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A peek inside the room where the President sits.

The Six Desks of The Oval Office

02 17 22
Jonathan Bender

When you start a new job, the first thing you might think about is where are you going to sit. It turns out presidents are the same.

There have been only six desks in the 113 years that a president has worked in the Oval Office. Each desk was designed with a specific purpose, a reflection of the style and moment in history that they were made.

This is how each piece arrived at the White House.

Let’s go back to 1909. Cars raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time. Alice Huyler Ramsey became the first woman to drive across the United States (It took 59 days.). The Manhattan Bridge opened on the very last day of the year.

In October of 1909, President William Howard Taft began working in a newly built spot in The White House called the “President’s Office.” What we know as the Oval Office today was painted olive green and had chairs covered in caribou hide held in place by brass tacks.

In the center of the office was the Theodore Roosevelt Desk (named for and used by Taft’s predecessor), a pedestal desk created by Charles Follen McKim, one of the partners in McKim, Mead & White — the designers of the original West Wing. The mahogany desk was more than 7 feet wide, a stolid rectangle softened by rounded corners and semi-circular brass pulls.


The Roosevelt Desk used by President Truman

The Roosevelt Desk replica in the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

Charles Follen McKim


Four presidents would sit behind the Roosevelt Desk until a fire swept through the West Wing and destroyed the original Oval Office in 1929. The desk was saved; but placed in storage for the next 15 years.

A new desk — the Hoover Desk — arrived in the rebuilt Oval Office in 1930. It was a gift from the then “Furniture Capital of the World,” and the Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturer’s Association. The walnut desk with clean art deco lines (part of a 17-piece set) was envisioned by J. Stuart Clingman, a designer with the renowned furniture maker John Widdicomb Co.


J. Stuart Clingman


While President Herbert Hoover used the desk — it was the first Oval Office desk to hold a working telephone — its place in history was cemented by a few strokes of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s pen. In December of 1941, FDR sat behind the Hoover Desk as he signed declarations of war against Germany and Japan as the United States entered World War II.


The Hoover Desk in a recreation of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Oval Office at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.


In 1945, the Theodore Roosevelt Desk returned to the Oval Office with President Harry Truman. It remained there for 18 years until First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy discovered the Resolute Desk in a White House broadcasting room (President Dwight D. Eisenhower had sat behind it when he addressed the nation on television.)

Now when you close your eyes and picture the Oval Office, it is likely the Resolute Desk you see. The sturdy, two-pillar desk is immortalized in the candid picture where John F. Kennedy Jr. peeks out from underneath the desk as his father works above him. It’s even got a cameo in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

The Resolute Desk was built from the oak timbers of a sunken British ship, the HMS Resolute, a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes. It was constructed in the traditional style of a partner’s desk, wide enough to let two people work across from each other. The back opening to the desk was modified by FDR, who commissioned a swinging panel featuring the President’s Seal to bridge the gap between the two pillars. That panel was completed and installed after FDR’s death.  

The Resolute, or “Hayes,” Desk is the only Oval Office desk to go on tour. After President Kennedy’s assassination, it was part of a traveling exhibit to raise funds for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.  


The Resolute desk in William Howard Taft's Presidential Study before the kneehole panel was added.

H.M.S Resolute and Intrepid winter Quarters, Melville Island, 1852-53

The Resolute Desk in the Broadcast Room on the ground floor at the White House, October 6, 1952.


As the Resolute Desk toured the nation in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson began an unofficial tradition by taking the desk he had used as vice president with him to the Oval Office. While the Johnson Desk was only used for six years, its history goes back much longer.

Cabinetmaker Thomas D. Waldeton designed the two-pillar mahogany desk with ornate carved flowers in the corners and circular bun feet. It was built by S. Karpen and Bros, a Chicago-based furniture company, in 1909, the same year the Oval Office was first used. The Johnson Desk (original price tag: $80) was part of 125 sets used in senators’ offices, which is where LBJ first sat behind the green leather-topped desk.

By this point in time, the desks of the Oval Office had taken on an aura of their own. And the desk they picked became a point of pride for a number of incoming presidents.


The Johnson Desk in the replica Oval Office at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.


President Richard Nixon selected the Wilson Desk as his workspace because he believed that it was used by President Woodrow Wilson (who had actually used the Roosevelt Desk). The desk had actually been used by 15 different vice presidents and was Nixon’s desk before he was elected to serve as the 37th President.

The Wilson Desk is a mahogany, two-pedestal desk (noticing a trend, yet?) with a set of drawers in each pillar. And yes, this is the desk where President Nixon had the Secret Service install hidden microphones, which would record conversations at the center of the Watergate scandal. The desk, sans microphones, would be used by President Gerald Ford before being returned to the Vice President’s office in the Capitol Building.


The Wilson Desk in the Vice President's Room of the United States Capitol in 1920.

The Wilson Desk replica in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum


The Resolute Desk was brought back by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. It’s been in place ever since, with the exception of President George H.W. Bush’s term between 1989 and 1993.

The last vice president’s desk to get a call up to the big leagues was the C&O Desk. This was President George H.W. Bush’s desk, although it was originally built for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway before being donated to the White House.


The C&O Desk, Oval Office, George H.W. Bush Administration.


The walnut partners’ desk is an homage to 18th century English furniture-making with a maple top and bracket feet. Muted gold handles are on the tiered drawers that line both pedestals.

President Bill Clinton opted to bring back the Resolute Desk and the four presidents after him have all kept it in place. An oak desk made with timber rescued from Arctic ice where they have witnessed and made history.




1. Jules Cambon, signing the Treaty of Paris on behalf of Spain in 1899 at the Resolute desk during William McKinley's presidency, p. 431 of Harper's Pictorial History of the War with Spain, Vol. II, published by Harper and Brothers in 1899; 2. Abbie Rowe, 1905-1967, Photographer, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Presidential Libraries; 3. Jason D. Smith, 2011, CC BY 2.0; 4. Portrait of American architect Charles Follen McKim by Frances Benjamin Johnston, between 1890 and 1909,The Johnston (Frances Benjamin) collection at the Library of Congress;
5. J. Stuart Clingman, Designer For John Widdicomb Co., Grand Rapids Public Museum; 6. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum;
7. Abbie Rowe, National Park Service, Harry S. Truman Library & Museum; 8. Harris & Ewing, photographer, Library of Congress; 9. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London; 10. Michael Barera, 2017, CC BY-SA 4.0; 11. Jeremy Thompson, 2016, CC BY 2.0; 12. Library of Congress; 13. Records of the White House Photograph Office, 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993.

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The untold story of the table you walk by every day.

Who Built The First Coffee Table?

01 27 22
Jonathan Bender

There is a mystery waiting next to your couch. It’s not the location of your remote. That’s easy. Check behind the cushions.

This mystery sits on four legs. Have you ever wondered who built the very first coffee table? It’s a story that might have begun in Michigan.

At the start of the 20th century – thanks to readily available supplies of hardwood and power generated by the falls of the nearby Grand River – there were more than 50 furniture makers in the self-proclaimed “Furniture Capital of the World,” shipping out desks, church pews, theater seats, and bookcases across the globe. But we’re interested in the Imperial Furniture Co., a table manufacturer started by Frank Stuart Foote in 1903.

The Foote family was a furniture family. Frank worked for his father Elijah Hedding Foote, who owned the Grand Rapids Chair Co., for a decade before going out on his own.

The younger Foote had found his, well, footing, by 1920. And this is where we venture into the legend of how the budding furniture magnate was presented with a problem that led to the coffee table being born.



Frank’s wife Edna was throwing a party at their house. She needed a table for when they were entertaining guests. This is when inspiration apparently struck the early DIY-er. Frank shortened the legs of a dining table and introduced the coffee table to the world.

There is some evidence that lends credence to the idea that Foote at least helped popularize the coffee table. A 1925 Imperial Furniture Co. pricing guide lists more than a dozen varieties of coffee table (alongside occasional tables, consoles and tea wagons), made of maple and rosewood.

And that means the company owned by Foote was using the word “coffee table” a full 13 years before architect and designer Joseph Aronson wrote The Encyclopedia of Furniture. That’s where, between the entries for cocobolo (a dark purple-brown wood) and Colonial, he defined the coffee table as a:  

“Low, wide table now used before a sofa or couch. There is no historical precedent, but the shape permits the adaption of low tables or bench forms of every style.”



Aronson may not have been able to pinpoint a single point of inspiration because the coffee table has a variety of small table antecedents as likely to be display pieces as an integral part of tea service. Low occasional tables with a host of names and functions dot our history. Even seven centuries ago, people were searching for the perfect piece to finish the look of the room.

