Someone I went to high school with is a professional photographer. One of her specialties is photographing impeccably decorated luxury homes for lifestyle magazines. I see some of her work on Instagram and it’s all so well done.

When Margaret and I visited New Harmony recently, we rented a circa-1840 cottage, a little nook for us to relax in. But when we arrived we were told that the cottage was out of order, and that we were upgraded to the Orchard House — two stories, four bedrooms, five bathrooms, all done up in period style. What an upgrade!

The Orchard House

The house is a little rough around the edges — it could use a little TLC. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying this giant house to the hilt. It made for a truly lovely stay for us. Here’s the view when you step inside.

Entry hall

My old high-school friend surely has expensive and expansive pro gear for her work. I had only my trusty Canon PowerShot S95 and available light. But through looking at her work I gleaned a couple key tips for appealing interior photography. First, go wide to get more in, but not too wide or everything will distort. I shot at 28mm for a commanding view. This is the parlor.


Second, crouch down for a child’s-eye view of the room, so that vertical lines are vertical. Doing this also captures some details up high that you’d otherwise miss, like the canopy over this bed in the east upstairs bedroom.

Upper east bedroom

I’m sure my friend could give me twenty more pointers to improve these photos, but I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. Here’s my entire gallery. Click the < and > buttons to see all the photos, inside and out.

The Orchard House

Bonus: If you flipped through the gallery you saw the strange sink in the west upper bedroom. We’d never seen a sink that worked this way before! It has separate hot and cold taps with little holes in the porcelain where the water comes out, one set for hot and one set for cold. Here’s the cold tap in action:

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.


17 responses to “Inside the Orchard House”

  1. J P Avatar

    I love the symmetry displayed by old houses. There is a rightness to their design.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yes! Modern houses are horrorshows in comparison.

  2. -N- Avatar

    I love old houses. We stay in B&Bs as often as possible when we travel, mostly because they provide such comfort when on the road. As a result, we have seen a lot of lovely stuff – but that sink is by far the most unique thing I have ever seen! Your couple of tips for photographing the architecture are great – often my pictures are not the best. The slide show and little movie were a great addition to this post. It sounds like you had more than just a good time here – relaxing, interesting, and artistic as well.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It was a very good weekend for us. So restorative on so many levels. And the house was just icing on the cake!

  3. Kurt Ingham Avatar
    Kurt Ingham

    Wow! Some upgrade!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It was great fun!

  4. Alex Gallacher Avatar

    Thanks for this Jim and some great tips on photographing rooms. That lowered perspective really does make a difference, very eye-catching. Must give that a go. Love the sink, never seen anything like that before.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Happy you found these tips helpful! That sink was just crazy.

  5. Yoshimiparis Photographie Avatar

    Beautiful work.
    You let go say so

  6. Yoshimiparis Photographie Avatar

    Good work.
    You took a lot of very beautiful photographs, bravo

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Why thank you!

  7. Karen Bryan Avatar
    Karen Bryan

    Is this house in any way a tribute (with tons of modern updates) to the house that Louisa May Alcott grew up in (also known as Orchard House)? The two houses are in the same general style.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Great question. I’ve been unable to find any information on why this house is named as it is.

  8. Heide Avatar

    If one has to be surprised on vacation, let it be with an upgrade like this one! Great shots, Jim — you learned well from your former classmate. I don’t know what to make of that “faucet” in the video, though. Is it as oddly disconcerting in person as it is in the video?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It was weird to be sure. In the 90s I rented an apartment in an old house and the bathroom sink had separate hot and cold faucets. My mom told me she’d seen that a lot in old houses, and said that this was from a time when a sink was used more like a basin: you filled it with water to do your grooming. I have to assume this sink is from the same era. It was slightly challenging and messy to fill a glass with water, and washing your hands was a little harder because you had to press them right up against the porcelain (and you did it either in very hot water or cold water, not warm), but it did work well enough and we functioned fine.

  9. analogphotobug Avatar

    Wow that IS a very different sink. I’ve certainly never seen one before! Lovely House. I grew up in an old house and love them! None of this open floor plan foolishness for Me! If I win the Lottery, there’s an old Victorian Home in Cincinnati in my future!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I live in a 2006 vinyl-village house now and if I can help it — NEVER AGAIN. The thing feels like it’s made out of papier-mache and will come apart in a thunderstorm. I’m not given over to Victorian excesses but would love to find a Craftsman bungalow or even a good old American Foursquare for our next home.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.