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Ever since designer Barry Goralnick started watching I love lucy at just four years old, the set design of the iconic show had an immeasurable influence on his personal style and later on his professional business. Goralnick identified with Lucy’s own obsession with decor (and show business) from a young age: “Even as a child, those were two things that interested me,” says the designer. “And it was just funny! “
Of course, the iconic show, which will see a behind-the-scenes cinematic treatment, Being the Ricardos come to Amazon Prime Video this month–is well known for his comedy. But for Goralnick, it’s also, in some ways, a design series. The designer says one of his favorite decorating moments from I love lucy is the episode in which Lucy lived in a Los Angeles hotel while redecorating her apartment – both spaces were chock-full of mid-century furniture. “Once this style came back into fashion, I used several pieces reminiscent of the original decors,” explains the designer.
Over the years, the designer has realized how much the series has influenced both his life and his career as a designer, inspiring viewers that anything is possible. “Like many of my clients, the story of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo is that of the American dream,” he says. “Yes, Lucy always wanted to get into show business and become a star, but as the series progressed the Ricardos became parents and began to grow economically. Their homes grew and grew. refined as the couple became more successful. “
“Lucy has always been interested in having the most beautiful home possible,” explains the designer, and the ever-growing Ricardo Residence is proof of that. In the show’s first season, from 1951 to 1952, the Ricardos lived in a rented apartment in Manhattan. “Fred and Ethel Mertz are their owners, neighbors and best friends,” Goralnick reminds us. “The two couples live in low-end apartments, in terms of design.”
In the second season, “Lucy enters the “Home Show” and mistakenly thinks that she has won a whole apartment with new furniture. She sells all of their old furniture, and she and Ethel re-paper the bedroom wallpaper with disastrous results, “says Goralnick.” This may have been the first example of DIY on a sitcom. ”
One of Goralnick’s favorite parts of the show is when Lucy “compels Ricky to buy all the new furniture for the living room, including a mid-century one-armed couch. They give the Mertz their old furniture and help put them back in their place.” And in real life I love lucy fashion, “This results in another fiasco as Fred unintentionally turns on the fan, while they upholster a chair, blowing feathers all over freshly painted walls.”
Looking forward to see more design inspiration from I love lucy? Browse the many Ricardos apartments here.
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