How the Girls of Girls Changed the Notoriously Unrealistic TV Apartment
See how the show's interior design has fascinated fans ahead of its final season
Carrie Bradshaw’s Upper East Side townhouse apartment, they are not.
When Girls premiered on HBO in 2012, viewers immediately noticed its four main characters, Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa, presented a more imperfect — often downright gritty — version of life as a twenty-something in New York City than most of their fictional forebears. But their mishaps and meltdowns were also notably set in surroundings that were unfamiliar to fans of Friends, Will & Grace or Sex and the City.
The apartments were small and haphazardly decorated, with weird angles and little natural light. They were realistic, but not totally undesirable. The decor in Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Marnie’s (Allison Williams) cute and colorful two-bedroom and Shoshanna’s (Zosia Mamet) girly studio setup were cool, if not quite Pinterest material. Design lovers and New York-ophiles took notice, and have been obsessing over the show’s domestic spaces ever since.
During Girls’ first season, the Los Angeles Times penned a love note to Marnie’s off-again boyfriend Charlie’s awesome, modular DIY loft and the Wall Street Journal documented what it’s like to live in Jessa’s (Jemima Kirke) temporary husband Thomas John’s glassy high-rise on the Brooklyn waterfront.
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In 2016, the New York Times did a side-by-side comparison of Marnie’s Chinatown studio, affectionately referred to on the show as “the sh*t box,” and Carrie Bradshaw’s bachelorette pad, a brownstone walk-up with an ungodly amount of closet space. Allison Williams even had a laugh at the disparate floorplans on Instagram.
Something Girls and SATC do have in common is a famous NYC stoop that you can actually visit. The owners of 66 Perry Street in Manhattan’s West Village Neighborhood have long had issues with fans visiting the steps, which stood in for Bradshaw’s Upper East Side facade. (SJP herself was even reportedly reprimanded for using the steps to tease a new shoe line in 2014.)
Girls’ famous facade, where the characters held a proper NYC stoop sale, is slightly more low-key, though a Guardian reporter did make the pilgrimage to India Street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood to pay homage.
The fascination with the characters’ apartments isn’t bound to New York City. When Shoshanna moved to Tokyo, fans found the kooky, color-blocked apartment complex where she lived, which you can rent on Airbnb.
Now, ahead of the premiere of the show’s sixth and final season (airing Sundays at 10pm on HBO), the sets have come to rank alongside some of recent TV history’s most iconic: Monica and Rachel’s palatial purple two bedroom, Will and Grace’s Upper West Side aerie, and Hannah Horvath’s weird, wonky, drama– and dance-off–filled Greenpoint apartment.
The final season of Girls premieres Sunday February 12 at 10pm on HBO.