Long before the Grand River falls were powering the rise of furniture making in Grand Rapids, the Ottoman Empire was stretching across Europe, Asia and Africa. Whether it was the ottoman or hassock or low tables found in Japanese tea gardens, people wanted a piece of furniture that worked with their seating.

As Foote was preparing to make the leap from chairs to tables, furniture makers in Victorian England were looking to the past for inspiration with Louis XVI’s elaborate console tables being revived as occasional tables. And, at least two decades before the Imperial Furniture Co. put out its price guide, Maple & Co. was selling “coffee tables” alongside music stands and work-baskets in London and France.

So, in part, the story of the coffee table has always been one of many places. And perhaps, because the coffee table was freed from the formal constraints of an established piece of furniture that’s why it evolved in so many different directions.


Coffee Table IN50 designed by Isamu Noguchi for Herman Miller, 1944

Charles Hollis Jones Squiggle Coffee Table, 1970s

Nik Mills Island Table, 1944


The coffee table has also been a quiet signifier of our culture for the past century. The teak tables of the 1950s’ held amber ashtrays, while the coffee table book debuted a decade later on low-slung glass and walnut tables. The bold colors of the 1970s were juxtaposed with clear lucite rectangles and rounded edges that disappeared into shag rugs.

The 1980s were an endless search for the remote control underneath blocky laminate coffee tables. The introduction of the universal remote in 1985 didn’t stop the search around bright gold accents and light oak legs.

Coffee tables even held literal small worlds. In the 1990s, artist Nik Mills introduced a series of coffee tables with intricate dioramas underneath glass tops. There were lush hillsides and tropical paradises, tiny stolen moments with miniature figures.



The coffee table has come in so many shapes and materials that Aronson’s definition feels prescient. Case in point, the New York City couple that unknowingly were using a 2,000-year-old piece of Roman mosaic tile as their coffee table for nearly 50 years.

When Floyd set out to design our coffee table, we wanted a piece that felt timeless. A coffee table that had lightness, but intentionality. A table built to accompany a sofa and your style.

Whether it was Foote or another enterprising furniture maker that lay claim to inventing the coffee table is a matter of debate. We may never know exactly when the coffee table was born; but we do know that the right coffee table will stand the test of time.



2. F. Stuart Foote - Robert Worden,, 3. Cover of the Imperial Furniture Company, Price List, Tables, 1925 - Grand Rapids Public Museum, 4. Coffee Table Price Listing, Imperial Furniture Company Price List 1925 - Grand Rapids Public Museum, 8. The Floyd Coffee Table, in round, birch/black.

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The fashion designer’s home is an amalgamation of influences and cherished treasures.

Andrew Livingston’s New York Loft

01 04 22

Andrew Livingston got his start in fashion at a young age. His journey into fashion design is an interesting one and eventually led to creating the menswear line Knickerbocker. We visited Andrew in his New York apartment to chat more about his journey and learn more about his unique eye for design — both in fashion and interiors.


Tell us a little about yourself!

I've spent the past decade in New York. I live in a city with one of the best metro systems, yet I generally take my bicycle or drive to get around. I prefer early mornings and the daytime to the night. However, on occasion, I find myself in my most creative space at night and try to take advantage of that when it comes.

My work has been the instrument responsible for most parts of my being — outside of how I identify with it and how it identifies me, work has brought me around the world, my closest friends, and has generally pushed me to live with purpose. While work plays this integral role in my daily life, I am trying to be more cognizant of the fact that it's not everything — finding balance and specifically doing a better job of being present to issues and people that are not directly a part of my work orbit. Furthermore, I would like to continue learning, surf more, cook more, get back to writing, music and generally put more effort into finding alternative sources of fulfillment outside of work.

When you were younger, you were an athlete — a snowboarder — and you competed on a national level. Can you explain what led you to design menswear? Did you always have an interest in design or fashion?

Those years were very formative for me. I had a few sponsors, one of which was Billabong. They used to send boxes of gear, and sometimes I would go by the warehouse to pick things up. Don't get me wrong, I was always happy and knew even at that age how fortunate I was, but I was never a fan of the product. Being inundated with clothing led me to crave things that were more focused on simplicity and quality. In one of those warehouse trips as a kid, I saw some designers in the offices working. There were various prototype samples and CAD's lying around. I never really thought much about the process up until that point. But my interest was piqued, and I have been going down that rabbit hole ever since.

Were there any lessons/practices from your days as an athlete that you find you apply to your work today?

