A Behind The Scenes Look

When we revealed the bathroom makeover, I am pretty sure it was kinda of a nonchalant deal.  Kinda like…oh yeah, we gave our bathroom a makeover…no biggie…it required paint and a little elbow grease….not even a hiccup in the blog world….but to us it was a huge deal.  It was gonna be the first time we were gonna be filmed by someone else (no, our iPhones on tripods don’t really count) and we had no idea what the content would look like until the final reveal.  Not having control over what you look like, what is cut and what isn’t, what you will come across as (um…I tend to have airhead moments when in public…okay okay and in private…like the time I told Nate Berkus that books in the library are FREE!  umyeah.) – it’s kinda nerve wracking….extremely exciting…but also nerve wracking in a totally will-they-like-me?! kinda way.

So we shared everything we got on the bathroom reno….but here is a behind the scenes look at our entire experience with some more personal details that we haven’t shared yet when it came to our bathroom makeover.  Go ahead…take off the bra…it’s time to get comfortable and feel free to make fun of the number of crazy faces I make while you get a glimpse at the real-stuff.

First, the setup.  We had to clear the calendar for several non-sequential film days and arrange babysitters for the kiddos.  It was in our contract that LJ could be on the premises (I was still nursing at this time) but the big boys would need to be taken care of by a babysitter off-site.  It was really more of a noise-interference issue than anything.  They needed to be available on Day 1 of filming for some family shots (they ended up not using any of them for the final videos!) but for only about ten minutes where we did some rather awkward matchbox car playing and wrestling in the backyard.  It was a lot of logistics just making sure that we had two separate babysitters that could handle at least 8 hours of child watching of kids, clearing the babysitters to pick up Will at preschool and reminding me that nursing breaks were absolutely necessary.

We also needed to set up the bathroom materials ahead of time.  That meant we had a few days to come up with a plan (I’m no designer so this was harder than I thought!) and then order everything and get all the materials we needed ahead of time.  In order to save our thighs from the stair-master burn, we set up a table on the second floor balcony with majority of stuff.  It helped tremendously since there were so many things we needed from minute 1.

On the first day, we actually hosted the largest crew.  They rolled out cardboard to protect the floors, brought in huge pieces of lighting, sound and visual equipment and set up breakfast on our front porch.  It was crazy and I think both Jeremy and I were completely in awe of how big of a production it was.  We both expected like four people when in actuality it was like twenty six different people in our house.  There was the film crew from Flynn Side Out Productions, the clients from Home Depot, the advertising company, and then all the folks that were hired by those three companies to do all the other jobs (makeup artist, caterer, extra camera guys, etc.).

For Jeremy and I, we did our normal routine in the morning with the boys and then I shot Will’s preschool picture that morning (it was his first day!).  Then we  met the makeup artist, Jen while Will got dropped off at preschool, our friend Charity took Weston to the park and our friend Melanie took LJ for a neighborhood walk.

I’ve had my makeup done only one other time (I even did my own for my wedding!) so I wouldn’t say that I am a pro when it comes to knowing what they are doing but Jen was super sweet and made me feel so comfortable.  I kept on saying that sitting so still and having to relax and keep my eyes closed was going to put me to sleep!

She set up shop right there on the kitchen table and definitely made me look camera-ready!

She also had Jeremy sit down and Jen filled in his eyebrows and took some of the tan lines off his forehead (you’re welcome honey for sharing that with the world!).

That first day, I had damp hair that is naturally wavy and it wasn’t drying quite right.  When I say not-quite-right, I meant that I looked like I had stuck my finger in an outlet…so they tried to make it look more curly.  I think everybody saw me and gave me a tilt-head look because it was so bad.  I figured that the first day we would be just doing demo and not interviews so that was totally my fault….so I am glad that they scrapped a lot of that first day of footage.

Speaking of scrapped footage…you can see in this photo that I got some major tummy rolls going on.  I had to send in photos of all our clothing to get approved and I think I took the wrong route.  I didn’t want to demo, paint, tile and grout in nice clothing (I know…I am too cheap for my own good sometimes) and so I decided to get these Goodwill jeans and old tshirts approved.  The problem was that they were completely unflattering.

