A Special Visitor

By Kate Riley August 1, 2011

I felt a little distant, absent, disconnected from all of you last week, but for a good reason.  You see, someone special had contacted me several weeks ago, requesting a holiday photo shoot at my house, and if you saw my tweets on Thursday and Friday, then you know it was Matthew Mead.  When Matthew Mead calls, well, everything else gets dropped to accommodate.

I’ve been a fan of his work for so many years and seeing how he makes everything so beautiful, I was feeling the pressure to recreate the magic at his level.  I didn’t sleep for a week, I might have showered once.  I was running around getting everything ready, pulling out Christmas décor, ordering last minute greenery (thank you Lynch Creek Farm!) and making other nervous gestures.  Sleep and basic grooming took a backseat to recreating the holidays in July.  Yes, I stunk and looked like a hag for a week, and I owe my husband a huge thank you for understanding my craziness and for the wisdom to not mention my appearance.   

candlesticks and ornaments

Matthew arrived on Thursday after landing in San Francisco and texted he would be at my house shortly.  I was biting my nails.  Would it all be OK?  The door bell rang, and there he was, on my doorstep.  He entered, he saw it all, and he smiled, and eased my troubled and weary mind. 

I said nervously, “Should we start prepping now?”  He replied in his rather relaxed demeanor, “No, let’s work tomorrow.  Let’s go antiquing instead.”  So we did.  Yes, it’s true, I spent an afternoon antiquing with Matthew and having dinner with him too.  I can honestly say, he’s the kindest professional I’ve ever met in this business. 

Matthew is one of those people that reminds me of this Mark Twain quote, the latter half of course. “Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions, small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.”  I shared my visions, ideas, and dreams for the future and he was so encouraging of them all.  And he taught me a trick or two while I watched him work.  Thank you Matthew for being who you are, for filling our world with inspiration, and for being such a supportive and talented fellow.  

kate and matthew mead

Matthew and I were so pleased with the success of the shoot, and I know you’ll love it too.  Look for it in October on newsstands, and follow Matthew’s Holiday Magazine blog to get the latest on its release, and also his new product line. 

Now it’s back to business as usual today with a tiling project in our dining room, I can’t wait to show you!  Oh, and the cabinets are finally installed at our Alma House, just a few more touch ups and some hardware and I’ll have a new laundry room to show you there too. 


cg kate signature





  1. Wow Kate, this is fantastic news. Must be hard to pull out all the Christmas stuff out in the middle of the summer but I wouldn’t blame you. I can’t wait to see the magazine! So happy for you, you are so talented and have such a great eye for home design. I know this is going to sound crazy but what magazine is it?


  2. Congratulations! That is so truly awesome! I always anxiously wait for his newest book-a-zine to come out, & this time will be even more exciting!
    :) CAS

  3. How exciting! I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    And you’re going to share your antiquing finds with us, right?

  4. How exciting so you were literally having Christmas in July!! Wow!! Love your article in the new House of Fifty ezine, great job as always!! I take horrible picutures, I think I need to get a camera or maybe read my manual as you suggested. Kathysue

  5. Whew! I woulda been a nervous wreck, but my young’uns would fit right in cuz they’ve been singing “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” for a month, and watching “Frosty The Snowman” every chance they get. They would have loved it.

    My 4-year-old would have complained about the “old hag” part tho!

    Congrats! And I love the new header/masthead!

  6. He picked the perfect place to come to! You so deserve to be showcased, and how fab is it that you got such a dose of empowerment and encouragement from him!! He sounds great!Excited to see it in print!

  7. Ha Jackie, yes I did manage to squeeze in one more wash before he arrived ! Thankfully . . .


  8. Congratulations! Isn’t it great to have all of your hard work noticed and rewarded? Congrats again and I bet everything was stunning.

  9. Congratulations, Kate! How exciting for you! You are most deserving of this! I look forward to seeing it in October. Your blog header looks great, too.

  10. Kate, I’ve been a follower since almost the beginning of your blog and it might sound silly but I’m so proud of all your accomplishments! You have true talent, and are deservedly getting recognition for it. Can’t wait to see the magazine. I loved the Summer edition I won in a giveaway on your blog, I’m sure the Holiday one will be even more spectacular. You go, girl!

  11. “Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions, small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.”

    OMG!!! I have never heard this before!!! You have just lifted my spirits this morning, CG! I’m totally inspired!

    And I can’t wait to see your home decked out for the holidays!

  12. great quote kate. i drop in to check out your blog often. congratulations on the photo shoot.

  13. This is so exciting. I absolutely cannot wait to see the magic you guys made! And thank you for sharing the quote…it’s made this dreamer a little more confident and sure about how great we can all make our lives.


  14. Kate, many congrats ! I can wait to see the final outcome…
    Need to say that you are looking gorgeous .

    all the very best !!

  15. You are truly SPECIAL, sweet and sensational GIRL! {And I mean that in every sense of the word!} I couldn’t be more thrilled for you – I KNOW the sacrifices you make, and unkempt hair is far from the real ones. YOU are a brilliant, creative star – to the MOON and beyond! Congrats on your wonderful adventure! xoxo!

  16. Simply can’t wait to see everything. You are such a darling and a true star.

  17. I know everyone else is gushing, and I’m gushing too. Everything looks great and being in a magazine is great and making a new friend is great. But really all I can think of, is I would rather slit my wrists than get all my Christmas stuff out right now. Kay, maybe not *my* wrists … maybe a neighbour’s wrists, or the wrists of someone who was rude to me. But still … what a HUGE amount of work. Wow! Impressive. p.s. I like the new look! ~ k!

  18. How cool! Although I must say that being inspired for Christmas with this heat must have been so hard to do! The pictures made me smile and I can’t wait to get my copy of the magazine. Congrats!

  19. I would pull out any Holiday decor for that opportunity! Congratulations, pretty darn exciting. What I like about your blog is the quality and not the quantity. I would of never of guessed you were distracted last week, you hid it well. Your hair looked wonderful by the way, maybe not washing it for a couple of days is the thing to do :)

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