About Emily

Portland Headshots by Beth Olson Creative

Hi, thanks for visiting me here.

I grew up attending real estate open houses with my mother every Sunday, (you can read about that in Good Housekeeping), in Lancaster, PA, a place with a rapidly changing landscape and a booming housing market. I learned from so many home tours that part of the fun of life was learning how best to live it, and I got really good at reading how spaces reflect values and personal stories. By the time I was in fourth grade, I was a snotty child architect, always drawing floor plans, always looking for the best constellation of rooms to suit a family. Speaking of family, we also spent vacations touring early American communities and the mansions of robber barons. By the time I was a teenager, I was giving tours in a hoop skirt at 15th U.S. President James Buchanan’s home, Wheatland, where I learned that walls really can talk, you just need to learn how to listen. Later, as a Fulbright scholar in Germany, I discovered the beauty of living a big life in a tiny, 1970s-era concrete housing block while visiting castles that knew no limits to the imagination.

I moved three times in three years while working as a writer on behalf of the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., each move bringing with it new neighborhoods to discover and connect with. But it was in Oregon where I found my true calling. While working as a travel writer, I face-planted on a $9,000 specialized bicycle, developing a rare pelvic nerve condition that prevented me from sitting and well, going anywhere. One afternoon, while laying on the carpet in front of a fireplace, it struck me that she could either wither away in Grey Gardens fashion, or I could harness my inner Delia Deetz (the mom in Beetlejuice, fyi) and make these four walls as interesting as the world outside had been. I delved deep into the ancient practice of Feng Shui, got a job as Editor of Oregon’s favorite shelter magazine, and soon began helping friends address the collaborative needs of their spaces. After a few years of doing house clearings on the sly, I decided to go for it and am now in the process of earning my Feng Shui certification from the Western School of Feng Shui.

I am an essayist at heart, and my own language of houses draws upon my personal blend of narrative storytelling, spatial best practices and personal messaging. I am working on a lifestyle book about domesticity as a rigorous, passionate, sensual and intellectual calling. It’s a book for people who would like to see their home not as a retreat from the world, but as a way to collaborate with it.