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Set Pieces: The cheery interiors of 'Mr. Sunshine' deliver their own punch lines

March 29, 2011 |  7:00 am

Its title is a wry reference to the beleaguered character played by Matthew Perry, but the real star of the ABC freshman sitcom "Mr. Sunshine" is the indomitable Allison Janney, seated on the Victorian sofa, above right. As the diva-fierce owner of a San Diego sports arena, she takes the role of Crystal Cohen well past over-the-top. Cohen's home, above, echoes her quirkiness.  

The residence was designed to appear "eccentric, verging on crazy," set decorator Anne Ahrens wrote in an e-mail.  "A bit like her personality. The look for her was based on Hollywood Regency mixed with the glamorous and outrageous look of Tony Duquette."

MS_0143 The walls, right, are painted Benjamin Moore Sunshine (what else?) with inner panels papered in a toile surrounded by red and gold molding. Ahrens upholstered the traditional wing chair in an orange floral print. 

"It was almost too charming and warm a chair for Crystal, but it added to the whirl of pattern in the room," Ahrens said. 

The console with a hand-painted faux marble top is from the Warner Bros. prop department, chosen for its height and weight to help anchor the room. For a punch of color against the golden wall, Ahrens added blue lampshades. 

The grayhound portrait is one of many references to Crystal's love of dogs; the fur throw is 100% fake. "Lots of different faux furs were auditioned on the set -- faux fox, faux mink and faux leopard," Ahrens said. "This faux animal of unknown origin won because of its great luxurious stripes."

The dramatic window treatments, below, include cornices made from plywood and upholstered in blue iridescent taffeta and red trim. The rug is an antique from Warner Bros., and Ahrens chose the silver-leaf chair in the foreground at left, reupholstered in a contemporary wide stripe, "because I loved the spider web back for Crystal, who loves to weave webs of confusion and intrigue."


The style of Crystal’s "playful and fairly outrageous" office was influenced by the comfortable and accessible design look of Candice Olson. Keep reading to see it ...

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Production designer Michael Wylie created a color palette for Crystal's exuberant office by referring to his collection of vintage paint-by-number pieces. The walls are painted Benjamin Moore Cool Aqua. The carpeting consists of tiles from Flor.  The white bookcases came from Plummers, and the orange wing chairs are Sofa U Love designs covered in a Duralee fabric called Aviary. The oval-back modern Louis XVI chairs at the desk are from Wertz Bros. in West Los Angeles spruced up with gold paint and orange velvet from F & S Fabrics. The blue Robert Abbey table lamps were found for about $200 each at All Modern Lighting.

-- David A. Keeps

Set Pieces appears on Tuesdays. For an easy way to follow future installments, join our Facebook page for home design.

Photo credits: Danny Feld / Sony Pictures Television

Corrected: An earlier version of this post said "Mr. Sunshine" is on NBC.


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