First of all Happy New Year to everyone!  I have been at the beach all week and it has gotten warmer everyday.  When we first arrived it was in the 30's, so we cranked that heat up to 80.  The floors on the first level are limestone and it just wasn't getting warm enough for me.  Off to Target I went to buy a small space heater.  Everyone thought I was crazy but dang if they didn't want that sucker pointed toward their feet :)

I have had the best time blogging this year.  I started last February and when I look at my first few post I cringe.  It definitely took me until about May to get the hang of it.  When people started following me and leaving comments I was astounded and shocked!  How the hell did they find me???  No worries though....I loved it!  Still do.  Thanks to everyone who reads my blog.  I hope I can continue to inspire and entertain this new year.

I am going to repost my interview with Lisa Mowry on how to get published.  It was a favorite and I know there are so many inquiring minds on how the process works.


Want To Get Published?????

I have to tell you there is nothing more empowering than having your design work published.  Today, I have an interview with Lisa Mowry, who is an editor for Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, Renovation Style,and Southern Living to name a few.  She has been producing articles for Shelter magazines for  20 years and has the privilege of working with a talented team of Atlanta photographers and stylists.  She has some great  articles out now which include: November's Atlanta magazine, two in BH&G, a Marietta house in January issue of Remodel and a couple of features in Southern Living.

I met Lisa in 1995 when she wrote an article for  Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles on a small guest bath in my home. I had just started in the design business.  Since then we have worked together on at least 8 projects of mine and this summer BH&G came to shoot my family room.  I posted here.

I get asked all the time how to get published and I thought you would like to hear from Lisa herself how and why certain projects are chosen.

Sherry:  How did you end up being a magazine editor or what brought you into this industry.

Lisa: I’ve always been a magazine-aholic, so this is a perfect job for me. When I was in my 20s and reading magazines like Better Homes & Gardens and Metropolitan Home for fun, I would’ve never believed it if anybody had told me I’d one day be on their mastheads as Atlanta editor. How I got here: I was working for an Atlanta public relations firm and given the account for Southern Homes magazine, where I eventually went to work on staff. That magazine became Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, and I was there for about six years before I went freelance and Better Homes & Gardens approached me to be their local editor. I’ve worked with that magazine, as well as all its special interest publications (such as Kitchen & Bath Ideas) and Traditional Home, for about 13 years. I’m also a contributing editor for Atlanta magazine and do projects for Southern Living and Woman’s Day, too.

Sherry:  How do you find projects for the magazines?

Lisa: I would say that about 80% of the time houses come to me through designers and architects I’ve built relationships with over the years. But a lot of my favorite projects are directly through talented homeowners who have done their own remodeling or decorating. I’ve worked on several articles for Do-it-Yourself magazine in the past year, and those are some of my favorites because the homeowners put a lot of creativity and hard work into their houses rather than write a big check to a designer. The DIY-type projects I often find by word of mouth or from neighborhood home & garden tours. 

Sherry:  How can someone submit a project to you?

Lisa: The best way to start the process is by sending me low-res (small) photos of your house by email:…10-12 is a good number to start with. I love seeing “before” shots if the story is about redoing a room or the whole house. I might request more shots or come see it in person. I also need a small write-up to know what the good ideas are from your project. It’s good to think like a magazine editor: what could readers learn from your own house?  Bullet points are perfect; definitely no more than one paragraph of background at this early stage of the process.

Sherry:  Does the story of the homeowner affect the selection of the project?

Lisa: Usually, yes. All magazines enjoy a project with a good story behind it, but some magazines are more people-oriented than others. BH&G and Traditional Home both require that homeowners are interviewed and photographed as part of the friendly factor those magazines really like. Other publications like Beautiful Kitchens aren’t as concerned with that sort of thing, and in fact, a homeowner can be anonymous.

Sherry:What are magazines looking for these days?

