Brie Williams : Photographer, Amanda: Photographer’s Assistant, Paula : Senior Associate Editor Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Media (because she is fancy like that), Andrea : Regional Editor (who just happens to live about 20 minutes away I hope I don’t stalk her), Me : Spastic Renter

I know I didn’t let on at all, but I was a nervous WRECK about having four professional housey women over to come photograph my home.  Somehow I will never learn that worry is a waste of time and that imperfection always puts people at ease.

How about some behind the scenes photos?

The rug from the playroom/guest room/bonus room whatever that room is got pulled down and paired with the stumps for an entry photo. (and Angela’s husband laughed all those months ago when I wanted those two stumps sitting outside their garage–we showed him!)

They also took pictures of our bedroom.  I ironed my sheets y’all (with the help of a surprisingly willing 12-year-old boy).  There’s nothing like knowing a camera is coming to make you go a little insane.  Also, if you are wondering, it’s easier to iron your sheets once they are on your bed.  The fact that they are featuring (hopefully?) this room kind of marks the end of an era. Because three years ago, this room was kind of a regret.  I hadn’t cared to put much time into our bedroom but I knew a time was coming when I could. I’m glad it’s serving us well now.

Here are some piles of stuff they didn’t use. Isn’t it fun to see the photos of the OTHER half of the room?  About half of that pile is stuff that I had or I bought, about half of it is stuff they brought. They came armed with a bunch of flowers, pillows, a few throws and bags and vases.

The photo taking part was a little anti climatic. I think I expected a loud “Quiet on the set! “ and a serious countdown “3…2…1…” CLICK, FLASH, insert fireworks and marching band playing, maybe some easy to clean confetti in colors that match my house… instead it was more like,  “wait, they already took the picture?” I missed it. The photographer stands behind the camera when she’s setting it up and then she grabs her little remote clicky thing and is standing by the computer watching pictures come up and the rest of us are all talking and then Andrea and Paula go adjust a few things and somehow make what you have look magazine worthy and before you know it they’ve taken the photos and are picking out the best ones to use and it is OVER.  These women are fast. And they did not once call my house a “set” although Andrea did say that I had good “props” which I took as a major compliment.

Also, they are skilled at Shopping The House. Andrea would come up the stairs with something I forgot I had and use it in a shot and I’d be all, oh my word I almost threw that AWAY yesterday and now I want to frame it in a glass box, boys don’t ever touch that again!  She was fantastic.

They were so accommodating and I expected them to move around a lot more stuff than they did.  Before they came I didn’t even have time to put thought into what was up on the mantle, I figured they’d want to play and tweak it anyway.  So I just threw a bunch of stuff up there and they put some flowers on it and started snapping photos and I was all slow motion waving my arms and yelling “um, WAIT, don’t y’all want to change that a little?”  Really I was hoping that they would come up with some life altering mantle set up because my mantle drives me insane and I can never get it right.  Unfortunately, they basically used what I had.  Maybe I should just be happy the way it is.

So if you are wondering what they took photos of, here’s the rundown::  the stumps in the foyer, our bedroom, the family room with the gallery wall, the mantle, the painted furniture in the dining room/breakfast area, and they took a family photo in the front room with us all sitting on the sofa and the plate wall behind us.

It was fun to watch and learn from these super talented amazingly down to earth women that I now adore.  And here are three quotes I want to pass along (I use the word quote lightly, I should have written them down immediately)

“Is that adding a layer of confusion?” –Paula

When you are taking photos if there’s something small that you can’t tell what it is, or a corner of something in the shot that is unrecognizable–remove it or else you are simply adding a “layer of confusion”.  I love that.  I also wonder if this can be applied to other areas of my life. Layers of confusion.  This is gold.

“A big part of what we look for is a good story, if there’s no story we can’t run it” –Andrea

Andrea asked a LOT of questions before they decided to come here.  I told her I hoped we had a story because if not I wasn’t sure what I’ve been writing about here for the past four and a half years. But I agree with her, no one wants to just see pretty pictures, we want a story to relate to and it applies to every industry.

“Most people are afraid to take risks”–Andrea

Amen.  Andrea was talking about how it’s sometimes hard to find people to feature in the magazines. She blamed fear and risk.  It’s stealing our dreams people, PLEASE, by all means take a risk, and there is no better place to start than in your home–it should be the safest place to take a risk.

I took a quick snap of the pillows they used on the sofa, before they styled it up.  WHY don’t I have fun pillows on my sofa?  I’m getting the black and white one and the blue ones ASAP.  I think I’ve been a little afraid to commiting to such color but it’s GLORIOUS–why haven’t I taken more of a pillow risk?  I love pillows?!


  • start small and pick a project that won’t take much time
  • don’t invest too much money
  • don’t force perfection
  • be open to changes and new ideas during the process

I’m still in shock that this House of Imperfection, this rented home, this motley crew of lived in, loved on thrifted, painted furniture is going to be featured in a magazine. It’s pretty much my childhood dream.  I hope it inspires risk taking and hope and motivates people.  I hope people everywhere believe that really it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  I hope you and I start to believe it.

Better Homes and Gardens Do It Yourself Magazine

Coming to newsstands near you, hopefully in February of 2013.  Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.


Special thanks to : Karrie, for slaving away all last week for and with me, Angela for painting, wood gathering and fried pickle eating with me,  Greta and Angela’s Neighbors for the lovely hydrangeas, Nate Felton from Felton Design Studio for inspiring my husband to rip out all our shrubs 4 days before cameras get here and then creating a lovely new front landscape, Dash from 3 Angels Bakery in Davidson for the delicious muffins and cupcakes and salted caramel brownies, (in)courage girls and my heart friends and Thursday morning group for getting excited with me.  Mom for shopping with me and reminding me to use this as motivation to get things done, Dad for offering to be a model in every photo and Emily for laughing with me and encouraging me and helping me stage that hutch and everyone for putting up with me and pretending like they are not tired of hearing me talk about this.  Three boys who have had a mom in Africa who came back a crazy person because cameras are coming and I need to make just one more trip to Home Goods–we are so staying at the pool all day on Saturday.  My long suffering husband who was nothing but encouraging and willing to do whatever crazy thing I thought needed to be done, I owe you one, honey.