Local home stager decorates for 'August' stars
BY BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer
Saturday, February 16, 2013
2/16/13 at 6:59 AM
Complete ‘August: Osage County’ coverage: Learn more about the movie being filmed in Oklahoma and stay updated on the latest developments on the cast.
When a big movie production rolls into town, many speculate where the film's stars will stay but few probably think about how they live in the time between shooting schedules.
Local home stager Cindy Gasior had to when the production team of "August: Osage County" called on her to furnish and decorate housing for many of the film's stars while they were on location in Bartlesville last fall.
She, along with her husband, Walt, three assistants and some help from the production company and designer Price Connors, would soon get to work establishing an environment the celebrity out-of-towners would be comfortable in during their stay.
Many of the stars were put up in the Gramercy Lofts townhomes, a relatively new development in Bartlesville.
Gasior, co-owner of Transitions Homes Staging and Design, said the cast housing project was one of the most rewarding she's ever worked on - but not for reasons people might assume.
"I did not become buddies with Meryl or Julia and actually never really met them, but I was fine with that," Gasior said. "(It) was rewarding for the support and partnership I received, feedback given about our efforts and (the) relationships we made with key members of the AOC crew."
The cast housing was similar to the home staging Gasior does but then different, too.
"When I'm staging, it's to show off the house and not necessarily for people to live," she said. "This time, I was (decorating) for people to live in."
Gasior gave the Tulsa World an inside look at her experience decorating the housing for several of the movie's big stars.
How long did the whole process - from initial contact through decoration - take?
"It took about three weeks from decision on the proposed design and budget to move-in-ready spaces for the cast members. The AOC team did not take possession of the Gramercy Lofts until Sept. 1 with the cast members scheduled to arrive on Sept. 14-16. While we were able to do some planning, designing and ordering before Sept. 1, we did not begin working in earnest until taking possession.
"And it took every hour of every day to buy, install and decorate the 11 units. We finished the last loft at midnight on Friday, Sept. 14, with the cast showing up over the next two days."
What did you have to take into consideration when working on this project?
"We were decorating and furnishing for folks used to living quite comfortably - including two of the biggest stars in the world, as we were reminded on more than one occasion.
"The cast living at the Gramercy Lofts included Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson and Abigail Breslin, as well as a few members of their team.
"Our task was to outfit 11 empty lofts in about three weeks, making them comfortable, cozy and livable for the cast who would be living there for about three months. We provided everything from furniture, bedding, towels, kitchenware, glassware and accessories."
Were there any unique items the actors/actresses requested in their housing?
"We did not receive any unique requests from the cast members. In all cases, our goal was comfortable, attractive and very livable.
"It felt then and continues to feel surreal that these celebrities lived and slept in spaces that we prepared and decorated.
"We thought that we might be called back after they moved in to make changes to fit their unique needs and requests. Amazingly, we were not called back to make any changes. The only problems were typical of a new unit - problem with an air conditioning unit and a plumbing issue. We took the fact that there were no changes as a sign that they liked what we did."
Did you decorate the lofts with any particular theme in mind?
"I wanted to represent our part of the country well. I didn't know what they were expecting, but I wanted it to be positive."
Gasior was inspired by the Indian summer the area was experiencing at the time she and her team decorated the three-story lofts. She worked with some neutral tones but brought in some warm colors as well. While all the condos had a contemporary feel, no two were designed alike.
Where did the decorations and furniture come from, and what happened to them after?
"The furnishings were rented from Bassett Furniture and Cort Furniture. Local artists and galleries loaned items for the lofts. And then we purchased the vast majority of the bedding, towels, kitchenware, glassware and accessories.
"We made trips to Tulsa and filled up our SUVs. For example, we needed 11 toasters, coffee makers, irons, sets of wine glasses and other similar items. To fill that need, we made the loop of the five Target stores in Tulsa, picking up three toasters at one store, two more at the next and six more at the next and so on.
"The Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn staffs were wonderful in helping us find just the right items for the 'lofts of two of the biggest stars in the world.'
"After the cast left town, the AOC production team decided to pack up all of the 'assets' that they purchased for the housing just as they did with all of the furniture and items purchased for the sets.
"The rented furnishings were picked up by Bassett and Cort. And we returned the loaned artwork."
Original Print Headline: Decorating for the stars
Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316
MERYL STREEP’S KITCHEN. Courtesy; Streep AP file
JULIETTE LEWIS’ LIVING ROOM. Courtesy; Lewis AP file
MERYL STREEP’S DINING ROOM. Courtesy; Streep AP file