Secrets of a Top Prop Stylist

Secrets of a Top Prop StylistTara Donne / Lonny; Douglas Friedman / Lonny
Ace prop stylist—and former Domino editor—Joni Noe splits her time between New York and Los Angeles, styling shoots for clients such as Kate Spade Saturday, Tory Burch, and Schumacher. She's also been the prop fairy godmother behind a few of Lonny's high-impact Los Angeles-based cover shoots, sourcing everything from midcentury sidetables to the perfect ceramic trivet to compliment the homes of our stylish celebrity cover girls. Here, she shares her top tips for thinking like a prop stylist—i.e., a Swiss Army Knife incarnate. 

Secrets of a Top Prop StylistJessica Sample / Lonny
What are your favorite sources for shoots—and for your own home?
My favorite decorating sources in LA are Nickey Kehoe, Nathan Turner, Dream Collective Studio, and Pasadena Flea Markets (both at City College and the Rose Bowl). Since I'm always concerned with a client's budget and invariably short on time, I'm mindful of ways to save money and energy. An online home source with free shipping and returns is rare, so I'm loving Kate Spade Saturday when I need something graphic, geometric, and affordable. If I were going to splurge on something for myself, I'd buy something handmade and avant-garde from the Waka Waka table and chairs series at IKO IKO.

Secrets of a Top Prop StylistJessica Sample / Lonny
You also dabble in floral design, what are your top LA-based flower resources?
I like the challenge of fiddling with supermarket flowers when I can't make it to the Original LA Flower Market. But nothing tops Mayesh, my favorite vendor.

Secrets of a Top Prop StylistDouglas Friedman / Lonny
We love the gallery wall at Rachel Bilson's house—and you hung it on set! What's the trick to mixing art without creating clash?
The secret to hanging a playful gallery wall is to mix it up with prints, paintings, and photos. Choose your favorites and nothing too matchy, not even the frames! I start with the focal point and work my way out. Try mapping out the wall first with tape and play with spacing until you're feeling 100% about placement. You can always swap things in and out as you grow tired or acquire something new.

How about hanging drapery in a pinch?
When it's not possible to tape or fake drapery on a set, I'll nail a lightweight, adjustable cafe rod for an instantly breathy drape. It's minimal effort to install and costs about three dollars at Target.

Secrets of a Top Prop Stylist
Douglas Friedman / Lonny
Now to the nitty-gritty. What's in your prop kit?
I bought my heavy duty vintage canvas "Stylist Kit" bag at a thrift store. The inside tag reads: "The Bag Room, Flanders Hotel, Ocean City, NJ." The outside looks like a classic Boat n' Tote, but the inside is a veritable tool kit. My secret weapons include a miniature level and removable adhesives (toupee tape, museum wax, and blue painter's tape). I rely on 3M for a temporary hang, but when I have to go for it with a hammer and nail, I love OOK picture hangers because they secure the heaviest pieces. I also carry a small putty knife and spackle, just in case!

I'm the former Style Editor at Lonny.
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