So, if you haven't already heard, Shauna's home was featured in the May 2019 issue of HGTV Magazine. It's also the cover shot, which is amazingly cool. However, the release of the magazine is somewhat bittersweet considering what was happening behind the scenes with Shauna and her family during the week of the photo shoot. Read below for Shauna's story.
When I first heard from HGTV Magazine about possibly featuring my house in their magazine I was blown away, but also knew the reality too. I’ve had interest from magazines in the past, but it seems like it always fell through. After some back and forth with an editor (sending different shots of different rooms using different angles) I received the best email ever. HGTV Magazine wanted to show my home in their house tour section! It. Was. So. Cool.
After a few more weeks of hammering out the details the editor emailed me again and said they were also considering putting our house on the cover. SHUT. UP. It was almost too much. Suddenly it felt like everything I’d been trying to do to be taken seriously as a designer (yes, I need to be validated sometimes!) was getting me somewhere.
It was a couple of weeks later that I was told yes, we’d also be the cover shot. It was an incredible feeling, I won’t lie. Because the cover is a huge deal, our shoot was pushed back weeks and would go from a two-day shoot to a five-day shoot. I was also informed they would be shipping approximately 80 boxes (!!) of items to be used in the shoot. Soon after, they were right, box after box after box began showing up at our house.
On July 30, 2018, a crew of strangers showed up on my front porch (HGTV people, a stylist, a photographer, etc) and thus began one of the most fun weeks of my life.
Or so I thought.
Right before all of this, my daughter, Presley, gave birth to her third child (Emerson Faye) on July 25th. We were so happy and excited to meet her and have her join our growing family. After a few days something was happening to little Emmy, and no one was sure what it was exactly. She was hospitalized while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong. The photo shoot was happening and I found myself splitting time between being at the hospital and being available for the magazine crew. I wasn’t terribly concerned about Emerson at the time because the doctors couldn’t really find anything wrong with her. I assumed she would get well and be home soon. At the end of the week (Friday) we said goodbye to everyone from the magazine and Emmy was released from the hospital. I could finally exhale after a stressful and exhausting week. Jeff and I were looking forward to a restful weekend.
Sunday, August 5, my daughter called to say Emerson stopped breathing and paramedics were on the way. I raced to her house and followed the ambulance to the hospital. After a few hours we were told to gather up our family and friends because Emmy Faye wouldn’t be going home. Her organs were failing and she wasn’t going to survive.
It was the worst news I’d ever gotten and it was so unbelievable. The next 24-hours were surreal. We were living out a nightmare. Our family was thrust into a swirling tornado of tragedy. Writing this now takes me back to that moment in time and it still stops my heart, punches me in the gut, and takes my breath away.
The magazine is out now. We are in the May issue and as promised, are on the cover and featured in the house tour section. It’s so very exciting, a real pinch me moment. But it’s also bittersweet. Seeing the photos and remembering being there and seeing it unfold while also driving back and forth from the hospital to make sure Emerson was okay, it makes me really sad. I’ve tried to stay upbeat and hold on to the fun memories of that week back in July of last year, but it’s a struggle. I’d gladly give up any career success or checks off my life list (being featured in a national publication is high on that list) to have our sweet Emmy Faye alive and learning to crawl and laugh and know who I am.
But I don’t get to choose that. It’s not an option. Instead I’ll try to stay positive and forge ahead. I’ll keep striving to be the best version of me and lead by example. Work hard. Be kind. Bring color into people’s lives.
That’s really all I can do.
I want to thank everyone at HGTV Magazine for the opportunity and the outpouring of love and support they showed me and my family during that terrible time.
And thank you to all of you who have championed me and congratulated me and bought the magazine and sent such kind notes. It means more to me than you’ll ever know.
Now, here's some behind the scenes photos that we've been hanging on to for 9 months so we could share them with you now!
So, the 80 boxes of product that were delivered were unpacked and staged in the garage. 80 boxes of vases, platters, lamps, figurines, trays, pretty much anything that could be used to style. A lot of this stuff was rented from two different companies in New York that well, rent out stuff for photo shoots, so it was important for the Assistant Stylist (Kalen) to keep up with what went where, etc. Serious tasks here.
Shauna's laundry room became flower shop central with buckets and buckets of flowers to be used for the shoots. Wanna know how to make peonies open? Stick 'em in warm water and in the sun. But not for too long, because then they burn. It's an art.
Other fancy jobs of the Assistant Stylist include ironing bedding and towels and trimming the "hair" off of the palm leaves. Bonus styling tip, to make the flanges of the pillow shams stand up so pretty in the photo we used masking tape on the back.
So, the cover. Because the cover had to be approved by the Editor back in NYC, there was a lot of back and forth. Take a photo, send it to NY, get comments back, move the vase to the other side, take a photo, send it to NY, we need something tall and green on the left, take a photo....you get the idea. TWO DAYS LATER, the image was approved. Jamie, the HGTV Magazine Home Editor and Matthew, the Stylist were pros, and a lot of fun, and made the process way less painful than it could have been. Also, they were considering changing the color of the chest to aqua in the final cover, so we had to style both ways just in case.
Thanks again to everyone from HGTV Magazine for being so amazing. Can't wait to work with y'all again!