Lisa: Not surprisingly, budget projects are particularly popular. Two of my favorite articles this year were kitchens for Kitchens & Bath Makeovers; one was a whole room done for under $20,000 and the other for under $9,000—both so inspirational. Anytime a homeowner has furnished a house in a clever way by saving money—whether through flea-market shopping or repurposing old things—that makes for a good story.  But I still need upscale projects for Traditional Home, Decor and Beautiful Kitchens & Baths, so I look at a large range of things.
Magazine editors really respond to color, by the way. There’s just nothing like a room with colors that pop to get someone’s attention.  We all love those kitchens with cream-colored cabinets and marble countertops, for instance, but magazines need to show ideas beyond that.
Individual rooms that are special can work, too. A master bath renovation, screened porch addition, maybe even an art studio…it’s fine to send me just one-room that shows a lot of ideas. Kids’s rooms aren’t as much in demand, though, unfortunately; they are usually shown only in the context of a whole house.

Sherry:  Do you have a certain decorating style that you favor?

Lisa: It’s fun to see houses that reflect an owner’s personality, more than 
anything. I also  like “the mix”: rooms that are maybe 75% traditional, and 25% modern, or half and half. It’s great to see a house successfully mix all different styles, eras and price points—which is really hard, I know! The interior design world is so comparable to fashion these days, where you can choose trendy accessories like funky jewelry or cool boots to spice things up, but other parts of your wardrobe can be classic, even sort of plain.

Sherry:What do you think every room needs?

Lisa: Every room needs some sort of art to make it more alive, I believe. I love the energy that a great painting can add to a room. There’s nothing like a modern painting in a formal dining room, or conversely, I love the juxtaposition of an oil landscape in an ornate gold frame next to an acrylic “ghost” chair.  Art doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, either. It’s so cool when people frame something inexpensive in multiples—what a great look. I was in a house recently where the homeowners converted dozens of family photos to black and white, then put them in green frames from Ikea and hung in the stairwell.

Sherry:  Who/What inspires you to run and make a change in your own home?

Lisa: I’m more of a “crawler” than a runner when it comes to my own house, I must admit. I was in the Yves Delorme outlet store in Chattanooga last week and told them that the bed linens I bought there 12 years ago (for a bargain) are still on my bed and I can’t see changing them anytime soon—which I know sounds boring for someone in the business. The fun I have in my job is seeing what other people do with their vision, but I’m OK with my house only being a B+. 
I did recently redo my living room to make it less stuffy, though: out came an Oriental rug and I replaced it with a seagrass one, and on one wall I have an oversized distressed mirror leaning casually to bring in a little height, while next to it is a real hodgepodge of art—different sizes of paintings and items I’ve collected over the years, but even stuff from Ballard’s Back Room—that my husband was patient enough to hang, gallery-style.
My house is very much “real life,” though; last night my 13-year-old son and five of his friends were plopped down in our family room watching football, complete with tennis shoes on the ottoman, so there’s nothing prissy in my house—out of necessity.

Sherry:  What design trends do you think are too saturated?

Lisa: That’s such an interesting question, because these days, with everyone having access to design websites and blogs, we all see hundreds more images than we ever did before. The life cycle of a trend is a lot shorter because of it, so almost everything good is subject to over-saturation. For example: about seven or eight years ago I first noticed “rustic chic” and it seemed so fresh: the chandeliers made out of wine barrel staves, or the coffee tables made from old carts with reclaimed wood and wheels—you and I talked about this. I love all that, but now I see it everywhere and all the catalogs and stores have so much of it—so like other things, rustic chic is over-saturated, unfortunately.
When people ask me what the “hot” colors are that they should use in their house, I tell them to stick with whatever colors make them happy. Because whatever is hot right this minute—whether its coral or turquoise or greige—will most likely be over-saturated in two years (although I’m old enough to know that it will come back in style at some point.)

Lisa sent me some pictures with comments as to why these were chosen.

Lisa:  This is Jane Armour's own house; she owns Armour Home in Virginia Highlands, a fabulous store to check out, if you haven't already.  What editors liked:  Her style is all about what she loves and has collected over the years, not some "set" decorating rules.  In fact she breaks a few rules: layering the art on top of each other on the fireplace mantel, and placing a zebra rug on top of the sisal.  Jayme's got a lot of fun color in her house too; everything is unexpected.

