We had just barely said goodbye to the last group of movers, and were slowly settling in to our brand new digs in the sky when an email came in from the AJC, our local Atlanta paper. Could they photograph our new condo for the front page of their Sunday Home section (you know, the section that everyone reads, kind of like the Style Section of the Sunday NY Times)? My first reaction was to be flattered and pleased, especially since any mention of our condo would obviously include the art collection which would benefit the artists and gallery. And I was also pleased because I love condo living, and would like to fill this place with all my friends, so anything that I could say would help further that cause. So, sure, for the good of the causes … I signed right up.
And then it hit me. We looked terrible! We were raw. Our walls were still bare; our windows, undressed. Our light fixtures were nonexistent. And where were all my accessories? I think that in my excitement to downsize and my quest to simplify, I’d given away or stored most of the props that would normally enrich a photo shoot. I took some sample pictures to see how it looked, and I was dismally depressed.
Yeeks! Need a lot of work here …
Why did I love it so much if it looked so bad? Was there any way I could turn it around in time for the photo shoot? Did they have to photograph everything or could I prop and style some little vignettes? What was I to do?
Obviously, there was only one thing to do and that was to call on my dear friend and colleague, the miracle worker Sam Jones. Not only is Sam enormously gifted at furniture rearrangement and creating an environment that feels like it’s been lived in forever but she is also highly resourceful and energetic, and definitely a magician. Wait til you see what she did for me!
My biggest problem was the big, blank windows which desperately needed luscious drapes to soften the edges and warm the environment. These were on order but wouldn’t be installed for several more weeks . So with Sam, we had to fake it. And of course, Sam had a solution. She actually took six gorgeous silk panels off her windows and brought them over, along with a tall ladder and a couple of tension rods and cleverly hung them strategically over six of my windows. Tada! What a difference it made.
Before Sammy came to the rescue…
… and below, what a difference one curtain panel and a little greenery can make!
Look at that wide and cold expanse of windows …
and below, see the difference one panel can make (and a few pink roses to brighten up the room)
In Christie’s room, before curtains were installed …
… and after, with a painting by Bethanne Cople, and some luscious drapes.
Bare naked windows before …
… and after, what a difference the panels made (even on their makeshift tension rods!)
Of course the problem was that there weren’t enough curtain panels to go around, so we had to make sure the photographer didn’t take any of the windows where there were no curtains, as in the vignette below with only one panel!
Once we fixed the curtain problems, I felt like the rest would fall into place. Together we hung paintings, which is something we love to do – for ourselves, at the gallery or for clients. Then Sam, who is also a gifted florist, brought over some fabulous flowers that were just enough to add warmth and a touch of color. A dear friend sent me an orchid (again, using Sam’s services) and immediately my favorite piece of furniture, a Louis XVI dresser that I inherited from my parents, just came to life. And finally, we did a little creative exchange with a desk I had loaned to the gallery –
… and suddenly it became my new desk in our sitting room area, and my favorite focal point.
The gift of an orchid brings my favorite chest to life. Photo courtesy of Christopher Oquendo, AJC.
A floral arrangement by Sam Jones on the dining room table, shot by Christopher Oquendo, AJC
The study, above, gets warmed up with some richer painting, below. (Photo below courtesy of Christopher Oquendo, AJC.)
I love how the AJC photographer captured the reflection of the kitchen in the trumeau, above. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Oquendo, AJC)
The writer for the AJC was enormously gifted and very patient with me as I whined that I wouldn’t be ready on time. But she worked around my plans and wrote her article before the apartment was pulled together, and managed to totally capture the essence, and my love, of it. She also made several references to the gallery, so one of my goals was happily achieved. And so far, I’ve had several friends say they’re almost ready to give up the house and the yard and join me in our condo building, so it looks like that worked too!
(Photo courtesy of Christopher Oquendo, AJC)
How in the world Scurry, our infamous Pup landed squarely on the front page of the AJC home section with a big grin on her face is beyond me! And it’s a little unfortunate that our daughter Christie happened to have play practice at school during the photo shoot, and ironic that our daughter Alex (who rarely comes home from college), happened to be visiting that weekend. But as we said to Christie, we’ll photoshop her in for the Christmas card!
(Christie Huff, who missed the photo shoot because of a school obligation)
It wasn’t perfect but it achieved its purposes and had one more benefit for me: It got me settled, quicker than I ever expected!
PS Here’s the article link from the AJC: http://projects.ajchomefinder.com/gallery/view/homes/private-quarters/classic/private-quarters-huff/