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New line of THE GOOD WIFE furniture & decor items based on Set Decorator Beth Kushnick SDSA's decor! [See below...]
THE GOOD WIFE: Pushing aside the betrayal and public humiliation caused by her husband’s very public sex and political corruption scandal, Alicia Florrick [Julianna Margulies] starts over by pursuing her original career as a defense attorney, working as a junior associate at a prestigious Chicago law firm. Gaining confidence every day, Alicia transforms herself from politician's embarrassed and scorned wife to resilient career woman, especially for the sake of providing a stable home for her children, 14-year-old Zach and 13-year-old Grace. Forced to sell their suburban North Shore house, she purchases and renovates a Chicago apartment for her family. For the first time in years, Alicia trades in her identity as the "good wife" and takes charge of her own destiny.
Set Decorator Beth Kushnick SDSA gives SETDECORONLINE an insider view into the visual representation of Alicia’s expanding world.
SD: The sight line on the major sets has so much depth, literally through room after room, and sometimes on multiple levels at the same time. Tell us about decorating for this aspect in Alicia's new home and the law firm’s offices.
BK: The flow of the floor plans for both Alicia's Apartment and the Stern, Lockhart and Gardner Law Firm are visually endless, which is a concept Production Designer Stephen Hendrickson gives to all of his designs. In our collaboration it allows me to think outside the usual “shooting heads” format for television and create a full world for our characters. I find myself adding to the dressing as we continue to layer both sets, which are featured in each episode. Our directors have responded to the sets with great enthusiasm and have shown their appreciation with many wide establishing shots.
SD: The hierarchy in the law firm as conveyed through the sets...?
BK: There are two floors at the Law Firm. The 28th floor is where we see reception, the partners’ offices and the large conference room. Alicia’s Office is downstairs on the 27th floor, along with the other junior attorneys. Here we have created a large bull pen of smaller desks and a smaller conference room, as well as a glass staircase. Both floors feature upscale contract furnishings, but there are some distinctive differences between them that mostly have to do with changes in amount of space, level of paperwork and mess, and higher end artwork on the partners’ floor.
SD: A strong, smart, feminine woman! Hurray! How do the sets reflect her character … or her character’s history?
BK: This character is my true inspiration. I adore her and find myself relating in many ways as a working mother. Alicia Florrick is extremely strong and such a multi-tasker. Her world at home is devoted to her children, where she has made a comfortable new life for them but not paid much attention to herself. She is still sleeping in the king-size bed she shared with her husband, although his belongings are packed up and we do not see him reflected in her new home. In her office, again, there is not much of Alicia, as she is a junior lawyer with a small office where her only allowed personal touches at this point are some photos of her children. More will develop with her character as we see her position at the law firm evolve.
SD: Prison and Courtroom sets. Particular challenges on these?
BK: We are currently building a modern Courtroom, which we will have completed at the start of next year. The prison sets and/or locations change as Peter Florrick [Chris Noth] moves through the system from white collar crime prisons to being incarcerated in one that holds more of the general population. The show is upscale and not that gritty in its look, so we are working with that challenge in places that would not usually read so clean and high end.
SD: The diversity of sets has included a street lawyers office and an Orthodox Jewish family home [in contrast to Alicia’s work and domestic environs], convenience stores, police station, restaurants, street scenes…could you talk about this aspect of series set decoration? How much of an emphasis is Chicago as the setting?
BK: We are more of an interior than exterior show so we don't spend a lot of time on the streets, but we do try our best to represent Chicago. We are shooting NY for Chicago, so there are location issues to deal with in every episode. Again, the look of this show is relatively clean, which is different for me as a native New Yorker who is usually on a show that wants to shoot a dirtier city. There are many references to the Windy City on the sets in everything from menus on the fridge to baseball caps and photographs of iconic Chicago landmarks in the offices
The character-driven sets for episodes such as our recent one featuring a young Orthodox couple was very enjoyable for me, as I was able to share my knowledge of what customs and practices were appropriate with the Director, Costume Designer, and the production in general. It also gave me an opportunity to shop in places other than the usual sources.
SD: Please tell us about the importance of detail.
BK: As a set decorator I think it is all about the details! Even though things like a collection of fortunes from fortune cookies placed in a bowl in the kitchen (which was my eight-year-old daughter's contribution) or bedside table junk in the bedroom (coins, a random earring, a chiropractor’s business card) most likely will never be seen on screen, they give life to the sets and I find them very necessary to complete the lived-in feeling.
SD: Texture and color?
BK: There were specific decisions made on color for the apartment and the law offices. The offices feature warm colors and red, as Stephen Hendrickson and I were given the directive to think of law as a blood sport. The apartment is cooler and features a deep eggplant color in the dining room. We used wallpaper for texture and a variety of fabrics that made the apartment feel comfortable for Alicia and her kids.
SD: You and production designer Stephen Hendrickson have created amazing sets for television before this series. What does this bring to the present production? What is your collaborative process?
BK: Stephen and I have worked together numerous times over many years—we have history. Our collaborative process is second nature at this point. We share and communicate throughout the design, the build and the dress. We value each other and, most importantly, we both still have a sense of humor left!
During the three intense seasons of this compelling series, Peter Florrick’s conviction is overturned. With Alicia standing as support, and help from image consultant/fixer Eli Gold, he wins reelection as State Attorney General and decides to run for governor. Alicia then discovers that Peter had slept with her friend Kalinda, the firm’s top investigator, and their marriage falls apart. Meanwhile, Alicia’s role as junior associate at Stern, Lockhart & Garner, which became Lockhart & Garner, is expanded as she handles an onslaught of challenging cases…and she begins to give in to her suppressed feelings for Will Gardner, the firm’s senior partner and a longtime friend. She is also trying to repurchase the family’s old house…many more sets to come!
Editor’s note: Upon winning an Emmy for her portrayal of Alicia Florrick, Julianna Margulies, gave a shout out to Kushnick in her acceptance speech, thanking her for providing such inspirational sets!
THE GOOD WIFE decor line!
Kushnick has been inundated with queries re: her sources for not only individual items, but also a complete room, i.e. Alicia’s Bedroom or Eli’s Office or Will’s Apartment…so much that CBS has committed to a line of THE GOOD WIFE furniture through Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, and accessories, lighting and accent furniture through Interlude Home …all based on Kushnick’s decor!
Mitchell Gold remarks, “We’re huge fans of the show not just because we love the story line and the superior acting, but we love Beth’s style sense and her ability to create very realistic and beautiful interiors which we think are very much in sync with the looks resonating with consumers today.”
Kushnick has generously shared resources and ideas on her blog on the CBS website…see below…acknowledged by CBS Executive VP Liz Kalodner, “This opportunity sprouted from fan feedback to Beth’s inspiring decor…The collaboration between Beth and the manufacturers has been seamless resulting in fashionable and sophisticated interiors throughout the sets of THE GOOD WIFE. We just can’t wait for fans to see the collection.”
Check out Kushnick’s blog, then check back here for updates as the collections are released!
Set Decorator Beth Kusnick SDSA's blog! CBS.com in association with Beth Kushnick, Set Decorator, is here to answer your questions about the look and set decoration on THE GOOD WIFE. You can ask Beth directly about the sets by clicking here on her blog about the show: