It’s part three of the Studio City house that I decorated. I say “decorated” instead of designed in this post because their architect, Eric Olsen is responsible for all of the reclaimed wood, the design of the kitchen, and basically everything except for the furniture and accessories. So please credit him and hire him. He’s awesome — so talented, fast, and amazing to work with.
Meanwhile I’ll show you what styling can do to a space. Here is the breakfast nook before:
Sorry. We didn’t take great ‘before’ photos so you get the occasional vacuum in there. The space was great, just needed some accessories and life:
Pow. And it comes with a free breakfast. Every magazine is different and the general direction they gave me was to bring in color and life (like a family was just there) to every shot. So while flowers or a bowl of fruit would have sufficed for everyday living, the scones and coffee say to readers, “Oh yeah, that’s where they eat scones and coffee — and I can, too.” It makes it approachable and inviting.
We didn’t do much design-wise here, just added these Country Curtains Roman Shades (what we’ve found to be the cheapest that are still decent quality, around $120 a piece), and some pillows. You’ll notice the black and white stripe pillow from Proud Mary and the rest are from H.D. Buttercup.
Here’s how we styled it for the scouting shots, which are the shots (by Bethany Nauert) that we used to show the magazine to get published:
Those branches are way too tall and crazy. Whoops. But I like the colorful pillows in the HGTV shot more. Which shot do you like more?
Oh, this gorgeous kitchen THAT ERIC OLSEN, the architect, designed — not me. So consider this just a house tour that I styled. He chose Tom Dixon pendants (the real ones, not the knock offs).
For the scouting shots, I styled it really simply with just some cutting boards and branches. Enough to make it feel not empty but not much beyond that. (Photos by Bethany Nauert)
Then for HGTV Magazine they wanted more “life” so we added more pops of color (the pots in the back, the teal bowl, blue vessel, and bowl of lemons that we cut from their backyard). Then we added the spices/oils on the ledge, some cookbooks, and you know, a lemon in mid-cut on the left.
It’s definitely better with more color. I always ask myself before I confirm a shot, Do I want to be in that world? and the answer has to be “Yes.” It could be a tabletop shoot with just plates and spoons but I ask myself, Would I be excited to be at this dinner party? or Do I want to be on that bed? So I think that while there are unnecessary props, I definitely want to be in this kitchen more than the less propped one. And that’s what you want to sell to the readers so they can relate to it as well.
We (HGTV with Victoria Pearson) shot it with Rachna and without her, and when she is in it, the lemons (and scones/coffee) make way more sense
Look how cute she is with her big pop of pink. Now for the dining room, which is directly across from the kitchen.
The only thing I did in here was bring in the piece of art. Eric gets all the credit for the walls and beams/lights, etc.
Rachna and I really want to strip that table and make it prettier wood that doesn’t clash with the walls. It was Dave’s (her husband’s) table as a child so it’s a keeper in a lot of ways, but it could use a new finish. They are probably replacing those chairs, too, but hadn’t gotten to it yet and they are totally good anyway. (I think they are interested in selling them so if anybody is interested in buying, leave a comment and she can contact you). For styling I kept it simple and cheap — a weird lion planter with a fern in it, and added something personal at the end.
Regarding personal props: They are controversial, indeed. There are times when I think it looks incredibly stupid if it’s not done right, and there are times when I haven’t done it right or pushed it too far with a sweater along the foot of the bed and then I want rent a DeLorean and go back to the day of the shoot and take off that stupid sweater. But in the right media and done beautifully, adding “personal props” makes it look more inviting and people can picture a life there, and therefore themselves more, and then yes, you are selling the photograph (and the product) so much more. You just have to keep your audience in mind.
Meanwhile, here is the exterior of the house — it’s totally beautiful and I want to put it in my mouth.
It’s a farmhouse style, and Eric used a modern color palette (white and a really warm dark gray) to keep it looking current and classic. Please notice the dutch doors (aka the top half opens inwards so you can have it bring in light and fresh air without having your front door wide open.
As soon as you walk in you see this:
All reclaimed wood clad walls, with a barn door device to hide their closets. I brought in the bench which was a vintage find that we DIY’d with new upholstery (please note the brass legs), and I wanted to put a mirror above the bench, but Rachna and Dave really wanted the wood to be the highlight of the space and to stand out. (photos by Bethany Nauert)
There you have it, friends. Check out the first and second post here and here, and expect two more before I’m done with this. Thank you so much for all the nice things you have said about this project. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me.
Want more of this project? Check it out here: Part 5 | Part 4 | Part 2 | Part 1