My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

So glad you asked

I have gotten several emails lately asking about the Country Living photo shoot. So I thought I would answer a few of  your questions today and share more pictures with you.

photo courtesy of Country Living April issue, photo by Gridley Graves, styled by Liz Demos

Many of you asked  "How much was changed for the shoot?"
The answer is : Not a lot.
The fabulous stylist Liz Demos made a few changes to "tighten it up" make it more photo worthy, but nothing significant.

Here she is along with Anne Gridley and Gary Graves the husband and wife dynamic duo (aka the photographers)

I actually took some pictures before everyone arrived that morning so you can compare the before and afters.

As you can see, I had a few unfinished painting projects I was working on that morning!

This is the South side of Tinkerhouse. I loved this little vignette with the ladder and old grocery scales.

This is the back of Tinkerhouse . I  was standing next to my clothesline when I took this.

And this is the North side of Tinkerhouse. Actually I took it before I put the plant back in the bucket!

And of course, the front of Tinkerhouse.

Here you can actually spot a few of the changes, the ladder with herbs and the williamsburg wheelbarrow have been moved.
Also, my two french iron chairs were replaced with aqua bistro chairs from another area. This was done for more color in the final shots.

Inside, not a whole lot is different, just somethings you haven't seen.

The chalkboard is one of my favorite shots. I love the old hoe I use for a little shelf and the old door hardware for my chalk.

Liz did some really fun terrariums for the shoot and I got to keep them. They are so much fun.

A view from up high

Up close

I love this old metal milkman's tote. It didn't make it in the finals shots.

The tie backs for my paint tarp curtains. The old knobs were taken from the door to our basement.

Another question I was asked was "Where is the little area made from french doors?"
Well, that little vignette is tucked in between my guest cottage and our garage.

Its one of the first things you see when you come into the backyard from the garage.

I sprayed the glass panes in the doors and windows with a faux mirror paint to reflect the surrounding gardens.

It's become a favorite little spot to grab some shade in the middle of the day.

Another question was "What other areas did they shoot and not use?"

The biggest area shot besides Tinkerhouse was my Potager.

Some other fun spots not used  were my birdbath filled with pots,

The upper deck sitting area that we are transforming into a screened porch this Summer. (more on that later)

And the little vignette outside my shed.

Did you notice the new paint color on the house?
I fell in love with the idea of a blue house so we repainted the James Hardie Cement Siding. It took us about 50 or so paint chips and 3 or 4 of the sample pots to decide on the color. It had to look just right in all types of light.
I really love it!
While this was all happening, we had another memorable moment in our lives,
Our son and his wife had a baby! There Shower was the day before the photo shoot!
Serious hustling was going on that weekend!

Keller Eugene was born in July and his cousin Miss Paisley came from Texas to meet him in August.

She was quite taken with him but still made time for dancing with Grammy!

Last Summer was quite the whirlwind but Oh so much Fun!

Thank you for stopping by, I hope I've answered most of your questions.
I have a new project to tell you about next time!
Until then...many blessings!


  1. I got my copy of Country Living and saw your exquisite Tinkerhouse and recognized it instantly :D Wonderful article, congratulations!

    1. Thank you so much Jayne! I am very humbled and honored that anyone other than myself would get such joy from Tinkerhouse

  2. Oh Donna ~ it's pure heaven. Every little detail is so delightful. How I wish I could do something similar where I live, but the bunnies and chipmunks eat my flowers!

    And Miss Paisley is such a big girl now. Congratulations on your new grandson ~ there is much joy at your house!!!


    1. Hello sweet Lin!
      Thank you so much! JOY ABOUNDS HERE!
      We are so thankful for our many blessings
      Hugs to you my friend

  3. I too saw somewhere that you were featured in Country Living so hurried out to get my issue. I loved it! I've missed your blog posts but completely understand when life gets so busy. Your gardens remind me of the sweeter, slower life I enjoyed growing up in Missouri. Congratulations on the article! It was beautiful.

    1. Thank you Sheila, life has been somewhat busy of late. We hope to have a slower paced Spring and Summer, but who knows still so many projects to complete.
      Blessings and hugs to you

  4. Donna, Everything is so pretty at your house. I love your little places to sit when outside. You have so many clever ideas. I do not know how you did it with the shower before the photo shoot. You are one busy lady all the time. Your grand babies are adorable. Now that new color is very grand...I love it..I also love the idea of a screened in area. That is a must any more what with bugs and mosquitoes. Bless you and yours, xoxo, love you sweet girl, Susie


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné