RACHAEL HOUSER » photography for couples & families

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Before my studio was fully prepared to shoot in, Baby Willow was born and in need of portraits. Mom and dad are a past couple of mine so I couldn’t turn them away! Plus, tagging along on people’s life & love journey is my bread and butter, y’all! You can view their engagement session, wedding, rain check session, and maternity session all on the blog, spread out over several years! It’s truly an honor to be a part of all of these special moments!

Baby Willow’s newborn session was also the very first baby only newborn session that I’d ever photographed – I still LOVE lifestyle newborn sessions with mom and dad more but I’m more than pleased with how the images turned out! Little Miss slept wonderfully for me, which allowed for the solo posing. And can I just GUSH about the beautiful fresh stem flowers from Sara Falder and Flower + Furbish??? It was an added cost but I think it totally made this session!

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If you’re a Paducah resident, this young woman should look familiar to you. Dawn’s face is only on most of the Falconite billboards you see around town! I first met Dawn while shooting a fashion feature for Paducah Life Magazine…. she was my model! Their destination wedding venue requires them to use the in house photographer, which fine, I get it, so I was more than thrilled when she asked me to photograph her and Ryan’s engagement session!

We met at Dawn’s boss’ property for some beautiful fall foliage and were blessed with amazing warm temperatures so we were able to shoot for much longer than anticipated! Which is always ok with me! Here are a selection of my favorites from that day – enjoy!

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Gosh you guys. This couple!!! I hadn’t met Jesse before I arrived for their engagement session but his dear mama and I had worked together when I was a nurse at the hospital OR. She actually trained me and mentored me and I just adore that woman! So when Kody and I figured it out, it made me love the thought of working with both of their families even more! But Kody – she and I are like soul sisters! Sure, we’re YEARS a part in age but we just seem to get each other! I can’t tell you how easy it makes my job and I can only imagine how confident it makes Kody’s job in trusting me to be her photographer!

Kody & Jesse’s background story is super simple and so so sweet – my favorite kind of love story! Kody and Jesse’s sister were close friends and even though Jesse’s sister thought he and Kody would get along well, Kody just couldn’t see it. It took her a while to come around but after she did, Kody admitted, “I couldn’t stop being with him. I fell in love so quickly with everything about him – I knew I never wanted anything else.”

Now, years later Kody still feels the same way about Jesse. “Jesse is my best friend through… Sure, he can make me so mad but make me laugh at the same time. He loves me for me and what’s more is he loves every part of me. Also it’s very important he loves me even when I’m too sassy, thats a biggie! But what I love most about Jesse is how big of a heart he has and how much he has changed my life, I wouldn’t be who I am without him by my side.”

And after meeting Jesse and seeing how they interact while shooting their engagement session, it’s easy to see he feels the same. “She has a great personality. She is a sweetheart. She always goes above and beyond to make me happy. She loves me for who I am. Family is very important to her. She always pushes me to do my best and supports me in everything I do. It’s just a plus that she is very beautiful.”

HOW SWEET?!?!?!

We wanted to highlight their unique relationship – what makes them them. So we started off on the property they are building their first home together out in the country and ended up at Kody’s dad’s hunting lodge property, where their wedding will take place. It was getting dark but we could not have picked a better time for the light to be exactly how it was by the time we finished up. We got some super moody and romantic pictures and AH! I can’t wait to go back there this summer for their wedding when it’s all green and gorgeous! Take a look at some of my favorites below… can you imagine it??

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I didn’t have the pleasure of photographing their wedding but I was more than excited when Laney contacted me to be their anniversary portrait photographer! Anniversary portraits are definitely one of my favorite types of sessions and because of Laney & Logan, if I didn’t love them before, I do now! And how could I not love a couple who couldn’t wait for their anniversary portraits that they just had to do them before they’d even been married a half of a year??? These two aren’t afraid to highlight their adoration for one another, making that reason #106 why I love them!

