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.

1a copy

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.

ext paris apt set

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.