The deep collaboration between Set Decorator Bev Dunn SDSA, Production Designer/Costume Designer/Producer Catherine Martin, Production Designer Karen Murphy and Writer/Director/Producer Baz Luhrman…

Set Decorator Bev Dunn SDSA, Production Designer Karen Murphy and Production Designer/Costume Designer/Producer Catherine Martin, creative and life partner of Writer/Director Baz Luhrman, give us such fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of the making of ELVIS that those bits could become tales themselves!

Lisa Clark SDSA represented SET DECOR in this in-depth interview which immediately turned into a dynamic conversation with memories and perspectives coming from each of these incredibly talented and thoughtful professionals and friends.

Early days…Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved. 4 + 5

Lisa Clark SDSA for SETDECOR: The three of you have worked together for many years, and CM is, of course, Baz’s partner. Baz is known for his clear visual style as a director. Can you elaborate a bit on how the three of you work as a team to develop this unique style and in conjunction with Baz, because you have such a clear through-line with so many of your projects, and it would be interesting to hear about that.

Production Designer/Costume Designer/Producer Catherine Martin aka CM: Baz is so thorough, he does much research himself. What I enjoy about the collaboration is that with Baz, it’s very all encompassing, you’re immersed into his understanding of the world that he’s trying to create, and I really enjoy the process.

We have all worked together a lot, and I feel like everyone has their own strengths. I quite like the early phase, that phase of sort of knotting it out and working out what that world is going to be, how much of it we can afford to create, and just sort of planting the seed and building that up…

And I really enjoy working with Bev and Karen. Bev has a great understanding of what everybody in the team is doing. It’s almost like she’s done most of those roles herself! So, she sort of knows not only what everyone’s doing but also who can do what. I really benefit from her knowledge of all of that and her perspective about where things can come from…

Like, one idea that she had on ELVIS that turned out so great, was to print a carpet. We were looking at pictures of the carpet in the showroom at the International, the Hilton at that time, and we just could not find anything like it. So, Bev had artwork of the design created and the carpet actually printed! It literally matches the original photographs of the carpet. Just that sort of level of commitment and creative thinking, you know? We just weren’t going to settle for something that we could find in a store that looked only somewhat like the original. So we went through all that process, and that was a great thing to see when it came, when it was all rolled out.

Production Designer Karen Murphy: And how many kilometers? How much of that carpet did you actually print? It was ridiculous!

Set Decorator Bev Dunn SDSA: It was about five or six kilometers of carpet. It was insane. [Laughter]

Karen: And the curtain! Next to the carpet, the gold curtain was quite a feat as well, Bev. You should explain how that all came together. It was an incredible feat of Set Decorating

Lisa/SETDECOR: Yes, the amount of custom drapery in this film is daunting! So, Bev, if you could talk a little bit about the process of dealing with the volumes of drapery that you had to create, from things like the Revival tent, to Graceland, to all the stages, the giant Venetian stage curtain…it’s impressive.

Bev: It is impressive, and it was a little bit daunting, especially that the size of the gold curtain that had to be manufactured is actually bigger than any theater that currently exists in Australia. It was just the sheer quantity of fabric required was a little bit mind-blowing. Luckily, we were able to track down a fabric and have it dyed to our particular gold. There were problems in that when two of the rolls arrived, they were completely different dye lots! But we resolved it by putting them on the end. It was a process, and to actually find a company that was comfortable in making that size curtain here, without having to get it custom-made in America was key. Just in the shipping costs of that amount and in our timeframe to be airfreighted, it wasn’t really feasible. But it did all come together in the end, which was great.

Las Vegas, The International – Elvis’s permanent show. The gold curtain!! Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

We did print fabric patterns for Elvis’s hotel room to match wallpaper, so we could have a very fluid theme throughout.

We also had custom-dyed waxed canvas in India to be able to get the canvas to a particular color for the tent and to a translucency for the light to come through, which is always a problem when we’re talking about fabrics. You know, how they’re going to light the actors beneath…

CM: And then there are really annoying things that are some of my specialties, things like I hate shots to be looking back at Elvis through the windows with the drapes ugly backside. So, the extra pain that I gave Bev was that I said “I want the curtains double-sided, so, if anytime during the day they come outside, we’re seeing the same print.” And it just did Mandy’s head in, [Editor’s note: Director of Photography Mandy Walker], because she was like, “But that’s not how they would be, there would be sheers on the other side.” There were big, long conversations about it, and in the end, we all agreed it was good to have them double-sided.

But what we forget now is that we had big supply chain issues, because we were doing this when half of the world was still locked down in COVID. I don’t know how Bev did it. Just the strength under fire, because there was always a problem, like not enough fabric, not enough manpower to actually print on a fabric to make the curtain, not enough manpower to actually make the curtain and get it there in time, you know, because we’re a huge country, but it’s only a population of 25 million people. So, it’s not unlimited, we certainly don’t have the labor resources of the States or Europe.

I’ve only seen Bev occasionally moist-eyed. [Laughter] And I remember on the Casino bedroom set, not all the curtains arrived to cover double-sided all the curtains. Bev came up to me, and said, ‘Look, we’re just not going to be able to do it, we’re going to have to turn some of them around.’ She was devastated. And, of course, it turned out perfectly…that’s her sort of absolutely indominable spirit…like the ability that she has to take on scale unflinchingly, huge scale at times, and to put up with Karen and me going, ‘Um, I’m not sure about that carpet, those flecks are a little bit not brown enough on that left-hand pattern square…and all Bev is thinking is…she will never say it, but ‘Will these two idiots hurry up? I’ve got five kilometers of carpet to print, and half an hour to do it in. I’ve got to get it laid, and here in Sydney, with constant shutdowns between states, and trucks not being able to get through.’ It was a mammoth task. And, Bev, didn’t you have people in-house making curtains as well?

Bev: We did. But then I found a really good company on the Gold Coast who handle a lot of supply manufacture, custom manufacture for the many hotels up on the Gold Coast and the casino there…I wish they were based in Sydney, where we’re working now! They were so efficient, and they had the facilities set up, so I actually relied on this couple and their team to fulfill the needs required. They had knowledge that surpassed mine with the draping and the quantities required for the draping. It was great to be able to rely on some people who do this full time. I think that’s why we ended up with some believable looking drapery, because it’s made by professionals as well.

Karen: I think that’s something to note that actually speaks to Bev’s strength and to working outside of the US type of system. I’m currently working in Los Angeles. For a particular set, I wanted to change all the shades out very quickly because I didn’t like something that came in. And there is a specific company in Los Angeles, who just does shades for the film industry. [Editor’s note: SDSA Business member AMCO American Screen & Window Coverings

In Australia, you’ve got to go and find those people. Bev’s found people who work in the hotel industry or, you know, suppliers in India or somewhere else, because we just don’t have that infrastructure in Australia. You have people who are amazing at drapery, but you have to go into the real world and find them, and Bev has over the years. I’m always impressed by the people she finds to do things, whether it be a sailmaker who may make curtains, or someone else in an industry who can handle the scale and the time constraints that we have. So, that’s another thing on top of the stress of the enormity of the work, is just finding people to do it.

Las Vegas, The International – Elvis’s permanent show. Note the chandeliers and custom-made audience banquets. Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Lisa/SETDECOR: You know, to your point, Karen, I found in my own experience, one of the challenges of working with vendors outside of the industry, is getting them to understand the timetable. You were dealing with that, and then the pandemic on top of it! Can you give some examples of how do you wrangle those kinds of vendors in that environment? That would be very challenging.

Bev: Pay them healthily! Bribe them! [laughter] Again, we were filming this in the height of COVID. And I had to rely on Interstate vendors…the carpet was being printed in Melbourne, the fabrics were being printed in Sydney, we were filming on the Gold Coast, in Brisbane. I could get the vendors to print and make the time frame, but it was the freight that was the problem, because freight just went on a complete standstill, even with our own in-house freight companies. We achieved every deadline, but it was very close to the wire. And thank goodness for these interstate suppliers, because, again, Brisbane, where we were filming, just couldn’t print the carpet within our timeframe. So, you’ve just got to always come up with another option. And that’s just how we have to work…we’ve got a problem, and we’ve got to find a solution. So, someone can say “No” to me, and then it’s like [huge intake of breath, then lilting voice], “Well, we’ll make another phone call.” [Laughter] And that’s what we did, and that’s how we got it in front of camera.

Karen: I think it’s also that it sort of comes from the top, too. I’m sure Bev & CM would agree that Baz doesn’t want to hear “No.” So, you always try to come up with a creative solution. You don’t want to ever be presenting problems. And I think a lot of the real triumphs, at least for the films I’ve worked on with this team, are things that we think, ‘Oh, no, we’ve got to go down that road!” And it ends up being far superior and a better option in the end, you know.

