• Tachic Hickman-Piazza

ABD 2nd Photo Shoot: The Inspiration Behind It

What an amazing first week of launch it has been?!?! Overwhelming and humbled to say the very least. I had absolutely no expectations or no huge lofty goals or numbers to hit. I only desired to share my love for all things Interior Design & Decorating with an audience who loves it as much as I do. Or, with an audience who would soon come to love and appreciate it as much as I do.

In a previous post titled "Behind the Scenes: ABD 1st Photo Shoot," I shared with you all my initial ideas and inspiration for my very first Photo Shoot @ #HousePiazza. If you haven't had a chance to read that particular post yet, I highly encourage you to do so, just to get caught up with my design journey. The Behind the Scenes blog post is still a featured post on my home page. You can click on the link directly from the featured post section. However, for your convenience, here is the direct link...

Also, in the Behind the Scenes blog post, I mentioned that in a later post I would share my inspiration for my 2nd Photo Shoot. Well, that's exactly what I want to do in this post. So let's get into it...

I collect a lot of Interior Design books. I've been building my collection since my early twenties and I'm now thirty-six, (approaching thirty-seven by year's end, Dec. 5th to be exact. Yes, I'm a true blue Sagittarius). So it's been well over ten years, that I've long been mesmerized by visuals I find in some of the most amazing design books. I appreciate so many different ones...everything from DIY design books, to books that focus more on the usage of color, books that focus on neoclassical designs, to books that are dedicated to New Orleans elegance and French style architecture. And, then one of my personal favorites are design books from some of my favorite Interior Designers...sharing not only their design style, but also their design perspective, their design journey and of course some of the most mind-blowing visuals ever from a collection of amazing projects they've designed and decorated.

A few months before my 2nd Photo Shoot, I was browsing the Interior Design section in my local Barnes & Noble, which I frequent several times a month. Yes, I'm a huge advocate of reading and collecting books. Have you not seen my book collection in my Home Office?

Also, my home office book collection is just a snippet, as I have books staged all throughout my house because I not only indulge in reading them, but I LOVE to decorate with books. That's a story for a future post (How to Decorate with Books).

So while in Barnes & Noble, I stumble upon the very book that became the inspiration for my 2nd Photo Shoot. That book is none other than Mary McDonald: Interiors: The Allure of Style

SideNote: Peep the word ALLURE in her book title. Mary doesn't know it yet, but we're design soul sisters. Clearly we both love and appreciate the word ALLURE. Mary is indeed a friend in my head.

Now Mary McDonald herself, needs no introduction. But for my design audience who aren't familiar, allow me to share. Mary McDonald is one of the most accomplished Interior Designers in the realm of all things Design. So much so, that her name is now her brand - Mary McDonald, Inc. This lady is a force to be reckoned with and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE both her design and fashion style. Her work and her designs have all been featured in just about every global design print magazine there is. She's been honored as one of the top 25 Designers by Veranda Magazine and one of the top 100 Designers by House Beautiful. Most people recognize Mary McDonald from her TV appearances as one of the stars of Bravo TV's "Million Dollar Decorators" & "Property Envy." Her list of accomplishments truly go on and on.

But back to my Barnes & Noble visit...So I see Mary's book and I'm immediately drawn to the cover of the book (pictured above). Now her book made it's first public debut in October of 2010. So it's been around for a minute, yet still just as wonderful today as it was when it was first released. And, even more so...the visuals in the book are just as current and up to date as today's design styles. Absolutely nothing outdated about this book, even six years later.

When I'm in Barnes & Noble, and I find a book that I know I'm going to love I usually take a seat on the little black footstool nearby and just sit and indulge. Yep, from the turn of the very first page...I was ALL IN!

As I skimmed through the visuals and read through some of Mary's quotes, the more pulled in I became and the more inspired I became. Inspiration was on every single page. Her images were shot soooooooo well and the colors were so vibrant. And, it was detail after detail. If you're the least bit familiar with Mary McDonald, you know she has a true appreciation of European design (from her extensive years of travel in Europe) and you could see that within the visual images of her book. But out of everything that spoke to me about Mary's book, one thing spoke to me the absolute most. It was the way Mary coordinated her fashion and wardrobe pieces with the interior look of the room she's featured in. OMG!! I totally lost it. It was sooooooo beautifully staged and so well executed.

