In the Spotlight: Grandmillennial Style

Grandmillennial or ‘Granny Chic’ style may be a new concept to many above the age of 40, however, thanks to the ever cyclical nature of trends plus Instagram’s ability to show you the same monotonous things over and over again, many millennials in their 20’s and early 30’s have dipped into their grandparents living rooms for inspiration and created a new interior design style that has taken the world by storm. Beautifully falling between minimalism and maximalism, Granny Chic perfectly juxtaposes antiquated with contemporary and since its creation, House Beautiful have dubbed the style Grandmillennial thanks to those who have so eloquently adopted this design style. 

Most trends go out of style, whether that be in interior design fashion or anything else for that matter, however, thanks to the repetitive nature of style and trends, many do in fact make a return to the forefront of what’s ‘cool’. I doubt many saw their stuffy grandmother’s living room ever becoming cool, trendy or popular though, however this is because this new modern spin incorporates these textures and patterns from a time gone by, with a contemporary sense of comfort, charm and consistency. Where perhaps in the past your grandmother’s living room may have been seen as cluttered and chaotic, we are now seeing a measured, selective and thoughtful approach that shows off the owners individuality and above all their personality. 

Thanks to being raised in the 90’s and early 2000’s when mass market furniture exploded around the world, the millennial generation set upon a classic generational rebellion against their parents and the monochromatic style evolution that they adopted. Seen as the antidote to the same minimalist spaces that have dominated Instagram and interior spaces for so long, millennials have now reached out to styles and trends of the past for their inspiration rather than glossing the modern equivalent of a glossy magazine or catalogue, i.e. Instagram. 

Grandmillennial style as mentioned above is about individuality and an expression of your personality, however, there are some inherent style cues to execute it properly and to a high standard. The starting point is to keep the colour palette tight and consistent with the overarching theme of the space. Pastels are a great foundation as they offer a subdued hit of colour that doesn’t swarm the room or take away from the other elements that bring the room together. Bold colours can be used, however, the main hit of colour should come from your furnishings, patterns and components that add texture. Monochromatic grey based colours can also be used but again they have to act as a platform to showcase the rest of the room. Whites and blacks as a rule of thumb don’t tend to offer very much to this unique interior design style. The key to achieving this look effortlessly and eloquently is the use of classic prints like chintz, toile and plaid, which are generally adorned upon curtains, upholstery and wall furnishings. Other elements that are crucial to a successful grandmillennial room are floral patterns, ruffles and pleats as well as a strong grasp on how to add texture to your room. If you want to take it one step further and really add your individual spin, needlepointing has made a massive resurgence in recent years and adds tons of character as well as texture to your space. The best furniture to utilise would be dark stained wood such as walnut as it adds a third dimension to the room while again not stealing the attention from the other elements. And if you want to bring the room into the 21st century, accenting the furniture with some abstract modern art adds that added touch of class.

The key to the style is to create a look that evokes a sense of comfort and home, one that welcomes people in while saying something about you. It’s a way of escaping the same looks that fill Instagram feeds, but creating a space that’s timeless rather than antiquated. It’s an expression of you and your personality, so decorate with what you love but remember to accessorise carefully and selectively and you’ll be left with something that’s cosy rather than chaotic! 

In the Spotlight: Scandinavian Interior Design

Typified by its use of muted colour palettes, wooden floors and furnishings, minimalism and a clutter free aesthetic, Scandinavian design has been at the forefront of interior design for many years now. The style may have evolved over the years, however, this is by and large down to the contributions from a handful of Scandinavian designers: Alvar Aalto, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Eero Arnio and Ingver Kamprad (the founder of Ikea). While the style came to worldwide prominence in the 1950’s and then again in the 90’s, its causation goes a long way back and is steeped in history. 

Following the industrial revolution, machines started to take over most aspects of life. Because of this, many prominent voices in the world of design made impassioned pleas for humans to make a return to nature where possible. However, in spite of this plea, Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements started to sweep Europe taking inspiration from modern styles, fine craftsmanship and rich materials, a polar opposite to what these designers had been pleading for. By the end of World War I, however, this Nouveau Riche design style had ground to a halt due to a shattered continent, both mentally and financially, and following the great depression there was no place for fine craftsmanship and rich materials. 

If WWI made the cracks of societal structures apparent, WWII broke them wide open. Whether or not it was wholly the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements that were the cause of change, something had most definitely shifted people’s ideas and thoughts around design. Where bigger had always meant better before, as a direct correlation and reflection of social structures, we now started to see ideas around design take new forms. The discourse that was now being spoken, in light of what had happened over the last half century, was that humans were doing something wrong. Through looking for an antidote to the totalitarian ways that had preceded us, designers and architects started to reverse the old conventions of beauty. For the first time in history we started to see beauty and functionality come together as one. 

