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Set Pieces: The L.A. look in 'The Kids Are All Right'

July 22, 2010 |  7:50 am

The Kids Are All Right 1

As it moves from art houses to suburban cineplexes, "The Kids Are All Right" keeps racking up raves for director and co-writer Lisa Cholodenko and stars Mark Ruffalo, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. Here's one more commendation -- for the film's sets. Production designer Julie Berghoff and set decorator David Cook have captured the contrasting design styles of two sides of Los Angeles. 

The Kids Are All Right bedroom The Venice family home where lesbian moms Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) are raising their teenage kids is decorated with pages-from-a-catalog furniture and just a touch of earth-loving bohemianism, Berghoff says.

"The dining table and chairs are Indonesian teak, and Jules had run a Moroccan furniture import business, so there are leftover woven chairs and lanterns and pillows made from embroidered fabrics," she said. (That's Cholodenko, above center, with actresses Mia Wasikowska, left, and Moore.)

As a more intimate and romantic space, the moms' bedroom, right, features a custom headboard and glass lamps from Restoration Hardware. Seeking a feminine hue for linens, Berghoff did color tests to complement the actresses' skin tones and hair, landing on pale creams and violet. 

By contrast, the Echo Park hipster bungalow of restaurateur and sperm donor Paul (Ruffalo) was decorated with what Berghoff calls a "vintage mish-mash" of unmatched chairs, an old-school hi-fi and found objects. "It's like he did a lot of shopping at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which is exactly what we did," Berghoff said.  

You can see that character's living and dining rooms on the jump ...

The kids are all right 3

Photo: The dining table of Echo Park resident Paul (Ruffalo) is surrounded by midcentury Danish-style chairs and school seats. The sofa is part of a sectional that was borrowed from the home of director Cholodenko; it has a kilim draped over the back. Production designer Berghoff found the side tables and "hair dryer lamp" at flea markets. Above the orange lamp: L.A. photographer Garner Kinmond's print of a burned-out trailer at the Salton Sea. "We just pinned it to the wall and left the edge curled up."

The Kids Are All Right 4 

Photo: Lunch on the deck of the moms' house -- a modern Craftsman in Venice -- takes place at a traditional picnic table. "We wanted an Americana feeling," Berghoff said, "but also to suggest that they were trying to create as normal a family environment as possible." Asked where she got the striped linen, Berghoff said with a laugh: "We were looking through drawers at the location for a table cloth, and I found these two curtain panels and just put them together on the table."

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credit: Suzanne Tenner

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this post failed to credit Cook as the set decorator. 


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