Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BHG Magazine Shoot Recap!

What a weekend—it went by so fast and I can't believe it's over already! (If you missed the news, you can find it in my last post, and if you missed all the instagram action, make sure to start following!)

A 3-day shoot was scheduled but everything went so smoothly and the team were such pros that we were able to knock it out in just two days. (Not that I would have minded them sticking around a while longer... I loved the entire experience!)

In the days before the shoot, the stylist (Jessica) began shipping props/decorations to our house...

I had to reassure Brad and let him know that it would all be gone the day the shoot ended, ha. Jess also packed her SUV with more goodies on the way to our home from the airport the day before the shoot (Saturday).

And the flowers... swoon...

They came all the way from LA and unfortunately, some were wilted so we had to improvise. Fortunately there's lots of natural green foliage on our property and I was able to clip some branches (which I preferred the look of anyway!)

The photographers arrived first thing Sunday morning and began to set up. I tried to hold back from drooling all over their fancy equipment.

There was as specific shot list to follow and I assumed it would be done by room, but the photographer (Paul) ended up walking around the house see which shots had the best light at the time and captured those spaces before the good lighting shifted. Makes perfect sense!

The first capture of the day—our foyer. They left it pretty much the same, but since this will be for spring/summer they wanted more pops of color, so some chartreuse green boots and a matching wreath were brought in:

It was super interesting to see what went on behind the scenes. Like in the shot above, the kitchen window was making a glare on the ceiling so the photog assistant (Isabelle) ran outside to hold up a scrim to filter the light:

Those scrims were used in most of the shots, along with strobe lights to fill in the shadows:

But the actual photography went by really fast. I was impressed at how quickly they were able to get everything set up for each shot—they knew exactly what they were doing (obviously!). Paul was so helpful with explaining the process to me too (although I tried not to bother him too much). He said our house had excellent light and it made his job very easy ;)

The bulk of our time was spent styling/setting everything up...

The objective was to use as much of my own decor and DIY projects as possible in every shot. Then Jess would grab a bunch of her props and start editing them down until she was satisfied. My goal was to let her be creative and assist as much as possible—fetching props, cutting branches, moving cars, grabbing food, etc.

It was so neat seeing a new perspective and a fresh set of eyes come in and do their thing. I found myself thinking "wow, I never would have even thought of that!" on many occasions. I've never been around any stylists/interior designers before so it was a great learning experience.

And I was surprised at how non-meticulous it was... there was a fair share of fixing minor details (like spending 20 minutes to get ice cubes and lemon slices just right) but I forgot to empty the trash in my studio, for example, and Jess just said "Nah, leave it, it looks more realistic that way!"

My perfectionism wanted to kick in and move/rotate/fix a lot of things but surprisingly, Jess ended up leaving a lot of what I had in place already untouched. So if nothing else, it should definitely look "lived in!"

Early preview of our living room... don't look too hard! Full reveal to come next week.

Here's a peek at our bedroom... love the pillows she added:

We waited until just the right time before sunset to shoot the deck.

I like how they pulled the bar cart up into the shot.

Notice anything new? We added string lights last week. Love them so much. Not sure if they'll make it into the final images though.

Day 2 was dedicated to the kitchen. They needed a lot of shots there since it will be in both magazines.

Here's the bar area, mid styling:

I love that Jess wanted to use every opportunity to include my prints. They'll be all over the house! Can't wait to see them in action.

Here's the crew (myself included) right after we finished Monday afternoon. They were such an amazing team to work with and I can't thank them enough (and BHG) for choosing to work with us!

The whole experience was definitely more casual than I had expected. No stress at all... everyone was really laid back, worked well together and got along great. It was perfect. Even my cats were well behaved and wanted to hang out with them!

Huge thanks again to Maria, Jess, Paul and Isabelle from Jenna, Brad, Susie & Biscuit <3

Come back next week for the living room reveal!

Friday, October 17, 2014

We have some news!

I've been keeping a little secret for six months...

Our house is going to be in these magazines!

Yes, that's two different Better Homes & Garden's special interest magazines! I was just as surprised as you are.

I'm actually no stranger to these particular mags—remember our Florida master bathroom makeover? It was featured in the Real Life Kitchens & Baths magazine (back when it was under that title, they've since changed the name to Kitchen + Bath Makeovers):

And my Paris city map print was featured a few months ago in Do It Yourself magazine:

When the editor of DIY mag saw my kitchen, she pitched it to her team and they decided to shoot a full house tour! Only problem was... we hadn't even touched any other rooms, aside from my studio. This explains (a little bit) why we've been so busy! Just in the past year we've been able to complete our kitchen...



Master bedroom...


And living room... which is actually only 95% done and the shoot starts the day after tomorrow, so uh... I better get on that...

Those are the rooms they are shooting for the spread in Do It Yourself Magazine. They're shooting a third day just for Kitchen + Bath Makeovers, so it will be a very exciting few days!

