Design in Depth: Design Is Magic

April 18, 2012

By Stacy Kunstel

I’m taking a break this week from my usual routine of scouting houses and styling photo shoots to be in Orlando with the family. Orlando is a place where design is magic in all of the most expected and unexpected ways. Our biggest treat so far has been our visit to the world of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. As you walk through the park to enter Harry, Ron and Hermione’s world at Hogwarts, the feeling is simply electric. Hogwarts looms high above the rest of the park, looking like the gigantic school of wizardry described in the books and depicted on screen.

Photos by Stacy Kunstel

You approach through the gates of Hogsmeade Village, wander past Ollivanders Wand Shop, the famed Three Broomsticks and past carts of delicious Butterbeer. Looking at the thick piles of snow hanging from the rooftops actually gives you a chill in the 85-degree heat! Every window is filled with wonder, no detail left to chance. If you’re a decorative painter or set designer, Orlando would be the place for you!

As you approach the gates of Hogwarts, magical writing appears in stone.


I would love to have been in the meetings with the design professionals who created this world that had me so enthralled, as it did every person there.

Inside, where we weren’t allowed to take photos, were all the wonders of the castle–the moving, talking portraits; stone passageways; the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom; scary sculptures and an amazing ride where–well, let’s just say that the design magic doesn’t end there.