Ashley Morrison's Blog

January 30, 2016

Farm cottage renovation.

Is the title of our latest published work in the March 2016 issue of Real Homes magazine…
Pages 70 to 77 in the March 2016 issue of Real Homes magazine featuring Dominic and Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called 'The Safe House' near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. on pages 70 to 77 – which features Dominic and Louise McGuane’s renovated farmhouse called ‘The Safe House’ near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.

“Louise McGuane used natural light, modern design and open space to transform her 18th-century stone cottage into a contemporary masterpiece.”

Which I talked about shooting here: The Safe House – at the end of July of last year.

So just want to say a big Congratulations to both Dominic and Louise here…
Louise McGuane in her renovated farmhouse called 'The Safe House' near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. for making it into this top selling national magazine – because this was indeed an amazing renovation, whereby you differently did manage “to create something unassuming from the outside but utterly modern from the moment you step inside” – from Marie, Mandi & me @ ampimage.com

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July 27, 2015

The Safe House.

From the road, it may not look like it’s much more than a few old barns on the top of the hill – however, if you go around to the back, then you will start to realize​ it’s a lot more than that – as you can see here…
 Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. which is the renovated farmhouse of Dominic & Louise, which they call ‘The Safe House’ near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.

And inside – with the help of Swiss Architect, Jean Claude Girard – well as you can see here…
 First shot taken in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. it wasn’t quite what one would expect to see neither in this part of the world.

Anyway, after Marie had done her thing and I had done mine – we were ready for our first main shot of the day, which was of Louise and her little Jack Russell dog…
 ​Louise McGuane in her renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. in the living room – before turning around towards the dining and kitchen area…
 Marie in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. which really did look pretty amazing…
The living room in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. as this huge window…
 Marie in the dining area of Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. the largest I believe in any home in Ireland – and that huge amount of white, did make it feel very spacious – as well as make even this large dining table look quite small…
The dining area in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. and then there was the stairs…
The stairs in Dominic & Louise McGuane's renovated farmhouse called The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. and kitchen…
The kitchen in The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. which believe it or not, required me having to use every light I had with me, as I wanted to draw your eye through the image.
Because even the bathroom didn’t look like what one would expect to see inside a few old barns on the top of a hill…
The bathroom in The Safe House near the village of Cooraclare in County Clare.
.. especially over on the west coast of Ireland.

Anyway, impressive to say the least – as was the rest of the place – but to see that you will have to wait for it to appear in a magazine, as this is what I’d also call a Safe House for us to shoot Smile​

So big thanks to both Dominic & Louise for inviting us into their Safe House – and we will keep you posted once we know more.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com having fun in County Clare.

April 18, 2014

Christmas in the USA

The main reason for us being here, was due to us being asked by Rachel – the commissioning homes editor at the BBC – if we would be interested in going to America to produce and then provide her with some images of a home in New England, for her to use in their up & coming Christmas issue.

To which we had to think long & hard about… for all of 2 seconds, before saying YES Smile

So this was the next one on our list and the main reason for us being here… in August.
Not exactly Christmas time, nor did it feel like Christmas – but nevertheless, when we arrived at Jackie & David’s New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont, we knew Santa wasn’t far away, as one of his little helper was already there…
Young deer outside Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. out in their garden, keeping an eye on us all smile

Anyway, needless to say, a lot of work when into this one…
setting up the living room shot in Jackie & David's New England farmhouse near Stowe.
.. as we were shooting this totally out of season…
Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. and so, therefore, everything had to be set-up so as to make it look as Christmasy as possible…
Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. while the summer sun was shining brightly outside.

