Carlisle residents might see some familiar faces when they open the pages of the May issue of “Better Homes and Gardens.”
The magazine featured Jennifer and Chris Oswald, pictured with their children, Aleira and Leo, in a two-page spread on a greenhouse they built from 22 old windows. The article said the windows were purchased from someone who was remodeling a farmhouse, and the door was purchased from an antique store.
Overall, the magazine said the project cost $500 and took 20 hours to complete. The Oswalds built the greenhouse in May 2017.
Jennifer offered a look at the family’s experience building the greenhouse and the attention it garnered from the magazine.
Q. How did this feature in “Better Homes and Gardens” come about?
A. After we finished the greenhouse we were, obviously, immensely proud of it. I am a photographer so I took a bunch of photos and put them on Facebook. Our friends loved it, and kept saying we should be in a magazine. I laughed, but then thought, why not?
I looked up “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine because I knew they had a DIY section. I found their online submission page and emailed them. I also emailed “DIY Magazine,” which is owned by BH&G. A few days later, I received an email from “DIY Magazine” saying they were interested in doing a story on the greenhouse. They just needed approval at their next meeting in about a month. Once they got approval, they decided on the issue they wanted to put the greenhouse in (“DIY Magazine” is a quarterly publication) and they decided on the following summer issue.
We had an interview to discuss the project. Afterward, they selected a photographer and a designer to work with us and set a date to come photograph the greenhouse. Both the designer and photographer were so nice and were at our home for about four hours. After that, we had a follow-up interview, and that spring we were in the magazine.
Flash forward to this February and “Better Homes and Gardens Magazine” reached out and said they would like to put the story in their magazine as well. We had several more interviews and she said we would be in the May issue. It was really simple since they already had all the photos and background info.
Q. What did you think when you finally saw the spread in the magazine?
A. We were thrilled when we finally saw the magazine. It had rained the entire day they took photos, so we were really concerned they would be dark and not really give the true feel of the greenhouse, but they were beautiful. It was so cool to see something we worked so hard on in such a prominent publication.
We got a further boost when we saw that the “I Did It” article was on two pages, usually they’re only on one. So we felt really proud about that. It’s a great feeling to know someone likes something you did and wants to give other people the chance to do the same thing based on your experience and tips. They had asked what my favorite DIY tips and tools were, and then they were a part of the article. It was awesome that they truly cared what I thought and passed that along to their readers.
Q. Where did you get the idea to use old windows to build a greenhouse?
A. I had seen a photo of a beautiful greenhouse using old windows online and I immediately had to have one, I knew we had the perfect spot. I had the photo saved for years before my husband agreed to make it with me.
Q. How have you been able to use the greenhouse?
A. We use the greenhouse for seed starting, mostly, then we move the plants to our main garden. Also, it’s a shed. We store tons of birdseed in there (we love the birds), it’s so much easier than dragging it from the garage. The same goes for all my gardening tools and supplies. We also use it for our family pictures, a playhouse for the kids, a food and drink station for outdoor parties, a reading nook and shelter from a rainstorm.
Q. What do you do for an encore after building a greenhouse with windows?
A. Well, my husband is planning on building a new playhouse for our kids, but I think our biggest encore will be to restore a historical home. That has been a goal for a long time, and we are trying to make it a reality.