A lot of work goes into getting every episode of Sandra's Money Saving Meals on the air.
The cabinets are almost empty. To make it easy for Sandra to grab tools while the camera rolls, prop stylists stock only the items she needs for that day's episode—plus her BlackBerry, which she scrolls through between takes. The set is also less ornate than her Semi-Homemade one. "We wanted a cleaner look since it's a budget-friendly show," she says.
Far left: The family room serves as a giant prop closet for art director Steve Skopick grows these herbs on his New York City fire escape and carefully transports them to Connecticut. After filming, he shuttles the plants outside to soak up some sunlight. Crew members eat lunch on this deck, which viewers never see on the show.
At the end of an episode, Sandra often shows off a cake, but you won't always see her eat it. On days when the cakes need to be prepped in advance, food stylists sometimes ice and decorate a Styrofoam base, which won't lose its shape.
Sandra is famous for matching her clothes, food and props on set—a habit that started in the 11th grade, when she worked at a women's clothing store. When the super-perfect class valedictorian came in to get nail polish to precisely match her prom dress and shoes, "I thought, 'Of course! Everything has to match,' " Sandra says. After she chooses a color scheme for each episode, she shops for a matching blouse with the show's art director, who then takes photos of the outfit to New York City's flower district to find coordinating silk blossoms.
Sandra rents this house for her TV show! Sandra prefers working in an all-white kitchen and using white dishes. "It's like living in heaven," she say Filming in a real house means you hear airplanes and trucks. It can interrupt your mojo.
Far left: The family room serves as a giant prop closet for art director Steve Skopick. He uses it to store flowers, food coloring, aerosol icing, plus tubs of fruits and vegetables—realand plastic, in case he needs a pumpkin in July. Left: Director Jeffrey Kay watches the two cameramen's feeds from an editing suite in the dining room, which has easy access to the kitchen where Sandra films.