Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Midwest Living Magazine | Our Christmas Feature + A little behind the Scenes

By now many of you have seen or heard that the Nov/Dec issue of Midwest Living Magazine is on the stands!  I sincerely thank each and every one of you that has sent emails or left instagram notes sharing in the excitement of seeing our home featured in this beautiful magazine.  I'm so happy with the photos and article, both for how our home looks and equally for the way it captures our family and Christmas traditions.  I have safely tucked away pristine copies for the boys to become treasured keepsakes.

Now for all of you that haven't been able to find copies of MWL where you live, I'm sharing a few pictures on the blog!  You can see ALL of them here and read the article as well, if you are interested.  Thank you again for being part of this experience with us! (all photos by Helen Norman)


A little background on the process...  About 2 years ago I was contacted by Midwest Living Magazine asking if I was interested in being the featured home for their 2014 Christmas issue.  As Andrew has pondered countless times since, "they could choose any home in the entire Midwest and they chose ours?!?!"  Yes, well, that was pretty much my reaction too.  I kept expecting a follow up email or call saying they had reconsidered.  Which is honestly why I didn't tell anyone for a long time.  Well, time crept along, and there was no change of heart, then about 6 months before the shoot the action started happening.  Lots and lots of emails and photos were exchanged with MWL, things they saw on my blog that they wanted me to recreate - gingerbread house, garland around the doorway to kitchen, a brunch table setting, the large wreath in our dining room window, etc.  And there were inspiration pictures of ideas they wanted to consider incorporating, such as the styling for the mantle.  I have to say, one of the things that surprised me most was their genuine attempt to be authentic to my style and not overly stage our home.

^^ For the entryway, fresh greenery was sent in place of the faux I typically use here.  Those are actually my boots, the logs and basket belong to them.  I set up everything the day before they arrived.  Then a whole day was devoted to tweaking or enhancing what I had done by a stylist and the producer of the article.  They let me be a part of every step of the process. ^^

^^ This was another version of the entry that I adored, with a boxwood initial F.  This version is not the one that appeared in the final article.  When you see the article, the title text hits right where the initial is hung so this shot wouldn't have worked in the spread. ^^

This is probably the angle where they made the most changes from our typical set-up.  I usually have a large brass urn lamp on the gate leg table behind our living room sofa.  It would have taken over the
entire shot, so it was replaced with a fresh tabletop tree, decorated with thin, red velvet ribbon and brass bells.  A festive wreath pillow (Pottery Barn) replaced my typical floral throw pillow.  Poinsettias were added.  Little details like pinecones in my small silver bowl atop the ottoman tray or the brass bell are things that I would never notice in and of themselves in a photo, but they make a big difference in the overall composition.  I now find myself zeroing in on those details in magazines.
^^ This may be my favorite shot of the whole article.  MWL sent tons of stocking options to try but they ended up liking ours the best.  I'm so thankful since these are extra special, from my friend, Tiffany's shop, Holiday & Crew^^

^^ Neither one of these are the tree shot they used in the article.  I love the one they chose, but I also like these two as well.  Andrew was home from school on a snow day.  All the shots that feature us were somewhat impromptu.  It was very casual and relaxed and all of a sudden someone would say, "how about we put Charlie in here?"  Or, "Tessa could you walk down the steps, hold still for 7 seconds and try look natural?"  I didn't really think through what any of us were wearing too much.  I probably should have, but with all the house prep prior to their arrival, I didn't have much time.  

^^Again, not the image used in the article.  I actually prefer myself in this one.  I made the cookies and gingerbread house a couple days before their arrival.  No bakery props for this shoot! Ha.  You wouldn't know it from looking at it, but to get my kitchen at this angle the dining room table was moved out and Helen's assistant held our chandelier up and far away.  Now you know why my kitchen shots never look this good - it requires an entire team! ^^

^^ The door to the kitchen was removed to make room for the extra full garland that frames this shot. I didn't really want to replace it afterwards since we almost never close it, but we did.  We were so lucky to have so much fresh snow outside too, it bounced much needed light into our home.  PS.  I never wear shoes when I'm cooking but Jimmy really did drink the beer he is holding and it was only about 8:30 in the morning....^^


The dining room was the first room that was shot and it took a couple hours (or more).  I was a little worried they would never make it through their checklist in two days if that was how long it took to take a couple pictures.  I learned that the first shot always takes longer than any others.  It was super dark and early in the morning when this was taken.   You'd never know it by looking at it. I set the table before they arrived.  A few changes were made - fruit was added to the centerpiece and paperwhites and berries in the hurricanes.  I loved both.  I had seat slips on the ladder back chairs that were removed because they looked too busy in the shot.  You can see a full shot of the dining room on the website link above.









I loved how this little nook in the playroom turned out!  Again, my larger scale, ceramic lamp was removed and replaced with the lanterns and bottle brush trees.  I do love that they referred to this table as "salvaged" in the article. Sounds so much nicer than saying I picked it up out of a neighbor's trash.  :)  They added the green throw pillow and I thought that was such a perfect Christmas touch.  I will be doing that again this year too!









^^Our bedroom is definitely one of my favorite rooms in our home.  Unfortunately it didn't make the final cut. I can understand why, because layout wise it would have looked odd.  I do really like this picture though.  Charlie's bedroom was also photographed (it was not on the original list) but only a little vignette made it into the magazine - you can see it in the magazine or online.^^

That about does it!  My eye lids are getting heavy.  Thanks so much for letting me share!

A few sources that didn't get listed in the magazine 
that were a big help as I was getting things ready:

For her pretty kraft boxes that were out of stock online but she let me have a few from her own stash.  I knew I would bake for the crew (Ina's Raspberry Almond Squares) and make pretty packages.  I didn't know they would end up in the magazine though!!   I also used her gorgeous red satin ribbon on the outdoor wreaths.

My favorite local antique store.  Most of my blue and white platters are from their shop.  I also have more art in our home purchased there than from anywhere else.  Thanks Nan, for being such a supporter of my blog too!!

And last, but not least, my good friend Holly Mathis
First and foremost for all the ways she has helped and encouraged me with my decorating!  If she hadn't blogged about our home, this opportunity might never have come along and I certainly wouldn't be doing decorating consults of my own now either. :)





73 comments :

  1. Congratulations, Tessa. Your holiday home magazine photos expressed the your stunning decor of your home. Love following your blog and seeing other beautiful homes in my Buckeye state.

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  2. Your home looks absolutely gorgeous! The magazine captured why I love your blog -- your home is pretty & traditional but totally liveable for your family.

    Thank you for sharing all of the details behind the photos. I always wonder how a photo shoot is put together.

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  3. How absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing the pictures, your home looks gorgeous! Love how you combine style, tradition and family memories! Beautiful :)

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  4. Loved seeing the pics they didn't use. Your home is beautiful and so livable. And your boys are just precious!

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    1. the boys are my favorite part of the feature. ;) thanks kelly! xx

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  5. Thank you for sharing! I have been dying to see!! You know I love it all! Absolute perfection! I am jealous of the perfect snow picture.... will never happen in Alabama. Thank you Tessa!

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    1. they are predicting a nasty winter. you never know, snow might find you yet! thanks, carrie! xx

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  6. It is absolutely drop dead gorgeous!

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  7. Tessa, I just want to sit and soak in every detail of the pictures. I love every room of your house. It's all so cozy and inviting. You've done such a beautiful job. I could never pick a favorite image or room! I was hoping to see more of the playroom :). Congrats, my friend!!

