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Mixology (22)

Painting:  The Corn Poppy, 1919, Oil Painting by Kees van Dongen. Check out those stunning red hat and black eyes! Kees van Dongen, was a Dutch painter and one of the Fauves. He gained a reputation for his sensuous, at times garish, colorful portraits. In 1897, Van Dongen arrived in Paris where he would share a studio with the famous Picasso. / Rug: Just Poppy in Doormat by ModCloth. There’s nothing more inviting than a bouquet of fresh flowers in your foyer! Now you can cultivate the same charming feel on your porch by welcoming guests with this poppy-covered doormat. Crafted from natural coir fiber with a convenient non-slip backing, this fresh addition to your decor features a hand-screened floral pattern in sweet shades of cranberry, persimmon, and clementine.

Painting: Travelers by Tatsuro Kiuchi from 20×  Kiuchi was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1966 and began his art career as a children’s book illustrator.  Kiuchi has been commissioned by such clients as Royal Mail, to do the Christmas Stamp Collection in 2006, and Starbucks, for the Worldwide Holiday Promotion “Pass the Cheer” in 2007. / Rug: InterDesign Abstract Rug- Aqua/White from Target. Lines, the color of pools treated with chlorine, ripple across this tufted rug and give a modern and geometric edge to your space. The contract between the intermingled spiderwebs of the robin’s egg hue and the white is a gentle yet stark.

Painting:  Beat Bop by Jean-Michel Basquiat. A dark black canvas featuring graffiti influenced and rough sketches of bones, what appears to be a crown, an explosion (and within it, the word “bang!” in capital letters), and Roman numerals. Basquiat got his start in SAMO, a graffiti collective in Manhattan’s early-’80s downtown scene, and became a notorious painter before his death at 27. Rammellzee and K-Rob, American rappers originally released their hiphop single Beat Bop in 1983 on the record label Tartown with cover artwork commissioned to the artist. / Rug: Abyss & Habidecor Rug, Script from Bloomingdales. A bold, modern design in striking black and white, crafted in plush, super soft cotton. The scribbles are irreverent and uneven, paralleling the chaos of a Basquiat painting.

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Hey Arnold!

My good friend Andrew Springer works for Good Morning America on ABC. He is the guru for all things television and is often spotted reading a hard cover, non-fiction book on the history of the medium. No really, this kid has a killer commute and refuses to switch over to e-books, he likes dog-earing the pages and feeling the paper! But, I digress, Springer is my go-to grand poobah on the history of network television and the rise of certain thematic media trends. He was actually my friend who suggested I do a post on The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s interior design and set design, HERE. I recently asked him for his next suggestions – I was thinking of recreating the look from the oh-so-eighties “Clarissa Explains it All” but he suggested another Nickelodeon classic, Hey Arnold!. He texted me, “Remember his TOTALLY AWESOME bedroom?”. I do remember his bedroom, and I think the space officially accounts for the first time I was ever jealous of a cartoon. I think the creators of the cartoon even knew how cool it was since they dedicated an entire episode to its powers.

The cartoon Hey Arnold! was created by Craig Bartlett (author of Rugrats) and premiered in 1996. It ran for five seasons, had exactly 100 episodes, and…. Bartlett originally set out  to become a painter “in the 19th-century sense”, but started pursuing a career in animated films because of inspiration he found during a trip to Italy. It also did not hurt that Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, is Craig Bartlett’s brother-in-law. This new career turn brought him to claymation and Pee-wee’s Playhouse (another cult classic), it turns out Arnold was actually a minor character spun-off from this series, and was originally greenlit as  “Arnold Saves the Neighborhood”.

Hey Arnold! takes place in the fictional American city of Hillwood. The nebulous city seems to be based on large, metropolitan  cities, including Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and New York City with sporadic references to Nashville, TN and Allentown, PA, as mentioned in the Sally’s Comet Episode. Basically, the city is an amalgam of urban Americana. The series chronicles the life of Arnold, a 4th-grader in a nameless city , who lives in a multi-racial boarding house with his grandparents and a motley assortment of neighbors and friends. He is a reluctant hero, problem solving, and always forced to “do the right thing”. I learned several things from Hey Arnold!; how to spell the word “qualm”, to never eat raspberries, to never try to make a pig listen, how to judge hitting baseballs in the wind, saw my first televised bar mitzvah, the plight of refugees of The Vietnam War and adoption in tore worn countries (Mr. Hyunh and his a daughter, Mai), and a million lessons on ‘not judging a book by its cover’.

“The boy with the cornflower hair. Me beloved, and my despair.” – Helga

Image found HERE.

SO HOW DO I RECREATE THIS BEDROOM SO THAT STOOP KID WILL BE AFRAID TO LEAVE THE STOOP (and stay in the house?) The skylight is key, with a modern meets industrial vibe.

Image found HERE.

A modern day rendering and replica of Hey Arnold’s Room, HERE.

Image by Lotta Agaton, via HERE.

Image found HERE.

Image found HERE.

Van Vorst Park — Jersey City, New Jersey, Image found HERE.

Image found HERE.

Arnold had a very 1960’s to 1970’s anthropomorphic and avocado/orange rug. His walls was a blue green with alien print and ufos on the. His bedspread and blanket were a solid seafoam color. He had a very funky starburst, Eames style clock on one wall. Some of the details were very nifty-fifities diner-esque. He had a dusty pink modular storage unit with space for books, knickknacks and orange drawers. In the middle of the room sat an old car Bench Seat (or diner booth?) in red upholstery. He had a radiator, a fish tank, a PC, flowers, a show rack, an oblong egg chair, and he had track lighting. Somehow both urban, inexpensive, and modern.

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 /9 / 10 / 11 / 12

What is your favorite TV bed room?

P.S. All screencaps found HERE.

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We’re Gonna Make it After All

The Mary Tyler Moore Show  was an American TV sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. It finished with 168 episodes. The show was revolutionary for its time because it was the first show to focus on a single woman who did not rely or seek to rely on a man in order to support her. Mary Richards was young, not widowed or divorced. She is a thirty something who chose to break off a two-year engagement and live a life for herself in Minneapolis. My friend Andrew Springer who works for ABC News’ Good Morning America and who also convinced me to write this post, explains, “Mary Tyler Moore was the first sitcom to chronicle the life of the modern, independent woman. Up until Mary, TV’s leading lady was  the raucous Lucy–goofy, physical, and always reliant on her husband. Moore was the opposite: intelligent, witty and single.”  Springer also explained to me that through the 1970’s network censors wouldn’t allow death on sitcoms until an episode of Mary Tyler Moore entitled “Chuckles Bites the Dust”. Chuckles, WJM’s in-house clown, was the first person to die in a primetime sitcom (the unfortunate victim of a hungry circus elephant when the clown was dressed as a peanut). This episode also garnered MTM an Emmy win.

(Images from Hooked on Houses and Wikipedia Commons)

Map of Mary’s Apartment and Set Description via

Mary’s apartment is a veritable cornucopia of 1970’s ephemera. The apartment was not stagnant, and like a “real human being’s” changed as Mary grew, evolved, and styles shifted. During the treatment of the original script, writers knew that they wanted a “large sunny window”. In fact, for the time, the set description for MTM was one of the most stringent and complex for a sitcom. The writers believed that the apartment needed to represent a specific style of woman. Mary was as much the objects in her apartment as she was her witticisms and joke delivery.  The team that made Mary’s apartment a soundstage reality were MTM art director Lewis E. Hurst, Jr, set decorator Raymond Boltz, and coordinator of set construction Lloyd Apperson. It was important to the set designers to create a space that a “real life single woman” could afford. The room was designed to look like a studio apartment (including a small kitchenette), and was not to be filled with excess like Lucy’s fancy house that could not have been purchased on a bank clerk’s wages. According to Sandy McLendon, Senior Editor of Modernism Magazine and freelance writer for  Old House Interiors, “The real genius of the set was in the way it was dressed: Raymond Boltz’s choices for furnishings and accessories defined Mary Richards nearly as much as Mary Tyler Moore’s acting did. The room was anchored by two items meant to establish Mary as a solid person: an expensive new hide-a-bed in brown velvet, and a French provincial armoire that was the sort of thing a young career woman would buy as a lifetime investment.”

A behind the scenes photo of how the apartment was set up on the soundstage. It was actually quite small, like a real studio. (Here.)

Because of Mary’s character’s budget restraints, much of the apartment was meant to be curated via thrift shop finds: victorian chairs, an industrial sign “M” letter, a country French lavabo plaque,  wall mounted jewelry racks, empty glass bottles, second-hand plates, wicker chairs, pumpkin-shaped cookie jars, space age lamps. The amalgam of accessories and various accoutrements were meant to represent Mary’s personality, taking inspiration from Provincial France, Modernism, Futuristic styles, Victorian cabinetry, and other “academic” era. Mary was smart, she had a good eye, and the decor was meant to complete her character’s whimsical, kind, and multifaceted personality. This attention to set and the dedicated to character realism was seminal.

Where to Buy After the Jump:

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