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country living | behind the scenes


Several of you have already come upon a secret I’ve been keeping since June of last year.  My home was featured in the March 2016 issue of Country Living.


And, yes, lots of geeking out has taken place.  Lots of high-pitched squeals and pinch-me moments and slowing down to soak it all in.



It was the most involved shoot I have ever been a part of.  It was a half day of styling and two full days of shooting and a total takeover of our house!


I cleaned like a maniac and tried to finish everything that had been languishing on my home to-do list.  I knew it was overboard, but I didn’t want a fluff ball or unfinished piece of trim in a picture in Country Living!  I wanted to give it my best.

About a week before the shoot, the boxes started to arrive.  They came in at a trickle at first and then they started filling up the porch each day.  I think we got around 30 boxes of props by the time it was all said and done.


At first I was wondering where in the world they were going to put all of this stuff, but as I saw the stylist work, it became clear that it was about having lots of options and things to try.  So, if you notice things in my rooms that aren’t usually there (like the lamp in the bedroom and pillows in family room), those were props.


They simply tweaked and finessed most of the rooms, but the family room was entirely rearranged for the shot that’s used for the table of contents.


The rug was moved from the middle of the room and the wing chairs were turned towards the French daybed to make a seating area.  I actually loved the way it looked, but it wasn’t a functional arrangement for the room.


I would sneak in now and then and look at the shots, but there was a lot of gear and cables and some spaces were pretty tight (like when they stood in my bathtub to take pictures of the vanity!


The photographer, David A Land, had actually been to my house before.  We worked together for the Women’s Day shoot in my home office back in 2012.  He’s laid back and fun to work with, so that made all of the upheaval and furniture rearranging and stacks of boxes and chairs on the front lawn a bit easier to deal with.  Everyone was great, in fact, and they would destroy a room to photograph one corner and would then put it back together, just as it was.





You may also notice in the spread that there are wood chairs in my dining room and Eulalie (the cow painting) is not in her usual spot above the buffet.  They borrowed some chairs from my studio and swapped Eulalie out to make the dining room look a little different.  That vantage point has been in several magazines and regularly on this blog, so they wanted to change things up a bit.  

Never fear!  Eulalie went right back in her rightful spot.


Thanks so much to Country Living for including me in such an amazing issue.

It is an honor and definitely a dream come true.

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  1. Naomi S. says:

    It must have been such fun! And you should feel really proud of the way your house looks. I would have a hear attack if anyone wanted to photograph the inside of my house! God forbid. How nice to add this magazine feature to your list of credentials.
    I was so excited when my Country Living mag arrived last week and there you were! Honestly, I even felt proud to “know” you! Great accomplishment, Marian!

  2. Lisa Brown says:

    I opened my copy last night and recognized your house before I even got to the article. It must have been so much fun for you all to see it in print!

  3. What a fun adventure for you! Now I am off to read my copy of Country Living. I would have opened it sooner had I known you were in it. Congrats, Marian!

  4. Dawn LeVay says:

    I was so exited to see your beautiful home when I opened my March issue last night. Congratulations!

  5. Kathy says:

    I have subscribed to country living for many years, congratulations on being part of it. It’s to bad Eulglie isn’t part of it she belongs there, but again congratulations beautiful article

  6. Courtney Taylor says:

    Congratulations Marian! My copy came a couple of days ago and I haven’t opened it yet. I know what I’m doing when the kids go to bed tonight!

  7. How awesome! I need to go get a copy of the magazine.

  8. anneb says:

    Congrats Marian!

  9. SueSchneid22 says:

    I think you have it backwards, Marian, if I may be so bold. You shouldn’t be as beholden to them as they should be to you. I don’t know many people who were loyal Country Living enthusiasts (as I was) in the past, who are still. CL should be honored that Miss Mustard Seed had time to accomodate them! 😉 That given, I think you will set them back on the right path. I think I’ll go buy that March edition and see if they are really worthy. Good get!

  10. Karen says:

    Got my issue today and was so excited for you!!

  11. Kellene says:

    Totally fun!!!!

  12. Kathleen says:

    Oh MMS, I recognized your space the minute I turned the page of my issue! How wonderful for you! I have been tweaking my home bit by bit ever since I discovered your blog. You have no idea how much of an influence and inspiration you have been. Over the last 4? years I have transformed my home with painted trim, painted kitchen cabinets, slip covered furniture ( awesome tutorials) , painted and refurbished furniture & lighting “finds” and even hacked off my peninsula style countertop to rebuild it as an island! Best bonus, All these changes helped speed up the acquisition of long desired carbonized bamboo flooring too! Sounds fast in print, but has been a slow budget conscious progression. So happy with results, so happy to have found your blog to spark all the changes. Just loving my little home more now! Much thanks & gratitude for all you do!!! Smiles, Kathleen

  13. Teresa says:

    My March issue of CL came on Monday and I knew right away it was your house when I saw the contents page. It was interesting reading your post to how a magazine shoot works. The biggest surprise is hearing they would need to bring in 30 boxes of props in a house as beautiful as yours!

    I wonder was it difficult for you seeing things get replaced or shuffled around without having any input? ( I would have lost it when I saw them replacing my beautiful dining chairs with the wooden ones.) Also, just wondering what your neighbors thought when they saw blackout sheets on your front windows? ha

  14. How fun for you, but I know how nerve wracking it is. My house was in a magazine many years ago, I was exhausted when they left. Can’t wait to open my magazine.

  15. angela says:

    i like magazines but i hate that they move things or add things to the rooms.

  16. Colette J says:

    I was excited too when I saw your lovely, and somewhat familiar home in my CL mag. I’m so happy for you!

  17. April says:

    I would be so interested in how this will effect your business. If you see an increase in visitors, sales, opportunities, etc. Just out of curiosity. Can’t wait to pick up the issue and see what’s different. It is always interesting to see how they change a home even the color of paint on chairs or walls. How do they decide on the houses they will feature, do you have any of that inside info?

  18. marylisa noyes says:

    I can’t wait to see the pages since I subscribe. I had no idea just how much they stage the homes for their issue. Absolutely awesome for you to be a part of this magazine! WTG

  19. Congrats Marian….As soon as I opened the CL issue, I was so pleasantly surprised….A most beautiful feature and loved the pic of your family!!!….

  20. My Country Living arrived on Monday, and as I glanced through my attention was caught by the “wallpaper” in the bedroom, and I realized I had seen it before. I gasped, and quickly turned to the beginning of the article, and I was right! It was your home! So fun to realize! Congratulations!!

  21. Carolyn Kidd says:

    I just received my Country Living and saw the article! What fun!! You are really going places Marian :)

  22. Cheryl says:

    Well Blessed Be!!! Good on ya girlfriend ?. Picking up a copy today to see. What fun, you are living many a gals dream. So Inspiring?

  23. Proscilla says:

    How exciting for you Marian! Thank you for sharing! Will HAVE to go get a copy! God is so GOOD!

  24. Priscilla says:

    Way to go Marian!!! God is SO GOOD!

  25. Shelley says:

    I like the comment SueSchneid22 posted…I agree 1000%!!!

    So do you get to keep any of the props they used? Did you like anything they used or where you happy to get your home back just the way you had it??? I personally think your home is PERFECT as is!!!

  26. Marian, the minute I opened the front cover and saw your house, I got so excited! I recognized it immediately (in spite of the rearranged furniture!). I noticed a couple of typos which is a shame, but it was such a treat to see your beautiful home and handiwork given so much coverage- loved it! So happy for you!!!

  27. Stacey says:

    Congratulations Marian!!!

    I am sure this is a Dream Come True! I know it would be for me.

    Always interesting to see the behind the scenes and additions of the stylist…….Don’t think your home needed any tweeking though….Just Sayin’.

    Love everything You do………Love everything They do….A match made in Heaven!

    Can’t wait for my issue to arrive.

  28. Julie says:

    As soon as I saw the family room pic in the table of contents, I thought, “That really looks like Marian’s house?!” What a nice surprise 😉 .

  29. Jenny Riley says:

    Pleasant surprise to see a familiar place in the new issue! I recognized your home right away. How exciting for you! I just have to say though, that I actually think it’s a shame they had to rearrange and add/subtract things. We weren’t seeing the “real” you. I mean, if they liked your home enough to feature it, why bring in all this stuff that’s not yours, and then rearrange everything? And to take out Eulalie???? I’m sorry, but that’s just a travesty, esp to your fans who’ve been following you for a long time.

  30. Lynnette Davis says:

    I was so excited to see you and your fasmily and beautifil home in Country Living this month. I really enjoyed ready the article and looking at the pictures. You are so talented! I can only imagine how wonderful that must make you feel. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed that they moved Eulalie from her normal spot. She should have made the pages of Country Living. Makes me happy to know that you returned her back to her home! BTW, please come visit TN. You know the Country Living Fair is coming back to Lebanon TN.

  31. Sooo exciting Marian!! Big congratulations!!

  32. Robin Leach says:

    It’s great to read about the behind the scenes! I WAS wondering about some of those changes. So happy for you…you deserve it!!

  33. A big congratulations to you I have watched your
    Growth since 2010 and have enjoyed watching how may I ask did the shoot come about does one submut pictures and contact them or did they contact you I hope that is not too personal to ask I would love to have our farmhouse photographed someday!! Love the quote you posted in Instagram!!!

  34. Sue Pagels says:

    I knew it was your house instantly when I saw the contents page – I squealed too! How fantastic and how proud you and your family must be – congrats!!

  35. Dianne says:

    It was super fun to get my issue and see your home! It was beautiful. You deserve the recognition! Very exciting!!

  36. Wow congratulations!!! That’s awesome :) Such a cool experience

    Lauren | Lovely Decor

  37. Got my Country Living in the mail this weekend, and said to myself, ” I know that house!” Though, I have never officially been to your home ;). Your home looks even prettier in full color, glossy print!

    Congratulations and hope you frame these pages…in wonderful chippy colored frames!

  38. Kathy C says:

    Congratulations on your home being featured in Country Living, Marian! It was a lovely article and photo spread and it inspired me to check out your website, which is also wonderful. The really enjoyable part is that your home is so “real” and cozy, and reflects your individual vision and spirit. I knew home magazine pieces are somewhat staged, but it was very interesting to see how the editors introduced the staging changes–thanks for those photos on your site! I also prefer your cows and your dining room chairs. Catchiest idea: The Varsity Valance in the boys’ room. Now that’s what I call vision! Thank you for sharing.

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