Lisa:  Editors loved this bathroom done on a budget by Sherry Hart [hee hee...plug for me! Thanks, Lisa!]  The wallpaper is like giant art to make the room cozy and interesting, plus each of the bathroom elements is just right size-wise.  In this case, Sherry told me the budget right away, which totally helped sell the project.

Lisa:  Here is a  Jill Van Tosh project that was interesting because it was a garage apartment that she turned into a teen hangout.  She captured what a teenage boy would like, and included some interesting features:  the revolving TV/media stand, salvaged wood used for beams and closets for character.  The orange kitchenette is Italian-cool. 

 Lisa:  Here is a DIY kitchen:  Lots of fun colors and ideas galore [the countertops are from an old bowling alley in Tucker!] for a Grant Park kitchen that was renovated for under a thousand.

Lisa:   A Suzanne Kasler/Spitzmiller & Norris kitchen that ran in Beautiful Kitchens. What gives this cream kitchen real style: the beautiful window treatment and an antique table as island, for starters. It also helps that it's not a huge room; we all respond to cozy spaces.

Thanks to Lisa for giving us this insight on getting published and what they are looking for. I know you all can use this valuable information because  I have seen so many talented people  out in "blogland"!  I will tell you this:  Take the best pictures you can.  Look in magazines for inspiration on how to stage the area a little.  Flowers...duh!  Take pictures of areas.  When you try to take the whole room, it looks busy and cluttered sometimes.  If you can afford it [or do a trade out!] hire a professional photographer.  Remember, you have that one opportunity to grab their attention.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sorry. Was typing WAY too fast on the previous comment obviously :-). What I meant to say (minus the typos) was:

What a great post, Sherri! Thank you for sharing the information with us. I think I already told you that I didn't realize when I first commented on your blog that several of the images that I had seen in design magazines and really liked were yours - it's so fun to "meet" the person behind the images.

I hope you have a fabulous 2011! Looking forward to following your room transformations. :-)

Annette said...

such lovely styling in these photographs:) ah hem:)
happy 2011, i hope to style up many of the houses you design and Lisa scouts:) cheers xo

Marianne said...

Thanks Sherry! So many wonderful tips here. Great way to kick off 2011!

Unknown said...

I loved this interview- definitely got me thinking about possibly getting up the nerve to submit pictures of my house. Thank you!! Wishing you a very Happy New Year Sherry! xo

René said...

Sherry, I am so glad that I found you this year. Not only are you a constant inspiration with your mad decorating skills, but you make me laugh :) Thank you for sharing your talent and your wonderful field trips with us. I look forward to reading your blog in the new year.

Happy new year!

L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys said...

Again, great post Sherry! Thanks for sharing this with us. And I hope the year is going great for you so far! Do you go to Scott's every month? I need to go again. I've only been once and really didn't find any great deals. I think I need to go with someone who is experienced!

Natalie {Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers} said...

Sherry, I just found your blog and I adore it! I love the nursery you designed! Gorgeous as I hate nurseries that are too babyish! Love the color paltte and accesories. You are one talented lady! I look forward to following you this year!

Allison {Live Love Small} said...

nice of you to share. first time on your blog and no doubt you have fantastic taste and style... i'm now a new follower. ;)

Design Blooms said...

I LOVED that you shared this with us! Im so in awe of your work. Im pretty sure your my new interior design obsession!

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

You are such an inspiration and hilarious to boot! Your posts are both informative and fun! Can't wait to see your creations in 2011...AND unless something happens, a girlfriend and I will be at Scott's on Saturday!

Lou Cinda :)

Cindy said...


Just found your blog, and i'm having a blast in here... you're so talented, and perfectly, wonderfully, irreverant! Oh yeah, ... and like you, i'd rather rip my eyeballs out and jump off a cliff than go to the dentist!


Julie Holloway said...

Welcome back, Sherry! And Happy New Year. You know I am a fan of this post and Lisa :) Julie

Tammy@InStitches said...

What a great interview, your home is beautiful. I can't wait to come back and look around some more !

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