Asparagus and Parsley Loaf

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 13th February 2017  0 Comments

Need any inspiration for some quick, healthy meals? We thought we would start to share some of our favourite receipes with you and this is one of my most favourite things to make which I thought I would share with you! It is so easy to make, tastes delicious and is very healthy! Gluten and dairy free! Great as a quick snack toasted or for lunch with a poached egg on top! The receipe was introduced to me by my sister and comes from a book called ‘I Quit Sugar’ by Sarah Wilson.

Servings: 10
Preparation: 15 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients:
3 eggs
100 ml almond milk
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
200 g gluten free self raising flour
1 rosemary stalk, pick leaves and finely chop
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
100 g Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed, stalks chopped into 1 cm pieces and heads reserved
1 small (30g) bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalk finely chopped

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Grease and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and oil. Add in the flour, rosemary, thyme, most of the Parmesan (reserving around a quarter to sprinkle on top), salt and pepper, and stir until you have a smooth batter. Stir through the asparagus stalks and parsley stalks and leaves.

3.  Scoop mixture in to the prepared loaf tin. Slice asparagus heads in half and push into the top of the loaf. Sprinkle over reserved cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

4.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove from the loaf tin and let cool on a wire rack before slicing.

5. If freezing slice up and put baking paper between the slices so easily accessible when needed!

Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Enjoy!

Sophie!



Down at the Bottom of the Garden

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 24th January 2017  0 Comments

Down at the bottom of a North West London garden lies more than a worm or two! A very unique and quirky space, which our location clients love, exists within the confines of a summerhouse.

Our Pallet Shed is no ordinary shed or summerhouse however, largely due to its ingenious pallet wood cladding, which provides an envious photo shoot backdrop, which stylists and photographers clamor to utilize.

The location is very special to our team as well as it is situated at an existing location of ours ‘Marmora Road’ who have been with us for years. Marmora Road is a large and extremely pretty Victorian House in East Dulwich owned by an architect and interior stylist, Rose Hammick.

The Pallet Shed had been in the making for a long time so as soon as we knew the owners were building it themselves we eagerly waited for the finished article.

The result is a fabulous and distinctive extension to a popular house, which now offers our clients more scope. It was most definitely a wise choice as lots of clients choose to use both spaces on their shoots.

In amongst the normal garden paraphernalia, down at the bottom of the garden, lies more than a worm or two. ….

Creating Beautiful Spaces

Sophie Hitchens Thursday, 5th January 2017  0 Comments

Twig Hutchinson is an Interior & Prop Stylist and an Art Director and owner of the beautiful Light Location, Lorn Road. With an eye for all things beautiful it is not surprising that Lorn Road is a wonderful combination of Victorian history with modern class. As a top stylist in her field we asked Twig what inspires her.


How would you introduce you and your work in one sentence?
Oh that’s far too tricky to answer in one sentence! I suppose I am Earl Grey drinking, linen, unlacquered brass and pink ceramics obsessive (though that list is not exhaustive!) who likes to be in, and create beautiful spaces. And I have three little children to keep things forever interesting.

What/Who inspired you to become an interior stylist?
I’ve always loved interiors ever since I was a little girl I’ve been designing rooms and making plans for as long as I can remember. I started my career assisting lots of wonderful stylists who were always really inspirational. I used to assist Kristin Perers when she was a stylist and she was amazing. She’s now a photographer so I have the fun of working with her all over again.

How do you begin your journey of inspiration when styling an interior shoot?
Head straight to Pinterest. And then I’ll stack up on fashion magazines which I always find really inspiring for interiors. Seeing certain print clashes and mixes in fashion often lends itself to my work.

Being a prop stylist involves shopping for props for photo shoots - a dream job for many! What inspires you when doing your prop research?
I like visiting places with a really good edit of pieces. Farleys China Dept is pretty amazing. I love spying on who’s shooting what film or TV series. It makes me laugh when you’re watching a movie and you think ‘I know where that tea cup’s from!’

How does your role as an Art Director for clients such as Wedgwood differ from your prop and interior styling work?
I get involved much earlier on in the shoot process and come up with ideas for the overall images as well as for the props. You cast models, choose the location etc. On the day I’m constantly editing images and working closely with the photographer to get the best shot.

How would you describe your interior style?
Pared back and tonal. Soft. With an emphasis on textures.

Do you have a favourite team/photographer you work with?
Yes. They know who they are! The best teams are really good at what they do and really fun. Shoots can be quite stressful so it’s important to be able to laugh.

Do you have a favourite location you like working in?
I love it when I get to travel. Shooting in a Tuscan villa in or a chateau in France is always pretty great. I recently spent four days in northern Italy surrounded by olive groves and eating the best pasta each night after long days shooting.

If you weren’t a stylist, What would you like to be doing?
I’d be a spy. I’ve taken an online test on the M16 website but now I’m telling you I guess I’m scuppering my chances!

I think you have started a blog so do tell us about it!
Yes it’s called Minford. It’s an interiors and lifestyle journal for grown ups and their minis. People often find it difficult to make interiors decisions so I try to distill my years of experience into practical advice and inspiration. And I show you where to shop the best pieces. I kept seeing amazing fashion blogs but there didn’t seem to be so many vibrant interior ones. I’m really enjoying it.

 

Chocolate, cranberry and buckwheat cookies

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 6th December 2016  0 Comments

This week we have decided to do a non location related post and thought we would add a few more personal posts to the mix! We have a tradition in the office of having a bake off every couple of weeks so we thought we would share a few of our favourite receipes.

These cookies are amazing! I found this receipe in YOU Magazine at the beginning of the year and now make them on a weekly basis! My kids, my husband and the girls in the office all LOVE them so they are well worth making! The added bonus is that they do not contain any refined sugar, wheat or dairy!

Makes about 15 cookies. I normally double the ingredients and freeze the other half so they last longer!

Ingredients:

125 g buckwheat flour
25 g cacao powder
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
120 g dark chocolate (70% or 85% cocoa solids. I use 1 of each)
150 g coconut sugar
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
80 g dried cranberries
Shelled hemp or linseed seeds to sprinkle on top

Instructions:

1.  Combine the buckwheat flour, cacao, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix throughly. Set aside.

2.  Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl and sit it above a pan of simmering water without letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Allow it to melt, stirring occasionally.

3.  In a food processor, blend the coconut sugar with the coconut oil. Add the eggs one by one, then add the vanilla extract and finally the melted chocolate. Mix until just combinend.

4.  Add the chocolate mix to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula. Then fold in the dried cranberries and mix until combined.

5.  Preheat the oven to 180°/Gas 4 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

6.  Place the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool down. Once the dough has cooled a little, you are ready to bake.

7.  Drop tablespoons of the sticky chocolate mix on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 5 cm (2in) between the cookies, then sprinkle with seeds.

8.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5-8 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. The cookies will feel soft when they first come out of the oven but will firm up when they cool down.

9.  Once cooled, the cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Enjoy! They are delicious!

Sophie


Multi talented Louisa Grey

Sophie Hitchens Friday, 18th November 2016  0 Comments

Louisa Grey is a busy stylist and interior designer and also owns a photo shoot location. With three different strings to her bow, we asked Louisa more about how she approaches the 3 different strands of her working life.

How would you introduce you and your work in one sentence?

Evolution is central to my approach in design.

Your company House of Grey is a creative Interior Design studio. What approach do you apply to the spaces you work with?

We approach each project with energy and functionality as this is key for making our spaces really work hard for the client. With the increasing lack of space in our everyday lives, we design spaces that encourage comfort and calm for our clients. I trust my intuition with all our design work and over see all of our projects personally.

Wray Crescent is a stunning house which clearly follows your love of cool grey interiors - What was your inspiration when designing this beautiful Victorian terrace?

I had a very clear idea of the design and direction that I wanted the house to follow. I am rather inspired by Danish design and this was a heavy influence with the light and soft hues I have painted the house. Our architect drew up several sets of plans as I wanted the space optimised. This allowed us to walk through how we would use the space and this enabled us to renovate the house and it works extremely well. We had a list of requirements and of course a budget but this combined with my experience in designing has meant we have been very happy with the layout. 

Tell us about the project of doing up Wray Crescent - What was the state of the building in when you bought it?

The house had been owned by the same family for over 60 years and they where keen to sell to a family, which was lucky for us as there where 12 offers on it. It needed fully renovating from top to bottom. We lived on the middle floor for 3 months (as the roof leaked and the basement was too cold and damp) so this was the driest floor.
Originally the house had three kitchens in it with one on each floor so we ripped them out which was a very satisfying cathartic process. I tried to do as much of the work as I could before the builders started (but we did have a new born so this was when he was sleeping). I feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy the light and space here, especially when I remember back to how it was when we first moved in.

What has been your favourite photoshoot that took place at Wray Crescent?

A Homes and Gardens shoot that Ali Brown styled and Damien Russell shot. They really used the main living space so you could appreciate the high windows and had a lovely huge dining table across the three windows, which is exactly what the space was designed for.

Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of utilising their home as a photo shoot location?

