Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earthbound In New Orleans - A Sneak Peek!

New Orleans is Hollywood South, with movies and TV shows being filmed here on a daily basis.
Earlier this year a movie called Earthbound starring Kate Hudson was filmed close by.
The Set Designer Helen Britten shopped the enitre city of New Orleans, including the store I work at, perch. We got to know each other while working together for a few weeks.

Kate Hudson on the set of Earhtbound filmed in New Orleans

I found some photos of one of Kate Hudson's homes. I don't know if she lives there anymore, because movie stars seem to buy houses in multiples, and sell them off as they move on.

But I wanted to show the style of Kate's home, a sort of luxe bohemian hippie pad.

In fact her personal style seems rooted in a lovely retro bohemian arty mix.

I often wonder about art imitating life, and vice versa.

In the movie Earthbound Kate plays a single woman, with a good job and an interesting life. She lives in New Orleans and her personal style is quirky, upbeat, and bohemian.

Helen Britten the Set Designer for Earthbound made some dynamic and interesting choices for the set that is the home of Kate Hudson's character. Stuart Wurtzel is the Production Designer.
The pecking order goes like this: Director (Nicole Kassel) tells Production Designer Stuart what she has in mind. He designs it, and hands it off to Set Designer Helen to make it real.

Helen Britten with the Visual Vamp on the set of Earthbound, and Helen's dog Zoe

Helen shopped all over New Orleans, from the boutiques in the French Quarter to the shops on Magazine Street. She also shopped consignment shops, and big box furniture stores, and discount stores.

The set is very upbeat and bright, much like the character who inhabits it.

At first I thought nobody lives like this in New Orleans, but then as I really studied Helen's choices, and the homes of my New Orleans friends Sabina, Nick, Robin, Mitchell and Thomas, and Brian and Emily, came to mind.

Their New Orleans homes reflect artistic bohemian personalities, filled with lots of cool stuff to look at, lots of color, lots of art, some kitsch, all done up with humor and sophistication.

Helen and Stuart allowed me do something astonishing.

Ikat pillows on vintage couch are from perch. New Orleans
Helen had the couch from Neophobia recovered in the leopard print

On the night before Kate Hudson and the other actors took possesion of the set, they allowed me to come in a take photos!

Maybe it's not a Nancy Meyers movie set, but still I cannot tell you how exciting it was to get a sneak peak that was truly exclusive to civilians.

I took a ton of detail shots, because the genius of the set design is truly in the details. Just look at each photo and see if you can see how the personality of the character is revealed. I certainly can!

The set was in an old house in the Lower Garden District, on an out of the way street. Unless you stumbled upon it, you would not know a huge Hollywood movie was being filmed there.

The house was under renovation and the movie crew turned the floor plan all around to suit camera angles. The house is at least 150 years old, a huge raised "cottage" that might be a center hall house. It was hard to tell with all the temporary walls built by the crew.

The color is what hit me in the face! Every hue of citrus seemed to be in use. Lime green, vibrant orange, aqua, pale lavender, dashes of red - it was amazing.

The furnishings looked mostly vintage. I recognized stuff from the haute vintage emporium Neophobia. I saw things from the art studio of Dr. Bob. There was alot of local art being used. The pink bull head is from perch.!

The older stereo system and LPs tell us that the character is low tech and old enough to remember using these things, or uber hip and young eschewing the iPod docking station.
I also spied a rug and chair from Anthropologie, and Helen showed me things she found in TJ Maxx.

The subject matter in the large photo looks like the strip clubs on Bourbon Street. It's kind of glam and naughty.

Of course I saw all the things Helen got from perch. It was as if she created the lifetime of a girl who loved shopping with the results coming together over years instead of weeks.

The effect was decidedly feminine. It did not look like a man lived here.

Though there were many playful elements, it did not look like children lived here either.

There were so many nice pieces, though this created home is not a rich girl pad by any means. I imagined the good things with a pedigree were probably purchased by the character before they had any value.

It was fascinating to see what books were on the shelves, and what food was in the cupboards. It was also amusing to see how many of the objects I had in my own house!

A couple of crew people were taking clothes out of several garbage bags. The clothes were purchased at the thrift store, and they were being hung in the closet and put in drawers as filler.

The office was filled with all kinds of old fashion office supplies, boxes and notebooks, and pens and pencils. There was a printer, but no computer.

It was all messy with a lived in look. I felt like a voyeur peeping into private spaces.

I tried to imagine organizing all this stuff, and the hours it took to unpack it and arrange it, not to mention all the shopping and hunting and gathering.

Actors love to have props to play with, and this set has so many!

The kitchen was placed in a part of the house where a kitchen did not exist. All the cabinets, counters, and appliances were brought in for this make believe kitchen.

Every cupboard, counter top, and cabinet was filled with stuff.

I started to look around and see what all of these things could tell me about the character, like the French wine bottle holder saying she likes to drink, and the chicken feet painting telling me she has a sense of humor.

Everything had a folk art quality to it, a one-of-a-kind feeling.

All the cooking tools said this is a woman who likes food, and one who can cook.

The industrial counter and stools says she is resourceful.

The inside of the cupboards are painted, which says she's visual and likes detail.

There is alot of New Orleans specific art, which says she loves her city.

Refrigerator magnets say she is one of us!

The king cake boxes on top of the refrigerator are an excellent detail, that would place a date, a time frame for when the story unfolds.

The elephant tray comes from perch.!

The cans of dog food tell us there is a pet in the house.

The big foot sculpture is another nod to the sense of humor of the character. And I spy some altar candles here and there, something many New Orleans homes have.

More wine on the counter! And books. This girl loves to read!

And I love the cocktail napkins (I may have even gotten some of these as a gift from Sabina!).

Unmatched glassware says alot about the character, don't you think?

This bit of New Orleans art and humor will not be lost on locals.

The crowning element in the kitchen is a swing!!!! It's done by uber artist Dr. Bob, with his iconic "Be Nice Or Leave" painted on it.

It's kind of the bridge to the open floor plan that leads to the living room.

There's a dining area that was still being set up when I was there.

The lotus light fixture is a vintage treasure from Neophobia.

The bedroom is as quirky as all the other spaces, a kind of baroque hippie romantic space. The hand painted mural behind the bed is very fairies and white witchy.

The iron fence bed and patchwork quilt is very gyspy-hippie-boho.

The antique Tibetan fragment is from perch.

The vanity has so many clues about who lives here. The lint roller says pet owner. Using it as a place for bracelets, says girly girl. And the sheer number of cosmetics gathered is mind boggling attention to detail.

The pillow door stop gives a hint to the breed of the dog who lives in the house.

And the portrait of the dog in the dressing area tells you for sure it's a bulldog.

More things on the vanity tell us more about our character: incense, retro sunglasses, inlaid imported boxes, bangles, dangling earrings - looks like a hippie chick vibe.

Perfume and a little Buddha - she's spiritual and romantic.

The mannequin draped in scarves and jewelry is another girly touch.

More beads and scarves - this girl loves to collect things.

The bright aqua bathroom with vintage fittings says she is old fashion. And I love the cypress board wainscott.

Look at this box on top of a vintage wicker hamper, and the hex tile floor.

This green lady is pretty funny (as is The Thinker on the toilet tank). You know the character has a wicked sense of humor.

The stained glass window in the bathroom is pretty arty.

It was night when I went to take these pictures, so I couldn't see the outside of the house very well. It was all draped in black, very mysterious looking.

No one lives in the house. It belongs to a guy who flips houses.

If you want to read more about the movie Earthbound go HERE.

It's being a called a love story and a love letter to New Orleans.

I hope you enjoyed this Visual Vamp exclusive.

It was so magical for me to be behind the scenes with all the wonderful creative people who let me poke around, and to imagine Kate Hudson or Whoopi Goldberg or Kathy Bates coming on the set the next day.


Design Junkie said...

It looks like you had a ton of fun. I can't wait to see the movie and compare your stills with the way the set looks with the lights, actors, etc. Thanks for the mention, and I have to admit that house looks like a place I'd like to hang out. Even if it's a set, I'm glad to know I haven't cornered the market on colorful clutter and lots of wine.

Scandinavian Chic said...