There are two that stick out to me. The first would be allowing myself to be a child. Not the tantrums, but the curiosity. Each year it gets a bit harder. We form habits, and they're tough to break, but to get back to square one is an opportunity to think limitlessly and with an open mind. Using this example sounds corny, but when Gelfand did the first ollie on a skateboard, he blew minds and broke boundaries. One small idea can forever change our perception of a sport, company, or industry.

The second would be to leave nothing on the table. I hated to lose, but there was no worse feeling than knowing that you didn't prepare enough for an opportunity or that you had a chance and didn't take it.



How did Knickerbocker get its start? Where did your interest in heritage wear/American workwear come from?

Before Knickerbocker, I had a small label. We had an account in Japan that started to place some big orders. One of the items they were specifically looking for from us was ball caps, and they needed to be made in the U.S. At that time, there weren't any online databases for finding factories; it was still good ole print and paper. You had to find a broker who would sell you a directory, and I didn't have money to spare on a directory then. But I had a phone camera, and I cheekily took a few photos of some factories in a broker's directory. This led me to a factory named Watman Headwear Corp. based on the border of Brooklyn and Queens in Ridgewood. We ended up working on hats for about a year together, at which point the owner offered up the factory to me. I was 20 years old and filled with grand ideas but hardly a clue what to do with them or how to make them happen. As a designer at that time, I knew how difficult it was to sample, meet factory minimums and really produce anything other than a simple screen-printed t-shirt.

I wanted to do more, and I thought that if this takeover could somehow happen, I would own the ability to produce for myself and on my terms. So I contacted my friends Daniel McRorie and Kyle Mosholder about the opportunity to turn this into reality. I respected both of them massively for their own work — one a shoemaker and a bagmaker with his own brand.

Together we put up a Kickstarter to buy out Watman, and from there, Knickerbocker was born. Knickerbocker was two businesses - the first being the manufacturing company and factory space, which was operated with Dan and Kyle. The second was the brand label, which was my own venture. Ultimately the manufacturing business shut down after five years as we all had different visions for that part of the business. But in the end, those years in the factory were incredibly inspiring. I worked alongside some incredibly talented individuals and had the best of times. They were foundational years for shaping how we look at community, responsibility, and intent as a company today.

Much of menswear is derived from workwear. Workwear is a form of utilitarian wear, which has form, function, and durability at its heart. Clothes are meant to be lived in, and they should be a reliable companion. This category of menswear is where some of the best stories live, and those stories are what we often fall in love with within a garment. Take Burberry, for example. Now a luxury brand, but their formative years were spent in the mud, outfitting the backs of the British military with their now-iconic trench coats in WWI. In designing any collection, we undoubtedly look to certain aspects of history as a guiding influence for cultural significance and what it has taught us about the importance of garment construction from the cloth to the sewing.



You were pretty young when you started Knickerbocker. What was that experience like for you? 

Youth was my greatest asset. I had the rare luxury of time, which afforded me the ability to fail and fail again. Everything was new, stimulating, and just a very exciting time.

Based on that experience, do you have advice for others who are also young and working on a business? Or any advice in general to those starting out?

Always bet on yourself and be true. That means making sure that your business aligns with your values as a person. Undoubtedly, you will need this to justify the amount of work and lack of sleep in your pursuit. But equally important is to enjoy every bit of it and not let fear of failure keep you away. Failed ventures lead to successful ones all the time.

The first flagship store for Knickerbocker opened earlier this year. It also includes The Knickerbocker Bookstore. So how did the concept for the store come about? And why add a bookstore?

It's really been a dream for some time to create a space that allows people to interact with Knickerbocker in a much more meaningful way. The store was designed by myself and Sean Davidson. The brand has matured over the past few years, and we wanted to make sure the store reflected that. The overall design was highly inspired by architect Jean Prouvé and his "Better Days" house. The palette was kept minimal to not overpower the merchandise. Smooth long curves were met with hard corners to create unique shapes. We brought in a range of materials to texturally divide the space using lacquered wood, stainless steel, carpet, caning, and white oak.

The Knickerbocker Bookstore is really about sharing the brand's muses with our customers. We feature a selection of rare books sourced for us by Press SF along with several other new & vintage books.



Not only is the Knickerbocker store well designed, but so is your home! Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the color scheme you’ve chosen?