Also they were extremely low-cut with the breastfeeding boobs (aka ta-tas that grow as minutes pass).  I can not tell you how embarrassing it was to pull everything up to cover the girls only to reveal the plumbers crack or spare tires in front of several cameras and about twenty people.  If I ever have a chance to do it over again, I would seriously splurge for a better…and longer….top.

Jeremy also had to get his wardrobe approved and he is way more particular about clothing than me.  They ended up approving him to wear a pair of khaki cargo shorts and a black tshirt or a dark gray tshirt with jeans.  Now here’s the weird thing about Jeremy….he will not…does not….ever wear black with khaki.  Dark gray with khaki?  yes.  Navy with khaki?  sure.  But not black.  It’s his quirkiest thing….and so to avoid the color combo he chose the jeans.  Which is hilarious because the dude wears shorts when it is 30 degrees outside.  So he sweated it out….and I looked like a voluptuous Shirley Temple.  We were quite the pair.

Once we had our makeup done, we always got wired up for sound.  That meant that Jeremy and I both had to wear wires and do these minute long tests to make sure that everything sounded okay.

Will loved the sound boom that first morning before school and kept on ‘testing’ it to make sure it worked.  Next recording artist on our hands.  Now if only he could carry a tune #singslikemommy

The foyer seemed like the best place to set everything up so there was actually a little viewing area that they had where they plugged in a big screen tv and everything that was on camera was immediately shown in HD.  It was the first time I have ever seen my giant head on a giant screen.

Behind the tv was a little viewing area and then several tables set up with other equipment.

Upstairs, they brought in even more equipment.  I think majority of this stuff was for sound.  Not really sure.

I know that a lot of this stuff was for the camera guys…they had the best lenses.  I seriously considered looting their cases.

Considering that the entire thing was in a smaller room (the bathroom is about 6×8) we tried to make as much room as possible for the film crew by breaking down the bed and removing the side tables in the guest room.  They had these large machines that they mounted the cameras onto and counterbalanced with weights.  It was pretty awesome to watch how they got these smooth scanning-the-room shots so easily.

Did I mention there were tons of people everywhere?

Now it’s time to introduce you to the person who called the shots during the entire process.  She was the smallest person on site but told everyone what we needed to do.  I personally had so much respect for her (she’s a mom of little ones and she has this amazing career and so much freaking energy that it was unreal) and you could tell that she was just made for her job!  Her name is Alyssa and she.was.awesome.  We talked during down time and even though we have such different world views, it was so fun to connect with someone that shares so many of the same passions as me…especially about being a good mom and balancing work and family.

I think her technical title was something like field producer or something like that.  Basically it meant that she told the camera guys what to shoot and then would feed me instructions and topics.  So she would say “Katie, paint the mirror, look at the camera in three and tell us in one full sentence but short phrase why you love painting accessories.  QUIET ON THE SET! One. Two. Three.” and then I would have to do exactly what she said.  I wasn’t ever allowed to look at her when I was talking and I only had to look at the camera.

Most of the shots we did several takes and several different angles.  She was constantly ‘fixing’ things….err….me.

When I was in the bathroom, she would yell in from the guest bedroom and do the same things….feeding me instructions.  My favorite memory was when she was filming Jeremy and after the first take, said “okay, now do that same thing but this time, don’t breathe through your mouth.”  He is not a nose-breather and about passed out.  I almost died laughing.

The very last day of filming, it was so weird…like I had to say goodbye to a friend who was moving or something.  She really did make the experience so fun and was great at her job.

Besides Alyssa, there were two other main figures during the filming process….the camera dudes.  John Nolan was one that I got to know a little bit better because he had to come on a separate day to set up the time-lapse camera (it was a Go-Pro that was mounted to the wall).

The original plan was to include this painted mirror….but that was a last minute change because it looked too big in the space.  Even though I loved it, it was the reason we had the light fixture turned upside down and in the end, Home Depot allowed me to pick the matching vanity mirror because it was better suited for the size we had available.  That’s John Nolan (full name required) who is filming a closeup of my hands.

Here’s John Nolan filming those close-ups of the tile that you see in the videos.  He showed me how some cool tips on how to use the video portion of the Canon camera and how to expose in live view for the best exposure then switch back to regular shooting.  Changed.my.life.

The other camera guy was John McCurry.  Wait.  He likes to be called a master of cinematography :)

I posted a picture of him on Instagram and so many people thought he looked like Peter Dinklage that I had to put together a little gift for him on the next film day.  At least John Nolan liked it :)

Seriously though, Dinklage….I mean….McCurry was really a fan of Game of Thrones so he got a kick out of it too.  He was the one that had all the best lenses and had such great advice about photography in general.  I loved listening to “The Johns” talk about what they needed for particular shots and how to control the lighting and how they would bite the bullet when it came to investing in the best equipment for the job.  I don’t usually get to talk a lot about that kinda stuff so it was refreshing just to listen to real pros!  It made me miss shooting those newborns!


So here’s another thing that happened that I didn’t really get to tell ya about.  Our delivery guy?  Yeah….he is not the best.  The customer service at our local Home Depot?  Amazing.  So basically, we had to order things in a hurry and have everything expedited shipped to our house.  Every day, we would sit outside and get the most amazing goodies off the truck.  But our delivery guy (not pictured to protect the innocent) was just so freaking reckless.  I don’t know if it was because we are the last house on his route and he was just tired or what but everything he would drop off was clearly labeled FRAGILE and would be upside down or the box would be damaged.  It was almost funny at one point because we knew that something would get broken every single day.  The jar thingie, the toilet, the vanity?  Yup…all broken.  We would take everything to our local Home Depot and they made things right in a jiffy so nothing got messed up for filming days but it was comical at the end.  I told Jeremy that if the shower door arrived cracked that I would cry…thankfully it was fine….but I think I now have the world record for holding my breath!

The other fun part of the filming was seeing how they tackled things like lunch.  We don’t have a lot of restaurants in our area and on most film days they had a caterer set up a buffet in the driveway.  Everything was delicious and thankfully the weather was comfortable so most of the crew sat in our garage at tables we set up.

Also, there was a really fun part of filming where Jeremy and I got to do it together.  They interviewed us both and even though it didn’t make it into the final videos, I wish I had a copy of that random banter because it was so fun to be in front of the camera WITH Jer.  I think the fact that he was so nervous made it so much more relaxing for me.

Another fun fact….the old toilet?  It sat in our front yard for three days.  I’m sure the neighbors loved that.

Overall, it was such a fun thing to do….everything from wearing the same outfit for days on end (black tshirt with holes and old jeans every single tile day!)….

to smearing toothpaste on our walls for filming “grouting” to teasing the guys about their celebrity doppleganger and learning more about photography….it was really such a great experience.  Something tells me that they usually have a great time though….

And at the end of the whole thing I got to meet Brian Patrick Flynn (CHERRY ON TOP!!!!   Just google him and then follow his blog and him on Instagram…you can thank me later!  He is the head of Flynnside Out – the production company) – who might I say is simply hilarious in a random witty sort of way that I really appreciate. It was a huge honor to meet him and I LOVE his designs…so to get to host him here during the photography portion was a once-in-a-lifetime.  And that is Sarah Dorio…the photographer who took the beautiful after photos of the space!

Overall – it was a great experience and even though I was completely exhausted by it at the end, it was such a rewarding and fun experience that I will never forget.  It’s been a couple months now and I am still shocked and so thankful that I got to work with Home Depot on this project.  And thankful too that I got a new bathroom out of it!  I mean…seriously!  That space is my favorite room in the house!



So many readers asked for the videos that I figured I would embed them here….which is equal parts flattering that you want to see them and nerve-wracking because I am such a doofus!  Please remember I am a video rookie :)