The storyline:

Jackie, originally from Manchester in the UK, who now works in tourism & marketing for New England, said: ‘When I first met David, we were both working in Boston but he is originally from Vermont and had always wanted to return there. We knew that Vermont would be very different and much quieter than Boston and decided to stay here for a six month trial period to see if it felt right. We stayed in the small town of Stowe which is quite near the Canadian border and at the end of the six months, I was totally sold. Vermont is famous for its beautiful scenery – particularly in the “fall” but I also loved the whole lifestyle aspect. The population in Vermont is surprisingly small; crime rate is low and everything is clean and well maintained. The summers are hot and sunny and wonderful for cycling, walking and kayaking whereas the winters are perfect for skiing and sledding. Even though Stowe is quite small, it has a really nice social scene with great restaurants, theatres and art galleries. We both agreed it would be a perfect place to settle down and raise a family.’

Now that’s what I call a ‘sales pitch’ – but it was also all true – as this really is a beautiful part of the world – and I could totally see why they moved here.

Anyway, it was very hot outside, so naturally we ask them all to dress in their warmest winter clothes…
Jackie Ennis & her son, Callum, the living room of in their New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. and act the part…
Jackie Ennis & her son, Callum, in the kitchen of their New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. which both Callum (above) and Antonia as seen here in her bedroom…
Antonia in her bedroom.
.. clearly loved doing – and Antonia even suggested a few different poses of her own…
Antonia in the bathroom.
.. which I obviously had to shoot wink

When Marie asked Jackie to tell us about Christmas in Vermont for the feature, she said:
I’m probably a little biased but to me, this has to be one of the most picturesque places in the world to spend Christmas. We always have snow and everyone tends to decorate their homes in a very traditional way with real Christmas trees, wooden decorations and not too much tinsel.

Beautiful…
Master bedroom in Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. and so was the amazing spread in the December issue of BBC Good Homes magazine…
Pages 152 to 157 in the December 2005 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Jackie Ennis and David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. which they ran over 6 pages – as was the 7-page spread and cover of Templeton Robinson’s property life magazine…
The cover plus pages 14 to 20 in issue 20 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Jackie Ennis and David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. a few years later – which they titled, Christmas in the USA.

Over the moon to be back in America – and this was the main reason for our return – which one day soon I hope to do again.

So in the meantime, I’d just to say huge thanks to everyone involved here – especially to Jackie, David, Callum, and Antonia – for not only making us feel so welcome but for also making a dream come true for both of us.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com, thank you.

January 26, 2014

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes.

As Henry Ford once said:

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.

So we are in Spain with all our gear, sitting by the pool after having shot what we came here for – and I’m thinking: “this is an opportunity, not a job” – so we asked David, the local real estate agent who was keen to promote the area to the UK market, if he had anything else on his books for us to look at while we were here.

Well, he naturally jumped at the opportunity and so took us out to see this property…
Spanish Finca located near Javea.
.. which was a restored Spanish Finca (farmhouse) set amidst vineyards and almond groves near Javea or Xabia (as known in Valencia) in this beautiful part of the Costa Blanca.

The property was built around 300 years ago for a farmer, his family, and animals – all sharing the same building. In fact, the courtyard would have been a corral with the animals feeding from a trough which is now part of the wall beneath the kitchen window.

Yes, I can work with that…
Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. but what’s it like inside…
living area inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. or should I say, what could it look like…
Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. as the recce images…
living area inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. are just our starting point…
Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. to give us an idea of whether it’s worth spending more time on…
Kitchen inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. doing whatever we feel needs to be done…
the kitchen in Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. to not just take some pictures…
Kitchen inside Spanish finca located near Javea.
.. but to create images…
the kitchen in Black's Spanish finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. that others would want to use.

THE STORY
The couple had dreamed of owning a place like this since their student days but were almost put off by the prices of renovated fincas – until they decided to undertake the work themselves and create the archetypical holiday home we all dream of – exposed stonework, beamed ceilings, terracotta floors and ochre colour-washed walls.
Mind you, they had to learn that Spanish and UK deadlines aren’t always the same!

Anyway, Marie had clearly a lot to do here…
Bedroom inside Spanish Finca located near Javea.
.. while I just had to figure out how to light this place…
Master bedroom in Black's Spanish Finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. with just one main light…
Bedroom inside Spanish Finca located near Javea.
.. as the power supply was, to say the least…
Bedroom in Black's Spanish Finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. minimum.

