I was amused to run across this description of the homes for the new ABC series GCB. While the women may be gossipers, at least they have good taste and don’t live in McMansions:
The production team spent four days scouting historic and modern houses in Texas, soaking up local color in the tony Dallas enclaves of Highland Park, Preston Hollow and University Park. “We visited homes, churches, country clubs, offices, stores, etc., and immersed ourselves in everything Dallas,” says Dugally, an Emmy nominee in 2004 for Arrested Development. The pilot was shot on location, though Los Angeles doubles for Dallas in the series. “It was not an easy task as Dallas is known for its large expanses of property, many without high fences or security and lots of brick architecture,” she adds. “Los Angeles is full of palm trees that don’t do well in Dallas. We were able to find several wonderful houses and a great church in the L.A. basin that serve as the exteriors for our show.”
Although Dallas certainly earns its bigger-is-better notoriety — Aspen’s housewife character has a French Country-style kitchen with a countertop deep fryer and three double ovens — Dugally notes that the houses they saw there weren’t McMansions. “Dallas is the most cosmopolitan city in Texas. Most of the money is old money,” says the designer. “I said, ‘Let’s give our characters taste.’ We made a very conscious decision that the look be over-the-top but still elegant.”
For the home of Amanda’s colorful mother Gigi (Potts), production designer Dugally wanted the interiors “to remain very upscale but traditional.” Front and center is the ornate, winding staircase with a landing topped by a gold leafed dome. Asian accents, custom-designed wallpapers by Astek in Los Angeles and white wainscoting are just a few of the design elements used for the warm gold- and cream-toned decor.
Gun-toting Gigi gets her own rifle-display room. “It’s completely taken from memory from a house I saw in Dallas,” says Dugally. Among the animal trophies is a mounted javelina. In high school, Bibb’s Amanda character had branded ugly-duckling Carlene as one of the creatures, a relative of the pig that’s native to the Southwest. Says Dugally, “Our executive producer Robert Harling wanted a javelina wherever we could get one, and he was so thrilled we found it. It’s so ugly.”
Read on for descriptions of some of the other houses.
Perhaps the characters on the show have some reason to have more taste – perhaps they are educated and/or have money. The inspiration for the fictional Hillside Park is supposedly Highland Park, a well-known Dallas suburb that is quite monied (a median household income of about $150k). If you have enough money, you don’t need a “traditional McMansion” to impress people because you don’t want to look like the nouveau riche and would prefer to show your wealth through refined and expensive accoutrements.
But the decision to have them avoid McMansions is still intriguing, particularly if they wanted the houses to be over-the-top. Even diva or “sassy” characters on TV can’t have McMansions because this would reflect badly on them.