CM: I think, too, having three collaborators that have worked together for such a long period of time, we know how to pivot. And, you know, Baz is uncompromising, but he’s also not, for want of a better word, an idiot. So, he doesn’t want you to say, ‘We can’t make 500 million curtains.’ He wants you to come and say, ‘Okay, well, because of this, we think this other is a better way of doing it, because otherwise we’re not going to be able to get this on time.’ And invariably, because there has been an intense collaboration before that point, the solution is accepted…there’s obviously been care and thought, and a huge amount of work has gone into the team coming up with something that we feel is a great alternative.

Bev: Also, the beauty of working with Baz and this team is that, if we put something in front of camera, he’s going to shoot it, because he always uses the sets as a visual form of storytelling. And that’s something that I strive for. We don’t want something ending up on the cutting room floor, we want to be able to offer up the best possible option, because in the overall vision, it’s going to look fantastic. You get the set there, the talented actors, the costumes period-correct, and it just is a really wonderful form of storytelling.

CM: And he really, really cares about the set dressing, like that, to him, is the set. 
We’ve had conflict with first assistants who have basically stripped the set so they can move the camera in…He wants to walk on to a completely dressed set. He uses the dressing. He thinks about every element that is in a shot, and whether it’s something that crosses over…I think that so much of what Bev does really crosses into propping because every item that is in those rooms tells the story for Baz of the character who’s in the room. And so, he’ll want to walk through the set. He’ll stand in front of the curtains for hours. He’ll walk on the carpet. He’ll look at every detail of dressing.

And I think one of Bev’s triumphs in this movie is the Colonel’s suite. You know, everybody from Baz to the entire crew, they just walked on the set and they were completely in the Colonel’s brain. The level of detail and the tirelessness and amount of stuff that Bev gets, because she’s learned in 30 years, that what to a normal person would be enough is not even a drop in the bucket of an ocean of water for Baz Luhrmann.

Colonel Tom Parker’s office. He was an ex-carny who was proud of the fact that he “snowed” people. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

What’s more is more, more.

CM: More more is more, you know…and every piece of the dressing is thoughtful. It’s not just stuff to fill corners. And I think that ability to just know about volume—because until one works with Baz, one does not understand volume. I remember doing GATSBY, the flowers scene. Do you remember that, Bev? Remember, Karen? And it was actually like a vacuum. It was like the black hole of artificial floristry, wasn’t it? 

Karen: Yeah, there were so many! And then Bev went and got more., much more! I think we were all out getting more. 

CM: I don’t think there was one white artificial flower left in Sydney.

Lisa/SETDECOR: With that perspective, since CM brought up the Colonel’s set, Bev, do you want to talk in a little more detail about the layering? I know there was a lot of visual merchandising, Elvis merchandising, in that set. I assume that you created that from research and reference. What went into layering that set, in particular?

Colonel Tom Parker’s office – the great merchandiser. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Bev: Yeah, that Colonel’s office was all based on reference, but we had a bit of creative license because of the timeframe. I mean, the Colonel had a few offices, but some parts like the row of filing cabinets were very distinctive, and we had those manufactured. The photographs and the merchandise were based on true reference. We had Austin photographed in iconic Elvis poses. So, because we’re in the ‘70s, we had that mix of color and black and white. And hats off to Baz, because I had printed some of these larger format photos in color. Baz walked on set and mentioned, “Well, that’s such an iconic photograph of Elvis, but it was in black and white, you know. Can you just please tweak that and change it to black and white?” 

And, yes, all the merchandise was printed from scratch. We ran into a few clearance issues, but we overcame them as you do, and just kept on. We tried to personalize the Colonel with his trinkets, and really convey that carnival aspect — he’s an ex-carnival person, an ex-carny, so his collection of trinkets, his collection of canes, his photographs, his memories from his previous world as well as the merchandise. The beauty of the Colonel is that he marketed Elvis, you know, with the games, with the nail polish, with the dolls, the stuffed dogs, jewelry, anything you could possibly imagine. The Colonel was really into the merchandise, which we were able to show in that room.

Karen: CM, isn’t it true that the Colonel was the first person to do the visual merchandizing thing for an artist?

CM: Yes. 

Karen: So he kind of created that genre, which is now sort of ubiquitous. Baz always found that fascinating. And of course, when we went to Graceland, we were photographing it all, because it was just the most bizarre thing, all these pins and little blurbs about him, or hats, or whatever the objects were, they were just always such a focus. And I think Bev did such a beautiful job to bring it all together in that set. 

CM: Also, another little quirky thing that Baz discovered in the process of writing about the Colonel, was his obsession with elephants. And if you look in that set, Bev has, I think, completely and utterly purchased every single period appropriate elephant tchotchke in Australia.

Lisa/SETDECOR: And tons of little snowman tchotchkes, you must have collected quite a lot of them…

Karen: Yes, that was sort of his motto, wasn’t it? That he was snowing people. Baz was always interested in those types of symbols and envisioned that they would recur in the film. 
Initially going into it, when we were researching early on, I didn’t know much about the Colonel. It was really great to delve into that world, that carny sort of world, and the collections of things and the obsessions that he had. I think that set embodies all of those things that Baz was really interested in exploring.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Speaking of the carny world, the Carnival set was such a great metaphor for the story as a whole. Can you talk a little bit creating the set? I know there were things that you fabricated and things you had to find, and there were issues with weather. We’d love to hear about how the Art Direction and the Set Decoration supported each other in such a specific set.

Carnival…the dealmaker and the dreamer. Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, Austin Butler as Elvis. The Ferris wheel was one of Colonel Tom Parker’s “offices”. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

CM:I remember the biggest moment of all was we needed to find a period-appropriate Ferris Wheel. Baz wanted one like the one that appeared in an actual Elvis movie. It’s a very specific style and brand, and we  managed to find the exact one at that scale in Australia. We had it brought to us and constructed so Baz could see it, which he did and he realized that it was too small. So, we needed to find a much bigger one, but that changed the staging. In all the rehearsals, everything had been done with two people sitting side by side. But in the big Ferris wheel, they were actually carriages instead a single bench seat, and the Colonel and Elvis would sit opposite each other.

It was one of those serendipitous moments, where finding the scale of the original Ferris wheel not being right, and having to pivot in terms of how the seating of the people within the Ferris wheel would be, altered the staging for the better. And so much of that set was set dressing…there were a few period-appropriate carnival rides…but that particular set just leaned into set dressing, with all of the painted canvases and all of the dressing, including the tent that the carnies have their first scene in when the Colonel hears about Elvis for the first time and hears the record. Please speak to that Bev.

Bev: Oh, you know, I look at that set and I’m just in awe of the painted canvases. I thought they were incredible, the graphic work that went into to those really gave that ‘50s vibe, and I honestly feel my set dressing is quite minimal compared to those beautiful, beautiful canvases. And the vehicles! The period vehicles, all painted appropriately, and those canvases just set the scene.

It was a very tough location to be to be filming in, and a big flood came through. We had a sort of tropical small cyclone that visited the set the day before we were shooting. So, a bit of a cleanup had to happen, but, again, visually it all was fantastic…really pretty drone shots.

Karen: It wouldn’t be a Baz Luhrmann film without a flood. I mean, on GATSBY, we had a rather large flash flood when we’re in the middle of filming. And then for AUSTRALIA, I remember flying in to look at the homestead set, and as I flew over the house, it was surrounded by water. It literally had just been flooded. So I think that’s it’s a trifecta of floods…but of course, you know, we all make it through the adversity.

Lisa/SETDECOR: One of the sort of overarching questions I had was how you successfully walk the line back and forth between naturalism and heightened realism…and the process and the challenges of creating this kind of visual language. The film does such a remarkable job of doing both at the same time and fulfilling the need for there to be grounding points that are recognizable, like Graceland where you had to be more specific, and then other areas where you had more open interpretation. And so if the three of you could discuss that process a little bit, that would be great.

Graceland…Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Bev: In Australia, we don’t have a lot of American iconic ‘50s import, most of ours have a very English background. And so it became very apparent, due to past experience, that everything for Graceland would have to be manufactured, including the sofa, and the TVs that Elvis was obsessed with, lamp bases, furniture…everything had to be manufactured. So that went into pre-production quite early on to ensure we could get things made within the timeline. I think that’s really important, because Baz always wanted the version that we see in in the film, the white version of Graceland. It’s the version that exists today. Elvis redecorated numerous times, so during the time frame of our film, it may not have been that exact white version, but it’s how Baz wanted to depict Graceland, so it would be instantly recognized. We had a few challenges with manufacturing items, and there were issues with the basketweave wallpaper, trying to get a texture onto that paper. Everything we wanted to print was very flat and almost started to strobe on camera. But again, through trial and error we got there in the end. I think we pulled it off, because even though some of the lamp bases or fabrics were not exact, I think, visually, it just sums up Graceland.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Yeah, definitely. One of the things I think is so brilliant, successful about the design of this film is that it’s not a documentary, it’s not word-for-word. There’s a way that you’re getting at the emotional state of the character, that you are respecting the realism of the story, but also creating a symbolic language throughout the movie. So, if you all could talk a little bit to that, because it’s a very difficult tightrope to walk to do that successfully.

Karen: I think it is. But I think you’ll find the truth is important to Baz. So for us, we all have to really live that truth and understand it. That’s why the research period is so long…and that is a very important time. We tend to build a research bible, a book of key images. You can look at them, and you can look at the movie, and you can see that historical accuracy, but then you can also see this sort of heightened part of it whereby Baz and CM push the reality a little bit.

Graceland…Austin Butler as Elvis & Olivia Dejonge as Priscilla. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Catherine’s got an incredible ability with the fabrics and patterns and colors and palettes and everything like that. It’s all in the set and in the costumes, and the support of the history with these imagined new textures and perspectives. She has an incredible skill to bring all of those things together. I think that’s why the film becomes where you believe it. It’s a real environment, but there’s also a magic sort of side to it.

I’ve found the same with GATSBY. We knew that book inside out. And there were words on that page that you can see in the film. But there were also a million orchids, like way too many orchids, or way too many of this, or so many cars, the colors were a bit brighter, the cars are a bit souped up. So, again, with ELVIS, that was the set. It’s very much Baz…the Baz way is that we know the history, but then we can we level up to this magical aspect. We support his way of telling stories by sort of pushing the design as far as we can.

CM: True. Baz has always said to me…and I think it’s one of the best lessons he ever taught me…there’s a big difference with what it feels like to be there and what it actually looks like, and we’re in the business of making it look how it feels to be there.

Graceland…The set evokes the sadness and the emptiness of the moment. Olivia Dejonge as Priscilla & Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

And so there’s very much the kind of lens that says, “Well, what did it feel like to be there?” How do we communicate that to an audience? How do we select things that are historically true, but through selection, amplify the situation, amplify the drama, amplify the audience’s ability to understand who this person is? 

If you were to break the movie down, and say to me, or Karen, or Bev, “I want you to show me that that object is actually historically accurate.” Probably 99% of the time, we could find an image that was almost a picture-perfect match. But I think it’s Baz’s ability to stimulate our soul to recombine these things into images that, as you’ve pointed out, kind of take you beyond it just being a documentary because it’s Baz’s storytelling of Elvis’s life against the backdrop of three decades of American history.

And so, I think that’s one of the most interesting things that I have learned from him. I always think about that. I always think, what would it feel like? What did it feel like to be there? And how do you translate that so the audience understands it?

Karen: I think, CM, the Beale Street set for me really encapsulates what you’re saying there. We had two blocks. We built a backlot, we literally got a steamroller out and built a road and then built two blocks of Beale Street. Now, those shops…we found old plans of what used to be on Beale Street, whether it was a laundry or a photo studio, or a shop, whatever it was…and we tirelessly researched this. We thought, for Baz, he wanted to have that feeling of a guy seeing his future or seeing something that connects. You know, he’s come from quite a poor background, he goes to this place Beale Street, and he finds himself there. He finds his style, the way he’s going to dress, he sees the way other people are dressing. He hears music.

Baz wanted to get all of that energy and that feeling into two city blocks. So, we put it all in those blocks. We had so much going on…all the graphics, all the colors, the cars, the Club Handy set. All of that was just in these two blocks. And I think that the film really gives you that experience…you really feel that music, you feel that time, those 1950s, the year 1957. And that is Baz’s vision right there, to get as much of that the essence of that feeling that the guy was having in this one set.

Beale Street, Memphis, 1957…Where Elvis found himself. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Lisa/SETDECOR: It’s a great example, because when I first saw the film, it feels real, down to the peeling paint and the stains on the windows, but it also feels evocative at the same time. Logistically since we’re talking about that set, what kind of timetable did you have for executing construction and dressing because it seemed like an enormous set…

Bev: The physical dressing, we really got down to a few weeks because we pre-manufactured the parking meters and the streetlights, we had the neon signs made off site. So the assembly came together quite quickly, but it was certainly months of evolving with especially the signage, i.e. real neon versus LED neon and how that reads on camera. There were a few design discussions involved with the neon and lighting with the DOP. But, my footprint was quite small, because we had to work on site.

It was being built for like 12 weeks pre-pandemic, before we shut down. CM, maybe you can speak to that. But I mean, it was like, we just left it there.

CM: We shrink-wrapped it! It was a very strange process, but the two city blocks set was shrink-wrapped. And you know, the Australian climate is very harsh, so when we came back, there had been discoloration. So we needed to repaint the set.

Bev is the unsung hero of the street, because every single window was immaculately dressed, as well as the sidewalks. It was extraordinary. Each particular shop had its own DNA, and I think Bev did an incredible job to get the texture of every window, but also to be really clever with depth, because we didn’t want to build the back of the shops and we also wanted varying depths. My favorite dressing pieces were those bottle pyramid stands. I’d never seen them before, or since. I now own them. I stole them. I don’t know what I’ll do with them. But they’re just extraordinary. They’re sort of like a circular Christmas tree, sort of rings with holes to put bottles on that were in the liquor store on Beale Street. But it’s this level of attention to detail.

I remember walking into the art department one day at 7:30 at night. Every single person was sitting, hand-writing price tags, they’re writing on little, tiny, period-appropriate ticket swing tags and tickets and little cards with printed frames because this was period correct. And I don’t know how many price tags they wrote. But I walked on out, we were filming that night, and I came back in at 9:30, and they were still there. Writing price tags. It’s that attention to detail.

Lisa/SETDECOR: That’s a great anecdote. Jumping cross country from Memphis to the Las Vegas penthouse, the layering of pattern and texture in that set was an interesting nod to the ‘70s, but it also had sort of a Victorian level of lushness. And the bed itself seemed like quite a feat from a set dressing standpoint. Bev, can you talk a little bit about this set?

Bev: It was the layering of the use of fabrics on the wall, and we had Hilbert tiles to act as a bedhead. Different velvets in the drapery and in the sunken sofa. They’re all very lush fabrics, and it’s almost a clash of colors that works really, really well. That’s Catherine. When I read the script, I originally thought the set was going to be in red tones, and to have it be designed more into the navy and the golds gave it a different edge, which I was really excited to work on. So, lots of layering, different textures, and that’s what really, really works in in that room.

Karen: It’s very much a heightened kind of interpretation of just a few photos that we managed to find. I think that it speaks to, again, CM’s and Baz’s collaboration, with all the fabrics and everything just sort of creating that heightened version. It was like getting that essence of who this guy was at this point in his life. I think that really comes out.

Las Vegas – Penthouse suite. Somewhere along the way, Elvis lost himself and ended up in a gilded cage. Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

CM: Baz kept talking about it wanting to feel like it was a sarcophagus, and a golden cage. That fit as well into the design for the elevator set, where Elvis is going up and down…the fact that he was kind of being suffocated by his environment. So that was sort of the key.

Lisa/SETDECOR: It’s interesting that you said “sarcophagus” because my notes when I was preparing for this were “Victorian vampire”…

Karen: He was a bit vampiric. He didn’t really go out anywhere, did he? He was literally imprisoned in this hotel. And like a trick pony had to keep performing.

CM: Vampire is a really good word. Baz kept using that all the time.

Elvis actually took over the entire penthouse floor of the hotel. In the lobby of the penthouse floor, there was a sunken lounge. So we co-opted that and put that into his bedroom suite. In our movie, we see him only in the bedroom section of the suite, but it tells the full story. That hotel set, for cost reasons, actually served in different variations to a number of purposes, including the Colonel’s office at the International, and this speaks to Bev’s flexibility as a decorator. It was all designed in segments so that it could be partitioned off. And you know it is the magic of set decorating that allows you to believe in each of the completely different spaces.

Lisa/SETDECOR: And it seemed like the penthouse kind of had a visual language that tied into his bedroom in Graceland, so you kind of see the progression visually from that bedroom.
Bev mentioned red earlier…the tour bus is a symphony of red. So, the challenges of doing something in one color, almost one color entirely and creating that level of texture is quite phenomenal…

CM: That is certainly one of Karen’s triumphs, she did an incredible job on that tour bus.

Karen: I think one of the biggest challenges of that was a bus interior has all these incredible compound curves. So, getting fabric and paneling to work within the confines of the shape of a bus was quite the challenge wasn’t it, Bev? The level of quality upholstery that went in that was amazing.

There’s actually a strange old video of his bus. Elvis didn’t like to fly. So, he would always travel in this bus, and it became an extension of his home, and the later hotels. And with Baz’s idea of making things feel a certain way, it had to have that same sort of opulence. The palette was red, but we pushed the design of it a little bit…the gold, the light fittings, Bev found incredible buttoning, and all sorts of details that would just add to those layers.

Elvis’s second home – his tour bus. Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Did you custom dye the fabric? To get the reds to talk to each other, the process of finding the fabric that all went together…that’s not easy either.

Bev: No, we didn’t have to custom dye the red, but we did print the striped fabric to work with the red that was on the on the ceiling. We did tweak it a little bit, but we were very lucky with the reds that we found off the shelf, to be honest.

Karen: It was exhaustive trying to find that bright red. I remember, Bev, that you offered up a lot of choices, and Baz loves fabrics. The color is extremely important, so he had to sign off on all of those colors. With a lot of directors, you can show them a concept frame and they’ll trust that you’ll do it. Baz really wants to feel that color and the textures. So, we mocked up the bed in the back.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Clearly, this project was massive. If you could talk a little bit about the structure of your department, like assistant set decorators? Do you have your own shop manufacturing the furniture all the time? Bev, why don’t you start because a lot of times, set decorators don’t get the chance to talk about the scope of their department as much. I think people are more familiar with the scope of the art department on a project of this scale.

Bev: Sure. I had one assistant set decorator. We’re very, very lucky to have an in-house prop manufacture department, which was quite small, but, as long as I had a mold shop operational, we could manufacture all that was required. We had our own scenic artists, about two to four people just constantly painting the props or the Set Dec items. I do, in Australia, work with more buyers than the American system. As you know, we don’t have prop houses, so I’ve really got to try and find what could possibly be out there to start with.

I have three senior buyers, two junior buyers, a Set Dec drafts person, a couple of PAs and a lot of casuals, my super swing gang, and I have a great lead man. Our schedule for dressing and day-dressing sets became very, very tough with the turnaround that construction needed to bump sets out on one particular stage, to allow them to be bumped back in that night or the next day. So I did have quite a big swing gang team. And I had to rely on art directors and graphics, and then there was the props team as well, so the propmaster was also key.

It just seemed to be a very constant pace. But with all the experienced people and the teamwork, we pulled it off, which is wonderful to see.

CM: It’s an unusual way to work, but because I see Bev as an integral and senior part of the team, I put a lot of pressure on her to also oversee the propping, because to me the propping is an extension of the Set Decorating…and for that whole area I like to have a continuity of purpose. So she sometimes is also lumbered with responsibilities she doesn’t want because I need her eye on it or I need it to feel part of a bigger gesture.

Also, people tend to forget that everything, the chair, the carpet, the wallpaper, the rug, the curtain, all of that is set decoration, you know, it doesn’t just appear magically.

And we have Ian Gracie, our supervising art director, who is the kind of very glue that holds it all together…these three incredibly strong, creative women who can work together, who support each other and who have done so for years. I am very proud of this great team.

Karen: Definitely, I feel like I’ve taken a lot of what I’ve learned through this collaboration with CM and embed them into the other projects that I do. Prop masters always find me very annoying, because I’m always on top of them…I want to see what they’re doing. The same with the set decorator. I want us all to work together. It’s just something that comes from the Baz Luhrmann/Catherine Martin School of Filmmaking that we’re all in this together as a team.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Well, it is so nice to talk to all three of you and to hear your experiences and also to hear from a team that has worked together so seamlessly for so long. Thank you.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

5 Groundbreaking Airports That Are Must-See Destinations in Their Own Right

From massive cocoons in Azerbaijan to a sprawling public park in Berlin, you’d be surprised at what you can find at these world-class airports.

The Shenzen Bao’an International Airport—designed by Massimiliano Fuksas—is inspired by nature, taking inspiration from the manta ray. Inside, white “trees” double as air conditioning.

Despite chatty seatmates and de-icing delays, air travel never truly loses its glamour—especially if you’re in one designed by a world-renowned architect. From the TWA Hotel at Eero Saarinen’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Zaha Hadid’s Beijing Daxing International Airport, we scouted the most impressive airports around the globe that should be on your radar—and the ones under construction that are sure to be spectacular.

A honeycomb design envelops Shenzen Bao’an International Airport and lets in light.

An alveolus-shaped facade comprises metal and glass panels that can open.

Cocoons fill the Heydar Aliyev International Airport terminal in Baku, Azerbaijan, which was designed by Autoban. But they’re not just for good looks. Inside, you’ll find kiosks and cafes along with other amenity space.

Through natural materials, colors, and the warm, inviting cocoons, Autoban has disrupted airport design as we know it with Heydar Aliyev International Airport.

The Heydar Aliyev International Airport, in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku, receives more than six million passengers a year. Concave glass allows light to fill the warm interiors, which is home to live trees.

The original departure/arrival board anchors amenity space at the TWA Hotel at Kennedy International Airport, originally designed by Eero Saarinen. Just outside sits Connie, an airplane-turned-speakeasy that you can board for cocktails, attracting not just travelers and architecture enthusiasts, but also locals, says manager Anthony Bonacasa. “It’s very nostalgic for a lot of people,” he says. Employees who worked there in the 1960s will visit, creating a communal feel as Bonacasa describes. “It’s unpretentious, and we work to make it comfortable.”

A third bank of colorful Knoll’s Tulip collection sits just around the bend at Paris Café by Jean-Georges wrapped in millennium pink leather. Over what might be the simplest, fluffiest omelette you’ve ever had, Frank Sinatra fills the air. Outside, an old Volkswagen Bus is parked alongside a vintage French Citroën car, and it truly feels as though you’re in the 1960s. The restored TWA Hotel could have easily been noticeably contrived, yet it’s true to its origins—including the authenticity of the furniture. (We know, because we peeked underneath to check.)

The Sunken Lounge, which reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, is the heart of the TWA Hotel. The plush, red carpet is the same you’ll find in the long, minimalist tunnel entry, where indirect light illuminates the curved wall, which results in no shadows.

Honoring traditional Chinese design, the new Beijing Daxing International Airport is organized around a central courtyard. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the airport opened in September 2019.

The radial design of the Beijing Daxing International Airport maximizes the number of gates, while also offering quick access to the central core with passenger amenities.

The Beijing Daxing International Airport was built for growth. It is already the world’s largest single-building terminal and is expected to receive a whopping 72 million passengers annually by 2025.

Sprawling across 32 million square feet, Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport is one of the world’s most eclectic public spaces. Home to the famed Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949, this enormous, monumental airfield ceased operation in 2008, and reopened its doors when residents rallied together to transform the abandoned site into a public park for all to enjoy. Now, Tempelhof’s main hall is the departure point for a new kind of voyage. But people still run the wrong way up the people movers when no one is looking.

Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport is larger than New York City’s Central Park and is twice the size of Monaco. The airport was constructed by the Nazis from 1936 to 1941; however, it reopened as an eclectic city park in 2010. The project received the Symbol of Engineering Architecture award in 2011.

On the Boards

In design development or under construction, following are a few more first-class flight centers we eagerly await.

After delays, the Midfield Terminal Complex at Abu Dhabi International Airport is now expected to be open by year’s end. The largely column-free structure relies on arches, creating an open and airy space.

One might think Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had something to do with the forthcoming Amsterdam Airport Schipol. Yet it’s KAAN Architecten behind the design of the new terminal, set to open in 2023. We look forward to the open design, clean lines, and black eaves.

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is one of the 10 busiest in the world. Studio Gang’s $8.5 billion expansion should help alleviate some of that congestion, while also doubling its use for community engagement, including pop-up events and live music.

The phased expansion of Helsinki Airport Terminal 2 is slated to open in 2021 with its volume designs dubbed, “City Hall” and “Security Box.” The statement piece, though, is the undulated, pre-fab wooden roof that marries it all.

Source: https://www.dwell.com/article/best-airports-in-the-world-70773cc8


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Inside the World of Luxury Jet Interior Design

Flying commercial is so 2019 — at least for today’s jet set. What’s long been a symbol of luxury is now the much-preferred mode of transportation as the pandemic has brought about travel restrictions and cancellations. And with this fervent spike in private flying have come exciting requests for personalization. Customizing bespoke interiors for private planes is a new niche that designers and brands alike are quickly capitalizing on to make their clients’ in-air experience a memorable — and signature — one.

RH (the brand formerly known as Restoration Hardware) recently debuted its first jet, a 12-passenger Gulfstream G650 available for charter this year. Inside, RH One features rift-sawn European white oak, hand-tufted wool, cashmere bouclé and the brand’s trademark Belgian linen. Designed by CEO Gary Friedman himself, the aircraft is “a warm ode to minimalism” that speaks a similar design language to the forthcoming RH Guesthouse in New York City.

Photography provided by RH

While jet design is a natural way for a company to showcase its best self, it’s also fitting for brand loyalists who look to their favorite fashion houses for inspiration. To that end, Hermès outfits cabin interiors with its classic luxurious leather, while Loro Piana lends its soft wool and velvet for upholstery on superb lounger chairs.

“Aesthetic inspiration and cabin comfort come from endless sources, including fashion, textiles, jewelry, architecture and automotive,” shares Textron Aviation interior designer Lydia Pierce, who has created countless jet interiors with high-end brands like Loro Piana and Jim Thompson. “The artistic elegance of a timepiece or even the texture and color block of a couture handbag can spark the look and feel of an aircraft interior design.”

Pierce works closely with clients to select fabrics, leathers, carpets, wood veneers, stone countertops, metal plating finishes and more. Then comes the customization to make an airplane truly one-of-a-kind. Some of the wilder requests she’s fielded?

Bordeaux-hued carpet and walls for wine aficionados and benches that convert to dog-proof seating for pet lovers.

Photography provided by Design Q

When it comes to ultimate expression up in the air, anything goes. Acclaimed interior designer Ken Fulk recently took his work to the skies, designing a James Bond–inspired jet replete with graphic David Hicks carpeting and bespoke touches like a quirky safety video and custom dopp kits for passengers.

England-based Design Q is behind some of the world’s finest planes crafted for “luxury expeditionary tourism,” like the impressive Airlander 10. In creating the aircraft with Hybrid Air Vehicles, the company devised an infinity lounge and altitude bar where guests can enjoy cocktails and fine dining in the skies with panoramic horizon views.

Photography provided by Design Q

“We designed it like a commercial hotel bar,” explains Design Q CEO Howard Guy. “We wanted a large reception area to welcome several guests at a time, offer boarding cocktails and collect coats to let you relax immediately. On most business jets and commercial aircraft, you board into the kitchen — probably the worst area on the aircraft other than the lavatory. When you leave after a flight, it can feel like leaving a restaurant by the backdoor passing all the bins and trash!”

Just as the bar’s bottles were carefully displayed, backlit and secured for takeoff and landing, no detail was overlooked. Says Guy: “Everything from the door inward was evaluated, and every idea was considered, no matter how outlandish. After all, you only get one chance for a first impression.” And if that impression — complete with Champagne, full-height windows and stomach-dropping views — gets a little dizzying, passengers can retreat to their private en-suite bedroom with blackout shades and high thread count sheets for a grounding rest.

Source: https://artfulliving.com/luxury-private-jet-interior-design


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Decorating with Bright Colors

Bright colors are having their day and are no longer relegated only to kids’ rooms. Bring your home to life with cheerful and sophisticated hues straight out of the crayon box. With a little consideration and planning, you’ll create maximum impact that’s seriously grown up.

When decorating with bright colors, you first need to decide which neutral you want to pair with your color. By choosing a neutral, you can keep those brights in check. Consider what you want the focal point of the room to be and design the rest of the room around it. What kind of impact do you want to make? If it’s bold walls, keep the furniture neutral. Don’t forget to test your bright paint swatches before you commit to a specific shade. They almost always look different on the wall than on the swatch.

Pair bright accessories with some seriously chic neutrals. Gray walls, trim, and flooring provide a sophisticated backdrop for a showstopper rug in a bold graphic style. The coordinating orchids and purple pillows repeat the color found in the rug to make the room feel pulled together and intentional.

An all-white room is the perfect neutral foundation to make bright colors pop. Consider all the different textures and finishes of white to keep the room from falling flat. Add one or two colors at a time to make the overall look cohesive.

With bright colors, consider what your focal point is going to be to keep the room from becoming an eyesore. Allow your eye to rest by limiting your color palette to two or three colors plus a neutral. The green sofa is a delightfully unexpected pop of color, but it stays grounded with the pale walls and otherwise neutral furniture.

Bright turquoise provides an unexpected and happy pop of color painted on a built-in shelving unit. This look is all about high contrast and allows the items on display to shine. Consider what other elements you can use in your vignette that will provide contrast, visual interest, and color harmony.

Pops of bright color can be the perfect unexpected surprise and add a lot of personality. This chartreuse pocket door completely changes the tone of an otherwise monochromatic kitchen with industrial undertones. It’s a cheerful little detail that makes all the difference.

Source: https://www.bhg.com/decorating/color/colors/decorating-with-bright-colors/


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

10 Playroom Ideas That Are As Cool As They Are Kid-Friendly

Of all the rooms in your home, a playroom is one where function often trumps form. Your child probably doesn’t care about matching color schemes or Scandi-inspired decor, so the playroom in your house is often an afterthought. But here’s the good news: This fun room doesn’t have to be wasted space. Whether you have a room dedicated to toys and play or you section off part of another living space, a cool playroom is pretty easy to achieve.

Click through to see some of our favorite design-friendly playroom ideas.

01 Add a Chalkboard

This minimalist playroom from Studio McGee has a lot to love, but the oversized chalkboard is by far the focal point of the space. Not only is a rustic chalkboard attractive, but it also provides a great place for kids to draw and write without ruining your walls.

02 Opt for Function and Form

Your playroom is by far the most fun room in your house (that’s literally what it’s for, right?), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful too. If you have to relegate your kid’s toys to a wall in a shared common space, opt for furniture that can double as storage, like this neutral high chair. Pared-down pieces that can blend easily with the rest of your decor work best in shared spaces.

03 Go Bold With Color

If you love bright neons but haven’t really experimented with bold colors throughout your house, a playroom is a great place to start. Try weaving in some of those attention-grabbing colors you stray from elsewhere in your home.

04 Think Outside the Bookcase

The best playrooms are the ones that have a bit of imagination behind them. Sure, opting for traditional furniture like bookcases and couches is easy, but consider something a little more special (like this tree bookshelf) or opt for floor pillows over a traditional couch. A touch of creativity can take your playroom from “a room with toys” to your kid’s favorite room.

05 Invest in Affordable Storage

Revamping your child’s playroom doesn’t have to be an expensive overhaul. We love using cheap wicker baskets to sort toys and art supplies, as well as adding a few picture ledges to show off your kid’s favorite books.

06 Create a Home Gym

This amazing playroom idea from Inspired to Revamp is definitely one of the most ambitious ideas on our list. An indoor climbing wall is one of the most creative ideas we’ve seen anywhere—not only does it give your kids a place to burn off energy, but it has such a small footprint that you can fit it in nearly any home.

07 Think About the Floor

Though adults tend to prefer a nice, comfortable couch over sitting on the ground, children love climbing and rolling around. Invest in some floor pillows and mats that can be easily tossed in a closet when not in use. This is the perfect go-to for sleepovers and movie nights.

08 Add Some Indoor Swings

What’s better than going to the park? Swinging in your own playroom, rain or shine. If you have the space, we love the idea of adding a few swings or an indoor bubble chair to your playroom to give it a bit more personality and take it to the next level.

09 Create an Art Space

Inspire your child’s creative side by setting up their own art studio. Gather all of the must-have supplies and create bins for easy access to markers, crayons, and paper. Focus on easy-to-clean storage like plastic bins, set up a table and chairs, and voila—instant artist’s studio.

10 Try Wall Art

Create a space as unique and individual as your child by opting for a little bit of wall art. Whether you create a playhouse out of paint or work with your child to paint a beautiful mural of their favorite things, adding a bit of wall art is a great way to create a beautiful and kid-friendly space.

Source: https://www.luxdeco.com/blogs/styleguide/new-hotels-to-visit-in-2022


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.


COVID-19 did its best to surprise us at every turn, but one thing that’s unsurprising about a post-COVID-19 world? An almost universally felt (and near insatiable desire) to travel anywhere outside of city limits. Dreams of luxury vacations have been feeding wanderlust spirits for over a year and a half, and now they’re finally being set loose. Luckily, the luxury hotel industry didn’t let up, entering the new year with a slew of high-end debuts. Plan to destress, month-by-month, as you watch each of these new hotels you have to visit in 2022 open its doors.

Image Credit: Aman


New York’s iconic Crown Building will reopen its doors as Aman, New York. The new hotel boasts 85 elegant suites and 20 private exclusive residences, including a five-story, unique penthouse. It’s been designed by the celebrated architect and longtime Aman collaborator Jean-Micheal Gathy, who has remained true to the Crown’s original architecture while paying homage to the brand’s Asian roots. Guests can access incomparable facilities ranging from three fine dining options, including Nama, the signature venue for Omakase Washoku cuisine; Arva, a principal Italian restaurant offering all-day dining services; and the Wine Library which is the hotel’s premier wine cellar.

Image Credit: The Fifth Avenue Hotel


Another architecturally significant addition to this list (and another Big Apple addition), the new Fifth Avenue Hotel is a playfully restored historic building which finds a way to fit into the increasingly contemporary Midtown. The hotel’s 153 rooms, decorated vividly in jewel tones by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, are spread out over two connected structures—the original McKim, Mead & White mansion and a 24-story modern tower. A 5000-square-feet ballroom with grand 22-feet ceilings, a 2500-square-feet private dining space and the multi-level Signature restaurant accompany the guest rooms. Guests can also access a two-story authentic library, study, fitness center, and an outdoor terrace with a breathtaking view of New York City.

Image Credit: One&Only


The One&Only, Aesthesis is scheduled to open its doors to guests sometime in 2022 although an exact date hasn’t been released yet. The hotel is being developed on a 21-hectare prime beachfront property, appealingly surrounded by a forest reserve, with architecture that reflects mid-century principles. Guests can enjoy the iconic Athenian Riviera and a view of the locale’s crystal sea while being surrounded by the elegance of modern Greece. The hotel group has partnered with the wellness brand Chenot to create Chenot Spa at One&Only Aesthesis. The state-of-the-art fitness center further establishes the hotel as a premier resort for well-being.

Image Credit: Etéreo


The foundation of this new Mexican hotel was laid in a lush mangrove forest that stretches beside a white-sand beach. With 75 suites and studios, all with breathtaking ocean views, Etéreo will be one of the best ways to experience Mexico’s renowned Riviera Maya when it opens in December 2021. All suites and studios are accommodated with floor-to-ceiling windows, butler service, a private terrace, and plunge pools, making it the perfect place to relax and admire lush surroundings.

Image Credit: Montage Big Sky


Montage Big Sky, the majestic mountain getaway, will be debuting mid-December 2021 to the tune of $400 million. The resort consists of 150 suites and guest rooms and 39 residences. Huge wooden frames and stone-accented surfaces throughout the hotel provide you with an elevated midwestern experience. An ideal location for both outdoor sports enthusiasts and nature admirers, the resort offers 5,800 skiable acres and a mountain paradise for adventurers wishing to visit Montana and Yellowstone National Park.

Image Credit: Rosewood


Inspired by the nearby coral reefs, Rosewood Doha Hotel & Resort is going to be one of Qatar’s finest architectural landmarks. Housed within two striking towers are 185 guest rooms and suites, along with 173 serviced apartments and 300 residences. The hotel offers a dynamic range of cuisine with the opportunity to dine in eight innovative locations including the cigar lounge, bistro, coffee deli, lifestyle entertainment lounge, and three specialty restaurants. Sleek interiors and state-of-the-art technology bring this resort to new levels of sophistication.

Image Credit: The Reykjavik EDITION


One of the few true five-star hotels in Reykjavik, The Reykjavik EDITION entered the luxury hotel market in November 2021. The hotel’s uniqueness lies in the ebony facade of its blackened Shou sugi ban timber, burnt using a traditional Japanese technique, and its dark grey steel frames which depict Iceland’s dramatic lava landscape. The urban hub houses 253 rooms, outstanding bars, a nightclub, a signature Icelandic restaurant, spa, and gym. The room’s floor-to-ceiling windows frame the scenic views of this up-and-coming capitol.


Nobu Hotel and Restaurant will open in the autumn of 2022 in Marrakech, Morocco, as announced by founders Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, and Meir Teper. The 71 guest rooms and suites have been designed with an emphasis on combining Marrakech’s rich heritage with contemporary comfort. The hotel is of course home to some new additions to Nobu’s portfolio of renowned dining venues, as well as a 2000 sq. ft. spa, indoor and outdoor pools and a private event space.

Image Credit: The Aurum


Brought to you by Steve Gold, The Aurum is a re-envisioned boutique luxury hotel and wellness destination spanning across 131 acres of mountainside. The hotel revolves around the Roman Hammam and Spa, a relaxing bathing experience that has never been seen in North American spa hotels until now. Featuring a style inspired by ancient Roman culture, the hotel houses 12 bungalows with private gardens each with jaw-dropping views of the Catskill mountains. When it comes to cuisine, the hotel promotes a holistic farm-to-eatery diet.


Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle is a first-of-its-kind hotel, located within the Château de Versailles – the royal residence of the old French monarchy. The 5-star hotel has 14 grand suites within a grandiose guest house originally built in the 1680s. Each suite is decorated in a style evocative of 17th-century design with a mirage of antiques and an abundance of floral motifs. The hotel indulges its guests at the Valmont spa and is home to mouth-watering delicacies prepared by renowned French chef, Alain Ducasse.

Image Credit: Elsa Young Photography


Kisawa is an all-in-one eco-retreat located in the middle of a 300-hectare sanctuary, surrounded by an expanse of forest, dunes and beach. Showcasing minimalist decor with a modern touch, it offers 12 bungalows, each with a private beach, pool, outdoor kitchen, and a day area with an open-air deck. The bungalows have been built using innovative 3D sand-printing technology, commissioned specifically for this project to allow them to blend into the landscape and minimize their environmental impact. Your stay at any of the residences comes accompanied with a dedicated housekeeper and personal chef to tend to your every need.

Image Credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz


Located in Madrid’s famous Golden Triangle of Art, Mandarin Oriental Ritz is a historic five-star Belle époque hotel by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Opened after three years of extensive restoration, the hotel highlights 100 elegant rooms and 53 suites with natural light and classic-contemporary design. The suites are decorated with unique materials and classic designs that go best with their eye-catching structure. The hotel features a deluxe wellness center, steam room, indoor swimming pool, and a vitality pool. It is home to five restaurants and bars, with the cuisine prepared by the famous chef Quique Dacosta.

Image Credit: The Peninsula London


Overlooking Hyde Park Corner and the Wellington Arch, the Peninsula London is set to be one of the most prestigious on the London hotel scene. This 5-star hotel, expected to be inaugurated in early 2023, will provide the finest experience of British culture, art, and cuisine with renowned hospitality. It will feature 190 guest rooms and suites, and a colonnaded courtyard with architecture reflecting the heritage of Belgravia. The hotel’s unique peninsula spa will provide revitalizing beauty treatments to its guests. An array of cultures are represented in the cuisine on offer, incorporating Malay, Chinese, Indian Nyonya, and Srilankan street food for an experience like no other.

Image Credit: Four Seasons


Four Seasons New Orleans is set in an iconic 34-story tower designed by the modernist architect Edward Durell Stone. The hotel’s rooms consist of floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a serene view of the pristine Mississippi River, making it a gateway to access the vibrant culture of Cresent City. With the 17th floor of the hotel boasting presidential suites which contain a private office, gym and scenic views, this Four Seasons lives up to its highly respected name.

Image Credit: San Domenico Palace


San Domenico Palace lies above Mount Etna, providing a breathtaking panoramic view in every direction. Finished with herringbone floors and marble bathrooms, the 111 rooms and suites provide a polished Italian finesse, whilst the principal rooms open onto sprawling terraces complete with a personal plunge pool and a heavenly view of the mountain, the Ionian sea and the ancient greek theatre. It is built on the site of the 14th-century Dominican convent, now enhanced with lush gardens designed by Italian landscape architect Marco Bay.

Image Credit: Six Senses Shaharut


Integrated onto the cliffside, the Six Senses Shaharut opened in August this year, located in the southern region of the enchanting Negev Desert in Israel. Choose between an enviable suite facing the ever-changing colors of the Edom Mountains and the resort’s private reserves consisting of three-bedroom retreats, a pool and access to the Six-Senses Spa. Understated and earthy textures flow throughout the space offering a nod to the desert landscape and the country’s heritage creating the ultimate backdrop for relaxation.


Situated in the iconic Old War Office, the latest Raffles flagship hotel is one that is steeped in history. Every effort has been made to preserve the architectural integrity of the grade II listed building and the result is magnificent. Transformed into 50 suites and 85 private residences, the hotel holds a ballroom, spa and no fewer than nine restaurants and bars in Raffles’ signature lavish style.