Well, I am in an open loft with the bedroom and bathroom having the only walls of separation. So, I tried to pair materials and colors with their functions to separate the kitchen from the living room and so on. It still feels a bit random but has come together with time.

Are you drawn to any particular era for inspiration or artists/designers? How do you make sure your personality is reflected in your space?

The decor is really an amalgamation of influences. I enjoy modern design for its simplicity and openness, but you still need a home to feel like home. If I had to pick an era as a favorite, it would be the late 40s into the 50s. Post-WWII ushered in a lot of great designers with manufacturing's changing landscape. I'm mostly drawn to the simple and industrious designs from this period.

I think personality is best reflected in the small objects around your home. The little cherished treasures that somehow make it through each move — small sculptures, little notes, sketches, and travel souvenirs make up the majority of these items for me. The things that are often meaningless to some but live on a pedestal in your home.



What are some of your favorite pieces in your home?

The pieces with the most personal value will always be the works done by friends — books and artworks in particular. Not saying this because this is a Floyd interview, but The Sectional has been one of the greatest additions to the home. No more losing out on space to my dog and girlfriend.

I'd also add some of the lighting pieces I've acquired over the years to the list of favorites: industrial gooseneck lamps, mid-century MCM sconces that I repurposed, my Noguchi shade, and a few other sconces.

Other pieces I value are a vintage hand-loomed natural indigo rug I found in the middle of Montana that I brought back by plane; a vintage sashiko blanket from Japan; and a cubist wooden rhino sculpture from the early 1900s, which always reminds me of my grandpa who kept a similar-sized rocket ship I made in woodshop that sat on his desk.

You have some interesting framed prints/posters up around the apartment. Do any of them have a story?

Rumor has it that my father found these in a flat-file cabinet while helping someone with a move. I believe they were to be in an estate sale, but he snagged up a stack of these posters before the sale. They are all originals ranging from the 1910s to the '50s. I have a few on the walls at home with a couple more down at the Knickerbocker store. Very lucky to have my hands on these.



For more about Andrew please check out:


Andrew Livingston 


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Inside the home that this California architect calls rustic, relaxing, and evolving.
Jagoda standing in bright green doorway to home

Emily Jagoda’s Wooded Retreat

12 17 21

California-based architect Emily Jagoda takes pride in designing projects that don't easily identify with a particular decade. Her design is rooted in modernist traditions but influenced by vernacular and charm, creating timeless architecture focusing on space and light.

Emily's approach to design is intriguing. We chatted with her to learn more about what inspires her, what defines her style, and how she channels her architectural designs into her own home.

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Emily Jagoda. I was born in New York, grew up in Nebraska, and spent summers in New York and occasionally in a teepee outside Breckenridge, Colorado. I came to California for graduate school at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI_Arc) and loved the light so much, I never left! It's also a pretty great place to be an architect.

What about architecture interests you? How did you get your start in this field?

One of the fascinating things about architecture is how interconnected it all is. Everything from the shapes of interior spaces to the structural system, glass, access to the site, the relationship of the interior spaces to the exterior spaces, and the materials and textures. It all works together to create an almost infinite set of combinations.

It's also just such a rich discipline. While it can sometimes be frustrating that the learning never stops (haha), it provides so much to explore and experiment with.

Were you always interested in architecture/designing homes?

I do think I was interested in architecture from a pretty young age. I used to measure all of the furniture in my bedroom growing up, and I would rearrange everything at scale on construction paper. Though maybe that counts more as interior design?

I haven't done very much work outside of the residential realm yet, but I would certainly like to investigate more non-residential projects at some point. I would especially like to design a gallery or museum — a contemplative space that provides a place to focus. That said, residential is pretty fertile ground.


Inside the bright and open design kitchen and living space

TREEHOUSE3000. Photo: Ye Rin Mok

Do you find your work trickles into your personal life?

My work definitely trickles into my personal life. Architecture, to me, has a kind of philosophical underpinning, so in that sense, it feels natural to let them intermix.

I feel many architects approach life in general as a kind of design problem. I certainly do. There's this idea of the "gesamtkunstwerk" or "total work of art" in which architecture is designed in conjunction with other elements such as lighting, wallpaper, hardware, furnishings — everything is up for grabs to become a design element.

One curious aspect about architecture is that we think it is fairly permanent, but that really depends. Houses often evolve over their lifetimes, and that temporal quality is intriguing.

What elements, colors, and materials do you love to work with?

