The first time Matt LeBlanc saw the scouting photos of the Hollywood apartment building where exteriors for his "Friends" spinoff, "Joey," were going to be filmed, he was every bit as dumbfounded as the character he plays. The location was all too familiar.
"Matt lived in apartment 16," confirms Jay Wiener, the manager of Monroe Manor, the redwood-sided apartments at 2232 Beachwood Drive that are seen in the NBC comedy. (A one-bed, one-bath unit rents for $1,500 a month.)
Production designer John Schaffner chose the terraced complex under the Hollywood sign for its iconic '50s bachelor-pad-in-the-hills vibe. "I didn't want to do another Los Angeles show in a Spanish house or Craftsman cottage," he says. "I was more inspired by architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler, who worked in natural materials that create a more casual feeling."
The interior set reinforces Schaffner's notion of hip coziness with a stone fireplace, redwood wall paneling, red shag carpeting, a cork-tiled floor (actually printed sheet linoleum) and in the kitchen, wood-grain cabinets and mint-green Formica counters.
Set decorator Greg Grande transformed Warner Bros. Stage 24 into Joey Tribbiani's apartment, integrating possessions from his New York pad in "Friends" with contemporary furniture and reissues of midcentury classics.
"We were thinking Joey probably saw some cool stores on Beverly and then got a catalog from Design Within Reach, and that's how he did his shopping," Grande explains.
Indeed, a reproduction of Hans Wegner's Papa Bear, a modern version of the wing chair, is $2,260 at Modernica, 7366 Beverly Blvd. ( 933-0383) and the Presto chairs around the Tribbiani dining table are $340 at Design Within Reach (www.dwr.com).
The mosaic coffee table, which succeeds at the unlikely task of pulling together the telegenic palette of reds and greens, is a one-of-a-kind piece by Los Angeles artist Stephen Fleitz, available through custom order at Civilization, Los Angeles, (310) 202-8883.