I don’t get to watch much adult TV at this point in my life, but the one show I never miss is the BBC’s Sherlock. Season 3 just finished airing, but you can watch all three new episodes online here through March 4, and seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix streaming. For those who don’t know, Sherlock is an updated Sherlock Holmes set in modern London starring the perfectly cast Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and for my money it’s the best series on television. I highly recommend it, because besides being incredibly clever, funny, and action-packed, it’s also full of great interior design!
From the very first moments of the first episode, I was struck particularly by the set designers’ use of wallpaper. For one thing, the wallpaper patterns themselves are quite beautiful, and for another–wallpaper is everywhere! Seriously, in nearly every interior on the show. Now my very unscientific theory has always been that wallpaper is more popular (and good designs more widely available) in the UK, and Sherlock certainly seems to support that theory. So as I re-watched season 1 on my iPad, I took screen shots of all the gorgeous wallpaper to share with you.
Only a few minutes into the series, Martin Freeman’s character, Dr. Watson, visits his psychologist’s office. And what a beautiful office it is!
The Eames lounge chair, the black arc lamp, the lamp and bust on the desk…and iridescent floral wallpaper on the paneled cabinet doors! Here’s another shot:
Lovely. Not too many minutes later Sherlock Holmes introduces Dr. Watson and the world to the iconic flat at 221B Baker Street:
The most striking element in the apartment is the bullet-riddled fleur-de-lys wallpaper behind the couch. (Though that awesome skull print is probably a close second.)
The wallpaper is Zoffany’s “Navarre” in dark chocolate, which is described as “a luxurious large scale flock design of a dark chocolate fleur de lys motif within a trellis pattern on a metallic background which varies in colour between aqua and cream, depending on position, lighting and eye line.” It sets the perfect mood for 221B. Dark and Victorian, but with a slightly modern twist. Here’s another look:
I love it. But that’s not the only wallpaper in Sherlock’s and Watson’s flat. On the wall opposite the “Navarre” we have this gem:
Also note the skull, as well as the knife stuck into the mantle holding the mail (which is a detail referenced in the original stories). Just perfect. And the bookshelf styling on that wall is also perfection:
On the landing at the top of the stairs that lead into the apartment, we have a bamboo paper:
And at the bottom of the stairs (we’re obviously moving into Mrs. Hudson-territory here) is a gorgeous light blue paper with branches, leaves, and birds:
Here’s a better shot:
And the wallpaper is by no means confined to Baker Street. Here are our protagonists at the first crime scene, and the walls in this abandoned building are covered in a gorgeous iridescent tree paper:
A closer look:
Another crime scene, another wallpaper:
And they just keep coming:
Modern, traditional, midcentury — Sherlock‘s wallpapers cover the spectrum. And keep in mind that these screenshots are from just season 1! I’ve never seen such ubiquitous and pleasing use of wallpaper on screen. My compliments to the set designers!
If you’re interested in more than just Sherlock’s wallpaper, the Sherlockology website (tagline: “The ultimate guide for any BBC Sherlock fan”) has a “props” page that sources quite a few of the design elements that appear in the flat at 221B Baker Street. Wear Sherlock also sources Sherlock‘s wardrobe and props, including some of the wallpaper. And Apartment Therapy compiled a “Get the Look: BBC’s Sherlock” to help you bring some of the Baker Street mystique into your own home.
Also, if you’re a true Sherlock geek like me, you might enjoy the “Sherlock The Network” app. It’s an interactive iPhone game in which you solve puzzles/crimes with the help of audio and video clues from Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Maybe it will help hold me over until season 4 premieres!