PPA Magazine June 2015 - Workflow

I SO enjoy teaching, especially the business of photography. One of my Facebook friends just messaged me and told me he read my Ask the Experts article on workflow.  That was a nice little surprise, I had forgotten I had written that!  It's all about processes and a throw back to my love of Industrial Engineering.  It may seem boring, but is so important.  In this day and age, literally everyone you meet is a "photographer". Yes, the barrier to entry has decreased significantly, but the stakes of actually being a photographer are just as high if not higher than they have ever been, especially with weddings.  The art of capturing couples' wedding stories is a serious responsibility that we absolutely love and are so honored to do every time we get to.  Equally as important, is having a healthy business so that you can work hard, play hard, and create the best experience possible for your clients  It's always a work in progress with how quickly things change, which is one of the reasons it's so challenging and awesome.  I'll be talking about the Art of Business in Wedding Photography for an entire day at PPA's Imaging 2016, in Atlanta! 

Key West + Bungalow Style Exterior

I saved the exterior for last:-)  The style of the inside of the house was formed initially by what we wanted the outside to look like.  My husband, David, is from Florida originally and really wanted it to be a "Florida" house.  We put together the Key West look of the outside with the high pitched metal roof, Hardee Board, and 2 story wrap around porches for that extended outdoor living space.  The interior is the bungalow style with no wasted space and open areas. I still have a lot to do with the outdoor space, but out front I like so far:-)  I added flowering perennials and a pink/gray marble edging just to give it something a little extra.   When we were interviewing builders and asking our friends, you don't hear very often where people have had a great experience with that process.  No matter what it's definitely challenging but I can say that we overall had a great experience with Fuller Construction.  Josh was great to work with and very responsive and super on top of the whole process.  The actual build itself only took 5 months to complete, which is really good for a custom build.  Overall, between purchasing the land, the architecture, and building it was a 3 year process but we weren't in a hurry and it was totally worth it!

Our New Studio!

Here's our finished new studio space!! I wanted a comfortable living room like feel that is bright and open.  Since we do mostly on location shooting, it's not your typical photography studio.  I did design in though so that if I want to shoot I can use every inch of space, have to maximize!  The brick wall is awesome for headshots or a quick industrial look and the funky wall papered wall is great for a totally different texture.  This space is the main reason that we built our house, because it's really hard to find something in an already built house with a separate entrance and connected but separate space.  All the artwork is hung on a wire system so it can be removed or re-arranged easily without drilling holes in the walls.  Since the rest of the house is coastal chic, I wanted to do modern NY loft style but I couldn't do it!  Still going along with the shabby chic theme is the furniture and wood mantle you see below the monitor.  The sofa and chair I literally looked for like 6 months to find something like this and almost spent a ton of money on a custom piece when I found this set on craigslist for next to nothing.  It's great because I can easily fit them in our suv to take them on shoots as well.  This is the only space in the house with dark dark hardwood floors just to distinquish it as a sepaparte space as well.  There's an attached full bath as for our clients as well.  It's a smaller space so tricky to photography but has a vessel sink, tile mosaic around the mirror and blue painted cabinets with a huge drawer for storage.   

Master Suite

Here's our master!  All the furniture is french provincial again custom painted from Shabbyed Up Chic!  It's tough to find antqiue furture that fits current sizes of kind size beds.  Gale, from Shabbyed Up Chic actually put legs on antique night stands so they would be high enough.  The detail on the shelf, headboard, and nightstands is a shade of grayish blue that matches perfectly!  I have lots of jewelry and for a year or so was looking for a shabby chic jewelry armoir and fourd this little treasure at Summerhouse.  We have a really nice view out the 2 doors leading to the balcony of the lake.  The perfect place to watch sunset, which we should do way more often! Our master bath is light green with gray painted cabinets and a massive gray tile shower.  The hooks on the back of the door don't totally match but I love the green fluer de lei so had to use it somehow.  I love the antique beveled mirror, it came from Forty Three Oh 3.  It's such a large space it was hard to find something that was intersting but fit there so this was definitely a great find! 

