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There’s no place like Home

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On the set of television’s most popular show, every ‘Improvement’ tells a story.

Think ’90s Norman Rockwell with a turbocharge. It’s just your average, middle-class American residence: framed photos of the kids, a complete set of the World Book Encyclopedia, functional furniture, fake-walnut cabinets…and enough space for the man of the house to blow up a dishwasher every once in a while.

Taylor-Made: The Taylor residence from a front-row perspective, “I wouldn’t exactly call it a style – more like a place to put your feet up,” says designer David Sackeroff. The set’s homeyness extends to such “ordinary” details as a wall-mounted Dustbuster, emergency numbers taped next to the phone, and a cabinet filled with mismatched sets of dishes.

Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly your average residence, but it’s the house that Tim and Jill Taylor (Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson) call Home Improvement on Disney Studios’ Stage 4 in Burbank, Calif. And with approximately 34 million Americans tuning in to their family travails each week on ABC, it’s the most visited living room in the nation.

The designer gleaned the set’s bric-a-brac from flea markets and the Disney prop house.

The set, based on executive producer Matt Williams‘ house in California, isn’t intended to evoke any particular interior-design style. “It’s not Architectural Digest,” admits designer David Sackeroff. He and his staff gleaned most of the Taylor bric-a-brac from flea markets and the Disney prop house – the look they were aiming for was tasteful, not decorated. They’ve thrown in som yin-yang touches to express Jill and Tim’s personalities – model cars, auto posters, and Detroit Lions paraphernalia go head-to-head with a Michigan Opera mug, cloth grocery bags, and fresh flowers. But, strangely, nothing in the house is from Allen’s bellowed Sears – although the Tool Time set is a whole other story.

Author: Kate Meyers
Photos: Tom Bonner
Source: Entertainment Weekly
Date: December 9th, 1994

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