While the movie doesnâ€™t live up to the book, the set design gets a rave! Mr. & Mrs. Xâ€™s Upper East Side apartment in The Nanny Diaries is so perfect it could be a habitat recreated in the period rooms at the Met! It’s hard to imagine it was shot on a Brooklyn set rather than in a classic-12 in the 10021. Give a shout-out to set decorator and interior designer Andrew Baseman. I wanted to know all about the boy’s room, with its rich blue and obviously expensive wallpaper (I’m such a blue junkie these days!) Andrew told shelterrific.com he acted counterintuitively, creating a room “as uncomfortable for kids as possible, which is the opposite I do for my clients.” So you get adult wallpaper that’s handscreened, expensive and could never withstand grubby fingerprints â€“ but would impress visiting mommies with Mrs. Xâ€™s fabulous taste. On the floors, the carpet isn’t a soft kid-friendly shag to encourage on-floor play. Look closely: it’s a grid-pattern, a visual pun on the name “X.” And talk about not child-proofing: there’s also a working fireplace and pointy andirons that cry “danger!” The toys themselves mirror the classic and traditional dÃ©cor. The toy soldiers on the mantle are probably made with lead-based paint. There are a lot of Steiss toys, a German brand of kiddy status symbols. For Upper East Side kids, the more Steiff, the more bucks Dad makes on Wall Street. The entire room screams money spent but love withheld â€“ it’s parental wish-fulfillment, not good parenting. And it’s as much of a character as the boy himself! — Thelma Adams
Wanna learn more about set decorating? Visit setdecorators.org
Thelma Adams is the film critic for Us Weekly, and writes historical fiction. She lives in upstate NY.