09 November 2007

Houston House and Home

What is this doing in my den? I usually don't show old home movies on Monday mornings!

Who are these people and why are they studying a computer in my kitchen?

And now, they are eating - don't they know I don't entertain except for my two family holidays - Hanukkah and Father's Day????



The story of these pictures is this: A short while ago, the editor of Houston's oldest shelter magazine, Houston House and Home stumbled upon my blog while googling different Houston interior designers. Linda Barth, the editor, lurked on my blog for awhile and then emailed unsuspecting me one day. Would I, she politely asked, allow her to come invade me privacy and the sanctity of my home, to determine if her magazine would be interested in plastering pictures of my house all over the Houston area? Would I? My first inclination was to say no and I had many reasons why, with which I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Linda not to photograph my house. My reasons against: my house is too small, it's not a new Mac Mansion, there aren't a lot rooms to shoot, I'm too shy, I don't seek out publicity, you won't like it, the floors need refinishing, I'm in the middle of updating the hardware, and on and on. The editor lady was unmoved by my excuses: we like small houses she claimed! This cat and mouse game went on all week, until finally I reluctantly relented and Ms. Barth arrived for the scouting shoot. The next day, she emailed me to say that her committee did indeed want to feature my home in the next issue and probably wanted to put my guest room on the cover. My guest room? OMG, you've got to be kidding me! You mean the room with the silk headboard that has a huge grease stain front and center from my husband's hair? That guest room? They must be nuts, I muttered to myself.


So, the good news, I suppose, was that I had been accepted by some "committee," the bad news was I had exactly one week to get my home "photo ready." I was totally overwhelmed by this news, but my family was ecstatic and promised to help me clean it up, which I knew would be a lie (it was.) There was so much to do to get my house "photo ready" - two words I would come to loathe. The list of rooms that couldn't be photographed was growing: my office is such a disaster even I hate to go in there, my daughter's room is a typical teenage mess, the kitchen, with it's outdated appliances, has new pewter hardware clashing with the brass plumbing fixtures which are awaiting their turn to be replaced. This same problem affected all the bathrooms. My decorating crises didn't leave too many rooms "photo ready"so I had to get the rest of my house in tip top shape and fast. Like most people whom I sure don't have "photo ready" rooms, my house is filled with the clutter of everyday life: piles and piles of unopened junk mail, back issues of unread magazines stashed everywhere, an overcrowded garage -- not that they would want to photograph my garage, but after the grease-stained headboard cover story, who knew? In other words, my to-do list was very, very long, so long that I dreamed of calling the magazine to cancel. My suddenly publicity hungry husband threatened me with divorce if I did. And so, I proceeded on to d-day.


In order to make it "photo ready" I did major spring cleaning in the fall. I moved my televisions, phones, radios and anything with a vile electrical cord into the garage. Bookshelves which have remained the same for years were rearranged. Stylish vignettes magically appeared out of scattered nick-nacks. In short, every inch of my house was cleaned, arranged, polished, dusted, or painted in order to become the dreaded "photo-ready." God forbid Houstonians see my house and how we live with any degree of realism. At a mad, frantic pace, I stuffed my already overloaded garage with the flotsam and jetsam of every day living. Baskets of throws and magazines were banished there, along with computers and work files and anything else that wasn't "designer." My guest room got a HGTV instant redo with the help of Restoration Hardware, my daughter was forced to hang up her clothes, I had a bench and chair slipcovered overnight in Chappell Hill via a series of stealth maneuvers that the Army would envy. I had my workroom rush a pillow order for the den, only to loathe them on sight. Thankfully Daniel at Area provided the backups I needed. With all this work going on, I didn't sleep much that week. And there was more. My "regulars" disappointed me: the window washers managed to clean the outside of the panes, but vanished before doing the inside. My gardener promised to bring me fresh annuals for the patio, only to show up the day after the shoot laden with a gorgeous array of fall flowers. I moved around every accessory I owned and discovered such dust that even my housekeeper was disgusted. And finally when I announced I would be kenneling my two dogs for the big day, I was told: No, don't, we LOVE dogs! How true I would find this to be.