I definitely think it helps if you are in the industry as you know what to expect. You need to be pretty relaxed and sociable. I feel super fortunate as I get to see stylists or photographers that I do not work with regularly. Which is so lovely and definitely the bonus part of renting the house for shoots…

When not working at House of Grey or being on site at Wray Crescent you provide styling for interiors and food. What do you look for when taking a brief in this area of your working life?

I accept projects / brands which interest me and I know I can push the boundaries with. It also very much helps to work with creatives who I am inspired by their work so this always sways me when accepting work.

Do all 3 different strands of your working life always work in harmony?

I am very lucky that the three strands do compliment each other very well, but add motherhood in to the mix and it is rather a juggling act. I have made sure the office is situated at home so I can see my son a lot otherwise I would not have that luxury of spending such a good amount of quality time with him.

The Romance of a French Retreat

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 25th October 2016  0 Comments

The seduction of French romanticism leads many an ardent soul to pursue a new or supplementary life via a retreat nestled within the beautiful architecture and scenery that France has to offer. These villas, homes and chateaux’s create dreamy settings that act as a perfect backdrop for idyllic photo shoots and location photography.

Three of our Light Locations are set within the glorious French landscape and with short flights and transfer times, they provide a practical location with an amorous twist.

Nimes House

This rustic house near Nimes radiates a feeling of traditional French living. With its variety of stone based interiors, this Light Location is cool, classy and nostalgic. Several years ago it featured in beautiful contemporary furniture shoot for Homes and Gardens for coastal interiors, but it would be equally at home for a beguiling and romantic set.

Chateau de Lartigolle
 

Set in 22 acres of dazzling countryside, this classically decorated Chateau includes a swimming pool, vineyard and wood. The epitome of chic French countryside life, it was voted by Harpers and Queen as one of the ‘Top 100 Places to Stay in the World, making it an irresistible choice for shoot crews.

The Manoir 

If your idea of a romantic French backdrop is moody dark interiors adorned with rich timbers set against cool stone walls and Rococo furniture pieces, then the Manoir is your ticket. A truly stunning 14th and 15th century home that includes an additional 18th century Pigeonnie tower, historical French romanticism hits you at every turn. The exterior of this truly unique location also provides ample romantic inspiration for stylists and photographers

 

The Blank Canvas of a Studio Location

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 27th September 2016  0 Comments

Light, space and endless possibilities. This is why our studio locations are extremely popular photo shoot locations. They are truly limitless with the style that can be created, but what else makes them work so well?

Form and Structure

A great example of how studios create shape can be seen at Fawe Street where the black iron open steps, hard wood floors and earthy brick walls create form and structure but do not dictate style.

White and Bright

At 2 of our Hackney studios – Hackney 2 and Hackney 5, the canvas is not only expansive but deliciously white and light creating a sublime background for luminous sofas, bright print feature furniture or eclectic and quirky mixes of furnishing styles and design. The distressed wooden floorboards at Hackney 5 provide a stunning contrast that make the white walls and ceiling take on a more earthy colouring.

Beams, Bricks and Battered Walls

The origin of many of our studio locations means they retain many attributes that can add substance to a shoot. At Hackney 3, Victorian sash windows are complimented by swaths of timber in the vaulted roof. At Tanner Street, three floors of varying styles offer a host of unusual features including exposed brick, wood clad rustic walls, industrial steel pillars and sections papered walls.

Sheer expanse

The ultimate reason why studios make fabulous shoot locations are simply the size of them, which allow multiple set to be built as well as accommodating all the stylist, make-up and shooting teams. At Fawe Street 1000 square foot of living and kitchen space sits within an overall floor span of 3000 square metres meaning that imagination becomes the only limitation. At Hackney 1 its 2200 square feet of loft style studio space incorporate a moveable paneled wall, which makes an expandable expanse of shoot space.

 

Location Spotlight: The Chicken Shed - A Truly Unique Transformation

Sophie Hitchens Thursday, 1st September 2016  0 Comments

Many of our Light Locations have undergone transformations on their journeys to becoming the stunning properties they are today. Some of these locations go through more of a monumental change than others and one such property nestles in the Trellech plateau in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

As you drive past a beautifully scenic spot in the Monmouthshire countryside a stunning red cedar, glass and stainless steel structure comes into view, a chicken shed is most likely not what comes to mind. Wind the clock back a decade though and a chicken shed is exactly what you would have encountered.

Sue and Nick Peacock had moved to Monmouthshire in 2008 and for several years they drove past a dilapidated barn on their work route to Monmouth. They loved the peaceful area which is laden with woodland walks and when they saw that the chicken shed was up for auction and that there were plans for a holiday let conversion they seized the opportunity.

In its former life the buildings had been used to rear young poultry, but once their agricultural role ceased, they ran into disrepair and sat abandoned for several decades. There had been two sheds and whilst one had fallen down completely, there was enough structural integrity in the main barn to enable the architects Hall & Bednarczyk to argue that the building was capable of conversion.

There was quite a lot of opposition to the idea that the old wooden shed could become a residential building and the planning committee only approved the application by one vote. The architects secured the approval by demonstrating that its agricultural identity could be convincingly retained in a contemporary form. It therefore became central to the scheme to try to retain the agricultural feel of the building, whilst refining it through the choice of materials such as polished concrete and glulam.

What was clear was that it needed foundations (there were none), a new floor (there was just a dirt floor), new cladding, a new roof and the existing structure required full reinforcement. The structural reinforcement took the shape of a new glulam frame and agricultural integrity was addressed with the use of a corrugated sheeting roof and timber clad walls. The timber cladding was carried through to the internal design, which was complimented with the adoption of polished concrete floors to further enhance agricultural authenticity whilst introducing contemporary elegance and sophistication. Further design features were added which combined practicality with a homage to the building’s history such as the little glass house in the roof, which floods light into the hallway whilst echoing the shape of the old ventilation shaft.

The result of two years of intense activity is a versatile and space-efficient living space which not only pays homage to its agricultural past but which embraces the modern demands for light. Thanks to the glass house in the roof, the generous use of windows, largely white interior and polished floor, sunlight is forced to bounce from surface to surface, creating a sublime connection to nature enhanced further by its stunning countryside views.  The ethos of the project was recognized when it was shortlisted for the National Eisteddfod Gold Medal for Architecture, a prestigious accolade to projects that demonstrate unwavering conviction to deliver its objective rationally and beautifully, from concept through to final detail. 

This amazing abundance of light and textural architectural features make it a truly unique and versatile photo shoot location that has come through a monumental transformation brighter, lighter and stronger.

Outdoor and Quirky The Surprising Photo Shoot Locations

Sophie Hitchens Thursday, 28th July 2016  0 Comments

Sometimes a stylist or photographer’s brief calls for something a little different. A touch of something quirky that brings vibrancy to the end result.

Several of our more unconventional locations are set in the great outdoors, with an expanse of beautiful British countryside hiding something unexpected and surprising.

We’ve chosen a few of our favourites to explore, so pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a biscuit and go on an outdoors adventure without leaving home.

Vintage Vans

Nestling in the Herefordshire hills are a set of quirky caravans styled with various vintage fashions in mind. Situated in a small wildflower meadow, with amazing views to the Black Mountains of Wales, these 4 little discoveries evoke the essence of days gone by, including the bohemian 1930s and romantic 1950s.

Chandlers Hut

Shepherd’s huts featured in Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ and were entrenched in much of England’s rural history. Deep in a bluebell wood in West Sussex lies a modern incarnation of the shepherd’s hut. Built by Plankbridge this traditional hut has a pretty and enchanting interior and its surroundings are breathtaking.

Woodland West Dorset

A temporary home to holidaying glampers, this beautiful expanse of forest is full of unexpected and surprising features at every turn. Reminiscent of storybook childhood adventures, tipi’s, tents and parachute shelters are dotted around ponds and trees. It even has a fully functional field kitchen with open sides, which acts as a haven when the sunshine or showers halt play.

Odessa Farm

Set in a quiet corner of rural Norfolk lies Odessa Farm. As you bathe in its uninterrupted views over open countryside you stumble upon surprise after surprise! A quaint and authentic gypsy caravan is a main feature, as is a tree fort nesting in the greenery. A plethora of other outbuildings complete this veritable hive of wonders.

Railway Carriage

In this increasingly popular area of North Norfolk is one of our favourite hidden treasures. Languishing in an everyday garden sits an original railway carriage, which has been lovingly restored and maintained. With its gleamingly preserved wooden interior we dare anyone not to be enchanted by this step into the past.

A Photo Shoot Location in the Making

Sophie Hitchens Thursday, 14th July 2016  0 Comments

One of our new Light Locations this year, Kingsley Place, was love at first sight for owner Jemima and her husband, although it did take their passion for contemporary architecture to transform the almost derelict bungalow in to the stunning home it is today.

When Jemima and her husband bought 13 Kingsley Place in 2002, they had been scouring North London for two years, trying to find a property from the 1960s or 70s – a period of architecture they love. As soon as they saw the compact little bungalow, they fell in love with its retro architectural lines, the beautiful and private courtyard garden and the peaceful location. Despite its state of repair, the views of the sky, the trees and the city captivated their hearts and they put their minds to how they could transform it into the house of their dreams.

