Interiors, Styling

Adding Personality to Your Home: A Look at Master of None’s Set Design

I love set design.  While pursuing my undergraduate degree in Art, I got sidetracked a little by theatrical set design.  I designed two big production sets and loved every minute of it.  It combines two of my favorite things – a good story and design.  I think that’s why I love a space that reflects the owner’s personality – I like character driven interiors.

Have you seen Azziz Ansari’s Master of None yet?  It’s a funny and moving show with sets that are engaging and filled with life.  It’s filmed in some interesting NYC coffee shops, bars and restaurants which adds to the New York City flavor of the show, but it’s the lead character’s stylish, vintage/thrift, art and book laden bachelor pad that grabs my attention every episode.  Amy Williams, the show’s talented production designer, clearly had some fun.  I thought I would share some screen shots from a few of my favorite interiors along with pointers for how you could use this for inspiration for you own home.

Dev’s light-filled apartment kitchen – open shelves, windows down to the counter, exposed brick wall, interesting antique piece next to the fridge and I always love a lamp in the kitchen – it’s a good space. (Screen Shot from Episode 4: Indians on TV)
A closer view of the brick wall, open shelves with a reading light clamped on, books, art, plants… The actors are sitting at an old woodworking table that’s been repurposed as a kitchen island. (Source)
The woodworking table used as an island. Great idea – if you’re looking for something for your kitchen – think outside the box and look at antique marts, Craigslist and other sources for something unique. Amy also used vintage stereo’s as side tables on this set.  (Source)

In an interview with Primer Magazine, Amy gives advice to someone starting out decorating their first place.  This also works for people who want to give their home a little more personality.  She recommends shopping “CraigslistEtsyEbayHabitat for Humanity Restore shops, vintage used furniture stores, flea markets, your parent’s or grandparent’s basements.  But please, whatever you do, try to steer clear of Ikea.  One or two items are fine, but you can find other options out there.”  I would say the same goes for any of the big retailers – a home from Pottery Barn will be pretty, but it won’t reflect anything about the personalities that live there and will, ultimately, be forgettable.

Arnold apartment master of none
This is Arnold’s apartment on the show – I had to stop and rewind when I saw these shelves.  Layered rugs, thrift store chairs, dim lighting – it’s like a comfortable and hip old coffee house.  Yes, it’s dark and it may smell like cat – but those shelves are a great statement.  There’s a better shot below.  (Screen Shot from Episode 8: “Old People”)
arnolds bookshelves master of none
A closer look at the intentionally messy shelves. I love how these shelves look like a large scale miniature box.  I would love to have something like this in my own house…although, I would fill it with my ceramic clown collection (jk).  (Screen Shot from Episode 8: “Old People”)
master of none interior
Here’s just one more of the shelves. (Screen Shot from Episode 8: “Old People”)

Stacks of books, art, an antique or vintage object here and there – these are all fantastic ways to develop the personality of the space.  I love character driven homes and I’m particularly fascinated by rooms that are strongly defined by a personality.  These aren’t typically the most tasteful or put together rooms, but they are rooms that have charisma.

I prefer an ugly, personal room to one that is just cold and correct – a mausoleum done by a decorator. – Billy Baldwin










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