My New Prop Room At The Farm And Why I Hold On To So Many Beautiful Things



This post is best read while listening to the problematic The Little Mermaid song “Part of Your World,” which I will, unfortunately, get stuck in your head right now by even prompting it. But seriously, look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Chefs might have a lot of different knives and painters a lot of different paintbrushes. As a stylist and content creator, having an inventory to pull from is not a requirement but it sure does make you better at your job, and honestly, it is simply part of the reality. At this point, I really only buy and keep (and move states with) anything that is A. Not replaceable – i.e. vintage B. Sentimental or very special to me (most vintage, handmade, or from travels) or C. So good for whatever reason that I use it over and over and over (like a good soap dish, tray, or vase). Most of this stuff I’ve had for years and years. Right now the inside of our house is not accessorized at all – I can’t bring myself to put one hole in the walls except the guest room but I’m sure much of this will end up inside when I’m ready. I gave away SO MUCH when we sold our house in LA and moved up here, but still! Look at this stuff!! Unpacking it really was like Christmas because so many of these things I hadn’t seen in 2 years and they brought back memories as well as hope that our home will, if nothing else, be full of pieces we have collected over time and love. The spiders occupying this building must have been highly entertained as I did my one-woman show, squealing, narrating each thing and where it could go, etc. I always loved show-and-tell as a child (which fits well into blogging).

Wait, Where Is This Room?

Our property has a few outbuildings and one of them is the original farmhouse from the 1850s that I’ve barely shown you. It’s SO CUTE (as you can see) but yes, totally falling down, mostly dirt floors, super wonky, no electrical or plumbing, etc. We aren’t even letting ourselves think about it until we wrap up the landscaping so we aren’t sure to what extent we’ll fix it up and use it (but likely we’ll invest in it for long-term purposes once we have the budget for it). We did have a meter installed, the sewer line extended and a water line trenched for the future. So, in the interim we are trying to use a few of the rooms for our current needs – a prop room for me and a writing space for Brian (away from us shooting inside).

This room was full of boxes for a year, so we recently unpacked everything to really understand what our needs were. I had that big shoot at Anne’s bay house the following week so I was desperate to see what I had to bring so I didn’t overbuy for it. So I quickly ordered these shelves that would arrive in two days and then hired a few guys to put them together. Speaking of which – I cannot find PAs in Portland (people to do heavy manual help). So I basically had to hire a moving company to come and help me rearrange furniture (from the garages into the house, put down rug pads, take furniture upstairs, etc). They were hourly (so expensive) but I had them put these shelves together while I was running an errand. I came back to realize that they were super janky as they just kinda rest on the vertical pieces (no screws or anything) which makes them super hard and wonky to move into place. They threw away the packaging so I couldn’t return them. If I could go back in time I would buy IKEA shelving that is wood and pretty at least. I did want 24″ deep to maximize the space and now that they are all in place they are TOTALLY fine.

Choosing The Paint Color

Before we brought them in, I hired Renee from Some Kinda Landscape to paint the whole room a fresh color. I know that there is still a huge likelihood of spiders and dust in here, but at least a fresh coat makes me feel like my pretty things are going to be kept a bit cleaner – they deserve a fresh room! I couldn’t decide what to paint but figured it was a great time to test out a color that I’m excited about, without committing to it in our house.

We knew we couldn’t go too dark because it literally doesn’t have any electricity right now, which is fine because I mostly pull during the day but when I want to play at night I have to bring a flashlight. And I’m so obsessed with our mudroom color (SW 9641 Dew Drop) that I wanted to try another version of that sweet pastel. I chose SW 6211 Rainwashed which has more green in it (not minty- but not not minty). We had to of course wipe down everything before painting. She painted the walls and ceiling (including doors/windows and nob and tube wiring). The goal was fast and dirty, but it still took a day to prep, a day to prime, and then a day to paint.

We kept the floors unpainted as it didn’t bother us at all. We organized everything in a visually pleasing way – not necessarily by room or even by function…

Before we left the mountain house I packed up a small box of my favorite things from that house that I would be super sad if they got broken or disappeared (my leather-wrapped rock, my MQuan sculptures, etc).

In case you are wondering why you need so many “props” for photo shoots, here’s why. For instance those wooden dice – like what do you do with those? Well, our children’s toys look like garbage – plastic pieces of garbage that they love and there is no shame in that. But when we go to style and shoot their rooms I don’t necessarily want the nicely designed room to be filled with ratty-haired plastic horses and pokemon cards. If you don’t have kids you might think this is monstrous – but moms know that the garbage that they accumulate on their shelves (and legitimately love) is simply not photogenic. And that’s ok. I’ll show you that on stories – I’m not trying to pretend we are somehow cleaner or cooler than others, but no I’m not going to keep old pokemon tokens in shots where I’ve invested in a photographer to professionally shoot, and will be all over the internet. So these are kinda the runway accessories that you wear to walk during the televised fashion show, but not necessarily the ready-to-wear.

Having these photos on the internet is actually fairly helpful to shop my own prop closet before or during a shoot. We don’t have anything “inventoried” so these photos could be helpful if something isn’t working while we are shooting. I’ve really got to figure out how, in the future, to bring thrifting or vintage into our business more. I could either have a booth in an antique mall or produce fun quarterly flea markets…I went shopping last week at the Rose City Flea market and at a thrift store and saw so much that I loved, but so few things that I knew I would put in the house so I passed on a lot (I did get some stuff I’m excited to show you, though). Anyway, that’s my show and tell for you 🙂 I hope you like my stuff. xx

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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