The Covenant Sessions

2016 has been... interesting. We look around and see so much uncertainty, fear, heartache, and discord. And yet, there's been a fascinating undertone throughout the year that's been hard to ignore. Amidst the constant talk of controversial topics, the word that has become the battlecry of many we know is the word 'love.'

We believe that love is important. Love is spiritual. Love is personal. And love is eternal. But love without true, self sacrificing commitment isn't real love. Real love is defined by the setting aside of one's desires, even in some cases one's happiness, and putting the desires of another before your own. We know this, because we've been loved by a good God who has done these things for us.

Yesterday, Mindy and I celebrate ten years of marriage. Ten years is a long time, and ten years is a short time. But it's definitely enough time to learn what it means to truly love. The amount of times I've had to admit that I was wrong is immeasurable. Ten years is long enough to reveal the selfishness in our hearts, and it's long enough for us to push each other to break that. Every day we learn how to love better, and every day it's hard. But when we lay our heads down at night, every day it's worth it. We can say, without question, that we love each other more honestly, more deeply, and far better now than we did when we were younger.

This year we had the unique opportunity to turn our cameras it a little bit different direction. We called this 'The Covenant Sessions,' and it was a project we took on to highlight what marriage means to us, and to some of our closest friends (and in a few cases, people we'd never even met). These are real couples, who have been through some of the hardest, brightest, and strangest events, and come out stronger for it. These couples have chosen to love one another through the good, the bad, and the ugly. To fight for each other. To choose their spouse over themselves. To love.

Join us in celebrating marriage today. These marriages. Our marriage. To celebrate the past ten years, and to anticipate the next ten.

And for the final image, one frame from our anniversary celebration yesterday, courtesy of our immensely talented friend David.

Introducing The Covenant Sessions

 The Covenant Sessions - Photographs meant to celebrate the unique relationship of a committed marriage.

Love grows.  Love changes.  Love is easy.  Love is hard.  Love is worth it.

A little over nine years ago, Mindy and I made a promise. This promise was made between the two of us, but also between us and God. Even more than a promise, it was a covenant; a sacred bond that cannot be broken. It goes far deeper than the feelings we have for each other, which ebb and flow with the daily current of life. We made a commitment to stay with, support, and love each other through thick and thin, every day from here on out.

We take this commitment seriously, and believe this covenant is meant to be celebrated. Not just ours, but every marriage covenant. Committing yourself to one other person for the rest of your life is hard, but oh man, is it good. Celebrate your marriage. Show it off to the world. Cling to your spouse, make your relationship your priority. If you have kids, teach them how to love by showing them how you love. Give the world a reason to be hopeful.

We're excited to announce The Covenant Sessions, new series we're launching this year, to coincide with our TEN year anniversary. We'll be offering sessions on select dates, in select cities around the country throughout the year. This is where we'll be, and when:

 
  Columbus, OH - Saturday, March 19 St. Louis, MO - Saturday, March 26 Cleveland, OH - Friday, April 1 Dayton, OH - Sunday, April 17 Tampa, FL - Sunday, May 22 Portland, OR - Sunday, June 19 Denver, CO - Wednesday, June 22 Cincinnati, OH - Saturday, July 30 Detroit, MI - Sunday, August 21 Chicago, IL - Monday, August 22 Austin, TX - Coming in the fall Nashville, TN - TBD Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus - Additional Dates TBD
 

The Covenant Sessions are our way of celebrating the marriage relationship that we value so much. We believe the stories of couples who are in it for the long haul are beautiful, and that they're worth sharing. Couples have photos taken to celebrate their engagement, and everyone has photos taken to remember their wedding, but too often people forget to give their relationship the credit deserves after the honeymoon is over and the real work begins. We love highlighting these milestones, and we think life after the wedding deserves it's own place in the spotlight.

 Celebrate your marriage. Show it off to the world.

Shoot us an email for more information about booking a session on one of these dates. Availability is extremely limited.

