As some of you guys have already discovered, we had the great pleasure of having our house photographed for the latest issue of HGTV Magazine. Well, our last house (we’d probably bat someone away with a stick if they tried to snap pictures of our new place just yet). And since a bunch of you have been asking for the behind the scenes scoop, here it is.
That day was such a blur that we weren’t even sure that we had any behind the scenes photos to share, but when we looked back in iPhoto, it turns out we remembered to snap a few photos. This is Clara the editor. She’s telling us what we need to fix for the shot to work better (“you need to see more of my toys”).
The HGTV Magazine crew (which included a photographer, his assistant, a stylist, and an editor from the mag) spent two days in our house. They were lots of fun and very gracious guests… even as our dining room became a makeshift office for 48 hours.
Well, except for when it had to be tidied up and photographed. Notice how there are only 4 chairs instead of 6? It was their trick to make it feel open and show off the pedestal a bit more. All part of the fun of seeing your house through someone else’s eyes.
And of course there were moments when the room had to be almost entirely cleared to get the perfect angle. This was the set up they used to photograph us in our office for the opening spread.
Sherry and I are quite comfortable with the chaos that comes along with a whole-house photo session (nothing can compare to the three straight weeks of book shoots). And by now I’d say our kids are getting pretty cool with it too.
Rachael, the photo stylist, was awesome with flower arrangements, pillow fluffing, and Clara. They even developed a secret handshake to help her feel at ease with all of the strangers around. Although I fear this photo gives away the whole secret (it was just pressing their thumbs together). Simple or not, we love Rachel for thinking of that.
We also love that she and Jen (the editor) brought some fun props with them. You may have caught this Instagram shot of our kitchen doused with pretty food and accessories. It was eye candy and literal candy all at once.
You can see some of those styling props hard at work in this picture of our kitchen, which we think is just about the prettiest shot of it ever taken. But even as photo-styling goes, we loved the balance the HGTV Magazine crew struck. In our opinion, it wasn’t too over-styled (it still looked like our kitchen) but it was fluffed enough to make it look interesting on the page and to give us some new ideas about what we might want to tweak ourselves (more on that later).
Perhaps the only bummer about the feature was that some of our favorite shots didn’t make the cut. We knew they were taking more pictures than they’d have room for, but we saw some along the way that we had our fingers crossed for – like this one of the recently-completed fireplace.
That shot also featured our new favorite term: “an aggressive sandwich.” Someone deemed the prop sandwich too big at one point, dubbing it too “aggressive” for the shot. I think they eventually tamed it by removing a tomato slice. We all had a good laugh about what goes into these shoots, and Sherry still trades emails with our new HGTV friends by signing them with “xoxo, Aggressive Sandwich”
Here’s a peek at what could’ve been, had these shots ended up in the spread.
The frame wall never looked better. Here’s one of our over-their-shoulder shots of the hallway styled up with some pretty flowers by Rachael.
I wonder if the photographer feels a little sad when certain shots don’t make it. He took a ton of time setting each one up, but he’s probably used to it. Oh and you’ll notice that we had to take down the basket light in the kitchen because it was casting weird shadows during the fireplace shot, so down it came.
Fortunately, we got to enjoy the fresh flowers, even if the photos didn’t make the final cut.
Oh, and they also cut a shot of the two of us prepping food in the kitchen (when we took this Instagram picture). But we’re 100% sure that we looked far from natural in it, so we’re forever grateful (us + cameras aimed at us = especially awkward). The funny thing is that we thought this might be a 2-3 page spread and it ended up being 10 pages long! Completely mind-blowing, and way more than we expected.
Speaking of abundance, there were lots of flowers. Which of course means that Sherry was in some state of flower-induced euphoria the whole time. They had a box shipped directly from the flower market in New York City and, thanks to our cooler, the sunroom became a makeshift florist shop for the two days they spent with us. Seriously, the room smelled like one giant flower for like two weeks afterwards. Sherry loved it. I thought it was kind of spooky once the flowers were gone (“where is that smell coming from?!”).
You should have seen Sherry creeping around the house whispering “If only they would last foreverrrrrrr.”
At least we have pictures to remember them by.
Besides tempting us to blow our life savings on fresh flowers (don’t worry, I’ll rein Sherry back in), one tip that we picked up and were inspired to put into action by watching the pros involved the pillows on our sectional. Rachel loaded it up with a bunch more pillows than we’d ever used… and Sherry was in heaven. Picture her doing one of Oprah’s over-the-top “a-ha moment” faces. You can’t really see them in the final magazine shot, since they used a picture of the living room with us in it, but Sherry may or may not have bought some of the pillows directly from Rachel when they were done (they were $20 from HomeGoods) to fill out her already robust pillow collection. Just picture me rolling my eyes in the background.
Oh, and you can’t tell from our picture above, but this little table was deemed too short for their shot so they borrowed some scrap wood from the basement to give it a lift. Also note how our usual desk and mirror got the boot so that our chalkboard could take its spot (see the picture above).
Wardrobe tricks were also employed – namely for one of Sherry’s loose shirts that was deemed “too maternity looking” for the way it draped in the shot of us in the office. She ultimately swapped this outfit out for something less breezy (which is why she’s in a different shirt in the other shots) but lo and behold, the original test photo with the pre-clipped shirt ended up in the magazine on the first page of the spread.
As for some literal “behind” the scenes dirt, when they took the picture of Clara playing in her big girl room, I hid behind the wall in the closet so that one of us was nearby while they snapped away. The toughest challenge was getting her not to run in there with me.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle for them was shooting the outside of our house, since late March in Richmond wasn’t looking as spring-y this year as it usually does. Not to mention we had yet to begin lots of our recent improvements out there…
So now you know why the pictures of our outside are pretty small or just limited to close-ups of us on the porch. Although they did a great job of cheering things up by moving our red adirondack chairs (swiped from the patio) to bring in some semblance of color.
Oh and although the article mentions our moving plans, we actually didn’t share them with HGTV until we shared them with you guys on April 30th (via an email that Sherry most likely signed “Aggressive Sandwich”) – so they added that right at the end before the issue shipped. It really was locked deep in our brains until our alarm system was in and we were ready to tell the world at large, so I think only our parents, siblings, best friends, and the realtor knew before that. It was especially fun to finally tell the HGTV crew though, because we were able to explain how meaningful it was to us to see our house captured in such a major way before we said goodbye. It was a nice last hurrah, and they were psyched to have been the ones to document it all.
So we’re incredibly grateful that they thought our home was worthy of their magazine, and we’ll end this little behind the scenes spiel by sending out a big thanks to all of you who have stumbled upon it and said such kind things via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog comments, email, and carrier pigeon. Just kidding about the carrier pigeon – you guys know we only accept ravens.
Considering that delivering The Washington Post was my first real job (because what 6th grader doesn’t like getting up at 5am everyday?), it’s kind of an “is this real life?” full circle moment for me that my current gig (this blog) has landed us in the pages of that very same newspaper. My dad (a.k.a. my newspaper delivery partner) has never been more proud. We had no idea it would be such a big write up (with a giant cover picture in the Local Living section, but after we got over our vanity (is my hair weird? does Clara look cute?) we couldn’t believe how awesome it was. Who are we and what did we do to deserve this? But enough blabbering. I gush when I’m excited.
Here are a few shots of the paper for ya (click ‘em to enlarge) and of course you can see them in the flesh if you get The Washington Post. And you can read most of the article online here, here, and here (there are three parts to the story, but some of the pics are different than the ones in the actual newspaper article). And if the article has been archived, you can download PDFs of the text here, here and here.
We especially loved this cool call-out thing they did with our old den about where we got stuff/what we paid for it:
As for the pics, the Washington Post scooped us on a few things. Haha. It takes us a few days for us to do projects, take pics, and write posts – so they slipped through and snapped photos of things we’ll be sharing in the next few days. Should be fun…
Anyway, thanks to Terri Sapienza for the write up (us? really?) and for coming down to our house to hang out for the interview (which couldn’t have been less scary even though it sounded crazy intimidating when we first heard that she wanted to do it). She was a blast to have over and we realized that her husband and I lead eerily similar lives (beyond being married to women with rhyming names).
Oh and how insane is it that they actually called Nate Berkus for a quote about us (remember when we met him here)? Sherry just about died when she saw that. There were no words for about ten minutes, which is a total record for her. Consider us flattered (or too giddy for our own good if you’re Sherry- really she’s doing that uncontrollable giggle thing over here). Here’s his quote:
“First of all, they’re adorable,” says talk show host and designer Nate Berkus. In the fall, the Petersiks appeared on “The Nate Berkus Show” as DIY experts and judges for a design challenge. “Their delivery is particularly charming and endearing, and their information is delivered in a smart way,” Berkus says. “ . . . I think Young House Love could easily transition into a TV program.”
How crazy is that? Seeing the paper this morning was like an out of body experience for both of us. We also think it’s hilarious that Nate thinks YHL could be a TV show, because we’ve actually been approached a few times about that over the past few years but are always quick to decline. We’re definitely TV people (I mean we like to watch it) but we don’t want to actually be TV people (as in, be on it). We’re much more comfortable hiding behind the safety of our computer screens. And as Sherry likes to say “we don’t wanna Jon & Kate ourselves, ya know?!” Besides, putting the blog on hold for weeks of filming might leave us with a serious case of withdrawal.
Side tangent officially over. Anyway, you may have noticed some other paper-related news revealed in the article: we’re in the very early stages of writing a book! Like a real one. That they’d actually have in Barnes & Noble. How crazy is that? When a few book agents and publishers approached us over a year ago, we figured that with all of the writing that we’ve done online each day over the past 3.5 years (over 1,752 posts and 891,000 words published) perhaps writing something offline could be a natural side project for us – especially if the topic is DIY and home stuff. Because you know that does it for us. But don’t worry, the blog will still be priority numero uno. After all it’s our first baby (well second, the birth order goes: Burger, YHL, Clara).
So after over a year of fine tuning our book proposal (yeah, it took forever, and ended up being 150+ pages long) we sent it out, held our breath, and were shocked and awed to be signed by Artisan/Workman. For a few weeks we were scared they would come to their senses, realize we’re dorks, and say nevermind – but holy bananas, it’s a done deal. And the process was kind of crazy and interesting, so for anyone else out there who’s looking to write a book proposal (and eventually a book), we’re planning a post about how it all went down and what that experience has been like for us.
There’s still an entire manuscript to be written, so it would be premature to say exactly what the book will be about, but we do know that it’s not going to be some fancy interior design coffee table book or a sordid behind-the-scenes tell-all novel with shirtless Fabio (or shirtless me) on the cover.
We’re aiming to capture the don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously DIY spirit of our site without regurgitating a lot of stuff that you’ve already seen slash read here (we want it to feel fresh and new). And of course it’ll have budget friendly ideas along with fast & easy projects that anyone can do (except if you’re tied to a pole). Since publishing a book takes much longer than publishing a blog post, we’re scheduled for a fall 2012 release – and we’re mucho excited. We couldn’t wait to spill the beans to you guys after lots of months spent biting our tongues and keeping cats in bags.
So that’s the news up our sleeve at the moment. I guess it’s only polite to ask – what’s new with you these days?
UPDATE: Check out this more recent post about the book-writing process.