Executing a set design

Lots of people ask me where I get my ideas, how I’m inspired, and how the process of my set designs come about.

This week, while making a new design for photo and prop purposes, I thought it would be different to take photos of each stage and share it with all of you.  I don’t normally do this because when I finish a product I want you to see the end result – (colorful, sleek and perfect), not  construction and indecision.

So, look at the process this way – It’s a peek at what goes on inside my head while I am working.  Sometimes decisions are made quickly, and sometimes, I have to sit with an idea before it evolves.   But, I’ve learned to trust my instincts.  

As I progress, I will be designing the furniture  and adding that as well, so you will see how the set evolves and changes.  I’ve already made plan changes!  THAT, you will see today!

Let’s take a tour, shall we?

I think what got the ball rolling on this set was the idea of the new TV show, Pan AM, debuting  in a few weeks.  While I’ve not seen anyones dwellings in the promos, I did think it would be cute to create a space that any of the stewardesses could call home.  So, my place was going to have a 60’s vibe!

In the beginning – with a door :

Without a door:

The reason behind not cutting in the doorway was to give me options. At times, I may like to use the stair landing as a separate space. This might be a good place for a credenza or cocktail bar perhaps.   – Ah, thinking ahead !  Isn’t  it wonderful ?

I made all the pieces independent from one another so that I could change them around at will.  It creates a totally new space!  This will come in handy when I take pictures for sales and magazine articles, and oh heck, let’s face it, – just for fun !  🙂


 Not a bad start for the first day.  The majority of my idea was on the table (literally) !

Come morning though, I had some doubts…

Was it too dark in this space? Did I have enough room to incorporate the furniture the way I wanted ?   See, I had already been thinking about furniture placement, and I wasn’t quite certain this setup was going to work.

First thing to go was the fireplace wall.  Not that I don’t like fireplaces – I really do!  I just thought it took up too much room for this space. Swapping out this wall for another also gave me something else – a color change!  An accent wall could be structure (fireplace, shelving, etc) or, an accent wall could be a contrasting color.

Another obvious change was the floor. The original parquet floor was era appropriate, but too dark for the look I wanted. This lighter “wood” floor looks much better! It’s neutral, and blends well with the walls. Speaking of walls, another change was adding a small, window paneled, wall to the right of the stair landing.  This allows more light in that space, and brought the back wall forward a bit, in turn, making the living area  more rectangular to better accommodate the furniture I have in mind.

Incidentally,  that swatch of material just hanging over the window is going to be drapes!  I love this material and have been dying to use it. It’s sort of a spicy pumpkin and cream color with a large  paisley/floral pattern.  It’s also a hint at what the color palette will be!


To be continued ! …



*Welcome Home is a registered-trade mark business. Welcome Home is an independent company and is not affiliated with any other toy company.

All photos, furnishings, set designs, text and ideals are that of the artist, Maryann Roy, and may not be used or copied without written permission.



7 thoughts on “Executing a set design

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  1. This is so exciting! I love seeing things in progress and I’ve been wanting to know how you put things together. As soon as I can get some space in the dining room, I want to try making a diorama too. I know you’ve been doing this for some time and know all the shortcuts, but it’s just so adorable and I have to try it, especially since I have the dolls to live in it. I have a miniature house kit in the garage that’s been waiting for me for ages, but who would live in it? Will you share what you use to make the walls and the flooring? The drapery fabric already looks lovely in that space and I love the way you put colors together in your rooms. Thanks for sharing, Rita

  2. Love this new design, I am fascinated by your visions, you make me want to live in these wonderful sets you create. Your details are amazing and I am glad we are about to see some more TV shows depicting this time period and in turn see how you will be inspired by them.

  3. This is soo wonderful to see how your creative process evolves Maryann!! Thanks so much for sharing with us & I adore your beautiful work 🙂 I can’t wait to see Pan Am too!! I am having Mad Men withdrawals!! Hugs always, Mandy XX

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