“I had been immersed in the romanticism of Bridgerton for a while, so that had to influence some of the things that I had been thinking about,” Rhimes, 52, explained to Architectural Digest earlier this month.
The executive producer detailed how the Regency-era London vibe in her new home came to be, saying, “Everything sort of spills into everything else. If I’m thinking about these books that we’re turning into a series, then that inevitably spills into how the apartment’s going to look, which inevitably spills into what goes in the scripts — it all sort of spins together.”
The Scandal creator made sure to fill her Upper East Side residence with her favorite Black artists including Hughie Lee-Smith and Walter Henry Williams Jr. For Rhimes, the apartment had to fuel her mind as she worked on her upcoming projects.
“This place is really about my work life,” she shared about the Manhattan spot that was designed by former White House interior designer Michael S. Smith. “I read too many books, I spend too much time living inside of books, so I envisioned a grand New York apartment.”
Rhimes showed off her Bridgerton-inspired space the same month that the regency romance series is set to debut its sophomore season. The series, which originally premiered in 2020, is the first project under Rhimes’ multi-year development deal with Netflix.
“I love the fact that, from the very beginning, you see Kate and Anthony and they’re at each other’s throats,” Rhimes said in an interview shared by Netflix in March. “They have nothing in common, and they don’t like each other. There’s been a series of misunderstandings between the two of them that have led Kate to make a decision about who Anthony is, and that decision snowballs all the way through the entire story.”
Even though Rhimes is excited for the enemies turned lovers romance to unfold, there was a larger message that she wanted to share with Bridgerton.
“To me, Bridgerton is about identity and the exploration of who you are as a person versus who society wants you to be,” she added at the time. “While a lot of people want to think that the show is just romance, romance is nothing without all of that rich, layered character experience, and watching these characters battle and fight for who they want to be inside.”
The screenwriter continued: “These people are trying to rise through the expectations that society has of them to become who they really are. That is really powerful. It makes for really powerful storytelling, and it enhances any romantic storyline we’re trying to tell.”
Scroll down for a look at how Bridgerton inspired Rhimes’ apartment: