Behind My Red Door

Thursday, January 22, 2009


photo by Franklin and Esther Schmidt for Country Sampler

Did you hear me cheering? Yup that was me. I finally have my very own Country Sampler!! YEAH! YIPPEE!! YAHOO!! You can stop worrying about me now. I will be fine and I can get out of my sick bed!! LOL I am so sorry some peeps didn't see the humour in my last post. I wasn't seriously sitting here pining away for my copy. Yes, I was annoyed I had to wait so long but I had plenty to do in my life to occupy my time. Like answer emails and comments and keep track of all the questions about the whole process that I have gotten in the last 8 days. And now that hubby doesn't work on Fridays, we are planning to do our errands and have a leisurely lunch out as often as we can and indeed we did that today. Mother Nature cooperated and it was the warmest day in weeks. After a bunch of errands, we stopped at Bertucci's and I had the yummiest Chicken Piccata!!

When we finally got home, there in my mailbox was the big envelope from Country Sampler with my complimentary issues- Wahoo! I forced myself to put the perishables away at least and then I made a cup of the chai tea that my sweet blogging friend Colleen sent me and I sat down and read and re-read the article and looked at Earlene's photo's. I LOVE her house. (the first article in the magazine) I will admit I am jealous she got to use her prim eggs and bunnies. I wasn't allowed and they are much more style than some of the 'spring' staging done in my house. We have some of the same collections and prims even. I can see several things her photo's that were moved out of mine and rerplaced by something else. I had the same rug in my kitchen in front of the sink that you can see her in photo, but mine got swithed out with one I like less. I find it very interesting how the different teams felt some things could stay in a photo and some couldn't. Her team didn't use as much food and fruit in each room and let her own collections things take center stage more - I prefer that!

Now that I have had time to see what photo's were used and what the article actually says, I am ready to answer all those questions I have gotten. Even though some of these questions were covered in previous posts, I know there are new readers who may not have seen them so I will do my best to answer them all. I hope I don't miss any!

1. Did they change much each room. Yes and no. The major pieces of furniture are still there. Sometimes they need to be moved slightly so they do not obscure something else in the photo. The camera is set on a tripod only a few feet off the ground - not up at our eye level so the field of vision is very different. Try this. Sit on your desk chair and start taking photos. For most of us, that is lower than when we stand. I now take a lot of mine that way. In the photos, all the actual accessories are mine but used in different ways and different room than I use them. Some I would never use in the same room or same spot that they did. Many things were done the way they were to "lighten up" the picture to make it look like spring instead of the very dark rainy day it was. For instance in the dining room photo, my black iron candle holder was taken off the sideboard and my pewter ones were added. In the kitchen, my dark braided colonial rug was moved away from the sink and the much more country style one I have in the laundry room was placed there instead as mentioned above.
2. Did you see the actual pictures that day. Again, yes and no. The Schmidts still use a 35mm camera with film and that film then has to be sent away for developing. Later, Franklin sits at his light box and chooses the best to send to the magazine. But before he shoots with that camera, Franklin sets up a Polaroid and takes a black and white photo. Then he and Esther check it over to see if something isn't right. They tweak it and take another one. When they feel it is right, they then take a color Polaroid and then they switch cameras and take many shots with the 35mm camera. I have some of the Polaroids so I saw those. But that is very different from seeing them on a computer screen like most homeowners get to do when the other teams go out with digital camera's.
3. Did you see the photos after that day. Yes, I was sent an email with them PDF form so that when the writer called to interviewed me for the article, we both had the photos in front of us. The same is true for when the associate editor calls and then the copy editor calls to confirm details, spellings of names etc.
4. Did you see the actual article before it was published. No, I had no idea what would be used and what wasn't used. The writer sent me a list of questions to answer before the interview phone call. Here are some of them:

How do you describe country style and the feeling it evokes?

What are your decorating bugaboos?

Do you have a vanity license plate?

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Describe yourself in 3 words.

If you had a decorating theme song, what would it be?

What are you passionate about?

If you had a house fire, what is the first thing you would grab and why?

Your decorating/collecting motto?

So you can see from this list it could be hard to know what would be used and how ahead of time. Some of it makes a lot more sense to me now that I have seen the article.

5. Were all of your photos used? No - I was disappointed to see my bedroom photo (above) wasn't used. ( I don't know why but I am guessing space in the layout?). And I asked that the photo of me not be used. It was a close up, I was squinting, my hair was a frizzy mess because it was taken outside when we had a brief break in the rain. I didn't find it flattering. I know I am my worst critic but the editor was very gracious and gave me the option. So out of 11 possible, only 9 were used.
6. Do the photographers decide which photo's to take? Yes and no again. When the team arrives, they have a print out of rooms and sort of a script of the specific shots the Editor wants. In my case, they had 2 vignettes to choose on their own in addition to the specific shots. One of those vignettes is the bedroom photo that wasn't used.
7. Did you know all along what issue you would be in? No. As mentioned in previous posts, originally I was told it would be a season less shoot and possibly for the January issue. But then about 36 hours before the shoot I found out it was a spring shoot. But not Easter. And then I wasn't sure which spring issue it would be in - that is why I couldn't use Easter specific decor.
8. Did you have a choice of which season? No. A lot of it is timing on when a team can get to your home. In my case, the Schmidts were to contact me in May but never got a hold of me for well over a month later because they had been calling the wrong number and leaving messages on someone else's machine and didn't know why I wasn't getting back to them. That delayed when they could come here by over a month. They had to travel from Virginia to Massachusetts and they wanted to time it so they did other things on the way up and back and in other places in Massachusetts. Shoots for fall and Christmas are done during those actual seasons.
9. Did you get paid for this? No and I honestly never thought even thought of that until people asked me that. I never occurred to me because it's an honor to have your home featured in one of your favorite magazines.
10. Did you have to feed the crew? Well there were just two people in my case and no I wasn't expected to at all but I thought it would be a nice gesture. I made some salads the day before - chicken salad, Asian cole slaw and broccoli salad and had a nice peasant bread. There was no shooting taking place down in the family room so we ate at the bar down there. The Schmidts were very appreciative of that. And they didn't have to leave and find someplace to eat so it saved time as well.
11. Is there anything in the article you want to correct? Well I'd like to say that yes Brady drools on my furniture, but I do clean it up. It is not part of the aging technique I use. :-)
12. Is there anything you would do differently the day of the shoot? That day, I really wanted to let Esther and Franklin do their thing and I wanted to respect the process. Now that I have a chance to reflect and I have had a chance to talk to other homeowners who have gone through this but with other teams, yes I might do a few things differently if I could. I would speak up and say if I didn't like something. Like the daisies in the preserved Sweet Annie. And the fresh mint laying around the side board, and a few other things they switched out that were not my style.
13. Has anything changed in those rooms since the shoot? Yes, the sideboard is now a coffee table in the family room and I have had a new piece in that room for awhile now. I have new braided rug in the living room and the curtains have changed in the living room as well as the furniture placement. I did some rearranging in the kitchen and changed what it is on the open shelves by the window.
14. So are you happy you did this and would you do it again? YES!! YES!! YES!! Despite my teasing and whining about not getting my copies right away, and despite some of the staging not being exactly what I would choose, I would do it again in a minute! BUT I want to do a fall shoot (or Christmas!) But preferably fall! Did you know I love fall?? ( New readers are saying" huh? " Old followers are saying 'oh no - here she goes again with fall! ") But I don't think that will happen. I whined too much! Actually, I don't know that they even revisit homes except when they did that for the first Home Tours special issue. I'd love to have the Schmidts here again some fall and I'd loved to hear about their latest adventures. I'd make them Pumpkin Soup and some other fall goodies this time. And I'd have plenty of bittersweet, and pumpkins and gourds and mums everywhere! I'd stage it like THIS! Oh yes, I'd love it in the fall!!

So for those of you still here, thanks so much for sharing in this excitement with me. I am so grateful for all of you. Your excitement has multiplied my joy. Now I can't wait to get my family their copies. I am so excited my mom will see her name in print for these paintings she did of our kids many years ago. Most people can only dream of owning a primitive portrait and at best can only own prints. I have original oil paintings done by a very talented artist. I am indeed blessed for many reasons.
So that's the end of this chapter and it's on to new things and other ventures! Until next time- hugs, Linda