Fuller House set: How it came to life, thanks to production designer Jerry Dunn
At first, production designer Jerry Dunn thought working on Fuller House would be a breeze.
“Jeff told me, ‘This is the easiest job you’re ever gonna have.’ ” Dunn says of show creator and EP Jeff Franklin. “He basically just wanted me to recreate the house. He told me that they had drawings in the Warner Bros. archives and I thought, oh, that’s a slam dunk.”
Slight problem: The drawings had been lost. So recreating the set meant going frame by frame for over 100 hours of Full House. “I can’t tell you how many episodes,” says Dunn. “I mean, just a ton.” But the hard work paid off. Showrunners wanted the set to look like the San Francisco home viewers remember, with some slightly modern touches. The audience was delighted by the end result and the stars looked right at home.
“When [Dave] Coulier and [Bob] Saget come back, they’re horsing around in the house and it kind of makes you laugh. They look so comfortable in their house that they’ve gone right back in to their character again. That’s my aim as a designer; I want nobody to really notice the set,” he says. “I want them to feel like it’s just part of their life. That’s what I think a good production designer does.”
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Other things this production designer did: repaint the rooms, make aesthetic updates to the kitchen like a glass backsplash and modernized countertops and cabinets, and add an updated laundry room in the back.
Still retro, though? The living room furniture. EP Bob Boyett had the blue bucket chairs and the checkered love seat in storage since Full House went off the air in 1995. “The set decorator and I were just blown away,” says Dunn of receiving the pieces. “They were in good enough condition that we’re using them still.”
But the old furniture didn’t have great chemistry with one of its costars. “The first two weeks of filming, I coughed every time I had a scene in the living room,” Andrea Barber tells EW, joking that she was allergic to the couch. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, they’re going to have to write me out of every scene in the living room.’ It was bad!”
Luckily, the couch was professionally cleaned through an organic process that cleared up the allergy situation. Says Barber, “I was relieved, because I thought, I can’t suck on a cough drop for 13 weeks.”
And from this writer’s perspective, walking on to the set did feel like coming home again. Or at least back to a more innocent time where the TGIF lineup was the highlight of my TV-watching week.
A version of this story originally appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1403-1404, on newsstands now or available digitally here.