Emily Schuman falls into the OG category of fashion and lifestyle bloggers—she launched Cupcakes and Cashmere way, way back in 2008. Now ensconced in a new L.A. home, it’s clear her style has grown right along with her audience.
When Emily Schuman started her blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere, she was a 24-year-old Condé Nast editor, living the dream in a studio apartment in L.A. She initially kicked off her design/beauty/ lifestyle site simply “as a way to document what I loved.” Like her digs at the time, the blogosphere was a relatively small space.
Now 12 years later, a lot of things have changed (though she’s still a big fan of cupcakes and cashmere). She now draws more than 2 million visitors to cupcakesandcashmere.com each month, has written two best-selling books, and has launched her own clothing line and online shop. Emily also met and married her husband Geoffrey Fuller. Then an ad sales guy, he now runs the business side of the company. Best of all, they are parents to 7-year-old Sloan.
Her style has evolved too. We caught up with Emily in the Studio City house she and Geoffrey bought in 2019. They’re fresh off a studs-out kitchen, bath, and backyard renovation, a feat pulled off in a full-on pandemic. But the dark and dated 2005 two-story was a chance to do what Emily does best (survey the market and cull out the best stuff, tap top design pros and let them do their thing). It also gave her the opportunity to follow her own advice (constantly hone your style and make no apologies for it).
“As I’ve gotten older, I just want my home to be where I feel my most relaxed and serene,” says Emily. “I’ve lived in quite a few apartments in L.A. and eventually our first home before buying this house. The progression is remarkable. It’s an interesting way to kind of glimpse back throughout the years and to see just how much it has changed and how certain things have remained constant. The biggest change was my move away from bright, bold colors. While I initially really loved them, and they brought so much life and vibrancy to the space, I found my- self tiring of them. Whereas the other areas in our home that had been more neutral and layered with textures I found myself still gravitating towards.”
Despite its flaws, Emily and Geoffrey fell for the place instantly, putting a winning offer in within an hour of first stepping through the front door. They loved what wouldn’t change: towering eucalyptus trees and tall hedges that enveloped the place with privacy and gave it a Northern Cal vibe (where Emily grew up). And they planned for what could change: replacing the dark, heavy features and easing the awkward flow.
Though they were ready to dive into major do- overs, the pandemic demanded strategizing. She first called on interior designer Katie Hodges of Katie Hodges Design to tackle the living area and bedrooms, and the two opted to table big redos and focus on smaller changes that would have outsized impact: lightening the walls to a luminescent white, simplifying the window coverings, refinishing the floors, and adding a focal-point fireplace in the living room. The palette is played out in quiet neutrals, and furnishings wear clean profiles but no pattern. Varied textures lend visual crunch. The look is the precise mix of sophisticated and effortless that post-vivid-color Emily loves.
The kitchen, bathrooms, and outdoor areas, however, demanded complete gut jobs. For that, Emily called on the mother/daughter team of Thea Segal and Dorianne Passman of Thea Home, Inc. Though they thought they’d start with the kitchen—Emily loves to bake and Geoffrey cooks—they flipped the script and headed out back, where they foresaw an easier-to-accomplish project and the possibility of hosting small, socially-distanced gatherings. “The backyard was just something that we had almost written off entirely initially,” Emily says. “It was a very awkwardly laid out space, with chopped up areas, none of which were conducive to entertaining or hanging out. It was kind of wild and overgrown and just not very intentional.”
Dorianne and Thea, however, are all about intentions, first taking inventory of how clients live then tailoring spaces to function and flow. Viewing the greenery and fencing as “walls,” they envisioned the chopped-up yard as rooms without roofs. They put down clean hardscaping and zoned the small area for cooking, entertaining, and intimate hangouts. Pulling it all together? Simplicity. “We wanted the space to be clean, zen and low-maintenance,” says Dorianne. “And we wanted to create a flow from the inside to the outside that felt like each space was corresponding to what was happening on the inside.”
With that in mind, the outdoor kitchen was placed steps away from the indoor one. They switched to wider, taller French doors to usher in the view and needed light. In fact, light is a key ingredient in Emily’s indoor dream kitchen. “The kitchen was a completely lovely kitchen, it just wasn’t our taste,” Emily says. “It was also very, very dark and heavy. And I like to be in a bright, airy space.”
Dorianne certainly knows her way around a kitchen—she has a degree from the famed Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. “For us, it’s not just about making a kitchen or space look pretty,” Dorianne says. “It’s about how a space works and flows for how you use it every day. It influences how I help clients choose appliances, how I lay out the space. When we design a kitchen, we take inventory of every single thing you own, from a toaster oven to a coffee machine to the pots and pans.”
This hyper attention to detail pays off in a high-functioning space. “There were no walls torn down,” Emily says, “but it feels like we have a kitchen that’s two times the size as the one we started with. Even more than that, it’s the design details that really set their work apart.” Note, for instance, the perimeter cabinets that are painted to almost match the white oak island and marble counters that have different edge treatments to give the space more dimension.
The primary bath was also taken to the studs and rebuilt to the precise needs of a social media star who just might have cameras follow her into private rooms in the home. “This room also felt very heavy,” Emily says. “There was dark mahogany cabinetry that had almost a faux apothecary vibe. There were a ton of teeny-tiny drawers, like it was made for a mouse. But again, the space was nicely sized and we knew it had a lot of potential, but between this very large boat of a tub that took up so much space and the cabinetry, it was kind of a joke.”
Enter Dorianne, who carried through the pale woods from elsewhere in the house, right-sized the tub to make room for a sleek glass shower, and turned two singles into one double vanity to make room for a dressing table. “I was really excited to be able to add this little area where I have a little stool and am able to sit and put my makeup on. I had never had anything like that. It is such an indulgence,” says Emily.
And it’s a lovely spot to share her latest clean-beauty favorites with her followers. How does she balance all the sharing with a natural desire to protect her private life? “It’s funny,” she admits, “in terms of the design process, it is certainly something that I consider, but not first and foremost. I really do try to create certain boundaries when it comes to my actual life and my work, though those boundaries are oftentimes a little bit blurred. But I’m happiest in just bright, open casual spaces—and those qualities just happen to help when it comes to photographing and taking videos. It was an added benefit when we designed the space.”
Like her serene and effortless style, Emily’s life and work just seem to flow seamlessly.