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    1. i so appreciate our "virtual" friendship. thanks for being so supportive and for trusting me to help with your new home!! you must be one of my longest readers! i still think of you as kentucky mama! ;) xx

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  8. Thank you for sharing these details. I was so happy to see the Midwest Living on display recently. I snapped it up! As someone who enjoys your blog and style, very much, I was so looking forward to this issue. All I can say is, my issue is no longer pristine! The article turned out so well. I find myself reaching for it when I have a few minutes to relax. I believe I will be saving this issue. It's a keeper!

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    1. aw, so glad it is already a well worn issue!! thanks so much kathy!! xx

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  9. I can totally see why they chose your home (and you!). You fit the bill just perfectly and your home is always so inviting - don't ever invite me because I may not ever leave. :) Congratulations!

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  10. Beautiful! Love how homey everything looks and feels. I would love to hear where people purchase attractive artificial greens. It's hard to find ones that look real.

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    1. there is a really good store here called Botanica, not sure if they have a website or are willing to ship? might be worth a try. their stuff is $$ but lasts for YEARS! thanks missy! xx

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  11. Lovely home and lovely family! Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to pick up my copy of MWL!

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    1. I'm not falling asleep! haha. those zz should have been xx. :)

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  12. Tessa, my copy arrived yesterday, I think it takes longer to get to the east coast. I subscribed
    when you let us know about the article, and I am thrilled that I did! All I can say is LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! You are very talented, your home is so warm, inviting, and cozy. I am enjoying looking at the photos over and over again! Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful family.

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    1. happy holidays to you and yours, cathy! thanks so much!! xx

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  13. Tessa, your home brings a smile to my face!! I love how it is so you and is not trying to be something it is not. Does that make sense?? I think my favorite picture are your boys decorating the tree!! Precious!

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    1. yes, that totally makes sense and I love that you get that! it's hard at times though when you see so much via pinterest and blogging. sometimes I have to take a moment and remind myself of my own style and what I love. xx

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  14. Lovely! Thanks for sharing the "behind the scenes".

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  15. I love it all, your home is gorgeous and seeing it dressed for Christmas makes me love it more!!

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  16. Just beautiful! I've always loved your style...classic, homey and very inviting! I love your home too. The greenery is gorgeous and I especially love the garland with Christmas cards. I am fortunate to be able to cut a lot of my own fresh greenery. It's by far my favorite to decorate with. :)

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    1. thanks gina! i may show up with clipping shears in your yard this december. :) xx

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  17. So beautiful! I love the whole feeling of this photo shoot. It's got me itching to start decorating our own home for the holidays. Thanks for sharing some behind the scenes details :)

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  18. Beautiful photos! This gets me super excited for Christmas!

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  19. This has to be my favorite of all your posts from all the many years I have been reading Nine and Sixteen. First, it's your house. Second ...it's Christmas. Third...your joy in being a part of it just shines through. Thank you so much for sharing the backstory. Absolutely loved it all!! Must get to the nearest Barnes and Noble to pick up my copy of the issue!!!

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    1. that means so much!! thanks kelly!! i hope you found yourself a copy too! from one Christmas decorating / check loving sista to another! thanks for being such a long time reader and virtual friend! xx

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  20. Tessa, Your home is breathtaking. I am inspired to one day make a home this lovely and comforting for my own family. You clearly spend so much time and take care of every detail to make the elements special and enjoyable.

    Best holiday wishes!
    xx,
    Ali

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  21. So lovely, Tessa! Your house, your traditions, and, of course, your sweet family--all are inspiring. I haven't given up on finding a print copy of MWL here in the South, but I'm so glad you posted this summary. Happy Fall!

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    1. oh I hope you found a copy down south!! thanks for such kind words! so appreciated! xx

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  22. Everything is more than beautiful, it's perfect! You most definitely deserved this! Congratulations Tessa!!!

