Paris Apothecary Interior

This is the front room of the Paris Apothecary. The Art dept. and Set Dec departments did major research to try and make this as accurate as possible, and yes the alligator was really used. We we found 18th Century etchings that showed the alligators hanging from the ceiling. This was the period of the Enlightenment and people were interested in all things from foreign lands. More photos to come.

Inspiration….Not Outlander but …Cause I Like it!!

tumblr_m4firzZCZZ1rr10yho3_1280yTo PostI found this image last year on some blog and I just Love it!! Sorry I don’t know the Artist.  You might think what the hell does that have to do with Outlander?  Well, to keep this blog from getting boring for You and mostly Me, I will be throwing images that move or touch me in some way.  But to be truthful  I see tons of Symbols, Sacred geometry and Alchemy that we have used in sets through out Outlander.  You know which ones I am talking about.   I like everyone else in the world find Stunning images on blogs and Tumblr. It’s a great place for inspiration for up and coming Designers!

Paris Apartment Parlor Architectural Details

Paris col cap To PostThis is the point of the sets being built when it really all comes together and takes shape!!!  It is when the artisans from Construction, Plaster and Paint put their final touches on the set.  This photo is a detail of one of the Pilasters with a corinthian column capital. The Pilaster would be built like a tall box in the construction shop. The plaster men would cast the column capitals and the french moldings and apply them to the pilaster.  Then the carpenters would add all the different moldings.  The crown moldings would be cast and added to the top of the walls.  Then scenic artists would do their magic!

Paris Apartment Parlor Architectural Details

Outlander Season 2 2016
Now I am going to show you some of the Architectural Details of the Paris Apartment. I already showed you one of the boards with the different french moldings that we used. Now I will show you close-up details and explain some of the process. Do you know I went to a five year Architecture program and I don’t think wood or plaster moldings were ever discussed? You kinda have to learn about that on your own, or from the different jobs you work on. Using different moldings is one very good way to set the period and tone for your Film or TV Set. Just so you know I had a couple of teachers telling me they were showing this blog to students to show them a bit of the behind the scenes making of sets to inspire beginner designers in theatre and film. Which is exciting!

Paris Inspiration

Gold finger To PostThis photo is included because it is beautiful and Gold… I will be posting lots of images that I find inspiring. You might think what does that have to do with Outlander, and I am trying to show up and coming designers that you are inspired by EVERYTHING! Sometimes it is a painting, sculpture, photograph or maybe just someone that passes you by on the street…..just something to thing about, because we are all Artists…Aren’t we?

Samples Of Some Of The Moldings Used In The Paris Apartment Set

paris moldings To PostThis shows just one board of some of the beautiful french rococo molding that we used in the Paris Apartment. I will have to say that picking moldings is one of the really fun parts of the Production Designer, Art Directors or Set Designers jobs!!!!  It is like toys for adults, we love them though they aren’t cheap. Most of these came from a supplier in Chicago. The plaster men would make many many cast of each to cover the walls of the sets.


Inspiration for All The Paris Sets

Paris research book To PostThis is one of the hundreds of books that we used in the Art & Set Decoration Department for inspiration and research. As I have said before lots of people in the Art department are always researching for the continuous upcoming sets. We use research from books, magazines, tons of Feature films and TV shows, google on line and just LIFE itself!

Paris Apartment Parlor Set Going Up

Paris liv 3 doors To Post copyThis photo is to show you all the great detail that the carpenters and plaster men put into the Paris Apartment sets! This is my favorite time during the set building, everything is almost finished being built, floors are done and covered for protection, the moldings and pilasters are all finished and painted, now to glaze and age the walls then Gina Cromwell the Set Decorator brings in all the amazing furnishings. Then they light and shoot the show.

Paris Apartment Parlor Finished Daybed

This is a close up photo of the finished daybed.  I wanted to show you the back wall which is covered with golden bronze silk,blue mirror squares and gold moldings.  I wanted the mirrors to be blue because I knew that Gina and I were using several blue velvets and silks. I also wanted it to be different than the silver mirror pocket doors on the daybed. We were try to make it very sexy, I think it worked out pretty well. I will try to find a photo of the mirrored doors closed.

Paris Apartment Parlor Daybed

Outlander Season 2 2016

This is the Jamie & Claire Paris Apartment daybed. As you can tell I like doing built-in beds and daybeds. We have had them in black Jack Randall’s sleeping quarters, Inn’s and assorted other sets. The reason is they really did use them a lot in the 18th century and I like the way it looks and it is an elegant piece of built in furniture that can add a lot to the set.  I can see the way Actors and crew respond to them.

This one was built so that Claire could be sitting in the daybed at parties in their apartment and look out toward her guest. The back had a wide panel that swung out so that a camera could be placed there to shoot over claire to the rest of the apartment.

Star Chamber walls

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The walls in the Star Chamber were covered with 16th Century etchings of sacred geometry. we had this printed on canvas and stretched and tacked onto our walls then put gold moldings surrounded each one.

