Chances are you're more familiar with Christina Tonkin than you realize. If you’ve ever ogled at Charlotte York’s Upper East Side apartment on Sex in the City or gawked at Serena van der Woodsen’s plush pad from Gossip Girl, then you've seen her work.
Christina is the full-time Set Decorator for the guilty pleasure, Gossip Girl. We recently had a chat about what it’s like to create stunning apartments for the young, rich and fabulous.
"Rich" being a key word. Often times TV characters have opulent homes which their characters could never afford, but the kids on Gossip Girl are rolling in dough. So are the sets equally as expensive to attain?
Christina does get to have fun in stores like ABC Home and Desiron, but you’ll be glad to know that she stretches a dollar like the rest of us. For example, the egg chairs in the Waldorf Penthouse, seen above, are knock-offs from Designer Seating, purchased for about $600 then recovered with leather from WeLeather.
The infamous headboard in Serena’s room? Just foam over plywood and upholstered with fabric that was $25 a yard.
Even accessories, like the above vase in the van der Woodsen penthouse, came from Crate&Barrel. Christina says other great resources are Bloomingdales or the bargain bins at The Conran Shop for pillows and tchotchkes.
To create elegance on a budget, she suggests choosing a lot of reflective objects. Just scroll through her rooms and you’ll see well-placed silver pillows, lamps, glass orbs and crystal ashtrays.
And with so many styles under her belt, who’s home is closest to her own? That would be Charlotte York’s flat with the grand living room and mix of antique and modern furniture.
The most challenging character to design for? Infusing her style into Chuck Bass’ bachelor pad. The pool table, found on Criagslist, is not exactly Christina's taste. However recovering it with turquoise felt — that’s all her.
For much more work including rooms from Sex in the City, visit her online portfolio.
And be sure to catch Christina giving a tour of the Gossip Girl set this Sunday on LXTV at 8:30 am.
Images: Property of Malchus Janocko, used with permission
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