Taking cues from the novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, Baseman and Ricker based their designs on the lifestyle and personality of the characters as they created an upper echelon, “old money” look—all within the parameters of a limited budget and a grueling eight-week schedule. The apartment had to feel traditional, comfortable, and inviting, but also look striking and modern, reflecting Mrs. X’s taste as a former manager of the Gagosian Art Gallery. As with all successful film design (known in the industry as production design and set decoration), the goal was to create an absolutely believable backdrop, yet—in this case—“have the audience chuckle at the decadence,” says Ricker.
While the Upper East Side has no shortage of luxury high-rise and prewar domiciles, logistical and budgetary concerns kept the film crew from shooting in an actual apartment. “Not only are ceiling heights low for lighting and elevators difficult to navigate,” Ricker explains, “but also neighbors need to be dealt with, noise is a problem, and external lighting is difficult.” So the design team turned to a tried-and-true solution—a Hollywood-style film set on a soundstage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Symmetry was key to the design scheme of the interior entry hall, above, as shown in the pairings of chairs, lamps, and consoles.