Our Home, Featured in HGTV Magazine’s Christmas Issue

Someone from HGTV Magazine reached out to me back in December of last year. Would we be interested in having our home featured? Yes! Scouting shots were sent, the initial contact person passed them on to their editor, and by January we had signed an agreement. They wanted to feature our house “all dressed up for the holidays,” so they sent a wreath for the front door and arranged for an exterior shot to be taken while we still had snow.

Making it Lovely's Victorian Home in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

There was an initial interview in March over the phone (how did you find your home, where did you get this, why did you decide on that, etc.), and then a date was set for the shoot in April. I spoke with Heather Bullard, the stylist, and she mentioned that boxes would start to arrive and I should just set them to the side. So many boxes! And rugs! (Because if there’s anything our house is lacking, surely it’s rugs.) I’m sure our delivery guy loved us — especially since he later picked it all up again when everything was being returned.

The Boxes Begin Arriving for Our HGTV Magazine Shoot

Four months and many phone calls, emails, and boxes later, it was time for the shoot. Our house was about to be filled with people from all over the country for a few days. The stylist and her assistants, the photographer, Kim Cornelison, and her team, and of course a team of people from the magazine. The Christmas trees (one large, one teeny) and all of the greenery was driven down from Wisconsin.

The stylists started with the tree and the brought bags of empty boxes wrapped in very cute paper. None of those ornaments on the tree were ours! That rug you can see peeking out isn’t ours either.

Bags of Fake Presents for a Christmas Photo Shoot

The library shot is my favorite. The brass coffee table is really a side table that’s usually tucked alongside the teal couch. The floral chair was swapped out for one stolen from the next room, and the pillows were mine except for the one trimmed in white ribbon.

Making it Lovely's Home Library in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

The secretary got a bit of greenery, and the stylist grabbed a chair that’s usually in the dining room.

Making it Lovely's Secretary Desk in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

And here’s where the floral chair ended up. This shot is the strangest one to see because while the shell is the same (only the rug, coffee table, and three of those pillows were brought in for the shoot), the overall effect is that it’s my house… but not.

Making it Lovely's Living Room in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

The fireplace looked mostly like it did when I decorated it last year. Same vintage painting of Venice with my sparkly HAPPY HOLIDAYS banner and vintage deer. Those are our stockings too, though we usually put five out — one for each member of the family instead of just the three kids. This shot was in the table of contents.

Making it Lovely's Fireplace in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

Our dining room is a chameleon. I change it up all the time with different tablecloths and settings, so while this room looks different too, it isn’t as jarring.

Making it Lovely's Dining Room in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

Everything looks so pretty. And then behind the camera, you’ve got a whole lot of this going on.

Behind the Scenes at a Photo Shoot for HGTV Magazine

Photographing the House for a Magazine

Two more rooms were shot on the first floor, but didn’t make the magazine. One was the bathroom. The stylist brought in some flowers and a couple of pink towels — which led me to pick up a few pink towels of our own. I hadn’t shown the bathroom after doing that because I didn’t want to ‘scoop’ the magazine, but then the shots weren’t in there! And then the other room was the kitchen. It looked so cute the way it was set up. There was berry garland along the glass shelf in front of the windows, the counter was cleared and styled up with pancakes, and they brought in a colorful rug. I don’t know why the other shot was cut, but I heard that the kitchen didn’t make it “because it didn’t look kitchen-y enough.” Ha! Are hundred-year-old stoves not in these days?

Next is the entryway. That rug is one of two that I brought back with me from Morocco, but it isn’t practical to actually have it there — it would get trashed pretty quickly with muddy shoes and winter salt. They wanted to switch our usual runner for one of theirs though, and I suggested this one instead. That chair is mine too, picked up a couple of years ago at Divine Consign. It’s super cute but also super wobbly.

Making it Lovely's Victorian Stairway and Front Entryway in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

Family shot! ↑ Calvin was just a little peanut! He was six months old when we shot everything. I put him in a union suit, and the little buttons on the butt flap kept opening up.

Six Month Old Baby in a Red Union Suit

Heading upstairs. The bedroom looks completely different now! The only thing that remains is the wall color, which isn’t nearly as green in real life as it looks in the photo here (it’s more of a soft gray/blue.) We have, since the shoot, sold the bed, rolled up the carpet, and changed everything around. Aside from the wreath though, there wasn’t anything changed just for the shoot.

Making it Lovely's Bedroom in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

Eleanor’s room looks pretty much like it always looks, with the addition of three DIY Christmas trees that I made a few years back. And the ‘e’ is balanced on her headboard but is usually on the wall.

Making it Lovely's Daughter's Bedroom in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

The other bedrooms weren’t photographed, but the playroom on the third floor was. The play kitchen was moved and a little Christmas tree was setup in its place. The kids liked those bean bags and the magazine copy states that they’re their favorite spots for reading, but they were only on loan for the shoot and the magazine had them sent back along with everything else. The kids really did like them though, so I went out after the shoot and bought a kid-sized chair.

Making it Lovely's Playroom in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

The issue is out now and the whole thing is fantastic, so please do pick it up and see it in person. Thank you to the team at HGTV Magazine for featuring our house! It’s an honor to be in the Christmas issue, and so fun to see our house in print, all decked out in its holiday splendor.

Making it Lovely (Nicole Balch) featured in HGTV Magazine's Christmas 2015 Issue

New Lighting in the Library

The tassel sconces are here! I feel like they’re a love ’em or hate ’em kind of choice, and I don’t care because I happen to love ’em.

Pink and Brass Tassel Sconce

New pendants, too!

New Lights in the Double Parlor

I had always intended to replace the pair of Victorian cranberry glass fixtures in the double parlor. They weren’t awful, but I prefer modern lighting to period in old homes. I let the lights fall on my priority list, but two years in, it was time for them to go.

I showed you some of the replacements I had been considering a few weeks ago. The library and living room are open to each other and I wanted their lighting to still match, but I think I was getting a little carried away with some of my options! I was looking at definite statement lights, but once I decided to order the tassel sconces it would have all been too much. The Modern Globe Pendant from Circa Lighting was still a contender, but pricey at $2100 — especially considering that I needed two. A reader recommended Restoration Hardware’s Circa 1900 Gaslight Pendant as an alternative, and I’d also been thinking about Rejuvenation’s Hood Classic Globe Pendant.

Globe Pendant Lighting

The Gaslight and Hood Pendants both come in several sizes and finishes, and depending on configuration, are only about 1/4 the cost of the Modern Globe. I was leaning toward a pair of Hood Pendants because I had seen and admired them in person at Yearbook. I knew Kim had one in her dining room too, so I asked her opinion about size since my space was similar in scale to hers. She said that her 14″ globe felt substantial, and also that she “read somewhere online once – a tip on a blog – that hanging a balloon in the right size can help you visualize. I always thought that was such a great idea!” And it is! After talking to her, adjusting my mockups, and yes, hanging something in the right size, I went with the 14″ opal globe shade and ordered a 42″ fixture in unlacquered polished brass.

I hung the new lights right away when they arrived.

Changing out a Lighting Fixture

Hanging a New Lighting Fixture

Replacing the Old Lights

Why did I wait so long? The size is great, the style complements everything without distracting, and they fit the home while still updating it. The brass will age naturally, though I like the shiny newness too.

New Lighting in the Library

Philips sent over a package with their new LED bulbs with a dimmable warm glow effect, so I was excited to try them out with the library’s new lights. The color temperature is similar to daylight when the lights are all the way on (which is my preference when I need bright lighting), but these are amazing because they get warmer as you dim them, looking more like traditional incandescent bulbs as the lights go down. So when we’re Eleanor’s doing her homework at the table or I’m doing an art project with the kids, we have brighter, cooler light to work by. Then when we have friends over and we’re relaxing, we can lower the lights to a warmer glow and the library feels more cozy.

Philips' LED Bulbs Warm When Dimmed

The Hood Pendants are open at the top and I tried two different styles of Philips’ bulbs — same lumens and color temperature range, but one was clear and the other frosted. The clear one gave off a more crisp, defined light, but I preferred the softness of the frosted bulbs for general lighting. Clear bulbs are better suited to task lighting, and I put them in the floor lamp by the striped sofa.

Clear vs. Frosted Light Bulb

The Double Parlor at Night

I love, love, love the new lighting. Such an improvement!

Brass Globe Pendant and Tassel Sconces

New Lighting in the Library and Living Room (Double Parlor)

15 Stylish Garment and Coat Racks

Garment racks. Coat racks. Oh, the multitude of racks I have looked at! Here’s what happened.

The bedroom closet had an Intermetro rolling garment rack setup for double hanging when we moved in. It was nice and sturdy with a shelf right in the middle, but when I took it out so that I’d have the height to hang dresses, the whole thing got a little wobbly. I put its shelf back and relocated it to the laundry room once I found one of those ubiquitous reclaimed wood garment racks at Yearbook a while back. It was a little wobbly too, but it was better than the other rack and it had the bonus of looking good.

Well, I guess the carpeting in the closet must have kept it stable, because the day after I wheeled the thing back in, the whole thing fell over with the weight of all my dresses on it. The floor and trim escaped damage, but the Elfa system on the opposite wall was pretty badly dented, the wall was gouged, and the rack was bent out of shape. I righted the garment rack and am using it for now, but it’s precarious and I’m on the lookout for a replacement. Hence this roundup.

15 Stylish Garment and Coat Racks

  1. Allison Coat Rack, Pottery Barn
    I can’t decide if the hooks are good or not. Helpful for scarves, I suppose? Otherwise, superfluous.

  2. Ceiling Clothing Rack, Urban Outfitters
    Copper and clean geometry, and takes up no floor space. If I were more confident about the plaster ceilings and stud spacing, this would be pretty appealing.

  3. Vintage Tailor’s Clothing Rack, Restoration Hardware
    Vintage design, modern sturdiness. Has an additional bar to make this into a double-hanging rack.

  4. Mulig Clothes Rack, IKEA
    $10! Comes in black or white. On the flimsy side though. For a (presumably) sturdier but still minimalist option, there’s Pottery Barn’s Blacksmith Clothes Rack.

  5. Garment Rack, West Elm
    Asymmetrical base, plus a cute color. Comes in black too, but that blue is so much happier.

  6. Calvin Clothing Rack, Urban Outfitters
    OK, when I started pulling these together, it was available in gold (for an extra $100). Now it’s just black and white. Cute design though, yes?

  7. 4040 Locust Industrial Storage Rack, Urban Outfitters
    Pipes and wood, plus copper. Trendy hipster loft style.

  8. Mercantile Coat Rack, Restoration Hardware
    Small footprint, but still plenty of hanging space. Sturdy, too! I went and checked it out in person. Definitely my favorite design of the bunch — also among the most expensive.

  9. 19th Century Couturier’s Rack, Restoration Hardware
    Doesn’t hold all that much and it’s pricey. Awesome if you don’t need much hanging space though and are looking for something beautiful.

  10. Emily and Meritt Wardrobe Rack, Pottery Barn Teen
    Pipe meets faux-Victorian details.

  11. Toj Clothes Rack, Normann Copenhagen
    A little too Danish mod for my house, but the design is fantastic.

  12. Monroe Trades Coat Rack, West Elm
    More pipe. Lots of coat racks made out of pipe. Interesting take on the base here though.

  13. Bellman Cart, Forbes Industries (Hotel Supply)
    The pretty brass birdcage ones are thousands of dollars. (“But Nicole,” you say. “Think of the Instagram opportunities.” To which I whisper “I knoooowww…”) There really isn’t enough room anyway though and they don’t hold much, so moving on.

  14. Butler Stand, CB2
    Small footprint, similar to the design of #11 but a smidge more industrial. Doesn’t hold enough for my needs though and the hanging space is too short.

  15. Niles Coat Rack, Ballard Designs
    Plenty of hanging space and a handy shelf beneath. Nice detail along the sides too, but I think it’s about a foot too long for my needs.

 
I find it helpful to go through these roundups when narrowing down my choices, but I’m not sure yet which one I’ll go for. Number 8 is my favorite for sure, but it’s hard to justify when most of the others cost so much less. Which one would be your pick?

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