So fresh, so clean

NOTE: We just realized that after proofing this post last week, each of us thought the other one had actually hit “publish.” Ooops!

Isn’t it amazing how motivating a party can be? It’s almost like it gives you a fresh perspective on your space. In our case it brought on a lot of “People shouldn’t see us living like this!” It’s one thing to share on the interwebs, but leading people through the sheer chaos on our first floor was not something I was interested in. For weeks before the open house we sacrificed our Sundays to cleaning and organizing this place. And in a crazy whirlwind the week before the premiere, we finally managed to turn this space into something presentable.

So here’s a little before (from our 6-month recap) and after montage for the spaces that saw the most change




Even though it feels like progress has slowed in the studio, this comparison tells a different story. Hello viewing room and Aaron’s floating office and art! (More details coming soon.)

Dining room (formerly studio storage)




We kept saying all of the stuff in the dining room has a home. Thanks to finally erecting some shelving (more details soon!) we were able to clear out most of this space.

Originally, we planned to move the table from the kitchen to this space, but then we took a good look around. The lighting is depressing. There is unfinished drywall everywhere. And there’s barely any natural light, especially in the winter evenings. So we swapped our plans, keeping the table in the kitchen and moving some of the extra kitchen bits (mostly small appliances) out to the dining room.

Living room (former toolbox)



I don’t even know what to say. Basically the toolbox/workshop exploded in this area and there was nowhere else for everything to go. Aaron organized it all and we transported it to the basement. (I’m missing a picture of the basement because there’s a light burned out and it’s really dark. Trust that it doesn’t look nearly as bad as this “before” shot.)

Captain’s bedroom




It’s amazing what a little bit of organization and unpacking will do. Some things were moved into the closet (a novel idea, right?) I corralled all of the decor and pushed the furniture to the walls so the space is a bit more open.

Workout room




This room really deserves it’s own post because I took out the stage (in the top picture the mirror is leaning against it) that was hogging way too much floorspace. Based on the listing pictures, we surmise that it was a child’s bed with a cubby underneath. To us it looked a lot like trash, albeit well-made trash.

One Sunday when Aaron was laid up with the remnants of the flu, I unscrewed the stage, kicked out the drywall and dragged most of it downstairs, only pausing for this Instagram.


It was a bad blogger moment, but I was riding the high of demolition. THEN Aaron said “Do you want to just toss the drywall out the window instead of dragging it through the house?” Um, YES! Hell yes! It was like a real live demo show up in here… except one where I still had to drag the remnants to the dumpster.

This was followed by another “just call me the queen of DIY” moment, I used a sawzall! Without injury! The pieces of the stage were too big to fit in the dumpster so Aaron gave me a lesson sawzalling and I went to town. Ok, so I really just cut each piece into thirds so it would all kind of fit into the dumpster. In related news, if this whole photography and blogging thing doesn’t work out I really feel like we could monetize a YouTube channel of me trying to put large objects into the dumpster. Even whilst trying to wrestle something into that bin, I think, “This is ridiculous. You’re so uncoordinated and awkward.” It has to be hilarious for the neighbors… although I hope no one is actually watching.

So things are cleaner, more spacious and less embarrassing around here. We’ve been so busy that I’ve got a backlog of posts coming your way… as long as we remember to actually publish them…

Open House

I’ll be honest. I’m not exactly sure where the last week of our lives went. I say that a lot, but seriously this has been a whirlwind. If you come here frequently, share any of our friends on Facebook, or happened to be watching HGTV last week (Tuesday at 9 pm), you already know that they aired our episode of House Hunters. Unable to face this type of surreal experience alone, we invited friends, family, clients, fellow photographers, basically everyone, to come party with us, tour the firehouse and (totally optional) take a ride down the newly secured fire pole.


(The view looking down. 4 people actually tried. I was not one of them. Some day…)

Many people accepted the invitation. So many that I happily gave so many tours that I lost track of time (and nervousness) until Aaron grabbed me and said “It’s starting in FOUR minutes!” So many that I’m still a little verklept about it. Thank you all.

So what did we think?

We were actually pleasantly surprised with how we were portrayed. They captured our personality. We didn’t seem cheesy. There were some funny moments (See: My face when walking into the kitchen at the firehouse. See also: Our realtor calling a rain shower (and Aaron’s wish for it) quintessentially suburban. See also: Aaron standing in the shower and remarking that we could hold hands while I went to the bathroom.)

If you were playing the drinking game, the current official score is 42. EEK! I hope you missed a few or quit playing part way through.


After our 22 minutes of fame, we took a few days off. We figured we deserved it after working our tails off getting this place ready. I’ll be back with some of those pictures. And we still need to fill you in on some of the studio updates. AND eventually we’ll take pictures of the front of the firehouse. More to come!



See us on House Hunters tonight and a drinking game (because why not?)

Is your DVR ready? We make our big TV debut tonight at 9 pm CST on HGTV’s House Hunters!


We just finished the first 4 days of shooting (Note: I really did write this hours after wrapping our shoot. It’s like a blast from the past!) and our awesome sound guy (Hi Ken!) mentioned that there is a House Hunters Drinking Game. Why have I never heard of this?! I waited until we were wrapped to look it up and because we don’t harp on any of the normal things (double sinks in the master bathroom, the necessity of granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, closet space that is only large enough for the wife), I thought I should make our own version.

Keep in mind that I have no idea what pieces of the 40+ hours will make it into the less than 30 minute show. I can’t be held accountable for any drunkness (or lack thereof) that results. Just to be safe, go ahead and designate a driver.

1 drink
We utter any of the following: natural light, industrial, brick.
I seem concerned about the number of projects at the firehouse.
Anyone (narrator included) references the vintage camper/trailer that Aaron is restoring.
Aaron points out the electrical or HVAC systems (or the lack thereof)
I open something (like a cabinet, drawer or door).
We mention repainting a particular room or space.
Mojo makes an appearance.

2 drinks
Our realtor, Ted, makes a design suggestion that goes against our style.
Aaron steps into a bathtub or shower.
Anyone references a rain shower as one of Aaron’s wish list items.
Anyone references our desire for a wine cellar.

3 drinks
Aaron notices glitter wall paint.
I call something ugly or suburban.
We mention getting a drink after doing a tour.
Anyone refers to us as hipsters*

*Ok, I did add one thing to the original draft. Aaron is a little miffed that they referred to us as hipsters in the online description of the show. He demanded (not joking) that I add this prompt and put it at the 3 drink level. I think it’s just a good excuse for him to take an extra swig (or 3) anytime the H word is mentioned.

Cheers to our 15-ish minutes of “fame” Hopefully we’re not all nursing a hangover tomorrow.

Bowling locker = vintage camera storage

Aaron has long referred to himself as “an old film guy.” In spite of the fact that he has yet to hit the big 3-0, this statement is rather accurate. He spent his high school career up to his elbows in darkroom chemicals, and he was in the last wave of budding journalists to capture images on film for our college newspaper (where we met, but that’s a story for a different day). Aaron’s film-loving ways were temporarily set aside as digital cameras fueled the ramp up of our photography business, only to be reignited when his grandma, Grandma E, (She’s beyond awesome. Case in point: She taught me how to make bread.) gifted him with a vintage Polaroid camera she had laying around the house.

That act, that camera, the instant nature of film (no need for hours spent on the computer editing images), the feel of holding a print – it brought it all back. A collection of Polaroids started. At one point they had their own closet and we seriously considered a side business of restoring and selling vintage Polaroids, bouyed in part by the vintage camera trend and the resurecction of Polaroid film. Ultimately, the collection shifted, many Polariods were sold and rare/interesting/toy/just plain cool cameras were added. By the time we were on our second studio (we have moved way too many times in the past 3 years!), the cameras lived on open shelving in a dirty, unsealed basement. You might not know much about vintage cameras, but I’m sure you can guess that this was not an ideal set up. Unaware that we would be seriously considering moving AGAIN and buying the firehouse in just a few months, we sought out a storage solution that would be nice enough to ressurrect the vintage cameras into the studio space. A random Craigslist ad and a free Saturday led us to a used office furniture shop in Illinois (what? That’s not your idea of a good time?) and a set of bowling lockers.


We fell in love. Hello white rounded doors…


Hello individual locks with cool vintage Brunswick 2000 logo…


Hello retro “Notice” taped inside each door reminding university students (these lockers have had quite a life) not to leave valuables inside…


Of course we loved it. You know we have a thing for lockers.

After we lugged it to the studio, it sat. Life was busy and the wedding season was in full swing. Then we bought a firehouse and it’s been stored away in our dining room, waiting among lots of other studio furniture. With the viewing room done and move in in full swing, the bowling locker finally got a good cleaning and a home.

That only took a year…



The cubbies are so deep that all the vintage cameras, film and paraphenalia fit perfectly.






Ok, spill it. We can’t be the only ones who accidentally (ok, sometimes purposefully) hoard vintage/industrial furniture, right?