In Scandinavia, due to the harsh winter climates, they had long prized utility and functionality over beauty and decoration, however with the emergence of modernism in the 1940’s, Scandinavian designers started to combine beauty, simplicity and functionality together. By the 1950’s this new design style was starting to gain real prominence around the globe. The aesthetic was uncluttered and simple, giving the entire space a cosy and content, homely feeling, something the Danish called Hygge. 

From this point on, Scandi design went from strength to strength, largely because it was such a stark alternative to Nazi-era design fascism. Natural, minimalistic and intimate designs, that focused on the family and home rather than the state, were making their way to the pinnacle of design, becoming an internationally recognised commodity with particular prominence in the US. Though popularity declined between the 60’s and 80’s, cream will always rise to the top. Thanks to a shift in focus on sustainable living in the 90’s and 2000’s, Scandinavian design was catapulted back to the forefront of interior design. 

In the 21st century Scandi design has slightly evolved and now features white walls to emphasise light with natural colour palettes that tend to include a pop of colour here and there to bring the room to life. Textures that are utilised, again, are natural, such as wood or stone and the layout of the room tends to be pared back, no fuss and simple, to emphasise an elegantly minimalist aesthetic. Carpets tend not to feature and instead you can expect bare wood floors perhaps with a rug for added soft texture and white painted exposed brick to add hints of rough texture while maximising opportunities for light. 

In addition to shaping the ways in which we design our homes, Scandi design has also left a marking impact on the way in which we fill our rooms. And at the end of it all, furniture design might end up being the part of design that leaves the most enduring mark on its legacy. After all, few western homes lack a piece of furniture from Ikea and everyone has at least seen one of Alvar Aalto’s curved wood armchairs, Eero Arnio’s Cognac chairs or Arne Jacobsen’s Egg, Drop or Swan chairs. 

Scandinavian design may have evolved since its introduction in the 1940’s, with new emerging styles in 2020 seeing a darker and moodier version come to the fore, but one thing that certainly isn’t changing is its popularity and place at the top of interior design. Check out our full portfolio of Scandi design shoot locations here

Top Tips – Decorating Do’s and Don’ts

Decorating a property to the specific needs of your shoot can help transform it into something eye-catching, spectacular and completely unforgettable. What’s more, if you are trying to showcase a product, having the ability to decorate your set as you wish can be invaluable and make all the difference. Many location owners allow painting and decorating, especially if their properties are versatile enough to allow crews to dress up and style as they please, in the knowledge that it shouldn’t be difficult to return the space back to its original finish. To achieve this however, there are some rules that must be adhered to before jumping in hammer and tongs! If you’re interested in some do’s and don’ts we have our short video explaining some of our most asked questions here, however, read on for a more in-depth analysis.  

Always hire a professional  

This is the most important factor when it comes to decorating as this essentially impacts the location owner as well as the client. If you are paying top dollar to decorate the space, you’ll want to make sure that the standard of work is immaculate. This is your shoot after all and you probably wouldn’t have sub-par work done anywhere else. Just because you may have painted your child’s bedroom five years ago, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to do it on a set. Furthermore, at the end of the day, it is your responsibility to make sure that everything is exactly as found when you leave, so rather than having to pay extras to fix a shoddy job, it’s best to make sure it’s done perfectly to start with. 

Always check the finish

If you are granted the responsibility of painting someone’s walls within their home, it is essential that you ensure that a smooth finish is left on completion. Don’t just trust your eyes, make sure it’s smooth to touch. As mentioned above, you don’t want to be called back to finish the job and incur an extra fee, especially as this may be a flag against you being able to decorate locations in the future. Moreover, this also relates back to our first point, a professional painter will always make sure these simple mistakes don’t happen. They will know the difference between various paint finishes and how this can affect the wall underneath. 

If you are painting a wall a dark colour then make sure a base coat is applied to bring the original colour back

This is fairly self-explanatory, however, yes, if you do apply a dark colour to a wall that previously had something lighter, the only way to bring back that lighter colour is to prime it with a base colour beforehand, which is something that would be second nature to a professional. 

Allow enough time for the coats to dry properly

A lot of these points may revolve around topics that you’d think are quite self-explanatory however, in the middle of stressful shoot, while you have a million other things going on, the ‘simple’ things are going to be, and often have been in the past, the things that are missed or not done to a high enough standard. 

Protect the floor from paint splatters

You may find that the original colour of the wall is simple and plain to allow you scope to decorate as you see fit, however, the majority of our locations have very expensive flooring and if you were to start work without taking protective measures, it will be you as the client that may have to compensate for damaging the floor. Always think about potential consequences before you do anything!

Make sure to use non-toxic paint

This, again, is why we keep stressing the value of hiring a professional. Not everyone is versed in the elements that make up paint, after all why would you naturally think to check what toxins are in it? You probably wouldn’t. However, knowing what’s in your paint is vital and picking a toxic paint could easily result in health issues. Many paint manufacturers don’t overtly disclose the chemical makeup of their paint, so having an in-depth knowledge of what you’re doing is crucial. Toxic paints can cause unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, asthma and even allergic reactions. If you are really unlucky however, you could end up with some severe long-term damage such as recurring headaches, nerve damage and problems with eyesight. If you knew exactly what toxins were in the paint you probably wouldn’t paint your house with them, so best not to do it to someone else’s house. 

Over the years we’ve helped many, many clients with their requests to decorate on set and the vast majority of these jobs go very smoothly, however, to head off any potential problems before they may arise, always, always, always ask either us or the location owner before you do anything

Check the requirements of your shoot are acceptable before starting, for example, just because you can paint a wall doesn’t mean you can drill a hole in it!

In the Spotlight: Industrial Design

It’s no secret that 2020 has thrown the rule book out the window on almost every aspect of life and society. And, while we haven’t seen a complete upheaval of ideas in the world of interior design, there has been a shift in focus. With more people spending significantly more time at home than ever before, due to the government enforced lockdown and subsequent working from home initiatives, we are now seeing interior design and home renovation projects pop up like never before. Because of this turn in focus, people who wouldn’t normally have the time or even be interested in transforming their home into a stylish haven, are now bringing a whole host of interior design trends to the fore that weren’t necessarily on experts’ radars at the end of last year. If you were interested in our design trend predictions that we put together at the end of last year then give the article a look here. We actually weren’t too far away, even with all these changes to everyday life. Nevertheless, one trend that we actually didn’t see rising to such resurgence over the past six months was industrial design.

Industrial design is the hot trend that takes a rundown warehouse, loft, barn or old derelict building and turns it into a liveable home, while keeping the raw and gritty elements, amidst a polished, high spec finish. At the heart of Industrial design is function, simplicity and of course innovation, while ensuring the aesthetic not only looks beautiful but is incredibly functional and so works efficiently. Let’s break this down a little bit further though and see how it can be incorporated into some of our different locations. 

When we say simplicity, innovation and functionality are the core elements of industrial design, does anything quite say it like exposed brick, converted factory windows and iron piping?. The art to doing industrial well is for the space to be effortlessly cool while keeping it easy to maintain, and one property that does this perfectly is Spratts Factory. The owners have exquisitely utilised the double height ceiling, transforming the huge factory windows into a stylish crittal, while the exposed brick and original wooden floors bring colour and life to the space. The iron rails and stripped back decor also create a really simple and pared back yet classy living space that can’t be matched. 

Moving on, dark and dreamy interiors can also create a real chic industrial feel and mood. If we take a look at Onyx, you can see the way different shades of grey and black marble, granite and wood for their countertops and flooring have been used, this immediately draws your focus and gives off the impression of wealth, style and candour. Pair this with the large crittal window frames, the modernised industrial stools and the metal framed light shades and you’re left with one of the most polished, functional and stylish bachelor pads you’re likely to find. 

Industrial living doesn’t have to be filled with dark interiors or exposed brick. You can achieve your desired look in a light and sophisticated manner just as easily, something that The Distillery has accomplished in an incredibly cultured fashion. Incorporating natural light, the owners have created a sanctuary of light, while keeping the aesthetic of the space true to its industrial roots. Large crittal framed windows throughout are the driving force of the light, while the polished concrete floor keeps things simple in a refined way. Pair these features with steel staircases, bolted steel frames and a standout Jetmaster wood burning stove and you have the core foundations of industrial living, simplicity mixed with durability.

Store Cupboard also shows that crittal windows and natural light aren’t needed for that industrial feel and can be achieved through a clever use of furniture and props. Take a look at the large vent style light frames, the quirky and distressed bed frame, accompanying cabinet and the metal frames above the head. Once all these elements are combined, you are left with that classic New York loft industrial mood. They have shown you that you don’t need to break the bank and it’s actually pretty easy to achieve with a little bit of vision and understanding of the core concepts, simplicity, functionality and durability! 

Unique Spaces

Although traditional locations can and do often fit the shoot brief perfectly, there is sometimes a place and time for something a little more unusual. Fortunately, working in London, one of the most diverse creative hubs in the world, we are lucky enough to be able to represent some of the most interesting and quirky locations the capital has to offer. There’s always going to be the odd left field brief, so here at 1st Option we strive to keep our location library as diverse, unique and exclusive as possible. Have you ever been given a challenging brief and struggled to find the right shoot location, recce’d tons of locations but not found the right one, so had to settle for something more conventional? If this rings a bell, don’t worry, as we have everything from converted chapels to 70’s time machines. Why not sit back and check out our top 5 unique spaces right now…

Deerhurst Road

If you’re looking for a retro inspired shoot location, straight out of the 70’s, then Deerhurst Road is going to take some beating. Spread over four floors, this Streatham shoot location will have you in a time machine in seconds. Featuring classic folding and sliding doors, breakfast bars and a vintage lounge and bar that overlooks a swimming pool, you’ll immediately be hit with the 70’s vibe. However, the real time machine comes from the colour palette used. Browns and oranges, that were so popular during the era, run throughout and are perfectly accented by wooden panelling and loads of funky wallpapers. On top of this, there is also a brown and yellow bathroom with circular tub and an avocado suite to match. The owners  certainly hit the nail on the head with this one! 

