Monday, July 31, 2017

A Stunning Photo Shoot with Nora Murphy

 A quick recap from where I left off~ Nora Murphy asked to shoot my house for her
new book, Nora Murphy Country House Style (not exactly the title) which is featuring
her amazing house and four others thrown in for a dose of varying country styles.
Weeks followed of preparing, editing, tossing, editing some more, painting, gardening, 
fretting, daydreaming of the end result.... the time had finally come!
The photo shoot was a two day affair over the weekend, and I prayed for good weather,
and I was happily rewarded with perhaps the nicest days in the summer thus far.
The last thing I had to do was to buy flowers for the shoot.  Flowers are the jewelry of a
photo shoot, and these had to be above and beyond the basics.  So I headed to Mahoney's Garden Center and visited their florist department to select whatever struck my fancy.  
Giant pink hydrangeas, pink and white Cantebury bells, purple Pincushions and one amazing
heirloom rose that resembled a peony came home with me for their big moment.
 A large clear glass cylinder vase showed off the pink hydrangeas to perfection.
The other blooms were mixed with some white hydrangeas I picked up at a supermarket.
Their effect was glorious.  
A last minute vacuum and a goodnight's sleep was all that remained.
 Oh, and one more thing...move the darn grill and add some more pretty pillows outside.
 Nora arrived bright and early and as I was fixing the curtains I heard a knock at my front door.
NORA!!!! (I yelled through the closed front door)
I ran to open it and give her a big hug.  
She and her crew came inside and I gave them the tour 
so they could figure out where they wanted to being.  Nora came with an art director, 
a photographer and her charming son, Conor, who helped do the needful.
Just like that, we were underway.  They started in the bedroom and went on from there. 
 I can't share many photos, but I snuck in a few.  Nora gifted me one of her beautiful candles, 
in Pink Peony, as she said that seemed right for me.  
The first day of shooting, there were no dogs or fancy clothes to distract from the business of getting the shots.  The second day was another story.  Nora and I had to have our portraits done, and I kept Piper at home, while my husband took Colby off on a road trip, just the two of them.  Turned out, Piper was so good at posing, she had many "star turns" as she stole everyone's hearts.  Apparently she is a natural as a dog model.  Who knew?  Still, its not easy to catch her in a still position, and with the fancy camera settings, you have to be like a statue.  Piper handled herself as professionally just as Nora did, with amazing poses and an overall likability factor of 10.0!
 Look at how cute Piper is posing in the hallway in her dog bed.  
I am standing out of view holding her kong filled with peanut butter. 
 The tricks we had to pull to get her to do her thing were silly 
and made for light hearted moments, especially when the photographer made her "kooky" noises. 
We learned that if you called Piper to look at you, she would just run to you. Which was bad. 
But if you made a noise, she would often look at you without moving, 
wondering what the heck you were doing.  
Lots of "noises" were made, and we got the pics we needed. 
Here is the camera set up to capture the dining table.  
And this is the result.  Pretty amazing, right?  
I snapped a few screen shots off of the computer monitor
so I could share with you on my blog, which is why it looks grainy,
but you get the general idea. 
The monitor is set up tethered to the camera and is always close by, but out of the shot.
This was a closeup of the place settings.  So many beautiful shots were taken, I can't
imagine how Nora will pare it down to just a fraction of those taken.
After two full days, it was all over.  I could relax and let the dogs play with their toys,
and let Mr. Maison Decor take his boots off by the door and throw his stuff on 
the table.  No more worries for keeping things perfect, it was finally a WRAP!!
A big hug goodbye to Nora and her amazing crew, and it was time to celebrate
being part of the Nora Murphy Country House Book.
No better place than our courtyard.  Hubs had his wife back, so he was smiling ear to ear. 
 I was smiling because I had pulled it off, and Nora and her team brought out the best in my personal decorating style that would be forever saved in a beautiful book.  
So many times Nora would say to me when she wanted something a little bit more from the shot:
 "We need something to Amy-ize this " or 
"It needs some Amy added to this shot, what do you have that we could add?"
I had become a NOUN!!! 
Now that truly is something, isn't it?

