Friday, January 15, 2010

The Good Life of The Good Wife



The story line is timely and painfully similar to real life events as the wife of a politician is left to pick up the pieces after her husband's very public betrayal. Such is the tale of the CBS hit The Good Wife which airs every Tuesday at 9:00 CST. The show stars Julianna Marguiles as Alicia in the title role (you no doubt remember her from NBC's ER) and Chris Noth as her wandering husband and former State Attorney of Cook County turned jailed felon ("Mr. Big" from Sex and the City). Alicia is forced to pick up the pieces and go back to work as a junior litigator in a very political law firm.


Much of the drama's story line takes place in Alicia's Chicago apartment designed by production designer Stephen Hendrickson (Wall Street and Arthur) and set decorator Beth Kushnick (Reversal of Fortune and Fringe). Alicia's former world was a life in a North Shore suburb, now she returns to Chicago with her young teenage children in tow. As in real life, Alicia is forced to scale down and adapt her old life and furnishings (a.k.a. suburbia) to her new digs as she makes a new life for herself.



While much of the show takes place in the courtroom and on location and Kushnick explained that a great deal of the drama occurs with Alicia and her children at their apartment. "We strived to make it comfortable and layered with life," she says. "It has a feeling of family history with items collected over the years and handed down through the family."


Details are very important in set decoration as they can immediately shorthand a character and their life. Things that are never seen on the screen -- such as "a random earring, a chiropractor's business card, etc," can help the actress to stay in character. The design team went for a "renovated but traditional style of architecture" with a cooler color palette as opposed to blood red (as in blood sport which was a directive by the powers that be) for the law offices.

Daughter Grace's Bedroom

Alicia is one of the strongest female characters on television yet with a soft side and the set decoration certainly reflects that. Kushnick notes that the character went from a shared life with a king-size bed but has not devoted much attention to herself as an estranged parent. Very little of Noth's character in terms of photos or belongings are seen in the apartment.

Detail shot of Alicia's vanity and closet

Alicia's Bedroom

Deep eggplant was chosen for the traditional dining room


Sleek contemporary kitchen has a comfortable feel
with stainless steel, dark browns and turquoise accent colors

This is one show I do not miss (or at least Tivo!) Great writing, compelling stories, wonderful acting and terrific sets -- let's hope this show has a long run on CBS.


On another note, congratulations to fellow writer and blogger Emily Evans Eerdmans and Andrew McKeon on their recent nuptials. Emily wrote the book Regency Redux (Rizzoli) which is a must have for film fans, particularly those that love older films. She has a great chapter on the films of art directors Van Nest Polglase and Cedric Gibbons from the 30's and 40's and her namesake blog is must reading as well. Congrats Emily!!




Photo Credits: All photos by John Paul Filo/CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. Book photos courtesy of Rizzoli.

52 comments:

  1. What a fun backstage peek! I love the subtle print on the duvet in Alicia's bedroom. The color strikes me as masculine, but the pattern adds the perfect feminine touch. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. What a beautiful and insightful analysis. I appreciate the layers of meaning your writing and photographs bring to life. My sister recommended your blog to me and I'm delighted. Cheers from Charleston, SC!

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  3. Wow! Thanks for the praise and from such lovely part of the country. I just heard from the show's set decorator that the good wife has been renewed!

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  4. Glad the show will continue because I am so hooked on this show.
    Joyce

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  5. where can I buy the bedding used in Alicias bedroom

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  6. Beth Kushnick (set decorator on the show) purchased the bedding from ABC Carpet in NYC. Its by Signiora and it is steel blue with pewter brown circles. Hope this helps.

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  7. Hi - I love the wall art that's hanging in Alicia's law office... especially the ones with the list of Chicago transit stations. Can I buy this somewhere? Thanks in advance

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  8. I checked with Beth Kushnick and she said they made the hangings but she has seen something similar in Restoration Hardware.

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  9. I love the framed botanical prints in the dining room.
    Any idea where these pictures were purchased?

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  10. I am trying to create the living room in my house. I found the sofa in the living room but would appreciate any help about the chair and ottoman maker and colors. Also, love the wallpaper and paint colors on the walls in the living room. Any help on this room would be so appreciated!!!

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  11. I forgot to mention I love the pillows on the green sofa. Looks like a rich brown? And the throw and red pillow on the wing chair?
    thanks again!

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  12. For information on the ottomon, contact cocophilips@interlude-home.com. The wallpaper has been discontinued and the chair is a vintage Baker. For the prints, contact Artthatfits.com - it's the New York botanical series.

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  13. I LOVE the large painting in Will's office. Can anyone tell me who painted this? Thanks!

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    1. I too was quite taken with this painting.
      If you find out anything about it, please let me know.

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  14. The scenic artists on the show did most of the artwork at the direction of the show's production designer Stephen Hendrickson and set decorator Beth Kushnick.

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  15. Thank you for all the info. I would also like to know what color exactly is the deep eggplant in the dining room? (I love the dining room also.) we are working on a new house. If I am trying to do my living room similar to the one on the show, I might as well do the dining room!! Any info on the chandelier and sconces in the dining room? Also love the yellow sofa.
    Lastly, what colors are the yellow lime walls in the inside of the living room bookcases-yummie color. It looks like the same color was used on the walls in the kitchen in places. Beth really did a fantastic job. We just love the set. I have recorded some of the shows just to watch the awesome interiors!!!!
    Thanks so much!!

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  16. The chandelier and sconces in the dining room are simple but beautiful. Do you know who makes them or where I can order them? Also,
    still trying to find out the exact eggplant color on the walls of the dining room.
    Thanks!

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  17. I have sent Beth your questions and will get back with you!

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  18. Some information -- Lighting available at City Knickerbocker. 212+586-3939. Ask for Scott

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  19. I'm loving your blog! I was trying to source the chairs in the main conference room of Alicia's firm and came to across your blog. I'm in the corporate design world and my boss and I love this show. She is obsessed with the chairs in the conference room and I'm trying to find who they are. I'm obsessed with the moldings and color of the hallway but I'm not going to mention that to her as she is a dog with a bone. Can you help me look like a star employee and tell me who the conf. room furniture is (especially the chairs)?

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  20. I am checking with Beth and will bet back to you. This show is enormously popular!!

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  21. Can you please tell me where I can get the reading chair in Alicia's bedroom! I would love it for my new house!!!

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  22. Beth is on location right now. I am thinking I need to do a "how to get that look" since this show/post has been so popular!

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  23. The chair came from Sherill Furniture

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    1. Are you sure? I tweeted Beth and she told me it did not come from Sherill Furniture. I am dying to find that chair! Sorry for the anonymous address, I don't have any of the required sign in logins. Not trying to be cagey.

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  24. Thank you so much!!!!

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  25. A "How to Get that Look" blog would be fabulous! I see that someone found the living room sofa - apparently I'm not that resourceful. Can you tell me where to source the lovely sofa? -- Thanks so much from a former Chicagoan now residing in NC.

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  26. Beth is super busy on the show right now but I can recommend that you take a look at the following lines that are similar -- Miles Talbott, Lee Industries and HIckory Chair. And the beauty is you are in the furniture state of America!

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  27. I am DYING to know exactly what blue(ish) color is the hallway/entry to their apartment - it's so gorgeous with the white moldings and I'm thinking of painting the outside of my new house that color if I can just find out what it is!!

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  28. I would like to know the name of the artist that did the large painting in Diane's office.
    The one on the green wall. I just love it

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  29. I checked with the show's designer and the painting was done by one of their scenic artists which is quite often the case.

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  30. Where is the blue velvet sofa in the living room from? I need to buy it immediately.

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  31. I, too, am curious about the eggplant color in the DR. I always wanted an eggplant DR, and I sort of have it, but as the paint has aged in the last 6 months, it's more crayola purple than I wanted.
    Thanks!

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  32. I am interested in the painting over the fireplace in Alicia's living room. It's a beach scene with children playing in the water. Do you know the artist or where it was purchased? Thanks!

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  33. Is a print available of the painting on the wall behind Will's desk. It's a large abstract.

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  34. I think that was painted by one of the designers or crew so most likely not. Will check though.

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  35. I just LOVE it. Thank you so much if you could.

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    1. I checked and thanks for reminding me - no prints available! Sorry!

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  36. Oh there should be! It's beautiful. I never tire of seeing it ( I stare until the scene pans to Will). Thanks for checking.

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  37. I would also love to know the name of the paint color in the dining room. Both colors, the purple and the beige color below the chair rail. The room is amazing! Thank you

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  38. I'd like to know what the steel blue color is in the offices on The Good Wife.... can you email it to Ourremarkablefamily@gmail.com PLEASE AND THANK YOU!!!

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  39. Like you, I love the show. My favourite rom is the living room, I love the fitted bookcases and the large sofa. Do you know if the grey leather sofa is leather?
    Thanks,
    Claudia

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  40. Not sure on the sofa --Mitchell Gold is in collaboration with the show's set decorator and will be launching a new line of Good Wife furnishings at the end of September.

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  41. I would love to know the name of the paint color in Alicia's bedroom...I have been looking for months trying to match it, but no luck :(( Thanks!!

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  42. The show's set decorator Beth Kushnick says to refer to her Good Wife blog http://www.cbs.com/primetime/the_good_wife/community/blogs
    and her new line debuts at the end of the month!

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  43. This is fabulous, and I found what I was looking for from the set! Thank you so much for your work.

    I have one item I still can't seem to figure out - what is the fabric on Alicia's reading chair and ottoman in her bedroom. Thank you again!

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    1. I don't know, you might check Mitchell Gold's line. Good luck!

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  44. Sherrill Furniture and Mitchell Gold are two different furniture companies. Since they did a line with MG, I would check their first. Beth is the person that would know.

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  45. I would love a print of the painting with the family walking on the beach that hangs in Alicia's living room in her apartment. Can you tell me where to find one or where the painting came from? I've been looking for months and I'm SO hoping you still follow this blog!! Thank you!!!!!

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