2nd Guest Room and Bathroom

Guest Bedroom number 2!  Bright colors and polka dots is wat I ended up with.  I bought the dresser from Craig's List and it's actually a Pottery Barn piece which is random.  This is the only room I have stuff from "normal" stores, like the desk is Pier 1, the flowers are from Bealls, curtains from Ikea.  I guess one normal room is acceptable.  Then the guest bath is in between but not connecting the 2 guest bedrooms, I like that better than the Jack and Jill ones for more privacy for our guests.  The color scheme I based off of the shower curtain from World Market, green, yellow and gray of course.  The mirror I found at Forty Three Oh 3 which is adds the shabby chic factor, lots of storage cabinets and the cabinets are painted an ivory color with a gray glaze.  It's actually really hard to photograph because it's long and narrow! 


Shabby Chic Guest Room

To continue on upstairs with the shabby chic decor, next we have guest bedroom 1.  I got this idea in my head that I wanted to do yellow and gray room, and once the idea's there I have to do it!  Yellow shabby chic furniture is hard to come by so when I stumbled upon www.shabbyedupchic.com, gold mine!  Gayle had all these amazing pieces and even custom painted the headboard and dresses the exact color of yellow I wanted.  The piece that really caught my eye was actually the white dresser and mirror.  When Gayle was rehabilitating this piece she found a dime with the year 1916 on it and gave it to me.  Definitely confirmation it's from the early 1900's. Makes me wonder who had this piece back then, what did they use it for, what was their life like?  The little rocking chair and end table I actually painted myself to match the bedding.  The big open windows accross from the bed also give you a great view of the lake.  

Office Foyer & Stairwell

On goes the blogging of the house!  This is our personal office, David has ridiculous amounts of books, even more than is here so lots of bookshelves were super important!! This is a whole wall of shelves and I initially didn't really like just the plain white background so I had our wallpaper guy use the same wallpaper from my studio in the back wall of these shelves and also you saw it in the living room behind the TV.  Voila, I LOVE how it turned out.  The desk and chair go along with the shabby chic theme and are actually more functional than they look:-)  The starwell is really really tall and actually while we were moving I found this fabulous mirror that is framed in metal ceiling tiles, it's like 9 ft tall so perfect for that space.  The W is also made out of ceiling tile so a perfect and simple accent.  Again, I needed a cool light fixture but I didn't want just a normal chandalier so this one looks like water droplets and also has an interesting reflection.  We designed the floorplan to basically have no wasted space, so the short entryway foyer is the only hallway type space there is.  You walk in to another totally different capiz shell chandalier and a rug made out of winecorks.  I am ALWAYS losing my keys so found this nice little find on etsy to go right by the front door.  Sometimes I forget to put them there but most of the time now I can find them.  Here's where I found everything too:-)

Huge Mirror/W: Blue Moon Trading Company, Desk & Chair: Summerhouse, Lighting: Candleabra Lighting, Winecork Rug and Key Hook: Etsy

Dining Room!

Next up is the dining room!  We didn't want anything really formal and it still opens up to the kitchen and living room so very open.  The main light is a globe made of driftwood, when it's dark and the light is on it casts a really cool shadow on the ceiling and walls.  My favorite piece in this room is the china cabinet.  I love it because it's that shabby chic white with glass doors and the 2 knobs on the bottom are different glass knobs so it has lots of character.  The dishes inside are also very special!  I don't have really anything else from my family that is a family heirloom but the story behind this china is that my grandparents gave it to my mom as a wedding gift, they had purchased it at an antique auction.  It's Homer Laughlin Georgian china, which was made somewhere between 1930-1950 actually in Ohio where we're from.  It's so pretty and the colors match perfectly.  The shelf in the corner I got from a consignment shop in Amelia Island in North Florida, it's made out of old white shutters.  The table and chairs I purchased separately but all from the Missing Piece in South Tampa. I couldn't find gray chairs anywhere so I actually painted them myself, I'm not a crafty person so that's an accomplishment for me.  Just next to the dining room is a little space before you go out the back door and I also found this huge coat rack with door knobs for hooks at a consignment shop in north Florida.  It use to be in an old plantation house on Amelia Plantation.  I also painted the bench underneath to match the chairs.  That's just a little find from Home Goods:-) 


The kitchen is one of my favorite places and usually a nice gathering place as well.  I like cooking and just having a nice space to hang out.  We did gray quartz countertops with white shaker style cabinets because they are timeless and go with the clean style and straight lines.  The island in the middle ended up being much bigger than I thought it would be, but it's actually the perfect size for the room and has lots of storage underneath.  To change it up a bit we did a white countertop and gray cabinets with beadboard to match the beadboard in the room.  A few little unique touches we did are a wine rack underneath the stairs and a plate rack, I feel like you never see those anymore and they are so nice to have.  I wanted unique lighting in each room as well so the pendants are capiz shell, a little bit coastal but still chic.  The glass tile backsplash of color brings it all together and voila you have a kitchen!

Living Room!

It's been a while since I posted the empty finished pics of the new house we built! I think I finally have the rooms to where I want them enough to photograph:-)  This house really was a labor of love and a lot of work, it kind of turned into an art piece in itself.  My husband David is from Florida originally and wanted our home to look like it fit in the south, Florida especially.  So, that started our inspiration!  Since I'm from the midwest, I could quickly see that heading towards seashells and fish which is not what I wanted!  When I started looking around at design inspiration I loved the coastal shabby chic look so that kind of started my kick and it just took off from there!!  My photography studio is here too, but since I don't do your standard studio and mostly location work, I still wanted the option of shooting at home though if I needed to.  You don't see much wall space, there's lots of windows and natural light.  I also tried to buy all the decor and furniture from location Tampa Bay area stores, since I'm a small business myself, I'm all about that.  So, I'll be blogging each space and I'll even tell you where I got everything:-)  We did work with Studio M Interior Design for the fixed design elements like the build in designs, bead board, hard wood, tile designs etc, but the soft elements I actually did myself and I can't believe it all came togeher so nicely.  The initial color scheme I wanted was in the cool pallette of gray, blues, and light greens.  Cool, calming, and a sense of home is what it created.  Clean, simple lines are also what we were going for and in the living room a build in with cabinets for storage and the tv.  I love that you can close it and hide the tv right in the wall.  The anchor of the room is a gray soft, which was actually really hard to find!  I couldn't find any accent chairs I liked either, so I started my search at antique shops and some of the more creative vintage furniture stores.  The first place I went to was Wisteria over on McDill and seriously, they were the nicest most helpful ladies.  The 2 accent chairs you see use to be dark wood with an ivory fabric with pink and green flowers.  But, they were comfortable and with some re-upolstering and wood re-finishing they turned into these really awesome blue and paisley patterned chairs!  Since it is an open space I added a couple end tables and a trunk that all have that shabby chic look in a white/ivory tone.  I love the one on the end, it has to pockets that hold books and magazines.  The coffee table is just an old truck, so again great place for storage.  There's just a few subtle patterns in there that in the chairs, persian rug, and the blanket on the sofa.  The sheer curtains are actually believe it or not from Ikea, they have a see through pattern on them that makes for soft light to come through and when the sun comes through the patten projects onto the walls too which is really cool. I couldn't keep Dixie and Abita out of the pics so had to include one of the too:-)  Next up will be the kitchen!  Here's where I got all these awesome finds:

Sofa: Macy's, Accent Chairs: Wisteria, Trunk and End Table: Blue Moon Trading Company, Corner End Table: The Missing Piece, Persian Rug: Shiraz Rug Gallery


Well it's about 99% done!  We did get our certificate of occupancy and moved this weekend!  Still lots to do but it's actually real!  I thought I would show you the finished empty spaces and then as I get the rooms done I'll show you the eye candy of decor and furniture I found:-)  The rougue FL State stuff out front was not my doing. I need some Purdue stuff!

It's a very open great room layout with the living room, breakfast nook and kitchen all open.

View looking out the front door.


You've seen this before, but breakfast nook!


Master Bedroom

Master Bath and Mack Daddy Shower


Guest Bedroom

Another Guest Bedroom

My favorite part is the new studio/office space!!!! This is where they magic happens.......

Work space office


It's Official!!!!

This is so exciting, we are totally legal! This is our Certificate of Occupancy that just PASSED!!!!  We are moving wohooo!!!  It's been 2 1/2 years since we purchased this property and it's going to be an amazing place for both our family and photography business!  Let the moving begin!


