‘Elementary’- Is Anything But Elementary


This is my part two of the Sherlock series. I promise next week will be something more mainstream, as in pretty. I just had to do a comparison of the two shows, Sherlock and Elementary. I find the set designs very artistic, even if a little ugly (or a lot).

Elements of the Design:

First of all it has to be noted that this is a spacious brownstone home with alot of charm and historic, architectural detailing. As you can see you can put almost anything in it and it still looks tasteful. Well, that’s what one might think from a quick glance at the photos. In fact, there are some very pricey iconic designer pieces here, even though it may seem like a motley collection of hand-me-downs. I think the idea is that the furnishings are the remenants from previous owners. Sherlock is just a guest in his father’s investment property, and it isn’t really like a home at all. I think this speaks of Sherlock’s lack of interest in his surroundings. His high intellect is only taken with solving the dramatic and seemingly unsolvable puzzles of the city’s crimes. So it is by accident that Sherlock’s surroundings are so interesting. In some ways it looks like he just moved in and still hasn’t got everything in order.


What makes the design so interesting and edgey? Well, for one, it’s the iconic designer lamps and furniture. Secondly, is the contrast of the modern pieces with the traditional architecture and rugs. Thirdly would be the starkness of the interior, with the feel of an industrial warehouse space. We see that there is plenty of seating, but little in the way of tables and pretty objets d’art. Everything has a purpose and almost and industrial feel except the rug, sofa and one or two lamps. There is a warmth to the space, however, and this is from the colour palette, the books, the soft furnishings and the rug.

tumblr_mjf7m3BTzv1ri1p5ro1_500The Devil is in the Detail:

I just love the grid of locks. These are here for Sherlock to practice his lock-picking skills, but it also becomes a fantastic art installation, especially against the paint-peeled wall. Actually, the wall itself is a piece of art, telling a tale of history, resillience and character. It makes a very cool vingette with the oriental rugs, the modern desk, the piles of books, and the comfortable retro chair. Of course lighting is one of the most important elements of decor, and there is an abundance and variety of fantastic lighting, creating a wonderful abience.

Take Away Lesson:

In both variations of Sherlock Holmes Sherlock lives in a slightly dilapidated, but historical building. The decor in both is evidence of similar character traits, but the decors are different as well. In the British production everything seems slightly older and, of course, more compact.  This may speek to the general reality that living is more compact in London than in New York. Contrasts can create interest and be dynamic. In spite of what it may look like, you cannot throw a bunch of random pieces together, no matter how much you like them, and have a great design. It takes planning, and it takes discipline. You have to have a vision and a goal.

Create a Scene:

If you want to create this look in your space there are alot of items available today. Design Within Reach has great mid-century modern pieces. Restoration Hardware has a line of industrial design pieces. And you can always go hunting at antique stores, flea markets, auctions and second hand stores to create your own look. It’s a great way to use your own creativity.

Have a great March Break!   


By | 2017-06-22T18:15:34+00:00 March 7th, 2014|Set Design & Interior Design|0 Comments