The family moved in immediately, despite the dodgy electrics and plumbing and the fact that rain poured in through the roof! The plan was to transform the home within a couple of years, but it wasn’t until a decade (and an extra child) later that they had finally saved up enough money to realise their increasingly ambitious plans.  By then, some of the less desirable elements of the 1970s such as the avocado bath were wearing thin, not to mention the ivy climbing through the wall!

Despite starting the project later than planned, living in it for so long before rebuilding meant they knew exactly where the light fell, which views they loved best and how they used the house. This helped them to shape their plans to maximise the house.

The couple chose Luke Zuber as their architect, having approached him after an Open House weekend at his own Crouch End House. They appreciated Luke’s laid-back attitude and felt he really understood what they were aiming for. The plans were ambitious and initial estimates made the couple question whether they were too ambitious. However, they really didn’t want to compromise on their dream and with no additional budget they continued to source quotes. They then found Golden Houses - a brilliant contracting company who managed to bring the project in on budget, in part by pointing out that the work classified as a new build so was VAT exempt.

To keep costs down and to ensure that the project remained on budget, on time and that every single detail remained within their overall design, the couple chose to project manage the transformation themselves. Fully prepared from watching endless episodes of ‘Grand Designs’, the couple were careful with their budget and anticipated occasional hold ups. Beyond getting the house of their dreams, they also felt that their greatest achievement was to finish the project on great terms with all their neighbours.  Any project of this size is going to upset neighbours and their advice to anyone taking on a similar task is to communicate with the people who live near you before and during, and then have a big house warming afterwards for them all to come and see what you’ve done!

The result of the couple’s fastidious attention to detail and belief in an overall aesthetic has resulted in a building with a very strong and coherent style, making it appeal to our clients looking for a contemporary photo shoot location.

It is already proving popular with photographers and stylists and Jemima, love opening their home to shoot crews. They find it fascinating to see their home transformed and their kids loved seeing Christmas coming early with the help of a snow machine for one shoot! The shoot crews have also found it a very accommodating environment, with the courtyard not only providing a structural backdrop but also proving the perfect spot for storing kit and props. The downstairs room has found itself an ongoing role as hair, makeup and wardrobe space and the little details like the wood feature wall and the wood burner are becoming very popular backgrounds.

Doubling up as a photo shoot location never detracts from the fact that 13 Kingsley Place is still a home – built from a long held dream of its owners, which has become a reality they are proud to have seen through. ‘We have always loved this house even when it was derelict. We feel that we have stayed true to the architects’ original ideas and think if they had had these modern materials available to them they would have done something similar. I think one of the most successful things we have done is to balance all the glass with wood.  Some modern houses end up feeling rather cold but with all this walnut and other darker panels there is welcoming warmth to the house, especially when the wood burner is going’.  

We love Kingsley Place too and its history from humble 1960s beginnings through to its modern open plan beauty. Squirreled away in its own peaceful sanctuary it’s a little slice of welcome serenity from the hustle and bustle of its city location – both as a home and a photo shoot location.

Faded Grandeur and the Opulent Photo Shoot Locations

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 27th June 2016  0 Comments

A more theatrical photo shoot location lends itself to the stage of opulent creativity and allows stylists and photographers to set a scene, which evokes a feel of times gone by. An opulent photo shoot location may merely hint at the past with a feel of romantic decadence or it can go all out to take the voyeur to a specific time in the past.

We’ve picked out some of our favourite grand and opulent locations, which have been used by stylists, photographers and film makers to recreate specific points in the past or to showcase furniture or fashion which takes you to another time and place.

Airlie Gardens

This beautiful apartment in Holland Park acts as a stunningly romantic setting for furniture and fashion pieces. With its parquet flooring and uniquely distressed walls, light bounces around to create dreamy and ethereal imagery.

Eagle House

Whilst the majority of this stunning Georgian House is light, bright and radiant, it has one room in particular – a formal dining room, that oozes opulence. With its distressed walls, bare floors and period mouldings, it acts as a fabulous setting for luxurious textiles and furnishings.

Mile End Road

With its dark and atmospheric living room to its lavish bathroom wallpaper, this late Georgian House brings together an eclectic interior full of opulence and character. It’s the perfect setting for quirky shoots with a touch of nostalgia.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief time travel trip to opulent days gone by and look forward to more time travel adventures with you in the future….

Retro Chic Photo Shoot Locations

Sophie Hitchens Thursday, 16th June 2016  0 Comments

Retro chic. Definition = Imitative of a style or fashion from the recent past.

Many of our glorious photo shoot locations belong to great architectural eras of the past such as the Georgian period, notable for its reference to classical architecture or the Edwardian period with it’s revival of medieval or Neo-Georgian features.

But sometimes our Light Locations have rejected elements of their traditional past and combined their architecture of centuries gone by, with interior décor of decades past. A splash of wallpaper from the 1970s or a bright sofa that adds a reference to the 1960s has transformed interiors, which then lend themselves to very different photo shoot options.

We’ve selected a few of our favourite locations that have added the allure of retro chic to make undeniably retro cool interiors.

St Johns Avenue 

This converted carpentry wood workshop in North West London pays subtle but effective homage to the clean and open starkness of the 1960s with dashes of the bright sunny style of the 1970s. The clean white kitchen table which became popular with the onset of kitchen diners in the 60s and into the 70’s is married with pops of brightness in the upholstered armchairs and sofas sprinkled through throughout the interior.

Guildhill Road 

This stunning Edwardian house in Dorset pays plenty of credence to its early 20th century past with elegant living, ornate molded fireplaces and roll top bath. Yet is also manages to bring in very subtle hints of later 20th century influence. The buttoned upholstery in the kitchen seating area marries beautifully with its retro wallpaper setting and 1960s teak spindle back chairs.

Sydenham House 

This glorious townhouse in South East London has no 19th Century ancestry to adhere to. Built in the 1960s it is retro personified and in fact brings the 1960s into the 21st century.  Molded kitchen table and chairs and open style Danish furniture throughout make this location a veritable prop heaven, all of which is available to use for stylists and photographers.

A Light Location to remember!

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 3rd May 2016  0 Comments

Sometimes something remains forever in your mind – perhaps a memory, a scene from a film or a conversation that just stays with you.

Working with our gorgeous Light Locations, sometimes one location holds a special place in our memories, forever suspended in history. These locations are attached to other memories and experiences that make them stand out.

At Light Locations, we love the opportunity to look at our locations from a different vantage point so we asked ourselves ‘Which Light Location do you think will stick in your memory in 20 years time?

Suzi, our Social Media Manager chose Ramsbury Cabin in Wiltshire for it’s memories of her early days of working with Light Locations, but also the magic of its setting:

“I have to choose Ramsbury Cabin in Wiltshire. Partly because it was one of the first Light Locations I used for social media, but it was more that I lived quite near to this location at the time and had no idea that it existed. That behind walls, down driveways and over fences exist amazing places that stylists and photographers use for their photo shoots. It was my first insight into the world of location styling and photography”


Nicola
, our Office Manager chose Forest House, also due to an attachment with her early days at Light Locations and also for its unique location that made its stamp on her memory:

“They all have there own quirks but I think I will remember Forest House the most, as its set within such a secluded spot and was the first location I went to see which made the biggest impression on me”


Similarly, Madeleine, our Location Coordinator honed in a location tied up with memories of her first weeks working with the Light Location team.

Purley Hall as this was one of the first locations I was able to visit and I was just in awe at the size of it and the history that it has”

However Madeleine does also have a place in her heart for Forest House, as she shares Nicola’s fascination with its location:

“I also have to add Forest House as I just love where this location is situated (in the woods) and the interior and exterior is so beautiful”

Amy, our new Office Assistant chose one of the locations she recently visited:

The location that will stick in my memory in 20 years time is De Beauvoir Road. When Madeleine and I visited London we rounded the corner to see this amazing black wooden clad building nestled between terraced London brick houses. I love the huge window in the upstairs sitting room overlooking lots of greenery. An ever-changing painting!

Sophie, our owner who knows ever single Light Location past and present, chose Foxgrove Road, because of its beauty and also its popularity with clients:

“It’s another stunning house and very popular location with us. The kitchen is beautiful!”

Do you have one Light Location that will remain forever in your mind? We would love to hear which one and why.

Going Sea Bound with Coastal Inspired Photo Shoot Locations

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 18th April 2016  0 Comments

Hands up if you are thinking ahead to summer. Are you dreaming of boardwalks and beaches, swimming pools and sea views?

In case you haven’t noticed, the trend for coastal interiors continues to grow and develop, due in part to their ability to conjure up thoughts of summer whatever the time of the year.

Coastal interiors set a mood, bringing calm when the world around may be feeling stormy. This is what makes them hugely popular photo shoot locations as they bring to mind a set of emotions that make the vast majority of us happy and serene. The nature of these interiors also often provide open space, which makes the perfect canvas for showcasing statement floor lamps or designer furniture.

The coastal interior screams ‘light’ with expansive windows and white or neutral walls. This neutrality allows for sea, sky, sand and shell coloured accessories to combine with a delicious integration of light weathered wood or exposed and earthy features.

To give you some ideas for your coastal inspired interiors or shoots we’ve picked out 3 of our Light Locations that illustrate and utilize the lure of coastal:

Sussex House

This stunning New England style house in West Sussex utilises weathered wood furniture and sea grass flooring housed in bright white open spaces and encased in external weatherboarding.

 
The Boathouse

It’s white at every turn at the truly gorgeous house set on the Thames in Middlesex. Its large use of tongue and groove throughout not only provides fantastic backdrops for interior stylists, but also exudes the calm that coastal interiors evoke.

 
Winchelsea House

Set next to the sea near Rye, this rustic seaside house makes use of its coastal heritage with accents of deep sea-blue set against bright whites and stunning internal wood cladding.

The All Time Favourites!

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 4th April 2016  0 Comments

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you will know that we like to ask each other questions about our gorgeous locations. We like to, for example tease out which location would make our dream house, or which location we are most likely to remember in 20 years time.

Asking ourselves these questions always seem to result in a different set of locations making it to the final cut. For our final foray into location choices in the Light Location office, we forced ourselves to pick one - just one…top spot… all time favourite…..

Cotswold Barn

Nicola, our Office Manager chose the stunning converted barn near Malmesbury with its beautiful bright open plan living areas:

“I love the idea of Cotswold barn, it has so much to offer… pool, barn and amazing house!!”

Homewood House

Amy, our new Office Assistant chose the beautiful and unique Homewood House:

Homewood House was the first location I visited and it made such an impression it remains my favourite! The house is beautifully light and airy and I especially love the use of colour throughout and the dramatic entrance hall with its grand staircase.

Saltourn Road

Whilst no longer a Light Location, Sophie (our chief) chose a property with sentimental value:

“It would have to be my very first location: Saltoun Road. It will always be very special to me as without this house Light Locations may never have existed! The owner was lovely and really appreciated the work and at the time it was very unusual!”

The Shepherds Hut in Sussex and The Railway Carriage in Norfolk

Not content with one all time favourite, Suzi (who looks after our social media) chose two locations, but for the same reason.

“I would have adored to have something like this in my garden as a child and the fact that these things exist and that people have chosen to lovingly restore and maintain them - feels just like a little piece of magic”

Forest House and Botley House

Another of our intrepid team that couldn’t quite whittle it down to one (it really is difficult to pick!) is Madeleine (our Location Coordinator):

“It’s so hard to decide!… probably Forest House or Botley House as these were the first couple of locations I was able to visit when starting with Light Locations. I love their locations with the beautiful grounds and gardens

Well that’s in from our team, how about you? – can you pick just one Light Location as your all time favourite?

Take the test and let us know!

Location Spotlight: Homewood House

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 22nd March 2016  0 Comments

Quite a few of our Light Locations abound with period charm, detail and finishing that lend themselves to amazing backdrops for stylists and photographers.

One such property is Homewood House in Somerset, which was new to us in 2015. It has proved incredibly popular with our clients due in part to its variety of historical features and the variety of styles within one location.

Since arriving on our books in summer last year, it has been used in a variety of photo shoots including a stunning piece in Homes and Gardens about the beauty of using brass in your interior design.

Homewood House is a glorious period house first built as a farmhouse in the mid to late 18th Century. Its Georgian history makes it reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel, especially from the outside, with its sweeping driveway, stone façade and cobbled courtyard.

As with many old properties it proceeded to be subject to various period additions, which add to a hybrid of style and architecture. Whilst many of its features are Georgian, it also has nods to the Victorian era, notably the front section of the house, which was added around 1850.

The current owners have brought a new lease of life to this elegant location with interior design that pays tribute to its history but also utilizes the drama that today’s interior design allows. Recent dramatic changes to the colours at Homewood House not only illustrate the versatility of the rooms but also the impact of colour.

The result is a hugely versatile photo shoot location, with elements ranging from the dark and moody purple bedroom walls to the clean and crisp bursts of colour delivered via cleverly chosen feature furniture pieces. The calm and serene flagstone floor dining area adds a further dimension and style as does the cosy snug with its satin and velvet sofas.

We love the variety of styles at Homewood House. Which is your favourite style and space in this amazing homage to days gone by?

The Top Five Inspiring Locations?

Sophie Hitchens Friday, 11th March 2016  0 Comments

The homes, building and outdoor spaces that we work with at Light Locations are clearly very inspiring – you only need to take a look at our PInterest boards to see how often people take inspiration from the array of interior and exterior design ideas.

So which location is THE most inspiring? Can anyone pick just one?

In the Light Locations office we thought we’d try it… and surprise surprise we couldn’t agree! So we’ve put together our top list of inspiring locations

The Chicken Shed

Madeleine chose one of our newest Locations – the contemporary cedar clad former chicken shed in Wales.

“I’ve very recently visited our new location, The Chicken Shed and I loved it! It looks small from the outside but once you step inside the space opens out to this beautiful mix of simple interior design and amazing views (although unfortunately it was a wet welsh day when we went so couldn’t quite see all of the view). The building also has under floor heating which I’d have in every room in my house if I could. The most amazing Welsh cakes that the owner made us were also pretty inspiring!!

Ross Road, Basement

Suzi chose the self-contained basement of a huge Victorian house in South Norwood:

“There is something breathtaking about the simplicity of the kitchen area. We have been trying to redesign our kitchen for about 18 months and we don’t get very far as we aren’t entirely sure what we want. Every time I try to plan it, I keep coming back to the photos at Ross Road and think ‘that is the look I am trying to achieve”

Albourne House

Sophie loves the Georgian Rectory in West Sussex with its beautiful main living room, period features and stunning modern kitchen:

“My absolute present favourite location is Albourne House. It’s so beautiful but cosy at the same time. I love the kitchen and main living room. I always feel inspired when I go there and always come away with real house envy!

Hawkhurst House

Nicola chose the stunning farmhouse with contemporary timber clad extension in Kent

“ I really love the contemporary extension to the main house. Its a lovely light and spacious area for family time”

The Audience Favourite

So that makes our favourite 4, leaving space for one more - which one would you add to make it the top 5?

What makes white so right?

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 23rd February 2016  0 Comments

Can you ever have enough white in an interior colour scheme? For the purposes of photo shoots, a white or neutral background provides more opportunities for stylists and photographers to stage and create sets to make products centre-stage. If a location allows painting and decorating then white certainly lends itself to ‘less clash’.

So what about white for everyday living in everyday interiors? Well as our Primrose Flat goes to show – white is dramatic and it isn’t boring, and it keeps a room or home simplistic but strong. White is also surprisingly practical if used wisely. White carpets are never going to stay white but a painted white floor improves with regular wear and tear.

White also allows you to bring focus to key pieces of furniture or quirky lighting, as illustrated at our Primrose Flat. By having a white canvas your treasures receive a new lease of life and old items are drawn into the present.

White also allows textures to come alive that might otherwise be hidden in a busy colour scheme. Wood and white for example go hand in hand as seen in the Primrose Flat kitchen .The glorious wooden worktops and faded painted cupboards bring beautiful warmth to the room.

If you are considering a white colour scheme, a word of advice that comes from years of photographing hundreds of images in white rooms. Don’t be fooled into thinking white is just white. Did you know that there are more than 200 shades of white interior paint! Each comes with different underlying hues that make accompanying colours pop. Experiment a little and make sure you see how the different whites change throughout the day.

 For more white inspiration take a browse through our neutral photo shoot locations and be inspired.

What Does Your Dream House Look Like?

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 8th February 2016  0 Comments

At Light Locations we feel so lucky to spend our time looking at, photographing and spending time inside a collection of truly beautiful buildings. From expansive warehouses spaces to grand period houses and from seaside cottages to Scandinavian inspired cabins – the spaces are often breathtaking.

This started us thinking that if we had to choose one Light Location to be our dream house – which one would it be? Despite it being a very difficult task to whittle it down to one house each…we did finally manage it.

Forest HousePalace Road and Hawkhurst House

Madeleine who coordinates all our location work- assisting stylists and clients with everything they need for shoots to run smoothly – decided to go for a hybrid dream home.

“I’d love a mix of a few locations and I have got so much inspiration from our owners. I’d love a mix of:

Forest House - because of its idyllic location in the woods with the beautiful cladding, exterior and cosy wood stove inside.
Palace Road because of the simplicity and pure decor
Hawkhurst House because of it’s quirky mix of new and old


Foxgrove Road

Nicola, who is our office manager and website manager picked the Large Victorian House In Beckenham with its extensive garden and lashings of original period details.

“I love the decor and it feels very homely without being cluttered”

Albourne House

Sophie who founded and owns Light Locations and takes all the fabulous location photography made Albourne House her dream house choice. The Georgian Rectory in West Sussex has a stunning modern kitchen, although it is the outdoor space that won it for Sophie:

“It’s a stunning house and has so much lovely space outside. My children would love the tree house in the wood!

Sussex House

Suzi, who helps us with our Social Media and marketing, chose the stunning New England style house in West Sussex:

‘This house sums up everything about the lifestyle of my dreams – It’s near the coast and emulates the outdoor styling living of New England with the practicalities of the British weather! The amazing open plan kitchen and eating space that allows you to spill outside when the weather allows makes it a house built to entertain.”

“I also adore the way it’s been styled. The lovely touches of seaside chic throughout are perfectly balanced. White washed shutters, sea grass carpets and contemporary driftwood styled furniture perfectly complement the feel of the house.”

“An additional point on the dream house list that this gorgeous house ticks is the sloping rooms in several of the rooms which bring warmth and a cosy feel to a huge home.”


Well that’s it from our team - which Light Location would make your dream house?

 

Taking on a new location!

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 25th January 2016  0 Comments

We asked Sophie (founder and owner of Light Locations) to take us through what happens once a new location has been selected to feature as one of our beautiful, inspiring lifestyle locations for the film, TV and photographic industries…..

Getting To Know The Location and its Owner

One of the best parts of my job is doing the photography for the Light Locations website. It gives me the opportunity to see the location in person, meet the owner and know what it is like to shoot there. This is where Light Locations stands out from other agencies as we visit all our locations and meet every owner which means the owners know who they are talking to on the phone and it gives us a great insight in to the property.

The process of taking on a location is time consuming and there is a lot of work involved. After seeing photos that have been sent to us and I have decided that the location will work with us I arrange a date to visit the location and meet the owner.

Taking the Promotion Shots For The Website

On the photography day I leave the house with my camera and tripod, which are my essential bits of kit. I take all my photos in natural light so no lights are needed just a relatively nice day but not too sunny. I always hope for no direct sunlight as it always complicates and slows down the process - harsh yellow light does not look nice!

Depending on the size of the house the photos normally take me around 3 – 5 hours. I shoot every suitable room and shoot all good angles of the room to make sure I show off its full potential. I always try to give my photos a ‘flow’ by shooting the house in a logical order. This means that when clients view the property on the site, they feel they are being walked around it.

I generally shoot the house as it is so that my photos are as true to live as possible but I do like them to also be inspiring. Depending on the house I may not move anything but occasionally I have to move something out of shot if it distracts a view or if the room is not being seen in its best light. I always move TV’S out of every shot as there is nothing worse than having a big black thing in the corner of a room!

Editing The Shots

After the photography is done time is then spent editing the photos to make sure they reflect the property. Once this is done they get sent off to Nicola who is in charge of putting the locations live on the site. Nicola goes through every photo making sure it is of good quality, prepares them for the site and creates a page for the new location. Nicola sorts out all the other information needed like maps, transport details, Ecards, shortlists and a newsletter montage.

Promoting The New Location

Once live on the site the owner is informed and a newsletter is sent out promoting the new location to all our subscribers so that everyone is made aware of our new property. These newsletters always give us an immediate response, so are a great publicity tool.

We also use Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest to not only promote the new location to potential clients, but also to inspire anyone and everyone interested in stunning interior designs.

Who Lives in a House Like This?

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 4th January 2016  0 Comments

Have you ever looked at our Light Locations and wondered ‘who lives in a house like this’? It probably doesn’t surprise you that lots of our owners are creative types - you only have to look at the amazing interior design to know that the houses must belong to people who know how to make beautiful things. One of our particularly colourful houses belongs to the photographer Debi Treloar who specialises in interior and food photography. Debi says her philosophy on life to ‘to make something out of nothing and to be constantly inspired by life’. With such an upbeat ethos on life we thought we’d pick her brains on what its like to be a photographer and to own such a fabulous photoshoot location.

Did you always know you wanted to work in Photography?

I won an award for photography when I was 8 yrs old and then I started a photography club at school (only so I could smoke in the dark room) and so I guess it was always something I did.

What drew you to the world of photography?
My mum worked in advertising and she had lots of photographer friends so it was always around me… I grew up thinking I was useless at everything and photography was the one thing a teacher told me I really wasn’t useless at. it was a nice surprise.

You have worked all over the globe in lots of really interesting places. Which has been your favourite and why?
Ah too hard to answer …my favourite place is Watamu in Kenya but I go there to rest not really to work…one of my favourite houses I have photographed there belongs to designer/stylist Marzia Chierichetti . i think New York is probably my favourite place to work, it always so inspiring and full of great energy.

What is the best thing about your job?
It’s always varied , I never have the same day twice. Nearly always interesting and I get to meet loads of crazy people.

What is your favourite type of photoshoot location?
I tend to go for locations that have a bit of grunge and have some recycle and reuse element , where there is a great mix of old and new, homes that are personalised and real. Ann Shore’s house in Shoreditch is probably in my top few, it has everything for me, personality, style, romantic, outdoors indoors and the most incredible mix of beautiful things.

What made you open your own home as a photoshoot location?
I started doing the location thing years ago as my studio was a 2 bed flat above where I lived and it made sense to rent it out… best of all people wanted to come. It’s a great source of income.  It’s really helpful having money coming in just for tidying up and to be honest my house would probably be a tip if I didn’t have to keep it constantly clean and tidy. I have never been bothered by possessions so I don’t mind people coming in using things and moving them about and to top it often saying nice things about it.

Your home - Mount Pleasant Rd - has a stunning approach to the use of colour. What has been your inspiration?
I grew up in Zimbabwe and there was always so much colour in the nature and always blue sky,  I think I missed the sky coming to England and so predominantly my house is shades of blue.

What is it like to work with Light Locations?
Brilliant … Always a pleasure. I knew Sophie before she set up Light Locations so was really happy when she set up LL. We have worked together from the beginning and I totally trust and respect her.

What are your top tips for anyone thinking about a career in photography?
My son is just starting out in photography weirdly so I advised him to learn the technical side backwards, so well that you never have to think about it when you work …so its second nature, then you can concentrate on the the fun bit of taking the pics.
Try and work with and for people who’s work you like and just keep on it. Taking pictures showing them to people getting advice .It’s not easy to break in but it’s the best job when you are busy.

To see more of Debi’s work visit her website

Christmas in the Light Locations office!

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 22nd December 2015  0 Comments

We all love Christmas at Light Locations. It is always an exciting time allowing us to make our office look festive: hanging the fairy lights, putting up the decorations and playing the Christmas tunes.

The run up to Christmas is always busy in the office getting the Light Locations calendar organised. This year we have had so many beautiful images to choose from due to all the amazing locations we have taken on this year. It’s looking good and now at the printers so will be making their way out to you in the New Year.

Christmas is also a great time to stand back and say ‘thank you’ for the hard work across the year. To reward everyone in the office and to start the festive period relaxed and pampered we are taking a girly trip out to Cowley Manor for a spa day which we all can’t wait for!

It’s also a time to party and this year our Christmas party will be at a lovely local pub called The Bell in Ramsbury . We share our Christmas party with the Design by Timber boys and it’s always a fun night out, especially when we get to open our Secret Santa gifts!

After a busy, hard working year Christmas is our longest break of the year so we all get to enjoy some time with our families and come back feeling refreshed and ready to start an exciting New Year.

We all wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2016! Thank you to everyone we have worked with this year and to all our lovely owners. We very much look forward to working with you all next year. Have a great break!

Please note the office will be closed from 23rd December 2015 until 4th January 2016

Looking back on 2015 What it has meant to us!

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 8th December 2015  0 Comments

2015 has been a great and very busy year for Light Locations! Lots of shoots, beautiful new locations, lovely new clients, gorgeous tearsheets and lots of repeat work!

We took on so many beautiful properties this year which are all proving very popular: Homewood House, Earlshall Summerhouse, Primrose Flat, Eagle House, Aylestone Avenue, Ross Road, Winchelsea HousePewsey House to name a few. We have also seen a few of our existing locations undergoing refurbs or creating extra shoot space such as Marmora Road’s Pallet Shed or the beautiful Lorn Road now allows people to shoot in the house after a beautiful kitchen extension. 

This has made our 2016 Light Locations calendar very easy to do this year as had too many beautiful places to choose from! The calendar is being printed and hope it will be ready to send out early in the New Year!

Our favourite tearsheets have definitely come from a new local client of ours ‘Neptune’ who have done some beautiful shots with their creative team at Forest House. We have also had some beautiful editorial work at our new locations Wray Crescent shot by Homes and Gardens. 

In the office Madeleine has settled well in to her job and has become a great asset to Light Locations. Nicola is also a valued part of the Light Locations team and we were glad to see her return to work from her maternity leave early this year. Nicola is now expecting a second baby so will be leaving us in the new year to start her maternity but we hope she will join us again when she is ready! We will be looking for someone else to join our team to replace Nicola for her maternity in early 2016 so if anyone knows of someone they think might be suitable do let us know!

The icing on the cake this year has been that we finally found a beautiful premises to buy to house our growing office. We are very excited to now actually own the building we work from and are very excited about moving there but have lots of work to do first. We hope the move will come in the summer of 2016 so watch this space for regular updates. We hope the office will be stunning so we will definately be sharing photos!

