Emily Childress is a warm burst of sunshine you want to bask in and soak up. We met her many years ago while working at Anthropologie where we were inspired by her personal style and the way she shapes the space around her. She currently works at the beautiful women’s boutique Les Amis, and has built a home with her husband and two sons in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle.
It is a special thing to be invited into someone's home as every home is filled with rich stories. In visiting with Emily at her home in North Seattle, we were immediately enveloped in a world bustling with energy. There were small collections and family heirlooms, fresh produce and flowers and children having Nerf gun wars among pockets of natural light and mid-century furniture. During our conversation we discussed her relationship with family, her neighborhood and what it's like being a mother while working in a creative environment.
Photography by AJ Ragasa
"We have been in our home in Ravenna for about 6 years. It was in a real state of cosmetic disrepair when we found it and when we first walked up to the house I almost immediately walked right back out. It was my husband Shay who had a vision for the space. The bones were structurally really strong and as we walked through the house it had cool, great energy. We were young, excited and probably pretty naive and I think that served us well because we didn’t totally know what we were getting ourselves into. When we first bought it, Shay would go to work everyday, I’d be at home with the babes living at my parents house, and he would go straight there after and throw on a Tyvek suit. He was taking up the floors by himself and helping the plumber and stripping all the kitchen cabinets with the help of my mom. We had friends help us rebuild our kitchen and family members help paint our house and that was a solid 6 months of work. I think going through all that, feeling the love and support of our friends and family makes this a really special place for us. Just a fun cool space to be with our kiddos and raise our family."
"Shay and I have worked really hard to make our home feel like us. It is a result of our creative expression and it’s really fun. But is it the most important thing, absolutely not. Most days, if you were to come into my house after school, I have three or four boys barreling through my kitchen with nerf blasters! You might trip on a lego and our front yard is littered with skate boards, bikes, water balloons, popsicles and that is one hundred percent exactly how we like it. I’m definitely a crazy minimalist and I feel that for my children, it’s really important for them to have a limit on how many items they are exposed to. I think when they have less, they are much more inclined to play with their toys and play with their games. They see more when they have less. Psychologically having clutter is just hard for me, it’s just in my fabric, but it works for our family. The mess and chaos contribute equally to the energy and aesthetic of our home because it is a working, functioning family household. We want our home to be the place the kids want to be, the house where their friends want to hang out and that we can all be together. That’s the kind of home that I grew up in and that’s what I want for my family."
"I found my need for a creative outlet back when I was working at Anthropologie and I found a lot of joy working with people. I really didn’t know that I was drawn to working with apparel and visuals and customer care. I didn’t know that was going to be my future, 15 years later. I left Anthropologie right after I had Graham and it was a scary time, knowing if quitting my full time job, being a stay at home mom with a new home and all of that, was even going to work. It was a giant leap of faith and I look back on that and I think gosh, that was really crazy. By the time I decided, I thought if life becomes so ultimately simple that all we have is each other and our home, that’s going to be good, that’s going to be more than enough. That decision allowed me to be at home with my babes for a long time. I felt I was bound to have some sort of relationship with Les Amis and it really is a gift to work there. I had a previous relationship with Becky at Les Amis and my best friend Katie, who I work with now, took my application at Anthropologie years ago. It’s really an amazing place to be and a bunch of people I worked with at Anthropologie and customers are there now. Seattle is so small, those relationships really just nurture each other by proximity and that’s really warm, that feels really good."
"When we first moved to our neighborhood in Ravenna we really had no clue, we had never spent any time here. We had a couple friends who lived here, but it may as well have been a completely different country. Now, 6 years later, I know the names of the people at my grocery store and go on walks and see people I know. Our neighborhood has some really great 70s architecture, parks, special places and we will always be city people, but this place is a really good mix of feeling quiet and also urban. We are at a precipice of something really exciting happening in our neighborhood. When Shay and I dream about our future, where we want to be, all those thoughts and dreams actually revolve around staying right where we are and that is so peaceful for us."