My immediate thought from seeing how well Mary's wardrobe pieces worked with her designs...was I knew I was going in the right direction with my idea. (YAY!!) For my first Photo Shoot, I paired a classic black collared monogram Banana Republic top with a puffy, yet elegant and dainty yellow midi-skirt. I chose those colors specifically to compliment the colors in my home office, which are black, ivory, and gold. In addition, my skirt introduced the drama element, while my top introduced the classic element, which are all very present features in the way I designed and decorated my home office space.


Interior Styling & Gallery Wall By: Allured By Design

Photo Still By: Asolid Photography

Shooting Location: House Piazza

Wardrobe: Black Collared Monogram Top - Banana Republic, Yellow Midi Skirt - Shop with Tene, Shoes - Nine West

Home Office: Furniture & Decor Sources for Home Office will be shared in a future post

I didn't want to take away any attention from the space I created and I didn't want the space to take away any attention from me either. Simultaneously we needed to compliment one another. I simply wanted people to know who the face was behind the Allured By Design brand and in addition, I wanted people to actually see the interior decorating work I've done in my home, or as I like to call me and my husband's home, #HousePiazza.

As a result, for the 2nd Photo Shoot...I desired to tackle it from the same perspective, by selecting wardrobe pieces that would compliment the design and the colors of each room we'd be shooting in. Yes, each room because there would be several rooms we'd be shooting in this time around and not limited to just one space. Because, I had finally completed curating several looks in #HousePiazza.

Design Tip: Do not rush to fill your home with furniture and decorative accents just for the sake of filling it. Give yourself the time, space, and saved income to invest in quality pieces that will last for years to come. In addition, give yourself the time to explore what design styles you like, how do you want your home to make you feel, and how do you want your home to make your invited guests feel as well. Interior Decorating is an investment into not only the visual aesthetics of a space, but also an investment into one's piece of mind.

What really made the 2nd Photo Shoot so great, was that this time around, I had a tangible concrete resource to showcase to my Photographer (John Dilosa, Jr. of Asolid Photography) before we began our session. This way he'd be able to immediately understand my vision. And, just as I thought, he did. Not that he didn't understand my vision for the 1st Photo Shoot, because he totally did. John and I, creatively work very well together (even in the moments we argue like brother and sister) and he totally gets my creative ideas. Nonetheless, I was still excited to have images that I knew would speak to him directly from a photographic perspective.

Also, prior to my 2nd Photo Shoot, I snapped a few photos of images from Mary's book and sent them via text to John with the following accompanying words - "These images are the inspiration for our upcoming shoot."

September 18, 2016 couldn't arrive fast enough. But it FINALLY came! It was the day of my final Photo Shoot for the launch of Allured By Design. Of course there would be many more photo shoots to come in the future, but this was the final launch package shoot and my nerves were all over the place, sadly. For the 1st Photo Shoot, I was relatively calm and relaxed, which came as quite a surprise to even me because I don't really have a relaxed personality, especially when I'm in grind and work mode.

I think it was the fact that this particular shoot really had to both artistically and visually convey to my pending audience the hard work and effort I'd put into curating and designing me and my husband's home. It was so imperative for John to capture that in each photo. Again, my presence couldn't take away from the room I designed, and the room couldn't take away from my presence. Yet, ultimately, the interior of the room had to be front and center. It was a very delicate balance that John had to capture with every image. As such, it was that particular balance that was so well executed in Mary McDonald's book and in every single image she appeared in.

