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24 February 2013

Mary Richards' Bachelorette Pad

Mary Richards' Bachelorette Pad 
During the first 5 seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, main character Mary Richards lived in an attic apartment in an old Queen-Anne style Victorian house in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

While the show itself was filmed in Hollywood, the exterior shots used were of a real 3-floor, 9000-square-foot house located at 2104 Kenwood Parkway, Minneapolis. In the real house, the space occupied the behind the window that was "Mary's apartment" was actually an unfinished attic area.  As on the show, the real house had been divided into apartments for a time, but renovations in recent years have returned it to a single-family dwelling. (Click here to see more on the house today.)

Mary Richards' Bachelorette Pad
Mary Tyler Moore during the filming of the show's opening credits.  Interesting to note, Ms. Moore never actually entered the real house.

When fans discovered its location, the Kenwood Parkway house quickly became a popular tourist destination. According to Mary Tyler Moore herself, the woman who lived in the house at the time was "overwhelmed by the people showing up and asking if Mary was around". More than a decade after The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended, the house was still attracting up to 30 tour buses a day...

Mary Richards' Bachelorette Pad

Mary Richards' Bachelorette Pad
A behind-the-scenes studio shot (top), a floorplan of Mary's pad (bottom).

Mary's apartment was conceived as a large 1-room studio, with a small kitchenette and a walk-through closet area leading to the bathroom. She rented the place for $130 a month.

Mary Richards' Bachelorette Pad
The set's Victorian moldings, Palladian window, and vaulted and beamed ceiling.

The architectual details on the set were in keeping with the Victorian style of the real house: elaborate moldings, a brick chimney rising through the space, an ornate Franklin stove, etc. The window on the real house was closely measured and photographed in order to reproduce it as faithfully as possible on set. The only architectual element out of place in a real attic space would have been the sunken living room.

Mary's eclectic décor mixed various thrift shop finds.  I love the shag carpeting...!

Mary's character was a single, working girl.  She was smart and had a good eye for decorating, but she also would have been on a tight budget.

Her furnishings were an eclectic mix of investment pieces, like her brown velvet hide-a-bed, and thrift store finds: wall-mounted jewelry racks, empty glass bottles, second-hand dishes, wicker pieces... and let's not forget the iconic "M" that graced the wall beside her front door...!

Mary Richards' Bachelorette Pad
Mary Richards made sleeping on a hide-a-bed seem so exciting...!

It was the set designers' attention to detail that made Mary's apartment so special, defining the Mary Richards character nearly as much as Mary Tyler Moore's acting. As in real life, Mary's interior changed over time, reflecting the character's evolution, as well as shifting tastes and styles.

Mary Richards' Bachelorette Pad
Mary's tiny kitchen (left) wood-burning stove (center), and walk-in closet (right).

When Mary Richards moved to a new, high-rise apartment at the beginning of the show's 6th season, much of her furniture followed her. The set designers reused and reupholstered Mary's furnishings, as Mary would have done in real life. Some pieces survived from very first episode of the series to the very last.

Mary's tiny kitchenette. A stained glass screen could be lowered for privacy.

Mary Richards' apartment on The Mary Tyler Moore Show is arguably one of the most famous rooms ever built in America, setting a standard that sitcom set designers try to meet to this day. In 1995, Entertainment Weekly deemed Mary's apartment "TV's most famous bachelorette pad"...

images: (1) bobcanada92.blogspot.ca
(2-6-7-8-9-10-11) hookedonhouses.net
(3-4) thewalkupblog.com

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Anonymous Suzanna said...

I used to wathc the show, and lvoed her apartment! I still love it!!!

6:26 pm  
Anonymous ErikwithaK said...

How could Rhoda have lived above her if she was on the top floor?

10:19 pm  
Anonymous erik said...

growing up in a suburb of minneapolis i was convinced that mary lived across town from us . i was crushed when my mother told me that she actually lived out in california . in spite of that i always thought of her as one of us

10:45 pm  

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