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Style At Home Photo Shoot - The Styling

by - Thursday, October 27, 2011

I know many of you are eager to hear the nitty gritty details of the Style At Home photo shoot and I'm just as eager to share them with you. Today, I'll be talking about the Styling.

As I mentioned before, our shoot came as a result of the right person seeing the right tweet. Isn't it crazy how social media works?? After a few months and emails back and forth with Ann-Marie Favot (the Design Editor for the shoot), the date for the shoot was finally set. HandyMan and I had a bit of time to get last minute projects done and do a big cleanup. Many things were tucked away in the basement (which wasn't being photographed) and we put the rooms together pretty much how you see them on the blog. 

The Style At Home crew arrives!
Ann-Marie, Angus Fergusson (the photographer), and Will Fournier (Angus' assistant) arrived bright and early Monday morning. Now I'm not sure if you are like me, but I was convinced Ann-Marie would arrive with a whole carload of props. Isn't that how these things worked - the stylist would come with flowers, vases, toss pillows, throws, and accessories to make my place look as fabulous those houses in the pages of the magazine? Well, no.

Ann-Marie did arrive with a gorgeous variety of flowers but aside from a few vases and a fruit bowl, she brought little else. One thing she did bring though was a keen eye and deft touch. Take a look at some of these spaces she has styled:

Photo by Edward Pond
Photo by Virginia MacDonald
And this - this was her former home (photos by Stacey van Berkel-Haines):

An all-white interior?! That's so crazy, so beautiful! I knew we would be in good hands but to watch Ann-Marie work was nothing short of amazing. She picked the perfect flowers - whimsical billy buttons that worked with the yellows in our kitchen, fluffy chrysanthemums for the bedroom - and the most complementary vase shapes. I have always had a problem figuring out what to put on my dining table. Know I know - I'll just use the same Mokara orchids Ann-Marie used!!

Figuring out the flowers...
What impressed me most is how she used the things I already had. "I need something yellow" she said and she used our yellow key box as the finishing touch to the coffee table vignette. "Do you have a blanket" she asked, then placed the blanket at the foot of the bed, instantly making the bed look not so long and looming in the photograph. The seasonal arrangement I had on the dresser was removed and she reused three of the items and a vase of tulips to create a new simple, stunning arrangement.

I was struck by how simple and effective her styling was. She made it look so easy and natural. I admit there was some of my own styling I wasn't happy with - the books in the home office always looked messy to me, no matter how much I fiddled with them, and I placed some objects on the radiator in the dining room thinking she would switch them out with something "better". But she didn't - and those things I fretted about made it into photos as is! I guess the rule is, if you don't want it photographed, don't put it out!

So while I can't share the actual photos with you, I can share these styling tips from Ann-Marie:
- Create triangles with your displays - something tall, something mid-height, and something small
- Objects look better together in odd numbers. Put things in 3's.

- Take the book jackets off your books. You might find a nice solid coloured cover beneath.
- Trays, little boxes, flowers are easy to decorate with. Use little boxes on books.
- Cushions can make a room!
- Less is more. Don't overcrowd displays.

Source: None via Mary on Pinterest

- Use down inserts in your pillows. They are more malleable and sit nicer.
- Its okay if not everything matches. Differences create highlights.
- Mix the old and new, the good with the cheap. Patina is interesting.

I'm really going to try and style my things now in a simpler way. More breathing room around objects. Use what you have. Simplicity is beautiful. Those were my take aways from the day.

Something on screen looks good!
Angus and Ann-Marie have really helped me see (and appreciate) my house in a new light. Next post, I'll share some of Angus' tips on how to take better photos for your blog.

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