Still, the natural light was very good, as our recee images showed…
Bathroom inside Spanish Finca located near Javea.
.. so it was just a case of making the most of that…
Bathroom in Black's Spanish Finca located near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. to create what was to become one of the most fantastic periods of my life.

So I’d just like to thank David and also his wife Christine here…
Christine & David Black outside their Spanish Finca located in Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. for not only their time but also for this Opportunity – as that’s how I started to view at this type of work and almost every other assignment from this point in time onwards.

Featured in the October 2005 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine…
Pages 24 to 28 in the October 2005 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Christine and David Black's converted Spanish farmhouse near Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. on pages 24 to 28, plus in the 4th issue of Templeton Robinson’s Property Life magazine…
Pages 12 to 17 in issue 6 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Christine and David Black's Spanish Finca located in Javea on the Costa Blanca.
.. on pages 12 to 17 – as well as in many other magazines around the World too (which unfortunately I’m unable to show here because I wasn’t able to pick-up a copy of those magazines here in Ireland).

From Marie & me @ ampimage – who simply tried to create the dream of ‘living the dream’ in this beautiful part of the World that they call Costa Blanca… just for you 🙂

January 3, 2014

Lets talk cushions.

As the girls debated the merits of cushions…
Victoria and Marie talking shop.
.. and which ones worked best – so it was all about “keeping with the neutral scheme but adding interest and depth with unusual cushions with writing and numbers” or some such thing – as I set-up the camera and lights to produce a number of images…
Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. of this beautifully converted old farmhouse…
Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. near Portglenone in County Antrim – the home of Victoria & Neil Robertson.

The story-line:

Victoria is from Northern Ireland but studied and worked in London for several years where she met Neil who is from Cornwall.
Moving back to Northern Ireland was very much a lifestyle decision for the couple – slower pace of life, starting a family, being closer to Victoria’s parents, etc – and also the fact that their budget stretched so much further when it came to buying a house in Northern Ireland compared to the South of England.

And so as these first captures show…
Victoria and Marie talking shop.
.. the talk was all about how a tiny little splash of pale blue here…
Victoria Robertson in the sitting room of her converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. could make all the difference – and so naturally Victoria had to sit on the edge of the sofa, so as not to disturb them smile

Even in the master bedroom…
Shooting the master bedroom.
.. the talk was all about cushions & throws…
The master bedroom in Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. and how adding a wee splash of colour…
Setting up the sofa shot.
.. could make a big difference – right through to the last image…
Sofa in the master bedroom of Victoria and Neil Robertson's converted farmhouse near Portglenone in County Antrim.
.. of the day.

So forget about what camera I used or what lights I used, etc – let’s talk about cushions instead smile

Seriously though, as I would often say to Marie – when we talk about all of this stuff – one is only as good as the weakest link – so what’s in front of the camera, is every bit as important as what’s behind it – which is where she as a Stylist comes into play – because those cushions did make a big difference here… which I know little about.

Not surprising then, that Marie recently set-up a new company called Natural Calico – which is all about cushions such as this Carte Postale Cushion
Carte Postale cushion available from Natural Calico.
.. and those finishing touches, that can greatly help turn your house into a beautiful home.

So a way to go girls – great teamwork – which at the end of the day, as far as I’m concerned, is what this type of photography is all about.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

April 6, 2013

Overlooking Sixmilewater Valley…

Filed under: Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 3:20 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

.. and Donegore Hill, just outside Templepatrick in County Antrim – is where we were shooting the other day, in Ruth & David’s Ulster farmhouse.

The sun has been shining most of this week – after a few weeks of snow – and even though most of our work is indoors, the difference a bit of sunshine can make is huge – as it pours through the windows and just makes everyone feel & everything look so good.

Which was very much the case here, as the place was almost naturally lit…
First picture taken in the sitting room in Ruth and David Black's farmhouse near Templepatrick in County Antrim.
.. and everyone was in great form too.

