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PostHeaderIcon Interior Design As Seen on TV - April Designers Log

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Due to popular demand, The Designers Log updates and revisits a post from 2010, adding a top 10 list. Enjoy! 

Do you ever look at a house on TV and wish it was yours? Did you ever try to decorate your home to look like one you saw on the small screen? How we see others live on television shapes how we see our own homes, what we aspire to and offers a possible blueprint for perfect living. 

In the 1950s, television started giving us an eye into how others live. No longer did we have to leave the comfort of our living room to get a peek at our neighbors. We could compare and contrast our spaces with other families, from Ozzie and Harriet to Leave it to Beaver.  Post WW II, ostentatious wealth was out. Manufactured furniture, Lucy and Desi and the middle class was in. The rich were not like us; family and a suburban life was on the rise. We moved from formal rooms to tract homes and twin beds.

On 60s TV, programs like The Dick Van Dyke Show brought us black and white living and a concept of what the perfect home needed to look like. Bewitched also depicted a version of suburban homes and neighborhoods. Husbands came home from the city to a wife with dinner on the table and a martini in hand. Darrin Stevens gave us the first "man cave", his paneled den. As Gladys Kravitz peeked through the blinds, it was the beginning of keeping up with the Joneses.

Television has given us such iconic rooms as The Mary Tyler Moore Show single woman apartment with the big M on the wall and Rhoda's hip attic pad. Who can forget the Archie Bunker dad chair or the upscale urban family rooms of 30-Something?

Recently I worked with a couple in their 40's. Their number one concern was not to get a Brady Bunch house. For people of that generation, the decor of the 1970s is their parents era. Ironically, at the time the show aired, it was considered the epitome of upscale California suburban living. Their combined family resided in arguably the most recognizable house on TV. The stone planter, the open stairway, the orange laminate counters and the Jack and Jill bathroom were mimicked by builders and designers for years as the way a family should live.

By the 80s, shows like Dallas, Falcon Crest and Dynasty depicted the poster interiors for opulence.  Bigger was better, rich was back in vogue and the over the top furnishings held their own with the big shoulders of Linda Evans and Joan Collins. Hart to Hart showcased wealthy Los Angeles living, while The Golden Girls put hip Florida senior living on the map.

In the 2000's, Mad Men, about the advertising industry in the 1960s, showcases mid century modern decor. The hipness of the martini crowd has made this look very trendy. Mad Men attempts to mimic the era, right down to the smallest detail. They do a remarkable job of re-creating the time and romanticizing days gone by. By enjoying the modern feel of the interiors, we are seeing a strong example of how styles and trends recycle. Now in it's 5th season, we've seen Mad Men go from the Eisenhower era to the swinging 60's. Pucci prints, shag rugs and bean bag chairs have renewed interest in the colors of those pychedelic years.

Currently, TV allows us to peek into the hipness of New York lofts on Smash, see a real depiction of  family diversity on Modern Family and fabulous interiors around the country on The Real Housewives of... series. We see how real celebrities live on reality shows and HGTV schedules makeovers and renovations to entertain us for hours.

Over the years, interiors on TV have shown us glamour, style and reality as well as trends and design disasters. We have been given rooms to admire, color palettes to stagger the senses and the diversity of our lives. Our own homes and lifestyle has been reflected through the lense in subliminal messages of how we should live. 

So whether you are a Don Draper, miss your Brady Bunch childhood or still like to fantasize about the homes of the uber-rich, the line between real life and the media has shrunken. 

Here is my Top 10 list of favorite TV rooms:

10 -  Don Johnson's Miami Vice bacholer pad.

9 - The Doris Day Show spiral staircase with San Francisco Bay view.

8 - Brothers and Sisters Santa Barbara loggia.

7 - Marlo Thomas' That Girl New York one bedroom.

6 - The Brady Bunch stairway.

5 - Smash brownstone of Debra Messing.

4 - Any room in Downton Abbey.

3 - Dick Van Dyke Show living room in New Rochelle.

2 - Niles' living room on Frasier.

1 - The Madison Avenue offices of Mad Men.

An established Interior Designer for over 20 years, Steve Wallace Design is based in Walnut Creek, California.  His work has appeared in Palm Springs Life and other interior design publications, and he is the author of a soon to be published book about design and the way we live. 

He can be reached at  925 915 1005, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or visit www.SteveWallaceDesign.com.

Last Updated (Monday, 30 April 2012 15:23)


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