Ex-squeeze me? The Mindy Project, Pt1

The Mindy Project is one of my favourite TV series. I can return to it time and time again and never get bored.

I love creator and producer, Mindy Kaling‘s style. I love that she is hugely into rom-coms (a woman after my own heart) and that her work usually evokes a sentiment from her experiences in life.

For those not in the know, Kaling was a staff writer for The Office (the American one) and starred as character Kelly Kapoor, weaving her own brand of comedy into the mix through the unfiltered words of Kelly. She has more recently written and produced Champions and Never Have I Ever for Netflix, the latter of which left me balling my eyes out by the series finale.

Then there is her film work; she pops up in The 40 Year Old Virgin and voiced the character Disgust in Pixar’s Inside Out to name just two. More of interest to me is her own work, specifically charming and universally enigmatic rom-com Late Night and the recent TV series remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral that she produced (which I am yet to find on UK platforms).

The Mindy Project follows title character Mindy Lahiri, an OBGYN, as she navigates her career and love life in the eternally romantic, yet somewhat chaotic and disastrous, New York City setting. I actually rewatched the finale very recently, which gave me a little nudge to complete this post. Strike while the iron(mongery) is hot. That was a terrible play on design words – apologies – I’ll try harder next time.

A complete romantic, master of bringing babies into the world, food loving, often over-dramatic heroine, Mindy is an effervescent 30-something (who consistently lies about her age with little success) at Shulman & Associates. Her serious job and unsociable hours do not stop this feisty title character from striving for boyfriend and style perfection, with some failed attempts along the way, always bringing a sense of vibrant frivolity and drama to her work and home life. She is a fictional female boss, witty as they come and fabulous.

I enjoy every moment of girly indulgence, paired with a clever balance of male v female humour, including the way she weaves characters who are completely flawed and yet earnestly relatable and ultimately, very likeable, nay, loveable. Mindy herself is one such character. She spreads joy, colour and sometimes bbq sauce, over everything she touches. My delve into The Mindy Project‘s set interior will commence over three posts.

First up is a look at her Brownstone apartment. Mindy Lahiri’s apartment has to be, on some level, every girly girls dream. It is Fun with a capital F, dedicated to femininity and comfort in equal measure. It is mainly the use of colour that I adore so much; I am all too often not brave enough to inject that much-needed vibrancy into my own home, instead sticking to my muted grey palette and the occasional smoky blue and ‘Hobgoblin’ (read – bluey green). Mindy’s character however lives and breaths colour, from her extensive wardrobe of jewel tones to the bright and sunny palette that evades her apartment, here, the set design team has woven endless colour into Mindy’s home.

Red feature wall, wrought iron spiral staircase, hardwood flooring and risky white sofa with dangerously close glass of red!

Now we’re going to overlook the fact that in house price terms, this would be a hefty rent to pay every month, but she is a doctor, so there is that. Mindy’s apartment is full to the brim with furnishings, patterns, colour and contrast. It has a base palette of a soft off-white with hardwood flooring throughout and a bold choice of a white sofa (white???), which opens up the floor to colour, colour, colour in the furniture, accessories, artwork and occasional pop of a feature wall.

The apartment shifts and evolves as each series does. We begin with an almost postbox red feature wall, highlighting the wrought iron staircase feature (which leads nowhere to begin with and is largely used to hang her dry cleaning on) and this contrasts beautifully against the soft, buttoned mini Chesterfield and reflective accessories, such as the cylindrical mirror side table that stands like a glittering earring. Brass console tables and a glass topped dining table free up visual space to allow for the more romantic and playful pieces of furniture to shine.

Demonstrating the bright and breezy easy flow of Mindy’s apartment

Turquoise and a shade of sunset orange are colours that flash through the apartment across it’s relatively open-plan layout. Whether it is in artwork on the walls or upholstered in a chair, these colours bring some harmony into the space and make sense of the rooms for a character such as Mindy. Pattern meets texture with the use of aqua velvets, Chartreuse florals and hot pink bed throws, cushions, coral curtains… pink is kind of everywhere.

An early episode showing the bold attitude of title character and her interiors. Coral curtains, glass top dining table, Aqua velvet buttoned bench and even pink agate bookmarks

Geometric cushion prints and textured but screen printed, oriental influenced rugs sit together like donuts in a Krispy Kreme sharer dozen box; they are both sweet, inviting and irresistible. Slender glass and brass pieces of furniture are contrasted against chunkier vintage chests of drawers that have other been painted or reveal its mango wood origins. There is even a Mid-Century modern piece that backs on to the sofa for some cool, Mad Men vibes.

A new, more refined and modern staircase, mid-century furniture on display but still with those reflective, skyscraper-like side tables

The kitchen is again back to plain basics and is tucked neatly into a corner that rarely gets used expect to hold empty pizza boxes, pastries and store wine.

A simple kitchenette for simple needs. Food. I spy pastries.

In her bedroom there is more of that ‘Tiffany’ turquoise tone and again matched with a lucite leg desk, pops of coral, button detailing, and an overwhelming sense of a grown up trying to hold on to her youth with the layered and slightly chaotic feel to it.

A little girls’ bedroom, complete with bike for journeys/escapes from disastrous weddings

As the story moves on, so does Mindy’s apartment in some subtle ways. It always retains its sense of fun and familiarity but with some additions following the *SPOILER ALERT* birth of her son Leo, converting her former walk-in closet into a bedroom and we see the spiral staircase switched up for something altogether more grand after an episode that see’s Mindy purchase the apartment above her.

Leo’s bedroom, the former walk-in closet/wardrobe

I could go on but I’ve been made aware that blog posts aren’t supposed to be epic sagas so I shall stop here and bring you part two (Mindy’s office and Danny Castellano’s apartment) another day. For now I shall leave you with the wise words of Lahiri herself …‘I’m sorry, are you saying that I’m not cultured? I’m deeply cultured. I’ve been to London.’ Me too Mindy, me too.

Design Facts and Credits:

Name: The Mindy Project
Year: 2012 – 2017
Creator: Mindy Kaling

Production Design
Kathleen Widowmski
Michael G. Gallenberg
Clark Hunter

Series Art Direction
Yvonne Garnier-Hackl
Kathleen Widomski
Chikako Suzuki
Helen Harwell

Series Set Decoration
Lori Mazuer
Laura Evans
Wanda ‘Beau’ Peterson
Cynthia McCormac
Mel Cooper
Shauna Aronson


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