house p*rn

April 24, 2011

Are you as addicted as I am to home and garden magazines? God, I love them. There is even a nice name for them in the industry: shelter magazines. You know the ones I mean–Sunset, Coastal Living, Domino…What? Domino has been discontinued? Noooo! Dominoooo! Come back!

When I page through these magazines, I always wonder, who are these people with their perfect houses? Why can’t I have a house like that?
For one thing, I only ever buy a sofa once every decade or so, and I’m clueless when it comes to accessorizing. Check out one of these magazine spreads and you’ll see, it’s alllll about the accessories.

Through a twisty turn of events, my wish was granted. Coastal Living did a spread on my house. And guess what? They made it look like a magazine house! Check out the May 2011 issue and you’ll see.
If you’re like me, you wonder how they pick the homes to be featured. I have a feeling this comes about in a variety of ways, but in my case, it stemmed from the writer’s worst nightmare–rejection. For the release of Just Breathe, ace publicist Kirsten Graham pitched the book to reviewers at magazines all over the place. No takers. Not a one. What’s wrong with these people? Finally, the relentless Kirsten got her foot in the proverbial door. The problem was, it was with a magazine that didn’t run book reviews.

However, they do spreads on people’s homes and lifestyle articles. Bingo, we were in. Because Coastal Living is all about the beach and I happen to be lucky enough to live on the beach.

And lo, it came to pass. The magazine would send a crew out to take pictures of me and my home. Freakout time. Remember, I don’t have one of those picture-perfect magazine houses.
Not to worry. The crew includes a “stylist” which a vaguely knew was responsible for helping the photographer compose the shot.

Boy, did I get lucky with the crew who showed up from LA. The master photographer David Tsay, assisted by another photographer, Coy Gutierrez. And the stylist was none other than the renowned Emily Henderson. If you watch HGTV for even five minutes, you’ve seen her. But this was her job before being a design TV star–these magazines take a long time to go to press. Emily was allowed to tell us she was going to be on the show “Design Star.” What she couldn’t tell anyone was that she won the competition and now has her own show. Cool, huh? And, bonus, she is as nice and funny in person as she is on her blog and her show.

Emily Henderson Secrets From A Stylist Behind The Scenes Photos HGTV Design Star

Okay, this post is getting too long so I’m going to break it into parts. Coming up tomorrow–10 things you probably don’t know about doing a magazine shoot. With photos, of course.

Categories : books
  • I was one of Coastal Living’s first subscribers. Until I moved, I had every magazine they ever printed.

    Actually, they have plugged authors and books ~ Pat Conroy is one of their favs. Hopefully, you’ll become his West Coast counterpart, eh?

  • Hi Susan,
    Looking forward to reading more about this. Especially whether they use only your stuff and just rearrange it more artfully than we mere mortals can envision. Or do they bring in a heap of props that make everything else look cool and leave you scratching your head and asking how they did that?
    There’s more than a touch of Olivia Bellamy in this topic 🙂

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