Behind the scenes on the interiors photoshoot of our home
It's been just over a year since we got the keys to our new home - a 1930's detached 5-bedroom house on the outskirts of Manchester. I started my interiors Instagram account @dottysdecor just before we got the keys to our house and began documenting our interior planning, decorating, DIY and the start of room makeovers. I instantly loved keeping a sort of interiors diary, posting a picture each day of what we'd done in the house and as time has gone by, I generally post various finished shots of each room showcasing certain accessories or details. Aswell as always feeling pretty chuffed when I get likes and comments from other like-minded people who are passionate about interiors (it still amazes me how many people like our home and enjoy looking at pictures of it each day!), I have loved discovering other interior accounts and finding home inspiration from others and the interiors Instagram world really is a pretty friendly place.
There are too many favourites to name them all but some fellow interior Instagram accounts that I regularly love to peruse are @stellaandthestars, @design_soda_ruthie, @melanielissackinteriors, @_lisa_dawson_ and @swoonworthyblog. As you will know, I mix food, travel and interiors on this blog but I've noticed a rise in style bloggers bringing in an Interior focus to their Instagram and blogs and my two hands down favourites here are @erica_davies and @thefrugality.
When I started my Interiors focused instagram account, never did I expect that I would get a private message one day asking if I'd ever thought about our home appearing in a magazine. The message was from a freelance homes writer and interior stylist called Cassie Pryce and after lots of back and forth emailing, we confirmed that our house would be photographed for Home Style magazine! Apparently the editor had loved our home from the test pictures I'd sent Cassie and we arranged a shoot for February with the feature to appear in the June issue of the magazine.
I love reading interiors magazines and my personal favourite is Living Etc but we just don't have the sort of house that would feature in there. Even though I love looking at the houses they feature, ours is just not grand enough and my taste is largely more vintage/retro bargain slash high street than high end luxury. The other interior magazines I regularly buy are Style At Home and Home Style so I was pretty excited that I was going to feature in one of the magazines I regularly buy to look at other people's homes in!
When we booked in the interiors shoot in December, our home wasn't completely ready and I knew it was going to be a challenge to get everything we wanted finished before the shoot. All of our doors downstairs and door frames upstairs and downstairs had to be painted, door handles had to be replaced, our staircase had to be stripped, sanded, painted and a runner and stair rods had to be fitted, our snug had to be decorated, the kitchen doors and window had to be painted and finally, the dining room had to be wallpapered and the hallway had to be painted and wallpapered. So, just a few small casual things...
The week of the shoot came around so quickly and even the night before the photoshoot, I was painting the final coat on the door frames and our kitchen window and doors along with cleaning every inch of the house! On the morning of the shoot, my husband Steve was fitting the final door handles, putting up pictures we'd meant to hang and putting together a new floor lamp which had timely arrived just that morning! Let's just say it was an intense build up to the shoot and I felt like I looked utterly exhausted the morning it was taking place and had no time to think about my hair or make-up and didn't even get chance to paint my nails! I had however ordered a last minute ASOS purchase with an on-trend gingham top to wear for the photographs of me so at least I knew I had something nice to wear.
Cassie arrived laden with prop bags and the photographer Simon arrived with lots of camera equipment shortly after. They wanted to shoot me first, which to be honest I was glad about as I wanted to get the pictures of me out of the way! For my day job I'm a music PR and I'm so used to being behind the camera watching my artists get photographed and giving my opinion on hair, styling etc so it was really strange to have the spotlight on me.
Since the issue my feature was appearing in was a Summer issue, my outfit had to be bright and sadly my new gingham top didn't make the cut and I had to find a last minute brighter outfit from my wardrobe. An old faithful green and white H&M top (which I've been told in the past, on a magazine photoshoot funnily enough, looks very vintage Versace) replaced the gingham top and paired with some new blue skinny jeans (I'd been told I couldn't wear black as it doesn't photograph well) and leopard print heels (I had to pattern clash my outfit like our house didn't I?!), I stood leaning back against the cooker with a cuppa trying to look relaxed and at ease (I was totally not relaxed and at ease).
Even though I didn't feel it, apparently I was great in front of the camera (I do enjoy a selfie now and again so maybe all that practice came in handy) and my shots in the kitchen, dining room and lounge were completed quite quickly.
Cassie had a list of everywhere and everything the editor wanted photographing and other than a few little extra props such as a cushion, a book or a throw here and there, she largely just moved our accessories around to get the look she wanted and I was glad it was pretty much all our own items that ended up in the final shots. I had worried before the shoot about extra items being brought in that weren't to my taste but that wasn't the case at all. Cassie has a great eye and knows what she is doing as does Simon and they were a real pleasure to spend a day with.
My sister lives down the road and is a cake maker running Little Button Bakery so I of course got her to make me some 'Dotty's Decor' fitting cupcakes to be in the kitchen photographs. She more than delivered with some amazing banana leaf and pineapple topped cupcakes which of course once had been photographed, were very much enjoyed by myself, Cassie and Simon! I also put on a tasty lunch spread for us with some baked potatoes and homemade salads.
The photoshoot took a whole day and with the stress prior to it, getting the house finished and then cleaned from top to bottom along with the excitement/nerves of the day, I was exhausted by the end of it. But not too tired to get myself a celebratory glass of wine! I was going to be in a magazine!
Fast forward to the end of April and as the days approached publication date, I was getting so excited to see our home in print. The editor of Home Style kindly sent me a copy of the magazine in the post and I practically ripped the envelope open when it landed on our doorstep!
There was our bedroom on the cover, me in the contents section and then our home spread over 8 pages in a magazine! Other than thinking my face looked a bit fat (of course, you're never happy with pictures of yourself are you!) I am really happy with how the photoshoot turned out. The feature reads really well and the images look great and more than anything, it's something to keep and treasure. My Mum of course told all of her friends and all of our family and friends rushed out to buy a copy and I received lots of messages about how impressed people were that our house was in a magazine.
It was also really lovely to see other Interior bloggers and instagrammers in the same issue of Home Style as me and it turned out to be an extra great issue to be in. It's funny, as when we started decorating our house and it all started coming together, I did wonder about whether our house could ever feature in a magazine. I am not sure if it would have ever happened had I not begun my interiors Instagram account and started sharing images of our home and I really do have a lot to thank for that little Instagram account where I am known as Dotty's Decor. Since Cassie got in touch, I've had two more interior stylists get in touch with me about featuring in a magazine and I've also just had some other pretty exciting news come in which is a further adventure for our home. More news on that soon...