In Depth: I Love Lucy
Updated: Jun 10, 2021
One of the first things you'll notice, as is usual with a TV home, is that the walls are at odd angles. Some of the walls splay out, rather than being at a normal 90 degree angle. This allows the cameras to easily move around and get great shots. But, in real life, most homes are not built like that.
You'll notice that I added a bathroom. This is the 2nd apartment shown on the show. In the first one, a bathroom was insinuated as being behind the wall their beds were on. However, in this apartment, no bathroom was ever even suggested. So, I took the liberty of putting an access to a bathroom inside of their master closet. There just simply was no other place to put it. And we all know they had to have a bathroom.
Lucy and Ricky had 2 apartments on the show and later a house out in the country. The first two apartments were very similar. And, yet when they upgraded to the second one, it wasn't just for the added nursery for Little Ricky. In an episode shortly after they move into the new apartment, Ricky walks around talking about how much more luxurious it is. So, I wanted to examine them side by side.
So many similarities, but here are some notable differences. In the first apartment there is no window or nook where the piano sits. Also, it is clear that the length of the wall that the piano is on is longer in the 2nd apartment. In both apartments the entry door comes in at an angle, but in the 2nd apartment there is more width on each side of the door - so, again, the 2nd apartment is more spacious. There is also a lot more molding going on in the 2nd apartment. There are panels of molding beside the door, above the nook and in the hallway as you enter into the bedroom.
The kitchens are very similar too. Let's take a look.
And, this is the kitchen in Lucy's 2nd Apartment, Apt. 3D. This is from the I Love Lucy Museum, where they recreated the set. Notice how the wall with the oven splays out. That was done for filming purposes. I kept it in my walk through, so that we would be seeing it as close as possible to how it was on TV.
And here it is in black and white.
And above, is my recreation of the kitchen for the tour.
The kitchens look about the same size. However, in the 1st apartment a door takes up some of the space on the wall with the refrigerator. So, there was less counter space. Also, instead of an island, we now have a table and chairs. In the first apartment, the wall that the stove is on is not at an angle, like in the second apartment.
The Ricardo home all dressed up for Christmas.
Lucy probably would have opened up that wall in today's world. However, it was an apartment and they were renting, so Fred and Ethel, the landlords, would have had to been in on the renovation. And I just can't see Fred forking over the money for that. So, I'm sure Lucy would have come up with a scheme to get the funding.
A lot of TV homes had a separation between the kitchen and the living room, but had folding shutters to be able to open it up when needed. Think of Bewitched, both I Love Lucy apartments and Happy Days. I am wondering if this was just a design trend, or if it developed out of a need for episodes when some action was taking place in one room that needed to be separated from the other. I'm leaning towards the latter, since those shows span decades from the 50's through the 70's. That makes me think it was not just a design trend.
And, we can't have a blog without mentioning the two single beds! Love it. This was true on Leave it to Beaver, I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke show.
I've had a few people contact me saying that there was no window to the right of Ricky's bed, but rather a door to a bathroom. That was true in their first apartment. This is a depiction of their 2nd apartment. I'll include a photo from the show so you can see the difference.
Lucy and Ricky's address on the show was 623 E. 68th St., which is in the upper east side - it would actually be in the East River, but just a block away is the upper east side, so we'll go with that.
Next up is my call outs for the furnishings in the 1950's apartment - similar items you can find today. I have received no compensation for these call outs. I just went on line searching for things you could buy that are similar.
To see other iconic TV homes, you can visit the home page at: https://www.mockingbirdlane.design/