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'Girlfriends' Guide To Divorce' glass house replicates L.A. modernism

'Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce' production designer looks to Dwell, Pinterest for inspiration

Mixing smart fashionable L.A. women, hot clueless men and scads of scandalous behavior, “Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce” is the first scripted series for Bravo, the network that made household names out of “Real Housewives." A cocktail of comedy with a twist of drama, the sexy series, which debuts at 10 p.m. Dec. 2, also boasts serious design eye-candy.

Creator and writer Marti Noxon scripted the residence of main character author Abby McCarthy (Lisa Edelstein, second from right in the photo above along with Paul Adelstein, Conner Dwelly and Dylan Schombing) as a "David Hockney glass house in the Hollywood Hills," says production designer Jerry Fleming. The series, however, was principally shot in Vancouver, Canada.

McCarthy's house is a 2004 design by the Canadian architectural firm Dialog and features a two-story atrium-style entryway with a floating staircase and a pivoting front door made from Brazilian cherry wood with inlaid stainless steel strips (far left in the photo above).  The open-plan living-dining room has two walls made from massive sliding windows.

“It’s a metaphor for people living their lives in glass houses as Abby’s family life goes from privacy to full exposure by the end of the first episode,” says Fleming, who took inspiration from Dwell and Interior Design magazine as well as Pinterest and his personal reference library.

The architecture allowed set decorator Shirley Inget to use a mix of midcentury classics and contemporary modern furniture. “We used an authentic Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair and ottoman and a locally made version of Theo Ruth’s Penguin Chair in the living room on either side of the fireplace along with the classic Achille Castiglioni Arco floor lamp and a contemporary version of Eero Saarinen’s Womb chair,” says Fleming, who was the production designer for “Permanent Midnight” and “Crank.”

Other furniture, including accessories and Danish modern pieces were purchased in Vancouver stores InForm and Fullhouse. Fleming also found the striking kiln-formed Olivia patterned windows for the series’ law offices at Joel Berman Glass Studios in Vancouver.

His production crew also added custom touches: The hardwood floor of the McCarthy living room was crafted from ¼-inch thick maple Luan treated with several different colored stains to give the floor boards variety. And for the “Girlfriends’ ” café hangout, set decorator Caroline George created an eye-catching living wall of succulents that appears to be built from a stacked pile of stone trough planters and had Tolix French bistro chairs custom painted at an auto body shop.

Not everything in the show was made-to-order or costly, however. Mixed in among the pedigreed vintage and contemporary furniture in the McCarthy living room, we spied a blood-orange crocheted pouf that’s $79.95 from CB2.


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