Emily Henderson Has a 10-Foot Antique Island in Her 1910 Oregon Farmhouse

published Aug 18, 2023
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Emily Henderson and family in their kitchen.
Credit: Alanna Hale / Real Simple

Emily Henderson was over city life. 

The stylist, author, and TV host ditched Los Angeles for a farmhouse in Oregon and hasn’t looked back. Along with her husband, Brian; their two children, Charlie (9), and Elliot (7); and a duo of Huskypoos, Oscar and Buttercup, Henderson has found her footing. In the September issue of Real Simple, Henderson shares the space’s transformation with readers.

Tucked in the outskirts of town, the 113-year-old farmhouse “was in extremely poor condition, and the original floor plan was so weird and cobbled together,” Henderson told RS. After purchasing the space in 2020, the demo started in January 2021. While there were plenty of small issues — cheap vinyl walls, and bad carpeting, for example — Henderson was thinking bigger. She tackled a major renovation that included tearing down walls, adding windows, and raising the ceiling. But the most fun part was customizing the space. Choosing a vibe she called “Shaker Scandinavian farmhouse,” Henderson leaned heavily on local makers, as well as plenty of sunlight and oak features.

Credit: Alanna Hale / Real Simple

The kitchen was a labor of love. After eight months of searching, Henderson found a 10-foot-long antique island in a reddish wood shade that previously functioned as a store counter. While it doesn’t match the white oak cabinetry, it doesn’t clash either. Henderson credits that to the mixing of vintage and antique woods instead of new ones. A cozy breakfast nook features a DIY café curtain made of Japanese boro patches, which Henderson collected from Etsy. “It feels a little undone and not too serious,” she says.

In the bedroom, Henderson chose Debonair by Sherwin-Williams, a blue with slate gray undertones, as a wall color. Oversize art, a giant paper pendant, and skylights, as well as cream and dusty rose additions, made the space a calm oasis. 

Credit: Alanna Hale / Real Simple

The family room was also an option to embrace color for Henderson. While most people would assume a room with little sunlight would need to be painted a light color, Henderson swears by the opposite. “Rooms without a lot of natural light, like this one, need to have color on the walls, even a dark color,” Henderson said. “White paint in a room with no natural light just looks dead and flat.” She went with Still Water by Sherwin-Williams, a cool dark blue with green-gray undertones. A live-edge coffee table she’s had for years adds brightness, while a wood-burning stove on top of custom drawers creates a cozy space with plenty of storage. A three-armed chandelier in a brass color is a fun pop. 

The sunroom is another highlight. Porcelain checkerboard tile is the focal point. It was a conscious decision, said Henderson. “Sometimes you want a classic pattern to stare at every single day for decades,” she says. Custom windows and skylights stream in natural light, while a vintage wood dining table and wood credenza add an earthy beauty. That space feeds into the living room, which Henderson wanted to “feel elevated, but it also had to be practical and comfortable.” Matching sofas in a performance fabric and closed cabinets (to hide “kid junk!”) completed the space. 

The September issue of REAL SIMPLE is on sale on August 18.