Image Credit: A Banyan Tree Escape


Having established a no walls, no doors policy, the Banyan Tree Escape offers guests a unique “naked experience” with the surrounding Balinese jungle. Each with their own mesmerizing views over Bali’s seven peaks, the hotel’s 16 villas are accompanied with private pools and open decks to allow unobstructed access to the melodies of the Ayung River. Providing a full immersion in nature without compromising on luxury, the hotel offers a truly unique experience. Inspired by local techniques and designed to reconnect you to nature, the Toja Spa affords an array of treatments performed with organic ingredients grown on the hotel’s on-site farm. A range of traditional experiences are also available for guests who want to delve into the Buhan culture. Purification ceremonies with local priests are designed to take you on a journey of enlightenment or enjoy a hike at sunrise and have your breakfast in “heaven” atop sacred Mt. Batur.

Image Credit: &Beyond


Promising the “ultimate in exclusivity,” the Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge is set in the secluded western reaches of the Park increasing your chances for a unique glimpse at the Big 5. Having been renovated over the last year the reopening of this remote oasis offers ten luxurious suites, complete with private plunge pools, in-room massages and views of the hippo inhabited river. With the closest accommodation a far distance away, you are more likely to catch sight of a pride of lions than any fellow travelers on the twice-daily game drives included in this luxury experience.

Image Credit: Janu


Janu, meaning “soul” in Sanskrit, is the highly anticipated sister brand to the Aman, aiming to provide profound relaxation, and restore lasting equilibrium for their guests. The Janu Montenegro will be the first of the brand to open, rooted in energy and exploration, the hotel hopes to encourage guests to stretch their boundaries and embrace the local environment. With opportunities for boat days and scuba diving, Janu promises both ultimate relaxation and vitality.

By Jonathan Holmes, Founder & CEO

Source: https://www.luxdeco.com/blogs/styleguide/new-hotels-to-visit-in-2022


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Property Brother Jonathan Scott & Zooey Deschanel Offer Sneak Peek of Newly Renovated Home

It’s official: The renovation on Jonathan Scott and Zooey Deschanel’s “dream home” is finally complete. And the pics are perfection.

The residence—which they dubbed “Park House”— was a “beautiful home with a lot of history,” according to the Property Brothers star. But with a few modern updates, Scott turned it into a Pinterest-worthy space for his family.

While discussing their new home, Deschanel admitted that it was love at first sight. “As soon as we pulled into the driveway, we knew this house was special,” she said in the issue. Scott added, “The abundant trees on the property make it the perfect place for kids— and maybe a kid at heart named Drew—to climb and play, and for us to watch them as we sit in the shade.”

The renovation took two years to complete due to the pandemic, supply chain and other issues. “It was really hands-on for both of us,” Deschanel admitted. “Many Saturdays, we sat searching for the right details to add to this home.” This included everything from colorful wallpaper to modern fixtures. She continued, “This is a house that suits our tastes and needs, aesthetically and functionally. Jonathan is so amazing at figuring that out. He’s been doing it for his clients for so long, and now he’s done that for us and our family.”

The vertical surface is coated with the iconic G

One of Deschanel’s requests included adding a solarium with a glass ceiling, olive trees and a water feature. So, Scott transformed an ordinary porch into a natural light sanctuary. “Jonathan knows whether an idea is practical or not,” the actress said. “And he knew just how to turn this patio on the asymmetrical side of the house into a solarium.” It has become Scott’s “favorite room in the whole house.”

To celebrate their new home, Scott gifted a grand piano to Deschanel. “One of my favorite things is coming home to Zooey playing music,” he said.

The TV personality also used nothing but the best in terms of technology. “It still looks like it could be a 100-year-old home, but it’s now LEED-certified and will end up using less grid energy than a small apartment,” he explained. “This isn’t just a smart house. It’s a genius one.”

By Greta Heggeness 


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Godiva goes to Dubai

Godiva Chocolatier’s new flagship at the Mirdif City Centre Mall in Dubai was designed by The First Ferry, an international premium design house that specializes in luxury interior designs.

The plush interiors of the store use the enlarged logo of Lady Godiva as a life-size installation as their starting point.

The circular faux ceiling hovering over the reception offers a visual direction for the customer.

The vertical surface is coated with the iconic Godiva gold tiles, which adds to the theme’s richness.

The interior of the store features subtle shades of white and gold trimmings, with the chocolate cases adding a dash of color.

 A free-flowing design blends superbly with the spirit of the brand.

The store displays meticulous space planning to create a quintessential visual experience.

Source: https://www.designretailonline.com/galleries/specialty-non-apparel/godiva-chocolatier-dubai/#7


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Inside The Mansions of HBO’s ‘Gilded Age’ with Set Decorator Regina Graves

Graves filled scores of opulent rooms with furniture and treasures to tell the story of how new money remade New York society. BY LAURA HINE.

HBO’s late-19th-century drama The Gilded Age is largely set within the well-appointed homes of New York’s high society. Here, guests congregate in the parlor of two main characters, Bertha and George Russell. The architect of the Russell house, Stanford White (portrayed by John Sanders), is seen second from right. All photos by Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO

As The Gilded Age, the lavishly designed HBO series about New York in the 1880s, opens in Central Park, grazing lambs scatter as carriage after carriage rumbles by loaded with imported furnishings and statues. These European treasures are on their way to fill the Fifth Avenue mansion of nouveaux riche couple Bertha and George Russell (played by actors Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector).

The scene signals the gorgeous architecture and interiors to come. And, as every period-drama viewer knows, a house and its decor tell you everything about the people who live there.

The home of the Russells (played by Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector) is decorated with French and Italian furniture. “The 19th-century French inlaid Louis XV–style writing desk is the perfect choice for Bertha to write all her correspondence on,” Graves notes. “The fabulous draperies are Palazzo Pamphily Stripe by Scalamandré.”

A team led by production designer Bob Shaw and set decorator Regina Graves devised the show’s many sets, including the Russells’ mansion, which flaunts their new money, and the older neighboring brownstone inhabited by sisters Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon), which bespeaks their established wealth and status.

Graves, who studied to be an interior designer, landed at New York City’s largest prop house straight out of college. She describes her job as similar to that of a designer: She finds the furniture, light fixtures, drapery, art, decorative objects, wallpaper, hardware and flooring for each room.

Mrs. Russell’s bedroom is inspired by real-life socialite Alva Vanderbilt’s bedroom in her Newport mansion, Marble House. The French Louis XV bed was painted and reupholstered in salmon-pink velvet; the custom wall covering, draperies and bedding are all Italian silk.

Graves and the rest of the production team worked with the director to craft environments with layers of life that visually tell each character’s story. They scoured the Internet, as well as antique stores and prop houses, for Victorian pieces.

“There was a certain look that we had to re-create,” Graves says, “especially with the show’s old-money-versus-new-money storyline.” In the Russell mansion, newly designed by Stanford White (the real-life 19th-century architect is played here by John Sanders), everything is grand, large and imported from Europe. Mrs. Russell is trying to impress, or at least entice, New York society with a home boasting acres of marble, hundreds of yards of fabric and elaborate crystal chandeliers.

The Russells’ drawing room includes a Louis XV canapé, side chair and fauteuil upholstered in what Graves describes as a “ginger bronze-silk,” as well as a French Aubusson parlor set. “A beautiful, rich French Aubusson rug anchors the room,” she adds.

Across the street from the Russells, inside the brownstone of Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski), the parlor is decorated with stately details, like richly carved wood. Here Mrs. van Rhijn, far left, holds court with, from left, Oscar Van Rhijn (Blake Ritson), Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon) and Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson).

The established Mrs. van Rhijn doesn’t need to impress. Her station is assured, and her brownstone reflects its older heritage. “We decided to wallpaper and dress the rooms in richer colors,” says Graves. “The house is furnished in the traditional American Victorian-era style, with heavily carved ornate furniture covered in damasks, velvets, needlepoint and brocades.”

In the van Rhijn parlor, “the five-piece walnut-and-ebony Herter Brothers–style set was reupholstered in an Italian floral lampas fabric,” she continues. “The centerpiece of the room is an American Empire mahogany table surrounded by four matching chairs of the same period. The silk draperies are by Scalamandré.”

When asked how many rooms she devised over the almost two years she worked on the production, Graves laughs. “So many, I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said over 100.” That includes rooms on location in historic mansions like Lyndhurst, in Tarrytown, New York; and the Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer and the Elms, all in Newport, Rhode Island.

