I’ve been a Better Homes & Gardens junkie for a long time, but I’d never given much thought to the happy, smiling families that are shown in the homes that they photograph—until it happened to my family last summer. A little over a year ago, a BH&G editor contacted me about the possibility of a feature after seeing pictures of our home someone had sent to her from my blog, Emily A. Clark: Design. Simplified. (Yes, I did almost fall out of my chair.)
Once I caught my breath and regained my composure, the panic set in. This would happen fast. I had explained to the editor that we were actually in the process of moving. Her words? Don’t touch anything. They scheduled a photographer and stylist to come within a couple of weeks. That’s when the mental lists started. Why hadn’t I painted that bedroom, touched up the coffee table, used a real seam instead of no-sew tape to hem my unraveling curtains, made an appointment to have my hair colored? You know—the important stuff. Oh, and then I remembered that we had three kids, ages 6, 5 and 2. Based on past experience, the thought of trying to make them cooperate for a real photoshoot gave me hives.
The day of the shoot was a lot different than I expected. Although I was a ball of nerves before the BH&G team arrived, I actually got to sit back and watch them work for most of the day. Can I tell you how much fun it is to see a stylist carry in armfuls of fresh flowers and new accessories for your house? It also reminded me that all of the worrying and rearranging I’d done before they came was all for nothing. The story on our home would be geared toward summer, so they added bursts of color and orange accents throughout the rooms.
I thought it was interesting to watch them style my home for photos versus real life. Although it still looked like “our” home, their slight changes made everything seem brighter and happier. A few of our pillows that had seen better days got the boot, along with the faux cowhide rug in our bedroom. They added a few, new colorful accessories to our bookshelves. And, the dark leopard print on our kitchen chairs (great for hiding stains!) was reading too drab in photographs, so the stylist sent me on a mad dash to the local fabric store to find something more colorful.
Our strategy with the kids was to keep them entertained elsewhere until their “big moment.” My husband brought them in for the family photos toward the end of the day. Fortunately, the photographer was full of patience and actually like the “creative direction” given by my two-year-old, who decided to sit under the table for the shot in our breakfast room. Disaster averted.
Of course, a little ice cream bribery didn’t hurt, either. . .
And, the hardest part of having your home photographed for a national magazine? Waiting a whole year to see it in print! A lot has happened in the last twelve months since BH&G visited our home. Not only did we move to a new house (which I’m in the process of decorating now), but our family has also grown by two with the birth of twins in May. Even though the babies weren’t around for our big day last summer, you can bet they each have their own copy of the July issue.
Photo sources: emilyaclark.com, BHG, emilyaclark.com, BHG, emilyaclark.com, emilyaclark.com
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