The role of a lifetime
While we’ve had a few furniture cameos over the past few years—The Fault in Our Stars (with Shailene Woodley) and D Train (starring Jack Black and James Marsden)—we were offered the role of a lifetime last summer.
Merissa Lombardo, a set decorator for various feature films, was working on an American sports movie, Southpaw, and reached out to us to furnish what would serve as the home of boxer Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the film.
Merissa has dressed too many big pictures to count (including The Fault in Our Stars) so obviously we were thrilled to work with her. And with the set being in Pittsburgh, it could not have been more perfect (we’re headquartered in Cleveland).
Recently we chatted with Merissa about the home she and her team literally emptied, repainted and refurnished in its entirety for the film.
The big questions on our mind, among others: Why us? How did she settle on the pieces she did? And do any of our designs play a key part in the film?
Describe the home and its former interior (before filming).
The home is a large, luxurious mansion. It’s modern but retains a very traditional feel with the architecture and detail. We wanted this to be reflected in the pieces we brought in to create Billy Hope’s home—strong modern pieces with clean lines that could also fit into a more traditional setting.
While beautiful to begin with, we did clear out the home so we could have a fresh interior to build a look around Billy and Maureen’s characters.
What did it take to transform it into Billy Hope’s home?
We wanted the home to feel like Maureen (Rachel McAdams) had helped select the furnishings to make their house feel grand but also like a home for her family. We wanted each piece to have a bold grounding presence, but also feel very comfortable as well.
We started from scratch—clearing out all of the homeowner’s furnishings and repainting the walls with a contemporary palette of greys, olives and lavenders, which would serve as the background for the pieces we brought in.
We brought in every piece of dressing, from the large furnishings and custom drapery to the smallest details to reflect the characters of the film. It was quite a massive undertaking, but the results were beautiful and well worth it!
What was the overall inspiration for the furniture and décor?
The inspiration very much came from analyzing the characters in the script and really trying to create a grand, luxurious home that also felt warm and inviting and where the loss of Maureen would be greatly felt in her absence. We tried hard to convey this through careful selection of each and every detail.
We also had the challenge of combining the modern and the traditional in keeping with the home’s aesthetic. We needed the pieces to feel like they were selected by these young characters who had recently come into success and wealth.
Was the décor representative of the characters in any way?
Absolutely. The pieces needed to feel like they were put together by Maureen. We used similar pieces and palettes in both the master bedroom and the little girl’s room to try to make them feel connected. We decorated the house with some relics from Billy Hope’s fights—choosing to create black and white photos of him boxing rather than trophies so these would feel like pieces of artwork.
Every detail was picked with the characters in mind.
How many rooms were furnished with Arhaus?
Almost every room had a piece of Arhaus in it. It was the perfect mix of traditional and modern, using quality fabrics and finishes that create the feeling of both luxury and comfort.
Was there any one room furnished by Arhaus that proved key to the film?
In the master bedroom, we chose an Arhaus headboard for the “hero’s” bed. It had a great texture and hue to it that worked well on camera. Plus, this room is the setting for many key moments in the film.
Describe the final set décor.
Classic. Modern. Luxurious but also comfortable.
What Arhaus pieces do you think are the statement makers?
Without a doubt, the bed in the master bedroom.
Also, the beautiful ceramics and planters for our pool set. We used these for all of our greens as they have the perfect finish.
The luxury leathers in both couches and some of the chairs were also perfect in the house. We used them in both the master living room and Billy Hope’s office.
Why did you choose Arhaus?
For the great mix of contemporary and traditional and for the design versatility that works in a family home or a luxe mansion. The finish quality of all of the furnishings is very rich and textural and looks fantastic on camera (and in real life!).
A few key pieces you’re likely to spot in the film:
1. Barrister bed 2. Nico armless leather chair 3. Harcourte nightstand 4. Baylen table lamp 5. Stella black counter stools 6. Rockway leather sofa 7. Rockway leather chair 8. Rockway leather ottoman 9. Charlotte étagère 10. Charlotte coffee table 11. Charlotte end table 12. Charlotte demilune 13. Kieran executive desk 14. Wright table lamp 15. Louise tea table 16. Brentwood recliner 17. Marni black cabinet 18. Archer end table 19. Pinot leather chair 20. Chester grand sofa
Southpaw opens in theaters across the country this Friday!