 

Our DIY Kitchen Remodel

We’ve lived in our house for almost eight years, and over that time we’ve put our own touch on just about every room in the house. The house is approaching 100 years old now, so it’s full of interesting character that we really love. We’ve painted, repainted, repaired and reconstructed, landscaped, and decorated, but we never touched the kitchen. Now, this is partially due to the fact that the kitchen was the nicest room in the house when we moved in, and partially due to a lack of time and money, but those are no excuses for not even painting! We had grown increasing tired of the country styling, and we knew that it was time for a radical change.

The problem with radical changes is that they usually require a radical budget. We knew we’d have to get creative, which happens to be something we’re good at, and it’s really what makes projects like this fun!

We have a whopping two old pictures of our kitchen from before (even though we’re photographers, when we work on projects, we tend to put our nose to the grindstone and get after it, so we didn’t take “before” photos). These photos are actually from when we were looking at the house, so all of the stuff is from the previous owners.

As you can see, for an old house, it’s a fine kitchen, but despite the fact that it was mostly cream colored, it felt dark, cramped, and cluttered. We kept it a little more streamlined than this, but it was always a small kitchen.

We have a breakfast nook attached to the kitchen (where we were standing when we took the above photos), and it’s gone largely unused during our time in the house. We knew straight away that we could increase our space by simply moving the refrigerator to the other side of the wall separating the kitchen from the nook.

Of course, this meant we were left with a hole where the fridge used to be. It dawned on us that there was a cabinet in the basement that looked like it might match. Miraculously, the previous owner removed a cabinet to install the dishwasher, and kept it! It would fill this space nicely, and meant we wouldn’t need to buy a new one and hope we could find something similar enough to blend in.

We now had a floating cabinet with no countertop, which led us to our next step, which was choosing new counters and a new sink. We’d known for quite some time that we wanted a farmhouse style sink, and so we started shopping. IKEA’s Domsjö sink was big, beautiful, and within budget, and on top of that, it sits on top of the countertop, and doesn’t require a special shaped hole, which is perfect for a DIYer. We chose butcher block counters, also from IKEA, and we were able to cut the necessary pieces using just three pre-made units and only straight cuts!

The design of the kitchen as a whole was very important to us, so we took to Pinterest and started putting together ideas for colors, tones, and decor. Our whole house is very clean and minimal, so we wanted to keep things cohesive with the rest of the house, but we also wanted to break from our white walls and choose something bold. We found some awesome brushed gold hardware that we used to build the design around, and the gold accents led us to the design choice that we were most nervous about, but had the potentially to make the biggest impact: black walls. We decided to keep the cabinets very white and clean (in fact they’re the same color as our living room and dining room, Sherwin William’s Westhighland White), which makes the black wall really pop and gives us the bold look we wanted!

We’re SUPER excited about how everything turned out!

Our one splurge item for the kitchen was this amazing modern brushed gold faucet from Delta. It’s really the key piece to the entire design, and we wavered on the decision but we really think the kitchen design wouldn’t work without it.

Moving the fridge also opened up a ton of wall space, which meant we could now install the open shelves that we wanted! This required some careful consideration of scale and materials as well, to keep the design cohesive and utilize the space without making things feel too cluttered. Cameron built the shelves using basic 2x12 wood from Lowes and some shelf brackets that we found in the AS-IS section of IKEA. We spray painted the brackets gold, and the totally cost of materials for the shelves was just $22 including the paint!

DIY Black and White Kitchen with Butcher Block and Open Shelves

We mentioned at the beginning that this was an opportunity to be creative, both with our design and with our wallet. Here's the final breakdown:

IKEA Domsjö Sink - $299 (price has gone up since we bought it)

IKEA Karlby Counters - $99 x 3 = $297

Delta Trinsic Faucet - $365

Gold Cabinet Pulls - $3.77 x 27 = $102

Shelf Wood (2"x10"x10') - $10

Spray Paint - $14

Wall Paint - $34 x 3 gallons + $10 rebate/gal = $72

Floor trim - $4 x 2 = $8

Calk - $4 x 2 = $8

New Outlets, Switches + Covers - $70

Plumbing Drain Pipes + PVC Cement - $15

 

Total cost: $1260

Not bad for a total kitchen makeover. I'd say we earned more than that in home equity.