How Drew Barrymore Made Her Talk Show Set Feel Like Home
Making a space your own is something everyone aspires to—even our favorite stars. In our series, The Spruce Up, we chat with celebs to bring you behind the scenes of their design glow-ups. Whether they re-decorated a whole room or added a clever update to their tour bus, these spruce-ups prove any space can feel like home with smart design.
Many talk shows try to emulate the host in the design of the space, but when you cross the threshold onto The Drew Barrymore Show, it feels like you've stepped into the real home of your coolest, most down-to-earth, always-there-to-chat BFF. That is, if your BFF is Drew Barrymore.
"I wanted to build something that really felt like it would be inside of someone's home," Barrymore tells The Spruce, adding that she had specific goals for every inch of the space.
Barrymore teamed up with 513 set designers Tom Lenz and Mel Lovric to make her vision come to life. From a shaker-style kitchen inspired by The Handmaid's Tale to the news desk reminiscent of Walter Cronkite, Lenz and Lovric helped bring this one-of-a-kind set from the moodboards to the real world.
I wanted to build something that really felt like it would be inside of someone's home.
"Working with Drew was a dream for us," Lenz and Lovric say. "Drew's kindness and generosity of spirit throughout the entire creative process really encouraged us to take risks in executing her bold vision for the design of the show."
Talk show sets tend to have the same formula: seating for the audience, a sofa and chair for the host and guests, and maybe a small kitchen for cooking demos. Drew's version is an amber-hued, art deco-inspired haven, complete with plush velvet-covered bleachers for her audience and plenty of vintage touches.
"When we talked about having bleachers on the show, I was like, 'I don't want it to feel or look like bleachers,'" Barrymore says. "That's what we call them, but these people will come here, they should sit on something velvet and beautiful. I don't want it to feel temporary or like it could be broken down at any second or something you would see at a football game or a concert. These should be a very luxe, permanent fixture."
The rest of the set breaks talk show norms too: a rollable kitchen cart for food demos becomes a moody Shaker-style kitchen with European influences.
"This should be a destination where chefs come, and they feel like there's nothing demo about this," Barrymore says. "This is their kitchen right now and their space."
As a huge fan of professional chefs, Barrymore calls them "her Marvel characters," noting that she "would line up and sleep overnight out, waiting to see and get a glimpse of a chef that I love."
Barrymore, known for her empathetic interview style and frequent viral conversations with her celebrity guests, has plenty of spaces on set to catch up with her famous friends. She counts Walter Cronkite and Dick Cavett as stylistic influences for these areas going for "old cracked leather chairs," a shag rug, and a vintage table over brand-new furniture.
The result? A set that feels layered, cinematic, and bold, Lenz and Lovric explain.
"We are students of pop culture and so is Drew, so that was something we had in common from the very beginning," Lenz and Lovric say. "It's fun to play into that nostalgia while developing ways that make it feel fresh, unique and like Drew."
Barrymore considered every part of the set, from the artwork to the plant wall. She even enlarged a drawing that her ex-boyfriend Fabrizio Moretti, the drummer for The Strokes, made in college to hang on the wall.
"I think if you make it personal, you probably will feel more comfortable in the space," Barrymore says. "If it's somewhere that you're trying to do a professional job and the more you bring a plant or a photo or decorate it or go out to a little store and buy some tchotchkes and put them around, you will start to feel like it's your space and you will be more yourself."
Barrymore is a busy mom of two; when she's not hosting the The Drew Barrymore Show, you can find her working on Drew Magazine or leading one of her many product lines from Beautiful by Drew to Flower Beauty. When she's on-the-go, it's important for her to make any place feel like home, whether its her talk show set or a hotel room, even throwing a t-shirt over a lamp to make the space feel cozier.
"When I go to a hotel room, I immediately unzip my bag and throw it up into the air," Barrymore says. "I'll try to move things around in the room that feel a little bit more me. I will take every temporary piece of paper, like the menu and the WiFi and the 'We have this restaurant downstairs' pamphlet, and I will shove it immediately in a drawer. I don't want anything that indicates it's a temporary setting."
If it's somewhere that you're trying to do a professional job and the more you bring a plant or a photo or decorate it or go out to a little store and buy some tchotchkes and put them around, you will start to feel like it's your space and you will be more yourself.
That mindset can apply to any place, from a hotel room or even to a workplace, as evidenced by her own set.
"I think if you just invest yourself in any space, you'll make it your own lickety-split," Barrymore says.