Kontiki  

If you were to look up ’quirky and unique shoot location’ on the internet, Kontiki would probably be staring right back at you. Offering two studios in East London, you’ll never be short of finding an eye catching shot here. While the space is split into two studios, North and South, there are tons of common features between the two. Both spaces are finished in a purple colour tone that catches your eye instantly and in keeping with the Asian aesthetic, they are both also adorned with many interesting and uncommon ornaments. With an unparalleled amount of striking backdrops including bath tubs, wall art and taxidermy, you’d be mad not to consider Kontiki for your next unusual brief. 

Ladywell 

It’s not that the properties on this list are becoming more unique by the second, but rather that when we said we truly do have the most diverse and interesting location library on the market, we weren’t joking, Ladywell takes unique and eye catching to a whole new level. This quirky Victorian, South London shoot location is set over four floors, including a cellar and is littered with some of the most remarkable and intriguing furnishings you’re likely to find. Step into the overgrown garden of ornaments that is Ladywell and you’ll be sure to end up with an incredible campaign. 

Ladywell’s overgrown garden of ornaments

Little Venice 

Would you believe us if we told you that this property was actually located in Maida Vale, West London and not Venetian italy? Well it is in fact situated in London, a short walk from the Little Venice stretch of the Grand Union Canal, which we imagine had some impact on the venetian styled interiors that comprise unique furniture, accessories and a ton of mediterranean plants, which all contribute to bringing this fabulous property to life. It’s also completely finished with original reclaimed floorboards and opulent fabrics and the blended use of colour really gives the place a touch of italian class. 

Monastery 

The last location on our list is Monastery, a 14th century converted chapel in Rye, East Sussex. If you’re looking for a unique property that you’d be highly unlikely to find anywhere else, then you’ve certainly come to the right place. Set over two floors, Monastery features a vast array of one of a kind antique furniture, quirky and unusual props and textured walls, all of which have been carefully selected to create a truly unique space that you won’t find anywhere else. 

So there you have it, 5 very different unique spaces that we absolutely love here at 1st Option. If you ever have a tricky or unusual brief, then be sure to give us a call at 1st Option as we do pride ourselves on having a location for whatever the need. Needless to say, if you happen to own an amazingly unique location, be sure to let us know and maybe we can add your space to our books too!

Scintillating Swimming Pools – 5 of the Best

With summer slowly leaving us for yet another year, the last couple of weeks of sunshine have left us dreaming of a few more weeks of sun before the long winter inevitably takes hold. Because of this, it got us looking back at our properties that feature swimming pools, hoping for one last day to be able to use them. Whether you’ve finished shooting for summer campaigns already and are perhaps looking forward to next year, or are still playing catchup due to the lockdown that stopped the nation from working for 3+ months, there is never a bad time to take a look at some of the best locations that feature swimming pools in London and the surrounding areas (especially while it’s actually still sunny out). 

Ambleside 

First up is Ambleside, as you can’t realistically write an article on swimming pools without featuring this beautiful garden. This large, modern and unique photoshoot location really does have it all, offering tons of striking features inside like marble flooring, huge windows that offer an abundance of natural light and monochromatic colour tones, however it is outside that really bowls you over. Most of the garden is finished with Oriental stylings that perfectly juxtapose with a huge outdoor pool that could be more at home in LA than the Orient. 

Cavendish Place 

Speaking of Asian inspired gardens that can’t be left of this list, we give you Cavendish Place. This Earls Court shoot location really is one of kind and you can see why it has been so popular for so long. Featuring some unique and quirky interiors, again it is the outside that steals the show. The garden itself offers up an array of different landscapes, giving that much needed flexibility for shoots, however, again the pool is the centerpiece of the show, making waves front and centre. With a whole host of asian ornaments decorating the surrounding areas of the pool, Cavendish Place gives off an aura that could be perfectly placed in Thailand or Bali. 

Graphite 

3rd on our list, and hanging out here you’ll really be feeling like one of your favourite superstars. Our first indoor pool comes from Graphite, a fantastically modern shoot location in Kingston-Upon-Thames. Featuring a unique and eye-catching pentagonal shaped pool, Graphite offers wall to wall views of their beautiful landscaped garden, an adjoining games room and gym and a gorgeous stone brick wall that offers the perfect backdrop for shoots. 

Capri 

Capri is a villa style family home that you probably wouldn’t believe is actually situated in Wandsworth, not Italy. The large heated outdoor swimming pool gives off an unashamable aesthetic of lounging by the pool on a hot summer’s afternoon in Italy, before heading down to the local village to pick up your bits for dinner. Decorated all around with a beautiful array of flora, Capri will have you itching to go on holiday at any time of year. 

Woodhaven 

The aptly named Woodhaven is last on our list of the best pools you’re likely to find in London and the surrounding areas. With wooden furnishings quite literally running throughout the entirety of the property, the Surrey based location offers a very modern and polished take on the New England design style that is so popular around the world. When we say wood runs throughout the property, we’re not joking. The pool is even decked out with many wooden panels including on the roof and on the lavish hot tub that sits at one end. The space also benefits from tons of natural light that really elevates the luxurious aesthetic brought forward by the wooden panelling. A set of elegant tables and chairs and some well placed plants also add to the opulent character the property gives off. Due to the indoor nature of the pool, Woodhaven is perfect for a pool shoot all year round and is available now! 

Open House 2020 Our Top 5 (that you can actually visit)

Over the years, The Open House London Weekend has become the highlight of the architecture and design calendar. For the past 30 years London has opened its doors to nearly 800 buildings, inviting around 250,000 people every year, giving them the opportunity to snoop around some of the cities most spectacular architectural landmarks. While this year, the event has had to run a little differently, with social distancing precautions taking precedent, many of the landmarks and tours you would see in person have had to be moved to online, there is in fact a wide range of astounding architectural and cultural landmarks that you can still visit in person. 

Sit back and read on as we go through our top picks ranging from buildings of historical significance to modern architectural influence. If you are looking to reconnect with the city that has a special place in all of our hearts, then grab your face mask, be prepared for queues and get out there. 

Van Gogh’s House – Stockwell

Rather than become a time capsule of the time Van Gogh spent in South London, the owner of the property, Liva Wang, in 2018, decided to renovate the house at 87 Hackford Road so they could share the history of this culturally significant property with the rest of the world. Despite the ceiling nearly collapsing due to water damage, many specialist structural engineers managed to repair and reinstate existing structures and features such as windows floorboards and cornicings leaving a finished restoration project almost exactly as it was when Van Gogh lived there in 1873. “I now have a room, as I’ve long been wishing, without sloping beams and without blue wallpaper with a green border” Van Gogh. 

The Royal Opera House 

The Royal Opera House is one of THE cultural hubs in London if not the country. When you think of Covent Garden, the opera house is synonymous with it. The house is open for members of public, most normal years as its currently closed due to Covid-19, for regular ballet and opera performances from some of the most critically acclaimed schools in the world, however, have you ever wondered what it’s like to step out and walk the stage where the dance and music companies do on a regular basis. Well for the first year ever the Opera house is offering a unique thirty minute experience aptly named Take a Bow where visitors are given exclusive access to the house’s world class stages and what’s more they are even allowing guests to step onto the iconic Main stage that is so well known for its velvet curtains. If this wasn’t enough they are also showing a brief film highlighting some of the highlights from the ROH’s ballet and opera productions. More info can be found here.

15 and a Half Consort Road 

As seen on Grand Designs, the architectural wonder piece that is 15 and a half Consort Road is being opened up to the general public this year. The innovative house typifies architectural progress with tons of sustainable features and clever design elements offering features like an opening roof, retracting loo and sliding bed-bath. The house that was shortlisted for the 2006 RIBA awards was built on an extremely tight budget and shows how to build properties on otherwise ‘unusable areas such as the brownfield site that it was built on. If you are thinking about a renovation, grand design, or restoration project, then definitely go and check out one of the nation’s favourite houses this weekend! If you would like to check out the renovation then click here for more info

Trellick Tower 

The Tower that was once derided as an eyesaw is now one of London’s most iconic and desirable addresses. The grade II listed building with its free standing service tower and unique boiler house was built by Erno goldfinger in 1972 and has since gone down in history as one of London’s most recognisable buildings. Trellick tower was the ultimate expression of Goldfinger’s philosophy of high rise planning and it embodies the best ideas of the time of high rise housing. If you want to see a striking example of unique architecture with 217 flats, 6 shops and an office, Trellick Tower should definitely be on your list of buildings to visit this weekend. Check out more info here

Ex Council house transformation 

Our final pick for Open House 2020 is something a little different, but if you are keen on modern renovations, then this is a must see. Designed with a modern sustainable twist on the Scandi aesthetic that has become so popular over the years, this middle terrace ex council house in Bermondsey was shortlisted for ‘Home Transformation of the Year’ 2020 at the british home awards and through the use of modern architecture the home tells a fabulous story through the use of tons of natural light, sustainable materials and neutral colour tones. If you are looking for inspiration for your home this year then definitely go check out this property. More information can be found here

