Olivia Pope’s Apartment from “Scandal”Aug 3rd, 2015 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
While Scandal has fallen a bit out of favor with me (for reasons mentioned here), there are two parts of the series that I will never get over – Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) wardrobe (Gah! Her clothing is amazing!) and her apartment. I recently did a bit of research on said apartment and was floored to discover that a real unit in a real building was used for a time as Olivia’s pad. So yes, that means that Olivia’s apartment actually exists!
Thanks to a 2013 Hooked on Houses blog post, I learned that the set of Olivia’s apartment had been based off of real units at the El Royale in Hancock Park. Upon doing further research, I came across this CurbedLA article from 2011 which mentioned that the series had also done some filming inside of the building during its inaugural season, angering residents in the process.
The El Royale was originally designed in 1929 by architect William Douglas Lee, who also built the famed Chateau Marmont hotel.
The 12-story Spanish Renaissance Revival-style property, which houses 56 units, has been a celebrity magnet from the very beginning. Just a few of the luminaries who have called the place home over the years include Harry Cohn, Clark Gable, George Raft, Loretta Young, Harry Langdon, William Faulkner, Huell Howser, Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Uma Thurman, Jack Black, Ellen Page and Katie Holmes.
Olivia Pope’s apartment first showed up in the Season 1 episode of Scandal titled “Hell Hath No Fury.” The apartment featured in that episode – as well as all of the subsequent episodes of Season 1 – is an actual unit inside of the El Royale.
Scandal was initially picked up as a mid-season replacement in 2012 and, due to that fact, its inaugural season was a short one that consisted of only seven episodes. I am guessing that is why a set of Olivia’s apartment was not built until Season 2.
By the beginning of Season 2, a set modeled after the El Royale apartment had been built. Of the set, production designer Corey Kaplan said in a 2013 People magazine article, “We took the basic elements of the El Royale apartments to stage. We loved the moldings and the embellishments, but we made it a little bit larger scale with larger arches.”
The exterior of the El Royale also appeared in a couple of Season 1 episodes of Scandal. The Rosewood Avenue side of the building was where Olivia ambushed David Rosen (Joshua Malina) to ask for dirt on one of his colleagues in “Hell Hath No Fury.”
And the building’s large courtyard was where the supposed “New Hampshire” Veteran Pancake Breakfast was held in “The Trail.”
According to my buddy E.J. of The Movieland Directory website, the El Royale also served as Steven Carrington’s (Jack Coleman) apartment building on Dynasty.
And according to fave book Los Angeles Attractions, the building was also featured in Switch and Other People’s Money.
For whatever reason (most likely those angry residents mentioned in the Curbed LA article), from Season 2 onward The Gaylord Apartments building in Koreatown was used for all on location filming supposedly taking place at Olivia’s apartment.
The Gaylord Apartments was originally designed by the Walker & Eisen architecture firm in 1924. At the time, the 13-story Italian Renaissance-style property, which was named in honor of land developer Henry Gaylord Wilshire, was the city’s tallest building.
Celebrities also flocked to The Gaylord over the years. A few of the stars who have lived onsite at one time or another include John Barrymore, Constance Talmadge, Kevin Dillon, and Lance Robertson, aka “DJ Lance Rock” from Yo Gabba Gabba. Richard Nixon is also rumored to have spent some time there.
I have blogged about The Gaylord once before, back in March 2011, after a visit to its historic ground level restaurant, HMS Bounty.
To me the building has a very East Coast feel to it and it is not hard to see why producers chose it to stand in for Olivia’s Washington, D.C.-area apartment.
The exterior of The Gaylord has appeared in several episodes of Scandal, including Season 4’s “Run.” During filming, the building’s signage is changed to read “Barrington Court.”
The interior of the building also occasionally makes an appearance onscreen. The Gaylord’s lobby was featured in the Season 2 episode “White Hat’s Back On.”
And an almost-naked Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) ran down The Gaylord’s main stairwell in “Run.” You can check out a photograph of that stairwell here.
The Gaylord has appeared onscreen several times over the years. In the 2015 thriller Insidious: Chapter 3, the building was where Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) lived with her father, Sean Brenner (Dermot Mulroney).
The Gaylord was also featured in Sparkle and The Master.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The El Royale Apartments, aka Olivia Pope’s apartment from the first season of Scandal, is located at 450 North Rossmore Avenue in Hancock Park. You can visit the building’s official website here. The Gaylord Apartments, aka the exterior of Olivia Pope’s apartment building from Season 2 on, is located at 3355 Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown. You can visit the building’s official website here.