Amy Wells is the woman behind some of the most iconic sets in entertainment: She got two Emmy nods for her masterful work creating the authentic 1960s interiors on Mad Men and is the mastermind behind Cher’s iconic closet in Clueless.
Madeline’s beachfront home is classically beautiful. “There is lots of linen and traditional transitional furniture,” says Wells. “She’s not a modernist.
Big Little Lies character Madeline Mackenzie’s home
Meanwhile, Celeste’s expansive ranch-style home is filled with kids’ stuff. “Those kids really are the rulers of the roost,” notes Wells. “But this house is my favorite, hands down. We put everything we lust after here. Her rugs are exquisite. There isn’t anything in Celeste’s house that I wouldn’t have in my dream house.”
Big Little Lies character Celeste Wright’s home
And then, there’s Renata: “She is a very hard-edged, extremely successful career woman,” says Wells. “Her home reflects that wealth and her feeling that everything has to be perfect. Of all of the houses, this one is much more ‘this is the way it is—my way or the highway.’ It’s much more buttoned down, in that sense.”
Another image of Renata’s Klein’s beachfront home
Here, Wells spills her secrets:
Start with the sofa. “If you have a neutral velvet or a linen sofa, you really cut yourself a lot of slack. You can go crazy with everything else: wallpaper, pillows, side chair fabric, et cetera,” says Wells. “That’s where I started with Madeline. I got her a really beautiful sofa.”
Don’t scrimp when it comes to upholstery. “If you’re going to spend money on anything, spend it on the sofa (see above), and then, make sure it’s upholstered well,” says Wells. Nothing stands out more than a poor upholstery job. “Since Clueless, I’ve been a big fan of Cisco Home, so I go to them first. I started working with the founder more than 20 years ago when I was starting out. I wanted to order barstools from him for a project, but the lead time was long. I told him: ‘I’m going to get fired if I don’t get these barstools,’ and he got them for us. Since then, I’ve felt really connected to him and watched his company grow.”
HomeGoods is a treasure trove of accessories. Wells has said it once, and she’ll say it again: It’s her favorite place to hunt. “I go to all of them in the whole area,” she says, laughing. “The main one in Manhattan Beach has more expensive items than the one in the Valley.”
Use great pillows. “No matter what, pillows are crucial to finish off a look,” says Wells. “And don’t be sparing. They really dress it up, and it’s all about dressing up.”
When it comes to tchotchkes, knickknacks, and objets, less is more. “It’s better to have one or two great things than a ton of stuff that isn’t important looking,” explains Wells. “Avoid filling your house with things that don’t reflect the quality of your life or how you want your life to be. The bottom line is: no schlock!”