Home Cinemas – 5 of the Best

With the latest announcement, from our Prime Minister Boris Johnson, stating that any gathering of more than 6 people will be reprimanded and is illegal by law, it’s going to remain difficult for us to do our favourite activities and pastimes for the foreseeable future. One such activity that millions of people used to do on a regular basis across the world was visit the cinema with friends to see the latest blockbuster. There’s also a real lack of new movies right now due to recent filming restrictions, for example the latest James Bond blockbuster was purposely halted by a year after Covid-19 took over the world. Despite cinemas reopening, they are at reduced capacity and social distancing is still being upheld, so watching the next big film with your friends is looking very different right now.  The film industry is a multi billion pound industry, but with this on-going pandemic who knows when we will be able to return to the cinemas in a normal fashion. So with all that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most incredible and lavish home cinemas that we currently have on our books. Maybe you’ll be inspired to set up your very own home cinema where you could hang out with your friends and family, strapping in for a winter of film watching, at a maximum of six people of course…

Crystal 

A slightly different kind of home cinema to the rest on this list, Crystal will have you feeling like you’re back in an Odeon thanks to their luxurious, padded cinema seats complete with drinks holders, blue lighting and classic movie posters all around. Thanks to those little touches of class like the velvet flooring and studded wall we know we’d rather be sat in Crystal’s home cinema than the local Odeon. Oh and with twelve luxury seats, you’d be able to socially distance with your 6 friends. 

Crystal’s Cinema style seating

Curious 

Curious has been one of our most popular properties since the moment we signed it and its very easy to see why. On top of the gorgeous interiors found throughout the property, they have a home cinema to really top the property off. And this home cinema is as deluxe as you could hope for. Elegantly styled in a midnight navy throughout, the eye-catching artwork and art deco style lights really bring out the palette in a classy way. Curious’ home cinema really does have a premium feel to it and we adore it! 

The elegantly styled deluxe home cinema of Curious

Ashington House 

Ashington House is the ultimate home cinema! Styled lavishly with five black leather armchairs sat next to a black painted brick wall, you’ll be feeling like a bond villain watching your favourite film. If this wasn’t enough to entice you, they have also put up two floor to ceiling murals featuring some of Hollywood’s golden era’s most famous and prestigious stars. You can’t help but feel like a movie star when sat in Ashington House’s home cinema! 

Hollywood’s golden era at Ashington House

Millbrae 

With a distinct art deco green, just with a modern twist, running throughout, Millbrae’s home cinema certainly stands out amongst a crowd. The surround sound, matched with sound proof walls really gives the space that authentic feel. And to top it off, the large and luxurious sofas with leather foot stands are certainly turning us green with envy over here. 

Millbrae’s home cinema certainly stands out

Prospect House

Offering up something completely different from the rest of the list, take a look at Prospect House and its home cinema / games room / bar. With plenty of seating, disco, as well as black out lights and a pool table to match, you’d certainly never get bored in this cave. If that second lockdown does happen you’d be sure to keep yourself busy there. With the beach also on the doorstep and swapping between playing pool and watching your favourite films, we know where we would have chosen to quarantine. 

Party time in Prospect House’s home cinema

So if any of these gorgeous home cinemas have given you the needed inspiration to turn one of your rooms into a home cinema then be sure to let us know and show us the finished product.

Top Tips – Interior Photography and the Difference Between Professional Photography and Doing it Yourself

Interior photography is a complicated subject that does, if done well, require a variety of skills. When trying to show off the relevant features that set apart your property from the next, like room size, period features and the amount of natural light it possesses, merely using a smartphone camera is probably not going to do it justice. It’s always important to remember that a good set of images could be the difference between your location being successful in the industry or not. There is an array of qualities, skills and techniques that go into interior photography, so if you are interested in registering with an agency then sit back as we go through the process and the differences between the good and the bad. 

Equipment: You may think taking a photo of a room isn’t the hardest thing to do, you may think all you need is a camera, whether it be a smartphone or a DSLR, stand in the corner and take the photo making sure everything is in shot. However, life is usually isn’t quite that easy and neither is photography, if you are looking to take great interior photography that does set your property apart from the next, equipment is likely to play a vital role in achieving those desired shots. Interior photography is almost entirely a problem solving exercise and without the right equipment, lighting and angles, those desired shots are never going to get the attention they may deserve. There is no magic wand that will solve all your problems, however, having the right equipment will certainly help you manage these issues. We would add that what you need to understand is every space requires its own particular solution and that successful images are not only the result of technique and technology but  also the style, taste and creativity of the photographer. 

The Camera: It may sound obvious, but without a good camera you’re unlikely to be able to achieve the top quality desired shots that show off all the best features of your property. DSLR cameras allow you the option of changing your lenses to best suit the space you are trying to shoot. For example, a good wide-angle lens allows you to get all of the important room details in one shot, showing off the space for what it is and allowing every feature into the frame in pristine focus. If you were to use a smartphone to take the same photo, because of its restricted lenses it’s unlikely that you would be able to showcase the whole room in one shot. Furthermore, even if you have a DSLR camera, it doesn’t necessarily mean you would be able to achieve the same photos as a professional, utilising every element of the camera only comes with experience. Knowing which lens to use in which shot situation is key. For example, a 16mm lens may be handy in making the room look wide, but if you were to use it on a smaller room you could end up with an elongated shot or even worse, making the room look bigger than it actually is, which may result in disappointed clients when they see the space in real-life. For interiors you should also consider lines and perspective, making sure that everything is straight and in line with the edge of the frames will make the shots look much more professional. You may be able to edit the shot afterwards using image-editing software, however, choosing a professional will result in a much more precise photo without any wasted pixels. 

Composition: Composition is one of the most important factors when it comes to interior photography. You are not only describing the space through imagery but letting the viewer walk in and feel like they are actually in the space (without being too abstract). There are certain tried and tested types of shot that really allow the viewer to get the best feel for a space. For example, shooting a room from the corners will usually make for a better image than a shot taken from one end, looking straight down the room. A photographer who is skilled at shooting interiors will find the best angle in any given room, devoting time to get the composition, lighting and styling spot on. The purpose of a good shot is to get as much of the room as possible, including all the important elements and features such as interesting fireplaces and beautiful french doors. Moreover, as with most subjects, when you shoot towards the light the shot can gain depth. These examples are elements that only a pro would know and essentially could be the difference between showing your property in absolutely the best way, which could make it much more likely that clients will notice and book it for a job. 

Another factor that helps to set apart professionals from everyone else is styling the room to gain the most out of it. A pro has experience in getting the most out of a shot, whether it be moving an ornament into view so that the aesthetic of the room is better or simply leaving a gap between furniture creating the idea of more space or to better balance the shot. It’s also easy for most people to overlook elements that in hindsight may seem obvious, such as ensuring that beds are made and looking fresh, chair cushions are fluffed up, clothes, shoes and children’s toys are out of sight and even adding the odd vase of complimentary flowers in strategic places.

Another composition element that goes some way to showcase your property in it’s best light is the detail shot. A professional will know how to show off elements and features that reveal the style, history and atmosphere of the place, drawing inspiration from surfaces, objects and design statements. Not to sound like a broken drum, but when an agency or client is looking at prospective options, these detail shots that show off the character of your property can sometimes really help. 

Lighting: The final element of interior photography and often the difference between good and bad is lighting. How it is used and how it is balanced throughout the shot can be vitally important in making a space look its best. If interior photography is about solving the problems in front of you, then good lighting can often be the problem solver. In most cases,  natural light is a little bit softer and can be the best option for obtaining the optimum shot. In some cases, using artificial, or harder lighting, will be the best option for darker spaces. Often, seasoned photographers will use a combination of both, balancing them to work in complete harmony with each other so that all areas are lit equally. A professional photographer will generally come with their own lighting and will know exactly when it should be used and when to focus solely on the beauty of the natural light coming in through the windows and skylights. By using the best option for a specific shot they can reveal hidden elements, bring out certain surfaces and textures and, most importantly, add a sense of depth to the space, creating an image that you can almost walk into. Without this knowledge and expertise, your room could end up looking a bit flat and this certainly won’t help you generate the business and income that you’ll probably be looking for. So, as we hope this piece will help you to see, having a great set of pictures of your property can make all the difference in generating good income for the future and will ultimately be well worth the initial investment to help you to maximise the rewards in the long-run.

Top Tips – What to Expect When Registering with a Location Agency

Registering your property with a Location Agency can be an incredibly thrilling, exciting and rewarding process, mentally as well as financially. However, before you get into the rigmarole you should go in with your eyes open knowing exactly what to expect, which should help to make the whole process as seamless as possible. It’s also important to bear in mind that 1st Option have incredibly high standards when it comes to arranging shoots for clients, so before deciding whether or not to register, check out our top tips on what we look for in a shoot location to ensure you’ll be able to keep these standards with us. 

Be Realistic with your Expectations 

There are hundreds of properties on our website that all fulfill different aesthetics, trends and briefs. Every brief we get from a client is looking for something different to the next, so if your location doesn’t match up to what the client is looking for, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get work straight away. We have signed your property for a reason and there are bound to be briefs that match your location before too long. Clients also often option a variety of locations to cover all bases, so again if your property isn’t chosen every time it gets optioned don’t get disheartened as this is just the nature of the business. 

