The true story of Candy Montgomery, was a tale so intriguing HBO simply had to get its hands on it. Previously adapted for television twice before, Love & Death brings a new meaning to “true crime drama” with its talented cast and immersive set. Being set in 70s small-town Texas, Elizabeth Olsen shines as Candy, a housewife turned convicted murderer when she takes the life of her lover’s wife. On Air Design printed dozens of designs, including vintage wallpaper and faux flooring, to complement the time and place of the real-life American tragedy.
Production designer Suzuki Ingerslev noted that the Montgomerys were very wealthy for the time, with Candy’s husband Pat being an electrical engineer. Therefore, they were in the socioeconomic position to read home magazines and design their space as they pleased. Ingerslev wanted this to be reflected with bright colors and open spaces, emphasizing this as a “designer home.” The Montgomery family’s kitchen is most notable, where a retro chartreuse poppy wallcovering is frequently seen. This nods to the beloved 70s floral trend often shown in punchy, vibrant hues. Ingerslev points out that Candy is in the kitchen quite often, so she wanted the background of this set to have noticeable depth against all the additional complementary elements. Florals continue to be seen throughout the family’s home, from the vintage bamboo wallpaper design of Candy and Pat’s bedroom to their daughter’s daisy-themed room that screams “flower power!”
This juxtaposes Allan and Betty Gore’s tract house, which appears more dark and claustrophobic while also being the scene of Betty’s murder. Their home seems dated and uncurated, implying that things in their home were passed down to them. A powdery blue floral wallpaper in the Gores' bedroom lacks the fresh vibrancy seen in the Montgomery bedroom but speaks to the time period, implying it was a time of financial depression for many. Betty’s kitchen also seems to be a counterpart to Candy’s, featuring On Air’s printed linoleum flooring and dark wooden finishes that seem outdated even for the 70s. Ultimately, the two homes were meant to show how different Candy and Betty were as people, yet how similar being that they were both entrenched in the same suburban community.
Vintage designs were the focus of our work in the production, aiming to fulfill the crew’s goal of “bringing people back in time [to] a world that feels real.” Our recreations of Ingerslev’s vintage wallpaper finds and other original printed coverings totaled more than 35 designs. Paired with the other set decor, the wallcoverings and faux finishes we provided helped to place the production perfectly in the correct period.
Source: Zemler, Emily. "On Location: Recreating a 1980s Texas Suburb in Bits and Pieces in 'Love & Death'." Condé Nast Traveler. April 26, 2023.