don’t miss movie décor: nanny diaries’s not-so-kid friendly apt


While the movie doesn’t live up to the book, the set design gets a rave! Mr. & Mrs. X’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 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 – but would impress visiting mommies with Mrs. X’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 décor. 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 – it’s parental wish-fulfillment, not good parenting. And it’s as much of a character as the boy himself! — Thelma Adams

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Thelma Adams is the film critic for Us Weekly, and writes historical fiction. She lives in upstate NY.

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The toys are Steiff, not Steiss. Thanks, Andrew, for the correction. And here’s their website:


clever and beautifully done. made me re-examine my childhood taste though. Now I think I loved my Steiffs because they were always admired by adults and certainly NOT because they were cute and cuddly. Mr. Growling Bear is now silent and has bare spots despite the rock hard head, annoying metal button and itchy as hell mohair. While perhaps my cousin’s disregard for the opinion of others has left her growler as the only untouched animal of her youth. hmm…amazing how movies and decor can inform your life.


Oh, the kitchen in the X apartment is also to DIE for, it’s so gorgeous! Traditional Home magazine featured a much-too-small shot of it in a recent issue. Would love to know more from Andrew about EVERYTHING in that kitchen — the cabinets, the gorgeous mosaic tile on the walls….the whole thing just reeks, beautifully so, of moneyed elegance.

Ellie might like to know that others share her respect for Steiffs, there’s a healthy market for the Growling family on Ebay. It doesn’t appeal to me; Steiff and nonsense, I say :-)