“This is an old bank in Willamsburg, Brooklyn that we emptied out,” Christiansen reveals. “One of my assistants, Mary Fellows, contacted a department store in Waterbury, CT that had been closed for years. Truly a Eureka moment walking in there! They sold us the display cases (circa 1910), as well sign holders, hat stands, rolling racks, display tables and much more.”
“Drapery by I. Weiss, Crystal chandeliers rented from City Knickerbocker. Florals and holiday decor were created by Christopher Basset.”
“The switchboards were rented from Universal Studios Property Department. Shop electrician Burt Patalono and his team really made them sparkle.
Assistant Set Decorator Imogen Lee sourced the stools from all over Ebay. They are perfectly matched, with original paint and caned seats. Amy wanted the stools to glide easily for the precisely choreographed scene. We auditioned a variety of casters, and special effects welded them on. Costumes provided the various handbags for the clips at the back of each stool. Great idea!”
“This kind of set is what makes me love my job! Layers of fun and color. Bill wanted a carpet that looks like a theater lobby, we found this at Carpet Time. The bench was purchased at Horseman Antiques.
Bill also wanted the ladies to have unique spaces, so we sourced mirrors in various shapes and sizes. Each has lots of makeup and costumes and props to fit their performance character.”
“Amy and Dan (Writing/Directing/Producing wife & husband team) asked for a classic midtown deli where Midge and Susie could meet and talk business.
The locations department found this restaurant that had been closed for a while, with the floors and booths mostly left intact. Bill chose the green for the walls, we added the red tables and chairs; light fixtures; kitchen, counter and table dressing. The vintage butcher counter( forklift!) was purchased from Demolition Depot.”
“The art department built this set into a restaurant in the West Village. The awning was custom made, and scenic artists added the layers of age. Imogen sourced the candy and products from prop houses and online. Graphics made the magazines and signage from research.”
“This is a real cafe the West Village. The counter and stools are vintage but most of the furniture had been updated and needed to be taken back to the 1950s. Chairs were rented from propNspoon, cigarette machine was purchased from Shadow Supply. I love the chrome edge on the tables, these tops were custom made for us by Chair Up. Mark and George made the posters, we changed time-sensitive graphics for the flashback scenes.”
“This was a big set! Props found all of the trucks. We collaborated on racks, clothing, and rolls of fabric. We purchased many rolls of vintage fabric, used again in Maisel and Roth on the cutting floor. The biggest challenge was sourcing so many affordable dresses in period styles and fabrics, in our Maisel color palette. Buyer Ashley Wellbrock spent several days in New York's real garment district. Everything arrived just on time!”
“The location is a real tailor shop that makes men's uniforms and suits, everything is grey and black. Amy wanted women's clothing and more color. We replaced equipment and furniture that was too new, and added colorful clothing and fabrics.”
“This was built on stage to look like an extension of the sewing floor, part of which we re-created from the location. Dick Tice's set dressing crew worked hard to make sure the walls had the same density of pipes, junction boxes, outlets, etc. as the location.”
[Check back after the holidays for a detailed photo of the finished/furnished loft!]
“The art department built this room into the existing sewing floor. Furniiture is mostly 1940s, when Moishe Maisel would have started the business. We dressed in period sample buttons, zippers, fabrics, sketches, and lots of paperwork.”
“This is the lower level of a shop that sells records and instruments. We created the intimate area for the technicians by bringing in bookshelves, worktable, and chairs and loading them with recording equipment and tapes. Bill had the idea for the cords everywhere to make it realistic.”
“An empty location in a very old building. Scripted as very crowded and full, part of the messier downtown world that Midge is beginning to discover. I found this desk at Ron Fennick's Luxe NY. It was falling apart and he was about to throw it away...the age and character were perfect for Kessler. Green chairs were purchased in Hudson,NY.”
“This is a stage set. As Bill says, ‘More is more...’ Everything in the set was used as found, as is. We mixed vintage rugs, fabrics and wallpapers for a rich, theatrical look. As a result the set is very quiet and feels like a cocoon.
The art department research found that peacocks are favored by fortunetellers, we picked up on the theme. The painting and peacock lamp (not seen here) were from Newel.”
“This location is a very plain modern day Chinese restaurant. Eclectic Encore rented us the elements to add the decorative vintage style. The lazy-susan had to be a specific size, our construction department made it to order.”
“So much fun to watch the dancers rehearse! The art department designed columns and tiered platforms to match the real Copa. We referenced the club with the white bentwood chairs. Bill chose a tropical aqua and gold scheme for stage skirting and table linens.”
“Added to the set for Season 1. This was inspired by photographs of my older sister's bedroom from the 1950's...Midge's ultra girly, but still elegant taste. The furniture is from resale shops, reupholstered with vintage and modern fabrics. Wallpaper is Schumacher. Colleen Foo at Circle Studios made the curtains, bedding and vanity skirt. She is a master of ruffles.
Amy loves flowers, we see them everywhere in the apartment. Midge's are pink of course!”
“We found a local company upstate to make the awning. Wicker furniture is vintage from the location...we upholstered it in a Duralee linen. Lamp was purchased in an antiques center in Onenta, NY. We collected vases in summery colors and then used flowers that could have been grown locally.”
“This scene was the big resort event of the season so we went a little more festive with the flowers. The costumes and sets magically seem to complement each other. Wagon wheel chandeliers from City Knickerbocker. Several crew members said it reminded them of summer vacations from their childhood.”
“Filmed in a colonial house that is now a museum. All of the historic furnishings need to be moved out for safety. To reflect Sophie's elegant, sophisticated taste we dressed in a mix of American ands European antiques from Newel. Flowers by Christopher Basset, lace from London Lace.”
Written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino, THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL stars Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a 1958 New York City woman who has everything she’s ever wanted—the perfect husband, two kids and an elegant Upper West Side apartment. But her perfect life suddenly takes an unexpected turn and Midge discovers a previously unknown talent—one that changes her life forever. She charts a course that takes her from her comfortable life on Riverside Drive through the basket houses and nightclubs of Greenwich Village as she storms the world of stand-up comedy... –Amazon Studios
When the marvelous Writer/Director Amy Sherman-Pallidino [GILMORE GIRLS] conceived of this new hit series, she brought in some of the best to bring about the worlds she envisaged. To establish a stylized 1950s New York and beyond, she turned to Production Designer Bill Groom, Set Decorator Heather Loeffler [pilot] and Set Decorator Ellen Christiansen SDSA International...and their teams*, many of whom, along with Graphic Designer Mark Pollard, had worked with Emmy-winners Groom and Christiansen on previous projects, all visually stunning. So it’s no surprise that the series not only takes us into this world, but makes us want to stay there!
In the photo gallery above, Christiansen graciously takes us through sets and scenes from both Season 1 and Season 2.
Details re: opening photo... B'Altman exterior, Christmas... “This scene was filmed on location outside of what was the real B'Altman store on East 34th Street...
I remember going there as a child with my mother! Because the windows have been modernized, the Art Department designed reproduction display windows to place in front. We dressed the holiday greens and vintage style lights. Some windows were dressed with mannequins with winter fashions, others had period-appropriate animated figures, which Bill and Supervising Art Director Neil Prince chose from a company that has been providing New York City holiday window scenes for generations.”
...And with that, Happy New Year from all of us!
*Set Decorator Ellen Christiansen SDSA International notes special acknowledgement of Assistant Set Decorators Susan Kaufman SDSA International and Imogen Lee throughout the series and Set Decorators Benoît Tetelin and Delphine Tilliard for the scenes filmed in Paris.
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