Somehow I'm magnetically drawn to bright primaries and hot pinks. I don't tend to use a lot of color on walls to allow the colors and textures to have a quiet foil to read them against.

There is definitely a huge overlap between the colors and materials that I use in client work as in my own home. I really like to use natural wood and prefer to keep the natural hue and grain movement visible. And for furniture, I really love mohair, velvet, wool, and other soft textures.

What are the intentions behind the designs of the homes you've worked on? They seem fresh and airy, and very relaxing.

I feel like playfulness and charm tend to be underrated qualities in architecture, so I am always trying to sprinkle some of that around. And I feel like, on some level, I want to live in a greenhouse, so I often design spaces that have a great deal of natural light. Also, I like the sense of volumetric space. So I guess that's how you get to the light and airy!


Wall with her paintings
Her art studio set up inside her home


What do you do on the side to keep the inspiration flowing?

Gosh, for inspiration … there are so many sources. I try to go for runs or walks out in nature, which can be pretty fruitful. But, incredibly, inspiration is just everywhere you look. I look at many paintings, both new and old. But, often, the particular design problem itself can be inspiring.

The thing about nature as a source of inspiration is that it's ever-evolving and changing. I think buildings are also not static or, at least, my house is an ever-evolving project! But 'feeding the energy' can come from almost anywhere, so I'm always on the lookout.

Who in your field has inspired or influenced you in your career?

I'm certainly influenced by the so-called Santa Monica school of architects. Ray Kappe, who founded SCI_Arc, has been one of my biggest influences. Not necessarily aesthetically (although I love his work), but it was the way he approached the profession and created his own opportunities. His was a great example of designing one's own career.

In general, though, I'm most curious about innovation and experimentation, which sometimes reinforces a more temporal sort of building. One of the best is Alvar Aalto's Muuratsalo Experimental House, in which he tested materials and building technologies. It's like house-as-laboratory, and I love it.

Rudolph Schindler is also a big influence in many respects; his conviction — building as much as you can makes you a better builder — is something that I have tried to live by. And Frank Gehry is another great influence as well. I especially appreciate that he was doing what he termed 'cheapskate architecture' in his early work. I love the idea that great design can be on a smaller scale budget.


Backyard with tree swing, half pipe and outdoor dining area


Let's talk about your current home. It's in the woods, right?

Yes, our house is in the woods. It has been great living in the woods, although the light has been a challenge. I've taken up painting, and I paint in the sunroom. It has windows on three sides and a skylight that takes up about half of the room, and still, I find myself leaving tinfoil and silver stuff all over the place to get the light to bounce around! I'm on the verge of doing the Andy Warhol thing and covering the walls in silver foil!  

Is it a big change from where you lived before?

It is! Our last house in Los Angeles was very urban. I designed that house to fit on the rear half of the lot, and it ended up becoming a very vertical building because the footprint was around 650 square feet or so.

Our current house has a more traditional layout. There is no end of design challenges to solve at this house, especially compared to building from scratch.


Kids room with eco-friendly plywood walls, desk and bunk beds
Open-shelf kitchen, bold light fixtures, Floyd dining table
Living room with skylights, oval coffee table & low profile couches
Mid century mod desk next to large window cowhide rug


Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the design, style, and decor of your home? 

The existing house was a strong starting point as a remodel and addition. But the house didn't relate to the site all that well and had some bizarre additions. So making it relate to the view, perforating for light, and creating better access to the yard was the first priority.

I also tweaked the shingled envelope with the entry awning and the bay window. These geometric elements are playful ways to connect inside to out: the awning bringing light onto the front porch and the bay window bringing daylight into the kitchen/dining. That bay also acts as our 'take-out window' serving the outdoor eating area. I hope that tweaking the envelope makes the building form a little more abstract.

What does home mean to you?

Home is refuge. Although everything is temporary, to some extent, and creating coziness and respite is ongoing, ever-evolving, that sense of shelter is the essence of it.



For more about Emily please check out:


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Three cider drink ideas to celebrate fall.
Holding wine glasses of apple cider with charcuterie board on table

Apple Cider Is
a Host’s Best Friend

11 19 21
Jonathan Bender

Fall is apple cider season. Sweet and a little tart. New beginnings and the end of summer.

Fall is when you go apple picking, take a hayride, or maybe just sit out on your porch and think about doing those things one day. Fall is for sipping drinks in the late afternoon sun.  

