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Guilty Inspiration: Gossip Girl

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Inspiration is a designer’s bread-and-butter.  It’s the source of good ideas, exciting jobs, and stunning results.  Sure, I can find design inspiration in all the normal, respectable places like an untouched landscape, the Louvre, and time spent with a Richard Serra sculpture but my secret treasure trove of note scribbling, heart palpitating sparks comes from a more guilty pleasure, a pre-teen novel turned tv show known as Gossip Girl.

The series revolves around the overflowing decadence of the elite teens in Manhattan’s high society circles. Bursting with scandals, impeccable fashion and razor sharp retorts, the glimmer of summer seems a bit tarnished by the hiatus of the best designed show on television.  The show’s interior accolades go to esteemed set designer Christina Tonkin.  Tonkin is best known for her elegant trendsetting interior designs on Sex and the City.

Samantha's kitchen from Sex and the City by Christina Tonkin

Tonkin kept the elegance going with her move to Gossip Girl and turned it up a notch with a calculated measure of Upper East Side restraint and quality.  The van der Woodsen penthouse is my favorite – successfully weaving between refined sophistication and sprightly modernism.  For maximum jealousy, check out the virtual tour of the penthouse by InStyle.

van der Woodsen penthouse from Gossip Girl

Serena’s bedroom features art by one of my favorites, Marilyn Minter.  The soft, creamy shades often seen on her bed are a combination of Barbara Barry and L’Erba (in the Private Sanctuary pattern) sheets, duvets and pillows.  There are so many glamorous details in each scene that you may want to watch the show as I do, DVR it and rewind frequently to check out a pair of shoes, interesting wallpaper or a great sconce.

Jawbreaker by Marilyn Minter


If you get tired of staring at all the beautiful homes, you can take a break by staring at the beautiful people. The fashion on Gossip Girl is gorgeous.  I’ve only included photos of Serena (Blake Lively) and Blair (Leighton Meester) but really the entire cast is on top of their game from the hint of a silk pocket square to Dior in the daytime.  With such a high and consistent dose of haute couture you might feel electrified and simultaneously as outdated as a butter-churning bonnet.

The high drama plot lines, questionable acting and underage drinking aside; it’s worth lowering the blinds and catching up on all four seasons.  If not for the drama, certainly for the inspiration.

If any of you out there dare to admit to watching the show, tell me your favorite characters, outfits, or rooms.  With the inescapable creeping of the summer reruns, what other shows should I check out for fab interiors?
[photos courtesy of]

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  1. Pingback: Winery Design in Napa Valley | Sonoma interior designer | Girly Modern

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