While each of my photo shoots for HOLIDAY 2011 were fun and exciting, I love it when I have the chance to meet new, talented people and discover their personal approaches to creativity and holiday tradition. For our shoot with Stefanie Schiada (aka Mrs. Limestone) Jenny and I hopped in our car for a trip to Brooklyn, New York to capture the essence of Stefanie's approach to hosting the perfect Christmas brunch. Read on to hear Stefanie's and my impressions of this meeting in good ol' He Said/She Said style!
Mrs. Limestone: Having had no experience with expert style gurus visiting my house, I had a warped expectation of what it would be like. I expected a mix of over the top pretension and condescension – kind of like a male Rachel Zoe who air kisses and flatters before cutting to you to shreds afterward. Well, Matthew is nothing like that! He and Jenny arrived and it was like being with family friends - they are warm and honest and down to earth. It was really a pleasure and they put us at ease immediately.
Matthew Mead: Stefanie's house was just as I imagined: detailed, spacious, thoughtfully decorated, and special. Stefanie and Luke were incredibly warm and thoughtful and helped tremendously in our "one day shoot" madness.
Mrs. L: I was surprised by how relaxed it all was! I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised because Matthew is clearly a master at casual elegance, but I assumed that a lot of frenetic energy went into creating that. Wrong! Naturally there is a lot of work that goes into each shot and many years of experience that makes it all seem so effortless, but it appears to come so naturally; and that its quite a joy to participate in.
Matthew: I was so impressed with how open they were to having strangers in their home and how well we hit it off from the start! I was truly inspired by all of the details they shared about their renovation, the history of their home and their passion for entertaining. It is Stefanie's forte and she is very generous and inspiring in all she shares with the readers of her blog.
Bumps in the road?
Mrs. L: Not from my end. Since this was their baby, I let them take the lead and guide me on what they wanted me to do and contribute.
Matthew:Well, I think Jenny and I messed up the shipping of some critical materials for the birch projects, but it all worked out in the end. And, we dearly wished we could have visited longer but other projects were calling our name!
Behind closed doors:
Mrs. L: I was definitely excited to meet Matthew after following his work for several years now. I did very little before-hand to prepare. I made the wooden slice menus and coasters for the shoot ahead of time and pulled out a box of Christmas paraphernalia, but that was it. After reading Kate’s (Centsational Girl) she said/he said, I feel sort of guilty now about it; but I didn’t want to decorate too much in case they felt confined to what I had done. Looking back, I should have probably done a lot more to save the time that day. Live and learn!
Matthew: I love when homeowners simply keep an open mind and are engaged. We had no problems in that area and I appreciated Stefanie and Luke's help in moving and changing things for image angles. They were great! And there is never anything to really anticipate...you just jump in feet first. That's what I love.
How to say goodbye:
Mrs. L: I can’t remember what I did later that day, but cleaning up afterward only took a few minutes. Since it was small, controlled and casual, the shoot didn’t feel glamorous as much as well directed.
Matthew: Jenny and I conversed about how lovely the Schiadas are and that we felt like we had spent a great day with old friends and got some wonderful images to boot!
Matthew Mead: Thank you Stefanie, for sharing your beautiful home and talents with us and for sharing your insights into what the experience was really like!
Buy our expanded keepsake edition of Holiday with Matthew Mead 2011 here.