Set Design on “Scandal:” Olivia Pope’s Apartment and Office

Set Design on TV Show Scandal Kerry Washington collageOnce I started watching Scandal, the juicy new drama on ABC, I couldn’t stop. The first season was streaming on Netflix over the holidays and I spent an entire weekend burning through one episode after another. It’s addictive. Now the show’s well into Season 2 and the twists and turns just keep on coming.

Kerry Washington stars as D.C. “fixer” Olivia Pope. Let’s take a look at her chic apartment and office on the show.

Olivia Pope’s Apartment

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope on TV show Scandal

Olivia has a piano in the corner of her living room, but she doesn’t have a lot of time to play it. She’s one busy lady. I don’t think she ever eats or sleeps.

Olivia Pope's apartment on Scandal-living room 5

When Fitz (also known as the President, played by Tony Goldwyn) visits Olivia’s apartment for the first time, he says,  “I imagined your place a thousand times. I like it. It’s very you.”

Quinn and Paris Gellar in Olivia Pope's apartment

Anyone else get excited when Gilmore Girls Liza Weil appeared on the show? (She played Paris Geller on G.G.) Without spoiling anything for those of you who haven’t watched all the episodes yet, let’s just say her story arc didn’t end well for her…

Olivia Pope's apartment on Scandal-living room 3

Sometimes the show can get a little too violent for me–I’m a total wuss about that stuff, like the torture scenes with Huck, or when his “family” was found dead. I have to watch some scenes through my fingers or do some fast-forwarding. Just thought I’d warn those of you who are as squeamish as I am!

Olivia Pope's apartment on Scandal-living room 6

On a recent episode of the sitcom Happy Endings, Penny and Brad are alone with Alex’s parrot when it suddenly keels over, dead. They panic, and ask, “Quick! What would Kerry Washington on Scandal do?”

The answer: “Demand to see the President and almost make out with him.” Yeah, that’s pretty much it!

Olivia Pope's apartment on Scandal-living room 4

When the show returned this January, Olivia’s apartment looked different. My guess is that the earlier episodes were filmed on location and now they’re using a set. It’s similar, but not quite the same. Here’s how the entry and living room sets look now:

Scandal Olivia's apartment new set 2

4/13 UPDATE: People magazine just published photos of the apartment set:

Scandal TV show set photo ABC

Production Designer Corey Kaplan told the mag, “The space is based off of apartments in the El Royale in Los Angeles, designed by William Douglas Lee of the Chateau Marmont in 1927. We loved the moldings and the embellishments, but we made it a little bit larger scale with larger arches.”

Vulture featured a couple more set photos in May 2013 (courtesy Danny Feld and ABC):

Olivia's piano on Scandal

In her apartment there aren’t any signs of Olivia’s childhood: “You don’t see baby pictures, a mother or father,” Production Designer Corey Kaplan explains, because we don’t know a lot about her past–and show creator Shonda Rhimes wants to keep it that way.

Olivia's dining room on Scandal via Vulture

Vulture reports: Because Pope is always working, “she doesn’t do much entertaining,” Kaplan says. The goal, then, was to keep her place simple. “She decorates for comfort. She isn’t that fussy.”

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Olivia’s kitchen is small but striking with black subway tile and white cabinets. I always want to see more of it, but she’s not the kind of woman who cooks a lot…

black subway tile in Olivia Pope's kitchen

8/13 UPDATE: I just discovered an official Scandal blog devoted to the sets where you can see lots of behind the scenes photos. Very cool! Check it out.

Olivia Pope's apartment on Scandal-kitchen

Olivia Pope's apartment on Scandal-kitchen 3

Looking down the hall into her bedroom:

Olivia Pope's apartment on Scandal-hall to bedroom

It’s hard to see much in this nighttime shot of Olivia’s bedroom, but that bedding of hers made an impression on viewers:

Olivia Pope's apartment on Scandal-bedroom

If you’re one of the readers who was searching for it, it’s from West Elm:

Olivia Pope's bedding from Scandal-West Elm

We also got a look at her bedroom in the daytime on a recent episode–although it was just a teaser of a glimpse. (Someone please tell the photographers we want them to back up and show us more of the rooms instead of herky-jerky bits and pieces!)