Apple cider, like fall, offers possibilities. It can be crisp and brisk or bright and warm. It’s the mood ring of drinks, letting you create the vibe you want. We’ve picked three apple cider sippers — apple cider slushies, apple cider sangria, and a mulled cider hot toddy — to set the mood.

Whether with alcohol or not, these drinks are made in batches ahead of time; you might want to host, but you don’t need more stress. We’ve also got suggestions for the snacks to pair with each beverage - something to nibble while you linger with friends. Read on. Find your fall.

Playing cards with apple cider slushies


You’ve got two hands for a reason. Apple cider slushies & cider donuts.

If you’ve never had an apple cider slushie, get thee to a blender. Imagine a snow cone that’s not too sweet and has this tart little pop of flavor. When the sun is shining, wrap yourself in a blanket and discover a drink that’s your new fall tradition. If you can find local cider, go for it, because the full-bodied beverage will hold up better in the freezer.

How To Make Slushies (6 servings):

Juice a lemon and add it to 4 cups of cider. Stir in ½ teaspoon cinnamon, if you like. Pour that into a loaf pan and freeze it for five to six hours. Scrape it with a fork every hour to keep the mix from freezing into a giant block.

Pulse the frozen cider in a blender until you’ve got a drink you can sip (like a snow cone that’s just started to melt).

Want a boozy slushie? Add ½ cup of bourbon and an equal amount of ginger ale or ginger beer before you blend.

Recommended Pairing: The tart slushie is great with a fall treat like apple cider donuts, cinnamon sugar donuts, or a snickerdoodle cookie. Find something dusted with cinnamon and sprinkled with sugar and you’re all set.

Glass pitcher with apple cider sangria on dark wood dining table


Have a lazy Sunday with apple cider sangria and a graze board.

A big pitcher turns a conversation into a gathering. A big pitcher of apple cider sangria will open your eyes to how a tart bit of apples and dry white wine (or ginger beer) are magic. A little work with lots of payoff.

How To Make Sangria (6 servings):

Chop up two apples and one pear. Squeeze half a lemon on top to keep your chopped fruit from browning. Add your fruit to a pitcher and pour in a bottle of dry white wine (pinot grigio works), two cups of apple cider, ¼ cup of apple brandy, and ¼ cup of Triple sec (thank you, Smitten Kitchen for this idea). Stir and let chill for at least 1 hour.

Set out the pitcher with a few cans of cold plain seltzer. Fill a wine glass with your sangria but leave a little room to float some seltzer on top. Then sip.

Want a non-alcoholic sangria? Make this drink glass-by-glass. Use equal parts cider and ginger beer. Add a squeeze of fresh orange juice. Stir gently. Top with a small scoop of chopped fruit.

Recommended Pairing: Load up a wooden board with meats, nuts, and all the dried fruit it can hold. Skip the olives and pickles, the brine will clash with your sangria.

Mulled hot cider recipe with star anise, cinnamon


Mulled Cider Hot Toddy loves a cheese plate.

This mulled cider hot toddy will warm you up. It’s the punch that should be served at holiday gatherings and Thursdays that feel hard. A little spicy, a little sweet, with a depth that makes you forget everything else for a moment.

Recommended Pairing: The rich, buttery toddy can stand up to sharp cheeses and is a beautiful compliment to soft, creamy cheeses. Grab a loaf of crusty bread or a box of rice crackers too.


Make a Mulled Cider Hot Toddy
6 servings

We prefer a cider toddy that’s full of spice. If you want a simpler drink or don’t have something in your pantry, stick with cinnamon and honey. Feel free to swap the juice of one lemon for the orange slices and skip the bourbon.


6 cups cider
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise pods
2 teaspoons honey
1 orange, sliced thinly
8 pieces candied ginger (or a two-inch pieces of fresh ginger)
1 large navel orange, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bourbon (optional)

Hot toddy on side table with dark top and white metal legs

Add the cider, spices, ginger, and honey, to a slow cooker set on high. After 30 minutes, turn the heat to low. Add the bourbon and gently stir with a wooden spoon. Place the orange slices on top. Let it go for at least two hours. Grab a mug and enjoy.

Don’t have a slow cooker? Bring the ingredients (hold back the bourbon and orange slices) to a boil on high heat in a large pot. As soon as your toddy is boiling, turn the heat to low. Stir in the bourbon (or don’t) and add the orange slices. Wait at least an hour before serving. Ladle up some joy.

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