...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.20.15 / Liked & Linked

bye BHG

shoot leftovers

Whew! Last week was surreal and quite the whirlwind in the best way. Living behind the scenes of a magazine shoot opened my eyes to so many things. I will never look at house tours in print the same way again! I snuck a few behind-the-scenes shots and jotted down a ton of notes to share when the feature goes live. For those of you who have asked, I don’t know yet which issue our home will be featured in but, as soon as I do, I will let you know. (I’m told it will be sometime in 2016.)

The BHG crew left on Friday. They were lovely and funny and down-to-earth. Saying goodbye was more difficult than I had anticipated. The kids really enjoyed having company and action at the house. They were so disappointed to wake up to (what felt like) an empty and quiet house the day after shooting wrapped. Mabrey grew attached to Natalie, a BHG editor. She even made up “The Natalie Song” and was bummed when she learned that Saturday was Natalie’s birthday and we wouldn’t be able to have a cupcake party for her at our house. It was the sweetest and most heartbreaking thing. Whenever I walk past one of the leftover floral props, I do a double take and think, “Wait. Did that just really happen?”

Needless to say, we had a slow weekend. We hung out poolside with dear friends all day Saturday and holed up inside while it stormed on Sunday. I got a little antsy and hit up a nearby open house just for fun. With the shoot (and several tedious projects) behind us, I’m looking forward to getting back to work on the studio and enjoying a few more slow weekends before the kids start back to school.

A few links…

*Ogling this custom printed upholstery fabric.

*After months of brainstorming, we’re thinking about replacing a closet at the end of our hallway with built-in cabinets similar to this setup. Yes? No?

*Remodelista’s best of the best. Which will you vote for?


*I dogeared this simple, family-friendly beach house in the latest issue of Dwell. I can’t believe it’s <700 square feet!

*I am forever adding design books to my wish list. This week it was this, this and this.

*I finally found the perfect swim trunks for the boys. They love them! They can do all the cannonballs they want without readjusting or retying their waistbands. Pool time just got waaaaaaayyy easier mamas.

Happy start to your week!

images: 1 & 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3) Sean Fennessy for Dwell magazine

07.14.15 / Photo Shoot!

I’ve been keeping a secret.

BHG shoot 1

This week a team of art directors, editors, stylists and photographers from Better Homes & Gardens arrived at our house for a photo shoot! One of the home editors at BHG reached out to me this past spring about the possibility of a feature. I was asked to send over sample pictures and a narrative detailing the renovation and any special features of our home for a pitch. Honestly, I didn’t expect things to go any further than the pitching stage. I was so shocked when I got an email saying the editorial team had unanimously chosen our home for a feature. WTF?! Up until this week, I was half-expecting them to retract the offer, to realize their mistake and call off the whole thing. I mean, we’re just a normal family living in a normal house that we’ve slowly tweaked into our home.

But now that things are in full swing, I am so excited!

BHG shoot

I’m excited to watch the pros work their magic. I’ll probably ask way too many questions and annoy the heck out of them. I’m excited to see our home through someone else’s lens. Sometimes it’s fun to see the place you live in a new light. I’m excited to witness what goes on behind the scenes of a legit photo shoot. Spoiler alert: A LOT. Our garage is standing in as a temporary prop room for the stylists and also a storage room for photography equipment. Obviously, I’m excited for the feature itself, too. I can remember reading my grandma’s BHG magazines as a kid and I’ve been a regular subscriber in my adulthood. To open the magazine and see the fruit of our blood, sweat and tears doesn’t seem feasible. It’s just plain crazy to even think about at this point.

What I’m most excited about though is the fact that a real house is going to be featured. We’re in Ohio – nowhere near a coast or trendy city. We live in a modest ranch built in the 60s – not a new, custom build or even an old house with charming architectural details. We have only the rooms we need and nothing more. There is no guest room or play room or sunroom or basement. I hope BHG readers will find our home inspiring because it’s relatable and achievable. There’s nothing extravagant about our home or lifestyle.

So the big secret is out! I’m jotting down notes and snapping a few behind-the-scenes pictures to share with you when the feature goes live sometime in 2016. I’m also bribing my kids to be on their best behavior. (Mabrey put on an impromptu dance recital for the team yesterday and Cheetah is stealing everyone’s hearts.) And it looks like the weather is going to cooperate, so YAY! I’ll be posting a few sneak peeks from the shoot over on my instagram account if you want to follow along.

As always, thanks for reading. There is absolutely no way this feature would be happening without this blog. And there’s absolutely no way this blog would be happening without you. You all are the best. Thank you.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.14.15 / Liked & Linked

outdoor wedding

wedding barn

outdoor wedding

How was your weekend? Productive or relaxing? Both? In preparation for a photo shoot (more deets to follow in my next post!), we tackled several tedious projects that we’ve been putting off for years. I seriously don’t know what’s taken us so long but it feels good to cross a bunch of little things off the never-ending to-do list.

We squeezed in a break from the projects to attend a friend’s wedding and managed to snap a quick family photo. We’re still working on the whole looking at the camera thing ;) The venue was a small farm with a gazebo and modern barn. It was so simple and beautiful. Luckily, the rain held off. FYI – 30 seconds after that last picture was taken, Layne wiped out in the mud. I spent the next 20 minutes in the ladies’ restroom hand washing his shirt and drying it under the hand dryer. Ah, real life with kids sometimes feels like a series of mini catastrophes, doesn’t it?

A few things…

*With all the rain and humidity, this anti-frizz polishing milk is the only thing that’s working on my hair this summer.

*Floral portraits that are better than the real thing.

*Die ugly toys, die.

*Loving this kitchen – especially the custom island and desk.

studio matsalla condo

*Condo living never looked so good. (Notice the angled fireplace via the link. Angled fireplaces can be tricky but that one totally works.)

*Getting lost in a photographer’s portfolio.

*Having experienced first-hand what life is like with a severely mentally ill parent, I’m looking forward to seeing Infinitely Polar Bear. Send tissues.

Try something new and scary this week.

images: 1-3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4) Vanessa Matsalla for Studio Matsalla