Set Pieces: ‘Fairly Legal’ interiors win on appeal

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A suzani-style upholstered ottoman, a rug made from recycled silk ties and striped slipper chairs -- this is the high-powered office of an attorney who now works as a crack professional mediator?

The interior decor choices might be the least kooky thing about Kate Reed, the heroine of ‘Fairly Legal,’ USA Network’s successful freshman show, which ends its first run with a marathon and season finale on March 24. Kate (played by Sarah Shahi, right) lives on her dead father’s yacht, has an uncanny ability to quiet bickering parties with a shrill taxi whistle and resolves complex negotiations in a day while running around San Francisco in Louboutin heels. (The show is filmed principally in Vancouver.)


Kate works at Reed & Reed, the firm founded by her father and now run by his second wife, Lauren. ‘The architectural inspiration is derived from an existing facade exterior in downtown Vancouver, built in 1916, which is, at present, part of the Simon Fraser University business school,’ production designer Ricardo Spinace wrote in an e-mail, adding that a main feature of the set is a coffered ceilings, rarely seen on TV shows. ‘This was important in the case of Reed & Reed, as stylistically the show required lower camera angles.’

Though the settings clearly are office and not home, viewers very well might see individual pieces -- a chair here, a lamp there -- that could be used to create a residential look that is ‘timeless in its elegance,’ Spinace said. A number of touches including a Greek key motif on the walls around the windows, at top and right, would translate nicely to period homes. For modernists, set decorator Joanne Leblanc scored some envy-inducing 20th century pieces from Paramount Furniture in Vancouver. That arching modern floor lamp with a persimmon-colored linen shade, above right, is from Vancouver Lighting.

‘Kate’s office is a little more free spirited, allowing for her seemingly disorganized yet brilliant character,’ Spinace said. Clocks on her built-in bookcases are a tongue-in-cheek joke about her constant tardiness, he said. Keep reading and see more of the ‘Fairly Legal’ look ...

Kate’s office frenemy is her evil stepmother, Lauren, a brusque blond bombshell and former trophy wife. Accordingly, Lauren’s office has ‘plenty of marble surfaces to add to the grandness of the office and show that she’s boss at the firm,’ Leblanc said. The wood and marble slab table and the sofa are from Paramount Furniture. Decorative pieces of ‘a cold and prickly nature’ -- glass sculptures, coral. metal objects -- further reflect Lauren’s personality, Leblanc said. The tufted gray leather desk chair was selected from an office supply company for its height, to make Lauren look more powerful. The armchairs are midcentury models, reminiscent of high-end furniture by Dunbar or Baker. ‘The chairs were the most expensive pieces for this set,’ Leblanc said, ‘but I did not hesitate in purchasing them, as I love the back detail from this angle. The painting of the horse is an original work by production designer Spinace.

-- David A. Keeps

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