One year ago we made the craziest decision of our lives

One year ago we signed a million pieces of paper and the firehouse officially became ours.

As with any anniversary, it’s amazing how long and how short one year can feel. The firehouse definitely feels like home, even though we still call it “the firehouse” (which entertains our realtor-turned-friend to no end.)

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The other night we mused about what life would be like if we hadn’t found this place. It was hard to imagine. Surely we’d be on the hunt to buy a live/work building, but now that we’ve found our dream space, it’s depressing to think about what we might have settled for. Thanks, firehouse, for coming into our lives at the right time.

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Looking back it’s been a whirlwind of a year. One year ago tomorrow, the crew from House Hunters arrived to shoot our episode. After that renovations were in full force, with Aaron and the contractor working to dramatically change the first floor (hello windows!) and exterior (looking at you, carport and patio). We spent more time than we expected outside, putting up (most of) a fence and upgrading the front of the firehouse.

The studio was a constant focus throughout the year. Although we’d hesitate to call it “done,” it’s by far the best looking space in the firehouse. When we finally got word that our House Hunters episode would air in mid-October, it was a mad dash to finish what we could and clean, clean, clean.

Oh, and we did all this while photography 20+ weddings (and engagement sessions, meeting with clients and doing all of the other things it takes to run a business.)

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Renovations slowed over the last three months as Aaron worked to deliver images to our fall wedding clients and we took a few moments to build a new bridal show booth.

A few cans of paint eeked the master bedroom (and a few other spaces) onto the “upgraded in the first year” list.

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Despite all of that progress and many more mini updates, it’s easy for us to focus on the (many, many) items on our giant to do list. At least for today (ok, who are we kidding, at least for this post) it’s nice to take a deep breath, pat ourselves on the back and marvel at what we’ve done in JUST 365 days.

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Thanks for taking this journey with us. Your comments (here, on Facebook, on Instagram and in real life) are always appreciated.

It’s been an awesome, crazy, life-altering year. One that we wouldn’t trade for anything.

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.

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(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.

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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!

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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.

We’re going to be on House Hunters!

You have no idea how hard it is for me to keep a secret. I can barely contain myself when I buy a gift for Aaron at Christmas. It’s ridiculous. So I’m letting out a huge sigh of relief that I can finally tell you that we’re going to be on House Hunters! We’ve been keeping this bit of news from the interwebs since February! (February!!!!)

It’s time to bring you up to speed, but before I launch into some behind-the-scenes details – go set your DVR for October 15th at 9 pm CST.

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All set? Great. If you’re anything like the people we’ve told in person, your mind is abuzz with questions. I’m tackling the most popular below, but if you have extras toss them in the comments.

How did you get on the show?
We applied on a whim through the Pie Town Production web site. It took a few weeks, but eventually a production assistant emailed us for more details. We exchanged a few emails and then went through two phone interviews. We covered a lot of the information they need for the show. Why were we looking to buy a place? What did we want in our dream space? What did we not want? Etc, etc.

Once we crossed those hurdles we had to tape a video interview. It basically contained the same type of questions and then we each had to tour an area of our current residence. We assume the goal is to make sure we can act like normal humans when a video camera is pointed our way. Our realtor also had to make a short video (presumably for the same reason). From there it came down to scheduling!

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Did they tell you what to say?
No. In fact, our producer wanted things to be as natural as possible. She wouldn’t even let us walk through the alternate properties until we were on camera.

Do you get makeup/hair/wardrobe assistance?
They provide a list of guidelines, mostly for clothes, but you’re on your own in the hair and makeup department. Occasionally, Darby (our producer) would powder us if we were looking a bit shiny. They also vetoed clothing that wouldn’t look good on camera (I couldn’t wear my favorite coat, which sucked because I wore my coat a lot) and anything that came close to copyrighted art (Aaron had to change when he chose a T-shirt with a camera on it).

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How did they choose the other properties for you to look at?
The producers worked with our realtor to find the alternate properties. They can be places you’ve looked at during your hunt or places that are new to you but fit your criteria. In our case they wanted to find really alternative spaces for us. This is incredibly hard in the Midwest, which is why we JUMPED on the firehouse. On the third day of filming we were supposed to tour a church. Our producer asked us to preview it and the place needed SO much work. It was just the sanctuary so it didn’t even have a kitchen or bathroom. Plus the roof was leaking so bad that the plaster was literally melting off the walls. We didn’t think anyone would believe it was actually an option so it was scraped.

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Did you get paid?
Yes, $500. But we weren’t in it for the money.

Do you get to preview the episode before it airs?
Nope. We’ll see it along with everyone else. We also don’t know which order the houses will be shown in, but we think the firehouse will be number 3. Since you obviously know which one we’ll choose, I think you should use this to your advantage and bet your spouse $5 (or more. Go big, right?) that we’ll choose the firehouse before it’s revealed. You can thank me later.

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Three cheers to scamming people out of money! And three cheers to being on TV! (But seriously, I’m going to have to have a drink… or 3 before I can watch myself on national TV.) In the meantime, hit us up with your other questions and we’ll answer what we can.