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Set decoration: the fashionable world of 'Jane by Design'

March 6, 2012 |  8:32 am

Andie MacDowell Jane by Design setsYouthful touches and colorful accents brighten the industrial interiors of the fictional Donovan Decker fashion house in the ABC Family series "Jane by Design," which airs it Season 1 finale Tuesday night.

Production designer Greg Grande created sets that look like a sewing machine factory-turned hip fashion office. The interiors are an eyeful: orange mohair-topped footstools, Moroccan lamps, bright lacquered armoires, zebra print chairs and elegant wall treatments.

The show's emphasis is on high school student Jane (Erica Dasher), an Anna Wintour-like fashion exec named Gray (Andie MacDowell, pictured here) and their amazing clothes (and shoes!). But set decorator Richard C. Walker said "Jane by Design" creator April Blair was intent on equally young and fresh interiors. "She was always saying ‘Domino’ to me," Blair said, referencing the defunct magazine geared for young do-it-yourself decorators.

Jane by Design setsGrande, who worked on "Friends" and "Cougar Town," mixed color and texture within the industrial architecture. Among his moves: covering office walls with contemporary wallpaper made by Graham & Brown. "Greg paired stripes and floral wallpapers to create visual interest for the camera," Walker said. "We didn't want the audience to be bored with the same thing." 

Grande began by building Donavan Decker on a sound stage in Santa Clarita. The crew then divided the office space with iron girders and window panes.

Working on a tight budget, Walker shopped for pieces that looked like expensive classics but were in fact knockoffs. Some pieces came from the Warner Bros. prop house, but most were bought or rented in or near Santa Clarita: The Graham & Brown wall coverings from Astek Wallcovering, accessories from Urban Home, a starburst mirror and lamps from HomeGoods, and a closet system from IKEA.

"I am very good at tricking people," the set decorator said. "You can fake things like a Swan chair more than a pair of Louis Vuitton shoes," he said of Arne Jacobsen's classic seat.

Walker got to know one saleswoman at HomeGoods so well he invited her to the set. Her response? "She cried," Walker said. The set decorator also credits director of photography Mark Doering-Powell with giving the industrial setting an elegant glow. "If it's not lit beautifully, it's not going to look good."

Walker got clearance to use Vogue magazine covers, which he framed and hung to give Donovan Decker a sense of history. Walker also added photos that he shot during a fashion show that took place in an early episode. It's all part of his job: creating eye-catching looks fast. "I don't have much time for the visual story. I have to catch you quick," he said. "It's tele-vision, after all."

Erica Dasher

Jane (Erica Dasher) inside the office, whose industrial vibe is punctuated by vintage street lamps and contemporary touches of color.


Jane by Design sets
Walker chose the chairs because he loved the quilting detail and the sheen of the fabric. The armoire, from Urban Habitat in Burbank, had an Indonesian feel; it was repainted and glazed.

India de Beaufort Jane by Design
The office of India Jordain (India de Beaufort) was "designed to be hot and fiery like her character," Walker said.


Jane by Design India's office
In India's office, the wallpaper is more Graham & Brown. The orange lacquered armoire was from the Warner Bros. prop shop. Walker covered a mannequin in a funky paisley print and recovered lamp shades with red fabric. 


Jane by Design sets
In the conference room, Walker paired a serious conference table with yellow and orange Zody chairs from Haworth. "They are really expensive, but I love that they come in different colors," he said.


Erica Dasher Jane by Design
Another fun wall design, plus bell lights from Hye Lighting in Encino.


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-- Lisa Boone

Photo credits: ABC Family