Olivia's bedroom on Scandal-purple headboard

We also got a quick glance at the closet doors next to her bed:

Olivia's bedroom on Scandal-closet doors

And the dresser on the other side of the room:

Olivia's bedroom on Scandal-dresser

Kerry Washington’s wardrobe on the show has gotten a lot of attention–especially that signature white trench coat of hers:

Olivia Pope in her white trenchcoat on Scandal

Scandal was inspired by Judy Smith, a real-life “fixer” based in D.C. and L.A.

Judy A. Smith photo-Scandal

Olivia Pope’s Office:

exterior of Olivia Pope Associates office building

Entertainment Weekly recently ran an article about the show: “The dirty secret of ‘Scandal': One of TV’s most ridiculous, chaotic bat#@!*-crazy shows is also one of its best.”

They went on to say that Scandal “is the new Revenge” (another fave of mine, although this season hasn’t been nearly as good as the first!).

office set on TV show Scandal 5

The set designers went all out when they created Olivia’s office. There’s not a standard cubicle in sight.

Olivia Pope's office on Scandal TV show 4

I love all the gleaming wood and the interesting windows it has.

Olivia Pope's office on Scandal TV show

Her team uses the windows in the conference room to hang notes and photos about cases they’re researching. They are constantly rearranging them like giant bulletin boards.

office set on TV show Scandal

ABC introduced the new show last year:

From the creator and executive producers of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” comes a drama revolving around the life and work of a professional crisis manager and her dysfunctional staff.”Scandal” was written by Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice”).

office set on TV show Scandal 2

Any Everwood fans out there? I was ridiculously excited when Scandal had an episode with two Everwood alums–Tom Amandes who played Dr. Harold and Brenda Strong who played Dr. Andy’s belated wife–as a married couple. (Their storyline was a lot more twisted than anything we would have seen on Everwood, however!)

Tom Amandes and Brenda Strong on Scandal

Not only that, but Debra Mooney, who was Harold’s mom on Everwood, is Verna Thornton on Scandal. Could you believe how her storyline ended last week? Shocker!

Cast of Everwood-Debra Mooney

The dramatic wood table makes a great centerpiece for the room (a reader left a link to the manufacturer in the comments).

office set on TV show Scandal 3

Henry Ian Cusick played Stephen Finch, Olivia’s right-hand man in the first season, but he left before the second. He was also in that spooky Demi Moore movie Half-Light that I featured last year.

cast of the TV show Scandal in Olivia's office

Anyone else hooked on Scandal? You can watch episodes online at ABC.com

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P.S. Visit Houses Onscreen to see more, including…

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Comments

  1. ShabbyChick says

    I never watch network television….but I would like to know, what is a “fixer”?

    • says

      You got a problem that could turn into a scandal in D.C.? Call a fixer! Kind of like extreme P.R. I guess. Olivia Pope has seen it all and taken care of just about any kind of potentially scandalous situation you can think of.

  2. Maddie says

    This show is my favorite new show, and I love the many twists and turns. Last week’s episode was amazing!!! I think the office is a perfect set because there are wonderful vintage details paired with some modern furniture and photographs so dark and mysterious (no one one this show is what they seem). Olivia’s apartment is so like her character, classic and controlled. I never noticed the molding on the front door and I really like it. Thanks, Julia for writing about this wonderful show.

  3. Debbie says

    Love Scandal and Revenge! My husband doesn’t like Scandal so I record and watch it late at nite! I hope lot’s of people watch and keep it on the air, thanks for listening.

  4. victoria says

    I got hooked on this show when the 1st season streamed on Netflix. Now i watch weekly…Love it!

  5. Posey says

    I LOVE Scandal! I’ve been hooked from the first episode, haven’t missed a one. I also LOVE the office, all the wood, moldings, windows, trim, it’s gorgeous!