Floor of Star Chamber


We debated on how to do the floor for a while, I wanted a bronze copy of a
astrolabe in the center of the floor. I also wanted a bronze ring surrounding the ring on the floor underneath the dome and bronze markers for North, South, East and West quadrants.
We talked about having it hand painted, talked about real black and white marble? Our amazing graphics man Brendan Hessle worked out the design on his computer and we ended up having all the black and white marble and symbols printed on giant sheets of sticky back vinyl. The bronze pieces of the center and outer ring were built out of wood and done as inlay into the floor. It worked because it only had to play for a week or so.

Plaster Dome of the Star Chamber


The finished plaster dome with the crown moldings with dentil moldings surrounding the bottom of the dome.
In classical architecture a dentil is a small block used as a repeating ornament in the crown mold.
The four corner columns with niches are just being added.



The light on this location is really great and we wanted something like this but with smaller shafts of light since our space was so much smaller.

Building of the Dome of the Star Chamber


This image shows the structure that the carpenters and plaster men built to start the process of casting the plaster pieces of the plaster dome of the Star Chamber.

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This image shows how the plaster men have spread out the plaster on the rig they built. They cast twelve different pieces…I think. LOL

Two Domes of Star Chamber


This image show Alex King our plaster man on far left, Neville Kidd one of our Brilliant Directors of photography and Andy the plaster man to the right.
The lower part of the image shows about six pieces of the plaster dome attached together. The upper part of the image shows the structural pipe dome rigged above the plaster half dome.
The plaster dome will be attached to the pipe dome and hoisted above the rest of the set. I know it sounds confusing, and this was the first time I have ever built a dome? Well we all know I didn’t build it…the Plaster men and Construction did a truly amazing job!!!!

Model of the Star Chamber


This is the crazy model of the Star Chamber. There were a few jokes about it looking like a spaceship ready to take off. This model was built by Jasper and Gillie. They built the model then we tried all sorts of different images to go on the walls.

Star Chamber Inspiration – astrolab


An Astrolabe a sort of computer of the ancients. Some of these tools were created over two thousand years ago when people thought the earth was the center of the universe. Movable components on the astrolabe are then set to a specific time and date and then the sky is represented on the face of the instrument. This instrument was mainly used to make astronomical measurements, typically of the altitudes of celestial bodies, and in navigation for calculating latitude, before the development of the sextant.

Dome Over Gary

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The beginning of the STAR CHAMBER!!!!!
The carpenters and riggers built this frame out of pipes for the dome which they will attach the pieces of the plaster dome.

Inspiration From Any Source – spiral sculpture

I just love this great little piece of sculpture…
I am including a lot of these images to show young up and coming designers of any and everything that you can get inspiration from many many things that you would not normally think about.
When I was in Architecture school one of the instructors said that if we can teach you to have a “good eye” or a good sense of design, once you leave this five year program for Architecture You can design Anything.
Not just Architecture but shoes, stores, jewelry, plates, cars…Anything!

Outlander Paris – cobble molding 3

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I though you all would enjoy seeing a few photos of how the cobbles were made. Our main Plaster Man Alex King sent me a few photos to share with you. First they pour the concrete into the giant 40ft. X 40ft. form of the court. Next all the plaster men spread out the concrete, then they place the molds that they made of real cobbles on top of the concrete. Next they stamp the molds into the concrete then pull them off and let set for three or four days….and VOILA instant 18th century cobbles!

Paris Apartment – courtyard

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This is Jamie & Claire’s paris Apartment courtyard. Behind these triple arches were two wall fountains and a center bronze colored door. This was the look for apt court, when the court played as the market entrance to Master Raymond’s Apothecary the fountains and bronze door and the walls they are attached to were removed and the set for the entry to the Apothecary were prebuilt and standing behind the fountain walls. As I have said before everything gets used and reused and reworked to save money and time.

Outlander Paris – Market

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This photo shows how we dressed up the court for vendors selling their wares, I think this was for the scene where they are getting ready for the big dinner party with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Outlander Paris – apothecary

This photo show the arches that lead to exterior front door of the Apothecary entrance. To save money we built the entry into the Apothecary in same court as the Jamie & Claire courtyard. The walls behind the arches had two different looks and the court would be redress for each. I will show photos of that soon.

Paris Apartment – courtyard with carriage ready for film

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A behind the scenes shot of the Jamie and Claire’s carriage and horses in the court. One of the main reasons I wanted to build the courtyard was so that the directors and directors of photography could show Jamie and Claire enter the court and then follow them thru the front door and up the grand staircase and right into their Paris Parlor.

Outlander Paris – carriage refit

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Jamie and Claires carriage. Set Decorator Gina Cromwell rented this carriage from London, had our drapery men reupholster the whole interior and prop builders did work on the body of the carriage then scenic artist repainted the whole thing.