In the end, the dreaded Monday came and went, and I found I actually enjoyed the experience. For instance, the crew was professional but fun. Milo, the red headed Croatian photographer was the sweetest, kindest man whom I plan to use in the future. The art director was hysterically funny and put me at ease when he promised to "vertically" stretch my photograph to melt away my extra pounds. The editor, Linda, who's fault this all was, could not have been nicer. She was supportive and complimentary to a fault, all the while orchestrating the shoot efficiently and with much grace.


All that was left to do now, was to wait for the magazine to come out. It was a fast shoot and I was lucky the wait wouldn't be long. In the interim, Linda emailed me my quotes to verify, which absolutely horrified me: did I really say THAT? How pompous, how obnoxious! She asked me to go over the photo's captions and together we came up with a short list of resources. I learned so much more than I expected to from the process, about photography and wide angle lenses (the key to great design photos) and I learned that maybe I was not quite as shy as I thought. Yesterday, the magazine finally arrived on the stands. I was waiting in line at the bagel shop when I spied its cover - a picture of two darling dogs on the cover of the new Houston House and Garden. My dogs! They looked so adorable - their coloring even matched the decor - but I knew how tortured they had been that day, asked to perform and do things they've never been asked to do before. Looking at the cover picture though (the guest room didn't make the cut), all I saw, and all anyone will see, are the two most beautiful dogs in the world sitting in a "photo ready," just-OK decorated den and that's OK with me!


To see the entire article online, click here. If you would like a copy of the magazine, email me your mailing address and I'll get one out to you. Hey, this is my one and only shot at fame, and I'm pretty excited about it!

The Cover Shot!



73 comments:

  1. Love your home! It is incredibly beautiful in a comfy unpretenious sort of french way! It is absolutely TDF - amazing shots, they captured your home beautifully!

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  2. Okay...the garden seat shaped wooden barrel in the last picture....I've got one, it has oriental script on the bottom of the lid, it has painted flowers and scenes...a waterfall.. and smells like sandlewood. I think tea was shipped in it but would be sooo happy to know more about it. Is it Japanese or Chinese or what? What era? Ours is made without any nails and has two twisted wire supports on the outside.

    Your home is just lovely, all your hard work was worth it

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  3. Joni,
    Your house looks beautiful! Congratulations on the feature and I loved your behind the scenes rundown on all your preparation. The patio area is very charming and full of atmosphere as well. Love your style!

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  4. Joni....you are a star!!! Your home looks beautiful, warm and inviting. And your dogs, I love them. All the congratulations are well deserved. Well done.

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  5. I'm so excited about your article in the magazine! I'm also excited to know that they show smaller houses -- I never even picked up the magazine, thinking it was just an advertorial about McMansions on the Katy Freeway.

    BTW, I haven't read your blog in a while -- I think your RSS feed is turned off. I thought you had fallen off the face of the earth; glad to know you're still here!

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  6. Joni... I am so proud of you! Everything looks gorgous (and clean and perfect and coordinated). You're a STAR!!!!

    Can't wait to see my copy.
    xoxoxo

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  7. Congratulations girlie..... your famous ;o) Your home looks absolutely fabulous and it was interesting to hear all about the details that went into the photo shoot too! Love,love,love that your pooches were incorporated into the photos....they are just precious! Do I want a copy....you bethca!
    ~Des

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  8. Wow!! A real true-to-life star has arisen in our very own computer blogging world! Well done indeed! Your home is wonderful -- elegant, very stylish, warm and welcoming! Your hard work and effort was certainly worth the time it all took! And the cover shot is certainly my favorite -- the dogs are just lovely! And my DH says "thats a really nice home -- looks like someone actually LIVES there!!" (thats a compliment BTW -- he isn't impressed by cold-as-ice, unloved rooms! LOL!)

    And YOUR picture was terrific too! Really, Honestly, Truly Terrific!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage who is simply consumed by envy today at your charming home!

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  9. Superstar - That's what you Are!!!!!!
    You go girlfriend. Told you it would be worth it and look how great it looks. I know you busted some butt getting it just right but it looks fab. I can guarantee that no one is looking at any of these fabulous pics and saying "those floors could use a polishing?" They are just in awe of your exceptional talent. I am so proud of you for taking this risk and exposing yourself. I know it wasn't easy but very good things will come of it. Just remember us lowly bloglandians when you get all famous up there in Superstar land.