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It makes sense to start the “What We’ve Done So Far” tour of the house with the outside/exterior but that’s what you come to first. I know I know, it’s probably the least exciting part of the whole house and if you were to drive by the house today, you’d be able to see all of this for yourself… BUT it’s still a necessary blog post and for listing sake, we’ve done some work outside already and there’s more to be done. So let’s just get this one out of the way, shall we? You may want to reference the Before blog post for before pictures :)

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WHAT WE’VE DONE SO FAR:

Removed the walls of the screened-in part of the front porch. The Historic Architecture Reiew Committee (HARC) asked us to do this but I would have anyway. I love me a giant front porch! Removed two full grown oak trees. I love trees so it wasn’t easy for me to get rid of it but the limbs were damaging the roof and siding and the roots had damaged foundation. The structural engineer and the foundation repair guys essentially told me they wouldn’t work for us if we didn’t take care of those things first. I do like the way it looks now, though. It opened up the front and side yard a lot! Brand new roof! We replaced the old green grey shingles with medium grey shingles and patched a few holes.

WHAT’S LEFT TO DO:

Rebuild the front porch. The brick foundation is fine but the wood floor and subfloor will need to be replaced. We will most likely add two more columns to make it more symmetrical. I’d love to keep the exisintg columns but only if they can be repaired and only if we can find two more. The ceiling of the porch just needs repainting. Right now it’s blue and I’m unsure of what color I want to go with… Landscaping. Because there is none right now. I have no clue what I want to do for that but I know a few people.

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WHAT WE’VE DONE SO FAR:

Started work on restoring the windows. We have an amazing local craftswoman working on restoring all 33 original wood windows in the house! It’s one of the things I’m most excited about!!! We’ll get rid of those nasty aluminum storm coverings for sure… might possibly add some nicer removable storm windows during the winter to assist with insulation.

WHAT’S LEFT TO DO:

New white vinyl siding. Under the old worn out aluminum siding you see here is the original wood siding. Unfortunately, it wasn’t taken care of and to refrain from having to repaint it every few years, we’ll be removing both layers of siding and adding white vinyl siding. It may not look AS good but it’ll be good enough and last longer. Power wash the brick. Remove awning above side basement door and replace door.

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WHAT WE’VE DONE SO FAR:

Removed the window of the left side. In it’s place will be the mudroom door. I’m thinking dutch?? Removed all the awnings from above the windows. So 70’s. Completely ripped out the back right corner of the house. This is where some previous owners thought it would be OK to just enclose a porch without doing anything more than adding walls. It was badly badly done and in order for it to be actually part of the inside of the house (part of the kitchen), it had to be ripped out and rebuilt.

WHAT’S LEFT TO DO:

Turning that window in the previous laundry room into a back door for the mudroom. Mentioned above. Adding a third window to the right of the two windows. This is to bring in even more natural light into the kitchen but also to center the kitchen sink under one window. And it’s worth mentioning again, more natural light! The corner that was ripped out has already been rebuilt but siding will be added once we re-do the siding. There was a door already in there somewhere, and we plan to keep a door there so that guests won’t have to walk through our mudroom to have access to the back yard. New backyard landscaping. Yet to be determined. I would love a deck but we’ll see.

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WHAT WE’VE DONE SO FAR:

Removed the old chainlink fence and posting. Chainlink fencing is not allowed according to the HARC guidelines, which is fine with me because I kind of hate it anyway. What’s left here is the neighbor’s side…

WHAT’S LEFT TO DO:

Add an iron fence situation. We know that we’ll enclose the entire backyard but we’re undecided about how much of the side yard will be fenced in and whether or not we’ll fence in the front yard. Add some sort of shed. And maybe a detached garage later.

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WHAT WE’VE DONE SO FAR:

Our beautiful brand new HVAC system! Yea, there was no heat and air in the house when we bought it.

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WHAT WE’VE DONE SO FAR:

Removed more small trees and giant bushes whose roots and overall existence was damaging the foundation.

WHAT’S LEFT TO DO:

More tidying up with the landscape. Which will be a gradual process since it won’t stop us from moving in.

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WHAT’S LEFT TO DO:

New retaining wall. I have some ideas but am undecided on how I want it to look. Forerunner idea is brick that will match the brick foundation.

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WHAT’S LEFT TO DO:

Clean up the brick work on the stairs. It looks rougher than it is in this picture because I focused on the worse part of the stairs leading up to the front porch. I don’t like the concrete addition to the stairs so it’ll all be brick once it’s complete.

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WHAT’S LEFT TO DO:

New front door. But we’re keeping the gorgeous beveled glass surround and the door knob and lock because it works great and looks amazing. The from door itself it not originals and is in bad shape. The aluminum trim around the front door has to go too. It’s not necessary and it’s down right ugly.

That’s it for now guys! Next up: a couple rooms inside! Now that’s where it gets exciting!!!

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