Saturday, July 17:
6:30 am: Awake and, instead of cleaning and dusting, I decide to wallpaper my bathroom (one wall, only) and spray paint the chandelier and some accessories a vibrant shade of yellow:
Then, I make the kids a big breakfast to soften the blow of *ignoring* them for the next week as we shoot the house.
After missing our planned 4am departure time, Jenny and I awake to quickly load our van which had been in the shop all week long. My back is bad from a recent injury and we both welcomed the extra sleep...but it definitely put our departure on the late side: 9 am.
12:00 pm: Begin to clean the house at a frenetic pace - surprised at how much I have ignored my home as of late - and wonder if I should weigh the popcorn seeds, crumbs and loose change I find under the sofa cushions. Decide at the same time that flipping the cushions is a good alternative to washing them.
MM: On the road but multiple stops so I can stretch... hard to concentrate due to back pain but Linda has promised me a Canadian over-the-counter remedy which is all I can focus on.
9:30 pm: meet the Meads at a gas station and lead them out to their cottage...which they love!
Matthew and Jenny spend much of the day relaxing at the cottage (recovering from their long road trip) and I spend the day swimming in the pool with my girl. The Meads arrive late-afternoon and we go over the entries for the Holiday home contest while my husband, Paul, grills up some yummy steaks. We narrow down the entries to three and the Meads will make their final selection after reviewing the entries that squeaked in under the wire after they left for Nova Scotia.With so many great options, we all remark that we wish we could choose more than one winner...
Decisions, decisions, decisions...but wonderful entries to choose from and a great time spent catching up. Dinner was delish.
9:00 am- 5:00 pm: Set-up day, which means the unloading of the props: some pillows, Christmas ornaments, a rug from Company C (more about that later), some wardrobe options, and some other things the Meads created just for my house and the shoot. Set up my vintage-inspired tree (discovered the one they brought was missing its top!) and made a shot list. Prepare the food for the table shots and set the table ever so prettily.
MM: In pain and still tired, but Linda has done a great job creating beautiful spaces to style and showcase holiday decor. We spend the day setting up and working on camera angles... I make sure not to bend or lift anything heavy.
6:30 pm: No time to change before dinner with the ladies in my family who came down for the shoot.
MM: Great dinner... delighted to meet Linda's mom, sister and sister-in-law... fun and relaxing.
MM: No need, really; everyone looks pretty and putting on their best smiles... We shoot for several hours until the light goes flat... GOOD JOB EVERYONE!
House shots: (this is where I gush on and on about how Matthew and Jenny's perfectionism and talent made my house look like I never imagined it to look in photos!) Although I have accompanied them on shoots before, I really took notice of their attention to detail and desire to have the perfect lighting, angle, and styling - which really sets their photos apart. It isn't uncommon for it to take two hours to shoot one area/room and Jenny's trained eye misses nothing as she "proofs" the images while Matthew shoots. They take turns shooting at times and we all put in long days with Matthew being a real trooper as he suffers from a bout of unrelenting back/sciatica pain.
MM: Jenny is a perfectionist... and I am a bit of a pain because I am in pain... but Linda has such a good decorating sense it is only a bit about moving things for the best camera angles.. and the color palette, well, it is just beautiful! We thoroughly enjoy each and every image and marvel at the beautiful light quality in her home.
Thursday: Jenny's Birthday and a day off! After picking up the most beautiful cupcakes from a wonderful local baker/cake artist, we head to Halifax for a day of shopping, dining and basically being tourists. Shops like Renovators Resource, Bellissimo, Attica, Backyard and Veranda, Biscuit, some antique shops and the most exquisite lighting and design gallery, Norman Flynn, we squeeze in lunch at a downtown restaurant and a quick tour of Pete's Frootique Matthew likens the city to be reminiscent of some of the cities in Europe and he and Jenny get a little taste of the style and inspiration to be found in our capital city. Oh, and the cupcakes? Delicious...!!
MM: Thank goodness for the day off... Some extra meds, a brilliant tour guide and we get to see the most modern and stylish things south of Linda's house. Really; design and chic style in Halifax to rival Paris and Manhattan... a true delight. I thoroughly enjoy this day of recouping.
Friday, July 23:
It's a wrap! Well, after we shoot my bedroom, some more vignettes and some detail shots, we are all pretty much spent and beginning to fade. Then I am faced with my big decision: do I keep the (perfect-just-what-I'd-been-looking-for-but-a-bit-more-than-I'd-budgeted-for) Company C rug or do I let the Meads pack it up with them to be returned to the store? Although I am offered it at a clear bargain, I decide at the last minute to bid it farewell, recalling my sister's words, "With three (outdoor) cats and three kids, it isn't the season in your life for an expensive rug, Linda." ~Sigh~ Sad, but true...
But, after a perfect, hectic week, I have nothing to complain about and cannot WAIT to see the layouts after Matthew, Jenny and Stacey work their final magic! One thing is certain: HOLIDAY with Matthew Mead will NOT disappoint!!