Behind The Scenes With The Nest Magazine

We’re back to reveal more about our photoshoot for The Nest magazine (which actually took place five months ago). Back then we had to keep our lips sealed about the actual name of the magazine, but now we can finally share a few pictures from that crazy day of posing, puppy wrangling, and pure chaos!


Unlike our Do It Yourself magazine photoshoot (which you can read about here and here), this shoot was only one day long. But instead of the 9am-3pm days that we clocked with DIY, this one was 13 hours long. Yup, from 8am to 9pm. But it never felt long- on the contrary, it whizzed by. And we happily snagged a few behind the scenes photos throughout the day to document what it’s like to have a crew of ten people (a hair & make-up lady, a wardrobe stylist, an assistant to the wardrobe stylist, the photographer, his two assistants, the creative director, the prop stylist, his assistant, and a videographer) styling and shooting their way through your home.

Here are two of the three people who were in charge of making sure we look good enough to grace the cover (I know, insanity!!!). Color was the name of the game (since the mag came out just in time for spring), so they dressed us up in festive and bright clothing and piled on the accessories for a much-swankier-than-we-really-are effect.

And although we cleaned our house within an inch of its life before the crew arrived, of course all that went out the window when they started setting up. Wardrobe, hair and make-up supplies took over our bedroom (check out the yummy spread below) while every other room (not exaggerating) was stocked with everything from food for the crew to lighting and computer equipment.

Sometimes it was a pretty form of chaos, like this gorgeous stack of pillows and props that they had on hand to brighten things up and add some spring zing:

As for what they brought in beyond the pillows and platters that you see above, it seemed like no detail was too small for the prop stylist and his assistant. From laundry detergent (for the storage shelf above the dryer) to olive oil (for the kitchen counter), no item or object was overlooked. And we definitely had fun seeing our house all “dressed up” for the occasion! We’ve learned (from our Do It Yourself shoot as well as this one) that the thing about having your house professionally photographed is that it’s actually someone’s job to arrive with truckloads of pillows and accessories to restructure and refresh each room for the camera. It never bothers us because it’s always entertaining to see what tickles a pro decorator’s fancy (we love options, and seeing how punches of orange or dark green look on our couch is actually fun for us). You just have to be cool with tons of people in your house moving stuff around… and we’re happy to say that we’re totally down!

Of course there were also the monstrous machines and expensive equipment in every nook and cranny to capture each room in perfect light (while no one’s the wiser that there’s a giant umbrella flash just out of frame when they pick up the magazine). Here’s photographer David A Land checking out a few shots on his tripod-mounted-computer-contraption. And you can see everything from clamps to gaffer’s tape and even some fruit salad on the kitchen counter below. So many tools, so little time.

To continue our shots-of-the-crew-from-behind series, here’s the videographer panning around our freshly styled kitchen (a few herbs in the window and some brightly colored bowls got this room ready for action). Do you remember this video house tour over on That’s what he was here for. We filmed it while the photographer worked in other rooms, and occasionally stopped the video tour to pose for still shots for the magazine (which is why we ran out of time on the video tour and had to shoot the sunroom in the dark!).

And speaking of the sunroom, we were actually super shocked when we saw the cover of the magazine because everyone was talking about the sunroom being the big shot for the story the day they were here. In fact, they rearranged all of our furniture in there (the daybed got turned 180 degrees to face the sliding doors) to create a scene that could be shot from the top of a van in our driveway. The reason? To hide the fact that it was clearly autumn and not spring (which was easily accomplished by shooting into the sunroom instead of out of it). Here’s David on top of an SUV trying to get the shot!


And here’s the sample sunroom cover shot that they so graciously left behind for us to admire (they print them out with a fake header and some subtitles so they can roughly see how it’ll look on the cover).


We loved the look of our sunroom in the shot and were actually kind of bummed when we didn’t see it in the magazine. And of course we thought Burger looked adorable on the floor pillow staring up at his dad (who was actually standing on his leash to make sure he didn’t bound out of the sunroom and onto the ground below). But at least we have this photo to remember it by.


They actually ended up using one of our own photos of the sunroom for the story (with green trees in the background) so it all worked out in the end. And that instance wasn’t the only time the camera equipment escaped our home’s four walls. Oh no, it routinely popped up outside in some of the funniest places. Here’s one of the photography assistants among our azaleas placing lights and flashes just outside the den to create optimal lighting conditions inside. I bet you never think about this sort of set up when you glance at glossy home magazines, huh? We certainly didn’t until now.

A few other extremely entertaining moments occurred when we happened upon one of our living room chairs on the front porch and when we stepped into the bathroom only to be greeted by one of the cameras in the bathtub. Well hello there.

And because the shoot lasted until 9pm, the crew created faux sunlight well after the stars came out. Now when we see a sunny kitchen feature we’ll think twice about whether it was even shot during the day. Oh the tricks of the trade.

And perhaps one of our favorite memories of the shoot was when we snagged this pic of ourselves with our “butt mics” as we affectionately called them. Who knew a crew could photograph your entire house and film a video tour in 13 wild and crazy hours?