Wow, that set is awesome! Am really loving the blue dresser... So many amazing items!! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's Thomas. Can I claim "dibbs" on the electric @ sign. Don't tell Mitchell- it's our little secret.

Living It At Home said...

Thank you for the "insider" peak! When I watch movies and they are filmed in a great home, I do study how it was designed. I am always amazed at how they make it look lived in and comfortable. Now that I have seen it before it was filmed, I cannot wait to see it in the movies.

Lucky you and what connections you have!

pve design said...

It is on my list! Thanks for such a full and rich post.
So much to pour over....for hours.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Val this was the greatest ride I've had in a long time. How fabulous you got to take pics of this set, and what a thrill for all of us. I'd be walking on air. The pic of you & Helen is wonderful & I'm sure you'll cherish it forever. On their part, great advertising for the movie too. I will be sure not to miss this.
Thank you Val xoxo

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Thank you so much for this truly splendid treat! And, how cool is the Perch connection!? I really enjoyed reading all your tid bits for each image and frame!

Jack O'Sullivan said...

Oh my, Kate's bathroom is amazing! I love the tub so much. All of the wood pieces you've shown are awesome as well! So inspirational!
Lila Ferraro
Queen Bedroom Sets

Sabina said...

Funka-licious and yes I recognize a lot of that stuff. The set designer did a good job and you have given us another fab post. Be nice or leave..words to live by.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Honey...that was waaay more than a sneak peak! Too cool for school! Thanks for the great tour!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tour! I probably wouldn't have been as excited about this movie without your behind the scenes shots.

Visual Vamp said...

via e-mail from FerraraB01 -

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS. The whole Boho Chic look is always fights with my love of pale sleek interiors and gives me design schizophrenia!
Thanks for a wonderful post.

Jan said...

What a treat !
Sneak previews don't get better than this Valorie.
Wishing you a fab weekend.

Barbara said...

This was a wonderful preview and behind the scenes as only Visual Vamp can do it. Thanks. Now I will go back and sstudy each photo.
Best wishes,

Kwana said...

This was so much fun. Now I can't wait to see the movie. Thanks.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

So much detail! This was just fascinating!

vmichelle said...

Fabulous post! Really amazing. Part of what I love about movies are the movie sets and I often wonder what goes into creating them. Thanks for sharing.

lisa golightly said...

Wow ... Luck lucky YOU !!! Kate's home(s) are exactly how I would imagine her style to be ! Thank you for giving us this special peek. xoxo lisa

Anonymous said...

Vamp - what a scoop! Usually I steer clear of Kate-Hudson-Romantic-Comedies but I will definitely see this one.

La Petite Gallery said...

What an experince, how fun.
Can't wait to see movie and you will be in my thoughts.. yvonne

VictoriaArt said...

OMG, what a ride! LOVE all, just so my style and all that fun!
Absolutely adorable! Can't wait to see the finished product!
Movie sets can be such wonderful source of inspiration!

You lucky gal! Good for you to get such a chance!


Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh I adore being a lookie lou of a well kept secret.

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful adventure.

Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll said...

What a fabulous experience. So fun. What happens to all this awesome stuff after the movie shoot is over? Thanks for sharing these great images and lucky you for getting this exclusive story. leave it to the vamp!

red ticking said...

super fun post and makes me realize how hard it is to be a set designer... wow. all of the details... fantastic

Ms Smart said...

wow. i feel like my creative mind is spinning on the merry go round round round full of colors giggling happy swirling with ideas. so fun. so many excellent ideas. thank you for sharing the idea carnival.

Irene said...

Wow, this was great. I don't really go to movies, but I may just so I can feel familiar with the set design.

Karena said...

Valorie, you have shared so much!! I cannot wait to see what will surely be a fascinating and colorful film!! Thank you!

I have a new post and interview up I think you will enjoy!

Art by Karena

Farmgirl Paints said...

How cool was that! Thank you for sharing. I love knowing about set designs. For some reason I find it really interesting. The colorful bohemian look is very Kate.

Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog. What a fun post--There were a few items from that set I would LOVE in my home. It looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing with us. .

Vicki said...

I am an interior desiner with a love for set design and decoration. Your post is great, so fascinating. Thanks for all the wonderful photos.