Attorney Will Truman’s [Eric McCormack] New York apartment, which he shares with his longtime best friend, interior decorator Grace Adler [Debra Messing], and which is often visited by their flighty friend Jack McFarland [Sean Hayes] and the idiosyncratic and wealthy Karen Walker [Megan Mullally], who “works” for Grace at her design studio...
Set Decorator Peter Gurski SDSA and Production Designer Glenda Rovello brought to life an enhanced and updated version of the now classic set. At the launch of the contemporary extended 3-season iteration of the series, the cast received a standing ovation, as did the set!
While the footprint remained the same, and a few signature pieces were kept, more than a decade has passed, and the set needed to reflect the success and growing sophistication of its inhabitants...
Amazing, distinctive pieces...such as the $20,000 Hermès Pippa bench and the Rose Tarlow coffee table, which were purchased by Gurski for the producer and loaned to the set. See video below for details, including the Mid-century Italian bar cart and butter-leather upholstered chair!
The previously white fireplace has the same footprint, but an updated definitive sophistication. Black marble tiles frame the firebox. The cladding is a veneer design by Maya Romoff presented in rectangle patterns.
Gurski kept the male portrait to the left of the fireplace but replaced the over-mantel mirror with a much larger one to capture reflections of the architecture and, at times, the actors.
The cozy nook holds a worn-in leather loveseat from the 1970s and a Lens table from Holly Hunt, the shape reflected in the ottoman/trunk with its upholstered tray in the same palette as the oriental rug, all exuding a sophisticated warmth...
A scene that shows the depth of the set, and subtly shows off the Mario Bellini designed Cassina Cab leather dining chairs. The kitchen was a total makeover, complete with wine refrigerator set at proper degrees for red and white...
Watch the video below for more details of this fabulous compact space!
Per the standards they set for Grace as a designer/decorator, and knowing that world well, Gurski & Rovello had the draperies change out several times over different seasons! This is the initial relaunch with fabric from Romo, and a much larger set than the original.
The players do an extended tribute to the iconic show, with Eric McCormack as Ricky Ricardo throughout, while the others change off who plays Fred, Ethel and Lucy...
The set is an exact duplication, including the matched pair of Bohemian cut-glass goblet candleholders on the mantel! Peter was thrilled to find those, along with every element! He gives all the details in the video below, including a story about the sofa and chair!
They came back in style...
They’re leaving in style!
Set Decorator Peter Gurski SDSA, working again in collaboration with Production Designer Glenda Rovello and their highly talented crews, as he has on several distinctive series, brought in heightened style to create the essence of the original WILL & GRACE and take it forward for the 3-season iteration, which began 11 years after the first ended and has its own finale now.
Finesse is an essential for this series, and deep diving into au courant design. Not a problem for Gurski, who has also had his own design and décor series on reality TV and has appeared in several others.
In the real world, he has designed homes for Hollywood celebrities, including the series star Eric McCormack and his wife, Janet, who have become close friends, and MODERN FAMILY star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband, Broadway producer & Tony winner Justin Mikita, as well as updating and refurbishing offices and businesses.
He has been a major contributor to Project Angel Food’s fundraising spectacular, Divine Design, and is currently on the board of Save Iconic Architecture [siaprojects.org]. Not limiting his good works to the Hollywood/Los Angeles area, Peter also took on a special project in his hometown of Detroit, the remodel of a historic site, the restaurant Republic Tavern, in the Grand Army of the Republic building, built in 1899 and used as a meeting place for Civil War veterans.
Gurski funneled this decoration and design experience into the choices he made for the series’ iconic New York apartment and many of its other high style sets. He is quick to credit the team of Rovello and Ritz, as having brought a major advance to the look of sitcoms with the original series, where he started as onset dresser and then leadman
Watch the video here for Peter’s fascinating description of the evolution of the design and set decoration of sitcoms, and the significant leaps that ended up affecting viewers’ tastes across the country. He learned the importance of using “real” designer pieces as anchors to décor, from the Hermès Pippa bench and the Rose Tarlow coffee table, to a Lens table from Holly Hunt and custom-made lighting.
The mandate was to create the set in the same footprint of the original, retaining some of the characteristic elements, but updating, not only to today’s standards, but also to reflect the financial success of the main characters over that decade span. Luckily, the original set pieces had been housed on display at Emerson College, so they were obtainable and easily referenced. The enhanced new set included quiet homage in several places, i.e. the new Joseph Jeup sofa, via Holly Hunt, is upholstered in the original blue hue, created not only as a distinctive design element, but also sturdy enough to deal with actors’ antics throughout the three seasons.
Check the gallery above and the video for intriguing details and Peter’s delightful wit and observations...
--Karen Burg, Editor