Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rooms on Film: How to Make it in America 2

rachel (lake bell) in her one bedroom palace eclectic
Okay, so it has been a year since my first post on this cancelled HBO series, but as promised, here is the second installment featuring my favorite of the show’s many homes! In season two of How to Make it in America, Rachel (Lake Bell) moves into an eclectic 1BR apartment. Designed by Kelly McGehee, the set has a typical prewar breadbox layout. The never-seen bathroom is just off the front door, the simple kitchen flows into the vibrant living room, followed by the sunny bedroom. The apartment also has lovely prewar bones, including French doors and a bay window…

floor plan from set designer kelly mcgehee's website

The diagram translates into an inviting home full of quirk and energy. It reflects the resident through personal touches like piled books and a drafting table covered in art projects. We see the space develop over time as Rachel unpacks and repeated rearranges furniture. That glass coffee table finally replaces a large bright orange trunk. Once set up, Rachel’s place is well-layered in terms of color + texture + pattern. Her experience working in interior design definitely shines through.

rachel chilling at home

simple functional entry and kitchen with no decor

Unlike Lulu D’s tastefully pale home, this one feels more true to life and also more forgiving. You could probably spill some wine, spritz some seltzer and carry on without getting all guilt-wracked. Maybe it’s the mix of salvage, IKEA and West Elm - nothing feels too precious.

not quite finished: a bright trunk as coffee table
rachel taking a break from unpacking
The living room is the focal point with all color centered here. Blue walls temper the sunlight from the bay window and highlight the traditional trim in white. A salvaged iron bench (daybed?) is the showpiece. You have to admit, that’s some unconventional seating. I wonder how comfortable that thin cushion is. Certainly those huge pillows are comfy. The concentration of bright patterns pop against the spare structure of the bench itself.

bamboo chair at her desk and a drafting table in the corner
dining set turned out into the room instead of hugging the wall

This living room does quadruple duty as it also houses a small dining area, a desk, and a drafting table. The show paints Rachel as hectic and lacking confidence, personally and professionally. Seeing her at home in this apartment begins to expand her characterization. It also catches her beginning to settle down a bit.  

This home has so much to love: vibrant patterns, varied textures, bright and neutral colors, unexpected furnishings, modern and vintage. The total package reads as warm, cozy and complete. I'd argue that her furnishings are so high impact they make the apartment seem like it contains more items than it does.

In the bedroom, texture + pattern reign in a neutral color scheme of white and brown. The paisley block stamped curtains (West Elm) seem more lush than their actual guazey texture. The larger rug is a simple grey on white abstract, while the runner beside the bed features a bold orange/red stripe. Two lamps feature curvy shapes and opaque aqua glass.

Instead of a headboard, Rachel has mounted two Moroccan door panels above the bed. A pretty amazing effect in such a neutral space.

She might be unsure of herself and in need of some real confidence, but Rachel's got the home front nailed down. Her decorating reflects a serenity and stability that her actions otherwise belie.

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