A house in Troy, New York, stands in for the Brooklyn residence of the well-off Scott family. Arthur Scott (John Douglas Thompson) and his daughter, Peggy (Denée Benton), sit on carved-oak chairs around a damask-covered dining table. The stained-glass windows and china cabinet are original to the location.

These homes were period authentic, but Graves estimates the production crew still had to remove 80 to 90 percent of the furnishings and redecorate with pieces they had acquired.

“We replace the furniture because what’s there isn’t made for being sat in and moved around all day,” she says. “It’s just as much work to redress a location as it is to decorate a stage set.”

Scenes set in the drawing room of wealthy widow Sylvia Chamberlain were shot on location at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club, in Briarcliff Manor, New York. “The entire room was redressed by our team in the Rococo style,” says Graves.

Graves recounts one example of how far the team would go to ensure period accuracy and filming continuity. Several scenes were shot in a hallway at the Elms, which was used to depict parts of the Russell house. The walls in the hallway were upholstered in a 100-year-old red Scalamandré fabric that was no longer in production.

The problem was that the hallway could be glimpsed through the door of Mrs. Russell’s bedroom, which was on a soundstage. Graves worked with Scalamandré to find the discontinued fabric in its archives and produce enough to cover the sound stage hallway so that it would match that of the historic location. “You can’t just paint it red,” Graves notes. “It has to match exactly.”

The series was created by British screenwriter Julian Fellowes, and many think of it as the American cousin of his wildly popular English upstairs-downstairs drama, Downton Abbey. Of course, The Gilded Age wouldn’t be a Fellowes production if viewers didn’t also get a glimpse of the working areas of the New York mansions. Graves loves, in particular, the servants’ area of the van Rhijn household.

In the basement of the van Rhijn house, the servants eat at an antique harvest table paired with English-style captain’s chairs.

Those sets lack the rich fabrics and ornate decor of the upstairs rooms, but they are still spectacular, with miles of white subway tile and beautiful built-in cabinetry. “They were decorated in the period but as functional spaces,” Graves explains. “We were able to layer in copper pots and spices. I love the lived-in look.”

Decorating the rooms of The Gilded Age will always be a career highlight for her. “Julian and the producers wanted a feast for the eyes,” she says. It’s one that design-loving viewers have been more than happy to devour.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Home Office Ideas That Will Inspire Productivity

These office design ideas will actually make you want to sit down and complete your to-do list.

Photo: Pieter Estersohn

A dedicated work space in your home helps you set aside household distractions and focus on work. Here, we’ve gathered home office ideas that will inspire you to design a work-friendly space in your own home. These home offices, located everywhere from Beverly Hills to Brooklyn, have one thing in common: a sophisticated space secluded from such tempting distractions as TV and snacks. Photographer Steven Meisel even installed a hybrid office/master bath in his home for those moments when genius strikes, say, in the tub, and an idea must be documented. From actor Julianna Margulies’s Manhattan apartment to author Judy Blume’s Key West, Florida, retreat, these home office design ideas will not only inspire you to get that last bit of work done, but enjoy your surroundings while doing so.

Photo: Michael Moran

Minimalist Work Space

For her radical redesign of a Park Avenue apartment, Jennifer Post carved six distinct areas out of the 900-square-foot space. The home office occupies an entire bedroom wall. Its decor is in line with the rest of the place, which has a minimalist feel with a strictly white palette and strategically placed accents of color throughout. “Color is used to increase the length of the apartment. You have to go look for it,” she says.

Photo: Roger Davies

Space-Saving Study

We’re digging the minimalism in this beach-chic Malibu home office area. The Ellwood-Lomax drop-front desk saves space and highlights all the sculptural accoutrements. That poof takes on many jobs: bookshelf, footstool, and extra chair for a study buddy.

Photo: William Abranowicz

Sleek and Unique

Some super sleek curves—architect Charles Gwathmey’s signature—distinguish his St. Barts home office and its sucupira-wood desk, designed by Kang Chang and fabricated on the island. The swivel chairs are by Hans Wegner from DK Vogue, and the ceiling fan is by Boffi. The rainbow display of books is a nice touch, too.

Photo: Eric Piasecki

Pops of Color

color combo to covet: bright green and gold. Gather some office inspiration from this Bridgehampton home designed by Steven Gambrel. All the vintage brass-and-leather accents and the silk rug created by Gambrel make a splash against the white cabinets.

Photo: Douglas Friedman

Alexandra von Furstenberg’s Sunny Work Space

This cheerful space is full of sharp angles while also maintaining a lot of fun. Alexandra von Furstenberg created the acrylic desk, side table, and (in collaboration with Dax Design) shelving for her Los Angeles home office, which is also outfitted with two Milo Baughman lounge chairs, an Eames desk chair by Herman Miller, a Dax Design cabinet, and a Philippe Starck floor lamp by Flos; the large photograph is by Kim Keever, and the easel displays an issue of Interview magazine signed by Andy Warhol to Von Furstenberg.

Photo: Björn Wallander

Parisian Maison Bureau

Painter’s canvas is used as paneling in the office of fashion designer Stefano Pilati’s Paris apartment, which was renovated by architect Bruno Caron. The repetitive crisscrossing elements on the Moroccan rug and yellow chest of drawers definitely make the room captivating.

Photo: Nikolas Koenig

Burst of Color

Inspire yourself with primary colors, where they provide the perfect burst of shape and structure in this office space. The mirrored trestle desk from Liz O’Brien and Artemide’s Tizio lamp brighten the library in the Manhattan apartment, too.

Photo: Björn Wallander

Decadent Blues

We’ll always love a very blue design idea, and that goes for the high-gloss office at Alex Rodriguez’s Florida estate—Briggs Edward Solomon handled the decoration—a Florence Knoll pedestal table is grouped with Saarinen armchairs, all by Knoll, and a carpet by Diane von Furstenberg for the Rug Company; sconces from Flos flank Marco Ovando photographs.

Photo: Roger Davies

Bel Air Office Where More Is More

A good case for more is more in this Bel Air, California, home. Raspberry leather chairs by designer Kelly Wearstler bring color to the office, where a collection of photos is displayed; the tube sculpture on the desk is also by Wearstler, and the carpet was custom made by the Rug Company.

Photo: Oberto Gili

Dark Walls and a Bold Rug

With a cozy fire and some dark, moody elements, the office in this New York townhouse of art dealer Christophe Van de Weghe and his wife, Anne-Gaëlle, designed by Annabelle Selldorf, showcases a Sarfatti light fixture, Prouvé desk, and Finn Juhl chair. The mirrors are by Line Vautrin, the artworks are by Cy Twombly (left) and Jean Dubuffet, and the banquette cushions are clad in a Great Plains fabric. And that zebra rug, come on.

Photo: François Halard

Diane von Furstenberg’s Office

Where do you look first in this dazzling and dizzying space? Surrounded by Franz West chairs, the Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann table in Diane von Furstenberg’s Manhattan office/living area often does double duty as a desk and dining table. A Joan Miró etching, a Francesco Clemente painting, and family photographs are displayed on the windowsill.

Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Contemporary Home Office

Bold black lines and furnishings give this space a strong statement. The desk in the late designer Alberto Pinto’s Rio de Janeiro home office is surmounted by an Almir Reis photograph of volleyball on Ipanema Beach; the parchment lamps are 1970s, and the chair is by Philippe Hurel. Here, mixing vibrant colors and earthy textures really works.

Photo: Simon Watson

San Miguel Home Office

In designers Andrew Fisher and Jeffry Weisman’s home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Fisher designed the office’s desk and embellished the Queen Anne chair with shells and black paint. Clearly we’re into the seashell decor.

Photo: Björn Wallander

Ralph Lauren’s Personal Office

Ralph Lauren’s office at his company’s Madison Avenue headquarters makes a case for filling your space to the brim. With art, books, and sundry objects that inspire him, including a 1950s model plane suspended from the ceiling, the warm-toned office is full of wonder. Don’t be afraid of stacks on stacks of coffee table books.

Photo: David O. Marlow

Beverly Hills Study

Karin Blake combined East Coast tradition with an eclectic point of view for the interiors of screenwriter Paul Attanasio and producer Katie Jacobs’s Beverly Hills residence. The antique English table, bordered by vintage sewing chairs, lends Attanasio’s office the air of a workshop. The books look well-loved too.

Photo: Douglas Friedman

Bold and Colorful

In stylist Carlos Mota’s Dominican Republic beach house, a Picasso-inspired mural decorates a wall near the office, where an Indian chair is pulled up to a desk designed by Mota.

Source: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/home-offices-slideshow


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.