Inside Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Bridgerton’-inspired NYC apartment

Shonda Rhimes has applied the “Bridgerton” aesthetic to her NYC apartment, and the result is luscious.

The “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Bridgerton,” and “Inventing Anna” producer recently opened the doors to her Manhattan apartment, which she decorated with a similar sensibility as the one she used in creating the popular London court-based show. 

“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, told Architectural Digest. “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.”

Another major inspiration was the apartment of the apartment the late, award-winning director Mike Nichols shared with Diane Sawyer.

“[It] was breathtaking,” Rhimes recalled of their home, “this beautiful special place, so elegantly done with extraordinary terraces, and this quality of light. And I remember thinking, God, one day I’d love to live like this.”

To design her colorful Upper East Side unit, she worked with former White House interior designer Michael S. Smith, who she’d previously worked with on her Los Angeles home.

The unit is both bold and built for daydreaming.
Michael Mundy

“For us, blending ideas of a romantic East Side apartment, authors of the past, and a sense of history was interesting,” Smith told the publication of the energetic but traditional decor. The furnishings and decorations, he continued, are eclectic and bold — including  Chinese-style wallpaper, plenty of gilt-edged numbers, and a combination of contemporary and antique pieces — which are loud yet work together, and are helpful in encouraging Rhimes’ daydreaming.

“Michael created wonderful little nooks on either side of the fireplace to sit and to look out the windows, to sit and write, or to sit and drink a coffee and just enjoy the light,” Rhimes said of the many-patterned space. “ There’s a double-sided desk where I can work, or stare out the window and sort of watch. I’m mostly looking at the rooftops or at other people’s balconies wondering what’s going on. That helps when you’re trying to imagine stories in your head. I live with these characters.”

shonda rhimes nyc ues apartment
Rhimes’ apartment was featured as Architectural Digest’s April cover story.
Michael Mundy

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