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

New: Cupola installation, Bohemian rug runner, and Cabana curtains

This post is all about DIY projects that have finally been completed. 
Way off in the distance, do you spy our new cupola? 
 It is incredibly darling, don't you agree?
I am overjoyed with how it enhances the shed, and our gardens. 
 The shed is almost hidden by the large arborvitaes that create the private area that holds a
small tomato garden and the garden shed.  So adding the cupola makes it more visible from
the lower levels of the yard and courtyard, and even from the street.  
A dog weathervane in Piper's likeness sits atop this small wooden cupola I found on a FB yardsale site after a quick search.  The family that never used it, sold it to me and coincidentally they had 5 golden retrievers themselves, one being an English Cream, like Piper. It was meant to be...
Mr. Maison Decor had a friend who crafted a spinner piece so the weathervane will move with the wind.  Originally it was made to be a decorative piece and attached in one permanent direction.
This was the moment he placed it on the top of the tiny shed, and my heart skipped a beat.  I have been in love with cupolas forever, and finally I have one to call my own.  Yippee!
The other thing that finally happened was installing black and white cabana curtains to frame the cellar entrance that leads to my son's apartment.  Our house sits sideways on the lot, and this side faces the front of the street so it was nice to enhance it a little bit.
The entry to our house is accessed by the old granite stairs at the far end.  The cabana curtains add a decorator flair to the house, where once there was none.
A porch swing my dad made decades ago hangs in the enclosed space.  
These are all part of the things I have been doing to get ready for the book shoot with Nora Murphy. The feeling I have is that if its going to be captured forever in the pages of a book, I would hate to not try my best to get projects completed that have been in the "to do list" in my head.  My wish list, as it were.  We all have them....and maybe they get put off, and ignored.  So the book shoot has made them come alive and give me sleepless nights.  Can I get this or that done before Nora??  Life is busy and full at our house, and so getting projects done is more daunting because of my other jobs at home.  So any that I do get finished gives me a sense of fulfillment, because I know how hard it was to pull it off.  Piper and Colby are fast friends, with Piper taking the lead in the house. No doubt about it, she is a confident dog, and its been fun to watch her play with Colby.  He is so gentle with her, and they have their routine down pat now, leaping from dog bed to dog bed, chasing toys and tug of war.  
Another thing on my to do wish list, was to have a carpet runner installed to the third floor.  For one reason, it helps the dogs to safely navigate the stairs, and since Piper is growing like a weed, we won't be carrying her up and down much longer.  I found this pretty bohemian patterned rug at Joss and Main (online store) and ordered two 12' runners.  We had them professionally installed and it really finished off the space.  A collection of vintage art work hangs on one side, and it makes for a pretty walk up to bed each night. 
So life in the country is simply grand around here....
and after the book shoot I think I will relax so I can enjoy the 
entire month of August  with the hubs and kids and 
with little or NO projects at all!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Country House Style Book Shoot and Pretty Purple Placemats

Big news to share over here....
I have been asked to have my home included in 
a gorgeous coffee table book about Country House Style. 
 One of those heavy beautiful books you have sitting on the coffee table 
that is about lovely homes that you drool over.  
But this time, my home will be inside the glossy pages!!
And how did this come to be?
 Nora Murphy, of the award winning Nora Murphy Connecticut Country House blog,
got a book deal with the creme de la creme publishing house, Vendome Press, to
write a book about her amazing country house.  She also selected four other homes
to include in the book, one of which is mine!  Essentially the book will be
about Country House Style, and how to create a country house for yourself.
That is EXACTLY what I have done with my own home, starting about ten years ago.
Elements of country homes all include a certain esthetic of relaxed living areas.
Mixing of the fine and fancy, the rustic and elegant, and a general overall purpose
that invites one to enjoy their life in the most simple of ways, but not sacrificing style.  
I couldn't be more honored than to be included in Nora's book.

Visit Nora's blog to see more of her incredible country home, with a link at the end of this post.
See how she recreated her entire home with a refresh project that is sure to inspire everyone!
From the very beginning, Nora had big ideas. Big unique ideas.
Her own master bedroom suite was created when she
 had a large chicken coop moved to her
site and added it onto her antique farmhouse!! 
OMG, can you imagine?  I certainly think it sounds like a normal project!! 
So I guess she and I are kindred spirits.  My ramshackle shed 
project was a triumph for me, I can only imagine how satisfying 
it was to turn a chicken coop into an amazing bedroom suite!
This is the chicken coop addition above, isn't it stunning?
And her cupola is not overlooked by I am just about to install my
own cupola on the ramshackle garden shed.  
Seen here in Matthew Mead's current
it is no longer ramshackle~its the most adorable shed now.
And its going to look so great with its own cupola!
Nora will be shooting here very soon, and so I have been trying to squeeze in a few
last minute decorating projects, none of which I have shown on the blog.
Some are incredibly beautiful, and I am thrilled with the result.
Yesterday I worked in my dining room, after getting a set of pretty quilted placemats
from April Cornell's website in Vermont.  She is known for her clothing and home
decor accessories that are happy pretty florals.  I bought a set of placemats as 
that is what we use every night when we dine at home.  However these caught my
eye because they had the color purple, a very hard color to find in home textiles.
But let me tell you my secret to using them...I flipped them over to use the backside.
The front side has a patchwork quilt of pretty florals in pink, purple, 
aqua and celery green.  I will use both sides, but the plain purple felt a bit
more restful to my eye.  It is nice to have the option for turning them however.
Sometimes I catch her items at HomeGoods or Marshalls, but I couldn't resist getting
this set, which also happened to be on sale, through her website. No this is not a 
sponsored post (which means you get things for free if you write about them). 
I just happen to love April's stuff.  
Oh, one more thing about Nora....
She is the creative director of Ethan Allen, Global corporation.
Pretty impressive, right?  
And she won best blog a year or so ago....
And currently her home is in the current issue of Country Home magazine!  
So Nora is one to watch, and I am glad I am on her radar.

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