Director Don Roos' "Happy Endings," which arrives in theaters July 15, is not only a picaresque romantic black comedy, but also a valentine to midcentury Los Angeles architecture. "I wanted to capture the Garden of Eden landscape of L.A.," Roos says. "The more the interiors could incorporate the outside, the better. I wanted them to be versions of treehouses." None more so than the 1949 John Lautner-designed Schaffer residence in Montrose, shown here, which production designer Richard Sherman found. In the film it's home to Gil (David Sutcliffe, left), an architecture junkie, and his boyfriend, Charley (Steve Coogan, seated), who is convinced that Gil fathered a son with a lesbian couple. "It is such an improbable story that I thought if the audience bought the scenery, they would also buy the characters," says Roos, who shot entirely in real homes also "because we didn't have much of a furniture budget." Roos calls a 1960 Brentwood modern in the film a "quintessential Los Angeles horizontal built around a pool." Getting it was also an easy call. It belongs to designer Nancy Heller and her husband, Creative Artists Agency agent Fred Specktor, who represents "Happy Endings" cast member Laura Dern.
REDISCOVERED: From the 1950s, a blue that's cool again
Somewhere between the powder blue of a Tiffany & Co. felt pouch and the green of an after-dinner mint lies robin's-egg blue (chip C25 in Martha Stewart Everyday Colors at Kmart, shown here with comparable samples from Dutch Boy). It's one of the most venerable interior wall shades from the 1950s, and it's back in style. "People are beginning to gravitate to the look of rooms enveloped in cooler colors," says Scott Flax, an architectural color consultant. Jonathan Adler uses a version in ceramics and his stores' shopping bags, praising its versatility: "It goes beautifully with chocolate brown and white."
TRENDSPOTTING: Accessories that can take a real pounding
The host getting hammered isn't necessarily a bad thing — at least when it comes to setting an intoxicating table. These days, hammered accessories in assorted metals are making quite an impression. The artfully banged copper pieces shown here look right at home with Mediterranean and Mission architecture; prices start at $40 during the semiannual sale at H.D. Buttercup in Los Angeles, (310) 558-8900. At http://www.vivre.com , a silver-plated hammered champagne bucket by Vagabond House with rustic stag-horn handles ($150) sparkles like a sequined dress. Hammered bowls and cutlery sets starting at $24 can be found at http://www.westelm.com . For decadent Deco fans, jazzy Jazz Age cocktail shakers come in hammered silver-plate ($250) at Table Art in Los Angeles, (323) 653-8278.
HAPPENING: Tile: The beauty is that it ages gracefully
Vintage tile dating as far back as the 1880s will fill the fledgling American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona for a show opening Saturday. "Laying the Foundation: American Art Tile" spans the late 19th and early 20th century collection of tile expert and author Norman Karlson. More than 300 of his pieces will be on view, ranging in style from the simple lines of an antique Rookwood nameplate to the Victorian flourishes of the American Encaustic Tiling reliefs shown here. For a 9-month-old museum that's still developing a following, the title "Laying the Foundation" carries additional significance. "There's a revived interest in decorative tile," museum director Christy Johnson says. "We're trying to tap into that." The museum is open Wednesdays through Saturdays; for more information call (909) 865-3146 or go to www.ceramicmuseum.org.