Still, it is said that photographing interiors is “10% creativity and 90% moving furniture”, which as you can see here…
The sitting room in Ruth and David Black's farmhouse near Templepatrick in County Antrim
.. was very true – as we moved things around to suit the camera, which often sees things differently to the eye.

So it’s usually a case of taking a picture first, to see how it looks as is – which is what Marie is standing here waiting to see…
First picture taken in the kitchen in Ruth and David Black's farmhouse near Templepatrick in County Antrim.
.. as she looks over to the laptop’s screen, across the room – and then we do what we feel is needed, to end up with something like this:
The kitchen in Ruth and David Black's farmhouse near Templepatrick in County Antrim.

So it’s a bit of a slow process – but Ruth thoroughly enjoyed it all, as we turned her house upside down 🙂

And after seeing the final results yesterday, she wrote to say:

Marie and Ashley,
OOOOOOH MY WORD!!
What more can I say? The pictures are stunning and I don’t have any more words to express that.
And what about Davids response to the living room? I wish you had been here. These were his words- How did we never think of that? This is like a new room, I love it.
Thank you both for Thursday, it was a pleasure and I have every confidence you will both go from strength to strength in your work. I have looked at photos of other homes and locations on your website…….aaaaaah!
Marie I look forward to seeing Natural Calico, and the Bangor house is patiently waiting to be embellished……
With very best wishes to you both,
Ruth
xx

Which was a really lovely reaction.

So ‘thank you’ Ruth and David for inviting us along – and making us both feel so welcome.
We will keep you posted.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com

September 15, 2010

The Italian Job

Five homes in Italy – from our trip across Europe in 2006.

1. Tia and Bruce Weissman’s Italian villa called ‘Casa Lara’ which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
Tia Weissman outside her Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.

2. Dizzi Alfons’ 18th-century former farmhouse near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region.
Dizzi Alfons' 18th-century former farmhouse set in a rural estate near the medieval town of Lucca in the northern Tuscany region of Italy.

3. David Law’s converted mill in the Marches region.
David Law's converted mill in the Marches region of Italy

4. Helen and Peter Hannick’s 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.

5. Claudia and Francesco Bachetoni’s villa called L’Arco in the Pianciano hamlet near Spoleto.
Claudia and Francesco Bachetoni's villa called L'Arco in the Pianciano hamlet near Spoleto in Italy.

Enjoy:

August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th..

… and the sun is shining in our garden today…
The garden at the back of 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. as you can see.

Anyway, we decided to put our house on the market at lunch time…
Property news pdf of 4 Kilbright Road for sale by John Minnis Estate Agents for £350,000.
..which you can read all about, by clicking on the above image to view a pdf document, of the Property News page on their website.

This ‘Magnificent Detached Semi Rural Property’ as they describe it, has been the Morrison family home for over 150 years now…
Farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
..and has been our family home…
Sitting room in the farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. which we have done a lot of work to over the past 15 years – and even updated the kitchen at the start of last year…
The kitchen in the farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. going for Ikea’s free-standing units…
The kitchen in the farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. which was then featured in the October 2009 issue of Ideal Home magazine…
Pages 122 to 124 in the October 2009 issue of Ideal Home magazine featuring the kitchen in the Morrison's farmhouse in County Down.
.. on pages 122 to 124 🙂

A great family home for sure…
Sitting room in the farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. with lots of character…
Sitting room in the farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. five good size bedrooms…
Master bedroom in the farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. including Holly’s girlie room…
Bedroom in the farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. where the sign on the door reads: “Girls Bedroom (No Boys)“…
Girls Bedroom (No Boys).
.. which says it all – as they definitely had fun here…
The gardens at the farmhouse at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
.. in this wonderful big old place, which may even be partly listed now due to its age…
Outhouses in the yard at 4 Kilbright Road near Carrowdore in County Down.
..but anyway, we decided today it was time to move on.

Plus my 10 year old goldfish died this morning, my Hasselblad CFE 40mm lens stopped working this afternoon and it was Coach Phill Hansel’s Funeral today.

So this Friday the 13th is definitely a day to remember.

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