About the Proposal

A proposal for This Old House. In 2003, I designed and produced this little booklet to send to This Old House, hoping they would consider my house for their annual winter project. They had never been to Texas, so why not? After two years had passed, I received a call from the producer, Deborah Hood, wondering if I had started the construction. She had just become the producer and had found the booklet on her desk with no notes or dates attached. Now mind you this had been mailed to them at the end of 2003. It was now early 2006, and construction documents had been drawn up, the general contractor had been selected, his contract had been signed, and the first phase had begun. I told her I could put everything on hold and wait on them, but she said not to do that. They were just looking for a backup in case their planned project in New Orleans fell through. Texas was a state that they had never done a project in, and she was also intrigued that I was a single female doing this on my own. Up until then, most of their projects were for married couples. Later that year, I read that they were going to do their winter project in Austin, Texas. I have to admit that Austin is more ideal for this kind of venue — Dallas, not so much. The following year they were finally able to go to New Orleans for their winter project.

While reading the booklet’s copy, keep in mind this was created in 2003, and the copy was a bit more novel back then. That’s not the case now, since plenty has been said and written on the pros and cons of the McMansion trend.

The photo on page 10 (seventh in the slideshow) was made possible by a timely teardown happening down my street. After the second day, the demo guys left the chain link gate open for me to stage and shoot all my raven photos (refer to pages 5 and 6). I couldn’t have asked for more perfect lighting from the sinking west sun, and because it was winter, the bare trees (with the exception of the live oaks) with their scratchy branches gave an eerie pall. The ravens were purchased through Martha Stewart’s catalog during an annual sale for all holiday decorations. Beyond using the dodge tool in Photoshop to give the ravens that beady eyeball effect, no other tricks were needed. OK, I know, the pink color isn’t creepy. But hey, it’s one of two color choices chosen for my 2001 promotional campaign that I created upon discovering the Patsy Ann doll.

Since I brought up the doll, I should give you the background story. My mom named me after this critter, who was one of a group of Patsy dolls that Effanbee created in the late 1920s. I grew up never knowing what this doll looked like, so when Ebay was invented, my first search was for her.

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