Hello! And thanks for stopping by House of Brinson. We’re the Brinson’s, William and Susan, and we write and photograph all of the content here. In 2010, we were looking for ‘something else’ in our creative lives. We lived in Manhattan, each of us with successful careers, but there was a scratch we couldn’t itch. In the evening and weekends, we started working on House of Brinson as a team. Secretly we always wanted to collaborate as husband and wife, but our industries didn’t allow for the type of collaboration we had in mind. Our passion project, House of Brinson grew faster than we could have imagined.
Within the first two weeks of launching the blog we were asked to be a guest on the Nate Berkus Show, to talk about the blog and the interior design of our Manhattan Loft. We’ve also been featured by Design*Sponge, House Beautiful, HGTV Design Matters, One Kings Lane TasteMakers and Lonny Magazine.
On a personal note, we are indeed high school sweethearts. Everyone is so surprised when they hear this! We met in Maryland when I was in the 9th grade and William was the cooler, older guy in 10th grade who just turned 16 years old. We’ve been together ever since. After high school, we both attended Savannah College of Art and Design. I studied graphic design and William photography. There were only two choices of places to move for careers: NYC or LA. We picked NYC because I’m terrified of living on a fault line. Once in NYC, we were addicted to the city. It slammed inspiration in our face and exposed us to different people and experiences. Our time in NYC helped shape who we are as creative individuals today. In 2013, we had casually been looking for a country house, and at the exact same time learned they were selling our loft building in the city. We had to make a decision: get a new place in the city or go country full time. We decided to go country. I have a saying, “I want NYC to need me, more than I need it.” We’re slowly adapting to country life and learning how to take care of an old house.
We are commercial photographers and work as team. This wasn’t always a thing, let me tell you how we got here. When we graduated college I began working as a graphic designer in boutique agencies and eventually was a Design Director working with the Fortune 100 space. My career became focused on creative team management and strategy. William started off in NYC as a photo assistant as you did in those days, and has been photographing professionally since 2004. After starting the blog together we decided to seriously consider working as a team because we liked it so much. Working together was a natural evolution of our relationship, personally and in business. We get a lot of questions about how we work together, who is behind the camera, who does what. The answer is all of the above. We are true collaborators and don’t get stuck in traditional ‘assignment of tasks’ based on a job description. We think of us as a small creative business and work with our clients to define what they’d like to collaborate on. If you think of other industries like music, or furniture design, collaboration has produced some of the most memorable work. Check out our Pinterest board on Teams.
Stony Ford Estate
Stony Ford kind of romances you at first sight, doesn’t it? We looked at a lot of country houses, and I admit to online stalking Stony Ford for three years before finally looking at it. When we walked in the hall, Stony Ford romanced us as well, and we knew at first sight, this was going to be our home. I’ve written several post about the history and past owners, we even have a pod cast. The house is a former mansion, which has had a wing removed taking the size down to it’s current, modest 5,200 square feet. The entire house needs renovations. We do much of the work ourselves, but work with contractors from time to time. We know what we’re good at and when we’re in over our head. Bringing this American house back to it’s former glory is our lifelong goal. Since purchasing the house we’ve worked with a structural engineer on repairs to the beams in the basement, had the basement mold remediated and an air exchanger installed, new water heater, countless gallons of paint and primer, removed 200 bats from the attic, new attic insulation (bats poo’ed on the existing insulation), graveled the drive way, new thermostats, among many other things. If you’re interested in collaborating on a project, we keep a running list of house projects for possible collaboration. Email us to request the project list.
Stony Ford is a Greek Revival home located in the Hudson Valley about an hour north of the George Washington Bridge. We don’t know the exact date it was built, but we guess around 1850. In 1864 Charles Backman purchased the house and expanded it, pretty close to what you see today. Some features have been removed that Backman added, and we would like to restore it back to the 1864 version of the house. Backman was clearly a man of good taste and we appreciate his refined and elegant aesthetic. The house was in pretty bad shape in 1953 when the previous owners, Fred and Les purchased it. They made many amazing updates (like hand made storm windows that we still use today). We have many years of hard work, but it will all be worth it in the end.
We are lovers of Instagram! We shoot all images with our iPhones, which is great because it keeps it simple. If we are working on a house project, you can see if first on Instagram. We’ve been fortunate to have our Instagram account be featured by Instagram, Details Magazine, One Kings Lane, 1st Dibbs and Lonny Magazine. We also teach classes not only in traditional photography, but also iPhonography.
Sponsors and Brand Collaborations
From time to time we collaborate with brands and feature them on our blog or Instagram account. We only work with brands we’re passionate about. In most cases, we personally reach out to specific brands and tell them about an upcoming project. Or small start ups will reach out and ask us to help spread the word about their product, which we personally try out. We decided to discontinue display advertising and only focus on brand collaborations. This is authentic to us. We are truly interested in new products and love certain products and brands so much, we want share them. Especially when it comes to house or renovation items. If you’re a brand and would like to collaborate on a project, email us for our running list of future house projects. It’s great if we can collaborate with a brand on a project we already planned.
Work with Us
We collaborate with clients in a few different ways, such as commercial photography, brand collaborations, social media campaigns and teaching.
For photographing advertising campaigns, editorial or cookbooks please contact our photography agent Elyse Connolly. Some of our clients include The NY Times Magazine, JWT/Stouffers, Real Simple and Chipotle. Check out our photography portfolio at William and Susan Brinson Photography. If you’re interested in purchasing existing images, we work with Offset Images for stock purchases.
For brand collaborations, sponsorships, blog posts, and social media, please email us at [email protected] We’ve collaborated with HP, FrameBridge, GMC, Pottery Barn and Farrow & Ball. We’ve produced sponsored posts, Instagram take overs and Instagram campaigns.
For teaching or speaking engagements, please email us at [email protected] We’ve taught at Altitude Design Summit, Salt Lake City; International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), Washington DC; and Le Cordon Bleu for Muir Glen Organic in California. We’ve been a speaker or lectured at APA, IACP, Savannah College of Art and Design and HP Sprout event. We teach traditional photography, iPhoneography and have lectured on the creative process as well as a variety of photography topics.