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  10. Everything is wonderful . Until your dogs ..they are gorgeous ..The article is magic . I love your home ..Looks terrific. You are a star ...
    So good when you have a kind of ultimatum and you have to hurry up to fiw everything . i loke this kind of feelings.
    By the way , your house is not small ..have you ever been to France ?

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  11. Amazing! I'm so glad you went to the trouble. I especially loved seeing where you write your inspiring posts - what a terrific spot!
    I love your blog for so many reasons not the least of which is that you live right here where I do AND love country french, as do I.
    However, I have a request. I am trying to move my home away from the country, kitschy, cottagey thing that all of my friends are doing, but only have time and especially money to do it a very little at a time. Next on my hit list is a new kitchen faucet, and hardware in my guest/daughter's bathroom. Could you post some examples of what a traditional country french sink, faucet, towel bars, bath lighting might look like? I'm at a bit of a loss!
    Thanks! You are wonderful!
    My name is Erin

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  12. Mazzeltov - this is not your only shot at fame, this is merely the first step towards it.

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  13. Your home is beautiful, congratulations!! I

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  14. Wow, what an amazing story. Your blog has had such an impact on so many people, and now you are published in a Houston magazine! Congratulations, you deserve only the best. Your generous spirit and wonderful taste have taken you a long way!

    P.S. I love your house! I can't believe you never posted pictures of all of these rooms before! I bet your phone will be ringing off the hook over the next few months....

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  15. What a breath of fresh air! Your beautiful home is a STAR! Love your dogs being "stars" as well. I am a recent subscriber to your blog and want to thank you for for your wonderful articles and links. Congratulations of the well deserved credit you received in the article!

    Rita / Brownsville, "On the Border, By the Sea"

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  16. JONI!!!!!!!! I'm SO excited for you!!! Your home photographed beautifully, and everything just screamed "come relax and stay awhile" I LOVE the zebra pillows, and the guest room. all of it! I just love ALL of it :) My heart is singing with delight for you, you deserve all the success in the world!!

    Andrea

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  17. It's all wonderful Joni! I enjoyed reading about your adventure...and YES, I do want a copy of the magazine, please!

    Pat

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  18. JONI!! LOVE YOUR HOUSE!! CAN YOU LET US KNOW WHERE YOU GOT THOSE TWO MIRRORS (PAINTED WITH GOLD ACCENTS) THEY ARE FABULOUS! JUST LIKE YOUR HOUSE!

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  19. Joni,

    So happy for you! The cover is perfect. It's pure Joni -- the Spaniels, the white upholstery, seagrass, blue-white porcelain and warm classic zebra stripes. How Southern too :)

    Can't wait to receive my copy!

    Cheers,
    Courtney

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  20. Good for you, girl! Your home is so lovely. They spared no expense in showing so many photos! What a treat! And what a neat thing for you to REALLY have magazine cover photos of your home (remember, I know you suffer with that same disease I have, so I know how exciting this would be!).

    I'm so happy for you. And I loved your story of how you put it together in a hurry, that is SO like me. I can do my best work under pressure!

    I wish I could buy that magazine here!

    Best,
    Melissa

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  21. i love your place.. it's totally you. i esp love the shot of your courtyard with dear dog centrestage :)

    congrats :)

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  22. Well, you already know how excited I am for you!!! But, one more time, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

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  23. Just mosied over here from Inspired Room. Thanks for the early Sunday morning visit!

    Your house is wonderful. Isn't it funny how even when we think we didn't get everything just like we wanted it, to stranger's eyes, it's perfect? Where could you have even put more flowers? Love that view of the garden!

    I remember as a young, stay at home mom, I'd pour over magazines and dream of having my house in one someday. Now that I've grown up, I no longer wish for that and especially now that I've read your account, I no longer wish for that! LOL It sure was fun to read about, though.

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  24. Congratulations Joni! The cover shot is gorgeous--and so are your (matching) dogs.

    I laughed out loud reading your story about the guest room headboard.

