The Life of a Location Owner

Suzi Davis Tuesday 10th August 2021

The life of a shoot location owner is exciting and varied. What better way to explore the location owner lifestyle than delving into the nitty-gritty of what’s involved?

We caught up with Tracy Head, owner of the impossibly gorgeous and utterly fabulous Henley House, on her home, her route into the location industry, what’s involved and a few tips for budding location owners.

Can you give us a potted history of the transformation of Henley House?

We bought the house eight years ago, intending to renovate it. However, soon after moving in, we realised it was beyond this, so we decided to demolish and build a barn.

To ensure authenticity and avoid a ‘new build’ feel, I incorporated as many natural materials and quirky features as possible. Combining French Oak, limestone, slate, and bare brick walls was a dream for me.


Did you always plan to use it as a shoot location?

When building the house seven years ago, I didn’t even realise there was such a thing as a shoot location.

Shortly after we moved in, Country Homes & Interiors magazine approached me for an interiors shoot along with a story around the process we went through for our house build. I absolutely loved every minute of being around such creative people, and it was wonderful to see my home in print.

I didn’t do anything particularly in the design process for our home to become a shoot location. But it helped that I had included so many different textures and materials that stylists and photographers love.

Which areas of your utterly gorgeous home are stylists and photographers drawn to?

My Devol kitchen is often top of the list. Also, the limestone floors, bare brick walls, log burners and oak beams all seem to be favourite features. The reclaimed shutters in the sitting room and the sliding barn door in the family room are other hotspots that stylists and photographers like to use for backdrops.

What do you like most about owning a location home?

I absolutely love being surrounded by such creative people. And it’s great to see my home popping up all over the place. Friends and family often spot it before I do!


How involved are you when the shoots are setting up and taking place?

I have minimal involvement, although I’m always happy to help at the end of a shoot to put things back in place. However, there are no expectations from the crew to assist in any way.


Can you describe a typical shoot day as a location owner?

I always try to be pretty organised the night before to alleviate any stress on the day. So, I’m up early at least 2 hours before the crew arrive for a last-minute tidy, emptying bins, sorting out the dog, and ensuring the family are up and fed!

Before the crew arrives, I do a ‘touch point’ sanitise, which involves cleaning doorknobs, taps, etc., and opening doors for ventilation. Then, for the shoot duration, I work in the study to be on hand if needed. Finally, at the end of the shoot, I wrap up with a further Covid clean, hoover and mop followed by a large glass of wine!

What are your top tips for any budding location owner?

Firstly, I’d say the organisation is critical because it alleviates any undue stress.

Next up, a relaxed attitude is a must, and it’s definitely not for you if you can’t cope with noise, mess, and disruption. However, I still find it amazing that it can be absolute chaos, and within an hour, the crew have tidied up the house, packed their vans and are on their way.

Finally, having an area that is a no-go zone is a good idea. I use our study for this, which means I can hide away and use it as a store for precious items or family clutter!


Do you have a favourite time of year to be a location owner?

July as it’s Christmas shoot time!


Your house is stunning. How do you keep it looking so good?

When building the house, I designed it with my two sons in mind, so I tried to create a robust yet pleasing interior. As a result, the white walls are surprisingly easy to care for, with a few touch-ups here and there. Also, the stone floors, bare brick walls, and simple colour palette help keep it looking good.

How do you use downtime between shoots?

I love cooking, so you’ll often find me in the kitchen.


What are the downsides to letting out your home to shoot crews?

Back-to-back shots with different companies can be stressful. We recently had four companies in one week so turning the house around each evening was a challenge. I’m pretty meticulous in how I present the house, and with the pandemic, this has created an extra layer of responsibility to ensure it is safe for both the crews and my family.


Have there been any disasters you can tell us about?

I can honestly say there have been no disasters. Touch wood!

Before we finish, we’d love to get to know more about the Tracy behind the Location Owner. So, it’s time for the quick-fire round:

Coffee or champagne?

Depends on the time of day. So, both, really!

If you could have an extra hour of free time every day, how would you use it?

Walk my dog. It’s my absolute favourite thing to do.

What’s in your fridge?

Kefir yoghurt, watercress, salted butter and wine.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

ll de Re

What’s your favourite independent shop?

I always love a visit to Daylesford. I love everything about it, products, styling, and the restaurant too. However, closer to home, there’s a gorgeous little shop called Wild & Rust in Henley-on-Thames. They sell vintage pieces and plants with a mindful approach to shopping, focusing on sustainability, handmade & local items.

What is the one thing you can’t stop buying for your home at the moment?

Reclaimed galvanised pots for my ever-growing Olive, Bay & Box tree collection.


Find Out More About Life as a Location Owner

If you think life as a location owner is something for you, read more about taking the next step in the intriguing journey of hiring out your home.

Suzi Davis

Suzi Davis