We will look back on 2015 with fond memories and very much look forward to what 2016 will have to offer! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Inspiration for your Living Space

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 17th November 2015  0 Comments

Living Rooms are popular spaces in which stylists and photographers like to work. The spacious and open nature of many Light Location living rooms provide a strong stage for furniture, wallpaper and textile brochures, magazines and editorial pieces.

We are continually inspired by the living rooms we work with at Light Locations and are often in awe of their splendor and proportions! Whilst we love to dream that one day we will own a home of such grandeur, there are plenty of ways to take inspiration from our locations and translate them into ideas for everyone and anyone.

We have picked some of our favourite Light Location living spaces to inspire small changes that can bring about a total transformation:

The feature fireplace wall at Homewood House shows that bringing a dynamic colour contrast into play can have a dramatic effect.

The calmness of the living space at Albourne House can be achieved with gentle colour matching of walls, window frames and furnishings – all drawn from the same subtle colour palette.

The use of a single small statement orange lampshade at Place Farmhouse adds depth to the living space.

Take a look through our favourites and be inspired. For more ideas see our full range of inspirational living spaces or our pick from around the internet on our Pinterest board.

Location Spotlight: Eagle House

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 3rd November 2015  0 Comments

Eagle House is a stunning Georgian House in Bathford near Bath. Whilst it has only been registered with Light Locations since June it is already popular with a host of clients such as Homes & Gardens, Graham & Greene, Joules, Marks & Spencer and Cox & Cox.

So what makes this location so well-liked? It could be the beautiful open plan and spacious kitchen diner, the formal dining room with gorgeous plaster walls or the stunning curved staircase. What permeates the whole location though is light. It floods in through the expansive windows and bounces around the clean white walls. It truly is a Light Location.

It is also huge! With 7 bedrooms, sprawling rooms and gorgeous grounds the house is so versatile that home furnishers, paint companies, clothing brands and gift companies are clambering to maximise its versatility in their catalogues and magazines.

The furniture and home accessories brand Neptune spent a week in July making use of all that Eagle House has to offer. The lovely crew of Polly Wreford, Elkie Brown and Tanya Snook loved all that it has to offer and the lovely location owner made their shoot a truly pleasurable experience. The results are stunning and can be seen in their current Autumn/Winter brochure as well as on their website.

Eagle House really is a Light Location in every sense. It is inspiring and has everything, including a friendly owner to make shooting there a real joy! Everyone says it!

Watch this space for more fabulous tearsheets from one of our most popular locations of 2015.

Stylish dining inspiration

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 19th October 2015  0 Comments

Lounge diner, kitchen diner or formal dining room? Wherever you choose to house your table and chairs the space becomes a people magnet as family and friends flow in and around your home. Dining tables also often get used as homework stations and makeshift offices so the need for comfort and adequate natural lighting become key design factors.

If you are looking for inspiration for your dining space, we’ve picked a selection from our Light Locations to tickle the interior design taste buds, from period beauty at St Francis House or Ross Road to urban simplicity at Lorn Road. Or how about the modern farmhouse style at Albourne House

We particularly love the bright, fun feel of the dining space at Mount Pleasant Road. Its homage to colour set against a white canvas can’t help but lift your mood, and believe us when we say that it’s even more impactful in real life!

One thing you will find in common with our pick from Light Location dining spaces is the clever and beautiful use of artificial overhead lighting. From sneaky spotlights hidden in beams to glorious statement balls of light, we hope you are equally inspired by the wonderful lighting choices our property owners choose for their gorgeous homes.

For more stylish dining inspiration see our full range of country location dining and London location dining or our picks from around the internet on our Pinterest board.

How it all began!

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 6th October 2015  2 Comments

Light Locations has been providing beautiful, inspiring lifestyle locations to the Film, Television and Photographic industries for almost 15 years now. Those 15 years has seen an ever-growing base of fabulous clients and locations that we love to work with. As we have recently bought new, larger premises we started to reflect on how far we have come and we quizzed Sophie on how it all began…..

Q: What inspired you to want to start your own business?

Sophie: I always wanted to work for myself from a very young age so always had ambitions of having my own business and being my own boss! My parents were probably an inspiration to me initially and then my first boss.

Q: What do you remember from the early days of owning your own business?

Sophie: Working very long hours and being very excited every time the phone rang!

Q: What experience did you take from your early career in the photographic industry?

Sophie: My experience in the industry after I left college was invaluable and I would have found it very hard to start Light Locations without it. I learnt all the business side of things and how to run an agency on a day-to-day basis from my first boss, Maggie who had her own location agency. I then gained some great contacts from my photographic assisting so both of these areas gave me a great foundation to start Light Locations.

Q: How has Light Locations evolved since it began?

Sophie: It has evolved very naturally! The business has grown in locations and our reputation has grown with this and we are now well known in the industry. Our portfolio always stays at a manageable size that allows us to provide both client and owner with a very personal, efficient service.

Q: What was the real turning point for Light Locations in the early days

Sophie: Taking on our first location ‘Brixton House’ was really important to Light Location’s beginning. It was a very unusual location and offered something that no one was offering at the time and clients loved it! The red sofa appeared in so many magazines that it became quite famous! Brixton House helped to get Light Locations a lot of attention and whilst it isn’t a shoot location anymore, I have very fond memories of it and its owner.

Q: Where there any other memorable locations from the early years

Sophie: We love all our locations so it’s really hard to pick out one. However there was a beautiful location ‘Wash Lane’ in Norfolk that had a lovely log cabin in a wood with an outdoor bath, which proved really popular with lots of clients.

Q: Where do you see Light Locations in 10 years time

Sophie: Still going strong and maybe be known for having a great location house too! That would be my dream!

Q: What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting up their own business

Sophie: You need to be passionate about what you are doing and ready to work all hours!

The love of the roll top bath!

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 22nd September 2015  0 Comments

Roll top baths exude opulence and luxury. They feel just ever so indulgent and break away from standard bathroom suites. Historically part of bygone eras, roll top baths now add that touch of vintage decadence to any home.

At Light Locations we ADORE roll top baths and have to admit that a few of us in the office now have them at home! We discussed which were our Light Location favourites and chose a few for you to drool over. Sophie particularly loves the claw-foot detail at Lorn Road and Suzi is a huge fan of the bateau shaped tub at Albourne House.

The bathroom at Kent House shows that the added extravagance of a grand chandelier and a huge molded mirror can make your bathroom a true haven of grand relaxation .

Surrounded by beautiful images of beautiful bathrooms we succumbed to the love of the roll top….will you?

For more roll top inspiration take a look at all our roll tops on the Light Locations site or our pick from around the internet on our Pinterest board

Inspirational ideas for your kitchen island

Sophie Hitchens Thursday, 3rd September 2015  0 Comments

Kitchen islands add valuable storage space and extra seating in the room that is often the heart of the home. Kitchens today aren’t built just for cooking and as more people expand their kitchens to accommodate living and social space, the fashion for kitchen islands has grown.

Today’s kitchen designs also need to cater for the resurgence in home cooking, baking and those who love to experiment with their food. As kitchens expand to cater for these changing domestic needs, the inclusion of a kitchen island gathers speed year upon year.

Kitchens are a widely used room amongst Light Locations clients, particularly for those needing product placement backdrops for crockery and homewares. Kitchens are often light and airy rooms - perfect for photographers and stylists alike. Add an expanse of kitchen island luxury and the stage becomes more and more versatile.

As kitchens with islands feature heavily for so many of our clients, we have selected seven of our favourite locations that include them to inspire your own interior designs. For more inspiration have a look at our kitchen island locations and our pick from around the internet on our pinterest boards.

Keeping Your Photo Shoot Location Fresh

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 24th August 2015  0 Comments

The summerhouse at Lorn Road has always been a popular location for photo shoots. The parquet flooring, panelled walls and abundance of windows make it a favourite amongst the likes of YOU Magazine and Home & Gardens magazine. Stylists love that the house can be used to store props and that the summerhouse has underfloor heating for those icy cold winter shoots.

As a location owner it could be easy to sit back and continue to let the bookings roll in, but not so for Twig, the owner of Lorn Road. Armed with the knowledge that kitchen spaces are in high demand for location photography Twig undertook a radical change to gain a larger, more shootable kitchen space.

Not only has this made Lorn Road a more versatile shoot location option for stylists, magazines and photographers, but with the location also being the owners home there is a fabulous new family space at the heart of this gorgeous home.

With the changes came an inspired choice for a bigger overhaul and Twig then rearranged the upstairs to gain another bedroom for their children! Happy house, happy family, happy clients.

For more information on what makes a great photoshoot location - download our FREE photo shoot location guide.

Summer house design ideas, photos and inspiration

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 3rd August 2015  1 Comments

With summer now in full swing, our minds wonder from home interiors to home exteriors. Whilst the British summer is often beautiful, it is also resolutely unpredictable, which make summerhouses a great way to enjoy the sunshine between or during the showers.

