A Picture's Worth a Thousand... Bucks? ||Part 1||

T-Minus 2 days until the Sweet Clover Barn Sale!  Chelsea and I have been wishin' and hoping' and thinkin' and prayin' that we'll get to meet some new faces, sell a few pieces, and not shop too much ourselves over the weekend ;)

So a few of you may remember that back in April, Caleb and I put all our stuff in storage (including my go-to tools, DIY supplies, and staging accessories) and moved into a friend's basement AKA our "summer home."  Wanting to respect the space of our host, I haven't taken on many furniture flips.  But with the sale coming up, I found a few low-impact projects I couldn't resist - like copycatting this stunner of a bench:

Source:  Zin Home

Source: Zin Home


But YIKES that price!  Who would have an extra grand lying around to spend on a bench?  I wanted to make a bench that would look like $1,000 bucks but not one that would actually cost someone that much!  I had scored a set of [free] chrome legs from another bench so that was a step in the right direction by keeping my expenses low.  After curating the perfect faux cowhide fabric I had this:


Not too shabby eh? 

So now I had this epic mid-century modern meets rustic meets eclectic bench to sell [a style mutt of it's own if you ask me] and I started thinking about the kind of customer I hoped it would attract.  In our line of work, pictures often make the sale so it was critical that I get some captivating shots.  The problem was we're living in a basement with butter yellow walls and mostly traditional decor.  It just didn't seem like the best set-up to sell a mid-century/modern/rustic/eclectic bench.  Fortunately, our summer home has a GLORIOUS view so I thought I'd try something I've always wanted to: do a furniture photoshoot al fresco.  Here's my best shot from the shoot:

So after I took this shot I couldn't help but feel like it wasn't really "selling" the bench.  Was it too artsy or the background too busy?  Stumped, I turned to Instagram for some help from the DIY community and got the following feedback:

  • "Needs something... not sure what.. hopefully you'll get some ideas today.."
  • "Really like the idea of outside staging but I think the background is a bit overwhelming."
  • "I love this piece and this shot! What if the bench wasn't facing the side with that house behind it, but rather where the view is a bit deeper and you see the lake in the background. Might be more monochromatic."
  • "Leave it! It lets the piece shine!"
  • "Ok right now I'm staring because the shot is so beautiful. But I think you need more focus on the bench. Maybe move the bench a little more in front of the tree and shoot with your focus on the bench"
  • "Absolutely love the pic, but I almost missed the bench at first glance, maybe if the background was blurred a little?"
  • "Stunning just how it is!"
  • "The bench caught my eye first thing"
  • "Stand along and let it speak for itself!!!"
  • "Stunning with nature's green as a backdrop"

Although it seems like I was getting mixed poll results, it totally helped me realize what was bugging me about this shot.  I realized that what I loved about this picture wasn't the bench, it was the tree.  I wasn't even looking at the bench for that sweeping tree - leaning out over the water like it just wants to go for a refreshing dip.  So I tried blurring the background to help focus on the bench [literally]. 

Better but would that really help a buyer put it in the context of their home?  I decided to try introducing a few of my decor pieces [that weren't in storage] in hopes that it would help:

Here's some of the feedback I got with this new shot:

  • "Wish I had an answer for you! Since I only sell my stuff online, I always have a white background. It is a pretty shot though! Maybe if you just cropped it with less background?"
  • "I love the props together, but personally I think a blank wall backdrop would work better with the look you have going on"
  • "I'll be completely honest with my opinion. Until I read that it was a styled shot I thought it was a behind the scenes of what you did before. I lost the fact that the bench was what I needed to be looking at. I appreciate the picture alone, but for me it didn't work to capture my attention as an ad for the bench."
  • "I think the bench and the books, by themselves against the backdrop would have been really cool!!
  • "Love the book idea..but maybe just one book laying open.... And a small very small tray with a tall glass of lemonade with a tall tall straw and lemon garnish! I would kill for your view! Love being near water...  the bench is marvelous!"
  • "This looks like a magazine ad! Love it"

Again, mixed poll results.  I liked the color scheme but the odds and ends made for a confusing vignette.  I mean who is this photo geared towards?  Someone who spends the day by the lake reading books with their upholstered coffee table bench, a terrarium, and blank canvases?  That's a pretty narrow market.  

I tried blurring the background again in hopes they wouldn't stand out as much.  Maybe it could be mistaken as a magazine ad, but not every buyer has editorial taste.  It was still missing that "$1,000 feeling" so what else could I do to help it sell?  It was at this point I was ready to throw in the towel but the encouraging IG community got me thinking again.  Maybe, with a little imagination and the help of our host's traditional decor, this style mutt could find a way to get the feel I was going for after all...  

I hope you'll come back tomorrow to find out how!

And don't forget!  You're invited to the Sweet Clover Barn Sale this weekend Aug 21-23 from 10am to 5pm at Sweet Clover 4051 Stanford Ct, Frederick, Maryland 21703.

StyleMutt Goes to Maryland ||A Special Announcement||

Ok guys.  We are taking a brief break from our StyleMutt Spaces features for the next two weeks for an exciting new endeavor!   Now I know we’ve been hinting at this exciting news on Instagram and Facebook for a while now but it’s about time we gave you the quick and dirty deets ;) 

StyleMutt Home has the honor of making a cameo appearance at the Sweet Clover Barn Sale August 21-23!  We were simply tickled when fellow locals Cassie & Sarah invited us to sell our goods in there ADORABLE barn venue well… we just couldn’t help ourselves.  These entrepreneurial bossladies have an empowering mission that so close to our own:

Sweet Clover is not just another Barn Sale. We are a fun an friendly vintage shopping experience, offering the greater DC and Baltimore area a vast selection of eclectic finds for the home. At Sweet Clover there are not decorating rules – let your heart be your designer.
— Sweet Clover Barn

If you’ve been sleuthing through our latest posts you may have even caught on to which pieces will be for sale at Sweet Clover.  But as a little StyleMutt teaser, here's a quick little round up of just some of the pieces we will have to offer over the weekend:

Graphite Dresser and Nightstand Duo

Graphite Set tagged.jpg

Army Cot Coffee Table & Tray

Cot tagged 3.jpg

Card Catalog Record Table

Celestial Hanging Chart
(Like the one in our DC Apartment Reveal)

Cowhide Chrome Bench

Cow print tagged.jpg

Don’t forget to look for our pieces or our sweet little watercolor tags (courtesy of our favorite Jr. Interns aka Chelsea’s kids).  There will be lots of beautiful pieces to gawk at from the other incredible talented vendors so if you’re in the mood for a décor overhaul, I suggest you bring a (semi) truck ;)


Chelsea and I will be there one or more of the sale days to meet and greet any of you who may want to stop by!  I will be the one shopping more than selling probably... ;)