Even as a little girl, I was captivated by the homes I saw on TV.
I remember puzzling over what was behind the fireplace wall in the Ricardos’ apartment on “I Love Lucy.” I thought the Stephenses’ house on “Bewitched” was the epitome of ’60s suburban chic.
Even now, I find myself fixating on the architecture of the houses I see on the screen. Where does the first-floor hallway lead in Ray and Debra Barone’s house on “Everybody Loves Raymond?” What’s with that alcove with the cool library card catalog in “Big Bang Theory?”
Apparently, Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde and I have a lot in common.
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Lizarralde is an interior designer from the Basque Country of northern Spain with a quirky hobby: He loves to draw floor plans of houses and apartments from TV shows and movies. He sells his original drawings on the online marketplace Etsy (as well as prints through the website Deviant Art.
The pastime started four or five years ago when, just for fun, he created a floor plan of Frasier Crane’s apartment from the sitcom “Frasier.”
“I really liked the series and his apartment, and I wanted to see him — molded,” he told me in an email interview sprinkled with delightfully peculiar phraseology. Lizarralde does not speak English, so I was impressed by the pains he took to answer my questions using translation software.
Some time after his Frasier drawing, a friend who was a huge fan of “Sex and the City” asked him to re-create Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, and then the apartment from “Friends.” He’s since drawn floor plans of at least a dozen more on-screen homes — among them, Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment, the home of Marge and Homer Simpson, the house from “The Golden Girls” and Dexter Morgan’s apartment from the series “Dexter.” He even drew Lucy and Ricky’s apartment, confirming my suspicion that the hallway to their bedroom was behind that fireplace.
Creating floor plans isn’t as simple as you might think. Sets are often built to fool the eye, Lizarralde explains, so many of the rooms are shaped like trapezoids — wider in the front than in the back, creating an illusion of depth.
And particularly with sitcoms taped before audiences, the rooms on the set aren’t necessarily attached to one another the way they would be in reality. They might be scattered around the studio, and their proportions or elements might not fit together coherently or logically.
Sometimes the set changes over the life of a series. Sometimes the complete house or apartment is never shown, so Lizarralde has to engage in a little creative license.
Typically, he says, he starts his research by downloading a movie or an entire series. Then he spends a couple of hours fast-forwarding through the scenes to find all the information he needs to re-create the set.