bottom of the bookcase and then used wood glue to adhere them. I let it dry all day so they’d be super sturdy by the time I flipped it over.

2. Paint with Semi-Gloss.


I used Benjamin Moore Cloud White (semi gloss). It looks a lot more beige here than it does in real life. I love that it’s a nice warm white but not dingy like Swiss Coffee or some of those other classic whites. If you’re going to paint garbage, you have to paint it a nice clean color so it doesn’t look overly garbagey. Like your mom.

4. I let it dry overnight then powder it like a baby with talcum powder.

bookcase-makeover-7I know this sounds crazy and insane but it totally works if you’re painting something white. It keeps all the items you place on the shelf from sticking to it and ripping off the paint. It can take a really long time for semi-gloss house paint to totally cure, so the talcum powder just keeps it from being too sticky while it’s getting fully set. Also it makes your furniture look dry, pasty and pallid, like a member of the British Parliament. This really only works with white shades of paint unfortunately.

5. Style with garbage.

I finished the whole thing off by using garbage I’ve collected over the years to fill the bookcase to the brim. A full list of resources is below.

Thanks for stopping by my garbage home! Good luck collecting your own garbage!

A Garbageperson

PS: Resources!

Mirror from Goodwill (repainted on this previous Hommemaker post) $17.99, Lamps from the actual garbage with replacement lampshades from Target $9.99, Cactus in a pot from the a bargain bin at a Suzanne French Pottery sale $10, Jonathan Adler Lacquer box from Goodwill $4.99, Low Brass Bowl from Out of the Closet $5.99, Top shelf: Raku pottery platter I made at art summer school when I was 16, Set of three Tibetan hand-painted elephants I’ve had since childhood, Gold-topped candle container I cleaned out after I used the candle but have no idea what company it came from because it’s from two years ago, Seascape from the Rose Bowl Flea Market $20, Books I had lying around, Raku bowl I made at art summer school when I was 16, Oh my god are you still reading these resources they’re getting so boring and long-winded why did I decide to do this?, Middle shelf: Books and a watercolor painting I bought for $5 at Rose Bowl, A weird white wooden tray thing I made when I was 13, Greeting cards, A blue and white tin container I stole from Emily, Bottom shelf: black photo albums from college, A photo of a cat my dad took, more books, and a wicker basket I bought at Goodwill for $4.99.


Filed under Decor

Whut Glamour: The New Man Repeller Office

Photographs by Claire Esparros Courtesy Homepolish


Dear Leandra Medine,

I love your site Man Repeller, which is basically a blog about how ladies should wear what they want regardless of what guys think because guys are garbageholes. Just kidding I put in the part about guys being garbageholes. But they are. AM I RIGHT LADIEZ? In other news, I love that you love overalls, because I’ve been obsessed with them ever since I read “East of Eden.” Homepolish has designed not one, but two of the Man Repeller offices, and the latest space is so delicious I wish I were a giant so I could put the whole thing in my mouth and keep it there forever. The office was designed by Homepolish co-founder Noa Santos with help from fellow Homepolish designer Andrea Perez. Please ogle these tantalizing images of it:








But wait, there’s more! The chairs Noa used for the Man Repeller space are the same style as the awesome bar stools I used at Kelly Oxford’s house:



But wait, there’s even more! Homepolish is teaming up with Blu Dot to give away the copper chair we used at the Man Repeller offices. You can enter here. Actually, scratch that. I command you to enter here.

For more images of the Manrepeller offices, check out the full spread at Homepolish Magazine >>>


But don’t enter if you’re my mom or my sister or anyone else in my family. They’re not allowed to enter and they bug me about it every time Homepolish does a fun giveaway. No family members are allowed to enter because that could constitute a conflict of interest. So please, celebrate the fact that you are not related to me and ENTER ALREADY!



Filed under Decor

Further Proof That Paint is Magic

Photographs Courtesy Kyung Woo Han


Dear Pool Party People,

I came across the work of Kyung Woo Han recently while I was wandering aimlessly around the internet and I just had to share it even though he made this piece in 2009 which is like 500 years ago in internet years. Basically, he used wall paint to transform an indoor space into an optical illusion swimming pool (i.e. my dream home). As you probably know, I am a huge fan of transform a space using just paint and aqua is my favorite color, so this is basically the most important thing I’ve ever seen in my life.