Ok, so now I'm getting excited for real!  We are moving in on Saturday, there's still a lot do to before then but the hardwood floors are all in and they look amazing!!!!!  The first couple pics are what it looked like in process and I can't keep up with everything going on so I didn't make it until evening.  It's pretty cool looking at night:-)  The hardwood in the house is a really unique medium textured tone and the hardwood in my studio is the same kind of hardwood just dark dark espresso.  We also have the shower glass on and the railing on the downstairs deck is on!  Tomorrow comes appliances wohooo!!!

Light-post, Thermostats, and Carpet!

I think I'm suppose to be working on my patience:-)  We are maybe even moving this weekend!  The AC is on, thermostats are in, lightpost is up.  The bedrooms upstairs are carpet which is in and the downstairs hardwood should be starting today.  Roofing trim is finishing and the decking is going on too.  So many little things left but it's going to be done soon!! 

Metal and Build Ins!

The metal roof is almost done, it definitely gives it the key west look we wanted:-)  The build ins in the study and living room are in progress.  The first one is in the studio.  David has ridiculous amounts of books so I wanted the whole wall to be built in bookshelves and cabinets in the bottom.  The second one is for the tv in the living room. It has doors that fold over the tv and cabinets below.  I love the vessel sink in the studio bath, it's going to look awesome when the tile mosiac is finished!  

Sod and Mirrors!

We're getting closer!  The sod, driveway, and landscaping definitely makes it look a lot different.  The back of the roof is on but not the front yet so I'll hopefully have a finished roof pic this week.  It was raining today so I took this one super fast.  I can't wait to show you some of the fun furniture finds I've found.  I've been doing all shabby chic/consignment pieces from different shops in Tampa.  The owners have been so helpful and pointed me in the right direction!  I want everything to be unique, and I was really having a hard time finding a big enough mirror for our master bath but I found a really cool beveled one at Forty Three Oh 3.  The guest bath has ivory cabinets with a gray glaze and I found the perfect mirror at Summer House.  The last chandelier is installed in the stairwell, it looks like water droplets:-)

Slow but sure...

I haven't posted any updates on the house building lately because there wasn't too much interesting until end of last week.  Everything was going pretty quickly, and of course there is one thing we are waiting on to move forward.  Apparently there is a soil test the health department needed to have so we could finish covering over the septic system.  Well the state did the wrong test and then the one person who knows how to read it was out sick, so we are waiting on that which means the driveway can't go in, and that means the flooring can't go in.  We're getting so close but so far away!  Here's a pic of the finished brick studio wall, last time I posted it was half done.  The color scheme is gray/sage/slate blue and we really wanted the tile work and lighting fixtures to be conversation pieces.  There's been a lot done in the kitchen and I love how it's coming together.  The backsplash is a glass tile mosaic and the counter tops are grey and a white silestone.  I wanted an old house and my husband wanted the convenience of a new house, so our compromise was he got the new house and I get to make it look old:-)  I chose glass pulls for all the cabinets and the furniture is going all be a painted shabby chic look.  There are lots of Kohler boxes there too with all the faucets and fixtures.  I especially love the kitchen one, it's one of those where you can pull it out and use it as a sprayer too.  The breakfast nook chandalier is a huge globe made of driftwood, it's actually much bigger than I though it would be, I'm a horrible judge of size without seeing things in person!  The pendants in the kitchen are capiz shell, also bigger than I thought but it's bringing the coastal/modern together!

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Brick and Tile!

I'm SO excited the brick wall in my studio is going to be done today! It's crazy how fast things can go.  I did a little poll on facebook of which one I should choose and this was the winner, it's called Ironworks, I LOVE it!!!!  The paint pallet is Bunny Gray, Woodlawn Blue (which is green), and Beacon Gray.  All the shower tile will be done today so more coming on that. We're doing so really unique tile mosaics in the powder bath and kitchen so I can't wait to see those!  The truck of cabinet wood is there and ready to start soon too!  


Design Stuff.....

The Hardee Board is now the real color:-)  I love how the sage green color and white trim looks!!  Style wise we are going for a coastal/chic bungalow Key West mix.  We hired Studio M to help us create the perfect mix of style and colors.  Grey, slate blue, and greens are the colors.  Inside it will be some shabby chic and driftwood mixed in as well.  Here's some of the swatches we picked for hardwood, cabinets and tile.  The bead board, crown, and trim is underway as well.....