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  25. Joni, your house is beautiful. And the dogs! I'm glad to hear that even the pros have insecurities about their homes. :) Congratulations!

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  26. I always pick up a copy of this magazine at the market. I will have to go get one soon. Your house is so lovely and has so much character.

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  27. Here fresh from Melissa's The Inspired Room. Hearty congratulations on the photo shoot! It really came out beautifully because you have a beautiful home. Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

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  28. Joni, congratulations! Your home is beautiful and the magazine photos are perfect! What an honor, and one that you deserve with all the time and energy and enthusiasm you share with all of us!

    Your house is just heavenly and you must be so proud!

    P.S. You are beautiful too! And so are those darling dogs!! What an accessory!

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  29. congrats on the mag spread...beautiful home and dogs...please stop by my blog for another giveaway today...blessings, rebecca

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  30. How exciting! Congratulations!
    Found you through the Inspired Room.

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  31. omg!!! so many comments - thank you all of you, it means so much to me to know you read my blog!!! I've tried to answer all of you personally, so if I've missed you it was by accident or no email with your name!

    p.s. About the sconces above the desk - I got those years ago at Schors in Padre Island (Hi Teri!!)

    P.s.s. About the wooden box between the two chairs in the livin room. I don't know anything about it!!! I've had it for years because the colors look good in the room.


    Joni

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  32. Congratulations on a fab feature! Job well done AND very deserved! Love your style and your home..I've visited your blog before and I always enjoyed my stay!

    xo,
    Kim

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  33. How fabulous!! How exciting! You have a beautiful home and great classy taste, so it's all deserved!! :-)

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  34. Hi, Joni, I've stopped by your blog a few times & may have posted before. Melissa alerted us over to see your new article. Congrats! It's a great spread & what wonderful photos of your home. I had not seen all of those before, only a few of them. very well deserved recognition, you have a wonderful eye for putting it all together. It's all just yummy!

    Rhoda
    Southern Hospitality

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  35. Bonjour Joni! Am visiting you via the Inspired Room. Your account of getting your house ready for the shoot is hilarious and your house looks lovely! Well done, you! Best, Tara at Paris Parfait

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  36. Hi....this is my first visit.... here from Melissa at The Inspired Room. I love your post. You sound so grounded. How special to be featured and what a lovely home you have. As Arnold says "I'll be back" Have the Best of Weeks....Rosie

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  37. Congratulations Joni...wow...your home is SO lovely!! I must confess, I've only looked at the pictures...oh say...58 times! Your blog is up there with my top 10 favorites...thank you for all the time you take with it. Those zebra pillow are THE coolest. And I love the sofa...do you have a source you could share? And. Yes...I am going on and on tonight! I would love to have a copy of the magazine, but insist on paying you for it and the postage. Many, many thanks! OK...back to look at the pics again. :)

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  38. Sarah White: please email me at mrballbox329@aol.com

    Thanks!
    Joni

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  39. CONGRATULATIONS, Joni!!! Your home is truly lovely and looks comfy, warm and enjoyable! Well done!

    I loved reading your behind the scenes story. Congratulations again on the article. I predict many good things will come from it. You know I love your blog too. Thanks for sharing.

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  40. congrats...looks great! cant wait to see a hard copy!

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  41. Joni! It came out so so well!!! What a fabulous piece of press for you. Your home is so charming - and I want to move into your courtyard area. So lovely!

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  42. Hi joni, just stumbeld across your blog. Love the flow of your house. Its beautiful. I enjoyed reading this post. You have such a flair for writing. I shall be back to visit.
    Ta, Adla at www.vintagedelights.blogspot.com

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  43. Thanks for sharing behind the scenes, I could see myself running around crazy with excitement and fear! Everything turned out splendid! I love your home! Congratulations!!

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  44. Joni, I just love your blog and visit all the time though have never posted before. I just loved the article and it was perfect that your gorgeous dogs were on the cover shot, they blend perfectly with the furniture!
    Thanks for being such an inspiration.

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  45. What a wonderful post. You have a beautiful home (and I love the doggies!). The article is wonderful. You deserve to be hightlighted. Thanks for sharing.

