I was there on set the day the corsets arrived. Handmade. Designed to the exact measurements of our female leads, with detailing to even match the personalities of the characters. Imported all the way from the Ukraine where they were professionally hand-created to 1910 specifications.
I was there the day CNC Service Technician (read: machine fixer) Jonathan Hurd spent hours with our production manager Ruth Voetmann tinkering with a vintage typewriter. By the end of the day it was typing away. (By the way, did you know that an old typewriter ribbon is actually ribbon--that is, fabric? It's similar in look and feel to a hair ribbon, and then impregnated with ink.) You will see a hundred-year-old working machine in The Lumber Baron's office scenes!
I had the privilege of hearing hair designer Natalya Bartelt's plans for the show. Everything was taken into account in her research. Because fashions at that time took their cue from Europe, our actors and actresses wear styles that had had time to travel across the Atlantic and disseminate to the Midwest. Characters that are more sedate keep older, more traditional styles while the more fashion-conscious young ladies pick up the newer trends.
And I was there the day writer/producer Karen Hurd and Ruth toured the Cook-Rutledge Mansion and decided it would be The Lumber Baron's home. From exquisite woodwork, to elegant furnishings, to authentic embossed hand-painted leather wallpaper, the mansion is something that couldn't be re-created anywhere else. In fact, one of the crew with the best eye for artistry and authenticity, our director of photography (DP) Travis Higgins, said that being able to film on this set was a big inducement for joining the crew. He's right: we literally are in the lumber baron's world for this film. Trying to re-create something similar in a studio wouldn't have the genuineness, details, or richness. It would fall flat. Instead, we get to live and breathe the real lumber baron universe.
So when you get to watch The Lumber Baron, take a minute to marvel at the authenticity. Every detail is designed to transport you back to 1910 and the glitteriness and grittiness of the lumber baron's world. From costumes, to props, to hair and makeup, to set, you will lose yourself in The Lumber Baron era. Enjoy it.