Every now and again I google “leather chair” and I GASP as a photo of my past work comes up with a questionable chair, or a suspicious wall color (not here). Generally this is work that I didn’t necessarily forget about, but they were never properly photographed (as you can see) so it was never blogged about, or maybe it was but that blog post has been broken for years (thanks to moving servers and hosts 4 times).
Years ago, when I did the show “Secrets From a Stylist,” #RIP, we styled two different looks in the same room for the first season. And THREE different looks for the pilot episode (shown here). The first look was always really extreme in one direction, with the idea that the second (or third) look would pull it back into reality (the two looks were based on their personality styles).
So here are four rooms that were only “first looks” and lasted 18 hours. Thank God someone photographed them (albeit terrible photographs) . . . and now they are burned into your (and my) memories.
The first photo was Ian’s house, first look. It was “mantique,” I think. Then for the second (with the black/white rug) we added “midcentury pop,” which I liked in different ways. For that one we painted out the back of the shelves. The third look is what you see here, above, which is the obvious favorite, and a mixing of all three of the styles.
Ooh this is fun. Ok, remember this?
This room was the first look of the “Spanish Mod” episode. They wanted super modern, but they lived in an old Spanish style house. So for first look we did it totally old world (mostly for the sake of the viewers). These people FREAKED out when I painted those walls dark green, and it was actually super awkward. We always had the intention of painting it back but man, they were pissed. Sorry, guys. They also hated the lighting, but I personally think that it’s better than what they chose (below). I actually still really like the green room, even though it was meant to look really old world Spanish. I definitely wouldn’t paint the ceilings again – that looks stupid. I think we couldn’t find a break so we didn’t know what to do. Man the final look was so much better. These photos are all super low-res, sorry!!
Here is the second look:
That credenza is still STUNNING.
Ok any of you remember this? This was the first look of the “Industrial Kitch” loft that we did. The first look was meant to be super kitchy and retro (obviously). I still like a lot of the elements but altogether it was cuckoo.
Here’s a link to the 4 minute abridged version of that episode. I found a screenshot of the second look.
And then there was this bachelor, who’s fiance was moving in. So for the first look we did just his look:
He was extremely attached to that sofa which I have to say we made look REALLY good here. He loved this room so much and was like “please don’t do a second look, please.” But, we did:
I kinda wish we hadn’t put so many pops of yellow in there, but OOOHHHHWEELLLL.
OOh this is my new favorite game. All I want to do now is go through old SFAS episodes and critique the first version (I can’t really critique the second too much, obviously). Man these bring back memories. I can’t believe HGTV didn’t hire photographers to shoot them. They would hire a “set photographer” who would come in for like 10 minutes and grab a shot of me placing a pillow, but nobody that actually knew how to shoot interiors. So I started hiring my own for the blog, but I was so busy shooting the show that I couldn’t be there to style them. Such missed opportunities all the time. But now I get to dredge them up from the past and show them off to you.
If you are bored this weekend check out some of the old episodes or videos here. It’s not my best work, but man it’s super fun to revisit that life. I’ve never really talked about what happened to the show – but as you could probably tell HGTV went to a real estate/renovate formula that has worked very well for them. “The Property Brothers” first blew it up, Then” Love it or List it,” and now my favorite “Fixer Upper.” People ask all the time if I’d like to have my own show again.
It’s a complicated answer: YES. I would love to have my own show that is really, really, good. You’d think that’s obvious but there are a lot of bad/cliche/generic show ideas out there. Over the years I have been pitched or asked to do a variety of them, but to give up that much time (which makes my family life and this blog suffer GREATLY) it has to be a really awesome show, with a ton of creative/design control, and a large enough budget to make the space look good. Anyway, I tell my agents that when both kids are in school I might be less picky, but to miss so much of their childhood to host a mediocre show, that edits out my personality, and insists on mainstream design for the masses, is certainly not worth it. So that’s the deal with the show. I loved that show. I still love that show. Watching it now feels dated, sure, but every week was so different, and you could tell we were having fun. Hosting-wise I’m leaps and bounds better than I was then, but it’s still fun to watch my 30 year old self chat about style to my (still) good friend, Orlando.
Not sure how I got onto this rant. I guess watching a few of those old episodes made me nostalgic, and realize that I never fully told you why the show was cancelled. Despite it’s good ratings and big following, those real estate/renovate shows killed it. Props to Joanna Gaines for bringing some design game back to the channel – I love that family (who doesn’t?).
Quick Q – what shows do you guys watch on HGTV, if any, and what shows WOULD you watch? The makeover show formula feels done, but there has to be something that is more style oriented that could be fun to do and watch, right?