Several of our Light Locations have AMAZING outbuildings which can inspire you to create or upgrade your own external haven and we’ve picked out a few of our favourites for you. Our NEW blue/black summerhouse, The Pallet Shed at Marmora Road with the stunning internal timber cladding strikes a real chord for us. Newly finished it reflects the growing trend for the reclaimed look. 

We love to know what inspires our readers too, so please feel free to leave a comment with a link to other outbuildings that inspire you.

For more inspirational summerhouses and outbuildings see our Pinterest favourites at https://www.pinterest.com/lightlocations/outbuildings/

What does an interior stylist do?

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 14th July 2015  0 Comments

At Light Locations, our clients include photographers, home owners, magazines, catalogues and PR agencies. One of the key people we work with are interior stylists - the people who make the locations look fabulous for the shoots. An interior stylist is sometimes confused with an interior designer, but they really are two very different jobs. We interviewed lovely interior stylist Marie Nichols to give us a little insight in to what it’s like to be a stylist and what her job entails. The images below show some examples of her work shot at various locations of ours by clients such as Christy and Sofa.com.

What made you become a stylist?

I stumbled across styling by accident (back in the days before blogs and social media) I did work experience at a magazine and had wanted to be in the art team  (with the thought that I wanted to get into Creative Direction), but ended up in the Style team and discovered my dream job… A Stylist! . For me it combined three of my favourite things Photography (i’d just graduated from a photography degree) Interior Design and Magazines.

Would you give a broad overview explaining what an interior stylist does?
It’s tricky because it can vary so much from each commission. I guess, very loosely,  a stylist interprets a clients brief and provides the “ideas and stuff” within the shots,  working alongside photographers to create beautiful pictures…So that means sourcing locations, designing rooms / sets and sourcing the props within them. I then create moodboards and sketches to demonstrate to the client how my concepts will translate into shots. Then there is commissioning a set builder; booking assistants and photographers and arranging the logistics.

What makes you choose a certain shoot location?
It really depends upon the brief. The look and style we are trying to achieve; whether or not we need to decorate; how much space we need a) for full pull back in the shots or b) simple the props we will be bringing in and logistics - if we need to stick within London or if we have the freedom to travel further afield.

What’s important on the day of a shoot?
Being organised. There’s so much more to styling and a great shoot than the creative stuff! As the stylist I see myself as being responsible for the smooth running of a shoot. You have a lot of people all awaiting instruction, homeowners; client; couriers; set builders; assistants and if you don’t have the luxury of a set up day then the photographer too. I generally write a lot of lists! It’s also important to have a plan B! However organised you are there are always times when a key product or prop doesn’t show up and you need to think on your feet. A great assistant, great setbuilder and great photographer are all key, as is a cup of tea ; supply of chocolate and comfy shoes!  

What have been some of your favourite projects and why?
It’s really hard to pick.  For me one of the joys of being a freelance stylist is the variety. In all honesty some of my favourite projects have been when I was working in Sydney. The brief’s were so open and really allowed me to be creative. I love projects which I can fully immerse myself in so not just “prop styling”. I love getting involved in the creative direction, selecting locations, deciding shots , choosing the team to work with.

Which are your favourite Light Locations and why?
It’s so hard to choose (mostly because I’m fickle and it’s always changing) On a personal level at the moment I love Hawkhurst House,  probably because its most similar to my own style - I love the mix of old and new and splashes of colour ( and it’s filled with lots of lovely props) I’m yet to shoot at Wray Crescent but it looks great - it’s got “beautiful bones” but is neutral and clear enough to bring in your own props and add your own style.

What is it like working with Light Locations?
A joy! Always my first port of call on the location search because I feel like it’s the “best” in terms of quality. You don’t have to sift through hundreds of “average” houses - they’re all beautiful. Website is really clear and easy to use and the girls are lovely too!

To contact Marie please see link to her website:

Bespoke interiors for Challenging Spaces

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 7th July 2015  0 Comments

Light Locations are usually chosen for photoshoots because they are light and spacious and provide a blank but stunning backdrop for creative stylists and photographers. But what about those spaces that are small or uninspiring? These types of spaces may never make a suitable photoshoot location, but with the right creative touch, your quirky and challenging space could still become amazing.

We asked Tim Hitchens from Design by Timber for his advice on how they deliver unique bespoke interiors to the most challenging of spaces.
The two most important things before you start any design work is sitting down and thinking through what the space is going to be used for and by whom. Spend as much time as you can thinking about it from every angle”.

This approach can apply to all interior design projects, large or small, but it was particularly relevant to one of Design by Timber’s favourite challenging spaces – The Espresso Room in Bloomsbury

The owner of The Espresso Room found the perfect intimate space to launch his flagship shop selling his unique blends of coffee. Space in the shop was tight, so Tim thought how customers might use the space. What was needed was spill-out space with maximum flexibility so they designed a number of benches that could be arranged in a variety of configurations. Using Larch for the benches made them not only hardwearing for outdoors but also beautiful for the monolithic serving block.

We think the result is a practical and very stylish use of space.

Panelling ideas for walls

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 23rd June 2015  0 Comments

A key factor in deciding to take on a new Light Location is the versatility it will provide to our clients. Neutral walls allow stylists to stamp their mark but feature walls provide ready-made backgrounds, so ideally properties contain a mixture of both.

What many of our locations provide is something in between – interesting textures with neutral colours. As the images below show this can be anything from rustic timber clad walls through to shaker style panelling. Tongue and groove panels in particular lend themselves well to subtle shades of neutrality, which act as fabulous photoshoot backdrops. If a property is one of our period locations, historical panelling adds an extra level of interest, which can be seen in the ornate walls below at our Victorian house, Ross Road

Panelling is most definitely in fashion in today’s interior designs – our Pinterest boards are proof of that! So we thought we’d share some of our favourite panelling images to get you thinking about how to incorporate the wonders of wood walls into your interiors or photoshoots.

For more panelling ideas take a look at our locations with beautiful backdrops

What makes a good photoshoot location?

Sophie Hitchens Wednesday, 10th June 2015  0 Comments

At Light Locations we receive lots and lots of properties to be listed on our books. Once we have sifted through our initial checklist of what we know will make a good shoot location, those that make the final cut are photographed, listed and let loose to the world of stylists and photographers.

Once through the starting gate, some of our properties then go on to become real location gems - the ones that everyone seems to want to book. These properties just have that special something, that ability to become the creative backdrop for a host of various products or industries.

One such location is Wray Crescent in Islington. This stunning Victorian terrace has only been with Light Locations since March this year and already its been used for shoots by Neal’s Yard, Beddeck bedlinen, Prima Magazine, M&S, Heals, Loaf, Little Green Paint Company, Mothercare, Ercol Furniture, Asda, Oliver Bonas, Homes and Gardens, John Lewis, House Beautiful ……..

Wray Crescent clearly lends itself to a multitude of styling possibilities, with having the option of shooting in a modern and period space under one roof, versatile backdrops, great flooring, heaps of natural light and some stunning and unique features and furniture.

What do you think makes Wray Crescent so appealing to so many?

For more information on what makes a great photoshoot location - download our FREE photo shoot location guide.

5 Ways to Inspire Your Humble Hallway

Sophie Hitchens Wednesday, 27th May 2015  0 Comments

Hallways are just a way to get from the front door to the living room, kitchen or stairs right? WRONG. According to the amount that our images of Light Locations hallways get pinned, repinned and shared via Pinterest, it would appear there is a lot of love for the not so humble hallway!

We’ve picked out 5 of our hallway images that have seen the most Pinterest love. Which one would make YOU feel warm and fuzzy if it greeted you at your front door?

For more inspiring hallways visit our Pinterest Board

5 Inspiring Interior Ideas

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 12th May 2015  0 Comments

In todays digital landscape you can easily drown in analyzing the performance of your website, your social media or your latest online advert. But step away from the analysis and what we at Light Locations LOVE with all the digital information at our fingertips are the simple insights into the images that inspire people.

So every so often we like to dig into our website and see the images that cause people to take action – to be shared, to be pinned or to spark comments of awe.

To share the spark of inspiration, we’ve picked 5 of the images from our website which have generated the most Pinterest activity – the ones that have been pinned and repinned hundreds of times. We hope they get your idea generators fired up for your own interior projects.

Which one fires up your interior inspiration…..

For plenty more interior inspiration visit our Pinterest Boards

Day in the Light Locations office!

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 28th April 2015  0 Comments

Welcome to our office at Light Locations! True to form, we work from a lovely light, white room in an old barn in the heart of Wiltshire. There are 3 of us in the Light Locations team: Me (Sophie, in yellow), Madeleine (in red) and Nicola (in white) and of course my lovely fox terrier ‘Humbie’.

I own Light Locations, which I started in 2001. Aside from all the decisions and tasks to complete that all small business owners have, one of my main responsibilities is for all the locations photography on the website. This leaves Madeleine and Nicola in charge of running the office on a day-to-day basis and they are who the clients and owners deal with for all their location enquiries. Madeleine has been with Light Locations for just over a year and Nicola has been with Light Locations for just over 2 years and has a 1-year-old little girl (who is gorgeous) and has just returned from her maternity leave. Both girls are a joy to work with and we all feel very lucky to work with nice people in a lovely work environment.