Just to clarify, we didn't remodel our house for the shoot. It would have been done regardless, exactly the way it is now—only maybe not quite as fast. So you can thank them for my more frequent than usual posting schedule ;)

As you can imagine, we've been scrambling to get everything done around here. We could barely walk through our mess of a living room 2 days ago...

I still have to un-decorate for fall and re-decorate for summer (since the issue will be released sometime in spring/summer 2015). But I have an amazing stylist who has been shipping Target packages to me all week (sadly, I can't keep any of them!) and it's so interesting to see their new ideas for our home.

It's not all fun and games though... we've also been dealing with the maintenance side of things... like touching up all of our bleeding pine knots...

These things are pure EVIL, I tell you. It's our third attempt to cover them and this time we used the PVA primer that the painters suggested and used on our living room ceiling. We spent all night Tuesday priming and by Weds some knots were already peeking through, so I am not optimistic. I'm currently covered in dried paint after repainting the entire kitchen ceiling & wall, living room wall, foyer, and window sills last night.

Today will be spent wiping every baseboard, removing every cobweb, dusting every crack and crevice, window cleaning, mopping, laundering... etc etc.

The stylist arrives tomorrow and photographer on Sunday, with shooting lasting Sunday through Tuesday. This might be the most exciting thing to happen to us all year.

I'll be back Weds or Thursday with a recap of the shoot, but I fully expect to be over-gramming the entire experience, so make sure to stalk my Instagram for real time behind the scenes action! Oh, and I must wait until later to share my latest DIY furniture project... sorry for the suspense ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The evolution of our living room fireplace {+ more fall decorating}

First thing's first—the winner of the framed Roman Numerals print has been chosen! Check the Rafflecopter box to see if it was you!

Whew, I can't even explain what a relief it is to finally have this fireplace finished! It was the most daunting task on our living room to-do list (after the ceiling was finished) and finding a tile installer ended up being a huge stressful ordeal. Between the lack of tile workers in this small town, the first guy backing out at the last minute, several insanely high quotes, and another cancelled contract due to an incorrect estimate, we were facing the reality of having to do it ourselves.

But just in the knick of time, we found a replacement and let me tell you, hiring this job out was the best decision ever.

Let's start back at where we left off a few weeks ago. Our handyman had installed 2x4's for cement board support:

Living in the mountains now, I've embraced the cabin style (albeit in a subtle way) and at the heart of any good mountain retreat is a statement-making stone fireplace. We love the more modern look of stacked stone and were very pleased with how the bar wall in our kitchen turned out so we used the same quartz stone.

Since the materials were on the pricey side ($4/sq foot and it took over 300 sq feet) we decided to keep the hearth simple with some light gray porcelain tile, which ended up being around just $40 total.

After weeks of hunting down a tile guy, he came in last Tuesday and started the prep work. This was the end of Day 1:

Then the tiling began. End of Day 2:

More tiling and cement board—end of day 3:

By Friday evening (day 4) it was 95% done. Excuse the crappy cell phone pic...

The finishing touches were added Saturday morning (another bad pic, sorry!)

We do plan on keeping our TV there (Brad insisted, I can't fight it) but I made sure it wasn't a permanent installation. Just two plugs and it's easily put away if needed. All of the other components are in the hall closet, fortunately, so I'll just have to decorate around the TV.

But not before I took some proper "After" shots of it, all ready for fall. I had fun grabbing whatever seasonal-ish decor I could scrounge up around the house to dress it up a bit.

This is one of those things where you just have to be standing in front of it to really get a sense of scale and the way this changes the entire feel of the room. It truly is the heart of our home now.

I'm trying real hard to pretend like it's fall here, even though it was 90° yesterday.

We have more firewood than we know what to do with, and I'm so looking forward to putting this new fireplace to good use.

Change is coming, soon... I can feel it...

We have this tree in our front yard that started producing these perfect orange and red bulbs (seeds?) the first week of autumn, right on cue. It makes for some great festive arrangements.

I scored this whole stack of vintage books at our local flea market the other day for just $10 (along with that chunky blanket for $1).

My Roman Numerals print decided to make another appearance... the classic black and white typography just goes with everything (and adds a touch of sophistication, don't you think?). I layered it with a black and white vacation photo (see more on that DIY project here).

You'll have to ignore the weird lighting. The bottom of the fireplace had natural light from the windows shining on it, so the top looks a bit darker and warmer in color. It's all uniform in real life, I promise.

The brass candlestick holders were also a flea market score, and I found the inexpensive black lanterns online here—they have so many to choose from!

The antler candle holder was a gift from my friend's dad who makes them.

We have a fireplace screen that will be in place normally, but I left it off for this shoot.

Look who I caught up to no good...

Autumn needs to hurry up and get here so we can cuddle up with our furbabies by the fire. I know they're anxious for it too.

And now the best part... where we can fully appreciate the makeover by traveling back in time to the "Before"...

And after we painted the walls...

Can't wait to get the rest of the living room put back together! We'll be working on that tomorrow. And then I have some exciting news later this week, along with perhaps my proudest DIY furniture build yet.

See you in a few days!