Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ageless Update by This Old House Magazine

A month after my living room was shown in This Old House, the magazine called to ask if they could feature my entire home in an 8-page spread!  I gasped and then chuckled because that same day I  read Joni's blog on Cote de Texas called "Coveritis Wannabe." (The story pokes fun at house-obsessed people who are "constantly fluffing one's home to make it worthy of a magazine cover-- at a moment's notice" versus people who want-to-be photo ready at any time.) How ironic!  I definitely fit into the "wannabe" category!

September 2011 TOC Kitchen Redo
Ageless Update by Deborah Baldwin-- A determined DIYer's use of salvaged materials helps her family's eclectic 1911 rowhouse get a new lease on life This Old House Magazine

Of course I was thrilled (and terrified)!  They asked me if my yard was blooming because if so, they wanted to do the shoot sometime in the next 3 weeks.  Yikes!  I immediately ran into the yard and spruced it up, then sent in the scouting photos with my fingers crossed.  

Outside the playhouse

I was afraid if I didn't act fast, they'd suddenly realize my house was NOT magazine material, and cancel the whole thing!

They approved the blossoms, confirmed the shoot date, said it would take two full days, and sent me the phone numbers of the photographer and stylist.  Then, just as Joni describes in her story about getting her house ready for a photo shoot, I started flipping out about how I was going to make my house picture perfect for a magazine!  Was it even possible?  

Hard to believe, but this is where it all began just two years ago

My first thought was there is no way our family could actually be living here during a magazine shoot.  We will need to stay in a hotel!  Then I started making a honey do list-- patching nail holes, getting rid of clutter, finishing shelving projects, pulling weeds, moving mulch, and on and on.  Normally, this list would go unchecked by my husband, but with the thrill of a looming photo shoot, I had his full attention and cooperation.  No easy feat!

Honestly, I had no idea how these things work.  All I knew was that homes in magazines are perfect.  They hardly looked lived in and we do a lot of living in ours.  I spoke to the photographer, James Carriere, who put my mind at ease.  He explained that we could sleep in our beds, eat meals in the kitchen, and even take showers. (I was afraid of getting the tile wet!)

The stylist, Caryl Eagle, arrived on site a couple days before the shoot with a punch list from the magazine. The main task at hand was to throw in bold pops of color.  I can't say all the blue accent colors were my taste but I did learn that what looks good in a magazine is not necessarily what looks good in real life.  The pops of color look lovely in print, but I still prefer my muted linens and washed out toiles at home.

Flowers everywhere & new shiny objects (untouched) sparkled in the kitchen

The day of the shoot, my house was filled with huge pieces of equipment.  

 The photographer and stylist went one-by-one setting up all their gear and making the rooms look precisely how they wanted them to look.  

Giant lights traveled from room-to-room as they studied the natural light and compensated where needed.

The shots were instantly viewable on the big screen pictured here so they could get the precise photo they wanted every single time.  

The foggy summer day provided the perfect light for a shot of the playhouse and garden

It was fascinating to watch them adjust the room for each shot.  Tiny movements of objects, a slightly different angle, changing art on the wall, a blanket peaking through a corner all synced up to form the perfect shot.  Really, my house was only half the picture.  The placement of the perfect objects, the perfect colors and the angle and position of the camera (which I learned cost as much as the new kitchens it photographs!) all work together to make a magazine photo.  I think some of the rooms look better in print than in real life!  Later, the photographer would edit the blemishes like nail holes and other real life imperfections.

The nail holes in the wall will vanish along with the photo of Granddad, if the editors say so

I still  pinch myself when I see my home in print.  The article itself is a funny, honest portrayal of the ups and downs we (and my contractor's crew) went through as we overhauled our 100-year old home.  The pictures unveil the sense of calm I sought after in the design of my home, and the story reveals the protests I endured to create the home I desperately wanted.

The September 2011 issue of This Old House should hit the stands any minute. Once it goes online I look forward to sharing it with you here on my blog.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Slippery Slip

I love slipcovered furniture.  Two of my dining room chairs have slips and both of my sofas do and they're all white.  White works the best for me because I can bleach or Oxyclean anything out.  They look as good as new!

My Quatrine slipcovered sofa is 8 years old!

Our hand-me-down reproduction settee was given a fresh update with newly painted legs, a comfy seat cushion and a white slip.  Vargas Restoration did a great job!

I came across these beauties last month in Mill Valley at Summer House @ 57-- leather slips!  I have two leather chairs in my living room but they aren't as pretty as these.  The slip definitely warms up the cold leather, as least visually.  I still struggle with the coldness of leather furniture.  Hmmm...heated, leather, living room chairs anyone?

Leather slipcovered chairs from Summer House @ 57

Thursday, August 18, 2011

DIY 1-2-3: An Old School Chair Gets a Fresh Seat

Last month, I spent a day in Berkeley hunting around some of favorite remodel haunts-- Urban Ore, Ohmega Salvage and for sustenance and fresh produce galore-- Berkeley Bowl

I found a pair of these cute, vintage schoolhouse chairs at Urban Ore for $8 a piece.  I scooped them up right away along with a lab beaker and some other prized trinkets for a fraction of what they would cost me at a vintage shop.

Before, It just needed a good scrub and a light sanding

Post 30-minute sand-down with my Palm Sander

Briwax Central BR-1-CL Clear Paste Wax 1 lb
Plus a coat of Briwax paste-- my favorite!

I refinished two chairs in an hour.  These will make great desk chairs for the kid's desks when they are older.  For now, they are at home in the dining room for extra seating during parties.  Cute, fun, and inexpensive!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Laurie b "Housewares"

I was at a party recently and met someone new.  She asked me what style my house is.  Before I could answer, my friend's husband stepped in and said, "Her house looks just like she dresses."  I looked down at my outfit and noticed the muted colors, ripped jeans and flowing top.  It did remind me of my house. Magazines often feature turning a room into an outfit or vice versa.  I never really thought about the connection.  I guess I dress myself like I dress my house.  It makes sense.

One of my favorite designers is Laurie b.  Some of my prized knitwears from her Spring 2011 collection, which fills my closet, are shown below.  What do you think?  Can you see the translation?  

"Forward thinking...vintage inspired...finest yarns...natural, flirty and anything but basic."  These are definitely looks I strive for in my home and my wardrobe.  Does your wardrobe match your home?

From Laurie b's website....

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico, Laurie Brazeau became enthralled with the fine-gauge knits while living in France. Infinitely more glamorous, elegant, and diverse than the pervading sweater knits of America, they opened her eyes to the possibility of reinterpreting fashion usually showcased in woven styles through comfortable, wearable knits.
After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, she founded her first label, Brazeau Tricot, in 1991. Five years later she debuted Laurie b., her current line of women’s knits, which features styles that are simultaneously forward-thinking and vintage-inspired. As luxurious to the hand as they are to the eye, each of Brazeau’s pieces are made from the finest yarns and natural fibers, including fine Italian combed cotton, linen, cashmere blends, or baby alpaca.
Because Brazeau believes that fit makes all the difference, each of her creations is designed to complement a women’s body and her varied wardrobe. But equally important is that they feel fun, flirty and anything but basic.