Of course this was taken on hour 13, so that’s relief that you see in our eyes (the house didn’t burn down, the shots seemed great, and we were somehow able to string together full sentences for the video- whew). Thanks so much to our friends over at The Nest for the glossy feature (we’re actually on their home page today!) and the fun video tour. We always love showing people around our house, and their crew was no exception! And now we’ll wrap things up with a JPEG of each page of the article at a readable size as promised (here’s spread 1, spread 2, spread 3, and spread 4 – just click on each one to zoom in). In the meantime, we’ll just go back to pinching ourselves…

To learn more about the behind the scenes tricks of the trade, click here for some other juicy photoshoot details. And to check out a reader’s awesome bathroom makeover (also pictured in the same issue of The Nest magazine) click here for a pic.


  1. Jenn C. says

    Sherry -you look gorgeous in these shots! I love the one of you two in the sunroom – wish it had ended up in the story!

  2. Colleen in MA says

    you guys rock – thanks for the behind the scenes look at your fun and crazy day! i had no idea about all those tricks of the trade.

  3. KatyW says

    Sherry & John ~ WOW! This is great. I loved, loved, loved the behind-the-scenes dish on how the shoot went…from the long grueling 13 hours of chaos in your house to the “fake” sunshine after the sun went down to get the “daytime” shot.
    Thanks!! You guys are great writers as well as DIY gurus (and all around fabulous peeps… :-) Still wish I could get my hands on a copy of the actual mag. I’m on the lookout!

  4. sara says

    Wow…that’s an interesting behind the scenes story well explained. Thanks for sharing with us. Enjoy your glossy cover page feature…I am happy for you guys.

  5. srabee says

    sherry, i think you look really pretty in the magazine. i just saw the feature on, your house looks almost TOO different, those accessories made a huge difference. i wish they would have used your real house pics and not the ones with their point of view.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Gosh guys. You’re making me blush! I give the hair and make-up girl all the credit! Now if only she could move in with me and get me ready to face the world every morning…


  6. says

    So fabulous!! I can’t figure out how to subscribe to this magazine? I think I would really enjoy it. Any idea?

    I also wonder… what do your neighbors think of all the hub-bub going on at your home when shoots like this take place? They must think you guys are celebs- which you pretty much are, in the design world!


    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Amanda,

      We’re actually a bit unclear about how the magazine actually works. In fact we really wanted to do a giveaway so a few lucky readers could win their own copy to peruse, but The Nest said that they’re currently not offering subscriptions. From what we understand they randomly send out 200,000 copies to newlyweds (none of whom have subscribed, but perhaps they entered their info on or and were randomly selected to receive it). But fear not, we’ve scanned the article and included those links at the bottom of this post so you can click ’em to read every last word, which is almost as fun as having the glossy version on your lap!

      As for the neighbors, I think they’re pretty amused every time the “circus” comes to town (we also shoot things for our column in R. Home magazine here, along with our Do It Yourself photoshoots). The strangest thing is that people have been spreading the word about our blog here in the neighborhood, so total strangers will say things like “love the new den curtains!” when they’re walking by, which always throws us for a loop!


  7. says

    Ha! What great fun!!! :) You know, my first exposure to how magazines shoot layouts was through a *gardening* magazine. I read a post somewhere on how to photograph your garden like the pros. It’s soooo easy to take shots that eliminate the ugly downspout right by the goergeous roses or water an hour or two before so the soil looks dark and rich. As I visited gardens that I had seen in photos – I started to realize how much of a HUGE difference quality photography and staging makes. Not that those gardens (and your house!!) are not fabulous to begin with, they are, but realizing the roles of all that preparation and those photography tricks sure makes you feel better about your “real life” garden or home. It takes away the idea that someone, somewhere lives in this perfectly styled house 100% of the time.

    Kind of along those lines, I read on Yahoo today that French Vogue ran a cover series of models without makeup on. How wild is that? Kind of like saying, “Look – this is what these women look like without pro stylists and airbrushing”. They’re still gorgeous, but far more real looking. What do you think? Are you all up to it? Dare you to snap a few shots right this minute *without rearranging or deleting a thing* – show us what your bathroom sink area, kitchen sink area, and computer desk look like right now ;)

    Oh, by the way, you *are* adorable in those pics, guys :)

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Sam & Jacci- That’ so funny because John actually thought we should snap some shots of the house “without moving or cleaning a thing” to show everyone excactly how we live on a day to day basis. Unfortunately you’ll probably think we’re weird because everything is pretty much in it’s place all the time (stay tuned for a post about my obsessive organizing). I’m up for the challenge though, so stick around…

      Erin- As for what we know about the previous owners, we learned that they were an older couple who moved to the “country” so we doubt that they have ever caught wind of anything about their house being made over and blogged about! We’re sure that they wouldn’t even recognize it at this point- but they were such a nice family and they even left us a note with a bottle of wine saying something like: “This is YOUR house now! Have at it! (it was obvious that it needed a lot of work back then) so we’re sure they’d be really good sports about the whole thing!


  8. Erin says

    I am extra curious after the nest magazine spread and HGTV show if the previous owners/people that recognize the house have seen, heard of your projects, still live in area?
    I was wondering if they ever contacted you or anything after seeing their old house in print and so very different?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Mary,

      Just click on each image when it opens in a new window to zoom in and read all the fine print!


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