Stylist secrets: a converted barn in Suffolk

Real Homes stylist and homes editor (and dog briber), Anna Morley reveals what went on behind the scenes of a recent shoot in Suffolk for the November issue

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I was on a Real Homes photo shoot in Suffolk recently, near Diss, and I began to count up the number of times I was:

  • used as a light block
  • used as a light reflector holder
  • required to hide behind a door/ kitchen unit/ sofa while a photo was being taken
  • coaxed a dog to look at the camera

And it was four, six, three, and five… give or take.

The results of the shoot can be seen in the November issue, and I hopefully hid well enough and reflected enough light for the photographer, Eric Orme, to make the finished article look as good as it did in the flesh — as it were.

But don’t for a second think that’s all I do on a shoot. Being a stylist I also need to create a look of comfort, warmth and style in a room, while still keeping it tidy and clear. ‘Organised relaxed’, if you will.

For this shoot, the property was a beautiful barn that had been renovated by the owners, Carol and David Spenser. Carol used to be the fashion/makeover presenter on GMTV ( and had decorated and styled their house beautifully, so my job was made easy. I used her concrete and glass vase – which I secretly wanted as my own – for a flower arrangement and some of their lovely table and serve wear to dress the kitchen. My other addition was some biscuits — I always come fully stocked with treats.


Their dog Tizer, who was a friendly giant of fur, got very much involved throughout the day and was kind enough to be a large prop on the living room rug. He later posed with Carol like a true professional.

I also learned a thing or two about their clever heating system that’s controlled via iPad and uses water drawn up from deep within the earth. Very fancy. There was also an amazing prop in their master bedroom, but I will let you see that for yourself when the feature’s out.

Here are some behind the scenes pictures of the day. Very special thanks to Carol, David, Eric and, of course, Tizer for making it such a good one.

Carol shows me their smart heating on her iPad

Tizer comes to check we aren’t slacking

Eric reviews shots on his laptop

Eric and Carol


Me with Carol outside her beautiful home