When I first saw this work my brain exploded and I was like “WAIT I DON’T GET IT.” Luckily, then I found this video that kind of explains what’s going on:



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Filed under Art, Decor, Fashonz

The Hommemaker Guide to Getting Over It


Dear Complete Stranger on the Internet,

The year 2013 was not my year. If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you know what happened. A relationship ended, one that was very important to me and a first in a lot of ways. My career was in flux as I stopped working daily with Emily Henderson to break out on my own, a decision that was difficult for both of us as we were (are) best friends and working together every day felt like being with family.  My financial situation was a roller coaster, dire, and stress-filled. Basically I got dog-piled by life. I was at the bottom of a horrible, depressing heap. It happens to a lot of people. If you go through life without having a span of experiences that results in a depression, you’re extremely lucky. Or a sociopath.

It may come as a surprise but I am not a psychiatrist so everything I say here is based on my own experience and understanding of the world, but I hope my year-long depression spell and my escape from it can be inspirational for people experiencing the same thing now, so despite my lack of confidence about whether I actually have the authority to write this kind of advice, I’m going to anyway. Thank you, Internet!

Every calendar milestone that has happened this year, Valentines Day, Memorial Day, my birthday, Halloween, etc, have been a reminder of how absolutely depressed I was last year. My birthday especially. I remember throwing a party at a friend’s house, which I was house sitting for the summer because I couldn’t face living alone in my apartment which I’d shared with my ex. My ex came to the party, it was awkward. And extremely sad. About 100 people attended, it somehow turned into a larger party than I’d anticipated. Maybe I tried to make it into that to somehow feel validated that so many people showed up for me, after months of feeling like nothing. As the night dwindled, and guests tapered off, I finally was left all alone in a large, dark, echoing house in Windsor Square. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as lonely in my life. The candles had all burned out. The music was off. Dim light poured in the windows from street lights. And I was completely alone.

I cleaned up party cups long enough to convince myself that I was substantially sober and drove back to the apartment I’d shared with my ex and tried to sleep. But couldn’t. I just stared at the ceiling thinking. “How am I going to get over this? How am I going to feel better?”

So I guess that’s the reason I’m writing this. Just remembering how awful that feeling was. How incredibly heavy my body felt, as if it might sink through that bed, into the apartment below, until it reached the center of the earth. Not in a funny way like in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” when the mom falls through the ceiling (wait? was that funny? I actually haven’t even seen that movie). In a sort of out of body, terrible way that makes you question if life is ever going to be good again.

The following are things I did that ultimately resulted in me becoming happy again. If you have serious, clinical depression, obviously consult a doctor. If your depression is symptomatic of a series of misfortunate events, perhaps try doing what I did. If you’re not depressed at all and have never been depressed, stop reading this immediately and go watch a cat video or something.

moca011. Get Out of Your House 

It’s important to remind yourself of good things, things to be glad for. So get out and taking advantage of beautiful things around you. I made a pact with myself to go somewhere new every weekend, just on little day trips I took in the car. Often by myself. I went to Ojai, Joshua Tree, Santa Barbara, all over the state. I went back to New York a few times, it’s a place that’s always given me confidence because I spent so much time there, ending up there post college was the realization of one my deepest childhood dreams. Find a place that inspires you and go there. It might not be the outdoors like it is for me, but I’m sure you know of a place you can go that you love. Getting out, appreciating, enjoying places you love (or perhaps discovering some new ones) is such a great way to revitalize your life and remind yourself that you still have an entire life to live.

tumblr_n9i1vgIIzI1rs81xfo1_12802. Randomize Your Routine

Changing your routine on a daily basis is a good way to rip you out of your own life. I switched gyms and would workout at totally different times. I’d eat different stuff every day, try out new recipes, do anything to escape monotony. Being distracted by trying new and exciting things is a good way to distract yourself from your own depression. Monotony and staleness are the enemy here because they allow you to play into the story you tell yourself when you’re depressed. That nothing is new, life is boring, there’s not much to live for. Switching it up, trying new things, making new friends, helps you realize that you still have potential to grow and learn.


3. Look for New Things to Put in Your Brain to Replace Dark Thoughts

If you’ve lost your faith in yourself, humanity, your community, whatever, there are places that will help restore your faith. For me it’s art museums. Looking at all the crazy things that come out of other people’s brains is kind of inspiring. I was particularly taken by one Cy Twombly painting at LACMA (above). It’s so expressive, illogical, and beautiful. Looking at art (or watching films or reading books) is a wonderful way to remind yourself of the potential of human beings. And ultimately of your own potential. It’s a nice way of restoring hope for the future.

Only-A-Little-Scary-An-Interview-With-Jeffery-Self-14. Overshare Everything All The Time Until You Feel Better

I like this tip because it’s actually not what I did at all. My approach to dealing with my breakup, depression, and anxiety was to keep it as quiet as possible, mentioning it here and there on my blog when I thought it might be useful to someone. I kept almost everything to myself. During the same time, my writer/actor/comedian friend Jeffery Self took the opposite tactic. He unleashed a rage upon the internet, calling out his ex for everything from stealing the dog to his dating choices. While his actions were admittedly extreme, they ended up ultimately being productive and led to him being able to have a friendship with his ex – they worked through their issues in public. I admired his approach, because it was one I was too worried about being responsible to my ex to take (I didn’t want to write a one-sided story while he had no voice to respond). Jeffrey definitely experienced backlash, but ultimately he got to say his piece without a filter and that was both cathartic and community building for him. He alienated some of his fans, but many appreciated his candor because it was relatable and genuine.

