A Twist on Tradition
“Our biggest challenge was staying true to the minimal Monterey aesthetic,” says Venegas. “An uncluttered set requires strategic backgrounds to give the shot dimension. Our saving grace was Tony’s use of architectural details with bright, colorful tile and pottery.” Left: Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) dine with their surrogate, Goldie (Georgia King), and Bryan’s sassy assistant, Rocky (NeNe Leakes).
Recreating the Ranch
The designers mined collectors of Monterey pieces for the back-story of this unique design style, which flourished in the ’30s in California during the Spanish Colonial revival. Then they personalized by layering on state memorabilia and other pieces that spoke to the laid-back rancho lifestyle. “As a California native, the influence is inherent,” says Venegas. “The colors and light come from the sky, hills, and desert with which I grew up.” Left: Venegas and Fanning (right) check out the local wares in Pasadena.
Comforts of Home
Dark woods, strong, masculine lines, and handsome Spanish Revival leather chairs are perfectly juxtaposed with brightly hued Bauer pottery, colorful ceramic tiles, and other warm touches. “The wonderful thing about this house is that it stays true to its original Spanish Colonial style, but it has a playful, whimsical, quirky side to it—like the characters, and like Diane Keaton, whose aesthetic was a huge inspiration for the set.” says Fanning. Left: Sharing a domestic moment with Shania (Bebe Wood), their surrogate’s precocious daughter.
“It was important for us to stay as true as possible to authentic Monterey style,” says Fanning (Ryan Murphy, the show’s creator, a diehard fan of the aesthetic, also owns one of Keaton’s former homes). The designers only strayed once: “In the nursery, we took a single bed and made it into a crib, and turned the desk into a changing table. We couldn’t find any examples of baby furniture in the Monterey style.” Left: Venegas and Fanning keep it real as they shop for props.
Decorating a set is a lot like decorating a home. Venegas scopes out flea markets, thrift shops, and yard sales for deals. His get-the-look advice? “Patience is key. Invest in the big pieces you’ll use often—tables and seating, then collect a little bit at a time without breaking the budget, and make sure not to add clutter. Keep it precise, then add some color to give it some life.” Left: Against the simplicity of white walls, a lantern, and a Monterey headboard, a classic Edward S. Curtis self-portrait print (find it in our sale) is all the decoration needed.