Be Prepared for Filming and Stills 

Here at 1st Option we get calls for all types of shoots whether it be Editorial, Advertorial, Advertising or Filming, all of which carry different day rates. You don’t have to accept any shoot you aren’t comfortable with, however, the more complex the shoot is, then the higher the rate is. For stills photography, Editorial shoots that appear in the editorial pages of magazines and papers work on the lowest rates, Advertorial and Library shoots for companies like Getty Images usually pay mid rates and Advertising will generate the highest rates. Filming rates are usually the highest and are agreed individually based on the production dynamics. This is because the complexities of filming are usually far greater than stills shoots. The crews are larger, they need far more kit, such as generators or tracks to move the cameras on and they may also need to bring trucks or on-site catering with them. 

Some Behind the Scenes Shots

Recces and Viewings 

Before a shoot, many clients will want to view your property, or ‘recce’ as it’s called in the industry, to make sure that it’s exactly what they are looking for. This could be because they need to check, among other things, room dimensions, natural light or access. There also might be occasions where owners may have re-decorated or changed furniture since the location pictures were taken and if there is a specific element featured in the images that is crucial to their shots then clients may need to check that this is still in place. To make sure that the recce or shoot always goes to plan and your location continues to have successful bookings it will be your responsibility to ensure the property is always clean and tidy prior to a crew arriving and that it resembles the photos that we showcase on our website. After all, they will be expecting to find what they’ve seen in the pictures, so always make sure it looks the same or you may end up losing the shoot, or at the very least upsetting the client.

Shoot Day

Be prepared on the shoot day, crews are often stressed and are working to time frames and budgets, so if you can be accommodating and helpful this will go a long way towards you having a successful career in the industry. Crews often appreciate being able to use equipment like clothes rails, irons and ironing boards, so if you can provide these it will help. Furthermore, if you can provide tea and coffee it will be greatly appreciated, as stated, being accommodating and easy to work with goes a long way to a successful shoot.

Some Tearsheets from Shoots

Deliveries 

Clients may ask to deliver things like props, clothes or any other miscellaneous items the day or night before, and then pick them up after the shoot has finished. Again, we must stress the more accommodating you are the better chance you have of longevity in this exciting industry. 

Extras

There may be extras involved in the shoot, whether it be overtime, parking permits or damages. If this becomes the case you’ll need to let us know within 48 hours so that we can invoice the client and reimburse you as soon as possible.

See what goes into making the perfect shot

Damages 

Whilst all crews will and do take the utmost care while working in your house, sometimes accidents can happen and damages can occur. If this happens please try not to be too over the top with your reaction, as stated many times being friendly and cooperative goes a long way. As long as you let us know right away we can address the problem for you and sort out any issues so you can get reimbursed as soon as possible. If an incident of damage leads to a claims process, we’ll be happy to manage the initial liaison and help you find a solution, however, we cannot act as a referee and it will be your responsibility to work as harmoniously as possible with the client to reach a good resolution. A top tip in these situations is to always take good pictures of anything that concerns you and let us know as soon as it happens.

Overtime 

Be prepared that shoots to sometimes run over the allotted time stipulated for the job. If this happens, just let us know when we do our call-arounds the following day and we’ll ensure that any extra charges are added to the client’s bill. Depending on the client, payment should come in anywhere between 30-90 days and as soon as we have it we’ll pass the money on to you. 

Niche / Specific Client Briefs

We often get very niche or specific client briefs where they are looking for a very specific element or feature from a location, for example quirky art, specific door colours or type of flooring. So do please send any extra pictures that can help promote everything interesting about your property. 

What the shoots look like after shoot day

Invoicing

After every shoot you will need to send us an invoice so that you can get paid correctly. This should be populated with all relevant shoot info, including our job number, the date of the shoot, the client involved, the net day rate and any extra charges incurred. It’s important to include everything at that time as once an invoice has been sent to a client we’ll be unable to send further invoices for extras. We have templates set up to help make your life easier and will be happy to share them with you, you’ll also be able to invoice us directly from the ‘client’ section on our website once you have registered. 

Large Crews Having Full Access to your Location 

You won’t always be inviting large crews into your house, but the more complex the shoot you take the more likely it is that there will be large crews accompanying it. There will be a lot of people coming in and out of your property and it’s important to remember that they are paying for access to the entirety of your property (unless stated otherwise). So we can’t highlight this enough, please be hospitable and try not to disrupt them while they are working.  

Crews inside peoples houses

NDA’s and Keeping Full Disclosure

Here at 1st Option we work with some of the biggest names and companies in the industry, so it goes without saying that some shoots are incredibly sensitive and high priority. Because of this some clients will ask for NDA’s to be signed before the shoot goes live to the public. 

Reading through this list might make it seem as though there’s a lot to remember and consider but once you have a few shoots under your belt we can assure you that it will all become second-nature. If your location proves to be popular then the fruits of your labours will definitely make it financially worthwhile over time. We pride ourselves on building long-term relationships with both clients and property owners alike and some of our owners have been with us since the company first started back in 2001. So, if you have a great location and you think you can cope with the things highlighted above, we look forward to hearing from you and working with you for many years to come!