We also have a fantastic team of freelancers and suppliers that help our business to run smoothly. There is our lovely bookkeeper Robert (in grey) who keeps things in order and works behind the scenes but is a very important part of the office! There are also other important people that are part of our team, Unstuck Design who do all our website stuff and lovely Kate who is a freelancer who deals with ensuring all the location information on our website is up to date. Finishing up the team is Suzi, another freelancer who helps us with all our social media.

On a day-to-day basis the office is busy with a constant stream of emails to answer, phone calls to take and make, plenty of paperwork to do for clients and owners and chasing up on location options. We all need to keep up with everything that is going on in the diary so there is a lot of tapping on keyboards all day! Humbie is always at our feet - except in the mornings when he spends the whole morning sitting at the door waiting for the postman who comes in around midday when Humbie gets lots of treats thrown for him!

Tea plays an important role in the office and has become a time consuming task as we have to include the boys at Design by Timber who have a workshop space next door to us. If we forget them they get very upset! Lunches and ‘bacon butty Thursday’ are also an integral part of the day/week, which again are shared with the boys at Design by Timber. If at all possible we all eat outside on sunny days, but everyday we make time for our Grazia reading fix! We all take part in a bake off every 2 weeks where one of us makes something nice and naughty to eat for our afternoon treat! Madeleine you are next!

I hope this gives you a bit of an insight about us and our working day at Light Locations and you have enjoyed the post. Do feel free to ask us anything about what its like working for Light Locations.

'What it is like to have a shoot location'

by Jane Cumberbatch

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 13th April 2015  0 Comments

What made you register your home with a Location Agency and how long have you been doing it?

I can’t quite believe it, having just looked at my first invoice, but I have been registered with Light Locations since December 2004!  I don’t know where the time has gone, but what I do know is that my bookings with Light Locations have gone from strength to strength.

I am a stylist and interiors author and have worked on many projects including Habitat catalogues where I sourced real life locations . When we bought the house, a rambling Victorian villa in Palace Road in 2003 it seemed a practical idea to combine its function as a domestic space with doing photographic shoots.

My aesthetic which you can see in my ‘Pure Style’ books is very clean and simple, and so it marries well with the Light Locations look.

What is the best thing about working with Light Locations?

Sophie is really efficient and business like and never keeps me waiting for payment. She takes the time to photograph the properties and any room updates herself, and sends the girls in the office to also see each property so that they all have a good sense of what will suit a particular client.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of registering their home?

Don’t do it if you feel stressed at the thought of strangers heaving box loads of props and photographic equipment through your home.  Don’t do it if you are OCD about small scratches and nicks on your floors and walls. And don’t do it if you’re not a peopley person, because letting shoots into your home is a little like running a hotel or a restaurant, you’re providing a service and it helps if you can engage with your clients. But if you have a large space with high ceilings, white walls,  good light and no clutter , then I thoroughly recommend getting in touch with Sophie.

Where has your home featured?

We have had an incredibly broad array of clients, from Jack Dee’s comedy series, Lead Balloon to Boden, Tesco , Farrow & Ball paints and most of the interior decoration magazines.  The house is a versatile space, in that there are white walls, but also rooms with colour, and then there is very good light because it faces south, and also a large garden which is put to use at all times of the year (cold storage for a drinks company in January!) to outdoor living shots in spring.

My location is known as Palace Road on Light Locations site so do have a look.

See my website at www.purestyleonline.com. My new book Pure Colour which also features the house is published in April 2015 by Pavilion.

'Our Own Rustic Shoot Location'

By Bella of Walnuts Farm

Sophie Hitchens Monday, 9th March 2015  0 Comments

At Walnuts Farm, we are constantly refining the look of our rustic shoot location house both indoor and out on our five acre smallholding. We have been here now for nearly 10 years and thanks to our location agents like Sophie and Madeleine the number of photographic shoots we now host has grown year on year. Fashion, interiors and advertising clients are all regular visitors and include brands such as  L’Oreal, John Lewis, White Stuff, Kew, Rowan, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco to name but a few. In fact, by becoming well known as an authentic model farm location our own family lifestyle has been serialised by Country Living Magazine. Nick and I, our children, and even our livestock have quite literally become performers on our own stage, with a second series ‘A Taste of the Good Life’ which has just come out in the April issue.

Before Christmas, we gave a series of talks at the Country Living Xmas Fair about how we set about renovating the property with the idea of Walnuts Farm being able to pay for itself. It was aptly titled ‘How to Live the Dream and Pay the Mortgage’ and it was really about showing alternative ways to generate an income in a rural environment.

I think our audience were quite interested to see how life started out here, especially when we showed them images of the dilapidated house and granary outbuilding and the overgrown bare field site behind the house.

This same area has now been transformed into our kitchen garden, complete with espaliered pear trees, box hedging and gravel paths so that there is plenty of interest and gravel paths for models and photographic crews to walk out on… And to help our clients, we always make sure that there are plenty of authentic props around to use, such as old wooden handled spades and forks, gardening hats and gloves, wooden trugs an old water bowser and beautiful white beehives with paint peeling, all of which are on hand to help create beautiful images.

Nick and I aim is to make things as easy as possible and help the day run as smoothly as it can because we know that our crews and models have often had a really early start and just getting all their work done in a limited time frame can be stressful. We aim to have a good stock of tame chickens, pigs and sheep that are happy around people, and both Bunny our shaggy lurcher and Blink our grey whippet are always very willing to model. And if required, Nick and I are in the background to answer questions and rustle up a delicious seasonal lunch from our homegrown produce.

The audience at our talks were also amused to hear how early Christmas comes to Walnuts Farm. We showed them the shot of our porch area ‘snowed up’ on a hot day in early August! Perhaps one of the reasons why Walnuts Farm works well as a shoot location house is that we have tried to create small almost theatrical sets both inside and outside the house. All the different areas are of a manageable small scale and no two look alike. They all have a distinctive personality.

Inside, I suppose our style is rural minimalism, and have a number of key utilitarian pieces like a cut-out of a suffolk punch horse and unfitted furniture that can be moved about to suit the clients needs. We have a dark room with a huge inglenook fireplace so you can go cosy country or light rooms for something more neutral. Lots of the pieces we own have been collected over the years from agricultural auctions and general sales so that nothing competes with the clients own product. Our own things just serve to create the feeling of rural simplicity, which is as I’m sure you can imagine difficult sometimes to pull off with especially with young children. Some people ask whether we really live here and we do. But you have to be disciplined and have plenty of large cupboards and trunks to throw all the kid’s stuff into on shoot days. We just hope they don’t peer inside and see all the chaos behind the calm!

For more information on Walnuts farm visit Light Locations and to follow the story of Life on Walnuts Farm visit Country Liviing

Witness the Transformation!

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 17th February 2015  0 Comments

If you follow us on Facebook and Twitter you will be used to regularly seeing how our Light Locations look like once the stage has been set, the lighting adjusted and the props propped. Some of our Locations go through a major transformation with extensive painting and decorating to make sure the end results match the design brief perfectly. This can make the location look unrecognisable from its original location shots.

We’ve pulled out a few examples so you can witness the transformations for yourself.

1 - The cool and classy dining room at Cotswold Barn becomes a warm and vibrant living area with the change of furniture, wall colour, window dressings and lighting features.
 
2 - The lighting and furniture features at our Cotwold barn remained in situ for our clients Sanderson but the dramatic window dressings and wall hangings result in shots that change the shape, dimensions and impact of the original room.
 
3 – The blank canvas at Lorn Road Summerhouse has lent itself to many transformations for a huge variety of clients. A small change of colour has a notable impact in the stage for a feature in YOU magazine
 
4 – The external cladding at Cotswold Barn looks just at stunning when set for a winter stage by the White Company. The real transformation for this photoshoot came with the addition of its winter wonderland weather and props. Amazing considering it was shot in July!
 
5 – Subtle changes at Place Farmhouse made an effective stage setting for John Lewis Home catalogue. Lighting the fire put the final touches to result in a photshoot full of cosiness and warmth.

Welcome to our Blog!

Sophie Hitchens Tuesday, 3rd February 2015  2 Comments

A new resource for photographers, stylists, publishers, location owners and all those interested in knowing more about Light Locations or who just love beautiful interiors.

With a new year comes a new venture for Light Locations and we are really excited to introduce you to our new blog. This is where we plan to share more about us, our industry and what it’s like to work for a busy photo shoot location agency. We will also be giving you insights on what it’s like to own a Light Location or to be one of our clients.

We’ll have exclusives on our new locations, exciting behind the scenes insights and we will also be sharing what it’s like to own a Light Location or to be one of our clients - sometimes from the mouths of others through guest blogs from busy location owners or clients. Sometimes we might just share whatever is on our mind and we’d love to get you involved and hear your thoughts too so do feel free to leave comments.

We will be updating our blog on a regular basis so make sure you check in to keep in touch with all our news.

We look forward to seeing you back here soon.

Sophie and the team.

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