After spending more time homebound than we’ve wanted because of extreme cold and snow, most of us have experienced cabin fever this winter. All that time inside usually gives people time to conceive home projects. Or maybe you’re like me and found yourself extending your hours in front of the television.
When I watch TV, I spend as much time looking at the set interiors as I do getting wrapped up in the characters. It can be like taking a tour through design history with some shows. Others reflect contemporary styles and inspire changes to our homes.
The sound of the crashing waves that come with the beach house on “Grace and Frankie” are a reminder that warmer days will arrive. Aside from miles of sandy beach, Iowans can achieve the coastal look of the beach house. This is a casual look that should feel textural, effortless and soothing.
A palette of white, warm neutrals and blues combined with natural materials used in furniture and window treatments set the tone. It can take shape with rope-inspired lighting and accessories; bright, white walls and window shutters and decorative boats, oars and sea life. Slipcovered sofas, wicker dining room chairs and nautical blue kitchen cabinets are the essence of coastal style.
In contrast to the effortless coastal vibe is the highly ornamented and detailed world of “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” I counted at least nine design styles in the first episode: Greek and Roman (dome, Greek key, Corinthian columns, Roman arch, mosaics), Medieval (Gothic arch, wrought iron fixtures), Renaissance (clamshells), classical (marble surfaces and busts), Italian (stucco exterior walls), English Georgian and French Empire styles (ornately carved wood, gilded molding, rosettes; urn, lyre and swag motifs in art; gold and black scheme) and Federal style (large scenic murals).
Modeled after the oldest home in the Western hemisphere, the Alcazar de Colon built by the son of Christopher Columbus, architect Alden Freeman included the elements one would have seen in Spain: an open air courtyard, a corridor defined by arches, cast iron used for lighting and the balustrade on the third floor terrace, Moorish tile roof and mosaics.
Shots linger and pan up to show the grand nature of Versace’s villa, and the home becomes a character in the show. It’s also a character you can meet. After a developer purchased and renovated the villa, it now is a boutique hotel called The Villa Casa Casuarina with rates starting at $899 a night.
colorful and eclectic
The lavish interior and exterior of Versace’s former home are far from anything found in Iowa, let alone the United States. A more relatable dwelling — though not in terms of price — for single women in their late 20s or early 30s is the New York apartment the title character calls home in “The Mindy Project.” Jokingly called a “Hello Kitty dorm room,” her one-bedroom apartment is probably five times the size of a typical New York apartment and would sell for around $2.5 million. The apartment is feminine, colorful and eclectic. Classic pieces such as wall sconces, molding and Hepplewhite shield back chairs ground the space next to the turquoise chandelier and bold patterns.
The tall, narrow Italianate six-over-six sash windows and antique gold spiral staircase seen in earlier seasons strike a contrast with the modern interior. French doors leading to the bedroom and built-in bookcases provide privacy and storage when space is at a premium. I’d love to stay a night in all these dwellings.
Home sweet home
But not every home on TV is as inviting. Take for example the home on “Shameless” in the South Side Chicago. Poverty often means the Gallagher family goes without heat or turns to crime to make money. It’s a reminder to be thankful for what we have.
Those are scripted television shows. Diving into home improvement shows is a whole other design tour. That tour, however, should come with a warning: Results not achievable within a half-hour.
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• Erin Owen graduated in 2015 from the interior design program at Kirkwood Community College. She has worked as a commercial and residential interior designer.