Mary Tyler Moore turns 76 today (Dec. 29, 2012). She, of course, starred as Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Mary Richards lived in a charming studio apartment that, for many of us who grew up in the ’70s, fueled our fantasies of what our own first apartments might look like.
How did they come up with the design of Mary’s apartment? They actually found the window first, and the rest of the set was designed around it. Did you know that in the house used for the exterior shots, there was only unfinished attic space behind Mary’s window? (It has since been made into a media room and office space.) The sunken living area’s true purpose was to make sure all the actors in a scene could be visible. Great thought went into all the furnishings and accessories—even the cookie jar. Here are some tips on how to furnish and accessorize your apartment just like Mary’s!
Here’s a page about Mary’s apartment including photos from various angles that highlight the different features — the galley kitchen, the bookshelves, the beamed ceilings, etc.
See the inside of the actual house, including what it looked like in 2009.
The only problem I had w/ the layout was that while that window was on the 3rd floor of the house, on the show her apt was on the 2nd floor, as she had to go up another floor to get to Rhoda’s place. Eventually later establishing shots focused on the 2nd floor rather than the 3rd, before she moved to the high-rise apt in Season 6.
You’d think they would have thought of that and put Rhoda’s place across the hall instead of upstairs — but since Rhoda’s place couldn’t be as nice as Mary’s, I guess they thought the “attic” was where it had to be. I’m sure they never imagined at the time that so many people would become obsessed with that apartment!
I remember that the exterior shot would focus on one of the gables (?) on a corner of the building, on the 3rd floor, to establish Rhoda’s apt from the outside. I remember all the pink in that place, and the show went back to her apt once more in Season 5, after Rhoda had moved back to NYC, when Lou Grant moved in there temporarily.