Butler County Times Gazette
  • Through the Front Door: Bringing Hollywood's design magic home

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  • I don’t know what your views are on TV, but I must admit that I am a walking TV Guide! I love watching sitcoms, dramas and movies…I adore the movies. With some TV shows, I even have a no-call policy while they are on! And while I do follow the storyline of the programs and movies I watch, I also study the sets. Recently, the living rooms from “The Brady Bunch” and “The Dick Van Dyke” show, showcasing the style of Mrs. Brady and Rob and Laura Petrie, were featured as do-you-remember flashbacks on Facebook. Whether you scrutinized these sets with the same intensity I did, the interiors are no doubt instantly familiar to you. Maybe it’s because we visited these TV programs weekly for years or saw a favorite movie more times than we want to admit!
    Right now, I am a devoted viewer of “The Good Wife.” I love Alicia and the strong powerful woman she became out of necessity; her life required her to step up, and indeed she did. But I also have been known to pause a portion of my taped viewing to study her Chicago apartment—simply amazing. And I am not alone in my appreciation for the set design on the “The Good Wife”! According to a Michelle Manetti's piece for The Huffington Post:
    "http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_good_wife"The CBS drama "The Good Wife" has gained major popularity with critics and viewers from all over the world. And what’s getting as much attention as the show’s intense legal plot is the set’s chic design. So, we spoke with set decorator, "https://twitter.com/GoodWifeSetDec"Beth Kushnick, to find out just what makes this show’s decor so unique.
    “From the moment the show aired three years ago, fans have been obsessed with the characters’ apartments. Everything from Alicia’s bedroom mirror to Grace’s bedding, questions were pouring in from people asking where they could buy similar decor, which paint colors were chosen and if pieces of artwork could be purchased. ‘The fans were trying to locate me,’ she said. ‘We actually had…set stalkers." Kushnick eventually started a blog, "http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_good_wife/the_good_look_of_the_good_wife/"The Good Look of The Good Wife, on CBS.com to keep up with all the requests.
    “So, what exactly makes people want to recreate the set in their own homes? Well, it’s not just the beautiful furnishings bought by Kushnick and her team from places like "http://www.westelm.com/"West Elm, "http://jonathanadler.com/"Jonathan Adler and "http://www.homedecorators.com/"Home Decorators. To get this right, Kushnick sits down at a piece of furniture (on-set), and visualizes all the things one would need if they were actually working in the space. This attention to the ‘smallest’ of things allows viewers to feel like they’re looking at rooms that could be found in their own home. ‘We’re trying to infuse how real people live,’ she said. ‘And (viewers) find that very inspirational."
    Page 2 of 3 - You’ve heard me promote this same philosophy in many of my articles: The tiniest of details create the largest impact. So don’t skimp on the small stuff, because in interior design, it does matter! It happens so often: The set design becomes a significant part of the storytelling process in both movies and TV. The precise details of the interior design will help explain the characters and who and what they are as people. Just look to "Gone with the Wind"—don’t you agree that Tara and her rooms were every bit the character that Scarlet was? How could any of us forget the green velvet drapes snatched directly off the windows to become a dress and hat! The Southern lifestyle became grander and almost magical with the elaborate attention to the rooms the characters occupied.
    Cozy Kitchens
    I haven’t seen a Diane Keaton movie in the past several years that hasn’t made me say, “I want her home.” The two homes in "Something’s Gotta Give" made me want to move while still sitting in the theater! The kitchen where she fixed breakfast for Jack Nicholson was simple too heavenly for words. The dining room with the classic round mahogany table and the slip-covered Queen Anne chairs was such a play on elegance and farmhouse casual. And don’t get me started on the fabulous white cupboard positioned in a stately manner on one wall. Dressed in the most luscious creamy white finish and decked out with predominately white dinnerware—white on white—it was divine and so, so stylish. Now, gorgeous, I know what you are thinking: “Is that movie available on On Demand right now?” I know the thought of revisiting that film with a whole new reason for watching it is making you almost giddy! I totally understand!
    Pretty Porches
    I can think of movie after movie in which the set designer’s attention to detail is worthy of a lecture. Let me toss another one out there for you—a porch swing that made me swoon! My favorite summer flick of all time is the 1945 musical "State Fair". Corny, I know, but I love the attention to detail these wonderful people of rural Iowa lived with. I invite you to do yourself a favor and rent or purchase this charmer. You will be singing the theme song for the entire next week! I am not the only one that loved the music as the song “It Might as Well Be Spring” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. Pay special attention to the scenes on the front porch, where Jeanne Crain as "Margie Frake" ponders her life. The porch swing should have been up for an Oscar for Best Porch Design! It’s like a swinging sofa! Now, how many delightful and daydreaming porch swings are lovingly placed on porches in Augusta? Hmm, something to think about!
    Page 3 of 3 - I hope I’ve given you a new reason to curl up on the sofa to watch TV or purchase a movie ticket and a bag of popcorn. Hollywood’s interior design magic is as good as the coming attraction! (And what better place on the planet to watch a movie than at Augusta’s own historical movie theater.) So, fetch your sweetie or maybe your best buddy, and go watch a movie! Be sure to take a notebook for notes! (Oh my gosh, was "The Notebook" a beautiful movie?!)
    As I leave you wondering what movie you might see this weekend, remember this quote from one of our leading lady legends:
    “Everything I learned I learned from the movies.”
    "http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/692403.Audrey_Hepburn"Audrey Hepburn
     
     
    Jan Colvin has been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). She accredits her mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for her intense interest and love for design. 
    She has taught interior design at the college level and operated her private design business since 2001. Today she spends a majority of her time completing her new book which will be available in the first quarter of 2013.
    Jan welcomes questions, which will be answered in her columns. Send your questions to: jan@jcolvininteriors.com

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