Take away the complex relationships, the compelling socio-political undertones, and, of course, the sex, and Mad Men is still an incredible time capsule of a bygone era in design, all thanks to a production team that's obsessive enough to switch out a bowl of apples that look just a bit too oversized to actually hail from the 1960s. As much as the show, which will kick off its sixth season on Sunday night, is about the raucous, passion-fueled behavior of executives in the advertising world, so too is it a coming-of-age story for white carpeting and modern art, a lament about the final days of Murano glass ashtrays and crystal barware, a love story between burnt orange and turquoise, and an adventure tale starring Eames chairs and Saarinen tables. To fête the season premiere, here's Curbed's definitive Mad Men Starter Kit, containing everything an aspiring 1960s copywriter, housewife, or executive needs, including the fridge described by set decorator Claudette Didul as her "favorite appliance in the whole show."
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And now, in more detail...
1. Dizzying '60s wallpaper, like the optical-illusion stuff hanging on the wall of this restaurant. For inspiration, the set decorators look through decor books from the late 1950s and early '60s. "The colors of the rooms and furnishings are so vibrant in those books they almost make your teeth rattle," Didul told the L.A. Times. (More love-era wallpaper, this way.)
2. A brown Frigidaire from the 1964 World's Fair. "It's my favorite appliance in the whole show," Didul says. She initially spotted it in an old copy of the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine.
3. Orange shag carpeting. This one is in Don Draper's new living room.
4. Murano glass ashtrays, which, according to set decorator Amy Wells, are fairly easy to come by, are a staple in the homes and offices of Mad Men. "I get a lot of copper enamel ashtrays as well," she says.
5. A C. Jere wall sculpture, like the one found in Sterling Cooper's former Madison Avenue lobby. Shop here.
6. Because duh: an Eames molded plastic chair, preferably in one of those "teeth-rattling" colors.
7. A brown-and-green ceramic jardiniere. This oversized number seamlessly blends the substance of the 1950s with the hideousness of the 1970s.
8. Coral kitchen cabinets, like the ones in Don Draper's Manhattan digs.
9. Artemide's Nesso table lamp, like the one in Roger Sterling's sleek white-washed office.
10. Modern art: the splotchier the better.
11. Brass flamingos (or cranes? or herons?) in the living room.
12. Lots and lots (and lots) of burnt orange.
13. Funky gray armchairs. Didul chose them "because they reminded me of chairs I had seen on 'Bewitched,'" she says.
14. A Lied Mobler black leather lounge. "[Creator] Matt [Weiner] did not want—even though it would have been a perfect choice—the Eames lounge chair. Because it just would have been too cliché," Didul said in an interview with GQ.
15. A house once owned by Frank Sinatra and leased by Marilyn Monroe. The L.A. estate featured on the show's "The Jet Set" episode (Season 2) was built in 1951 for socialite Dora Hutchinson, who hosted the likes of Ava Gardner and Lucille Ball there. It's also where Judy Garland and Vicente Minnelli supposedly got married and, perhaps most intriguing of all, it's where Monroe and John F. Kennedy supposedly did some, err, rendezvous-ing. More info, right this way.
16. More. Wood. Paneling. It's really that simple.
17. Yes, that Saarinen table.
18. And, yes, that Saarinen chair.
19. Blue velvet, preferably tufted.
20. A 1964 white metal dinette set, like the one on Don Draper's Manhattan terrace.
21. White carpeting.
22. Crystal barware and a truly limitless amount of amber-colored alcohol.
23. A therapist-style chaise longue.
24. A sunken living room—bonus points for custom built-ins.
· 'Mad Men': The story behind Don Draper's new digs [L.A. Times]
· Set Decorator Claudette Didul on Don Draper's Swanky New Pad [GQ]
· Mad Men's Seductive Spaces [Elle Decor]
· All Mad Men coverage [Curbed National]