The show’s production designer Rich Murray said he decided to “attack" designing her apartment "with all the Easter eggs and inside jokes you could find"
The show’s production designer Rich Murray revealed in an interview with Variety that he wanted to add in several nods from the award-winning actress's long career throughout the apartment of her scatterbrained character, Loretta Durkin — who's also an actress (albeit a much less successful one).
Murray told the outlet he had only gotten a single brief from showrunner John Hoffman describing the character as a “charming and warm” woman who “has lived in the same studio apartment" in New York City for close to four decades — so he said he decided to “attack with all the Easter eggs and inside jokes you could find.”
This included adding in several quirky — and somewhat obvious — details into her American in Paris-inspired apartment, including a whole Kramer vs. Kramer bulletin board on Loretta’s refrigerator which Murray said “closely mimics" the one "over her son Billy Kramer’s bed in the film.”
“And there’s a Christmas card from her character to Billy. So we recreated that card and hung the images around it,” he added.
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There are also some more subtle details, including a Devil Wears Prada-inspired bookcase, which Murray said contained “the logo of the film” across the book spines.
Additionally, there is an ottoman covered in a burlap fabric with a Kenyan coffee design — a nod to Streep's Out of Africa character Karen Blixen, who “lived on a coffee plantation.”
There are also small pieces like a framed hanging tea towel with the name "Emmeline Pankhurst," her character’s name in 2015’s Suffragette, and a vase full of tulips on Loretta's desk — a reference to Julie & Julia (2009), when Streep and Stanley Tucci’s characters have dinner in the movie.
“They’re in a booth and there is a gorgeous arrangement of French tulips that looked like they had been moved a couple of times. It was this gargantuan arrangement," Murray told Variety. "So I always put an arrangement of French tulips on her desk, and they were weirdly arranged like in the film."
He said he also added in various scripts from movies and plays Streep has been in throughout the years on a desk in Loretta's apartment.
Viewers get their first look at the details of the apartment in Only Murders in the Building when Martin Short’s character Oliver stops by for dinner in episode 5 of the show’s third season, while investigating yet another death — this time of Loretta's costar Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd).
“It has a lot of built-in quirkiness with drop-down, pull-down things,” Murray said of Loretta's apartment. “Everyone has everything so neatly finessed, tucked in and tightened cornered, and so we sort of pull from that.”
New episodes of Only Murders in the Building season 3 air Tuesdays on Hulu.
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