In this installment of the MILIEU INSIDER, go behind the scenes with European Style Editor Katrin Cargill, for her latest production, The Paper Trail feature story, as seen in MILIEU’s Fall 2021 edition.


I’m sharing my work as it was in progress for the latest production for MILIEU‘s Fall issue.  My editorial task was to create “rooms” made of humble brown paper and corrugated cardboard to showcase iconic modern pieces along with antiques.

It all starts with planning and scaling, then imagining, cutting, shaping, painting, erecting, and decorating. Everyone involved in the process is both an “architect”, of sorts, as well as a creative builder.

I hope you enjoy watching our set production come to life.


Sketches diagram the nine room scenes; models and samples were taped together on the dining table, with loads of experimenting

I found a raw studio space, large enough to hold our little rooms, so the constructing could begin.

Everything has to be worked out, especially the scale for the furnishings. Here the size of the tented room is tested, with Melanie giving us some scale! This is the actual size we built.

Melanie experimenting with craft paper and corrugated cardboard for one of the sets.

Testing, testing, and more testing ideas with corrugated cardboard.

With a room constructed, three very able and strong builders position the huge cupboard into its new home.

Adding paint to the process, Tabby starting the lovely garlanding for the wall coverings of a room.

And for another scene, a joint effort by Tabby and Melanie to make our little fireplace out of painted brown paper and chalk.

All hands on deck—time was very short to build all these little gems in two days! Especially after our lead man broke his toe on day one. 

We needed lots of ladders to construct every inch.

After everything slowly came together, the next step was a huge clean up. We also had to suspend a chair from the wall with clever cantilevering and fishing wire. Now we’re almost ready to shoot. See the feature to see the hanging chair in the room.

On to the next set, John working out the size of the little painted window which Tabby made.

Melanie tirelessly drawing out and cutting scallops for the roof. We used four massive rolls of corrugated cardboard and fifty yards of brown paper.

Melanie and John “tiling” the rafters. 

From concept to reality, another set is complete and ready to shoot—phew!

Readers can see the feature story in the Fall 2021 issue of MILIEU.




Subscribe by October 5th to receive the Fall 2021 issue in the mail.

Subscribe on Zinio to view the Fall 2021 digitally on September 1, 2021.