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  46. Hi Joni

    I am going to run out and get Houston House and Home as soon as possible.
    Your room looks great! I'm very excited for you!
    I've been reading your blog for a while, but never commented before. I really enjoy it.

    Congrats!

    Carolina

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  47. Well Joni...you did not want any publicity? Look what's happening now! We are all so proud of you! You rock! Your house is clean and ready for Hanukkah!

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  48. Joni:
    I would like to get a copy of this magazine. I do not have a blog.
    I just love to read and look at them. Yours is one of my favorites. This is my e-mail address: kevjol@sbcglobal.net.
    Thanks. Jolene

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  49. Your home seems to be so lovely. Wish I could see more of it. And your text is so amusing.
    Hope you have a great Monday.
    Love Elzie

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  50. Amazing photos! Your house is beautiful. I just sent you an email. What an amazing experience this must have been for you. You sure deserve it. Jen

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  51. BRAVA!
    THAT was incredible! I would LOVE a hard copy. And your dogs are just so precious in the photos! I would love to just pet them!
    You send me yours and I'll send you a french house magazine direct from France via Italia!
    Baci!

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  52. Beautiful! I love your home and very much enjoy your blog. Fantastic work on both fronts.

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  53. How wonderfuly exciting for you! I found your blog from Melissa at The Inspired Room...
    From what I can see...your home is sooo lovely. Congrats!
    hugs.

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  54. This sounds too familiar....If you were like me you were glad to see them come and glad to see them go...they bring so much equipment and lighting and they trash the place...BUT it is an electrifying experience...I love the cover shot...are you re cooperated???

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  55. Joni! It is all so charm, charm, CHARMING! Congratulatons to someone who truly deserves it. You have an honest and very entertaining voice out there in the blog world, and I can always count on you for a great read. Your house is scrumptious! I am very happy for you! ( Funny how that snarky anon is in hiding today!:) )

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  56. P.S. Joni - I just wanted to say YOU look fabulous also! And I have a strong feeling there was no "stretching" involved! I definitely would love a copy!

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  57. YEAH!!!! I am so excited for you!CONGRATULATIONS!
    -Linda

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  58. Joni - I am going to see the article next, but wanted to say congratulations - and thanks for sharing the whole experience with us. I'm sure they were thrilled with you, the cover and everything else inside. Shy? Really?

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  59. Joni - congratulations a million times over - the house looks SO gorgeous!! I know exactly how you felt getting ready for this - it is so stressful but you pulled it off!! GORGEOUS!!
    XO
    Anna

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  60. Joni-what a beautiful home you have and such a warm and comfortable stylish style. It is very persona and gorgeous. Your dogs are adorable. You've got it going on!
    Julie

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  61. I'd love a copy Joni, that is so exciting!! :) I love your dogs- and the pillows!! I'll send you an email w/ my address, I owe you an email anyway. Have a great week!

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  62. p.s. I didn't see that I could click on the whole article! I need to study each picture in detail. :) Your home is so lovely Joni!! What a treat to browse through all this. :)

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  63. Clearly you had no reason to worry--your home is just lovely!

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  64. would love a copy of the mag! your house is beautiful! My parents used to live in Houston...

    Suzanne Fall
    1443 N Woodhouse Rd
    Virginia Beach, VA 23454
    THANK YOU

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  65. Congrats Joni! The photos of your home are stunning, and your dogs are totally adorable (and they match your decor!). How exciting!!!

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  66. Your home is beautiful. I just recently found your blog, love it. What I appreciate about your home is that is feels "real." Most magazine spreads are of homes that feel to contrived & uncomfortable. Kudos.

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  67. I love your home. It's warm, inviting and just my style! Would you please come to my house, ha!!
    I've been following your blog and love everything in it. Congrats, I am going to find that mag - I live in H town.

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  68. I loved reading your account of this fun adventure!
    Love your home. How neat that you will have these pictures in print, a snapshot in time of your home.
    Congratulations!

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  69. I know I'm a little late but I just wanted to say I LOVE your home and I wish I could have got this magazine in Australia. It would be a dream come true to have my home photographed for a magazine someday. What a thrill!Congratulations :)

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  70. It's absolutely beautiful Joni. Well done!

    Bruce

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