Sometimes you just have to scream out your feelings, get them out of you, and move on. Those who truly care about you will forgive you for not being diplomatic.

orlando-soria-bedroom-35. Rearrange Your Furniture. Daily If Necessary.

Those who know me know I rearrange my apartment about once a week. I didn’t think about it until recently, but there is something completely therapeutic about it. Moving furniture helps you see your space in a new way, makes your life feel less routine. But it’s not just about keeping the view fresh. Refreshing your space, adding new art, painting the walls, changing out lighting, is a way of showing yourself some respect, reminding yourself that you’re worth having a nice space. Making your place beautiful is the perfect confidence booster. Also, if you’re doing it yourself, the physical labor involved will likely be good for your depressed body (side note: I’m not going to give you the “exercise more” tip even though I think it’s a good one because it’s usually the last thing you want to do when you feel so depressed you want to die).

So there you have it, my tips for getting over whatever you need to get over. From the depths of a depression, it’s hard to imagine things ever feeling better. But I’d like to remind you that I am proof that they will.

Good friends will tell you that you really need time more than anything, which is true. Sometimes you just have to wait it out until you feel better. But that shouldn’t stop you from at least trying to feel better. You’re definitely worth the effort, even if it might not seem like it now.


Images: Manuel Moncayo via Filth & Wisdom, I Am Yours, LACMADesign BoomNils Staffan Liede,


Filed under Life

Get In My Eyeballz: Gray Malin’s ‘Dream’ Series

Photographs Courtesy Gray Malin

Cyan Sheep II

Dear Gray Malin,

You may remember yourself from the glamorous One Kings Lane home makeover we did together months ago, where we first met and became friends. I remember you from all the wonderful photos you take that are like candy for my eyeballz. Your newest body of work is an extremely fun project called The Dream Series. It’s a surreal, beautiful series featuring hypercolor sheep in the gorgeous Australian countryside, waddling around, being themselves, not caring what anyone else thinks. Don’t be scared, the dyes Gray used are totally harmless, vegetable-based pigments that wash off with water. The sheep were all “I didn’t even feel that.”

The series was inspired by a story Gray read several years ago about a Scottish sheep farmer who colored the fleece of his flock in an effort to deter thieves who had been regularly thieving his sheep at night. This practical use of color to maintain the safety of the sheep sparked the idea to use it to turn the flock into a colorful collective of multicolored fuzzballz, representing individuality and freedom. Check out the images:

Double Rainbow_

In the Field II

In the Field III

In the Field

Pink Sheep

Purple Sheep

Rainbow Sheep II

Rainbow Sheep III

Red and Green Sheep

Standing Out from the Crowd

You can check out more of the images from the series and see the adorable video about how it was made on Gray Malin’s Website.

Oh, and 20% of the proceeds of this series is going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (remember Bat Kid?) so buy up!



Filed under Art

Goop + Homepolish Team Up to Decorate a Sunny West Hollywood Bachelor Pad

Photographs by Zeke Ruelas Courtesy Homepolish

Portrait__032Dear Client Kevin,

Did you see the Homepolish miracle that occurred in your apartment after I waddled in and waved my arms all over the place like a deranged octopus? I hope so, because you live there. If not, you have plenty of options. First, you can check out the full story on Goop to see how I took your apartment from “OH NO” to “OOH LA LA” in just a matter of moments. Once you’ve done that, head on over to Hompolish Magazine for more coverage. Then, continue drinking with me like we are in the photo above until we are drunk and disgusting and nobody loves us.

But first, HARK! Here are some preview pics of the space:


The sofa is from Restoration Hardware’s Small Space Collection and the gorgeous overdyed kilim rug is from Rugs USA.


These completely insane chairs are from Chairish and are life changing.


The gorgeous Isaac Zoller Photograph is from Tappan Collective.

Dining_Nook_005The nauseatingly awesome Keith Haring removable wall decal (perfect for renters like me!) is from Blik.


And of course my favorite part of the makeover is all the ceramic pottery by my talented buddy Ben Medansky.

Are you hungry eyeballs burning for more? Head on over to Goop to check out the rest of the images and get all the sources. And don’t forget to check out my piece Homepolish Magazine for even more photos, insights, and bad jokes.




Filed under Decor