The Southern Living Houses of "The Walking Dead"
What if you couldn't mow your lawn? The residents of the Gin Property in Senoia, Georgia, near Atlanta, can't: the development doubles as the town of Alexandria on The Walking Dead. Grace Walker, the production designer for the show, says, "Something bad has gone down in Alexandria, and the folks who lived there before evacuated very quickly." Because of this, he says, "We had to let all the lawns and the gardens that were already established run wild to give it that kind of unkempt look."
We love the look and Southern appeal of the homes and it's no wonder: eight of the homes in "Alexandria" are Southern Living House Plans. In this month's magazine, we've featured the Salisbury Court plan (below), better known to fans of the show as "Pete and Jessie's house."
When asked about how he went about creating the now-iconic set, Walker starts with the most important part: the Wall. In order to make it look fortified, says Walker, "we actually had to build a fifteen foot high steel wall right around this whole neighborhood–and some of the houses already had people living in them." Filming a TV show around actual living and working residents sounds difficult, but Walker says that the people who live in the Gin Property are fabulous, and that the collaboration has been "a wonderful coup." The crew was able to decorate the houses in a way that communicates the hasty manner of the previous owners' departures. They didn't have to do much, though: "They're really well-designed homes, I loved a lot of the colors and finishes–these are terrific designers. I went with the original colors and finishes. If it looks good, why fix it?"
Keep an eye out for Southern-made products, too. Walker says the set decorator and crew make a diligent effort to source their props and furniture in nearby Atlanta. On the creativity of the set Walker says: "I love the characters who are collecting things even during the zombie apocalypse. They managed on their runs to find food and stuff but they also brought back things like number plates; I enjoy quirks like that." Another of Walker's favorite sets is also a practical one: the infirmary. He cites the wraparound windows and the view of the pond as features that impart a more tranquil atmosphere on the small space.