Paris Apartment – work in progress finishing

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This photo show the different stone work the carpenters and the plaster team have added in the Paris Apartment Court. Once this is done the Scenic artist come in to start the many layers of paint and aging. Then we stand back and look at it and decide if it needs more aging or not. Sometimes we add built in shadowing to help with the look.

Outlander Paris – cobble concrete pour 2


This photo shows the Plaster men and Carpenters pouring the concrete into forms of the courtyard space.
The plaster men bought many different sizes of cobbles and we looked at all of them and then picked what we thought looked the most like 18th century Paris streets. Then Alex the plaster man extraordinaire made a 4ft.x4ft. layout of the cobbles and then made a mold of this and then they stamped the concrete to make our court look like a real 18th century Parisian cobbled courtyard.They did a great job.

Paris Apartment – structural, joisting


More Courtyard walls going up. Notice the wooden joist/I beams that are sticking out from the three french door cutout area, these will hold up the balcony for Claire and Jamie to walk out onto and overlook the court. I think I this point we had already poured the concrete cobbles but they are cover with plastic and I will talk about that more later.

Paris Apartment – carpentry


This photo show the carpenters bringing prebuilt walls into the Paris Apartment courtyard. A lot of the time the carpenters will have multiple walls being built in the construction department, it sometimes looks like a factory. Then the will load up the walls and truck them to the stages. Then they will place they walls and start putting on all the beautiful detail work.

Paris Apartment – exterior scaffold

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This is the outside walls of the Paris apartment set, the oval section is the staircase. All the metal pipes are put up by the rigging team, these are put up on the outside of the set to make all the walls and ceiling pieces structurally sound. The metal grid also give light crew something to rig all the lighting equipment to.The ramp to the left is for crew and camera access, this way cameras and prop carts and equipment can be easily rolled up to the different apartment rooms.

Model of Jamie & Claire’s Paris Apartment

I am going to try to explain the process of sets being designed and built for Outlander.
Myself, Nicki (Supervising Art Director) Gina (Set Decorator) and many different people in the art department do research for all the different sets and locations.
I am going to talk about our Supervising Art Director Nicki McCallum for just a second, I always say she is the glue that holds the whole damn Art Dept together or that she is like my right arm! I think she has the hardest job of all! She really keeps all departments Art,Set,Props,Construction,Plaster & Paint running and churning out all our sets.
She has an Amazing eye and I love her for all that she does for me!!!
First Ron Moore the creator of the show and the show runner will give the department heads outlines of the scripts that he and the other Writer/Producers are working on. I will read these and start sketching up ideas for each of the new sets. Sometimes it will be a sketch, sometimes it will be a rough floor plan of the set and I hand it to one of the set designers/drafts persons.
We have had several set designers, but one named Caireen Todd has been with us since the first weeks of season one. Caireen has a great eye and always does a phenomenal job on each of the sets! Our other permanent set designer is Alan and he has also done an amazing job.
The set designers will do a quick layout and that gets handed to Jasper and Choloe our model builders.
I love working with 1/4inch =1ft.scale models. I find they are such a great design tool. I always like to start with a rough model so that I can look at the proportions and see what changes should be made. I always ask for a very rough model because the model builders always think the models are going to be displayed at he Lourve,LOL. Sometimes the models get cut up and pieces moved around to make the set as interesting as possible with the budget we have. Then the set designers will rework the drawings and make all changes then a bigger, better model will be made.
The next step is Ron will come to look at drawings and models for approval. Once that is done the set designers do all the detailed drawings, they get handed to Danny Sumsion our Amazing Construction Coordinator. Danny then works up the budgets and hands out sets of drawings to the heads of each department for Construction,Scenic and Plaster. And then the real fun begins…..


This photo shows the empty stage before the Paris apartment starts going up. The first season we had two stages and the second season we had four. Each stage is always completely full.

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This photo shows the steel columns going up. Jamie and Claire’s parlor/living room, dining room, bedroom that will be on the second level overlooking the central courtyard. I designed it so the courtyard walls which are close to 30 feet tall are the backing walls for the french windows of each room of the set. The courtyard wall are better than a painted or printed backing for the windows…Basically we are trying to make it look as real as possible and give the Directors and camera men the option of following the actors from outside in the court into the Paris apartment.

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This is the back walls of Paris Apartment. You can see in the center on the ground floor the beginning of the arched walls of the courtyard.

Jamie Claire’s Paris Apartment

Outlander Season 2 2016

This is the Jamie and Claire Paris Apartment built on stage in Glasgow Scotland. These Paris sets couldn’t have been done with out the help of Supervising Art Director Nicki McCallum, Set Decorator Gina Cromwell, Assistant Set Dec. Stuart Byrce, Construction Cordinator Danny Sumsion, Scenic Artist Bettina Scheibe, Plasterman Alex King. They all did such an amazing job and each are Artist in their own right! I thank them all for their amazing work!!