    Meg

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    1. nothing is ever perfect, but magazines sure have a magical way of making them appear ever so close to it. :) thanks so much megan!! and for all the years you've read this blog!! xx

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  23. Congratulations, Tessa. What an honor to be featured in a magazine! I loved this post with all the behind-the-scenes details. I am now going to follow the link to the magazine site to read the full article and see all the photos. Helen Norman does such a wonderful job photographing interiors. She's one of the best. Your home is so pretty. I'm sure the team loved what they had to work with.
    Claudia

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    1. oh claudia, thanks so much!! helen's work is amazing and in person she is truly delightful too!! xx

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  24. Love this! Thanks for posting this. I live in Arizona and probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise. So warm and cozy.

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  25. Congratulations.....your home looks gorgeous! I hope I can find the magazine.

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    1. i hope you found one! thanks so much, claudia!! xx

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  26. Living in Florida we don't have access to MWL - so this was a treat. What beautiful home you have. It looks warm and welcoming. One question: how do you get the Christmas tree to stand well in a large basket? I have never been able to make it sturdy enough. Any tips?

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    1. thanks, marianne!! well, knock on wood we've never had an issue. the key for sure is a big enough basket (depth and width) with a level bottom, so the stand isn't smushed in but still balances securely.

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  27. Your home is beautiful. Love all the little touches. I'm inspired to go home and decorate for the holidays. Can you tell me more about the lanterns with bottle brush trees in the nook? I'm wondering how they are lit. I love them!

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    1. thanks!! the lanterns are lit with a strand of battery powered white lights on white cords. xx

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  28. I am so happy for you! Your home looks just perfect in that winter setting! I have to get out and look for the magazine!

    Jane

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    1. thank you so much, Jane!! we sure did get lucky with all the snow! xx

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  29. I've been waiting to see this every since you announced it was happening! IT IS GORGEOUS! I mean, perfection! Congratulations! Soooo happy for you! Can we come spend Christmas with you? Sooo cozy! Love, love love!

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    1. you are most welcome to visit, so long as I can steal your precious little babe for a while! :) thanks so much for your sweet words! now get yourself on instagram more frequently! i miss u!! xx

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  30. I just adore your home so much and it's amazing to see some new angles of your home and your sweet family! What a well deserved treasure to have your home captured in print! Such fun! xo

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    1. aw, julia, thanks so much girl! you stylish thing you!! xx

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  31. i've looked hi and low for the magazine here (in montgomery, AL); BAM, Wal Mart, Lowes and can't find it....do you have any extra copies so I could buy one from you? If you do, you can email me at jdy277@aol.com

    Thanks!

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    1. oh no, what a bummer. I do not have an extra copy, unfortunately. they've all been given away. if i come across another one in a shop I'll snatch it up for you!! xx

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  32. LOVE IT ALL! So glad you said yes to the magazine...and then shared with us! I want to be in your home at Christmas! Looks so festive and inviting...and no doubt smells amazing! xoxo

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  33. I hope you get to do this every year! What a fabulous keepsake to treasure though out the years to come! I think my husband would need a beer too if something like this happened in our home!
    pve

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  34. I can't wait to get my copy. I so love your home and I"m so glad that Midwest Living thinks so too. :) Everything was beautiful!! And I love that you shared all the behind the scenes action.

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  35. Your home is just stunning! What an inspiration for my own holiday decorating!

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  36. No surprise your house was the midwest choice! It is gorgeous!

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  37. Everything looks amazingly beautiful and what a wonderful keepsake to have of your home during the holidays.

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  38. I subscribe to Country Living, and I loved this featured article this month!

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  39. Ciao from Italy... As I sit here, reading & looking at your beautiful blog & pictures and just had to write you and say WOW. Your home is lovely. Thanks for sharing. I LOVE the farm table. Did you buy it or make it? It is beautiful...... Just a lovely home~

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  40. So beautiful! It was fun to have a behind-the-scenes peek too! Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ~julie

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  41. Wonderful choices! Any chance you can share with me where you got the blinds that are in the Christmas tree room and the maker/style? thanks!

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