Set Designer David Cook on ‘The Kids Are Alright’



Director Lisa Cholodenko’s latest film, The Kids Are All Right from Focus Features, follows longtime couple Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) as they enjoy family life with their two children in Southern California. When the sperm donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo), enters the picture, things get a bit hairy, but ultimately Nic and Jule’s love and their commitment to their family pulls them through.

Although Nic and Jule’s story is quite modern, the design of their home is distinctly traditional. The Arts and Crafts house chosen for the exterior shots is located in Venice, but according to set decorator David Cook, it was meant to evoke a Sherman Oaks or Pasadena home. “We wanted to represent them as a contemporary American family,” says Cook. “I just thought of them as two loving parents trying to provide the best stable home for their children.” Inside the house, Cook created a lived-in look with a mix of old and new pieces and used plenty of wood and warm tones for interior finishes. Because Cook was limited by the modest budget of the film, he sourced items from flea markets and garage sales all over Los Angeles. “Many of the decorations were pulled from our own homes, friends’ homes—wherever we could to get the appropriate look for the money,” says Cook, who was able to build a history for the family with the eclectic mix of accessories at his disposal. “As we started filming and got to know the characters better, we added items to the house that represented each of their stories and personalities.”


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