Another reason my nerves were all over the place for the 2nd Photo Shoot...I'd gained a few lbs, so the emotional woman in me naturally was worried about how the extra fluffy love and muffin top would look spilling into each photo. But that's what great photographers are for, to capture you at your best angle :)

Also, I had an even smaller team at my home for the 2nd Photo Shoot. No videographer this time around, as it was strictly just a Photo Shoot producing photo stills. So, ultimately the photos had to say everything! My film colleague and also good and dear friend,

Lauren Boudreaux, whom I had just worked with on Queen Sugar (see the Behind the Scenes: ABD 1st Photo Shoot to catch up on my story of me working on the OWN TV Series Queen Sugar), agreed to be my assistant for the day...helping with each setup, helping me get in and out of every wardrobe change and also shoot & capture behind the scenes photos. And, boy did she...Lauren took her job SERIOUSLY, OK!! That heffa took a good 300 behind the scenes photos on my iPhone. Her words - "Hey, you told me to capture all of the behind the scenes magic and I did." And, I so love her for it.

Between all of the professional photos, to all of the behind scenes photos from each photo shoot...I have such an extensive library of visuals that I can take my time sharing with my growing audience from my daily Instagram post on the @alluredbydesign page to the

Allured By Design FB page (please like us on FB), to my personal FB page and of course here on the blog itself.

Lauren's presence alone helped to calm me and reassure me that all would be well. She has such the calming, laid back personality and it was so needed on that day. And, John's youthful and high energy reassured me that in spite of my nerves, he had his creative marching orders and from the visual inspiration of Mary McDonald's book, he knew exactly how to execute. Indeed, he delivered!


Interior Styling & Gallery Wall By: Allured By Design

Photo Still By: Asolid Photography

Shooting Location: House Piazza

Wardrobe: Little Black Dress - Shop with Tene, Gold Open-Toe Heels - Nine West, Gold Necklace - Banana Republic

Home Office: Furniture & Decor Sources for Home Office will be shared in a future post


Interior Styling By: Allured By Design

Photo Still By: Asolid Photography

Shooting Location: House Piazza

Wardrobe: Little Black Dress - Shop with Tene, Gold Necklace - Banana Republic

Formal Dining Room: 17th Century Monastery Table & Vintage French Round Chairs - Restoration Hardware,

Gold Gilded Bowls - ZGallerie, Aurora Napkins & Stone Napkin Rings - ZGallerie, Table Runner - Pier1Imports,

Rustic Finials - Lesle Veca Designs, Gold & White Salad Plates - Pier1 Imports, Black&White Print Curtains - Pier1

Add'l Tablescape Source information: Can be found on the "Welcome to Allured By Design" blog post


Interior Styling By: Allured By Design

Photo Still By: Asolid Photography

Shooting Location: House Piazza

Wardrobe: White Collared Top - Ann Taylor LOFT, Watercolor Floral Pants - Banana Republic, Blue Necklace - The Limited

Living Room: Furniture & Decor Sources for Living Room will be shared in a future post


Interior Styling By: Allured By Design

Photo Still By: Asolid Photography

Shooting Location: House Piazza

Wardrobe: White Blazer - The Limited, Red Midi Skirt - Shop with Tene

Foyer Decor & Home Accents: Empire Console Table - ZGallerie, Set of 2 Gold Ming Boxes - ZGallerie,

Frosted Mercury Vases - Anthropologie

Add'l Source information: Can be found on the "Welcome to Allured By Design" blog post

I'd like to personally thank both Lauren and John for an amazing Photo Shoot. Lauren for the peaceful energy you always bring forth.

John, for the creative genius you are and for capturing some of the most stunning and visually inspiring shots. I literally receive daily phone calls, emails, and text messages about how great your images are. To my NOLA & Northshore audience that has yet to work with John on any upcoming project or event, BOOK HIM! You won't regret it.

I'd also like to thank my husband, for dealing with yet, another Photo Shoot session on a football Sunday. The things I put my husband through, lol. But he loves me still ;)

And, lastly I'd like to say Thank You Mary McDonald for consistent design inspiration. To me, you are the epitome of a BOSS, that's built and still building an amazing empire with every bit of elegance and class. I'm completely amazed by you and your work, and I'm beyond stoked to have your book as part of my collection of Interior Design Books. For me, your book is the gift that keeps on giving.

With Love,


#MaryMcDonald #2ndPhotoShoot #TheAllureofStyle #Interiors #Photographer #Top100Designers #Allure #MaryMcDonaldInc

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