Breakfast at Tiffany’s is probably known more for the iconic fashion of Audrey Hepburn and the controversial profession of its two stars, but I thought the set design would make an interesting case study and some hypothetical design work.
First I looked at Paul/Fred’s Apartment. His “woman friend” – a professional decorator decorated his space. It is way too feminine for him. Below are some images of his apartment (in no particular order of the film, in case you are as big a fan as I am).
Here is a scene showing a gorgeous flocked damask wallpaper, it is stunning combined with her red hat, pale skin and red lips. What a great backdrop for a dramatic scene.
Here is an image of Paul on the phone, showing some of the ornate gold leafed opulence.
After a bit of research, I found out these are called “Austrian shades” – not something that is commonly used in design today. Pretty, but I would imagine very delicate.
This photo shows more of the shades and ornate accessories. Also, a very unique chair, caning and upholstery combined in an interesting way.
Here is Paul’s desk, accessorized by a marble figural lamp and a clock better suited for a mantle in a large home, not a studio apartment. Also shown here is the star, Holly, with an amazing hairstyle!
Paul has an upholstered wall for a headboard using a beautiful slubby neutral fabric. Near as I can tell, the gold hardware actually contains switches for the lighting.
Here is an e-design scheme sheet I did for his apartment. I took elements described above and modernized them, made them more approprate for today. The flocked wallpaper is a very current trend, so I used a version of that again. I thought a silver mirror would be more appropriate in the entry. I selected a cleaned up version the desk and chair, picked an actual bed that mimicked the original selection and a few cleaner accessory pieces that pay homage to the original design.
If I were designing a space that truly reflects Paul’s character, I think it would look something like this:
Holly’s apartment is an entirely different adventure. The design very accurately reflects her whimsical and neurotic personality.
Below you see her living room. Probably the most iconic piece is the bathtub sofa. She uses moving crates for tables, and accessorizes with a weather vane (hard to get a good photo of it though, it is the red thing on the right side of the photo), and a zebra skin rug. Her apartment definitely has the feeling of randomly acquired items waiting for a use to be found.
Here, in her bedroom, you see a cute wrought iron bed, which is about the only useful piece in the bedroom. What you don’t see is a piñata and a large donkey statue – both are kind of absurd!
Here during the party scene, you see a gold leafed mirror, another piece acquired from a beau or possibly at a chic flea market.
This image is from when Holly has settled down, preparing to marry her rich Brasilian. She has acquired a bit more furniture, red lacquered chairs and a matching sofa, a very ladylike rocking chair and a proper dining table. I love how they redecorated to symbolize a change in her life, maybe we should all do that a bit.
Here is the e-design I created around Holly’s apartment. You can actually get a bathtub sofa here: http://www.reestore.com/max.htm, but I thought a small sofa with the flavor of the original was more appropriate and would have to be more comfortable. Instead of shipping crates, I selected a great mirrored trunk. I chose a wool zebra-patterned rug (a bit more humane than the original). Finally, I thought some of the random whimsical accessories were great, so I found modern versions of those as well. I think the final product is a slightly more refined version of the original. Hopefully it would help cure Holly’s “mean reds”
I referred to “E-design” a few times in the information above. It is an online design service that allows a client at any location to get professional design advice from my company, Jamie Foley Interiors. Since everything is done electronically, it is more convenient, faster and more economical than conventional design services. If you happen to be in the Denver area, I would include a site visit. If not, you provide measurements and a sketch of the space we will be working on, I will create a true floorplan including furniture placement and design a concept board (similar to the examples above) using your unique requirements and style, and provide you with paint samples and a resource guide where you can purchase the items selected. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in this service.
Here are links to the pieces I selected for Holly and Paul’s refreshed apartments. For items that are only sold “to the trade” please contact me for purchasing assistance: