Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Coveritis Comes to Life-- We Made the Magazine Cover!

Coveritis-- noun.  The affliction of constantly fluffing one's home to make it worthy of being on a magazine cover-- at a moment's notice. [Source: Cote de Texas & The Inspired Room]

Magazine Image
This is our dining room!
The same day I opened a stack of This Old House Magazines in the mail featuring our whole house remodel, I received a call from the editor requesting another shoot.  I kept thinking I really don't have anything else to show you guys!  I found out they wanted to re-shoot the dining room to... (gasp) try for a cover shot!

Still confused about why my dining room would be worthy of a magazine cover, my Mom explained that they probably wanted to decorate it for the holidays.  Duh!  My "moment's notice" came.  They were coming back to the house in 3 weeks.  Christmas in September!  They're going for the cover!

I knew better than to fluff anything though.  They were going to clean out the cupboards and start from scratch.  We were just providing the shell.  Several days prior to the shoot, my porch was stacked with boxes. Tom, our UPS guy who happens to live on our street, was wondering what we were up to now.  "Aren't you finished with this house yet?" he asked.  Apparently not!

I unpacked boxes of pillows, ribbons and canisters... Frames, silverware, dishes and candle after candle after candle.  They even mailed six live rosemary plants and an area rug.

It was fun to get a head start on our holiday decorating ideas.  The only down side was that all of it was going back-- with the exception of the rosemary plants and flowers.  

We were thrilled to learn that James Carriere, the photographer who did our first magazine shoot was coming back.  

James has such an eye and always puts us at ease.  Nothing seems to bother him.  He's a get-it-done kind of guy, even when the pressure is on, and there was a bit of pressure on this shoot. 

We had a new stylist-- Sarah Alba who came in with a trunk load of wares above and beyond what was already shipped to us.  It really did look like Christmas!
Sarah and her bags of holiday decor!  She is amazing at arranging flowers.
The biggest change to our dining room was the placement of a large area rug.  It definitely offered a more country feel to the home, which we weren't used to, but liked how the rug color brought out the warm orange tones of the cabinet doors and dining table and chairs.
There were countless versions of the table design, and the fireplace design as well.

The editor asked James to take this angle as well as a head-on shot but he knew this photo wouldn't make the cut.  A lovely shot but not a good fit for the cover.  James explained that not only does the picture itself have to be appealing but it also has to work around the text on a cover.
Here, James is comparing notes on what the different magazine staffers were asking him to do.  There were a lot of cooks in the kitchen that day!  "Go this way...No that way...Move this...Move that...Back over here...No over there..."
...So, there were several different layout tryouts for both the table and the mantle, and the overall direction of the shot.
The editors moved the dining table to the left so the fireplace could be seen in the photo.  They wanted us to light a fire but we explained this is a 100-year old coal burning fireplace.  We can't burn a fire! This seemed like something This Old House should know already :)
Believe it or not, we were 8 hours into the shot at this point.
James is worried because the light was starting to pour in.  We didn't have much time left to take the photo.

James covered the glass doors to control the light.  Tick tock!

Running out of time, James is trying to figure out how to hang the wreath.  It has to be just the right height to look just right in the photograph.
So this was the final shot that made the cut.  From this...
Magazine Image
...To this (plus a photo shopped fire and cabinet doors). All-in, it was a 9-hour day. That's what it takes to make a magazine cover!  We're thrilled to be on the cover but can't imagine it will ever happen again!  

Thank you This Old House for taking such an interest in our home!  The November/December 2011 issue is on the news stands now with crafty, easy, DIY ideas for getting your home ready for the holidays.  Happy holiday decorating!


  1. Oh, it's so charming...what a wonderful treat! And I luv the rug. I hope my copy comes today. Congrats Jenna! ~katrina

  2. Congratulations Jenna!
    Your dining room looks beautiful.
    You should be proud...
    Can't wait to get my copy. Should be here soon :)


  3. My issue hasn't come in the mail yet, but I will look forward to it. What an honor!! Your dining room is gorgeous, and I am always interested in details about photo shoots, from styling to the actual photography!

  4. Thanks for all the accolades everyone. I really appreciate it! -Jenna