  6. says

    I really need to watch more than the Food channel and HGTV – there seem to be some good shows out there! I love that table *drool*

  7. N.C. Lisa T. says

    Her apartment bores me, but that office is incredible!!!

  8. Jen says

    not sure if i like her place but it suits her and love that wood table iner office

  9. says

    Okay, I love these in-depth TV show de-constructions. I sort of wish I was watching this show. Just finished off Netflix season one thru four of Breaking Bad and am looking for my replacement fix. Your readers would HATE the horrible Southwest sets. H-A-T-E. I know I do. Picking up Downton Abbey as a replacement. Intriguing.

  10. Screendoorgirl 3 says

    Yay! I’ve been watching Scandal here and there , and of course was excited to see Olivia’s place. It’s so pretty and “just right”, as so many sets are. What a fun job it must be to create them.I also love her clothes and her coats! Thanks for sharing the fun!

  11. says

    Love this show. And last week’s episode was such a shocker! Didn’t see that coming at all.

  12. Billy says

    Any one else annoyed by the broken window panes in the conference room? And the director needs to stop shooting threw the beveled glass 30% of the time.

    Other than that the sets are grate.

    • says

      There is a lot of “artistic” shooting through the beveled glass! It made getting screenshots a little difficult at times.

      • Sara says

        The broken glass bothers me too. I’ve gotten used to the beveled glass shots.

  13. Brigid says

    Love this show! Finding it interesting that her bedroom only has one nightstand or side table…makes a statement about being single? Or that there aren’t any permanent guests sleeping on the other side lol! I like her apartment, it’s understated, and no nonsense, like she is…like the first living room better. Love that conference room table! Last week…WOW!
    Have a great day!

  14. Kimberly says

    Can anyone tell me what paint color is used in Olivia Popes living room decor and where I may be able to find the mirror and desk in the entryway?

  15. says

    I loveh set of Scandal. I watch 77% of the time to see the decor :)
    I love that kitchen! Notice the upper cabinets are a little higher than most .. adds drams to the backspash, I think.

  16. says

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  17. Shannon says

    I love her bedroom and noticed a chair in the corner of Olivia’s bedroom last week that I love. Any idea where to find it?

  18. says

    New to watching Scandal and I have to ask – does anyone anywhere have any clue who makes the curtains or fabric from Olivia’s living room? They don’t seem to be the same as the pillows because they have a line or vine and I am dying to have this fabric for my home!

  19. Johannes says

    Hello,
    I have a question that for some reason Google doesn’t seem to have the answer for, odd as that is.
    Does anyone know who made the big Office table and were i might be able to get it from? I think it would look wonderful in my beautiful kitchen…
    Oh and this is the best political show out there right now.
    Nice blog
    Thanks

  20. Berda says

    I too LOVE, LOVE the conference table!!!! Where can I get it!!

  21. kfpaige says

    Hello again…I am dying to find out what paint color is used in Olivia Pope’s bedroom and livingroom . I have looked everywhere… can anyone please tell me. Please…please help. Thank you

  22. ashlee macdonald says

    I’ve also looked for the paint color of the office with no luck found.

  23. Sara says

    I adore everything EXCEPT the hideous wood flooring in her apartment. How can they have such a gorgeous wood table and that gross parquet flooring? I’m thinking a wide plank dark walnut floor would ground the rugs and light colored walls quite well. Is it just me that hates the flooring?? Ugh.

  24. Wendy says

    Love the show and the set design. Any idea where I can find the round mirror that is in the entryway/foyer?

  25. Bunny says

    Love the floor lamp in Billy Chambers apartment. Does anyone know who makes it. Got to have one! Thanks.

  26. erica says

    the painting hanging behind Olivia’s desk…can anyone tell me who painted it, how I can get a print? I love it.

  27. Pam S says

    I love the painting above Olivia’s desk in her office. Any idea who the artist is???

  28. J V says

    Do you know what is the building that is shown as if it was the outside of Olivia’s office. I live in DC and wonder if it is actually here :-)

  29. Dave says

    Anyone know where to buy the pendant lights above the conference table? They are so cool!