Design in Depth: A Day in the Life of a Homes Editor

By Stacy Kunstel

I’ve been getting the question a lot lately: what exactly does a homes editor do? My first priority is to find the houses you see here in the magazine. Every week I’m out meeting with interior designers, architects and builders, combing through countless emails, and talking with store owners and artists about beautiful homes.

Those houses that look like they should be in the pages of New England Home–we look for a mix of styles, sizes and geographic locations–I then present to the rest of the New England Home team in one of our biweekly meetings.

The next most important thing I do for the magazine is to style and produce photo shoots in those houses we select to run in the magazine. That means I write a shot list of what rooms we will shoot with a professional photographer, and I gather any additional props and flowers that we will need to put in those spaces.

This is what a shoot typically looks like. Here’s photographer John Bessler and his assistant Brian Bessler looking at a shot on their computer monitor.

Photos by Stacy Kunstel

This is sometimes what a lighting set up can look like. Crazy, right? Like a hurricane blew through and left lighting equipment behind. Shooting photos is a lot more technical than you would think. Not only do you have to compose like an artist, but you have to light and work a computer like a software engineer.

It’s typical to have a pile of props in some corner that we can draw from during the shoot. You always want to have that perfect thing on hand. These extra pillows and vases came from the Wakefield Design Center in Stamford, who allowed me to borrow pieces for the shoot.

Of course there are flowers, too, purchased through a wholesale flower market. We have a set budget for flowers which means I have to be sure to get the most bang for the buck, so to speak. Every house is different, so each time I head to the flower market it is with an entirely different theme in mind.

The results are always stunning though. Here are a couple of original scouting shots of a room followed by the professionally styled and photographed versions.

A room before styling.

The same room after styling. 

Another room pre-styling.

And post-styling.

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