Oh dear!
I’m about to get shot.

Oh dear.  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

I’ve really gotten myself into a mess this time.

Through a series of events that happened so quickly I can’t even really remember them, it appears as though um … my, um … my house is going to be in a decorating magazine!! For people to look at.  And judge.  Oh dear.  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

It all started when I was working on a television show with the Editor-in-Chief of a magazine.  I had my laptop with me and she glanced at a picture I had up of my front hall.  Within seconds she asked if that was my house, and told me she’d like to feature it in the September issue of her magazine.  Duh … uh … huh?  Or something equally eloquent came out of my mouth.  Then I dribbled a bit of spit and developed an eye twitch which I haven’t yet been able to shake.
Style at Home Magazine!  Yes.  A real, bonafide, glossy decorating magazine that people actually subscribe to.  I LOVE Style at Home magazine.  Which makes this all the more stressful.  Eep.

They didn’t tell me much, but  nobody mentioned anything about my house being a “before” picture.    They wouldn’t do that to me would they?  Are decorating magazine editors notorious jokesters?  I don’t think they are, but who knows.  What the hell do I know about the inner cerebral workings of design magazine editors.

It’s kind of ironic, when you consider the fact that until about a year ago I couldn’t even open up a decorating magazine because they made me silently cry inside. My house was filled with stuff I found at the side of the road.  And most of that was stuck together with gum and a wink.  After the most minute of breakdowns,  I proceeded to ditch or sell every single thing I owned and start all over again.  IT FELT GREAT!  The purge had the added bonus of making perusing decorating magazines pleasurable for me again.

Barring the possibility that my house is being featured in Style at Home as the punchline for some wacky decorating improv troupe, I had a lot of work to do.

I mean, my house was fine … I love my house, but it wasn’t what you’d call magazine ready.  I mean have you ever looked at the houses in magazines?  Things sparkle  ‘n shit.

So, I had a lot of work ahead of me.  I started with compiling a list of things that needed to be done around this dump before they came to shoot my house in exactly 2 weeks.  Yes.  I got 2 weeks notice.  I realize that sounds like a lot but … trust me … it’s not.  If a decorating magazine ever says they’re going to feature your house in their magazine.  Tell them, GREAT … I’ll see you in 3 years.   Oh dear.  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

To be continued ……


  1. Lisa Canning says:

    Fantastic blog Karen! You- and your house- look fabulous!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Lisa! Thanks on all accounts! Personally … I’m more confident with saying my house looks great, than me. :)

  2. Linda says:

    Just got it in the mail…the whole place looks great! Congrats! You did such and excellent job.
    I love the mix of old and new.

  3. Zina says:

    Wow, that’s pretty cool! Yay, you! Now get back to work. Hey, we want before and after pics. And remember vinegar is your best friend.

  4. Pam'a says:

    I can’t wait to see your sparkly-n-shit house, Karen, but rats– I thought if there was anybody who might go rogue and actually allow their place to look lived-in, it’d be you! Just once, I’d like to see a sock balled up and hiding under the back leg of a sofa… ;)

    Congratulations, though!

    • Karen says:

      Hah! I’d say it does look lived in, but even in real life, before I go to bed I do a tour around the house and make sure everything is back in place, dishes are out of the living room etc. etc. Otherwise, the house becomes a disaster in about 2 days flat. No … I’ve got too much of the self-diagnosed OCD in me to have balled up socks under the couch. Although … there are ALWAYS craft projects on the go in my makeshift office which is the dining room. Next week’s fantastic craft project is sitting on the dining room table bench as we speak as a matter of fact! No socks though. :)

  5. 2 weeks might as well be two days for something like that! We moved into our house last July, I decided I wanted to have a housewarming/Halloween party in October, didn’t happen. Hopefully it will happen this year. Maybe.

    • Karen says:

      I am glad you understand my horror! I had a few people say “what’s the big deal”. Idiots. Idiots! :)

  6. sandyb says:

    that particular issue JUST slid through my front door this afternoon, delivered by my heavy-footed mailman (who never says hello). gotta say, YOUR HOUSE IS AN ABSOLUTE GEM IN THE FEATURE! nicely done, nicely done!

  7. Ana says:

    You did good, your home looks lovely, just admiring the feature now (regular subscriber to style at home). Have a friend who is taking a week off w/ hubbie and redecorating / painting for their ‘staycation’ — similarly bit by the decor bug. Transforming all in one go is very satisfying, as long as you can keep the cost down or budget for it ahead of time. Kudos on all the DIY tips. Photo of you w/ fish is awesome. Miley Cyrus would be jealous. Ciao bella

  8. Beth says:

    I hope I can get my hands on an issue. That is exciting news – congrats!!

  9. A says:

    Congratulations, that is exciting! I have a friend who is going home (to Canada) for a visit mid-August, will it be available (still? or yet?) then? I’ll make her pick up a copy of it for me if it is.

    • Karen says:

      Hi A! Yes Style At Home’s September issue will be on stands by Mid-August in Canada. If you see it, be gentle on me. :)

  10. Holly says:

    Hi Karen I don’t know you but somehow I think of you whenever I see an online project submitted by a Karen…and this time it really was you!


    Anyway good luck with that two week deadline I am sure that I would be freaking out too and then of course start a project that couldn’t possibly be finished on time :)

  11. karen says:

    félicitations to you!! That is very fun. Wow, can’t wait to see the spread. Keep us posted.

  12. Rachel says:

    hoow exciting! and also nerve-wracking. i’m new to your blog but sending positive vibes your way! based on your cleverness (um those dollar store outdoor pot-lamp looked like straight out of a magazine!) I’m sure you have a wonderful home.
    do you have any posts about it?
    i would love to see some pictures before the big reveal lol . . .

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel! Welcome to my blog. If you want the backstory on me and my house … this is a good place to start. It’s about how my house was a disaster, I had a miniature nervous breakdown and redid my house. Or something like that. :) – karen

  13. Liz says:

    To be fair, that’s a pretty nice (and big) front hall. My front hall is a gloomy, window-less corridor.

    That chair is the thing that brought me to your blog by the way. Thank you chair!

  14. Shauna Wobeser says:

    uhmmmmm Hello???? Hire a maid for a week or two…or 52 and drink Margaritas and tell her what to do!! (Now that you have an excuse…you never know when the mag will come back and you want to be prepared!) I’m just saying that’s what I would do!! lol Congrats, we all look forward in checking to see if you used a toothbrush to clean!! :D

  15. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    Ignore my last response… I see you posted the magazine’s link. Duh, I’m stupid.

  16. Langela says:

    Congratulations! How cool for you. Let us know when the issue is set to come out so we can snoop around your house.

  17. Kate says:

    I’d love to see the picture that inspired this editor! Can you post it so that we can see your front hall?

  18. Anj says:

    How odd, is it September already? Where did the summer go. The September issue of Style at Home landed on my desk this morning. Heidi picked it up and was flipping through and recognized your smile!
    It looks really cool. I love that you used your dollar store garbage bag table runner for the photoshoot. The green cabinets look great. So, home makeover is done can you finally come bowling?

    • Langela says:

      ok. I’m confused. Is it out already or are you going to start shooting in 2 weeks?

      • Karen says:

        Oh Langela … it IS confusing. I wrote this post the day I found out the magazine was going to feature my house. I refrained from posting it until a little closer to the publishing date of the magazine, so everyone didn’t have to wait for months to see the end result (the shoot in the magazine). So … this post along with 2 others coming up will tell the story of what it was like for me to get ready for a magazine shoot. (I’ve since re-written the post to sound a little more like past tense) “My bad” as they say!

      • Langela says:

        Thanks for clearing that up for me. I will try my best not to be confused on the next couple of posts. No guarantees, but I’ll try.

      • Anj says:

        Oops sorry, I guess us subscribers get our copy in advance of it being on the newstand. When you think of it having my September copy of the magazine in July is kind of ridiculous.
        I get the December Christmas issue in October and by the time I’m interested in Christmas they are showing me Valentine’s Day.

        I know what you mean about getting a house you live in professional photo ready. Back when I only had 1 kid, my husband took Oskar away for 4 weeks skiing with his parents. It took me 3 1/2 weeks to get the house looking perfectly like nobody lived there or maybe just a fancy couple that sat around sipping martinis that the servants brought them. Sometimes I look at those pictures fondly because my house never looked like that again.

  19. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    Super duper fantastic news!! Congratulations! I’m fairly confident in saying I doubt that your home will be used for a “How Not to Decorate” or “Decorating Don’ts” segment. Is that magazine readily available in the states? If not, do you know if we will be able to access it via a website (maybe yours)? Anyway, what an honor, Karen!! Congrats again!

    • Karen says:

      Thank! I’ll check into it Sherry and let you know if it’s in the States.

      • Sherry (BTLover2) says:

        I found their website and I can subscribe to the magazine but I’m going to just assume you’ll be featured online. For anyone else who’s looking: styleathome.com.

        Unless you were a regular contributor, I’m not going to pay $40 for a subscription. Mama needs new shoes :)

  20. E says:

    ah hahahaha, “things sparkle n’ shit” — probably exactly what my sentiments would be if I were in your shoes. Congrats! that’s fantastic and exciting albeit a bit nerve inducing.

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